Admit it! The title of this week’s blog made you think of the Spice Girls with their mighty anthem “Spice Up Your Life”, and you started walking around shouting “Ha Si Yah! Hold Tight!” My work colleagues keep singing it while glaring at me as it’s now their earworm for the week. William Cowper, an 18th Century hymn writer and poet once said in his poem “The Task”: “Variety is the spice of life, that gives it all its flavour” and I believe it to be true both in your exercise program and in your eating. Before I started Kettlebell classes, I would run 3 or 4 days a week, using the same route. Running is pretty much a solitary thing, because if you think I have enough breath to chat with you whilst pounding the pavement, then you live in Lala Land. I would also go to the gym and use the same machines over and over. After a while it got boring for me. I need variety in my workouts to keep me interested, and that’s why I love The Kettlebell Fitness Center so much. Everyone is fun, and over the past year or two it’s been a pleasure to get to know people and make friends there and, importantly, the workouts are never dull.
“Variety” is Nancy’s middle name – (not Ermintrude as I once thought). In every class, we are hinging, pushing, pulling, squatting and doing loaded carries in various guises: press ups, prowler pushing, military presses, Turkish Get Ups, swings, cleans, snatches, deadlifts, single leg deadlifts, pullups, rows, goblet squats, doubles, farmers carry, suitcase carries etc – you get my drift? But then TKFC goes a little further and here comes even more fun…Strongman Challenges!! Lifting Atlas Stones, Farmer Carries, pulling SUVs, Barbell Deadlifts, Tractor Tire Flipping (my fave). And then…we get to pull a Hercules C130 at the Annual UMAC plane pull! Such larks! Jolly japes ahoy! Makes me want to shriek “ZigAZigAh!!” like a Spice Girl. (Not really. Actually, it really does.)
Sometimes my cooking on Paleo gets a little same old, same old during weeknight dinners. However, herbs and spices are my special friends. I have just potted all my herbs this year – basil, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, chives, dill and cilantro which I use to zhuzh up any dinner. I use them make Amazing Paleo Salad Dressings, to make the tomato sauce for my spaghetti squash zing, to make grilling meat sparkle with citrus & herb-y marinades. I also love spices. A lot of Paleo bloggers out there like The Clothes Make the Girl, Stupid Easy Paleo and Whole 30 especially love Penzey’s Spices. If you like spicy and fragrant meat, I highly recommend you look at Well Fed’s recipe for Ras El Hanout…if you ever make it, you will use it constantly. I use spices to mush in ghee and garlic and slather under the skin of organic chickens. Make Zingy Ginger Dressing, Chimichurri (AKA Magic Sauce)(you will thank me), Homemade Mayo, Pestos and use them liberally. As Melissa Joulwen says whilst making them, “Rejoice that you have a nose!”
Here is a photo of my spice cupboard. I think it may need a tidy. I have garam masala, cumin, turmeric, chipotle pepper, cayenne pepper, ground ginger, ground cardamom, ground cloves, cinnamon, mustard powder, garlic, lemon pepper, mustard seeds, garlic… the list is endless, and I also have loads of dried herbs…fennel, oregano, basil, rosemary, bay leaves, rubbed sage, dill, thyme and on and on. You get me? Don’t get stuck with a boring rut in your meals. Keep them simple by all means, but learn how to use them and mix them, even if by trial and error, then treat your tastebuds to the party of the century in flavour and spice up your life!
Photograph of me flipping the “heaviest tractor tire in the whole world (honest)”, courtesy of the amazingly strong woman who taught me how to: Katie Hunter of Katie Hunter Photography