Kale is a cruciferous vegetable (Brassica oleracea), and is related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and cauliflower. It contains many of the health benefits typically found in this group of super foods. More about cruciferous vegetables in general can be found here.

Kale has been cultivated by humans for more than 2000 years. It was first recorded by the Romans, and was staple green throughout the Middle Ages. During World War II it was planted in Europe in abundance as it was easy to grow and provided many nutrients that were needed during rationed wartime diets. Today this leafy green is eaten around the world, being a signature part of American, European, Asian, and African cuisines.

This crucifer is a truly a Spartan vegetable. It’s burly, calling home what others call Hell. Many varieties can grow well into winter when most plants don’t stand a chance of surviving. One specific cultivar is called “Hungry Gap” because it will keep your garden producing calories when everything else is long dead for the winter.

Always wash your kale as it is consistently ranked as a food that is known to be pesticide heavy. For this reason always buy organic when you can.

Is kale good for you? Let’s see, inside this low calorie green you will find 

More vitamin C than an orange.

More calcium per gram than milk.

A boat load of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that is linked to brain function.

The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

45 flavonoids

Sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties

Need some kale recipes?

Try some of these:

Kale and Eggs 

Kale lemonade

Kale and apple soup

Kale fried lotus salad

Kale cheese cannelloni 

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Particularly around the holidays, we really get into food extravagance.  Extreme acts of desserts happen more than extreme bouts of exercising.  Equations of fitness we have been working into our bodies throughout the year unravel with smells from the kitchen.  Rapid caloric ingestions far outweighing our caloric expenditures happen, and hapen on many consecutive days. Bad choices are made about the carbs and fats we hook up with, and we take walks of shame towards our workout the next day.

You are going to have to work to get those bad calories back.  You are also going to need to clear your system that you  just gunked up.

If you do extremely complex foods (processed desserts), try extremely simple foods (raw foods) for a change.

Once a week a Spartans should get in touch with their primitive eating instinct, and simply enjoy the deliciousness of eating only raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts for a day.  ‘

If you want to go next-level, don’t even mix your raw food.  In fact, put three hours between each one type of raw food you choose to consume, and the next raw food you choose to consume, so that you don’t cross them, even in your stomachs.

Sounds extreme, right?  You run through fire, crawl under barbed wire, carry heavy objects around mountains…you are freaked out about eating as much as you want all day, as long as you just make sure it is raw whole goodness? Better fuel comes from fewer ingredients.  Processed food products are the worst kind of fuel.  Raw food ingredients are the best. Therefore more processing of products equals worse products.

One ingredient is the best ingredient.  It goes down hill from there, as soon as you start mixing and matching, and then doing various eat processes (cooking) as well. If you want to eat avocados, eat as much as you want, just only eat avocados – eat 2lbs of avocados, go till your full.  Then, wait 3 hours before you eat 2 lbs of cashews.

This is what we did with Chris Davis and Danny Rodriguez, collectively loosing over 300 pounds here at Spartan HQ.

They did it for weeks at a time to really get the benefits, but you can get benefits just by trying this kind of diet once a week. More than anything, use it as an opportunity to reflect carefully about your food choices, and really experience them first hand. To learn that humans were made and evolved to eat foods, not food products.  More nutritional advice can be found by signing up to our Food Of The Day.

What do you have to lose?  Weight?  Try raw food.

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Healthy Eggplant Tempura

Spartan Recipe of the Day: Healthy Eggplant Tempura

Why eat eggplant?

30 minutes
10-11 slices
63 calories per slice
Vegan, Gluten-free optional


1 large eggplant
3/4 cup flour mix (gluten free optional)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons curry powder
3 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoons of sea salt
1 teaspoon of lemon pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Slice the eggplant in 10-11 thin slices, then lay on a cutting board and sprinkle some sea salt on every slice. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
3. Mix water, flour, and spices with a wisk to a medium thick texture.
4. Dip eggplant into mix one at a time and coat thoroughly.
5. In a preheated pan, melt coconut oil. Place eggplant slices in the pan and then bake for 10 minutes.

Sign up for the Spartan WOD


Don’t let swimming be an obstacle

Swimming Laps 101: 9 Things to Know

by Erica Smith, Professional swim coach


Swimmer here.  I’m here to break the unfortunate news to you that swimmers (as we call ourselves–those of us who have the distinction of having been competitive swimmers in high school and/or college), are holding you in judgment for the suit you wear, the goggles you wear, and the way you conduct yourself at the local YMCA or community pool. As soon as we see you coming, we’ll start sprinting butterfly or doing extra-splashy flip turns to discourage you from sharing our lane. It’s not just swimmers behaving badly–I swear runners have taunted me in similar ways when I venture out of my territory and onto land.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can work out in peace without being taunted or judged by swimmers. First off, don’t ever show up wearing a scuba mask or ancient-looking goggles. I like Blue Seventy goggles–all models make excellent open water goggles, and you can wear them to the pool. Don’t wear swim trunks or a triathlon suit–you’re going to have to get yourself a real swimsuit made for pool swimming. Now, emerge from the locker room and walk across deck with confidence. If the lap lanes have speed designations (Slow-Medium-Fast), make sure you don’t overestimate yourself. Using fins doesn’t count towards your perceived speed. It’s taboo among swimmers to wear fins for an entire workout, and everyone knows WHY you’d be doing that.

