Military Family, Food, & Fitness Fenestrations

Raising the Bar on Personal Expectation

New Blog & New Business

We’ve started a new business (nonprofit) which provides fitness training absolutely free to military soldiers, their families, and civilians working in their support called Landstuhl CrossFit and Combatives Facility (LCCF). It is located “on post” of Landstuhl Regional Medical Command in Landstuhl, Germany. I provide short notes on fitness and nutritional subjects, along with daily (M-F) strength training prescriptions we are stealing from Skip and Jodi Miller at my new location: http://landstuhlcrossfit.com – if you enjoyed posts here, please feel free to become a subscriber!
…eventually, I hope to provide our Landstuhl CrossFit blog subjects in German on this site 🙂 (yes, way in the future, most likely).

 

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Bacon and Spinach Frittata

yumThis was a hit with both Germans and Americans at our son’s 3rd birthday party last weekend. Super easy to prepare, and all-primal, of course.

Ingredients:
2 cups raw spinach, thick stems removed
12 slices or so raw bacon – we buy Dörfleisch from the local Metzgerei (pronounced Duh-flysh), and specify we want it thinly sliced (DĂĽnn geschnitten)
1 tomato, diced
1 small/medium yellow onion, diced (can also use 5-6 spring onions)
2 tbsp organic (buy German “Bio” butter)
6 Freiland Eier (cage free eggs)
1/4 cup feta cheese, unseasoned

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. SautĂ© onion and bacon in butter for a few minutes then add tomato and cook until bacon starts to shrink. Add the spinach 1/2 cup at a time, allowing it to wilt slightly before adding the next 1/2 cup. Transfer mixture to oven-proof low-sided casserole pan if your skillet is not cast-iron, and spread evenly. Whisk eggs, adding salt and pepper to taste, then pour over the other ingredients. Sprinkle feta cheese evenly over top & pop in the oven. Heck, I don’t know how long it cooked, around 10-12 minutes. You’re looking for the egg to be puffing up, the cheese to be melting, and a nice brown tint over the top. There are tons of combinations for breakfast frittatas out there, and you really don’t even have to eat it for breakfast. I took the picture for my frittata from the MDA site. He provides a different mix of ingredients than I (sun-dried tomatoes, goat & parmesan cheeses), and he has the great idea to pour the frittata ingredients in a muffin tin for “grab and go” convenience – Try out different combinations of meat and vegetables and find your family’s favorites…you might just be making a regular batch of this stuff. Take note of other busy-family-friendly recipes on Mark’s site & his related Primal Breakfast Suggestions for People on the Go.

Reporting the Truth and Nothing But.

Excerpt from my letter to First Lady Michelle Obama, so challenging to cut to less than 2,500 characters:

Dear First Lady Michelle Obama,

I love your Let’s Move initiative! I’m currently an unemployed military housewife living overseas (so maybe implausibly), I believe I have important input regarding your Making Healthy Choices objective.

One of the crucial areas that should be identified for reform regards reporting Nutritional research. At minimum, visible to the general public, full disclosure in layman’s terms:

1. Clear details concerning the research’s potential implications. The majority of nutritional research is accomplished through epidemiology/observation studies (EOS) which are intended to establish hypotheses for further study & DON’T prove causation. It becomes a huge threat of public health to allow the media, study authors, & large corporations with substantial marketing budgets to sensationalize hypothesis in these EOS studies to infer they “prove” ramifications for individual health. Misuse of epidemiological reports caused the 2002 estrogen therapy debacle. It is now a question of when & who will be harmed the next instance.

2. Clearly demarcate any potential for bias as well as conflicts of interest, including providing details on who funds the study & scientists’ prior research. My grandmother’s doctor placed her on a cholesterol-lowering statin with no history of heart disease. High cholesterol has never been proven to cause heart disease. All evidence shows statins will do nothing to lengthen her life & have many potential serious side effects. Many doctors assert statin research involves eager-patient effect: perfectly healthy patients who want to do all they can to prevent heart disease ask their doctor for a statin & help inflate its “success” in prevention.

My undergrad is in Exercise & Health Science, but I’ve researched nutritional science only since becoming a mom. Cancer killed my older brother & permanently disabled my younger brother. Like you, I realized that the health of my family depends on proper nutrition & establishing healthy habits.

We must revalue what science perhaps has already taught us to avoid the possibility that something was exaggerated, overlooked, or misreported. We need to eliminate ANY potential for conflict of interest in American dietary recommendations. I believe in your cause & in your Presidential Team, God bless you both & long live our children.

A research scientist and a medical doctor both offer much more exhaustive detail on the same topic here and here if your interest has been piqued.

If you doubt my statement regarding high cholesterol never being proven to cause heart disease please read my blog entry here. The subject hit the mainstream again just last week at MSNBC.

