๐Ÿค’ Immune boosting: what does it mean + how do we do it naturally?

It’s only early autumn, so why is everyone sick?

We’re already noticing a lot of people starting to get sick and it’s only early Autumn (we have theories around why this is) and Winter is getting closer so it’s time to discuss natural immune boosters for the whole family.

This blog we share some expert advice and education, along with our own experiences and tips.

From various things we do that can be lowering our immunity, to lots of ideas on how to boost it naturally.


What is “immune-boosting” all about?

“The immune system is essentially a three-layer system:

At its most basic is the skin and mucous membranes, which act as a physical barrier to prevent invasion from foreign bodies and other antigens, such as parasites, bacteria, viruses and toxins.

The second layer is known as the innate immune system, a broad-acting, short-term, non-specific immune response to pathogens such as bacteria or viruses.

A third layer is the most complex. At its root is a population of white blood cells known as lymphocytes that have a cellular membrane embedded with thousands of identical receptors that are used to recognize and bind to specific antigens and mount an immune response locally. However, if the infection is too large, the lymphocytes secrete a molecule that alerts helper T cells that combine with the molecule as well as fragments of antigens to form a type of cell called a lymphoblast, which then secrete a variety of interleukins that provides a more powerful type of immune response. These cells can also promote the growth of cytotoxic T cells, thought to destroy tumorous cells or cells infected with viruses.

A third class of immune cells, known as phagocytes, meanwhile, work by engulfing microbes or other unwanted products in the bloodstream. The main phagocyte is the macrophage, which means โ€œbig eaterโ€ based on its ability to gobble up foreign substances.” Mark’s Daily Apple

Getting the body to a point where it can handle exposure to various common sickness ‘contributors’ and not be obviously affected (i.e. getting sick) is a nice place to be!

At the sickest time of my life when my immunity was shot, I was knocked down with a bug of some kind on a monthly basis. I was not living, I was existing. I was miserable.

Since then I’ve had bouts of low immunity on and off and would be out of action for a week at a time. Over the years as I’ve build my foundation health up that’s totally changed and now I rarely get sick and it’s only for short periods. It’s so nice!

๐—ฆ๐—ผ ๐˜„๐—ต๐˜† ๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฑ ๐˜‚๐—ฝ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ถ๐—บ๐—บ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐˜†? ๐—ง๐—ผ ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐˜‚๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜!


Happiness + the immune system are linked

“…research has consistently shown a clear and positive link between happiness and physical health. A significant connection has been made between happiness and our immune system functioning. Eg, undergraduate students exposed to the common cold virus or the flu after being exposed to the happiness condition (funny videos) were less likely to get sick, and reported less severe symptoms in comparison to those not exposed to the happiness condition. Several studies found similar results; those exposed to some variation of the happiness condition demonstrated a more positive outlook on life and a related strengthening of their immune systems.

What is the secret to a healthy immune system? Is it as simple as smiling? Well, no, especially if the smiles are fake! Research shows that when people, especially women, fake their smiles, there is a clearly negative impact on mood and productivity. But, when people focus on pleasant thoughts and memories, and their smiles are authentic, their moods and productivity improve.

Happiness is related to many benefits, including improved relationships, a positively changed immune system and a longer life. So how do we increase our levels of happiness?”

Some suggestions include:

– Identifying negative people, news and situations we’re being exposed to and distance ourselves from them whenever possible. Even just not watching the news every day or unfollowing sad news and upsetting Facebook pages can help!

– Train the brain to be more positive using different methods, finding those that feel helpful and work for you. From positive affirmation writing, meditating (guided or not), finding people to have positive conversations with, seeing a counsellor or psychologist, creating a vision board etc.

– Have self-compassion and forgiveness. Yes it’s important to take responsibility for our choices but we also need to show compassion to ourselves, forgive and move forward.

– Find your values. What’s important to you in your personal and professional lives? What are your short and long term goals? What’s your ‘happy’?

๐˜ฝ๐™ค๐™ค๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™๐™–๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™š๐™จ๐™จ + ๐™—๐™ค๐™ค๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™ž๐™ข๐™ข๐™ช๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ฎ!


8 ways to weaken the immune system

From environment, to food, medicine + lifestyle, we’re surrounded by things that supress our immune system.

๐Ÿฌ Sugar
In particular refined sugars and high-sugar fruits. Yep fruit! We’ll myth-bust another day but a common one is that fruit is a health-booster. It’s not, and the sugar in fruit along with standard processed sugar significantly lower immune function. Even healthier versions like coconut sugar. The only moderately healthy sugar is local raw honey.

