Barefoot Kids

Barefoot Kids

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

These Legs

These legs. I love these legs. My husband calls them my “meaty German legs”. I'm not German, though somehow along the way managed to adopt “meaty German legs”.

I used to hate them, before I knew better. When I was little, I used to hit at my thighs and pout because they were so big and thick feeling. At one point in my life, I starved myself of food and of the joys of movement in an attempt to make these legs smaller.

Since then, I have worked for almost half a lifetime to embrace these legs, to make these legs strong, to take me places. 20 years later, I love these legs. These legs are strong and sturdy, quick, agile and coordinated, grounded and adventurous, humble and loud, sometimes heavy sometimes light as a feather, sometimes smooth and most of the time fuzzy, inked up and celebrated.

These legs can run, jump, squat, lunge, shimmy, pivot, tap, samba, salsa, grapevine, kick, swing...
These are my legs and I love them.

What about you do you love?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why Barefoot? Strength From Your Foundation Up

Because I can.
In addition to barefoot training and barefoot running, my barefoot advocacy stems from research of human movement science, anatomy, physiology and personal experience.

Barefoot: Strength From Your Foundation Up

• Structures of: bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles and innervation

o The structures of the foot each work harmoniously to produce movement, decelerate movement, absorb shock, create a system of checks and balances by sending messages to the brain to aid in balance and serve as the foundation of the kinetic chain.

• Kinetic Chain and Arthrokinetics
o The “head bone’s connected to the neck bone, the neck bone’s connected to the shoulder bone….” All bones are connected and their articulations and movement influence the movement one another.

o What is the kinetic chain?
- Kinetic chain pertains to the body’s systems involved in producing movement (nervous, muscular and skeletal systems). If one of the components of the kinetic chain isn’t functioning properly, it will affect the other components and ultimately affect movement.

- Nerve endings (sensory receptors sense pain, pressure, movement to the brain causing an appropriate message to be sent to the muscles to dictate a physical response via movement. Increased use of those pathways, promotes efficiency and healthy function of the neuro-muscular systems. Barefoot allows the receptors to freely receive feedback, provide input to the brain and allow the body to respond in a way that produces safe and efficient movement.

- Nerves and proprioception. Proprioception is the sensing of your limbs during movement, important in keeping your spatially oriented, balanced, protected from faulty movement etc. The more sensory nerves you have exposed to the elements, the more messages are sent to the brain telling it what is going on with your limbs and the brain influencing the right movement at the right time. These neural pathways are important in adjusting gait to adapt to uneven ground, respond to a harmful stimulus (heat, pressure, tension etc).

- Blocking the sensory receptors can lead to delayed neural response, decreased neuro-muscular efficiency, decreased proprioception and decreased balance. The more your foot feels the more information is sent to your brain, the quicker it can send the right message to produce the right movement.

o How can weakness in the foot create low back pain?
- The muscles that support the feet and ankles are connected to and support knee movement, when there is weakness in the muscles of the lower leg, muscles of the upper leg also become imbalanced which can further contribute to faulty movement patterns and increased muscle imbalances of the knee, hip and ultimately spine.

o Raised heels and back pain
-When the heel is raised, the foot is put in a position of plantar flexion forcing the body forward at the ankle. In order to maintain eye level along the horizon and to avoid falling forward, the upper body is brought back into upright position at the hip, anteriorly tilting the pelvis and putting the lumbar spine in a position of hyper-extension which can ultimately lead to low back pain. Muscle imbalances ensue leading to more faulty and painful movement.

So, Why Barefoot?:
-Ankle, knee and hip stabilization
-Increased neuromuscular efficiency and balance
-Proper spinal alignment
-Increased body awareness
-Decreased impact and ground collision force
-It's fun
-It's empowering
-It's inexpensive
-It's natural





2012 Time to Get this Ball Rolling Again BREATHE

I've decided to dust off the pages of my blog and get breathe a little life back into this thing with some tips on health and wellness. Breathe and breathe deeply, why and how can your breath influence your movement patterns?
~ BREATHE DEEPLY! Alterations in breathing patterns can directly impact how your muscles, bones and nerves work together to create movement. With negative stress, our breathing becomes shallow causing our bodies to use "secondary respiratory muscles (muscles of your upper chest, neck and back) instead of "primary respiratory muscles" (diaphragm).
Over-activity and use of secondary respiratory muscles cause muscle imbalances (muscle tightness in over-active muscles and weakening of under-active muscles), leading to headaches, dizziness, light-headedness.
Shallow breathing limits your body's ability to take in adequate amounts of oxygen or rid itself of carbon dioxide leading to inefficient muscle function, decreased energy, muscle stiffness, anxiety, fatigue, poor circulation and poor sleep patterns. Remember to take some time to focus on your breath and what your posture does when you breathe. ~

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Zumba Services Available to you through Betterfly!

I have had wonderful success with bringing in Zumba friends to expand my crew! Betterfly is an excellent place for you check out the services I offer. Check here for updates and feel free to pass the link on to your friends. I look forward to having you in class!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Barefoot Mama's First Marathon...Barefoot of course!