Malocclusion, Your Required Reading

I read through Dr. Stephan Guyenet’s Malocclusion Series recently, and it inspired immediate purchase of the Dentistar pacifier, made by Novatex (he emphasizes that has no connection with the company). If you follow my link, you can get a short summary of his research and conclusions at the top of the page – required reading for all parents of kids from prenatal-age to 17-years, as far as I’m concerned. Afterwards, you might just be sufficiently inspired to become a regular reader of Dr. Guyenet. He provides insightful analysis of cutting-edge as well as historical nutritional research, and he refreshingly continues to assess critically his own conclusions (You can count on him NOT to patron “Paleo” and “Primal” dieting without support of sufficient independent research). He advocates avoidance of sugar, industrial seed oils, and refined grains (“It probably has nothing to do with the glycemic index, it’s because they’re empty calories and wheat contains gluten which is immunogenic. Grain fiber needs to be treated properly by soaking and/or fermentation followed cooking to remove lectins, phytic acid, trypsin inhibitors, tannins, etc. Most traditional cultures got rid of a portion of the bran/germ if they could by sifting, straining, and pounding”). “White rice is better than white flour but it’s a one-way ticket to deficiency diseases if you eat too much”, he says (and I can attest definitively that my personal health (N=1) has changed radically just since I started following this advice – I stopped eating grains (bread/pasta, even oatmeal), sugar & sweeteners, as well as industrial seed oils, and I stopped preparing them for my family).

So back to the pacifier conundrum: our son still uses his pacifier while he sleeps, but I think we may try to take it from him on his 3rd birthday (March), as appalling as that sounds. I won’t deny I may get cold feet! We’ve been brainwashing him daily to convince him that pacifiers (“Nuks”) are for babies, and that when he reaches 3 he will truly be a big boy. Of course we will gift him with a highly-desired comfort item on the same day which hopefully he will eventually accept as a substitute. Will it work? It will certainly be painful. What worked for you?

Landstuhl Facility and Primal Caesar Salad

We’ve begun free CrossFit training at Landstuhl this week in a facility (Bldg 3714 across from the gas station) that was designed and equipped also to handle combatives training. We are teaching the 9 fundamental movements to active duty soldiers from 0630-0730 and again from 1630-1730, Monday to Friday, and we also provide daily WOD supervision. Yes, this does mean that I am discontinuing my offer for free training from our home due to our new schedule being pretty hectic, but I am way out in the woods anyway for most of the KMC population, and I can assure you that the CrossFit training experience I can offer you all at Landstuhl is absolutely incomparable, its improvement, over what I’ve given at Ramstein Youth Center or my home. The new facility is amazing (CrossFit Ramstein has been posting pictures of it that you might have seen), and we are already building a community of active duty devotees. Unfortunately we still do not know how much of the military family we will be able to involve (spouses or kids) in our training, nor if we will be allowed to start a nonprofit CrossFit affiliate in the near future, so this may all be very short lived. We should be getting a response from the legal office soon and are ready to react quickly – I will keep you all posted.

Speaking of community, we met some folks now good friends who are into CrossFit Football and posting scores publicly. I think radical power improvement is in my future.

Today I tried to beat Cris’ score with 65# power cleans and overhead squats, but managed instead to double it (it was “for time”, so the lower the score the better). Then I did a 20 minute row workout and could barely drive home. YOU MUST try this workout (from crossfitfootball.com):

Complete 10 rounds (20 minutes) Row for 1 minute as many meters as you can, rest for 1 minute.
*Your score is the total amount of meters rowed – goal is row at least 2500 meters (3000 meters for men)
*Penalty is 1 handstand push up for every 5 meters under 2500/3000 meters.

This. will. kick. your. butt. If you have kids with you, and a gym partner also with kids, one would think that you could conceivably trade off rounds, but absolutely forget it. I couldn’t manage even a two-word response during my minute-of-rest periods. Instead, consider trading off the entire 20 minutes babysitting or exercising, and do insure you have a backup driver for your return trip home.

I’m concluding with another crowd-pleasing recipe for you below, but first I want to explain that when I specify (as below, but also in the future) that a recipe is “primal”, I am referring to Mark’s definition, with very few deviations, (making it “primalish”, I guess). At the same time, I also subscribe to Melissa Urban’s advice on eating dirty, and aspiration to remain 90% clean (I prudently enjoy nut butters, heavy cream, double-fat crĂ©me fraĂ®che, and Lindt 90% cacao dark chocolate bars…and when it isn’t prudent I forgive myself quickly). There are other definitions of primal/paleo out there, but I credit our diet with keeping me cold/flu free for nearly a year and a half, as well as for being pretty dang powerful in the gym (just not compared to Cris…yet…). If you are new to primal living, and in shock, I’m not the only one who’s lost body fat and improved overall health by following this type of diet – take the time to follow some of my links in the right column. Not a lot of time? Read Dr. Guyenet and Dr. Davis. And here’s something healthy to munch on as you read their wealth of posts:

Primal Caesar Salad with Bacon & Chicken Thighs

is another simple meal I snagged from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home cookbook, slightly altered to make it primalish. Unless otherwise specified, the recipes posted here always serve 4…

4 chicken thighs/legs with skin on

organic (bio) butter

5-6 large mushrooms (will depend on size of your casserole dish & size of mushrooms- need enough to cover bottom of dish)

2 tbsp fresh thyme (discard woody stems) chopped roughly, divided

8 thin slices of your favorite Metzgerei’s bacon (Dörfleisch), Italian pancetta, or Schwarzwälder Schinken (normally doesn’t contain sugar).

