Tag: osteoporosis

Strawberry Basil Quinoa Salad

Strawberry Basil Quinoa Salad

Delicious Quinoa Recipe

Quinoa is a flowering plant grown primarily for its edible seeds.  And it is one of the only plant-based foods that is a complete protein.  A complete protein has all nine amino acids that your body can’t produce. Most animal products are great sources of these amino acids, which makes them complete proteins. But as those following a plant-based diet know, it is very difficult to find foods containing these nine amino acids in the necessary amounts. 

But while quinoa is amazing, it also has an acquired taste that most people don’t like.  This recipe makes quinoa approachable to the average person.  So give it a try.  You won’t regret it.  Bon appétite!!

 

Strawberry Basil Quinoa Salad

The folks who promote California strawberries sponsored a national cook-off for kids and challenged them to come up with a quick creative recipe. A 12-year-old from Maryland took the prize for this grain salad, which the cook-off judge, a former MasterChef Junior winner himself, proclaimed easy, healthy and, of course most important, delicious.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups quinoa
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice 
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 cups diced strawberries
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

Step 1 Combine water, quinoa and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Step 2 Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, oil, maple syrup, pepper and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.

Step 3 Add the cooked quinoa, strawberries, basil and feta to the dressing; stir to combine.

Farro & Arugula Salad

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Farro & Arugula salad

Ingredients (Salad):

  • 2 large handfuls of arugula 
  • 1/2 cup farro, cooked
  • 1/2 head asparagus, sliced on a diagonal 
  • 1 bunch grapes, figs (and)/or peaches
  • 2 handfuls fennel, shaved
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • And a handful of fresh herbs (chives, fennel fonds, mint, or as desired) 
  • 8-10 slices of fresh pecorino

Ingredients (Dressing):

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp reduced balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard Salt & pepper, as desired
  • 1 tsp minced shallot, optional
  • Fresh herbs, as desired

Directions:

  1. To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a mason Seal and shake vigorously to emulsify the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Place farro in a stockpot and cover in about two inches of water. Add a dash of salt and bring to Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for an additional 10 minutes. Remove excess water and spread on a baking sheet to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, soak the shaved fennel in a bowl of water with juice from half a lemon, to ensure the fennel does not oxidize.
  4. Char the grapes over an open flame or on your grill, cooking for about 2-3 minutes on each side or just till browned. If using figs or peaches, slice the fruits in half before grilling.
  5. To prepare the asparagus, bring a small pot of water to Separately combine ice and water in a medium-sized bowl. Add sliced asparagus to boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes, just till al dente. Drain immediately and dunk into the ice water. (This will ensure the asparagus maintains its bright and beautiful color)
  6. To assemble the salad, first toss the farro with 1-2 Tbsp of them, combine arugula, farro, grapes, herbs, and drained fennel and toss with dressing, salt and pepper.
  7. Plate and garnish with hazelnuts 

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Creamy Fennel Kale Chicken

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Creamy Fennel Kale Chicken | Courtesy of Being Brigid.

Jump to recipe

This dish has all the benefits of a healthy serving of daily greens wrapped up with the subtle flavors of fennel and leeks. Paired with the chicken for protein, this is a flavorful dish that comes together almost as quickly as any convenience food, and is sure to leave you feeling both nourished and satisfied.

Improved Cognitive Health

Kale is a healthy nutrient dense food that is a versatile and tasty addition to any meal. Like many leafy greens, is high in antioxidants, Vitamin K, calcium, and folate. Folate and calcium are important for normal bone health. Folate is one of several essential vitamins that plays an important role in DNA synthesis. It’s presence in your diet encourages healthy cell and tissue growth. Additionally, a recent study published in Neurology, showed that consumption of 1 serving per day of green leafy vegetables was associated with slower cognitive decline.

A Note on Fats

This recipe is baked at 400 F, so choosing the right oil is important. We use avocado oil because, in addition to having a beneficial fatty acid profile, can withstand high temperatures without oxidizing. Avocado oil also has a high smoke point (485F). We are concerned with the former, while culinary professionals are concerned with the latter. The point at which an oil smokes (and thus affects the flavor of the food) and the point at which it oxidizes when exposed to heat, can be very different. Smoke point is a metric that is easy to define. Put simply, it is the point at which an oil, when exposed to heat, begins to produce smoke. Oxidation can occur at much lower temperatures. When a fat is oxidized, it produces free radicals that can be toxic and disruptive to the body.