๐Ÿ˜ด Poor sleep
You may think you sleep fine but it’s hard to tell when you’ve had a truly good nights sleep and are getting it regularly. We’ll look at sleep as topic another week but if you think you MAY not be sleeping brilliantly, it could be impacting your immunity.

๐Ÿท Alcohol
Pretty obvious, but even that glass of organic wine every night could be compromising your immunity. Sugary alcohol is even worse but alcohol in general has major impacts on our health.

๐Ÿ’Š Drugs, medications + antibiotics
This is a big category and one that is often unknown to parents, especially with so many kids being on ASD meds. There’s research on hundreds of different drugs are suggesting they increase a personโ€™s susceptibility to infection by crippling immune function. Researchers found that certain people taking antibiotics had reduced levels of cytokines – the hormone messengers of the immune system.

๐Ÿฅช Grains
Grains, in particular modern and refined, are highly inflammatory. Even that organic ancient-grain sourdough bread you switched to. Grains are grains and the human body does not process them well.

๐Ÿ˜ž Chronic stress
Humans are designed for short bursts of stress, like when we used to have to try and get away from predators, not long-term worries. When something eats away at us over a long period of time it massively reduces immune ability.

๐Ÿ˜๏ธ Lack of sun + nature time
We need direct sunlight exposure at various times of the day, fresh air and earthing to heal and to improve immunity. Most of us get no where near enough sun or nature time.

๐Ÿงช Chemicals
In food, body and cleaning products, antibacterial gels etc. Chemical over-load hugely contributes to impaired immunity.


Immune-booster myth-busting

This could be a really long post but we can fit so many characters here! So let’s focus on some less common and probably more shocking myths around immune-boosting…

Myth: Fruit + veggies are good immune-boosters

Plant foods contain natural defences that the human body doesn’t cope with trying to process all the time. There are more anti-nutrients than nutrients and only way to reduce the level of anti-nutrients is to slowly lowly cook them down or soak them out, and aim for the least inflammatory types in general. E.g. berries + avocado are much easier on the body, and slow cooking root veggies to break them down and allow the gut to process them goes a long way.

This goes for green smoothies + green veg too!

We actually get more and bio-available (easily digested) essential nutrients from animal foods (meat, eggs, fat, offal). Fruits and veg don’t contain all of the vitamins and minerals we need either whereas eating nose-to-tail can.

Myth: Wearing sunscreen is healthy

Wrong! For one thing most are full of chemicals which definitely reduce immunity and another, blocking the nutrients from the sun absorbing into our skin means we don’t get essential Vitamin D which is one of the most effective immune boosters.

Myth: Regular detoxes are good

The body can detoxify itself effectively on a daily basis if given the right environment. Short bursts of specific detox protocols can have a short-term noticeable improvement but actual long-term negative impacts to our health if done regularly. Simply reducing inflammatory foods and lifestyle habits can help the body detox naturally, then by adding in nourishing foods like bone broth and offal can enhance detoxification and boost immunity.

Myth: Chicken noodle soup is good if you’re sick

A paleo version yes! But standard types? No. Why? The grains in the noodles and the inflammatory ingredients in the flavourings are the main culprits here. The slow cooked veggies are ok but a better option would be plain organic bone broth. Add some konjac or zoodles in, some cooked chicken and low inflammatory herbs for flavour.

Any of those surprising to you?


Tips for boosting immunity naturally

Here are some ideas you can implement to try to boost immunity naturally..

Going paleo
By reducing/eliminating common inflammatory foods and adding in healing foods we can greatly improve the function of our immune system. An initial detox period can make us feel worse before we feel better but this is natural and ok. We are so much healthier since going paleo 10+ yrs ago.

Upping mineral intake
Most of us are deficient in essential minerals. Siim Land has some amazing info on this but what we do is eat animal-based paleo (offal in particular contains essential minerals) and drink Sole once or twice a day. If you want more info on Sole let us know!

Lots of sun + nature time
Exposing the skin and eyes to natural direct light at various of times of the day, including Vitamin D time, getting fresh air and earthing all greatly help improve immunity.

Try alternative therapies + practices
We like to think of every method out there as ‘tools in our toolbox’ and that no one way is a fix-it-all. We like to use acupuncture, massage, NLP, meditation, journaling, psychology, chiropractic to name a few, when we need. And there are lots more out there!

