How do I fix my feet?

HAVE YOU GOT FOOT PAIN? 

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 Our Foot Architecture

Us humans are the only bipedal animal that can walk upright on two feet. Walking may seem easy to us but it is a complex motor pattern. Our feet contain 25% of the bones in our body, 33 joints and over 100 muscles/tendons and ligaments. The feet are the only part of our body that make contact with the ground as we navigate the world, they have an extensive network of nerves within their soles that transmit information to your brain from the ground beneath you. There is a reason why we can fly rockets into space, however we still haven’t built a robot to walk as smoothly as a human. It’s quite a complex movement.

Where my interest in feet has derived. 

Before anyone says it, no I don’t have a foot fetish, however, I do really enjoy reading and learning about feet. I find them thoroughly interesting and because I have had trouble with my own I have always questioned how can we improve our foot health.

I have been exposed to bare feet from a young age. I trained in Taekwon-Do (A Korean martial art) for 15 years from 7- 22 years old. We never wore shoes at training. I didn’t have any problems with my feet.

During University, I also worked in a sports shop for 6 years selling performance footwear. I would sell the fanciest, high tech, chunky pair of shoes to a woman who could barely walk efficiently that was going to run a marathon. I would consult the customer, do a fancy gait analysis to see if they had a pronated, neutral or over pronated arch and then give them the most expensive shoe possible in the hope that this would help them prevent injury. Little did I know that this was masking a weakness or structural problem in the body that can’t be fixed by a shoe.

In University, I competed in both Olympic Weightlifting and boxing, I trained some days for up to five hours. I wore two different high tech shoes for each sport each costing from €200-€300 and then I began to get plantar fasciitis (An inflammation in the fascia, the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes) I would train and train and it was getting so painful that I could barely walk.

What did I do? I went and I got €300 orthotics from the physio which didn’t actually treat the problem but mask it and the pain worsened.

During my sports and exercise science degree, I studied  biomechanics, we looked at the mechanics of barefoot running versus running in a performance shoe. The literature did not point out which one was better but I was intrigued by the barefoot phenomena.

I began to delve into barefoot footwear and training barefoot and over the last few years I have accumulated some great resources, exercises and a more holistic perspective towards having the healthiest, most functional feet.

The difference between a foot that has spent most time in  “normal” shoes versus a foot that has been barefoot. 

I have been lucky to have spent many summers in Sri Lanka, my dad’s native country where the majority of people wear flip flops or no shoes at all. I, from a young age could see that their feet looked healthier than mine, Their toes splayed out nicely. My toes are crunched together and I have a bunion on my right foot. In the image below you can see that normal shoes f**k your feet.

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Science, the industry, shoes 

“You have got to realise that orthotics and performance footwear is a billion dollar INDUSTRY. Men alone in the U.S. spent $26.2 billion on footwear in 2016. It’s not your fault that advertising has skewed what you think you need for your feet when these cool, high tech shoes are fed to us through advertising daily” 

 

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Have you got bunions? 

What is a bunion? A bunion is a bony, lumpy deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe. Although they don’t always cause problems, bunions are permanent unless surgically corrected. Bunions are caused by wearing shoes that are too narrow for our feet. We can prevent bunions by wearing appropriate footwear.

How do improve my foot health?  

1.Wear barefoot shoes with a larger toe box

I recently invested in a pair of vivobarefoot shoes for €120. Yes, they are expensive but I’d rather have one really good quality pair of shoes that prevent any further damage to my feet than several crap pairs. Vivo barefoot are the closest shoe I have ever had to being barefoot. They have a large toe box which allow your toes to splay out naturally. I also have a pair of feiyues, a cheap kung fu barefoot shoe for only €20 but they don’t last in the Irish weather.

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2.Be more aware of your arch. Stand in a tripod position

During the squat create a tripod with your foot and practise this while standing and while doing other movements throughout the day. This helps build up your arch if you have become reliant on orthoses, arch supports and or wearing shoes with a thick sole. They reduce our proprioception in our feet. The smaller muscles in our feet become unused and weakened leading to further complications. Orthotics are like putting your arm in a sling, the muscles in that arm will atrophy because they’re not being used. If a muscle isn’t used then it atrophies (waste away).

3.Buy toe spreaders from this link <Toe spreaders> barefoot 3

They are only $15 which is a bargain really. They do what they say on the tin, help to spread your toes which are usually crammed together in our shoes.

4.Exercises to stretch and strengthen your feet

High repetition strengthening exercises for the gluteal medius muscle will help with external rotation of the hip and in turn help externally rotate our knees and in turn create an arch. I like clams and crab walks to directly hit the gluteal medius.

Exercises and movements for the feet, try picking up bolts from the ground with your feet and putting them into a little basket this will get the smaller muscles in your feet working that have not been used  in your footwear.

Do these exercises and stretches to help with bunions, plantar fasciitis and fallen arches. High repetitions 10-20 reps and 3 sets 2-3 times a week.