You may have heard of unsaturated and saturated fats. This classification refers to the number of hydrogen molecules attached to a fatty acid. Saturated fats are fully saturated with hydrogen molecules, whereas, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats have several hydrogen molecules “missing”. The more hydrogen molecules the fatty acid lacks, the more unstable it is, and the more susceptible it is to oxidation. Most oils are a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, so the fatty acid profile is what we need to decipher in order to determine the suitability of a particular oils for cooking.

makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced 
  • 2 medium fennel, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil  
  • 1/4 tsp himalayan salt 
  • Dash black pepper
  • 5 cups curly kale, chopped
  • 1 lb organic chicken breast cutlets, skinless
  • 1/2 cup organic chicken broth, low sodium 
  • 1/4 cup almond yogurt, unsweetened
  • 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 
  2. On a baking sheet, place prepared fennel and leeks. 
  3. Toss vegetables with 2 tbsp avocado oil, hHimalayan salt and dash black pepper. 
  4. In a separate bowl, massage kale with 1 tbsp avocado oil, dash of salt and pepper and set the kale aside. 
  5. Bake fennel and leeks for 40 minutes and add kale to the baking sheet for the last 10-12 minutes of baking. 
  6. Heat 1 tbsp avocado oil in a large pan, over medium heat. 
  7. Add chicken and sauté until lightly cooked, about 3-4 minutes per side. 
  8. In a small bowl, mix almond yogurt, chicken broth and mustard and pour on top of chicken.
  9. Add the roasted vegetables to pan and continue to heat for 3 minutes. 

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Vegan Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta

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Vegan Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta | By Chef Amanda DeLaura 

Veggies, veggies, veggies! 

I made this recipe with lentil flour pasta and it was delicious!

1) be sure to remove the stems and buds from your basil. This will ensure you do not make a bitter pesto. 

2) if you use frozen peas, place them in your strainer before draining your pasta. Drain your pasta over the peas and the boiling water will quickly bring the peas to room temperature.

Serves 4 to 6 Ingredients: 

  • 12 oz Jovial’s Brown Rice Fussili 1 batch pesto
  • 1 zucchini, sliced 1/8” thick on diagonal
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced 1/8” thick on diagonal
  • 1 head brocollini, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup petite peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 Tbsp minced parsley 

Pumpkin Seed Pesto: 

  • 3 oz basil, rinsed & dried
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 small cloves garlic mara-labs.com 

Directions: 

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the pesto and process in a food processor (or vitamix) until very smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the processor 1 or 2 times. 
  2. Once pasta water has boiled, add 1/2 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pasta and cook according to packaging, about 12 minutes. Drain pasta through a strainer and return the pot to the stove, leaving the pasta in the strainer.

  3. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to the pot (and/or clarified ghee, if desired) and add sliced zucchini and squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook until browned and tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add broccolini and continue to cook for one minute. Turn off heat and add the pasta, peas, pesto and cherry tomatoes. Toss and then add chili flakes and parsley. Season with extra salt and pepper, as desired

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Bone Friendly, Gluten Free Chicken Soup Recipe

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Bone Friendly, gluten free chicken soup recipe

The key to this soup is: 

1) pan frying in coconut oil and seasoning all the ingredients so that they could be eaten by themselves 

2) using bone broth instead of regular chicken broth. You can substitute your favorite veggies in place of the carrots or celery. I use a liberal amount of coconut oil to cook with and place it all into the soup in order to increase the fat content and make it keto-friendly. 

Bon appétit!

Ingredients

  • 48 oz organic chicken bone broth 
  • 2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 2 large organic onions, diced
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 lbs organic chicken
  • 4 broccoli crowns (optional)
  • 1 cup organic rice noodles (optional) Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions

Pan-fry the onions (caramelize), carrots, celery, and chicken, each with 1⁄2 cup coconut oil on medium heat. Season as you cook these. Cube the chicken into bite-sized pieces after they are cooked.