Make time for ‘happy’ time
We’re ALL busy. Who do you know who isn’t?! But no matter how busy we get it’s important to make time for ‘happy’ time daily. Whether it’s chilling out watching your fave TV show, hobbies and interests, going for a walk, getting some retail therapy… whatever it is that makes you feel genuinely happy, do it!

Low-tox living
See our previous blog to find the info about how to reduce chemical use, especially on the skin and swap for natural options.

Move more + move better
Chronic over-exercising will deplete your system, especially cardio but a balance of natural movement, play, strength training and walking are wonderful!

Bluelight blocking
Avoiding artificial bluelight at night is so helpful, especially in the eyes by wearing amber glasses.

Sleep well
Good, deep, long sleep at night, most nights, hugely improves immunity. A cold room and earthing can help!


Aimee’s experience with really low + really good immunity


Bonus: nutrient-dense immune-boosting recipe

Offal is by far one of the best types of foods to consume to help improve immune function and overall health and well-being. Packed full of essential and bio-available minerals animal organs such as heart, liver and kidney are worth bringing into the family diet but we know that can be challenging as we have personal experience with hating offal and slowly getting more and more used to it then eventually loving it!

So we’re here to help and a great recipe to try is beef mince and liver patties, along with an optional tomato sauce recipe which is there mostly for the really sensitive/picky eaters who need to drown out the meat flavour with sauce! The patties with a side of pastured eggs is a far better option but the sauce could get you over the line getting family members just eating offal, and that’s a win in our books!

Check out the recipe here

If eating offal isn’t an option, or if you and the kids can only manage a little (which may not be enough), another option is to take offal capsules. We’ve recently started doing this and are noticing instant improvements to our health. It saves buying and cooking offal, so it’s definitely a convenience option.

Check out the website for our friends at Ancestral Nutrition and stay tuned for another blog all about our experience with offal whole and supplements!


I hope this information and our perspectives and experiences help you and your family on your journey to better health! Please comment if you have any questions.

Clint + Aimee

Natural Fitness + Lifestyle Coaching | Visit our website: Primal Influence | Follow us on socials: Facebook + Instagram

Disclaimer:

This disclaimer governs your use of Under the Primal Influence Blog. By using this website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, do not use Under the Primal Influence Blog or any affiliated websites, properties, or companies. We reserve the right to modify these terms at any time. You should therefore check back periodically for changes. By using this website after we post any changes, you agree to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.

All information and resources found on Under the Primal Influence Blog are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, therapist, or your mother, and I donโ€™t play one on the internet.

The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

None of the posts and articles on Under the Primal Influence Blog may be re-printed without express written permission of the author. Primal Influence will respond to written requests to re-print parts of posts and excerpts/quotes (10% or less) may be reprinted with attribution as long as all links are left intact.

๐Ÿ‘ฃ Balance for Kids: the importance of this skill + how to help kids become better at it

Balance is like a muscle. If we donโ€™t use it we lose it. And we need to have good balance at all ages. This blog focuses on balance for kids (another post will be all about adults) from why having good balance is so important, why some kids don’t have good balance, how to get kids balancing better (including ASD kids) + more.

It’ll be a nice balanced approach… ๐Ÿ˜‰ (with hopefully a couple more puns thrown in cos puns are great! haha)

Having good balance not only helps kids physically but also emotionally. Having good balance in an indoor environment is totally different to outdoor environments, and different outdoor environments have pros and cons with balance, so there’s a few things we can dig into this week that should provide new perspectives and ideas to you guys – especially if you’re a parent or childhood worker/educator.


Why kids need good balance + what that even looks like

Technical jargon time…


Balance is the ability to maintain a controlled body position during task performance, whether sitting at a table, walking the balance beam or stepping up onto something. To function effectively across environments and tasks, we need the ability to maintain controlled positions during both static (still) and dynamic (moving) activities.

Static balance + the ability to hold a stationary position with control. Dynamic balance is the ability to remain balanced while engaged in movement.

Technical talk outta the way…


When we talk about kids needing good balance we ultimately mean that they can walk across a branch confidently, comfortably and with control. Many of the kids we work with would say they have “good balance” and can get across a balance beam easily, but what they actually have is momentum and speed! Most kids these days can’t walk along a balance beam on the ground with control let alone up on a higher object or from object to object.

Good balance and coordination allows a child to be involved in the sports and other physical activities with a reasonable level of success as it aids fluid body movement for physical skill performance. This is helpful in maintaining self regulation for daily tasks and developing a social network and achieving a sense of belonging in a community or social setting.