  1. Calf raises x20
  2. Plantar fascia stretch x 90s
  3. Achilles tendon stretch x 60s each side
  4. Clams x 20 each side
  5. Crab walk 20 steps each side
  6. Picking bolts up with your feet x 10 times each foot.
  7. Single leg deadlift eyes closed (tripod foot position) x 60 seconds each side.

5. Give your feet some love

 No matter what occupation or Be more like Ottie, Go barefoot physical activity you are involved in, make sure to give your feet a little massage at the end of the day or get a lacrosse ball and massage any tender spots out.

6.Go barefoot as much as possible

Ottie is a little girl from a friend of mine. I have yet to see her in a pair of shoes even outside, even when it’s raining and even though she lives in Ireland. If we were all a little more like Ottie than we would see a lot less problems with our feet. She’s one hardy little girl!

Other resources The Foot Collective  Vivobarefoot

This article was written by Shakira.

3 High Protein breakfast recipes under 400kcals

Cottage Cheese, Apple and Rocket salad

196kcal 14.9g  Protein / Fat 4.2g / Carbs 25.3g                                                                                            

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Ingredients

100g of cottage cheese

2 cups or rocket or salad leaves

1 medium apple

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons of capers

1 teaspoon of olive oil

 

 

Recipe

1. Dice apple and half tomatoes

2.Wash rocket or salad leaves.

3. Put all ingredients into bowl and mix.

4. Enjoy!

***be careful with your use of olive oil, it is healthy  but contains 120 kcal per tablespoon that more calories than the 100g of cottage cheese.

 

 

Scrambled eggs, spinach, sauerkraut, apple and mushrooms. 

290 kcal (Protein 18.1g, Carbohydrates 21.1g, Fat 15.1g)

breakfast                                                                                                        This is my favourite breakfast, only 290kcal but full of micronutrients and will leave you full until lunch time.

Ingredients

2 medium whole eggs

1 medium apple (120g)

100g chestnut mushrooms

2 cups spinach

30g of purple sauerkraut

Salt and pepper

Recipe

*** I personally don’t use any oils or butters to cook this meal.  I use a non stick pan. It’s just as tasty and fewer calories.

  1. Wash spinach, apple and mushrooms.
  2. Dice mushrooms and apple.
  3. Lightly cook mushrooms on non stick pan.
  4. Scramble two eggs on non stick pan.
  5. Add salt and pepper to eggs and mushrooms
  6. Plate and enjoy.

 

Smoked salmon with sautéed spinach and mushrooms

130 kcals ( Protein 18.1g, Fat 4.9g, Carbs 3.9g)

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Ingredients  

50g of smoked salmon

2 cups of spinach

1 cup or 70g of mushrooms

1 garlic clove

1 table spoon of capers

black pepper to taste.

Recipe

  1. Wash mushrooms and spinach.
  2. Lightly cook mushrooms on a non stick pan with no oil, put on a plate to the side.
  3. Cut the garlic in half and spread it around the non stick pan and lightly cook the spinach.
  4. Serve with capers on top and black pepper.

How to begin tracking and measuring your food intake using MyFitnessPal

What do I need to get started? 

You need a food weighing scale and you can download MyFitnessPal app for free. Type in your current weight and begin to log in what you eat and drinks as accurate as possible. Try to be honest with your intake because it will make it easier for you to adhere to the subsequent deficit or surplus in calories to reach your goal.

Below is an example of my breakfast on MyFitnessPal. If you have a meal that doesn’t change you can press Quick tools which will allow you to save the total meal so that you don’t have to retype each item each day. I myself have almost the same breakfast everyday, apart from a change in the vegetables or the occasional porridge when I’m closer to menstruation.  Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 8.04.20 p.m.

Why track our food and drink intake? 

Tracking and measuring our food are methods which oppose our basic human tendencies to fool ourselves and gives us data that we need for rapid success. Tracking and measuring does not have to be used for the long term, once the portions of your meals have been repeated over a period of weeks or months, you can then begin to eyeball portion sizes.

Track for 7 days, Divide the number of calories for the total week by 7. A fluctuation in weight is indicative to finding your maintenance calories. For example If average weekly calories increased your weight then decrease the calories by 100-200 and and visa versa if your weight went down.

Is tracking your food the Be-all and End-all of healthy nutrition? 

No, it is very important to work with your nutrition habits to coincide with tracking. Having healthy behaviours and habits towards food is as important. Food quality is important to regard, aim for 90% of your food intake to be wholesome, unprocessed and  high in micronutrients.

Once you have your 7 days of food diary recorded, then you can move on to a plan of action depending on whether you want to lose fat or gain muscle. The next steps will be discussed in the subsequent article.