If you are using noodles, boil them now. Add the broth to a pot and add all the cooked ingredients into the pot with the broth and simmer at low heat. Make sure the droppings from pan-frying the chicken and the veggies make it into the soup.

I typically save the peels of the onions if they are organic because they are high in quercetin. I place them in a cheesecloth and add the peels to the soup, and then I remove them before serving.

This soup is tasty, however, it is high in fat. If you don’t like it that greasy, you can halve the amount of coconut oil used.

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Orange Pomegranate and Walnut Salad

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Compound derived from walnuts and pomegranates may boost mitochondrial and muscle health.

As a person ages, mitochondrial function declines, driving many age-related conditions, including the progressive loss of muscle mass and strength. Findings from a recent study suggest that a compound derived from ellagic acid metabolism helps restore mitochondrial and muscle health in older adults. 

Ellagic acid is a bioactive compound found in a wide variety of fruits, nuts, and vegetables, especially walnuts, pomegranates, and rose hips. Bacteria in the human gut break down ellagic acid to produce compounds called urolithins. Scientists have identified about 20 urolithins, but the most studied of these is urolithin A, which exerts potent anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. The capacity to form urolithin A from ellagic acid varies considerably from person to person and decreases with age.

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/940275

Recipe idea from Author Beautiful Eats & Things

Orange Pomegranate and Walnut Salad

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 6 cups spring salad mix
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup mandarin oranges drained ( I use fresh orange pieces)
  • ½ cup walnuts chopped
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat feta crumbled 

 

For the Honey Dijon Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey ( I reduce to 2 teaspoons)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together spring salad mix, pomegranate seeds, mandarin oranges, and walnuts.
  2. Arrange salad on a large platter.
  3. To make the dressing: whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Drizzle dressing over the salad, add feta, and serve.
  5. Top with additional pomegranates, feta, and walnuts if desired.  Enjoy!

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Shoes are so much more important to your health than you may realize

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Shoes are so much more important to your health than you may realize

 

This is indeed a blog about wearing minimalist shoes.  But, I want to disclose up front that I do still wear pretty shoes with heels for fancy occasions.  I admit that this is not an optimal strategy for my feet and my alignment.   It is a bit like having an occasional cigarette (which i do not do.)

 

Let’s start at the beginning.

Your feet and ankles have 25% of the human body’s bones and muscles. They articulate about 33 joints, and the tissues in between all these joints are full of proprioceptive abilities that signal to the pelvis how to make adjustments to keep you balanced when upright. It is logical to me that: the best way to optimize your balance is to allow all of the built-in engineering of nature to do its work. This means barefoot or minimally constructed shoes.  

 

Let’s talk about the effect of wearing shoes

Shoes were invented  to protect our feet from dangers on the ground.  Sadly, the stiff and bulky soles of today’s shoes make it difficult for your feet to feel the ground, and they also force your foot into unnatural shapes. The act of wearing shoes every day has created a mitten hand situation for your feet.  We have weak underdeveloped muscles within the foot and we have off- loaded a large part of weight bearing onto the lower leg and the joints in the foot.  Your toes should be able to move separately from your feet and your toes should also be able to move separately from each other.  Additionally the front half of your foot should move separately from the back half.

 

A stiff sole makes it hard for your muscles to do all of their work, and that affects your balance and your arches.  Fallen arches  can lead to pain and dysfunction along the chain.  Purchasing arch supports is often recommended by foot doctors,  But, just like wearing your arm in a sling or your leg in a cast, you have outsourced the work of your muscles and you will have atrophy from the sling or cast being in place.  This cycle can be broken, but it will take slow bit by bit work on your part.  

 

The shape of shoes affects your feet as well. Bunions are a result of undo pressure from shoes that pinch your feet.  Essentially when the toe box is too narrow.  They also result from walking with a turned-out foot.  That is because the turnout forces pressure into the side of the big toe joint.

