Family Fun & Play Day – for a cause

We’ve run two big events now all to raise money for our current cause which is a free screening of Project Wild Thing doco on the Sunshine Coast!
Each year we change our cause/charity that money is raised for from Primal Trial Packs and events we hold specifically. This cause has a money target because of the costs involved to make it happen, so it’s been a bigger effort to raise money for it and slowly but surely we’re getting there!

We set the target fo $500 a while ago and we’re currently at $350 just from 2 events and people who’ve completed Primal Trial Pack sessions with Clint. So we’re just $150 away!

Our recent event was a Family Fun and Play Day at Point Cartwright on the beach. Clint took a Primal Play class for kids and adults for about an hour, and it was so good to see adults getting into the activities as much as the kids were! At one point the parents were wrestling in Bull in the Ring with the kids just watching in awe, probably thinking “I didn’t know my mum could do that!” haha which was great to see!

Games included Poison Ball and variations of it. Clint swings a ball attached to string attached to a stick around for people to jump over and then duck down under it and jump back up again. The idea is to avoid being ‘poisoned’ by the ball!

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A Human Chair which had everyone in fits of laughter after it took Clint a while to get everyone in the right position for long enough for me to take a photo then everyone collapsed!

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Hip Tiggy, a game that always gets the heart rate up and the giggles flowing! The point of the game is to partner up and try to tap the other person between the hip and knee on each leg. Sometimes blocking is allowed, sometimes it’s not, and it takes thought for coming up with how you’re going to move to get out of the way of being tagged and how to get in there and tag the other person. It. Is. So. Much. Fun.!!!

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Probably the most outside-the-comfort-zone kinda game for many people is Bull in the Ring. Sadly today humans of all ages don’t physically interact enough, therefore making it feel strange to touch someone else who’s not a close friend or family member and in ways other than just a peck on the cheek, hug or handshake. Bull in the Ring gets people experiencing roughhousing and overcoming that strange feeling of touching another human who we barely know or who is a total stranger. Which is such a natural part of being a human! It also helps strengthen the mind and body because it’s such an all-over workout, takes thought with every move made and helps people ‘toughen up’ basically! Find out more about roughhousing here

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The Giant Human Knot was really fun! Clint usually does this with small groups in Primal Kids and Primal Fitness Classes so to give it a go with a huge group like this was… interesting! Everyone stood close together in a sort-of circle, held hands each with someone different to form a giant knot then tried to untangle themselves which took a lot of stepping over and under each other, twisting, turning, contorting.. it was so fun to watch and take photos of! A really great mindfulness activity, great for promoting laughter, human touch and interaction and gentle all-over movement.

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A big hit at classes and definitely a favourite with the kids at this event was Tiggy. Kids love this game! Clint added in Partner Tiggy as well which is where people partner up and have to work together (teamwork – an essential human skill!) to tag other teams if they’re up, and run away to avoid being tagged by who is up. Great for fitness!

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To finish the day we were lucky enough to have our good friend and amazing local Reiki and Energy Healing practitioner Suzi Jenkins from Indigo Earth Energies along to take a meditation session in the shade on the sand. It was lovely. Some of the kids even got into it, closing their eyes and following her guided meditation visualisation.

When we finished we were all so relaxed and peaceful, the perfect way to end a big play session!

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So how did we raise money from this? Well the event itself was by donation, and we were kindly given delicious raw paleo At One bars to sell as well as locally owned Coconut Groove cans of coconut water! All money from the sale of those was donated to the cause!

The bars and coconut water were enjoyed by everyone, and we’re so grateful to these wonderful sponsors and lovely people for supporting what we do 🙂

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Suzi, me and Clint

Thank you to all the lovely people who came along, donated generously, joined in on all the fun and helped make this a really amazing event!

As soon as we’ve raised enough we’ll organise a free screening of the Project Wild Thing doco. Find out more about the film here and how you can help!

See you at the next fundraising event or the screening when it happens!!

Aimee x

 

5 Things I’m Grateful For:

  1.  The events we hold for our cause being so much fun!
  2. Our amazing sponsors and supporters, in all that we do
  3. The country music I’m listening to right now because it makes me feel good
  4. The sun shining today and getting 50mins of it on my skin
  5. Cooking at the Ag Show this weekend, yay!

Just how did the first ever Paleo Camping Retreat go?

What happens when 3 modern cave-people who like good food, natural movement and spending time in nature get together and plan a weekend of fun for a group of people?

This!

10 people, 2 nights out in the country, camping in tents, surrounded by bush and wildlife, eating delicious healthy food and playing…

Otherwise known as the Paleo Camping Retreat 2015!

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2015 Paleo Camping Retreat campers and hosts – Primal A Team!

The 3 all-things-primal-loving hosts:

Me – Aimee Clark

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Clint Bauer

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Dan Barrett the Aussie Paleo Chef

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Where was this unique event held?

Well what better location than the beautiful Sunshine Coast, just past the hinterland, in the country town of Kenilworth.