๐™Ž๐™ค๐™ข๐™š ๐™—๐™š๐™ฃ๐™š๐™›๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™œ๐™ค๐™ค๐™™ ๐™—๐™–๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™ก๐™ช๐™™๐™š:

– reduced risk of injury
– stronger joints, muscles and bones
– confidence and self-esteem
– the ability to get more out of natural environments


Why some kids have bad balance + what to look out for in your child

Some of the many contributors of poor balance ability include:

– ASD which can contribute to poor motor skills
– Too much indoor time
– Lack of environmental variety exposure (e.g. child uses one particular playground and doesn’t play in other types of environments including nature spaces)
– Too much tech-time (this can lead to simply not enough physical movement time, and also the looking down and forward at a screen effects neck mobility and structure which can effect balance ability)
– Over-protective parents/caregivers who disapprove of nature play and balancing on various objects at various heights
– General low confidence and self-esteem which can prevent kids from playing and exploring what their body’s are capable of
– Eyesight and ear problems
– General lack of physical strength and capability (poor core strength etc)
– Diagnosed balance disorders

Kid Sense ๐™๐™–๐™จ ๐™จ๐™ค๐™ข๐™š ๐™–๐™™๐™ซ๐™ž๐™˜๐™š ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™๐™ค๐™ฌ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ก๐™ก ๐™ž๐™› ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™˜๐™๐™ž๐™ก๐™™ ๐™๐™–๐™จ ๐™ฅ๐™ง๐™ค๐™—๐™ก๐™š๐™ข๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™—๐™–๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ค๐™ง๐™™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ…

If a child has difficulties with balance and coordination they might:
– Fall easily, trip often or canโ€™t โ€˜recoverโ€™ quickly from being off balance
– Move stiffly (e.g. run like a โ€˜robotโ€™)
– Avoid physical activity (e.g. playground use, sports)
– Be late to reach developmental milestones (e.g. crawling and walking)
– Be slower than peers to master physical skills (e.g. bike riding, swimming or tree climbing)
– Be less skilful than their peers in refined sports participation
– Push harder, move faster or invade the personal space of others more than they intend
– Be fearful of new physical games or scared of heights that don’t faze their peers
– Have difficulty getting dressed standing up
– Have trouble navigating some environments (e.g. steps, kerbs, uneven ground).
– Tire more quickly then their peers or need to take regular short rest periods during physical activity.

These are very common with the kids we work with and we LOVE helping kids overcome these challenges and balance better!


Balancing indoors vs on playgrounds vs in nature

You guys probably think we’re going to say we believe ultimately kids should be capable balancers in nature… and you’d be right about that! But why do we feel that way? And do we think any other environments are beneficial? ๐Ÿค”

Indoor environments

Have a lot of benefits to kids needing help improving balance. Heck, half of our clients come from local OT’s who work indoors and for good reason! Practicing physical skills indoors removes a lot of issues associated with kids who have a variety of sensitivities with weather, light, noise, textures, animals/bugs etc, common for kids on the spectrum. Also, it’s safer. For kids who need to begin in a controlled and minimal environment, indoor balance practice is perfect. Starting here with the intention of getting them outdoors eventually is ideal (why many OTs send kids our way, we can help them when they’re ready for that next step).

But.. let’s compare this kind of scenario to say a gymnastics child who’s a competent balancer indoors on high beams… it doesn’t mean they’ll be awesome at balancing outdoors, maybe ever, because the environment inside is so controlled and limiting. Outside balancing is totally different!

What about playgrounds?

Well they’re outdoors so that’s positive and those build more ‘natural’ and with different levels, surfaces, thickness of objects etc is great but if a child is usually playing at the one playground, or never really plays and balances in other environments, they’ll be missing out. Playground equipment has a place, for sure, but can definitely be very limiting. Playground play doesn’t fully equip a human with how to move in their most natural way and in the most natural surroundings (i.e. nature).

Balancing in nature

Is ultimately the best environment. Being capable at moving in different weather elements, on varying surfaces, at varying heights, in various ways is what all kids should be. But it’s not possible for all kids to be good at balancing in nature at all times.

So we believe kids should be ‘Jacks of all environments’ and play indoors, outdoors, everywhere!


A simple better-balance exercise to do with kids

One of my favourite ways to get kids to slow down and control their walking across a beam (so it’s not just their momentum getting them across) is to incorporate stepping over a pool noodle. It’s soft and safe, if I’m holding it I can adjust the height for the individual child (making it easier or harder for them), it’s fun and the addition of stepping over an object requires more focus and stability.