 

Next on the chopping block.  High heels.  High heels are any height that is above the rest of the foot.  Go ahead and take a look at your “sensible” shoes.  It is quite likely that they have a positive heel.  A positive heel changes  the angle of the foot from its normal axis.  This geometry changes your alignment.  We compensate for the high forward pitch by adjusting the way our knees, pelvis and spinal curve are sitting above the shoes.  Our bodies will have individual differences in how we compensate for the heels, but rest assured, you will compensate.  This leads to pain anywhere along the chain.  In addition, the positive sole in your shoe reduces your ability to have a glute muscle and hip-building gait through a posterior push off.

 

The good news is that there are things you can do no matter what your age. 

  1.  Let’s start by getting out of your positively-soled shoes. The changes in your alignment from any elevation changes your center of mass and thus the path of weight through your body.  Start small, it can take a year or two to shift to minimal shoes.  Start with a slightly lower heel and the exercises on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c07BmvH74mo
  2.   Begin with a small amount of time in the slightly lower shoe or sneaker.   Gradually increase the amount of time you spend wearing them.  You are slowly strengthening the muscles in your feet.
  3. Get a wider toe box.  Trace the outline of your barefoot on a piece of paper.  Put the shoe you wear most often on the page and trace the toe box of the shoe.  This will tell you if you are squishing your toes.
  4. Find a more flexible sole.  A stiff shoe prevents you from using all your muscles and joints.  You need more movement to increase your foot strength and the ability of your feet to feel the ground below them.
  5. An attached front and back of your shoe is, in reality, safer than slip-on shoes.  It can seem beneficial to slip on a shoe without having to bend over.  However, clenching your feet onto the shoe bed creates a clenching that shortens and stiffens the muscles in your toes and ankles, which once again inhibits foot strength and flexibility.
  6. Toe spring is a piece of the puzzle that I would be remiss if I did not mention.  A majority of athletic shoes have an upwardly curving toe.  This toe spring decreases the work of the muscles around the joints that connect the toes to the foot bones. The higher the upwards curve of the toes in respect to the rest of the foot, the less work the foot muscles have to perform to support the joints when walking. 

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Choosing Minimal Footwear

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I wrote last month about how important your foot and shoes are to your alignment and bone density as well as your ability to reduce or eliminate foot, knee and ankle pain.

 

One of the things that I always advise people to do is to take things in small manageable steps, and I take that same approach to changing your footwear.  If you think of a rigid shoe with a positive heel as an orthopedic cast, taking it off and walking your 5 to 10K steps a day is a little bit like taking off an arm cast and trying to bench press hundreds of times. If you’re wearing traditional padded walking shoes and try to switch to minimalist footwear in one go, I promise you won’t like it! Switching over slowly will protect you from unnecessary pain, and support you in reducing leg and foot pain over time.

 

Last month I gave you some foot exercises to help you train to make the switch.  Here is another video that gives you more exercises, this time for plantar fasciitis.  These exercises here are helpful because Plantar fasciitis is oftentimes a result of underutilized over stretched feet or worse, flip flops.

 

Create an expectation that this will be a slow process.  Take your time and wear the new shoes for 30 minutes each day for a week.  Continue to do your exercises and gradually increase your minimalist shoe time by 15 minutes a day if you can tolerate it.

 

Now that we have the training out of the way, how are you going to choose a pair of shoes?

 

Transitional Shoes

If you have been wearing heavily padded sneakers or trainers with a lot of arch support and any amount of toe spring (an upward curve of the toe), I suggest going to a transitional minimalist shoe first.

 

I wore a transitional shoe by Altra for 6 months and it was worth the investment.  Altra features a wide toe box and claims that the heel and toe are always the same distance from the ground. The pair of running shoes I had 5 years ago had a bit of toe spring, but maybe that has changed. The shoes are not as flexible as some of the true barefoot shoes out there, but because Altra offers a variety of cushioning options, I think they are a great choice for someone who has been in highly structured walking or running shoes.  They carry many types of shoes and have a shoe finder program to help you find the right pair for you.   https://www.altrarunning.com

 