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And we bet you’re wondering how an event like this came about in the first place?

Well late last year we caught up with Dan the Aussie Paleo Chef from Canberra while he was in Brissie for a cooking event. We all got along like a house on fire and became instant good friends. A couple weeks later he invited us to host a camping retreat with him, incorporating all the things we love and are passionate about. We took all of about 10 seconds to ponder the offer and give our response of… Hell yes!

How could we turn down as opportunity like that, when it was something we’d already wished we could do ourselves but knew we needed another awesome primal team member to actually make it happen?!

So it was official, we were going to host a Paleo Camping Retreat! Woo!

We set the date for 1-3 May and worked hard to plan the event and get lots of great sponsors on board. The week leading up was exciting, Dan was flying up on the Thursday, it started raining in the region over the middle of the week and then when Dan was on the plane flying up Thursday morning, we spoke to the owner of the property the retreat was being held at who told us there was going to be some serious flooding come Friday. So we made the sad decision to cancel the retreat. Boo! Poor Dan found out as soon as he landed!

We told our campers the bad news, sat down and worked out a new date…  July!! A couple more months to wait, we could do that…

It was hard waiting, again! But eventually mid-July rolled around, Dan was back up here and it was actually going to happen. It did rain a little during the week, of course, but nowhere near as much as last time thank goodness! Mother Nature just had to tease us didn’t she!

Day 1:

We spent Friday setting up the camp at the private Kenilworth property, with the day not going quite to plan and Clint ended up having to drive all around the Coast trying to collect food and other items, and didn’t get back to the campsite till late in the afternoon when our 7 campers were arriving. So Day 1 was a bit of a shemozzle but we got there. We helped our campers who were bringing their own gear set up their tents and beds, and had tents and beds set up for the others. We had already started a fire to get coals happening for the Roo Tail Stew Dan was cooking up for dinner. Our campers arrived to a nice smoky sunny welcome.. the best way to start a camping weekend!

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Because our day had gone way off track, we didn’t get to sit down and properly welcome everyone until late, and no one felt like doing much that evening, so we sat around the fire, waited for dinner and started to get to know each other.

What a great bunch of people we had… 5 adults, some Clint and I already knew, some we didn’t, and 2 teens created a diverse and interesting group of campers. Dan was looking forward to meeting everyone for the first time.

The stew for dinner was delicious, and really healthy, full of fresh organic produce supplied by Garry at Sunshine Organics, with local kangaroo tail supplied by a local chef and farmer. Then everyone was treated to paleo marshmallows to toast over the fire! One camper in particular, Shannon, told me she was so excited about these, even having a dream about them that night! She said she’d loved marshies growing up and was so happy to find a really healthy version of them. I was stoked to hear that of course!

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Browning the roo tail pieces on the fire

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Only lanterns and fire for light – such relaxing ambiance

Hot stew, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and a fire to warm us up

Hot stew, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and a fire to warm us up

The sky was a little cloudy so star gazing wasn’t an option but this cloud cover meant we’d be enjoying a warm night in our tents.

Day 2:

Us hosts were up at 6am to get a big cooked brekkie happening and slowly our campers started rising. Actually some took a little longer to get themselves up and out of their snugly warm sleeping bags, so I decided to walk around yelling loudly, threatening to eat all the fried eggs, bacon and sausages if they didn’t hurry up haha, that got ‘em up!

We boiled some water on the fire so folks could make a hot cuppa for themselves. We had Montville Coffee, Planet Organics teas and chocolate to choose from. As well as delicious raw and cinnamon creamed honey from Hello Honey Australia, and creamy coconut caramel and chocolate spreads from Niulife to create some magic in a mug. YUM! Along with the cooked goodies, and paleo granola from Analuca, brekkie sure was a feast!

Shannon enjoying a hot cuppa first thing

Shannon enjoying a hot cuppa first thing

We needed by be ready and raring to go by 8:30am for our guided Bush Tucker Tour with the property owner Graeme of Witjuti Grub Bush Foods Consulting. He walked us around his land and educated us about native bush foods. At that time of the year there’s not a lot of fruit available so he bought out some frozen foods for us to try on top of the few things we found on the walk. Some were sweet while some were sour. Ok I lie, most were sour! Bush foods are very rarely sweet, most have a tart flavour. Although strangely enough the Finger Limes that were fruiting all over about 3 bushes near our tents were actually quite sweet. A few of us were squeezing the ‘caviar’ out and sucking it down.. not what we’d expected. We expected to be pulling fish faces! So that was a nice, and tasty, surprise. I was stoked so many Finger Limes were available because I was using them in my Gelatin Demo that day.

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The bush tucker tour and chat begins

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Picking bush foods right off the plant

Native berries are often have very striking colours

Native berries often have very striking colours

Can't remember what this fruit was called but it was actually really sweet and tasty

Can’t remember what this fruit was called but it was actually really sweet and tasty

Bush foods for us to try

Bush foods for us to try

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Native Aussie foods are typically sour and tart as opposed to sweet, and these two aren’t quite sure what they think of this fruit!