Simply place a timber beam (2×4 timber from the hardware store) on the carpet or grass, position yourself halfway along crouching down and ask the child to walk across the beam and step over the noodle you’re holding out over it.

Encourage them to take it slow, think about their steps, steady themselves to step over the noodle without touching the floor/ground, then as they get better at this you can speed things up, make it harder by increasing the height of the noodle, getting them to step over it a couple times in a row, walk backwards and step over backwards, sideways etc. This simple exercise has so many variations and opportunities for increasing the difficulty therefore improving the development and ability of the child ๐Ÿ‘

Turn it into a game, have a go yourself, find ways to make it fun for everyone.


Why barefoot is best + tips for achieving this

Wearing regular shoes regularly changes the shape of our foot which limits mobility, strength and flexibility, impairing all movement not just balancing. We know balancing is a really important foundation human skill, so by wearing shoes we hugely restrict our ability to master this skill.


When barefoot toes can spread, arches can contract, and nerve endings can switch on to what’s beneath and send proper messages to the brain, all making getting better at balancing easier.

Most kids I work with wear shoes to sessions for various reasons, I encourage them to kick ’em off and play without, and balancing is one of the main activities this is so important. When a child’s foot is connecting to the beam or log underneath they can feel it properly, they can grip better with their toes and they can get used to the different textures and temps.


The toes of a human foot are meant to measure WIDER than the rest of the foot for the purposes of gripping! When we spend more time moving naturally without any shoes on our toes can learn to spread.


๐™๐™ž๐™ฅ๐™จ ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™œ๐™š๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ ๐™ž๐™™๐™จ ๐™—๐™–๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™จ๐™๐™ค๐™š๐™จ ๐™ค๐™ฃ:

– be the example and balance barefoot yourself- start off on ‘easy’ surfaces re texture. Instead of starting on a rough log, start on a smooth piece of timber or similar

– create goals + rewards for kids balancing barefoot (some of our kids have started going barefoot more often cos they want the ‘Barefoot’ Primal Kids Badge!)

– encourage barefoot time throughout the day, as often as possible, everyday. The more time we spend barefoot the stronger our feet become barefoot and the more used to it we get.

– buy toe socks and barefoot shoes if texture is still a big issue (see previous Barefoot posts)


I hope this information and our perspectives and experiences help you and your family on your journey to better health! Please comment if you have any questions.

Clint

Natural Fitness + Lifestyle Coaching | Visit our website: Primal Influence | Follow us on socials: Facebook + Instagram

Disclaimer:

This disclaimer governs your use of Under the Primal Influence Blog. By using this website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, do not use Under the Primal Influence Blog or any affiliated websites, properties, or companies. We reserve the right to modify these terms at any time. You should therefore check back periodically for changes. By using this website after we post any changes, you agree to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.

All information and resources found on Under the Primal Influence Blog are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, therapist, or your mother, and I donโ€™t play one on the internet.

The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

None of the posts and articles on Under the Primal Influence Blog may be re-printed without express written permission of the author. Primal Influence will respond to written requests to re-print parts of posts and excerpts/quotes (10% or less) may be reprinted with attribution as long as all links are left intact.

Benefits of Barefoot: Your feet are stronger than you think!

Why are we such big fans of being barefoot? Two main reasons.

๐Ÿญ. ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ด๐˜๐—ต + ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ถ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜๐˜†. Not only does the foot benefit from being allowed to strengthen and work as it’s naturally designed, the rest of the body does too. The arch is designed to be super strong and stable but using artificial props and cushioning doesn’t allow it to be as strong as it’s meant to be, nor the ankles, knees, hips, back and neck. Walking and being physically active while barefoot, in a variety of conditions and environments, allows the foot to do it’s thing and therefore benefit the entire body. By using props and cushioning for long periods of time we can actually do harm to our joints, the opposite of why they’re worn!

๐Ÿฎ. ๐—˜๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด. The benefits of earthing are well-known (even by doctors) yet still pretty underrated for the most part. When our feet connect to the earth (rocks, dirt, sand, grass, even concrete works) outside in nature we allow the natural cyclical pulsed negative charge in, balancing out the positive charge created in our body during regular day-to-day activities, which greatly impacts our health.