Joe Nimble is an American company that I am thinking about having my husband try.  He still wears traditional running shoes and we think it is time that he transitions to something with less toe spring and drop.  He really doesn’t want to leave the cushion behind.  Joe Nimble makes a shoe that is 10mm thick with lots of science behind their tred and wide toe box.  This is a zero drop shoe with no toe spring, but I would not call it barefoot.  They carry a broad range of US sizes.   https://us.joe-nimble.com/

 

Another company is Merrell shoes.  They have some shoes that they list as barefoot shoes that I would consider transitional. https://www.merrell.com/US/en/barefoot-1/

 

And still another is New Balance who has a nice transitional shoe.  https://www.newbalance.com/minimus

 

And yet another is the Camper shoe linked here: https://www.camper.com/en_US/women/shoes/peu_icon

 

And finally this transitional shoe named Kiouri from Skora Shoes.  https://www.camper.com/en_US/women/shoes/peu_icon

 

Minimalist Shoes

 

There are a great variety of minimalist shoes for walking or running that I would like to share with you. There are even more companies than I can get to in an article, but for the most part these companies ship worldwide.   Let’s take a look at them.

 

Baer Shoes is a European company with an expensive price tag.  I have heard good things about their quality and the range of products.  https://www.baer-shoes.com/

 

Belenka shoes describe their footwear as urban sneakers.  They also have sandals and boots.  This minimalist shoe is described as having a wide toe box and a super flexible sole to give you the feel of the ground below you.  Although I have not seen them in person, the range of available sizes is one of the most inclusive of any barefoot shoe company I have researched. Their sole is 4mm.  https://www.belenka.com/barefoot/

 

Davinci shoes are designed in California and made in Mexico.  Their leather shoes and boots are expensive but beautiful.  https://davincifootwear.com/

 

Drifter Leather shoes have been around for a while and are fairly established in the minimalist shoe world for people who want a custom handmade leather shoe or boot.  https://www.thedrifterleather.com/

 

Earth Runners are sandals, but they are designed to be used for more than just walking.  People run and hike in them.  https://www.earthrunners.com/collections/adventure-sandals

 

Luna Sandals are another sandal company that is rugged and secure on your foot.  It is designed to be used for walking and running as well as some light sports.  https://lunasandals.com/

 

Feelmax shoes are European and are available in adult and children’s sizes.. They are at a good price point. I am not familiar with them but wanted to share everything I have heard of.  https://store.feelmax.com/footwear

 

Freet barefoot shoes are made in the United Kingdom, but they ship worldwide. I do not know anyone who has tried them yet, but they have an interesting approach with some of their shoes offering what they call 4+1.  Basically there is a separate section for the big toe.  They make traditional shoes as well.  https://freetbarefoot.com/

 

Fit Kicks are a fun brand that specializes in simple sizes (S, M, L) and a pull-on flexible shoe.  They may be a nice around-the-house or casual shoe for people who can wear the general sizing. They also make a slipper that resembles the shoe.  The price point is so affordable that maybe you will want one shoe and one slipper! https://fitkicks.com/

 

Gea Soles are made in Spain by a woman named Esther.  Like many other barefoot walking or running enthusiasts she started making her own shoes after becoming frustrated with what was available. Her shoes are leather and without any type of insole.  If you love direct contact with leather and then the earth, these handmade shoes may be worth it to you. It appears that Esther will work with you on customizing your sizing as she asks for lots of measurements. You truly are getting a shoe made for you. They ship worldwide.  https://www.geasoles.com/en/

 

Groundies are another English brand that is new to me.  They specialize in very stylish walking and casual shoes. They do not come in a big variety of sizes but they may be just the inspiration you need to try out minimalist shoes. They’re not cheap, but they sure do look good! https://www.groundies.com/

 

Luks Shoes are handcrafted in Czechoslovakia.  They are a good option for people wanting a leather shoe or boot for walking or casual wear that is made in and shipped from Europe.  The price point is a little high for most USD customers. https://www.lukshoes.com/

 

Leguano shoes are new to me but everything I have read sounds quite positive.  They are from Germany and were created with a technical fabric that is antibacterial.  https://leguanoshoes.com/

 