After the educational start to the day, we served up morning tea with some Cave Foods and At One bars, Analuca trail mix, gelatin lollies made by me, nice cold Coconut Groove coconut water, and tea/coffee.

Healthy snacks for morning tea

Healthy snacks for morning tea

Next I gave my Gelatin Demo to a few eager beavers wanting to learn about gelatin, it’s benefits and how to use it. I made Finger Lime Panna Cotta (find the paleo panna cotta recipe here) which was for dessert that night. Those not watching had some free-range time to chill out. Some played, some read, some walked. Graeme stayed for the demo and was interested to see how bush foods can be used for healthy paleo dishes, yay, spreading the paleo love!

Clint was keen to get everyone up and moving after lunch so he took a Primal Play Workshop, teaching games and movements to help get the body and the mind working while improving fitness and having fun. Stick throwing/catching, medicine ball throwing/catching, Up Down No Hands, crawling, wrestling, tiggy, combo’s, it was a great mix of movements. Most campers hadn’t ever done that sort of thing before and one in particular, Nicole, got up and gave wrestling a go with Clint. She really stepped out of her comfort zone which was great to see!

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A game of Hip Tiggy gets the heart rate up and the laughter started

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Tog O War is fantastic for all-over strengthening

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Getting some coordination training in with throwing and catching a stick

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Weighted throwing and catching using a medicine ball (or a rock) is great too

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Tiggy through the camp ground!

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We moved to where the ants weren’t around and tried our hand at crawling

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Crab walking (or inverted crawling) plus a game of Crab Grab is hard but fun!

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Wrestling and rough-housing is natural for humans yet so many of us stop doing it past childhood, or never even did it during that time

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Nicole stepped outside her comfort zone and had a wrestle with Clint. We saw her confidence soar after that activity!

One of Clint’s favourite challenges to set is Facing the Flinch. Putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation to build tolerance and comfort level. His challenge this time was for us to jump into the freezing cold creek!!

Putting on brave faces while Facing the Flinch in the cold COLD creek!!

Yes, it really happened, most of us did actually take a dip! It was so invigorating and another confidence-building exercise which is always a positive thing. I remember trying to walk out of the creek onto the bank and found it really hard.. my legs were going numb haha that was sure an interesting experience!

After that chilly activity we got changed, warmed up by the fire and watched Dan get dinner ready. We were looking forward to Eumundi Beef topside and veggies roasted in the camp oven, followed by Finger Lime Panna Cotta I’d made earlier.

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The sun is setting and a fire brings a bit of light while Chef Dan chats about what’s on the menu for dinner

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YUM! Roast beef, veggies and paleo sausages!

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The campers dig into the night’s mighty feast

The pumpkin may have ended up a little mushy in the camp oven, but it didn’t bother anyone, overall the meal was delicious and followed by the panna cotta and more marshmallows, after which we walked to another part of the property away from the firelight to star gaze and chat, and it was a pretty good night really!

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Toasting marshmallows over the fire

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Then scoffing them down!

Camper Ross, a talented photographer, set his camera up overnight and captured these beautiful shots of the stars…

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Star trail

Can’t see stars like this in the city!

Check out Ross’s other amazing photos here

Day 3:

The final day of the retreat <sniff>. The campers woke seeming happier and more relaxed which was great to see.

We wrangled up brekkie for them, of eggs, bacon, sausages, Dan’s amazing tomato sauce, granola and whatever goodies were left in the camp kitchen!

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Happy and refreshed campers

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The last of the Walker Farm Foods pastured eggs cooked up over the fire.. deeelish!

After brekkie we took some time to wander around the property, enjoying the sunshine and warmer temp. Some spent time sitting by the creek, some picked more bush foods and some played.

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Spotted! We wandered off for some free-range time while the sun was shining and came across a kangaroo hopping through the property

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View through the trees and smoke haze

Dan and Clint doing some primal movement after brekkie

Dan and Clint doing some primal movement after brekkie

We really wanted to pack as much fun into the last day as we could, so Clint set the Slackline up between a couple of trees and let everyone have a go.

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Looking ahead toward the end of the slackline is a good tip for keeping balanced and moving forward

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Nicole again doing something completely new and receiving lots of encouragement from others

Shannon's turn

Shannon’s turn

Playtime ended and we decided to have a bite to eat before we had to pack up camp. A few of us foraged in the bushes for leaves to use for tea and came up with Nettle, Lemon Myrtle and Aniseed Myrtle. Boiled up and strained, the flavour was amazing! Even our bush tucker guide Graeme gave it double thumbs up!

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Freshly picked and brewed bush tucker tea

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Tea maker extraordinaire..!

Fresh tea plus some snacks for the road, we ensured our campers had full bellies before they left to travel home.