Once you choose the appropriate lane, there are a few basic but very important rules you must follow:

1. If you are joining a lane with one swimmer, you must alert that person to your presence before you begin swimming, and ask whether your new lanemate prefers to “circle swim” or “split the lane.” Using proper swimming lingo will earn you points. Circle swimming means that you will swim counterclockwise, always hugging the laneline to your right. Splitting the lane means that you and your lanemate will each choose one side of the lane, and you will hug the same laneline going up and down.

2. Never, ever, ever veer into the middle of the lane for any reason. Pay attention to where you are in the lane at all times. Now is not the time to practice eyes-closed navigation drills. No one wants to get a concussion during a swim workout.

3. If joining a lane with multiple swimmers who are already circle swimming, you need not alert anyone to your presence, but you must join the lane in a way that does not interrupt anyone else’s workout (see guidelines below). If you join a lane with two swimmers who are splitting the lane, you must ASK both swimmers whether they will circle swim to let you join, BEFORE you begin swimming in that lane.

4. Never push off the wall right in front of a swimmer who is approaching the wall to make a turn. This is exactly the same as if you were running on a narrow track, and a slower runner stepped in front of you and forced you to stop.

5. Never push off the wall RIGHT on the feet of the swimmer right ahead of you. Always wait at least five seconds or until the swimmer ahead is past the flags.

6. Never touch the feet of the swimmer in front of you for any reason. It’s your fault for either pushing off the wall too soon, or not choosing the right lane. If you are doing a faster workout, you’re going to have to stop at the wall, wait until there’s enough space in between the two of you, and then start again. No one is looking for a negotiation about accommodating your workout.

7. If you do accidentally make contact while swimming, pick your head up to apologize. Or wait to apologize at the wall, whenever both of you stop.

8. If you are stopped at the wall to rest, make sure that you stay off to the side so that the end of the lane is clear for other swimmers to make turns. If you are blocking the wall with your body, don’t be surprised if a swimmer flip turns and their feet fly mere centimeters from your face. You’re not supposed to be there.

9. Hand paddles can be helpful for learning proper catch position in freestyle, but you should avoid using them in a crowded lap swim lane because of the likelihood of contact with other swimmers. It IS possible to break fingers or cause bloody gashes through contact with hand paddles.

Following these guidelines should ensure that you have a pleasant and fruitful experience at your local pool. Your new swimmer friends will appreciate your efforts!


Erica Smith was a NCAA All-American swimmer and is now an open water swimmer, writer, and professional swim coach specializing in open water training and racing.  She can be contacted at smitheureka@gmail.com.


Coconut Cake

60 minutes
10 servings
98 calories per serving
Gluten Free

Cake Ingredients

3/4 cup cane sugar – 315 cal
5 tablespoons virgin coconut oil – 625 cal
1 cup millet flour – 444 cal
1 cup chick pea flour – 356 cal
1 egg – 70 cal
1/4 cup egg white – 29 cal
3 tablespoons coconut flour – 60 cal
2 tablespoons raw quinoa seeds – 34 cal
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup coconut milk beverage – 45 cal
1 tablespoon vanilla extracts – 15 cal
1 tablespoon lemon zests
1 lemon juiced
1 tablespoon of baking powder – 10 cal

Icing Ingredients

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil – 250 cal
1/4 cup coconut milk beverage – 18 cal
2 cups dried coconut shred – 1050 cal
1/4 cup cane sugar – 60 cal
1/4 cup 70% or more dark chocolate to melt – 168 cal


1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Beat the eggs, egg whites, coconut oil, sugar, vanilla lemon juice and zests together.
3. Add coconut milk and then flours, seeds, and baking powder.
4. Pour the mixture into a greased cake pan.
5. Place in the over for 35-45 minutes, or until done.

Icing Preparation

1. Melt the coconut oil and mix with dried coconut and sugar.
2. Melt dark chocolate and spread on top followed immediately by the coconut mix.
3. Let the cake cool down for 1-2 hours.



Apple and Ginger Pumpkin Soup

by Rose Marie Jarry, Elite Spartan Racer and Seasoned Chef

25 minutes
8 servings
98 calories per serving
Gluten Free, Vegan


2 cups organic cooked pumpkin – 92 cal
2 cups organic potatoes – 346 cal
5 cups organic vegetable broth – 75 cal
1 organic onion – 28 cal
1 organic apple – 116 cal
1 tbs organic fresh grated ginger roots – 110 cal
1 tbs organic coconut oil -125 cal


1.  Combine all ingredients together in a big pot, reserving the coconut oil on the side.
2.  Once everything is cooked through, add coconut oil and serve.

