Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Foot as Way of Life

"We don't use our feet to their full capacity.  Remember when I said earlier that the foot is the only part of your body that is evolved specifically for the purpose of having a relationship with the earth?  Well that kind of begs the question of: What earth? The earth that was present when this thing evolved is not present for most of us. It's been leveled, it's been paved, it's been predictable. Nature has given us these all-terrain vehicles which we never take off-road." -Leslie Kaminoff

I love Leslie Kaminoff.  Even if you don't have the slightest interest in yoga, his understanding of the body and his method of delivering what can be a dry subject with too many systems and parts to remember is interesting and personal.

That being said, I found his explanation on going barefoot enlightening, not just for feet, but for life in general. 

Apparently, 75-80% of the body's proprioceptors (those mechanical receptors in a joint structure which delivers information to the nervous system) are located in the ankle area. Predictable surfaces (such as carpet, flooring, paved streets, sidewalks, etc.) weaken these sensory receptors.  He explains how shoes, in fact, do not support nor create strong feet but actually damage feet in the long-term, for example, by stomping when walking to create that sensory reception not felt in on foot "muffled" (his term) by a shoe.  Barefoot walking does feel lighter on the feet, no?  By muffling (shoeing) the feet, those ankle proprioceptors are not exercising their fullest receptive potential. 

It should come as no surprise, then, that one of the best ways to clear up mental fog and return to the personal center would be to go outside and stand barefoot on Earth.  It's not just about feeling grass beneath your toes (sure that's part of it), but it's about awakening and re-invigorating those nerves on the foot pad and the proprioceptors of the ankle for the body to re-establish its support base, both physically and spiritually.
We know that it is crucial to have a strong core for physical fitness and strength.  By strong core, we don't mean 6-pack abs (if that's what you mean, then you're sorely mistaken and setting yourself up for injury) but a strong trunk consisting of both abdominal, back, and side oblique muscles.  A stronger body trunk allows for greater weight-bearing with less injury for its limbs.  We are told to lift with our knees not with our back, but a strong body trunk supports much of that weight.  

Just as it is with the feet, the foundation for almost all our movement which bears immense weight every day; strong feet with sharp proprioceptors will prevent and decrease ankle injuries.  Go barefoot for a day, then see what happens in your work out.  My bet is that your squats will feel more stable, your lunges more powerful, and your running a bit lighter.

And go barefoot for the greater, personal reason: To re-connect the energetic relationship of the Self to the Earth and return empowered, centered, and restored.  Clearing up that head fog and confusion is like a home-coming, returning to a personal center to understand the new gains and loss of the current Self so that we can move forward  in greater awareness and truth.

So, just do it--go barefoot.  Feel the Earth, search out unpredictable and naturally-occurring surfaces.  Your ankles, your fitness, your greater Self will thank you.

You can watch the rest of Leslie Kaminoff's video on the anatomy of the feet in regards to barefoot walking here.

This article originally published at Tattoos And Power Suits is re-printed here with permission.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Setting Goals...No, Wait..PRACTICING Goals & F*#^(ing Them Up! Intentionally!

Do any of you do the New Year's goal thing?

I don't. 

I always find that if I have a start date, especially if it's January 1st, I tend to make a lot of mistakes & flub it up for a while, then drop the goal because I couldn't get it right.

So, I figured out a way to knock that shizza off:

#1. I get to the root of WHY I want this goal.  Superficial reasons are totally ok.

#2. I'll create a start date & a goal in mind.  Then, several weeks before (or days, if I only have a few days), I practice doing the goal.  

#3. Respect & own that I will do this goal imperfectly for a while before I create small habits that can be sustained over a long period of time: habits created slowly, without criticizing, & with the intent of being imperfect--imperfectly me!


This realization of imperfect goal setting came about from trying to quit smoking.  I smoked for over 3 years (maybe it was longer, I'm not sure because it's not a notable piece of my history I feel compelled to keep detailed notes on).  I tried quitting so many times. I would have terrible anxiety attacks related from it, my breathing was painful, & felt so dried out (eyes, nose, mouth, skin). 

Despite the health factor, it was superficial reasons that brought me to quit. I don't want to laugh like a 90-year-old man, because I'm not a 90-year-old man. Also, the only lines I want around my eyes & mouth are laugh lines. Screw that, JOY LINES.