Shannon, who writes the blog Eat Well Travel Often, actually made a video of herself doing something outside of her comfort zone… trying the bush foods tea and eating roasted crickets! Check out her video here

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Anne enjoying the ‘Classic’ jerky thanks to our friends at Griffin Jerky

One of the downsides of camping would have to be the packing up part! Even though us hosts wanted to take care of most of that for our guests everyone chipped in and helped, so it didn’t take long at all. The trickiest part was folding the pop-up ensuites! But Clint working in a camping store is well practiced so he showed Dan and Shannon the technique!

Hold your tongue in just the right spot and it's easy to fold up these things..!

Hold your tongue in just the right spot and it’s easy to fold up these things..!

Once the campers were all packed and ready to go we organised one last activity… a Forest Therapy meditation session.

We all sat by the creek while I took a guided visualisation meditation using nature around us, to really relax and rejuvenate the group. It’s the perfect way to use the healing properties of nature to the fullest and something we enjoy teaching to people whenever we can.

The ideal spot for some Forest Therapy

The ideal spot for some Forest Therapy

That, sadly,  concluded the first ever Paleo Camping Retreat on the Sunshine Coast! Our campers then said their goodbyes, to us and each other, and off they went back home to their regular lives.. but hopefully feeling happier and healthier from a great few days in the hinterland.

We think they enjoyed the retreat if the feedback they shared afterwards is anything to go by…

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We want to thank all of our open-minded and lovely campers and all of our amazingly generous and helpful sponsors, you all helped make the first Paleo Camping Retreat a success and yes, there will be another!

We’re currently planning another retreat for Autumn 2016. If you’re interested in coming along, register your details here.

The sponsor list:

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Walker Farm Foods, Sunshine Coast Spring Water, Hello Honey, RumblesPaleo, Wippells Organic, Cave Foods, Sherwood Rd Organic Meats, At One, Planet Organic, Natural Evolution Foods, Analuca, Evolution Screenprinting, Ecology Skincare, Tassie Tallow, Niulife, Broth of Life, Primal Collective, Coconut Groove, Noosa Basics, Griffin Jerky, Emmely Rackemann Health Coaching, Eumundi Beef, Montville Coffee, Sunshine Organics

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To stay up to date with what Dan the Aussie Paleo Chef is creating in the kitchen, follow him on Facebook here and next time you’re in Canberra be sure to visit his cafe Elemental for a bite to eat!

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To purchase your own bush foods starter kit for your garden, or to organise a tour for a school/community group, contact Graeme at Witjuti Grub Bush Foods Consulting here.

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We hope to see YOU at the Paleo Camping Retreat 2016 here on the beautiful Sunshine Coast!!

Aimee x

MYTH: you can be too old to start moving naturally

Yep, true, you are never too old to start moving naturally!

Clint and I always get funny, curious and “I wish I could do that” looks from people when we’re out playing at the beach or the park. And by ‘playing’ I mean actually playing games and doing different natural movements the body is designed to do.

We also often get approached by older folk who aren’t afraid to ask what it is we’re doing and why, often with a response of “I would have been able to do that when I was younger, but I’m too old now”. We hear it ALL the time!

And while we totally respect the older generation, we must say… they’re wrong!

Natural movement isn’t exercise. Nor is there a minimum fitness level required. If you can move any part of your body then you can have a crack at natural movement and some of the types of movements and activities we do.

Sure, we may be able to jump and crawl fast on hands and feet and things like that. Which can look intimidating to some. But we couldn’t always do those things, we started from scratch as anyone would. Plus, jumping, fast crawling and other movements at a similar level are not the only movements people can do. Simply crawling on hands and knees is a good place to start.

Why? Because for some odd reason in this day and age, we go from being children to teens to adults and somewhere along the way we stop playing and moving the way we’re meant to. We instead start ‘exercising’, or not, we do less movement and are sedentary too much of the time.

This is not good! Movements like crawling are basic human movements. They’re not just for toddlers and kids. Same for playing and finding joy in movement. Why can’t a 50 year old play Tiggy with friends and actually have fun?! There’s no reason!!

We could go on and on about the benefits of natural movement and play and why adults should be getting into it. But we’re not going to get into that too deeply in this blog. The point of this post is to show you that YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO MOVE NATURALLY AND PLAY!

I’m going to use my mum as an example. She turned 60 in April (doesn’t look it though, must be all that gelatin and bone broth!) and a year and a half ago was hit by a car while she was crossing the street, which resulted in a badly broken wrist and a shoulder injury. Not to mention PTSD. Plus, she’s spent the last decade+ not doing a whole lot of moving. She used to workout and she used to walk A LOT. She still walks but no where near as much. AND she has an office job. That’s a whole lotta bad right there!

So… being 60, still recovering physically and emotionally from a major injury and not moving much in general equated to a lack of confidence, a lack of awareness of what she’s capable of physically and emotionally, and a lack of understanding of just how to move well.

When one is in that situation sometimes encouragement from someone else, and a little push in the right direction is needed.