Strength + Stability: Information from experts

“The feet are a beautifully complex part of the body, with 26 bones, 33 joints, 4 layers of muscle and up to 200,000 nerve endings in each foot! They are our primary point of contact with the ground and so serve as our foundation for both movement and sensation, helping our whole body organise itself and adapt to our environment. This is why it is so important not to disrupt the natural function of the feet – our balance and coordination rely on both the ability to feel the ground and to move in response to the changes we feel! The muscles and joints of the feet also rely on changes in pressure and texture on the ground (for example grass, rocks, sticks, leaves etc. in a natural environment) in order to be healthy.

“our balance and coordination rely on both the ability to feel the ground and to move in response to the changes we feel”

Of course there are times when having some level of protection from the elements (extremes of heat/cold, sharp and/or poisonous things) is very important – this is where footwear can help. Unfortunately modern footwear significantly disrupts natural foot function – layers of cushioning, raised heel, narrow toe box and the rigid body in most shoes (including athletic/running shoes from โ€˜goodโ€™ brands) essentially blindfold the feet and greatly restricts movement. There are now plenty of companies offering โ€˜naturalโ€™ footwear which allow the foot to function as close to barefoot as possible.

Photo from The Foot Collective Australia

So for the health of our feet (and our whole body), one of the best things we can do is spend as much time as possible barefoot, outside and on a variety of natural surfaces! This gives us the chance to build a natural resilience and adaptability that protects us from aches, pains and injuries throughout our lives. If we canโ€™t be barefoot for whatever reason, we need to be wearing shoes that promote the natural function of the feet – this is especially important for young feet that are still developing and are most responsive to challenge and exposure!”

Thanks to James Dooner – Physio + Director of The Foot Collective Australia for this great info!


“For many decades we have been conditioned to believe we need to support our feet with tools such as shoes and orthotics.

But did you know that feet have hundreds of muscles, tendons and ligaments that are more than capable of supporting your feet, whilst optimising your balance and movement performance.

If you have become over reliant and dependant on artificial foot support, I would encourage you to begin rebuilding the strength and connection to your feet rather than masking the dysfunction.” – Paul Thompson The Barefoot Podiatrist

We know from personal experience being barefooters now for close to a decade, we feel a lot stronger all through the body because our feet are strong.

Here’s an interesting story…

A few years ago I did some mystery shopping work and one of the retail stores I had to assess was Athletes Foot. The staff member took me through the process of using the foot print machine to work out my foot structure to then find the right types of shoes for me. When I was finished using the machine he said, sounding very surprised, the results showed my arches were strong and my feet didn’t need any support, just neutral-style joggers. I certainly wasn’t shocked! I knew my feet were strong!


Earthing: What is it and how to get it

Earthing (or grounding) is a process of naturally connecting your body to the Earthโ€™s natural and powerful energy by exposing your bare feet to the ground and natural surfaces. More so grass and dirt but rocks and sand work and even concrete allows some earthing energy through.


Basically it reduces oxidative stress in the body and promotes healing.

The main benefits it can have to our health are:

– improve quality of sleep

– reduce inflammation in the body

– boost immunity and reduce infection

– reduce stress and promote calmness

– promote healing and reduce pain and injury severity

– increase energy level

– improve blood circulation and heart health

How to get earthed when outdoors, indoors, and wearing shoes:

Obviously, the best way to get earthing is to spend time barefoot outdoors on natural surfaces, in particular on grass and dirt, but also on rocks, sand and even concrete work too (not bitumen though). The longer we’re barefoot outside the more benefits we receive and for a longer period.

Clint and I live in a townhouse with a concrete paved courtyard and as I work on a computer indoors most of the time, I can feel it drain me of energy so I make time in the afternoons (on fine days) to take my laptop outside to work, with my feet on the ground. I definitely feel better from it and even find I crave it most days.

Earthing while indoors:

There is such a thing! By using earthing products! We’ve been big fans of earthing bed sheets and foot mats for many years and always recommend them to our clients, especially those who simply can’t get much outdoor barefoot time in their day or week. There’s a huge variety of indoor earthing products to choose from and lots of information and scientific info to be educated on and to back-up the claims that they actually do work.

Personally we use and recommend EarthingOz products – feel free to use our affiliate link to check out what they offer and grab something for yourself and/or your family members.

My mum used to live in a unit with no access to outdoor barefoot time. She didn’t have a yard or a nice park nearby, she wore shoes to walk to the bus to work in the city in an office most days and wore shoes on her days off. She started using a foot mat while watching TV and reading, and a sheet on her bed at night, and reported she noticed definite improvements to her quality of sleep.

