A very traditional potato latke / potato pancake recipe even your mother would love
December 17, 2017
My mom and I had a few traditions: lunchtime wine at the Olive Garden, margaritas at El Paso Café, a Beefeater gin on her birthday, a really nice medium Filet Mignon at Outback, and lunches at Jewish delis. We would always start with a plate of potato pancakes–latkes–with sour cream and apple sauce. We would follow-up with corned beef on rye with mustard but I always look forward to snacking on well-made, traditionally-fried, crispy potato latkes. I’m more of a sour cream guy but I do like a good apple sauce.
- 2 large Russet potatoes (about 1 pound), scrubbed and cut lengthwise into quarters
- 1 large onion (8 ounces), peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons course kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt), plus more for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Safflower or other oil, for frying
- Using a food processor with a coarse grating disc, grate the potatoes and onion. Transfer the mixture to a clean dishtowel and squeeze and wring out as much of the liquid as possible.
- Working quickly, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the eggs, flour, salt, baking powder and pepper, and mix until the flour is absorbed.
- In a medium heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, pour in about 1/4 inch of the oil. Once the oil is hot (a drop of batter placed in the pan should sizzle), use a heaping tablespoon to drop the batter into the hot pan, cooking in batches. Use a spatula to flatten and shape the drops into discs. When the edges of the latkes are brown and crispy, about 5 minutes, flip. Cook until the second side is deeply browned, about another 5 minutes. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and sprinkle with salt while still warm. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Make sure you pat dry the potatoes, use lots of oil, and let it get hot. Nobody likes soggy, greasy, latkes.
SpyderGrip Green Lynx 2.0 Review
December 16, 2017
I bought this SpyderGrip Green Lynx 2.0 over a year ago, I think, but haven’t used it much because I didn’t think it could carry that much. Tonight, however, I checked it out and I was easily able to fit my Samsung S6 Active into the neoprene pouch.
Here’s an official walk-around of the product, taken from the site:
Here’s my review:
Here’s the bugger I own. This here is my own personal SpyderGrip Green Lynx 2.0. It’s made of neoprene and it’s one-size fits all, and it’s highlighted with neon hi-viz green with reflective material that looks a lot like that fancy 3M Scotchlite material.
That will keep you safe on the road if you don’t have a sweatshirt or jacket over it. If you’re wearing it on top, SpyderGrips can replace a runner’s Hi-Viz safety vest for (not that) late night or (not that) early morning runs. That’s a real bonus. Can’t ever have enough eye-catching reflectance on the road.
There’s no extra padding on the back but neoprene is still pretty comfy. As you can see, it’s very well-stitched.
The Velcro hook-and-loop fastener is really strong. Nothing’s coming out of there. Whatever you’re carrying will more likely come through the neoprene or the stitching than it will the flap.
Neoprene is super-stretchy and I think I had forgotten that. The generous top flap can be pulled tight, cinching down the entire contents. I couldn’t get a photo of the two lined holes on top that allow you to run a set of wired headsets.
So, once I realized that the little pocket, that nestles tightly on your back, between the shoulder blades, a around the base of the neck, depending how you wear it. But, if you look below, you’ll see that I have been able to put my big fat wallet, my big ring of keys, including a honking 2001 BMW car key, and also a smart phone. Since I was photographing this with my S6 Active, I placed my little Apple iPhone 5 in its stead. The SAMSUNG is bigger.
Inside, there is a soft pocket that is closed with a button of Velcro that allows everything inside to be segregated into two sections. Maybe you can see it below.
I know, black on black on black. But you’ll see below that the entire case gives a lot. I put the phone closest my back with the screen facing me so that the phone smooths out the pointy bulkiness of the keys. And then I put the keys at the bottom and the wallet on top. If you’ll see below, it doesn’t end up being very thick at all.
The only downside is that none of it is very accessible at all while you’re running. So, if something happens that requires you to address your phone, you’ll have to remove it. But, if you can get everything running like a train, you can just set it and forget and get moving and have your stuff close-by.
