Monthly Archives: September 2010

Healthy, Happy Eaters: Wear Vibram FiveFingers (if you don’t already!)

My brother, the healthiest, happiest eater I know, first told me about Vibram FiveFingers. He actually ran barefoot before buying this “barefoot” footwear. My brother’s a real athlete (even competed several Ironman Triathlons), and I never considered myself to be one, but I’ve really gotten into working out outside with Camp Gladiator

Right out of the box, these shoes made a huge difference in my form and speed while sprinting. Here are two comments from CG this week, inspired by my new shoes which I’ve just had for a week. One trainer to another, “Did Kelly run track in high school?” No, sir. A contender friend to me after an extra fast sprint lap, “You just rocked that lap!” I answered, “Yeah, it’s the shoes.”

I’d thought about getting some Vibrams for a while, and I’m so glad I finally did. One of the trainers at boot camp is very knowledgeable about VFF, so she gave me great tips. While sprinting, exaggerate the motion: like high knees in front and butt kicks in back, landing on the balls of my feet. I did this, and I felt like Michael Johnson! For jogging, she said to take small steps and land on the balls of my feet. For more instruction, see the FAQs on the VFF site.

Mark Sisson, primal living guru and author of The Primal Blueprint, recommends going barefoot or wearing these shoes. Why? Because the human foot is a marvel of natural engineering. As the Vibram website says,

“The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised … Stimulating the muscles in your feet and lower legs will … make you stronger and healthier … improves your balance, agility …”

Here are six reasons why Vibram recommends wearing FiveFingers:

1. Strengthens Muscles in the Feet and Lower Legs – wearing FiveFingers will stimulate and strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs, improving general foot health and reducing the risk of injury.

2. Improves Range of Motion in Ankles, Feet and Toes – no longer ‘cast’ in a shoe, the foot and toes move more naturally.

3. Stimulates Neural Function Important to Balance and Agility – when wearing Vibram FiveFingers, thousands of neurological receptors in the feet send valuable information to the brain, improving balance and agility.

4. Improves Proprioception and Body Awareness – those same neurological receptors heighten body awareness, sending messages about body mechanics, form, and movement.

5. Eliminates Heel Lift to Align the Spine and Improve Posture – By lowering the heel, our bodyweight becomes evenly distributed across the footbed, promoting proper posture and spine alignment.

6. Allows the Foot and Body to Move Naturally, Which Just FEELS GOOD.

I bought my Vibram FiveFingers Bikilas at Whole Earth Provision Company in Dallas. The shoe fitter recommended the Bikila version for running on pavement, which is where most of my running is done. I LOVE them! For years I’ve worn a super supportive version of Saucony running shoes, for which I was fitted at the running store. In my Bikilas, I feel liberated; running feels more natural. If you wear VFF, will you tell us how you got into them … and what you think about them? Be well.

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Filed under Have Fun, Move Your Body

I Wanted McDonald’s Today

…but I didn’t get any. It was an interesting experience. Having been a lifelong fast food eater, and being “sober” for almost four months, I was surprised that it sounded good today. I was surprised, because ever since I discovered real food, I have happily not wanted fast food. So what happened today?

I’ve been so busy that I didn’t get enough nutrition in this morning … just one glass of raw milk on the way to work. Now I believe that raw milk is a complete food, but not necessarily a complete meal. By lunch time, I was really hungry. I usually bring my lunch, most often leftovers from last night’s dinner, but not today. McDonald’s popped into my head and stayed a few minutes. I thought about the fries, and an extra value meal sounded good.

I thought those days of eating massive amounts of McDonald’s food and Coke in secret, in my car, were behind me. Instead of freaking out or white knuckling it, I calmly and objectively assessed the situation:

Q: Why does that sound good?
A: It just does.

Q: Ever since getting off fast food, you’ve felt so much better.
A: Yes, I have. It’s kind of weird that I want it now.

Q: Where did this thought come from?
A: I passed a brand-spanking new McDonald’s yesterday. It doesn’t look like those nasty roadside joints. It’s made of stone, and it’s in an upscale area. Maybe I should eat there while the oil’s still fresh and the restaurant is clean.

Q:  What about the quality of the food. Do you want to rethink that?
A: Let’s see, there’s:

  • the rancid vegetable oil they cook the fries in
  • the Russet Burbank potatoes that come from a perilous monoculture
  • a cheese-like substance
  • soybean oil in the sauce
  • high fructose corn syrup in the ketchup
  • buns made of refined white flour
  • beef from cattle fed a diet of genetically-modified corn … on a crowded feed lot …whose stench you can smell for miles … who are killed and processed in factories where workers are treated like animals
  • and all that sugar in the Coke …

My whole thought process was quick, much faster than typing about it, and I moved on. I ended up at Chipotle where I got a carnitas quesadilla with guacamole and water. Read Chipotle’s “Food with Integrity” story, and you’ll see the difference. Will I ever darken the doorway at McDonald’s again? Maybe to buy a bottle of Dasani water, ironically made by the CocaCola company.

By the way, I’m not opposed to burgers and fries; in fact, it’s one of my favorite meals. But why have low-quality fast food, when you can have a truly great burger and fries? By truly great, I mean delicious, satisfying and nutritious. The best I’ve had so far are the ones I made from the America’s Test Kitchen show, Best Burgers and Fries. I made everything exactly according to the recipe, and I just swooned … so did my husband. Will you let me know what you think if you make it? Be well.