Sri Lankan Dhal Curry

Sri Lankan Dhal Curry.dhal.png

Both my Irish and Sri Lankan culture are very important to me.  I have travelled to Sri lanka numerous times, my last trip to Sri Lanka, it was my mission to learn as many culinary skills and recipes from my Grandmother Sriya and a local family,  the Wigethunas who ran their own little shop in Columbo, Sri Lanka. I spent day in day out cooking with the Wigethunas and my Grandmother. Dhal is a simple dish, full of protein, it’s highly nutritious and is one of the main sources of protein for vegetarians in Sri Lanka. If you scroll down to the end I have also written this recipe as Gaeilge for any of you Irish speaking enthusiasts or for anyone who wants a little more Irish in their lives.

 

 

1st photo: My grandmother Sriya grating fresh coconut which she does every morning. 2nd & 3rd: The Wigethuna Family who taught me how to cook in their little restaurant in Columbo. 

Recipe for 4: 

200g of red split lentils

1 medium white onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 table spoon of tumeric

2 tablespoon of curry powder

1 tablespoon of chilli pieces (more or less depending on your preference)

150ml of coconut milk

2 handfuls of spinach

Salt to taste.

Recipe:

  1. Wash the lentils until the water becomes clear. Leave the lentils sit for 20 minutes in water to soften them out.
  2. Put 200g of lentils, 100ml of coconut milk and 200ml of water into a pot.
  3. Add 1 diced onion, diced garlic cloves, tumeric, curry powder and chilli pieces. *Keep stirring so the dhal doesn’t stick to the pot and keep the lid on top to cook through but also keep stirring every few minutes so that the dhal doesn’t stick to the pot.
  4. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Put the remaining 50ml of coconut milk and 2 handfuls of washed spinach  and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until all the lentils have cooked through
  6. When the dhal is fully cooked, add salt to taste.

A few little facts:

Dhal is full of fibre and it has a high satiety level which helps with weightloss. It also contains Tumeric which helps with inflammation. Enjoy this recipe with eggs for lunch or with a portion of rice for dinner. #Dhalicious

Curaí Dhal

Oidis curaí dhal: Nuair a bhí mé i Sri Lanca, bhí mé ar misean an méid is mó cócaireachata a dhéanamh agus a bhú ar mo chumas, agus tréan oidis úr nua a fhoghlaim.   Dhal nó curaí lintilí atá ann, agus é pacáilte le maitheas. Tá sé ar cheann de na príomh foinsí de phróitéin le haghaidh feol-séantoirí i Sri Lanca agus tá sé iontach easca é a dhéanamh.

Oidis do 4: 

Comhábhair:
200g de lintilí scoilte
1 oinniún bán

3 ionga gairleoige
1 spúnóg bhoird tumeric
2 spúnóg bhoird púdar curaí
1 spúnóg bhoird de chalóga chilli  (níos lú más mian leat an teas a mhaolú)
150ml  cnó cócó
Salann chun blaiseadh

Oideas:

1. Nigh na lintilí chun chur an iarmhar díot agus chur iad ar maos le haghaidh 20 nóiméad.

2. Cuir  200g lintilí le 100ml de bháinne cnó cócó agus 200ml d’uisce isteach go dtí méan-phóta ag méan teas.

3. Cuir is teach an oinniún díslithe,turmeric, púdar curaí agus na chalóga chilli . Bí ag núdail agus  bí cinnte each mbíonn sa greamaithe ag bún an póta.

4. Cócarail le hadhaigh 15-20 nóiméad.

5. Cuir  50 ml de bháinne cnó cócó níos mó agus cócarail  le haghaidh 5-10 nóiméad níos mó.

6. Nuair atá sé déanta cur an salann isteach.

Cúpla fíric eile: Tá dhal lán de shnáithín. Tá leibhéal sáithiú ard ag lintilí mar sin tá sé ar fheabhas chun meáchan a chailliúint. Bain taineamh as an oideas seo le rís nó le uibheacha don lón. #Dhaliseacleas.

Gut health: part 1

To say that Gut health intrigues me is an understatement. It has its place in both subsets of my “Hippy” friends and my “Strict science” friends taking on the world to help healthify us humans. We all go through negative moods but what if our diet can negate it and help us to be the best form of ourselves? I have become totally intrigued by all facets of health including physical and mental health and nutrition and I’m always looking to be the best form of me. In the article below, I will discuss the basics of how our Gut works, The Gut-Brain Axis, what antibiotics do to our system, how gut health and fermented food improve our gut health and what food to eat to improve our gut micro biota.

“All disease begins in the gut- Hippocrates”

Continue reading “Gut health: part 1”

To speak freely and honestly with a hint of science and humour

Thank you for stopping by my blog. Coming from an industry which is male dominated, I want to bring a female twist to all things health. I am a Strength and Conditioning coach and will cover topics using both science and my own personal views. My goal is to empower people to become the healthiest versions of themselves by exploring , nutrition, strength training, mental health and philosophy with a hint of humour.