Nobody will steal your stuff secretly because the Velcro is so loud and so completely strong that nobody will pickpocket you. In fact, this might be an excellent solution when you travel. You can hide your Passport or keep your Travelers Cheques or the bulk of your cash in there, under a jacket. Who would ever check between your shoulder blades or at the base of your neck? Right?
I really only own it and have played around with it and, only tonight, tried putting more stuff in here than just my phone (I thought that maybe it could/would only hold a phone, but it’s a lot more capable). So, I can’t recommend its durability.
At $25 on Amazon (retail $39.99) I think I wouldn’t mind how long it really lasted because it’s replaceable because it’s relatively cheap. But I used to be a PADI Divemaster and I know that neoprene is a very durable material. People run their SCUBA wetsuits for decades with just a little patching.
I also think that the neoprene will easily protect my stuff–leather wallet, especially–from my sweat and from some rain. It’s made in China, for what it’s worth, but I don’t think that matters unless you’re America First.
I would recommend it. I’ll try to use it more and give you a better review down the road. It really looks and feels very well-made and very durable. I’m sold, not just in photos but in my hands.
Hill People Gear Snubby Kit Bag Review
December 16, 2017
Over the last couple-few years I haven’t gone for a run without wearing my Hill People Gear Snubby Kit Bag on my chest. For me, it’s how I like to carry my personal stuff when I am on a run, race, or jog.
It’s kind of a unique bit of kit. It’s a harness that securely holds a small, two-pocket, 500D Cordura, bag to my chest. It’s always accessible and it never jostles or jounces.
The only thing I have against it is that nobody else wears anything like this when they run so the little pack stands out. It’s different enough that people ask about it.
I never know where to put my wallet, keys, and phone when I run. I tried SPIbelts and still love them but I was looking for something that kept my stuff both immediately available and also close enough that Bluetooth can clearly transmit from my phone to my wireless Bluetooth headsets.
My SpyderGrip system only lets me carry my phone comfortably and snugly between my shoulders.
I love running in my Black Diamond Magnum 16 Pack a lot because it’s the perfect size, has a lot of cinching so there’s never any flopping, and it accepts my CamelBak bladder and has fittings for the drinking hose and everything.
It’s perfect but all the stuff I carry are on my back and not readily accessible. At the time, I also had my Virginia Concealed Carry permit and running armed was something I found compelling sometimes during late night and early morning runs.
Last year I ran a lot of 5ks very slowly: In Praise of Being Dead Last in a Race, Still Not Dead Last and I Gained a Wee Bit in Both Pace and Time, and My Last 5k in the Series was my Fastest by Half-a-Minute!
The best treadmills for runners, joggers, and walkers at home
December 8, 2017
I just received an email from Mei telling me about an article that she wrote for Reviews.com about the best treadmills after reading my article on this site, Hiit: 3 Minutes Of Anything Is Hard. I thought I would share excerpts of it with you since the only treadmill I use on a daily basis is my LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 treadmill desk that I bought on June 1, 2013.
Other than that, I run outdoors or put in the minutes and meters on my PM5-equipped Concept2 Model C indoor rower AKA rowing ergometer. While I am in the market for a cheap SkiErg and BikeErg, I am not in the market for a treadmill, though if I had the proper room and budget, a full-featured NordicTrack C 2950 treadmill with all the bells and whistles.
Here’s Mei’s 30-Second Review: “treadmills are an investment, but the best ones are worth the money. We looked for well-designed, ergonomic machines at a range of prices and tech levels to suit the needs of everyone from casual joggers and fitness fanatics. After comparing stats and putting nine treadmills to the test, we arrived at four models we liked for different workout styles.”
Check out the rest over on Reviews.com, The Best Treadmill: Work Out in the Comfort of Your Own Home.
My personal keto diet mistake: overeating my calorie deficit
November 26, 2017
Rule One of the Ketogenic Diet: if you want to lose weight: absolutely only eat when actually hungry (don’t let thirst fool you). I’ve been messing this one up every day so far (I started keto 16-days ago).