Lems are a shoe that I wear. They have a light insert that true barefoot people remove. I leave it in, as it is very minimal and by some people’s standards not really an arch support or cushion.  Lems have walking/running shoes, hiking boots, and casual shoes. My 90 year old father actually wears them!   https://www.lemsshoes.com/

 

Muki Shoes are made in Northern Portugal.  They have casual shoes for the entire family.  They produce their shoes in limited edition batches so size availability will vary a fair amount.  Their flexible sole is 3.5mm. The toe box is wide as well.  https://mukishoes.com

 

Paperkrane is an Australian shoe company whose shoes are made in Vietnam.  The two moms who collaborate on their fun designs began with children’s functional shoes and now include adult shoes in their offerings.  https://www.paperkrane.com.au

 

Sockwa is a company that began making a glove-like, thin footwear line for beach soccer and volleyball.  They also have a casual shoe now as well.  I do not know anyone who owns a pair, but I do find them intriguing.  If anyone reading this walks on the beach, this shoe company may be for you.  https://www.sockwa.com/footwear

 

Softstar Shoes have been around for a while and they make children’s shoes as well as adult shoes. They hand make everything from flats and sandals, to running shoes, to suitable office shoes.  I have heard both good and bad about these shoes.  I understand they are very comfortable.  I have heard some people who were underwhelmed by their durability (athletic shoes) over time.  https://www.softstarshoes.com/adult-shoes.html

 

Tadeevo is a Polish shoe making company that handmakes ballet flats and running  shoes for women.  They have a slightly broader range of men’s shoes available.  https://tadeevo.com/

 

Unshoes are an American, handmade, minimalist footwear company that started with sandals for hiking and rugged outdoor pursuits.  They also feature casual flats.  https://www.unshoesusa.com/

 

Vibram Five Finger shoes are exactly what the name states. I have a pair of original 5 finger lightweight shoes that look quite a bit like a shoe you might wear at the beach.  They now make 5 finger shoes with significantly more structure to them so that you can have a lace up running shoe that happens to have five toe slots.  I enjoy them, but I wear them on 1 or 2 mile walks.  I tend to prefer wearing socks when I walk for 5 miles.  https://us.vibram.com/

 

Vivo Barefoot is an established minimalist shoe brand that makes everything from casual shoes to running shoes, to hiking boots and even waterproof winter footwear.  They carry kids and adult shoes.  The quality is high and the price reflects it. The shoes ran big back when I tried a pair.  Maybe it is time for me to try again.  https://www.vivobarefoot.com/us/

 

Xero shoes have been in my closet for many years.  I like their price point and they hold up quite well.  They now offer more than a running or walking shoe.  They have a sandal and a casual shoe, as well as hiking shoes.  They are an American-made company that has a lot of positive energy about serving their customers.  https://xeroshoes.com/

 

Zaqq is a German minimalist shoe company that does not carry a size small enough for my foot, but their models look like they will do the job.  They are quite expensive for Americans but may be the right price for anyone whose currency is the Euro.  https://www.zaqq.com/

 

Tieks and Yosi Samra’s are both ballet flat companies that feature a flexible sole.  The Tiek is stiffer than the Yosi Samra.  The Tiek is more expensive than Yosi Samra and you can feel it in the materials.  But this is not to say that the Yosi Samra is inferior by any means.  The Tiek is hand stitched, the Yosi Samra is not. The Yosi Samra is a bit more cushiony.  I have tried both and prefer the Yosi Samra, but I think it is a matter of personal preference. Many people will want to order both and see how each feels on their foot.  I mention both because people have asked me about an alternative to slippers inside the home, and this type of shoe (with a secure back) is a simple alternative to a slip-on for around the house. Finally, Yosi Samra has now ventured into flip flops and slide shoes which I would avoid.  https://tieks.com/   https://www.yosisamra.com/

 

Some Helpful Accessories

 

There are a number of accessories that can help us transition to minimal shoes as well as deal with the decreasing natural padding in our feet as we age.

 

Metatarsal pads are designed to support the ball of one’s foot with a bit of specially designed cushioning. The pads can cushion any spot on the ball of your foot that experiences pain in minimal shoes. Many of the pad manufacturers also claim that the pad will help position one’s toes correctly.  