Wearing shoes and earthing:

The only way to get earthing while wearing shoes is to wear shoes with copper plates in the soles that touch the foot and the ground at the same time. Not many companies make these one but that does, Earth Runners, have a variety of sandals and even shoe kits to turn your regular shoes into earthing shoes, as long as you don’t mind making a permanent hole in the soles!

Check out my latest blog post and honest Earth Runners review and style comparison here (with a link to my previous review too).

I wear my Earth Runner sandals ALL the time, I absolutely love them and I’ll be a forever fan of them I’m sure. They’re a great shoe for protecting my soles and allowing me to get grounding at the same time.


How to transition to barefoot:

  • Start slow if you’re not already moving around outdoors with no shoes on. Start on ‘easy’ surfaces and build up. Even a walk on soft sand at the beach, for newbies, can be incredibly harsh on the foot and leg muscles and bring on soreness and tension that can last for days. It can help to take the shoes off and walk/move for short periods, put the shoes back on when needed, and build up to longer periods barefoot over time. If you’re rarely ever barefoot at the moment then start with being barefoot inside the house – that’s level 1!
  • Utilise your home outdoor ground spaces even if there’s concrete. Instead of slipping the shoes on to hang the washing up outside, do it barefoot. Walk to the letterbox and take the bins out without shoes on. Sit outside barefoot to eat meals and have a cuppa. Do some gardening and maintenance without shoes on too.
  • Find nearby barefoot-friendly nature spaces such as beaches, parks and playgrounds to take the kids to barefoot, walks to go on (walk off the path to get far more earthing), to play outdoor games at without shoes on… without prickles and spikey seed pods which are common in Australia!
Barefoot beach walks – great for strength, stability and earthing
  • Try out bushwalking without shoes on for even some of the time, if not all. Depending on where you live and what tracks you have access to, some tracks might be ‘man made’ and too hard underfoot but the natural paths are a great place to start becoming used to being barefoot and getting lots of earthing. Take your usual walking shoes but spend some some not wearing them, get your feet used to the different surfaces and textures, putting the shoes back on when you need to.
  • Wear ‘barefoot’ shoes such as Earth Runners or Vibram Five Fingers (aka toe shoes). Or choose from one of about a zillion other brands now on the market! From office shoes to snow boots, to casual laced shoes, there are so many options now to suit most lifestyles and work situations. Starting out by swapping regular joggers/athletic shoes to Dunlop Volley’s is a great option because they’re flat, wide, affordable and long-lasting. My pair were about $25 which was a nice change from the $180+ I used to spend on Asics and all the other fancy unnecessary joggers I wore for years.
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My Vibram Five Finger shoes I wear as my ‘uniform’ and sometimes out walking – they allow my toes to spread naturally and my arches to do the job they’re designed to do
  • Use good foot health practices such as rolling on a plastic spikey ball at night while watching TV to help loosen up the muscles and tendons in the feet (watch this video of Clint demo’ing how to do it), soak your feet in warm Epsom or Magnesium Flake foot baths regularly, and wear toe spreaders to help correct your toe alignment (our toes are meant to measure wider than the rest of our foot by the way!).
  • Practice natural movement by looking into MovNat, finding MovNat, CHEK and other holistic movement practitioners and programs online or in your area. We’re huge fans of MovNat, Clint’s a certified trainer, and we love that they promote barefoot and natural movement together (indoors and outdoors).
Clint doing some natural movement in the trees – walking, balancing, split squats, turning etc while barefoot for better stability
  • Get advice from a barefoot practitioner such as a podiatrist or physio who specialise in and promote barefoot living.
  • Stop listening to conventional wisdom and believing clever marketing telling us we need expensive joggers, arch support and pointy toe shoes for fashion. We don’t. We can heal and strengthen our feet without any of that.

I wish you all the best on your barefoot-more journey! If you have any questions please get in touch!

Aimee

Natural Fitness + Lifestyle Coaching | Visit our website: Primal Influence | Follow us on socials: Facebook + Instagram

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Family WildTime Camp adventures

The very first Family WildTime Camp event was held 31 June – 2 July 2017 on the Sunshine Coast, and it was absolutely fantastic!

We’d worked with our co-host Carly from Natureweavers previously and we all knew we just had to ย organise a sleep-over version of what we all do and love with our regular services and programs. So we made it happen!

The goal was to provide families with a true nature camping experience, including some ‘wild’ elements with the environment around and the activities, plus some ‘luxury’ by doing all the cooking, washing and organising for them so it was an ‘easy’ camping trip for them and theyย could get the most out of the workshops and time there.