I started keto 16-days ago. Aside from failing catastrophically, happily, and gladly, on Thanksgiving with both Thanksgiving 1PM dinner with my Capitol Hill family and an evening loaded pizza pie, I have been keeping keto every day. I have even learned how best to be on a ketogenic diet.
Keto doesn’t allow you to eat all the sausage, meat, bacon, cheese, butter, coconut oil, and olive oil you can stuff down your gullet and still lose weight. While it may seam that way, it’s not true. Here’s the secret of keto: it kills your appetit dead.
The ketogenic diet isn’t magic. It’s still energy in, energy out; calories in, calories out. The ketogenic diet also loves an active life: aerobic exercises like running and Spin as well as anaerobic exercise like heavy weight weightlifting, CrossFit, and 9Round.
I am not hungry under the ketogenic diet, so why am I eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, whether I am hungry or not. This is antithetical to the ketogenic diet. This is why fasting and intermittent fasting go hand-in-hand beautifully during the keto diet.
Keto trains your body to rely on fat instead of carbs for fuel and fasting relies on the fasting body’s ability to use fat as fuel to keep the body thriving between meals, whether those meals are 16-hours or 16-days apart. Keto and fasting go perfectly together.
My Withings scale tells me I am not losing any weight on keto and I know why. I am not adding all the extra butter and sauces and fats that keto requires to doctor a normal, healthy, diet, to My Fitness Pal when I track calories religiously.
In my desire to be in ketogenesis I have eaten my own body weight in butter and bacon and chicken thighs and sausage and asparagus drenched in Bertolli Alfredo Sauce–this is not the way to lose a hundred pounds.
The only way to lose a quick hundred pounds is to let the magic of a ketogenic diet work its magic: if you’re not hungry, you won’t want to eat; if you don’t eat between meals and only eat until you’re full only when you’re actually hungry (missing meals will not kill you) then you will effortlessly go into a caloric deficit, which will allow your body to feed off of its own fat storage–by belly, my butt, my jowls, my thighs, and also the visceral fat surrounding my heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys.
I have started taking my activity level up from just walking for steps every day on my LifeSpan treadmill desk, walking slowly at 2MPH all day long, to jumping back on the Concept2 indoor rowing ergometer that I write about way more than actually jump on a row.
Between Thanksgiving and midnight Christmas Eve, December 24, I will attempt to row at least 100km with a goal of reaching 200km during the course of the 2017 Concept2 Holiday Challenge.
My business partner and CrossFit god, Dan Kreurger, wants me to add push-ups, site ups, and squats to my day, every day, every 30-minutes, and I want to make sure I swing my kettlebell for 90-seconds every 60-minutes following the Get Fit, Get Fierce with Kettlebell Swings system by Don Fitch.
I also plan to get back to visiting my local 9Round at Penrose Square here in South Arlington off of Columbia Pike as well as following a weightlifting plan I have on my JEFIT app.
That’s all talk. We’ll see how it goes, starting with rowing 200,000 meters between now and the strike of midnight welcoming in Christmas Day! Wish me luck on all of this.
The TL:DR of all of this is: eat fewer calories than you burn every day in order to lose weight–even when you’re on a miracle diet like the ketogenic diet! Everyone says: 80% of weight loss and weight maintenance is diet and working out and running and going to the gym and walking everywhere is really only 20% of the formula.
Good luck and godspeed and I look forward to learning from you in the comments!
Important things I’m learning about the ketogenic diet 12 days in
November 22, 2017
After twelve days, I have learned just a few things about my own personal ketogenic diet–or, at least how I am going to run my keto diet:
- Drink all the water in the world: it’s not easy to keep up with the amount of water that this way of life AKA diet requires–because too little water can make everything hard on your organs. Protect your organs and flush all those toxins by drinking a lot of water. Expect to urinate a lot. All night long. It’s OK.