 

Toe spreaders like Correct Toes and Happy Feet socks are easily available online.  Toe spreaders help your foot move out of its crunched and compressed form from years of wearing narrow shoes with positive soles.

 

Take Your Time

 

I’d like to encourage you to make the switch to minimalist footwear over time, as it will be kinder to your body, and use any of the accessories you might need to make the switch work for you! 

 

Have you tried any barefoot or transitional shoes? What was your transition like? Are there any brands or types of shoes that you’re excited to try? Let us know!

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Mushroom, Onion & Cauliflower Bake

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Mushroom and Onion Cauliflower Bake from Whole Food Cooking Every Day

Serves: 4-6

INGREDIENTS

Cauliflower topping

  • 1 large head (2½ lbs) cauliflower – cut into 1½” florets
  • ½ cup raw pine nuts, cashews, or macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste

Mushroom and onion filling

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1½ tbs shiitake mushrooms – stems removed and caps thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 medium onions – quartered and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 6 cups (6 oz) sliced Swiss chard – tough stems removed
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas (1/4 cup cooking liquid reserved) or 1 15 oz can (drained)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari( can use coconut aminos)
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cups filtered water if using canned chickpeas
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon filtered water
  • freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Cauliflower topping

  1. Set up a steamer pot with about 2 inches of filtered water in the bottom (the water shouldn’t touch the bottom of the basket) and bring to a boil over high heat. Arrange the cauliflower florets in the steamer basket, cover, and steam for 10-12 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked through but not falling apart. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Put the nuts, olive oil, yeast, and salt in a high-powered blender and add the steamed cauliflower. Starting on low speed and using the tamper stick to help press the cauliflower down, blend, gradually increasing the speed to high, until completely smooth and thick; use the tamper stick to keep the mixture moving and to scrape down the sides as you go. This will take a couple of minutes. Season with more nutritional yeast and salt to taste and blend to combine.

Mushroom and onion filling, and assemble

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190° C).
  2. Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add half the shiitakes and the thyme, stir to coat with oil, and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring only every minute or two (to allow the mushrooms to brown), until the shiitakes are golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the remaining mushrooms. Wash and dry the skillet if there are blackened bits on the bottom.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the pan, then add the onions and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and lightly browned. Remove the lid, add the salt, and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes, or until the onions are caramelized. Add the chard, cover, and allow to steam for 3 minutes, or until tender. Add the chickpeas, cooked mushrooms, tamari, balsamic vinegar, and chickpea cooking liquid or ¼ cup water, raise the heat, and bring to a simmer. Dissolve the arrowroot in 1 tablespoon water, stir, and drizzle into the simmering mixture, stirring constantly. When the mixture has returned to a simmer, remove from the heat and season to taste with pepper and more salt.
  4. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch square or equivalent baking dish and smooth the surface. Spread the cauliflower topping evenly over the filling. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the topping has begun to set. Turn on the broiler and broil the bake for 3 to 6 minutes, until the topping is golden and browning in parts. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.
  5. Once cooled, leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, put the bake in a baking dish, cover, and warm in a 400° F (200° C) oven until heated through.

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DO YOU KNOW WHY BREATHING IS A KEY FACTOR IN YOUR WELLNESS?

I think of breathing in two different ways, after we acknowledge that breathing is mandatory for life and air always enters into the lungs.

#1: I use breath in a way that helps me to harness my reflexive core in exercise or to manage load (think picking up your grandchild).

#2: I use breathing as a practice when lying down or seated to manage my mind/body connection. This is better known as stress management or meditation.

Breathing for Core Strategy or Load Management

Air enters your body automatically because of pressure differences between the atmosphere and your internal body. By virtue of this automatic flow of air into your body, you need to increase volume somewhere to accommodate the incoming air.

This shape change is what we call breathing. We can change shape in our ribs and our chest as well as our stomach. The artful design of our body created the lungs to take in the air and they happen to live in our ribs which are designed to expand.