Nutritional Fact

A review of several studies has concluded that ginger is just as effective as vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness.


Mexican Rice and Beans with Squash Sauce

by Rose Marie Jarry, Elite Spartan Racer and Seasoned Chef


45 minutes
8 servings
307 calories per serving
Gluten Free, Vegan



2 cups cooked pumplin or orange squash – 98 cal
3 tablespoons of tomoato paste – 37 cal
750ml vegetable broth – 45 cal
1 tablespoon chili paste – 15 cal
2 tablespoons paprika
3 garlic cloves – 6 cal
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil – 120 cal
salt and pepper
3 cups finely chopped kale – 99 cal
4 cups organic cooked adzuki beans – 1176
4 cups brown rice – 864


1. In a medium pot cook pumpkin and tomato paste.
2. Add garlic, water, spices, and simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat.
3. Blend everything together into a smooth texture.
4. When the mixture is still warm, add coconut oil and chopped kale into the sauce.
5. Cook beans to desired texture or use cooked beans.
6. Cook rice
7. Serve rice on bottom of the plate, add beans and pour on the sauce.

Nutritional Fact

Paprika is said to be extraordinarily high in vitamin C and is thought to contain up to nine times as much vitamin C as a tomato. The sun-dried organic paprika has higher vitamin C content versus the processed ones. Aside from Vitamin C, paprika is also said to be rich in carotenoids which are red and yellow pigments found in vegetables and herbs that impart health benefits.


Exotic Guacamole

by Rose Marie Jarry, Elite Spartan Racer and Season Chef


Gluten free
Preparation time: 30 minutes
4 servings
327 Calories per serving


2 big sweet potatoes – 320 cal
1 table spoons of organic coconut oil – 125 cal
2 ripe avocados – 644 cal
1 lemon, juice – 5 cal
1/2 cup of Organic cucumber – 8 cal
1/2 cup organic papaya 27 cal
1/2 cup of red onions – 22 cal
1 tea spoon of red curry paste – 10 cal
1 table sppon of organic soy sauce, gluten free
50g of light goat cheese


Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Slice the sweet potatoes in tiny pieces and place on an oily cookie sheet ready for the oven. Cook for 25- 30 minutes at 375F.
While it’s cooking, slice all the others ingredients except the goat cheese in the smallest pieces you can and put into a bowl. Add the avocado and squash them with the other ingredients to create the guacamole texture.

When your sweet potatoes chips are almost ready, place the pieces
of goat cheese on them and grill them for an extra 5 minutes. After that is done, place the chips on a plate ready to be served with your delicious guacamole.


Nutrition and Health Tips

Papaya is a delicious, sweet fruit with a bit of a mushy texture. Papaya contains papain which is an enzyme which helps digest proteins. * Fun Fact: Papain is also used as an ingredient in chewing gum! 1 Papaya contains 313% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C! Don’t be scared to add a bit of papaya in your exotic guacamole!


Curried Eggplants with Salsa

30 minutes
2 servings
223 calories per serving
Gluten free, Vegan


1 eggplant
2 tomatoes
2 scallions
1/2 lemon, juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons of coconut flour
1 tablespoon of curry paste
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of curry powder
Salt and pepper


Pre-heat oven to 400F.
Slice the eggplant into thin pieces. Sprinkle sea salt on them and set aside.
In a small bowl mix the coconut flour with the salt and pepper. Mix the curry paste with the coconut oil. Warm up a pan and melt the mix of oil and curry together.
Dip each slice of eggplant in water, and then right away in coconut flour on each side.
Cook them in the warm pan for 2 minutes on each side.
Place on a cookie sheet and cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
Dice the tomatoes with the scallions and cilantro.
Add the remaining spices and mix everything together.
When the eggplants are well roasted, place some salsa on them and serve right away.


Spartan Garlic Home Fries

Super – Level 2 Difficulty

by Jason Jaksetic

50-60 minutes
serves 4
About 525 calories per serving
Vegan, gluten-free


4 large potatoes
3 gloves of garlic, minced (approx. 1 tbsp)
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Hot pepper spice blends (optional)


1. Wash potatoes.
2. Boil potatoes for 10-15 minutes.
3. Dice potatoes. The smaller you dice them, the more evenly and quickly they will cook.
4. Mince garlic.
5. Cook potatoes in a frying pan, with olive oil, on medium-high heat. Cover, but stir frequently to prevent potatoes from sticking to the pan, and to ensure they cook evenly.
6. Cook 20-30 minutes, or until desired crispness is reached. Add the garlic with 5-10 minutes of cook time remaining, along with salt, pepper, and any spice blends you have. Stir.

Prepare with Green Pepper and Garlic Scramble

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