- It’s still calorie in, calorie out, even in keto: ketosis does an amazing job of suppressing my appetite so it’s so much easier to only eat when I’m hungry–those dudes who go to the all-you-can-eat steak joints and eat porterhouse after porterhouse, eating a pat of butter with each bite, are OMAD (one meal a day) eaters or are coming out of their multi-day fasts like ballers: at the Fogo de Chão!
- Don’t eat when you’re not hungry: the secret to ketosis is that it suppresses appetite so well that you don’t want to eat–don’t eat when you’re not hungry during the ketosis diet, even if it’s breakfast time or lunchtime or dinnertime
- Don’t be afraid of vegetables or their carbs: forget about carbs or net carbs or any of that stuff: eat your veggies! I eat as much spinach, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprout, cauliflower, and romaine as I want. It’s not worth it when it comes to health to try to save your veggies carbs for beer carbs or chips carbs or wine carbs
- The keto flu is real so don’t worry too much about dying for the first week or so: fatigue, nausea, stomach Irritability, acid reflux, and difficulty getting to sleep are symptoms. I don’t feel fatigue any more but I did have one awful night of acid reflux and I think my lack of hunger is related to a feeling of being over-full which can be felt as nausea
- The keto diet and intermittent fasting (IF) really do go hand-in-hand: because of the natural suppression of appetite associated with consuming such a high-fat, low-carb diet, lots of folks in this space combine fasting and IF into their diet. I think I am going to try out 18:6, which is fasting for 18-hours every day and only eating for six hours-a-day, maybe between 12PM and 6PM or 8AM and 2PM. If that’s too tough, I can scale back to 16:8
- It’s really tough to get enough fat (75% fat, 25% protein, 5% carbs) through eating healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, and grass-fed butter: that’s why everyone on the keto diet is eating so much bacon and sausage and chicken skin and cream cheese and cheeses and triple-crèmes
- The keto diet is not a high-protein diet: if you read the “directions” to the ketogenic diet, you’ll notice they recommend the high consumption of fat, the low consumption of carbs, and the moderate consumption of protein. First of all, too much protein can be tough on your kidneys. Also, too much protein can kick you out of ketosis because excess protein will be turned into glucose in your blood stream.
- You need to maintain enough electrolytes on the keto diet because of all that urine you’ll be passing: some experts recommend 5000 mg of sodium (not just salt), 1000 mg of potassium, in the form of potassium chloride or potassium sulfate, and 300 mg of magnesium, preferably in the form of magnesium citrate, every day.
That’s all I have right now. These are just my personal first impressions based on 12-days, some reading, and a lot of time at /r/keto on Reddit. I’ll be reporting on other experiences everything I learn over the course of my own personal ketogenic dieting experience. Feel free to check my work and give me any advice or correction you may have. I am piecing this together without hurting or killing myself.
Threw away my Hoka One One Bondi 4s because of excessive sole wear rendering them unwearable and unusable
November 18, 2017
I just dropped my bought-from-new Hoka One One Bondi 4 running shoes into the garbage. They’re unwearable. Not even give-away-able. I can’t wear them because, unlike on the Bondi 3s that have durable outsoles protecting both the forefoot and the heel, the Bondi 4 has midsole material under the outside of of each forefoot, resulting, after a while, in a big divot. I can’t even walk in them anymore no matter how maximalist high-stack the Hoka Bondi’s cushion is.
If you’ll take a look at the following photo of my daily drivers, this everyday pair of older, used Hoka One One Bondi 3 running shoes, you’ll see that there’s plenty of durable hard rubber outsole material in all the high-wear areas. I really do wear these Bondi 3s every day and they look a lot better than they smell, believe you me.
One of the best things about all of Hoka One One’s running shoes is the midsole material. The plush white midsole foam is even used in the outsole on many Hokas. I really don’t mind it when Hoka uses its soft, marshmallowy, midsole material if the result is flexibility and lightness; however, it shouldn’t come in the way of the durability. Lots of people who buy the Bondi series of shoes do it for walking as much as for ultramarathons.
