Don’t these sound like well-behaved topics?! Don’t worry, I haven’t gone off the goody-two-shoe deep end! Until recently, even though I’ve liked kale for a long time cooked in dishes etc, and raw baby kale for salads, I hadn’t had any especially good experiences with kale chips. Especially the sort I tried to make myself in the oven a while ago which smelled horrible. They put me off of ever taking the idea of kale chips seriously… until now. BTW I also figured out how to make great kale chips in a food dehydrator…go here for the recipe (partially inspired by the ingredients in the Brad’s chips here – the magic of nutritional yeast is a big win – good job, Brad!)
A friend had mentioned Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale Chips offhand and said they might be available at Whole Foods—I was already out of a few “staple” items (goat cheese, French lentils, avocados, coconut milk… etc) and had planned to look for them. Seeing as prepared chips, crackers, cookies etc are never on my list of items to purchase, after some exasperation I asked an employee where I might find them. He seemed a little confused on the exact brand I was asking for, but as we rounded the corner, we came face to face with someone carrying a big bag and of all things wearing a Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale t-shirt. Turns out his name is Michael and he’s the Sr. VP of sales. I was slightly boggled as I looked from the logo on his shirt while declaring, “HEY! I was just looking for that brand of kale chips?!?!” So he handed me a box of the “Nacho” flavor and after some slight encouragement the “Nasty Hot” flavor.
(How can you name a product “Nasty Hot” and not expect me to need to have it?) The good news is, it sounds like Whole Foods will be carrying these delicious snacks regularly. And they are DELICIOUS. Unlike my ill fated experiment with homemade kale chips, these are simply dehydrated at no more than 115 Degrees Fahrenheit so the flavor of the kale itself is mild… the flavorings don’t hold back and have a delicious balance of tangy-ness, spice, and just a tad of umami going on. In short, they are incredibly delicious and have forever changed my impression of what kale chips can be. They’re raw, organic, gluten free, vegan, kosher, and non-gmo. Certain flavors are even nut-free, so you can literally share some of these with just about anyone. That is if you’re a nice person and actually want to share them. It will be challenging.
Michael told me something that really sets these chips apart from the others—and there are several brands of kale chips at Whole Foods—is the fact that the stems are removed from the leaves before they’re flavored and gently dried. Other brands will leave those chewy hard stems in which will often account for 30% of the weight of the product! Yikes! For fun, I retrieved a leaf of organic kale from my fridge to take a look – and sure enough looking at it, the stem was significant (see below). Removing the stem made these chips very easy and enjoyable to eat with both the flavors and textures. I can’t recommend them enough.
Now onto our 2nd somewhat improbable topic… lunges. While it’s no secret that I’m a fan of the get-up, both without weight (aka “naked”) and with a kettlebell (sometimes reasonably heavy, my current PR on one side is close to 1/2 bodyweight) along with the “back lunge” and “tactical lunge”… the thought of lunges for lunge-sake isn’t one that crosses my mind too much. Partially for the reasons you hear in the beginning of Josh Henkin’s recent post on the RKC blog. Lunges have a somewhat sissified reputation. One of my impressions of the “lunge” involves one of the 1,000s of ubiquitous “fitness inspiration” stock photos featuring a very thin woman with teeny tiny weights, perfect makeup (which will stay that way because she probably won’t break a sweat), wearing a color coordinated outfit completely accessorized doing miles and miles of walking lunges. Regular readers of this blog know that’s not a positive impression. Ego aside, properly performed bodyweight lunges have quite a lot of value… but it got me thinking – we really should be doing more lunges and lunge variations. There’s something for everyone with them—even (or especially) those of us who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing pink to the gym.
One of the things that clued me into this idea a little while back were some of the very cool lunge variations you’ll find in Jon Bruney’s upcoming book Neuro-Mass. While participating in that challenging photoshoot, I found myself taking tons of notes for my own practice and those notes included the lunge variations from the book (some of which I am depicted performing as you’ll soon see.) Because the book has not yet been released to the public, I don’t want to talk about it too much yet, so we’ll go back to how I’ve been playing with the idea of programming lunges within the ideas presented within the PCC* and RKC.
Here’s an advanced idea (first try it with a light kettlebell!) for adding lunges into a basic workout:
- Get-up to standing position, then….
- With kettlebell held overhead, walking lunges out and back to a previously determined short distance
- Finish get-up, switch sides, repeat.
Something to keep in mind is the importance of scouting out the area for irregularities or obstacles—move them or find a new workout area—for safety. Even just a couple walking lunges with a light kettlebell overhead (take time with it and above all BE SAFE. Put it down if you have to!) are nothing to sneeze at, especially considering you’re putting them in the middle of a get-up sandwich!
What are your favorite ways to add lunges to a workout?