We wanted to give mum a little nudge so last weekend we headed to the beautiful Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens in Tanawha to have a play with a friend from Brissie. Mum, me, Clint and Amanda. All very different fitness levels, but all just as capable of natural movement and play!

 

We started with a game of Frisbee to ‘warm-up’ (not that we think warming up is overly important but your typical not-yet-playing folk seem to think it’s necessary lol!). Before the Frisbee even got close to mum she was verbalising her lack of confidence with lots of “I can’t..” and excuses. Totally normal.

But within a minute, when she realised she could do it. Her words changed. And they continued to as the session went along; through push/pull activities, crawling, throwing, balancing on one leg and more.

At one point I had mum doing a combo of crawling on hands and knees, and throwing a rock. She threw the rock, and then would crawl to the rock, and repeat. I could really tell she struggled with coordination. Why? Because she hadn’t done those two movements since she was a kid! Without practice, of course something is going to be difficult. But the great thing about starting with basic movements is they’re pretty easy to pick up, they’re do-able therefore creating confidence.

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Once the session was finished mum was pretty pooped but felt good. She’d learnt a few areas that need work, such as balancing more on one leg than the other,  as well as crawling and throwing to become more comfortable with coordination.

To watch a short video on mum crawling and throwing, to give you an idea of how tricky it was for her at first, and how to actually perform these movements, click here.

Mum says she’s now looking forward to making natural movement a part of her lifestyle, because not only does she the need and benefit for her personally, but she’s taken that tricky first step of actually giving it a go and knows she’s more than capable.

 

We’re excited to see how she progresses, because we know it’ll only be a positive thing in so many ways, and because we care so much about her we’re keen to see the improvements it makes to her life.

 

So, if you’ve been one of those people often saying “I could have done that 20 years ago, but not now” or something similar, then now you know that’s not the case, and that you actually can do at least SOME form of natural movement and play.

We hope this has provided some inspiration to someone out there! Feel free to sneakily share the link in an email to your older loved ones you think might benefit from this, that gentle nudge might be all it takes to get them moving forward 🙂

 

Thanks for reading!

Aimee

Get grounded without going barefoot

Since my last barefoot-related blog post “Barefoot doesn’t = bogan” I’ve really become a big fan of barefoot. For myself personally, not just because of all the published benefits of it. I already knew how good it was for our health and since I’ve been going barefoot more and more often over the last few months I am totally inlove with walking and moving with no shoes on. Not just on comfy surfaces but almost everywhere. And the soles of my feet are toughening up the more I walk on rough surfaces, meaning I can walk on more rough surfaces and my feet are getting more used to it as I do.

Now.. I much prefer to be barefoot. I’m far more comfortable! Which is a really nice way to be!

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‘Comfort’ a word I don’t hear used very often. In life we use so many objects and put ourselves in so many situations that cause discomfort. Like high heels, chairs, heavy handbags, intense beauty regimes – none of which are natural for human beings and all of which cause some level of discomfort.

But I can honestly say I feel more comfortable being shoe-less these days.

At home (that was an easy one to master), at the beach (well it’s really just wrong to wear shoes on the sand!), walking on different pavement  surfaces (that one took some getting used to!), and even bush walking in our local national parks (sometimes encountering gravel patches.. that one REALLY took some getting used to!!).

And guess what? My heels are not cracked. I don’t have ugly feet. In fact.. my heels are much less cracked than when I used to wear flats to my part time office job before I started working solely from home, the thickness of the skin is increasing, and my feet actually ‘look’ nicer! (not that too many people are grabbing my feet for close inspections of how pleasing on the eye they might be. It’s more for my own opinion).

So you could say the barefoot experiment is going great guns. I love it!

BUT! Yes, there’s a but…

Sometimes barefoot just isn’t ok. Like when it’s bindi season here in South East QLD for example.. barefoot and bindis just don’t mesh. Unless of course you have actual caveman-thick feet and you can’t feel a bindi sticking into your skin. That would be really nice, but I’m not there yet.

And in the middle of Summer when it’s so hot the asphalt roads start to melt and even the lighter colour pavement can burn the sole of a foot to a crisp.. that’s another time barefoot doesn’t work too well.

And.. sometimes a gal just wants to wear shoes and not rock up at a meeting or event foot-starkers! It does happen from time to time!

So there are occasions when footwear is desirable. But when you’ve been going barefoot for a while, totally loving it and totally hating shoes.. what’s one to do?

Go minimal of course!

Most of you guys would have seen someone, at some stage, wearing a pair of Vibram Fiver Finger’s, right? Maybe you passed a jogger wearing them and you did a double-take glance at their feet? Or you met someone like Clint out about, noticed his shoes, and all of a sudden it was the main topic of conversation for the next hour?!

Clint’s worn them for a few years now. They’re his ‘fancy’ footwear. He wears them when he needs to ‘dress up’ for a special occasion (yes, he’s worn them to flash weddings! Luckily his current pair and mostly black and not super noticeable)  and he loves them for the times he can’t go barefoot for whatever reason.