And, at $150/pair, assuming that customers will replace them the moment they start wearing into discomfort is foolish: people are always going to wear the crap out of their $150 top-tier runners–just like I can and I do with my fleet of Bondi 3s that I bought lightly-used off of eBay. And, as you know, I’ve always preferred the Hoka One One Bondi 3 for all the durability and smart design. I have yet to try out a pair of Hoka One One Bondi 5s but I hope they’ve solved this problem; if not, I’ll keep on buying Bondi 3s or I’ll try out some other Hoke One One models.
If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
My keto diet has killed my appetite and hunger dead
November 18, 2017
I have been eating according to the keto diet for eight days, according to /r/keto on reddit. After a little more than a week, my appetite has really been suppressed and it’s taken a lot less keto-friendly food to sate my hunger.
I’m not at all like by buddy Mark Harrison who needs to be reminded to eat at all every couple days when he starts to get headaches and become irritable. All his friends know the panacea to his distress is food: “Mark, have you tried eating today?” No, I’m the antithesis of guys like that. Me, more like: feed me Seymour!
It’s really weird. Not only that but with just ~530 calories in once meal with 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs, I’ve started feeling over-stuffed, like that feeling you get after a real Thanksgiving stuffing.
I have also heard things like, “man, I was so sick and tired of stuffing down sausage and bacon” from people back in the day on Atkins.
And I’m not the only one. “What works for me may not work for you, but what I did was not worry about calories until I hit Ketosis,”
Mrdirtyvegas shared with me, “Once I hit Ketosis I’m able to eat 1600kcal a day and not feel hungry between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Previously if I only ate 1600kcal a day, I would feel like I was starving. I was putting back about 2500-3000kcal before keto.”
Maybe the keto diet is the food/nutrition version of making the bad teen you caught smoking cigarettes smoke the whole pack, the entire carton: that’ll show you, piggy!
Now I understand why a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting (IF) go hand-in-hand. I have a fridge filled with bacon and spinach and slow-cooked beef and mayo and blue cheese dressing and cheddar cheese and even alfredo sauce and dozens of organic eggs and it kind of makes me feel sick to think of eating them.
I think the ketogenic diet is sort of nutritional judo: yes, it may very well teach your metabolism to get its energy from stored and consumed fat instead of from carbs and sugars but it also triggers even the most stubborn “I’m full, I’m satiated” triggers even from those of us, like me, who are happy to graze all day like a cow.
Before I go on, the most important thing to overdo on the ketogenic diet is water consumption. Drink way more water than you consume anything else. Do you want to get gout or gallstones or any harm to come to your liver or kidneys? No! So, be sure to keep drinking more water than you really want. Consider gulping water when you’re in the shower (why not!). Don’t drink tea of coffee like water as they’re diuretics. You can have them, but water–not juices or diet sodas or sports drinks–is your one and only friend.
I was going to really commit to keto but I wasn’t feeling like any sort of IF–or even proper fasting–would actually be viable, but now, I think that I could probably only eat from around 7AM until around 3PM in the afternoon. It’s called the 16:8 diet and can be moved around anywhere: noon until 8PM, etc. For me, getting an early breakfast (7:30AM) and then a late lunch (2PM) can work really well for me and my lifestyle.
I am tired of being fat. I have heard amazing things in the past about the Atkins diet and now about the Keto diet. It’s Atkins on steroids. According to Wikipedia, “the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that . . . forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.” I first discovered it on Reddit, /r/keto.
As I lurked, folks from all over were getting amazing results. Dropping weight and eating as much as they needed to feel sated, satiated, satisfied, full. Upon further inspection, this completely counter-intuitive, suicidal way of eating seemed to solve a lot of health issues, bringing the dedicated into line with their cholesterol, their blood pressure, their insulin and sugar spikes, and their personal energy.
