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DSchlacht 12-03-2009 06:13 PM

Diet/Food during IDF service
 
Hello,

I am a 22 year old male in my last year of University studies. I am looking into the option of lone soldier. I have been to Israel many times and have a beginners understanding of the society and norms. I am very physically active and weight train very often. I am 5'10 185lbs with little fat. I am curious what type of food/the caloric intake that soldiers receive in the army. I know that IDF training centers mostly around running and practical exercises but what type of food is offered on base and is there any type of weight exercise program?

Thanks,
David

rafi 12-03-2009 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DSchlacht (Post 55057)
Hello,

I am a 22 year old male in my last year of University studies. I am looking into the option of lone soldier. I have been to Israel many times and have a beginners understanding of the society and norms. I am very physically active and weight train very often. I am 5'10 185lbs with little fat. I am curious what type of food/the caloric intake that soldiers receive in the army. I know that IDF training centers mostly around running and practical exercises but what type of food is offered on base and is there any type of weight exercise program?

Thanks,
David

Wecome to the board, David. As I am sure you are aware, the clock is ticking on the amount of time you have left to be eligible to serve. I am glad you are in "good shape" but I can never emphasise enough how irrelevant that is to the IDF. You will be happy to know that the vast majority of bases have weight/exercise rooms. All the usual equipment that you might find in your neighborhood gym.

Food has to be broken into two parts. First, you eat like an Israeli. Breakfast isearly, eggs, salad, white bread, cottage cheese, yogourt.
Not allot of coffee in the mess hall. Lunch is your big meal of the day, figure at least halfthe time you will get a chicken productof some sort, usually schnitzel. Starch is plentiful, vegetables are local. Dinner is luck of the draw, 70% of the time dairy at least (certainly Friday night is meat).

So that is the general. As to specifics, it will be 100% subjective where you serve. In some places the food is now farmed out to a company,andyou get rather bland offerings, but certainly you get enough. If you are lucky, you can have a base with a Sephardic cook. This past summer the head cook on my base had a spice garden, and went shopping a couple of times a week to augment everything he cooked. It is not unheard of for a cook to be "stolen" by another unit.

Good luck to you.

Amram 12-27-2009 07:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rafi (Post 55066)
Wecome to the board, David. As I am sure you are aware, the clock is ticking on the amount of time you have left to be eligible to serve. I am glad you are in "good shape" but I can never emphasise enough how irrelevant that is to the IDF. You will be happy to know that the vast majority of bases have weight/exercise rooms. All the usual equipment that you might find in your neighborhood gym.

Food has to be broken into two parts. First, you eat like an Israeli. Breakfast isearly, eggs, salad, white bread, cottage cheese, yogourt.
Not allot of coffee in the mess hall. Lunch is your big meal of the day, figure at least halfthe time you will get a chicken productof some sort, usually schnitzel. Starch is plentiful, vegetables are local. Dinner is luck of the draw, 70% of the time dairy at least (certainly Friday night is meat).

So that is the general. As to specifics, it will be 100% subjective where you serve. In some places the food is now farmed out to a company,andyou get rather bland offerings, but certainly you get enough. If you are lucky, you can have a base with a Sephardic cook. This past summer the head cook on my base had a spice garden, and went shopping a couple of times a week to augment everything he cooked. It is not unheard of for a cook to be "stolen" by another unit.

Good luck to you.

Run. Run a lot. Run with a heavy pack.

Mitnadev 01-08-2010 12:08 PM

I serve as a Sar-El volunteer several times a year. Ive been on combat and logistical bases. Frankly, my reaction to the food is "I cant beleieve we are sending our kids to fight on this diet". Way too much "Shoko" chocalate in the AM. Not enough fiber. You dont need to spend a lot to eat healthy and i would like the IDF to revisit their "diet". I read in the JerPost not long ago that programs are being started to work with reservists who are tending to be very out of shape to the point of obesity for some.

I'm 57 and found myself in better shape than some of the young conscripts and many of the career men and jobniks. (I cant speak about the Sayeret folks because Sar-El does not go to their bases. I hope they eat a better diet.)

wardeworth 01-19-2010 05:54 AM

Hello.
First Check Your Current Lifestyle like Are you overweight?, Can you climb three flights of stairs without gasping and becoming breathless?, Do you sleep well? Then For that firstly you have to lose your weight then Eating a balanced diet , Climbing stairs without getting out of breath , Increase flexibility,

rafi 01-19-2010 01:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mitnadev (Post 57141)
I serve as a Sar-El volunteer several times a year. Ive been on combat and logistical bases. Frankly, my reaction to the food is "I cant beleieve we are sending our kids to fight on this diet". Way too much "Shoko" chocalate in the AM. Not enough fiber. You dont need to spend a lot to eat healthy and i would like the IDF to revisit their "diet". I read in the JerPost not long ago that programs are being started to work with reservists who are tending to be very out of shape to the point of obesity for some.

