Hey y’all! Happy Memorial Day, and thank you to all the men and women who fought for our country and for our freedom – America would be a very different place without the safety and protection that our soldiers provide.
As America paid tribute today to all of the brave men and women of the armed forces, I was reminded of one concerning premonition at the end of Stephanie Soechtig’s documentary “Fed Up” (if you still haven’t watched it, seriously I think this is one of the best documentaries on Netflix). Fed Up warns us about the staggering increase in obesity rates in America, especially among adolescents, and if we continue on this way we could soon wake up to find that we have developed into a nation that is “too fat to fight.” When you think of your typical military person, you picture a man or woman who is muscular and physically very fit. They achieve their physiques through very intense bootcamp regimes, and they face extremely harsh and enduring physical tasks as part of their training. Naturally, if someone is overweight, they will be quickly rejected by the military should they chose to enroll because physical fitness is a top priority. And as Fed Up reminds us, America will not be able to exercise its way out of this obesity problem – our kids won’t be able to train themselves into military shape. The most beneficial exercise for our overweight youths is going to be lifting the fork to their mouth, because it really comes down to their diet.
But could we actually get to the point where the obesity epidemic gets so out of hand that we can’t assemble an adequate military? Well, some people seem to think so, including Major General Allen Batschelet who told CNN that obesity “is becoming a national security issue.” So not only is the obesity epidemic disastrous for the health of our nation, but also may pose a huge threat to our national security. After doing a little of my own digging, I found a report written by a group of retired military leaders called “Too Fat to Fight,” in which they beg Congress to get junk food out of America’s schools to preserve the health of our potential future soldiers. The report cites a few scary statistics from the CDC about the increasing trend in obesity rates:
“Over a ten-year period, the number of states with 40 percent or more of their young adults who were overweight or obese went from 1 to 39.” (CDC)
“The Army’s Accessions Command…estimates that that over 27 percent of all Americans 17 to 24 years of age — over nine million young men and women — are too heavy to join the military if they want to do so.” (CAR)
Being overweight is currently the leading medical reason for being rejected from admission into the armed forces, and the report tells us that in just a little over ten years, the amount of potential recruits who failed their physical as a result of being overweight rose almost 70%.
CNN’s report also tells us that “Of the 195,000 young men and women who signed up to fight for our country, only 72,000 qualified.” Those who were disqualified weren’t all caused by obesity, but 10% of them were. While 10% doesn’t sound too scary, the rate at which obesity is increasing, is. In regards to the percentage of applicants disqualified for weight problems, Maj. Gen. Batschelet says, “We think by 2020 it could be as high as 50%, which mean only 2 in 10 would qualify to join the Army.”
The Journal of the American Dietary Association claims that nearly one third of America’s children and teens are obese – that’s about 23 million people who would be ineligible for our armed forces.
Given that childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past 30 years, I really don’t think it’s outlandish to fear for the future of one of the best militaries in the world.
link to the Mission: Readiness report: http://cdn.missionreadiness.org/MR_Too_Fat_to_Fight-1.pdf
On a slightly less disturbing note, here’s the plan for Day 5, Cheers!
DRINK 8 oz. of water when you wake up.
While brushing your teeth: calf raises – 20 with feet turned out, 20 feet straight, 20 feet turned in.
8 oz. water
- 2 eggs scrambled
- green smoothie (mine had banana, pineapple, mango, spinach, and almond milk)
DRINK 16 oz. of water by lunch
- So I haven’t tried this yet, but I found this great Salmon Asparagus Sweet Potato Nicoise Salad from Two Purple Figs’ blog. There are some seriously yummy and paleo ingredients in there, and I will definitely try it soon. Check out the recipe below!
DRINK 8 oz. of water after lunch.
So I was really excited to give you guys a recipe for one of my all-time favorite paleo meals, spaghetti squash with spinach pesto. Unfortunately, when I went to the grocery store, I grabbed a butternut squash instead of a spaghetti squash…so you guys will have to wait for that one.
This is what butternut squash looks like:
This is what spaghetti squash looks like:
So instead, I made spinach pesto salmon, oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, and sautéed zucchini and onions.
For the paleo spinach pesto:
- ⅓ Cup of Walnuts
- 1 Cup of Fresh Basil (I did about 3/4 a cup)
- 1 Cup of Fresh Spinach (I did about a cup and a half)
- ⅓ Cup of Olive Oil
- Pinch of Salt
- 3 cloves of garlic
Grind the walnuts and garlic in a food processor or blender, then add the basil and spinach. Drizzle in the olive oil as you blend in the spinach and basil. Scrape down the sides and throw in some salt (I use garlic salt), and blend a final time.
For the oven roasted tomatoes:
- 1 oz. box of cherry tomatoes
- garlic powder
- pepper (optional)
- dried basil
After putting olive oil in a baking dish, I lined the bottom of the dish with the cherry tomatoes, sliced once lengthwise. Sprinkle on all of the spices (use your judgement). Put in oven at 350 for about 30 minutes.
It’s no spaghetti squash, but it was still dang good.
your daily dose of abdominals:
DRINK 8 oz. of water before bed!!!