I quit so many times, I can't even keep track.  Hell, I didn't keep track. Failing was embarassing, but I noticed, by practicing quitting smoking (my grammar nerds are probably pissed at my use of gerunds--sorry friends!) developed a greater ability to hold a quit for longer periods of time.  One day, it simply wasn't an issue anymore.  It took quitting, failing, quitting, failing, then quitting again with no expectations of how perfect I would be to finally quit.  Plus, the inner critic jumped off a bridge because I wasn't hearing it!  My imperfect practice of practicing enabled me to continue on practicing, practicing, practicing.  Goodbye, Marlboros & American Spirits! Hello, liberated bright-eyed pink-faced lungs!

Oh, & one thing I did keep notes on: I've been ciggie-free since 2005.  Own!


Much much more recently, I decided to begin a vegetarian diet (look at my bio, I've been thinking about it for a long time...speaking of bios I'm going to update that soon).  There were several hundred reasons but the most genuine reasons are #1. to activate on a higher vibration (that's Zo-speak for "feel better all spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally") & #2. there is no such thing as a humane way to slaughter an innocent being.  WAIT! Don't run away! I'm not here to preach on #2 (yet, tee hee), but I am being honest about my reasons. 

So, I knew it was something I had to do to be my most authentic self.  But, I set no expectations.  I said to myself,

"Self, I am going to fuck this up so many times because I really want to do this right.  I'm scared shitless of screwing up because I have a habit of wanting to be perfect.  But I am going to do this imperfectly; & if I do it imperfectly, I will feel good about having met my goal of being an imperfect vegetarian. And one day, it'll be seamless & perfect & I won't even have to think about getting it right, because it simply will be." Yes, I really said that.  Self-speak is CRUCIAL because we all fight that self-speak-critic who tells us we're not smart/fit/pretty/funny/busty/etc. enough.

Two weeks after going green, I ate meat on 2 different occasions.  Now, it's been almost two full months of eating a plant-based meal (I refuse to count the first few weeks of the new year because that is SO cliche) & I have ZERO desire to go back to meat.  (My new heroes over at have delicious products to get more than enough protein & B-12 & zinc, all of which are soy-free & gluten-free! Boo & hiss to soy!) Also, can I just say, I feel AMAZING?! Plus, my skin is super dewy & glowy; I've even stopped wearing foundation. High-vibing, friends!  That's what happens when you are being & loving your most authentic self.


So where are you at on your goals--are you feeling frustrated?  Check in with them & with your self-speak. It may help to loosen your grip just enough & strangely set the bar a little low.  Be gracious to yourself, like you would be to a friend who's fed up with her/his imperfections.  Be beautifully imperfect right now; intentionally imperfect & imperfectly practicing. 

Remember, you'll get it imperfect every single time, until you don't. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Life is crazy!!

All of us here at Muscles, Madness and Martinis are so unbelievably busy that we have gotten sidetracked from our weekly blogging!   We are working hard on taking the time to write about our experiences in life, rather than keeping these moments to ourselves.

I know all of the women behind M,M&M are constantly working on their bodies.  Some of us do yoga, others work their ass off instructing spin and the rest of us are avid CrossFitters that seem to find little time for anything else but WOD's and getting the next PR!

If you are anything like any one of my amazing friends, you are dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle, putting nourishing food and thought into your body and obtaining security within yourself in a very insecure world. 

I came across this video today of what REAL women would look like if they were photographed and photoshopped like cover girls.  It's amazing to see how their perspectives changed on their true beauty and individuality.

I know that every imperfection is what makes me unique; the freckles that I've had since childhood and every wrinkle that I've developed over the years from laughing and living life!   After watching this video, I hope that you also find a new found love for the skin that you are in! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

As promised a cold weather recipe that was Delish. Creamy Asparagus Soup

Creamy Asparagus Soup

2 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil
1/4 cup of chopped shallots
1 pound of asparagus steamed (I used a package of frozen asparagus and sautéed them until tender)
Black pepper to taste
2 cups of chicken stock
I cup of full fat coconut milk (I used one can)

Easy directions:
Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Sauté the shallots for 5 minutes or until tender. Place the shallots and the steamed asparagus in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Season with black pepper.
Transfer the asparagus puree back to the sauce pan. Add the remaining ingredients and heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes and serve.
Serves 4

I loved this soup, but I also love asparagus. I'm sure the soup would also be fantastic using broccoli or cauliflower instead of asparagus.....Ohhh loaded cauliflower soup with bacon and green onions sounds fantastic. I will come up with a recipe for that soon!