I then jumped into The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting by Jimmy Moore, Dr. Jason Fung; The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Dr. Jason Fung; Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet by Eric C. Westman MD, Jimmy Moore; and The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners: Your Essential Guide to Living the Keto Lifestyle by Amy Ramos.
My ex-girlfriend swears by keto. I don’t know how she does it as a vegetarian. The macros for keto are 5% carbs, 20% protein, and 75% fat. That’s a lot of fat and so little carbs for a vegetarian life unless that life is 33% eggs, 33% butter, and 33% olive oil. But, for others, there’s a lot of animal fat built into the diet. According to envelopepusher, “I buy KerryGold salted butter and eat it plain, or melt it in some beef broth.” This is how most folks in ketosis are eating if they’re eating keto.
Here’s an example of a recipe that Apecks suggested I use to dilute all the protein in chicken thighs–and this is typical of a keto hack, “I would maybe try taking the thighs, slitting them in half, stuffing them with a mozz/cream cheese/gouda mix, then closing them up and wrapping them in bacon. Or you could separate the skin some and stuff the cheese in between the meat and skin. Make a sort of chicken thigh bacon cordon bleu. That’s just me though.” In short, “Add bacon. And butter. And cheese.” That’s a lot of fat.
Not only have I embarked on a diet that limits my carbohydrate consumption to only 5% but I have embarked on a diet that also limits the amount of protein. It’s a diet in which I must dilute all the carbs and proteins in my diet so that, by the end of the day, I’ve diluted them down to only 5% and 20% respectively. The rest is fat. I’ve gotten some pretty great advice from reddit, however.
When I made a dozen slow-cooked skin-on chicken thighs in my crock-pot, I was pretty pleased with myself. When I went to input them into My Fitness Pal, there was very little fat even with the skin in comparison to the bomb of pure protein they contained.
Earth_echo suggested that I “brown some sausage and throw some in there with the chicken to dilute the protein. Chicken has 10 g protein per ounce and sausage has 4 g of protein per ounce. Chicken is one of the highest protein meats you could eat, which is why you’ll often see bodybuilders eating tons of it.”
And Otto-Didact added, “Alfredo is your friend. Reduce the amount of chicken, take up the difference with Alfredo. That’ll balance it right up.”
According to szorg, “Protein is a goal, fat is a lever – you only need to eat fat to satiety. Also… butter it. Oil it. Fatten it up.”
This keto diet really spins my head around. I guess I have passed the first test: can I make it a week? Yes. Have I died yet or had a stroke or a heart attack? Not yet. Am I in ketosis? I don’t know.
I don’t have the test. But I am going to continue on it through the holidays and maybe until my birthday in March. One this it’s done is made me sober (I don’t have a problem at all stopping drinking, but I hadn’t wanted to) so I don’t drink anything but lots of water, some black coffee, a little whole milk, and maybe some original almond milk. That’s it for beverages.
I try to eat as many fresh vegetables as I can without killing my carbs for the day. So many people on reddit have said that thinks like romaine, brussel sprouts, asparagus (which I am having tonight) and spinach are just dandy in any quantity because they’re good for you, have fiber and vitamins, and because “nobody’s complained of getting fat from eating too many vegetables.”
Oh, and I guess I’ve completely given up fruits as well. In addition, of course to breads, cakes, candies, ice creams, and other processed goodies.
At the end of this long article, I must say that naming all the things I’ve given up and even all the good foods I am eating have not made me hungry.
The meals I have had for breakfast and lunch today are still keeping me full and sated at 14:46PM today.
It’s working. I hope I don’t die before I’ve reduced enough body weight to get me out of the health danger zone for obesity. This is a dangerous game!
Final note: keep on walking, keep on squatting, keep on taking the stairs, keep on swinging that kettlebell, keep on doing pushups and situps. Keep on lifting weights and rowing that Concept2 indoor rower.
Keep on with the stairmaster and the morning runs around your neightborhood. Keep playing tennis and basketball and join your softball league or kickball league at work or at school.
Keeping active might not technically be as important as diet for losing weight but fitness and heart health are. Use it or lose it!