For a bit of detail regarding Barefoot Mama's first marathon, visit Caity McCardell's "Yeah for Me" post on RunBarefootGirl. I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Caity a few weeks post race and put out her 5th podcast episode for RunBarefootGirl, a blog and podcast series aimed at empowering women barefoot runners and those curious about barefoot running.

More pictures and race info to come! Oddly enough, I've been a busy Mama since the race ;)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Whispering Windz Farms Does it Again: The BEST and SAFEST Deodorant EVER!

Pardon my over-use of caps in the title, but I am utterly speechless with this absolute wonder of a deodorant, Whispering Windz Farms: Deodorant Cream! For as along as I can remember, I've been plagued with misbehaving arm pits and have tried nearly everything to control their wrath. I've tried almost every brand of deodorant/antiperspirant both loaded with nasty chemicals and those that are "aluminum free", I've tried my own "natural" attempts at controlling my over-active armpits (including witch hazel, lemon juice, and baking soda). To no avail, nothing worked. I'd finally settled with clinical strength deodorant/antiperspirants swapping between Secret and Suave.

As a very active individual and someone who's work is in the fitness industry, I strive to maintain a level of professionalism even while sweat soaked...this includes attempts at smelling (relatively) fresh. This, in many ways, conflicts with my "keep things simple and natural" lifestyle as "Barefoot Mama" because though I knew that my chemically loaded deodorants/antiperspirants were keeping me somewhat fresh, I cringed at the idea of swipping any part of my body down with something that could ultimately do more harm than good.

I've had the absolute pleasure of doing business with Bonnie from Whispering Windz Farms on I originally had been pointed Bonnie's direction by the lovely ladies from in attempts to find a good sulfate free, paraben free, safe and delicious smelling shampoo and body wash. Over the past few years, I've ordered various scents from Bonnie's plethora of delicious mouth-watering foaming jar soaps to use for both myself and my children and for gifts...these are amazing for bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays or any other holiday, thank you gifts etc...

Bonnie and I had done some chatting about coming up with a yogurt based face wash...see this in post to come...She'd allowed me to test out her new mix and I was highly pleased with the yogurt face wash, so the asked if I'd try out her deodorant. With the lack of success I'd had with deodorants, I was skeptical though absolutely willing to give it a try being the mother of an almost 8 year old who is already needing to use deodorant. I figured I could at least get something for my babies that is more gentle than what's on the casual market. Two days ago, my goodies arrived and couldn't have come at a more opportune time---we were in the midst of a MN heat wave with heat indexes into the low 100's; Olivia and I were extremely anxious to try them out. I tried the deodorant right away, smoothing on a thin layer on my pits.

Smell...earthy and yummy with it's skin loving ingredients: clays, coconut oil, bergamont, sweet orange and peppermint to name a few. The scent of the oils fades from a more feminine scent to earthy and clean.
Smell test, I've had my husband, kiddos and friends (gawd I love them) smelling my armpits from the moment I put it on to right after teaching a 90 minute Zumba class! Yes, you heard that right, I had VERY little trace of normal strong armpit perspiration after 90 minutes of heavy duty sweating!! Success!

Texture...smoothy, a little bit gritty from the baking soda. The cream goes on very smoothly and feels great on the skin. It absorbs beautifully and leaves very little residue on the skin and clothing. I do find that I reapply 2-3 times a day in order to keep it working, though I've barely even put a dent in my sample jar, because so little is needed.'s "little black dress" worthy with it's lack of nasty residue. Eat your heart out Degree!

Cost...while this is still being worked out, I can tell you that the 2oz sample that I have will last a good amount of time as very little is needed in order to be effective. So while the price may be a little steeper than what you'd find from Suave or Degree, it's more than well worth the price. To be using something that is natural, organic and good for your body that works much more effectively than the casual market brands gets two thumbs up from me!

Thank you Bonnie for your amazing products and impeccable customer service, you've been an absolute wonder to work with every single order I've made. AND I can't thank you enough for finding the miracle deodorant, I'm over the moon about this product!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fluffy Dairy Free Pancakes

Fluffy Dairy Free Pancakes

Max goes dairy free and we've been scrambling to still produce some of our favorite family food traditions (ie Pancake Friday, Pizza Tuesday--this is hard, Homemade Yogurt--still have yet to figure out a good recipe, ice cream day etc). So after a few attempts at making pancakes that please my family's palate, I whipped together something that scored a "those are some of the best pancakes you've made in a long time" from my relatively hard to please husband. If it's healthy, he's just not that into it, the more butter and grease the better so to have him rave about a healthy pancake is a good sign of success. So, here it is in all it's glory:

Fluffy Dairy Free Pancakes

Mix together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl:

2c flour (use whatever your family eats)
1/4c wheat germ
2T baking powder
1t sea salt

Mix in a separate mixing bowl:
1c almond milk
1/4c flax milk (or more almond milk if you don't have flax)
1 beaten egg
1T canola oil
water to thin to desired consistency (after mixing wet and dry ingredients together). Thicker batter=thicker pancakes, thinner batter=thinner pancakes.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stir well until well mixed and slightly lumpy. Pour over heated griddle, I heated ours to about 325 degrees F. Flip when edges are slightly dry, bubbles start to pop and the bottom is golden brown (or to desired darkness).
Serve with your favorite pancake toppings!