Vibram FiveFingers

They’re probably the most common and well-known form of minimalist footwear.

Some may suggest thongs or sandals would be considered as ‘minimal’ but, in my onion, if they don’t mold to the foot and let the foot move as naturally as possible then they’re pretty much the same as wearing closed-in restrictive shoes. Plus I’ve come across plenty of articles talking about how harmful to our structure and health wearing thongs (or ‘flip flops’ to our American friends) can be. So not only are they not classed as ‘minimal’ but they’re also not great for us.

Then you’ve got the big brand versions such as the Nike ‘Free’ shoes. But they’re still closed in, therefore somewhat restrictive.

There are other types of true minimalist footwear such as Hauraches (tribal sandals, pronounced “hor-arch-eez”) which Clint has always wanted to make, and are essentially a rubber or other mold-able material laced with some type of cord.

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The positives of minimalist footwear? Well, heaps…

“The concept of returning to a more natural style of running was popularized by Christopher McDougall’s book, Born to Run. McDougall researched the Tarahumara Indians renowned for their ability to run barefoot for miles. McDougall found that the shorter, more repetitive stride you naturally take when running barefoot eliminated the heel pain he had been experiencing.

How? Running barefoot forces you to land on your forefoot and midfoot instead of your heel, as you do in the longer strides you take in constructed footwear. The result is more efficient transfer of energy; reduced impact on the joints in your feet, ankles, and knees; and strengthening of the muscles in your feet. Many people discover the same benefits McDougall has, which is one of the most compelling reasons so many of our customers are excited to try minimalist footwear.

Another big reason to try minimalist is, quite simply, it’s a lot fun. Having next to nothing on your feet is a liberating feeling that brings you closer to the earth in every way. You’re more aware of rocks, sticks, and subtle changes in terrain, and you can really feel the difference between running on grass, pavement, or dirt. Customers tell us that they feel like kids again and that they just plain enjoy their minimalist workouts more.”  ALL ABOUT MINIMALIST FOOTWEAR – Eastern Mountain Sports

Not only is minimalist and barefoot running and walking better for the body structurally, it’s also more fun, yay!

But one of the big downsides of wearing any kind of shoe – minimalist or not – is the fact you lose out on earthing.

Beautiful, healing, natural, necessary earthing. Being physically connected to the earth and being able to literally absorb it’s healing benefits.

Why would one want to miss out on that when they’re so used to being barefoot and automatically receiving earthing?!

Well, I definitely don’t enjoy wearing shoes knowing I’m not getting earthing. But then I found me Earth Runners and problem solved!

So what’s an Earth Runner?!

Well… a few months ago I stumbled upon a post somewhere on social media showing an image of a pair of sandal-type things that allow earthing through the sole. I don’t remember exactly where I saw it, it was maybe Instagram or Facebook. The company was Earth Runners and the info in the post really interested me so I looked up their website, had a good look, loved what I was reading and decided to get in touch. This mob makes a minimalist shoe that has little copper bits built in to the sole, that allow the earthing energies from the ground to go up into the foot!

Amazing!

The company was nice enough to give me a pair so I could try them out and review them. They seemed really excited to hear an Aussie talk about earthing and loving minimalist shoes, so they were happy to help me out, and I was certainly happy to give them a burl!

I was asked to visit the website and choose which style and size I wanted. Ooh, shopping online, so fun! I went with the Circadian, conductive with laces and when they arrived I was super pumped! It was still bindi season so this was good timing!

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My toy, fresh outa the box!

The first surface I wore them on was the tiles inside when I put them on for the first time. I managed to get them on pretty easily the first time but I did need to watch the instruction video just to understand how the laces worked and how to adjust. It was good because it showed me how to trim the excess leather so I didn’t have any lose bits to trip on.

So I walked around the house in them for a few minutes and I have to say.. if you get a pair and you have tiled or polished timber floors, be sure to wear them OUTSIDE first to ‘break in’ the soles so they’re not slippery! As soon as I walked in them on tiles I was slipping! But once I’d been outside on concrete and slightly scuffed the soles, they were fine and never slipped again. Good tip!

Over the last couple of months I’ve worn them on a variety of different surfaces in different conditions so I could become fully aware of their capabilities. Here’s where I’ve worn them and what I thought of those experiences…

Concrete foothpaths – I’ve walked long distances on concrete and found them really comfortable. If a lace isn’t tightened properly though there can be slight rubbing under the foot from walking a long period of time (as with many shoes and sandals) so it’s important to ensure they’re tight enough before setting off. But the clip is so easy to adjust you can tighten or loosen easily at any time. It’s just a flick of a part of the clip, a gentle adjustment of the leather strap then push clip down to secure. Easy!

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You can just make out the Earth Runner strap tan from my 1hr walk from Mooloolaba Esp to Maroochydore shopping centre on a sunny day!