On the other hand, our stomach expands with increased food content. But if our abdomen expands when we take air into our lungs, it is really a bulge because no air actually changes the volume of the stomach. Think about a water balloon and how if you squeeze it, the rest of the balloon pushes out. Essentially that is what is happening on a belly breath. The ribs tighten so the belly can jut out.

Hopefully, it makes sense now that optimal breathing for movement and exercise utilizes mostly the movement of the ribs, which are designed to expand. The overflow of pressure then moves into the belly.

When you expand your ribs to breathe, you do not push down into your core. Nor into your pelvic floor. However, when you belly breathe, you do push down and out because of simple body mechanics.

Is a yoga belly breath bad? No, I enjoy lying on my back and allowing more shape change in my tummy as part of relaxation. Would I belly breathe when doing a goblet squat? A FIRM NO!

Find out how to assess your breathing and breathe for optimal core and pelvic floor health during Sarah’s free Short and Sweet webinar on July 15, 2021.

Breathing for Meditation or Stress Management

Breath work was my entryway into meditation. I found guided meditations difficult and distracting, but breath work kept my mind on my body and allowed for meditation to occur. There is a lot of good scientific research now on the power of meditation of any kind to lower stress levels and blood pressure levels, in addition to helping patients recover from trauma.

Let’s look at some of my favorite breath work guides.

Ana Lilia

Ana suffered from various stress related symptoms until she discovered breath work. She became a certified breath coach and has guided thousands of people to connect with their breath. Her healing journeys include music and guidance. I have enjoyed her free breath work offers and you may as well. She has been featured on NBC news, BravoTv, the LA Times, and Harpers Bazar.

Tai Hubbart

Tai says “For the majority of my early life I struggled with depression, and for over a decade, I suffered with chronic headaches. While I was able to remain high-functioning professionally in the Advertising & Design industry, I had little capacity to enjoy life, and spent the majority of my resources trying to track down the root of my dis-ease and simply feel better.

“In 2009, I decided to leave my corporate position and take a life/healing sabbatical in which I could listen more deeply and redirect my life’s compass.” She leads group breath work sessions, and one-on-ones. In the breath work section of her website you can enjoy a 28-minute introduction to breath work.

Annalise Sullivan

Annalise Sullivan is a writer, energy reader, and autonomy activist. In addition to her academic achievements in sociology and social work, Annalise has spent over a decade honing her methods as a breath work facilitator, intuitive guide, and NARM trained trauma-informed practitioner.

Annalise offers a breadth of techniques and resources to support you on your healing journey. I appreciate Annalise’s reasonably priced group breath work experiences on Zoom.

Rohi Coustage and Energy of Breath School

I experienced a true breakthrough when I practiced gamma breath with Rohi Coustage. She offers this description: Breathing into Gamma is a great daily practice, from a few one-minute breaths throughout the day to longer practices.

This brings us to a baseline Gamma state and all our life reflects upgrades into a higher energy state with unlimited fulfilling outcomes in whichever area we choose to focus our breath. Cultivating our gamma state leads to the unlocking of our higher sensory abilities, the development of our higher brain processing power, total manifestation power, and the evolution into our Light Bodies as we enter this era of accelerated consciousness evolution and next level awareness.

Two Types of Breaths to Try

A Basic Gamma Breath

Breathe deep – 3 seconds to inhale, 3 seconds to exhale, following this sequence:

IN MOUTH, OUT MOUTH

IN MOUTH, OUT NOSE

IN NOSE, OUT NOSE

IN NOSE, OUT MOUTH

Do 3 sets of the above and finish with:

ONE MORE IN MOUTH, OUT MOUTH

Then relax and tune in for a few moments to the effects.

Square Breath

Advice from Navy Seals: The military has found square breathing to be the best technique for on-the-go stress management. Although they teach many types of breath in the military, the Huberman Lab has worked with the military and revealed in a podcast recently that square breathing is their go-to technique for maintaining equilibrium in stress filled environments.

INHALE FOR 4

HOLD FOR 4

EXHALE FOR 4

HOLD FOR 4

Repeat for at least 3 rounds.

What have you noticed about your breathing?

Is it deep or shallow?

Belly or ribs?

Have you tried doing meditation?

Which breathing technique do you use?

Please share below!