I'm 57 and found myself in better shape than some of the young conscripts and many of the career men and jobniks. (I cant speak about the Sayeret folks because Sar-El does not go to their bases. I hope they eat a better diet.)

As always, thank you so much for your service with Sar-el!

Unfortunately, Israel has a standard of living commesurate with the West. Part of that is the disproportionate number of Israelis in the High Tech world, which involves sitting at a desk for most of the day. My guess is that statistically, Israelis are no more overweight than anyone else.

In the days when we used to serve 90 to 120 days a year in reserves (yes, it is was as horrible as it sounds) you were able to keep reservists in better shape. Today the average reserve tour is less than 30 days a year. And the reserves reflects this.

The past few years I have labored over whether I was willing to go out on patrols with teams as a functioning member versus an extra person along as a trainer. In the end I decided I was still in shape to do it, and have enjoyed my time in the field. (I'm 55 myself)

As I mentioned, every base is different, and certainly some of the forward bases have a bigger emphasis on physical preparedness. As you have mentioned, the bases Sar-el serves do not deal with the front line regular army, and certainly you are too valuable to us to expose you to our forward bases.

On a personal note, I never liked Shoko for breakfast.
Most "career" reservists own a coffee kit which we bring for kafe shachor - turkish coffee fixes - as needed. and of course Oreos.

milluim 01-20-2010 02:10 AM

Always bring the oreos
that reminds me i must order some more coffe from Israel the crap we get in ireland just doesnt cut it.

David of Galilee 10-09-2012 03:55 PM

So far, Israelis are much less fat than westerners. But several things to note: Older olim from Ulkraine, the Baltic, Russia, Kazakistan etc. were often quite overweight. Younger olim, often quite fit (some great amateur weight lifters and gymnasts!). But it skews the "weight" and fitness profile of Israel.

Secondly, we are unfortunately catching-up in the overweight category. Those damnable breakfast cereals, including the so-called "healthy" ones, are processed grain starch and sugars. They have replaced too much the light Israeli breakfast for many. There ought to be a law!

Thirdly, western fast food is poison, and while a felafel isn't perfect, it is a far sight better than Scottish-American food like McDonald's. We do not eat any where as much McDonalds type of fast food as Americans, but one McBurger is too much, compared to the suberb nutrition of local khoumous beans and red lentils.

So, we do have a challenge here, no question. That said, we are in the top five or six world-wide for health and life span. We get more years on planet earth than Americans. And that includes an average of all citizens, Arabs, and all those Ukrainians and Russians married to Jews from the former USSR who flooded the country a few years back. (For those who don't know, the post-USSR countries like Ukraine and Russian have 3rd world health and life spans, having dipped below 60 years in male life span.)

So if you take the average Jew of Israel, he is a very healthy and long-loved person compared to most of the west--despite choko and Bambas and borekas and the much-loved plate of "cheeps" (pomme frites).

Plus, you begin establishing possible directions for your army "career" in high school. Everyone knows the kids in the neighbourhood who start jogging AND cracking down on the school work long before they get their first set of beits.

scelli 10-09-2012 06:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kim (Post 110732)
Hi David,
To burn fat increase your water intake and start green tea. Add broccoli, lean chicken, low fat dairy, salmon fish, eggs, oatmeal, berries, almonds, brown rice, olive oil and citrus fruits more in your diet plans and exercise regularly.

At the risk of appearing boorish: The question that was broached almost 3 years ago by the original poster asked information regarding what types of foods are normally available on an IDF base. No offense meant, but the items you've listed are more commonly found in a local supermarket frequented by an affluent upscale clientele rather than in the military mess halls of any country I'm personally familiar with.

trott600 12-19-2012 04:58 AM

Diet and food is very important role to the israel military security because the diet is very important role to the health and make to be the strong all the member are very strong and powerful because they diet is very good, egg and vegetables and meat are eat.

Knaur 12-19-2012 05:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by trott600 (Post 114046)
Diet and food is very important role to the israel military security because the diet is very important role to the health and make to be the strong all the member are very strong and powerful because they diet is very good, egg and vegetables and meat are eat.

13 course gourmet meals are offered. You may ask the MP at the gate for your pass.