Dirt and gravel paths – I wore these babies for a big bush walk in Kondalilla National Park a couple of weeks ago which was a good test for them on a variety of surfaces; from dirt/mud to gravel, and rocks. They went great on every single surface, always comfortable, and meant I could walk at a normal pace without the “ouchy ouchy ouchy” reaction of the gravel sections! The only time I took them off was at the bottom of the waterfall where it was all rocks, most wet. I prefer to walk barefoot when I’m climbing and exploring around areas like that. It feels good under my feet and the feedback my senses give me help me with agility and confidence moving across surfaces I’m still getting comfortable with.

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Testing out walking on rocks during a bush walk in the forest

Grass and sand – during a couple of visits to the country, walking on thick and long farm grass, I found these great. It was hot out there those days, there were lots of sticks, twigs, spiky plants, all sorts of things so for my soles to be protected but my feet not heating up and causing excess sweating or discomfort was terrific. I didn’t need to have closed-in shoes, so just having something under my feet was perfect.

Even just walking near home during bindi season was a blessing; not getting a single prickle stuck in my foot just walking to bring the wheelie bin in, woo!

Walking on sand is probably the most challenging surface because, as with all sandals and thongs, sand gets in between the foot and shoe! That’s just gunna happen, there’s no way to stop that. So just take the shoes off and enjoy the sand under the feet!

Wet – I’ve walked in the rain with them and on muddy and slippery rocks and logs. The tread is terrific. No problems at all.

Summary – so what do I really think of Earth Runners?

Within a couple weeks of wearing the Earth Runners regularly (walking to the shops, bush walking, etc) I noticed they started to mold to the shape of my foot. That’s great, that’s the bomb diggidy when you’re after minimalist footwear! Previously I was wearing Dunlop Volley’s as a minimalist alternative to standard joggers and when Clint was allowed the Vibram Fiver Finger’s in the family! But they only mold very slightly and only inside the shoe. They certainly don’t let the foot move as it should, it’s still restrictive in many ways. It’s a step in the right direction (pardon the pun!) but it doesn’t compare to a true minimalist option.

So I love that the Earth Runners have molded to my feet. They felt comfortable from the very start, but to shape to my foot means when I’m walking in them my feet are really free and moving naturally.

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Molding nicely to the shape of my foot

I also love that they didn’t rub anywhere unless I hadn’t tightened the straps enough. They didn’t rub on any of the parts of my foot they were touching; between the toes, on two spots on the top of my feet, around the heel, or underneath. Initially I was concerned they would. But the leather is so soft, unlike rubber on thongs, that the straps just felt like part of my feet!

I love that I can walk long distances in them on any surface and not have a sore back afterwards. Which I would get from any other type of shoe. I think because my arches are allowed to be strong and the support for the rest of my body, as they should, there’s no stress on my back. And because the shoes are so thin I’m having to walk almost as softly and gently (i.e. not slapping my foot down hard) as I would if I was totally barefoot. Which prevents a lot of pressure going up into the joints.

I love that I’m getting earthing while I’m wearing them. I’m not missing out on that huge barefoot benefit when I do need something under my feet for protection or comfort.

I love that they look nice. When I want to wear a shoe for the purpose of how I look, these look like a nice pair of sandals. I’ve even had compliments when people have looked down at my feet and said “Oh nice new sandals there!”. They look nice even after I’ve worn them in places that should have made them look worn or dirty – they don’t look dirty and I’ve not once washed them!! Bonus!

I love that they’re made of natural materials. I love that the base is Vibram meaning it’s incredibly durable (some are made with other brand soles but all are top quality and well-known). I love that they’ll last me ages therefore less money being spent on shoes and better for the environment throwing out less things and less synthetic things too!

I don’t do much running, a bit of barefoot technique sometimes in among my play sessions, and these puppies feel great when I do. Just a tip: when ordering online be sure to measure your feet accurately. As opposed to me who accidentally asked for a size slightly too big for my feet. Therefore when I run I need to make an effort to lift my feet a bit higher. Oops. But other than that, they’re amazing for running in!

Basically.. I love everything about them!

I am a big fan of Earth Runners and am more than happy to promote them to anyone and everyone! We are lucky enough to have an affiliate link set up on the website and blog, so you can easily grab a pair through us. We ONLY affiliate with brands we 100% trust and respect. So stay tuned for that!

Want a pair? Grab em here

Thanks to Michael and the team at Earth Runners for making these amazing shoes! Love your work guys!

Aimee

 

5 things I’m grateful for:

1. My pair of Earth Runners!

2. Getting earthing and healing energy from the planet

3. Now being more comfortable barefoot than in cushioned shoes

4. Bush walking

5. Raw honey. It’s really yum!

 

 

Barefoot doesn’t = bogan!

kids barefeet

If you follow Clint and I on social media or know us personally you’ll be very aware we’re big fans of going barefoot. Clint more so than me; he’s barefoot 90% of the time when he’s not at his part-time job that involves wearing shoes (which he loathes by the way!).