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Filed under Head Trip, Real Food Education, Recipes

Not Eating Enough Healthy Fat Can Make You Crave Refined Carbs

… and we all know where that leads. For more information like this, sign up for Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food for Rookies class, which starts Thursday. Kelly’s delivery is straightforward and her content is right on. This is the perfect class for people who want to eat better and feel better, but are confused by all the misinformation around nutrition these days.

Check out her curriculum to see what you’ll learn. You need this class if:

  • you’ve tried to “eat healthy,” but got discouraged
  • you’re starting to question the low-fat dieting wisdom
  • you want to give up your fast food addiction
  • you’re hooked on sugar and/or sugar substitutes
  • you’re concerned about the increasing outbreaks of e coli and salmonella
  • you want to eat nutritious food, but you’re pressed for time
  • you think eating well costs a lot
  • you’re worried about the rising obesity rates of children

Sign up for the class, and tell your friends. Kelly the Kitchen Kop has done a lot of research, is a very knowledgeable resource, and her conversion story is inspiring. If you take the class, will you share an aha moment or two?

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Take the Primal Blueprint Challenge

Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple is starting his Primal Blueprint Challenge today. I’m taking the challenge, and I invite you to do the same. You don’t have to buy anything; you don’t even have to sign up. Check out Mark’s invitation:

Here’s a summary of the Challenge:

  • Challenge #1: Eat Lots of Plants and Animals
  • Challenge #2: Avoid Poisonous Things
  • Challenge #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace
  • Challenge #4: Lift Heavy Things
  • Challenge #5: Sprint Once in a While
  • Challenge #6: Get Adequate Sleep
  • Challenge #7: Play
  • Challenge #8: Get Adequate Sunlight
  • Challenge #9: Avoid Stupid Mistakes
  • Challenge #10: Use Your Brain
  • Visit Mark’s website to learn more. There is a wealth of information there. My brother, who has been the healthiest person I know for the past 20 years, turned me on to Mark’s Daily Apple. I’ve done pretty well following the primal principles, most of which coincide with Nina Planck’s Real Food, this summer. I’ve consistently lost one to two pounds each week. I feel amazing: my energy is high, my mood is positive, my mind is clear, my hair is thicker, my confidence is way up. Go for it – you can do it!

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    Filed under Move Your Body, Real Food Education

    Obesity May Be Becoming the New Norm

    A recent Harris/HealthDay poll found that 30 percent of overweight people think they are normal size. Is this wishful thinking or are we just putting our heads in the sand?

    Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are the biggest threat to the health of our population. I think the vast majority of people are aware of this, but they’re either not willing to do anything about it, or they’ve tried various solutions through the years with no lasting success.

    For me, depending on my frame of mind, I was either ignoring my obesity problem or optimistically trying another diet. I went on my first diet at age 10, the Air Force Diet, a popular low-carb diet in the seventies; I ate a lot of hotdogs. Then I fasted a few times until I almost passed out. In the early ’80s it was Judy Mazell’s Beverly Hills Diet; mangoes and papayas still remind me of that diet. Next was the Cambridge Liquid Diet in my late high school years. My friend’s Dad made her get on it to maintain her at 118 pounds; he actually made her weigh in front of him. Then there was Slim Fast. By then, I was in college and weighed 182 pounds; I had dieted off and on for half of my short life.

    After college in the early ’90s I got into the cycle of going to diet centers for help. I bought a lifetime membership to Jenny Craig and dutifully ate their food-like substances. I lost weight very quickly, eating only 1000 calories per day. I was “perfect,” and I basked in the glory when I was able to proclaim to the counselors that I was “good.” At 132 pounds, I was two pounds away from my goal weight. Week after week, I would go to the Center, buy more boxed food, and I just could not lose those last two pounds. I was frustrated and sad, and the counselors kept telling me to try harder. If only someone (me?) had told me that I should celebrate how far I’d come, and not worry about another couple of pounds. Instead, I quickly gained all the weight back and then some.

    For the next fifteen years, I would be in and out of Jenny Craig, on and off diets, until the past few years when I gave up on even trying to diet. My self-esteem was low, my energy was low, and the comfort of eating McDonald’s all by myself in my car was just too alluring. I was drawn to it, obsessed with it, soothed by it, addicted to it … and poisoned by it. It has been more than three months since my last visit to McDonald’s, and I have lost 26 pounds. I feel calm and strong and completely free of the pull of the Golden Arches. How did I do it? I did the AdvoCare 24-day challenge, with the support of Camp Gladiator, and then I began eating Real Food as described by Nina Planck. The challenge got me off sugar and fast food, and got me accustomed to eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Nina’s book is guiding me for how to eat for the rest of my life. I was afraid that eating well meant limiting your choices; on the contrary, a whole new world of great food has opened up to me.

    If you are obese or overweight, you can break free from that prison. Do you have to do a strict challenge before you start eating according to the Real Food principles? No; it just happened to be my journey. You must understand though how sugar, refined grains and chemical-laden industrial food-like substances are affecting your brain. They are keeping you imprisoned. Get Nina Planck’s book, and start eating real food. One good thing that I did learn from Jenny Craig (way back when) was to shop the walls of the grocery store; you’ll find all the food you need there. Along the walls, you’ll find the produce, fish, meat and dairy.

    Whether you’re gorging food with abandon or white-knuckling it to stay away from “bad” foods, you have a problem. Once you get the sugar and chemicals out of your system, and eat real food, you will realize the blessings of a clear mind and a healthy body. I feel better today than I’ve felt in more than 17 years; I wish the same for you. Obesity does not have to be the “new norm” for you. Eat well, move for fun and be well.

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    Filed under Head Trip, Real Food Education