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

6-7 cloves garlic, minced, divided

4 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained

3 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus a few shavings to serve

1 heaped tbsp crĂ©me fraĂ®che (preferably double-cream crĂ©me fraĂ®che, found at German supermarkets – I get mine at Wasgau)

juice of 1 lemon

natural unsalted walnuts, crushed and roasted

3 romaine lettuces

.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Brush mushrooms free of dirt, cut & discard tough portion from stems. Pack bottoms of mushrooms with slices of butter (sorry for lack of portion guidance – I never ration our organic butter, nor do I feel you need to), place them bottom-side down in casserole dish and sprinkle half of the fresh thyme over them plus one clove minced garlic for each mushroom you use. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place snugly together on top of mushrooms in your casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped thyme and a few evenly dispersed chunks of butter. Put the pan into your preheated oven.

After 45-60 minutes, when the chicken looks done, take the pan out, drape the bacon/pancetta over the chicken and mushrooms, and cook for another 20 minutes until bacon is crisp and the chicken falls easily off the bone. Allow the chicken to cool.

Pound minced garlic and anchovy fillets in a pestle and mortar to a pulp – combine with parmesan, crĂ©me fraĂ®che, lemon juice and 3times as much extra virgin olive oil as lemon juice – season this dressing to taste.

Shred the chicken meat from the bones, tear the bacon roughly, and combine it all with your (washed and spun-dry) romaine and creamy dressing. Scatter attractively with parmesan shavings to finish.

Workout

Kills me not to be there while you guys work out this morning, but hopefully you can understand the following details of what I’d planned to give you – this is a perfect “season-ender workout” (you might have seen this on the CrossFit main site and known it was coming)! Try to at least achieve the “puppies” recommendation on the BrandX Scaling Table (it follows). Do 5 Burpees, 5 stage-dips to warm up then arm rotations. Take the stretchy-bands found in the corner with the balls and work arms overhead and back. No more than 5 minutes active stretching – don’t lose track of time talking – get to the workout!

Pullup/HSPU Challenge
Equipment needed: Blue floor mat (remains folded) & ballerina bar/fluidity bar. Do not put ballerina bar/fluidity bar on black mat (it could potentially tear mat…the last couple times I placed the bar just inside the wrestling room along the wall). For time:
21 Pull-ups
21 Handstand Push-ups
15 Pull-ups
15 Handstand Push-ups
9 Pull-ups
9 Handstand Push-ups
Handstand push-ups are “nose to floor” rather than crown of head to floor – put your knees on the blue mat – the closer your hands are to the mat, the better (harder) the workout. Stack some steps (found in the corner by the music) higher if the mats don’t challenge you!
During pullups, try to keep legs straight on floor and experiment even with supporting their weight (L-pullups) once or more each set. End with 2-3 sets of core-bridging (try for 30 seconds on elbows and toes, then sides 15-second hold). Take your time stretching arms again to finish. Really wish I could be there with you guys this morning – enjoy the holiday season & beautiful snow!

Workout

Although I am not teaching class at Ramstein over the winter, I can still provide CrossFit WOD scaling assistance to folks who would like something other than what BrandX provides for scaling recommendations. I really encourage you to first try BrandX, however. Improvement will continue to be rapid for you, just as you experienced during class – I guarantee that within 6 months all of you will be able to do many CrossFit workouts as prescribed. Start keeping a workout log to track your personal progress. Use the CrossFit forum (under the Message Board link), and add each other (& me) as friends so that you will receive instant email alerts following updates. Posting publicly keeps you accountable for workouts & allows you to build a virtual support group, even if you are unable to physically exercise as a group!

But now, I have my toddler in my lap and am working split-screen (I’m on the blog-editor while he watches his “Ian-videos”) and this isn’t even half as productive as it sounds…so without further ado, today’s workout follows:

Benchmark Workout
45 reps each, pullups, pushups, situps (abmat or janda holding ball to butt with heels), & squats – preferably finish all pullups before proceeding to pushups, etc (rather than doing 10 of each, for example).

Your previous benchmark workout was 35 reps of each – the times I have on record for the folks who were present follow:
L: 10:17
C: 12:23
M: 12:52
E: 9:10
I believe that you can match these times despite the increased reps! Push yourselves & let me know how it goes.