I tend to be barefoot when we play (as in exercise, but our version of that is ‘playing’) and often when we go to the shops (from the car in the carpark) or our ‘local’ Ground Organics in Mooloolaba for a cuppa (again, from the car). But the rest of the time I wear shoes. Always flat shoes mind you, no heels for me as they make my legs and lower back and very sore.

Though lately I’ve been thinking I’d like to wear shoes less often.

I know all about the long list of health benefits of walking barefoot, so why do I still wear shoes when I leave the house? Is there a need? Or is it due to the social stigma outside the privacy of our homes where we’re ‘expected’ to wear shoes out in public?

I think it’s a little of both.. I like to be comfortable and wearing flat shoes out and about means I don’t have to worry about stones, sticks, prickles, hot roads and the likes. And I also feel self-conscious that if I’m walking to the shops from my home barefoot I’ll look like a total bogan.

I’ve been questioning these issues a lot lately.

I do know that the more I go barefoot the more the soles of my feet will adapt to what I walk on and will feel less discomfort from stones and other rough surfaces. I can just look at Clint as an example.. his feet have definitely built up a tolerance and he can walk on rough surfaces just fine whereas when I give it a go, it feels painful or uncomfortable. So I know my feet can adapt, it just takes practice, as with anything.

With the other issue though, of “what will people think of me if I go out in public with semi-nice clothes on but no shoes on my feet?” … y’know what I realised? WHO GIVES A RATS?!! If I stop worrying about what others think then I relax a lot more and stop stressing out about it. If I walk to the supermarket with no shoes on and someone does think to themselves “gee, she looks a little daggy without shoes on” does it really matter? It actually doesn’t! Why? Well for one I can’t even hear them thinking that so, I can never know if someone is thinking actually that anyway! Maybe no one thinks that at all! So I shouldn’t be concerned about what thoughts others might have about how I look.

Also, if I’m barefoot and feeling physically more comfortable, isn’t that the main thing?! Wouldn’t we rather have more physical comfort, than not?

That’s how I’m starting to want to be living. More physically comfortable and less emotionally stressed. Who doesn’t want to be that way, really, deep down?!

I did an experiment the other day. I needed to walk to the nearby organic shop for a few bits and pieces and also wanted to check out a new raw cafe and grab a takeaway coffee. I had the urge to go barefoot. I only live about 15 minutes away from these places but walking all the way from home to the shops, by myself, not in exercise clothes, is something I’d never done before.

So.. I did it! And it was actually really liberating! I’m sure I got a few odd looks from passersby but I didn’t really care. Correctio… I chose not to care. My feet were happier and I was going outside my comfort-zone which takes a bit of courage, so I was feeling pretty darn good about myself!

The next day when mum was up from Brissie her and I decided to go to the same cafe (cos their coconut milk cappuccino happens to be absolutely delicious!) and had to make a few other stops along the way, so I went barefoot again. Two days in a row? You betcha! Again, I felt more comfortable then when I wear shoes and I enjoyed the experience.

What was the outcome of this little experiment?

Well firstly I found I really enjoyed being barefoot; it feels more natural and the more I do it the more I want to do it. My feet prefer it. I prefer it. I know it’s doing me good and that the more I do it the better it will be for the earthing factor, structural benefits etc etc etc.

Any negative effects?

Actually I did get 2 very minor blisters on the soles of my heels. On both feet, in the same place on both, a little patch felt sore for a day or two afterwards, which I think would be where my foot rubs the most while I’m walking. And that’s totally fine, they were gone in no time. The more I do it though, the more my feet will get used to it.

The third day it was a bit chillier weather, we were going to be out and about all day, at a cafe and also out on a farm, and since my heels were a little tender I opted for boots (which are years old and have molded to the shape of my foot, they feel like pillows, I love them!) to give my tootsies a break.

I wasn’t chickening out or going back to constantly shoe-footed, I just realised it’s best to start slow and build my feet up to barefoot.

I definitely plan to go barefoot a lot more often! Only thing is though.. I’m nervous about Summer time when those nasty little ground prickles called ‘bindis’ start popping up all over the place. I may need to come up with a minimal footwear alternative, and just try and go barefoot wherever there aren’t any prickles. Oh how I miss living in Darwin where prickles were non-existent!!

I now intend to help others break away from the ‘barefoot bogan’ stereotype and allow their feet the freedom they so deserve! I’m on a mission and I’m going to walk it with no shoes on! lol

Are you a shoe addict? Think you could never be a barefoot ‘bogan’? Want some damn good reasons to even start considering you could go barefoot some of the time? Then check out these handy links…

Dr Mercola

MindBodyGreen

Barefoot and Paleo

Are you a fan of going barefoot? Feel free to tell me about your own experiences and how you adapted (emotionally and physically!). I’d love to hear from you!

-Aimee

 

5 Things I’m Grateful For:

1. Our Paleo Lifestyle talk at Grub Organics last night

2. Slow cooked beef tongue – yum!

3. Gelatin hot choc

4. My organic container garden and the strawberries that are almost ready to pick

5. Spending time with mum on the weekend