David of Galilee 12-19-2012 05:45 AM

An interesting side-note to diet and the IDF: A music student of mine has an older brother who is a tank driver in an armoured brigade. He is a life-long vegan. He is being fed well, has no serious complaints, and even gets several hundred sheqels extra every month to get his own extra fresh produce at the shuk. If you buy in-season vegetables, 200 or 300 shaq buys a lot of greens at any shuk.

Vegetarians that eat dairy are common in Israel, and vegans more common than the general public knows. But a vegan getting taken care of in service is great. Of course this is just one anecdote.

It should be said that Israeli soldiers can maintain a connection to Mitbakh-Imah (Mama's Kitchen) that would be unusual in most western armies. Though the circumstances of geography and duty vary too much to generalize too broadly. Soldiers home on brief leave are usually lumps under the duvet for 48 hours, punctuated by infusions of chips (pomme frites) & shnitzel.

Knaur 12-19-2012 05:47 AM

Yeah, am not too keen on the vegan thing, even in school, let alone the army, you get the chow (except for religious reasons perhaps) and you eat it or shut up.

David of Galilee 12-19-2012 04:16 PM

Well, many vegans do approach their diet as a spiritual belief. I don't like making a religion out of not eating animal flesh, and I'll always make do without complaining. But I won't eat flesh.

I think the culture of "soldiering" is a little different here from other traditions, British, Indian, American, Russian. Maybe in only a few areas, but still different. The poor marching, lack of dressy uniforms, not much saluting, some first-name useage between ranks, up and down. Military discipline in Israel would not be served by ignoring special food requirements.

I would not suggest one country's way as better or worse. As long as the soldier is kept healthy and strong away from home.

I've been on a few American bases (admittedly about 30 years ago or so), and the quantity of food consumed, starchy carbs, fats, sweets, was awesome! Three or four times what I have ever seen a hungry Israeli soldier eat. The satisfaction rate was high, especially seeing happy men with multiple deserts. But I also saw a lot of young men with 40 cm+ waistlines. We wouldn't have any blouses or trousers for those lads...

I imagine things have become more nutritious in the last 30 years, though. Though I hear that obesity is threatening recruitment quotas.

Knaur 12-19-2012 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by David of Galilee (Post 114091)
Well, many vegans do approach their diet as a spiritual belief. I don't like making a religion out of not eating animal flesh, and I'll always make do without complaining. But I won't eat flesh.

I think the culture of "soldiering" is a little different here from other traditions, British, Indian, American, Russian. Maybe in only a few areas, but still different.

So be it, but I'd not be keen on catering it as per the soldiers' terms but what the Chaplain Officer (or equiv.) decides is appropriate.

New Ron 07-05-2013 03:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MarkHerry (Post 121572)
I appreciate all these posts and i would like to thank you all for sharing wonderful ideas. According to me natural food is the most effective diet food. Fruits and vegetables both are good diet food to eat. Anyway nice discussion and keep it up.

Indeed, I have for myself and other encouraged eating fruits and vegetables, along with exercise and clear thoughts helps ones natural well being. Even if stress can ruin it all or other toxins from other sources. Some people like soldiers have to eat some meat, they need it to keep a level of motivation when they need to defend or fight, if it hasnt been proven by medicine it will be someday.

You seem very fond of natural food posts and threads, is there something you are trying to tell us?

I had a friend who was in India and Pakistan and he loved eating curry, myself I enjoy it very much, especially with parathas and chappatis!

David of Galilee 07-05-2013 08:01 AM

One thing to keep in mind about fruit, is that it is loaded with sugar. Yes, along with some great nutrients, too. But in an era when such a large part of the population is pre-diabetic, and unaware of their blood sugar problem, fruit can really add to the damage.

It is vegetables, much more than fruit & vegetables, that children especially need to hear. Fruit can be a great substitute for weening off sweets and confections.

That said, apples, blueberries and strawberries have far less sugar than oranges, grapes, bananas, and watermelon. So fruit is by no means bad. Just a food that needs to be quite limited. Years ago when we had a stretch of very cheap all-natural grapefruit and other juices (no sugar added at all) in the supermarkets (4 liters for 10 shaq), I spent a few months guzzling the grapefruit juice and went into a high blood sugar spike that required diabetic medicine, and eventually insulin. My pancreas never recovered. I wasn't overweight, and did a lot of hard physical activity then, too. And I was a vegetarian. Silly me, I though grapefruit couldn't have too much sugar in it. Better choice than many other types of fruit, but still, essentially, sugary.

Always better to eat the whole fruit, than drink the even natural juices. One big orange juice can be a small basket of oranges.

What fruit is, is a lot better than any refined starchy carbohydrate.


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