On the Friday afternoon we welcomed 16 campers to our semi-wild space camp facility in the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland, helping them set up their tents and bedding, sat their camp chairs around the fire pit, showed them around the property and kicked off the activities with Clint’s Primal Play Class for the kids to join in on.

Because it’s Winter the sun set fairly early so dinner time crept up quickly. We were a little late getting the roast chickens from Cotton Tree Meats and veggies into the camp ovens but when dinner did finally come campers had a selection of plain roast chicken meat or freshly picked lemon myrtle flavoured, alongside a variety of hearty Winter veggies.

 

Dessert, of course, was marshmallows! And because the food element of this event was themed around ‘healthy and simple’ eating, the ingredients used were Paleo-friendly meaning this usually ‘naughty’ fun camping treat was actually healthy! Bonus!

The kids had earlier searched for the perfect marshmallow stick so were well equipped for optimal toasting and eating!

 

Some campers were tired after a big day of driving and playing so they hopped into their cosy beds in their tents while a few stayed up to chat around the fire. The fire area is where some really fantastic conversations are had and connections are made – a hugely important element to any camping trip.

Saturday morning campers bellies were filled with beautiful campfire-cooked foods including bacon and eggs from Piggy in the Middleย ,ย cooked veggies and yummy Eclipse Organics Paleo muesli with coconut milk, raw Hum Honey drizzled on and some fresh fruit. Oh and of course plenty of hot coffee, tea and hot chocolates were made!

 

Everyone all fueled up, the sun shining, Carly and Tanya took the kids for a nature adventure where they learned how to make fire and build cubby houses!

While the kids were off having fun the adults were invited to join in on Clint’s Natural Fitness Class where he introduced them to a variety of natural human movement activities and fun games. Our littlest camper Tilly also joined in, being held by mum Madeleine during some of the activities, as well as Clint, and giggled throughout the Pool Noodle Jumping games! It was so cute, and everyone had a lot of fun moving and playing.

 

Trying new games like those played in the class can be daunting for some adults, whose perception of adult play and also their own capabilities being quite limited, but every parent got in there and had a go. With the laughter I could hear from the kitchen and the smiles on faces as they walked down the hill after class, Clint’s goal of ensuring everyone had a great time was achieved!

Before the kids were due back we utilised that time for the parents and gave them the opportunity to learn some healthy camp meal ideas, getting stuck into Paleo Burger Making which would be everyone’s lunch.

Each person helped with preparing the different elements of the burgers, including making melting ‘cheese’, Paleo mayo, slicing up the salad ingredients, stacking the huge cos lettuce leaves (used as buns), slicing the Paleo Rolls bunsย and cooking the Highbrit Beef patties over coals so everything was laid out and ready to assemble as desired come lunchtime.

It wasn’t a sneaky ploy of mine to have the campers make lunch as one less meal for me to do, but it was nice having others chip in to get it done and enjoying the process as well.

The small tribe still weren’t back and the parents realised it was the perfect chance to feast before having to worry about their kids’ meals. Smart thinking! They made their burgers, dug in, and finished eating just in time for the kids’ return.

Then the littlies tucked into goodies and everyone was fed and happy!

For an hour or so it was then ‘free-range’ time; campers could do whatever they felt like.

Some of the kids played in the creek, some explored the bushes around the camp area, some made up games to play with each other, and adults chatted, napped and relaxed.

 

 

 

The day wasn’t over though, there was still plenty more fun to be had!

Tanya held a fantastic Lantern Making Workshop where the kids and their parents could sit together in a shady part of the property and learn how to make beautiful lanterns using simple household items. A great way to recycle, work together, and use creativity and imagination.

Later the fiinished creations were hung from trees with tea light candles placed inside so they could be seen come nightfall.

 

That morning’s Fire Making adventures had been really successful so now it was time for the kids to show their parents what they’d learned about making fire and keeping it going.

Carly chatted to the parents about what this activity was all about, the benefits, the challenges, and the parents were able to see it firsthand.

Some frustration and impatience were noticeable but one of the main points was to allow the kids to work through and overcome these emotions.

All of them achieved fire, eventually! Yay!

And they were excited to be able to toast a marshmallow or two on the fire they created! What an exciting moment!

 

Of course, while all this was happening, dinner was being made and we knew it was going to be a cold night so we wanted to ensure campers had a big plate of hot food and mugs of hot drinks to warm them up.

Oh and a toasty fire to sit by too!

On the menu on Saturday night was Cotton Tree Meats grass-fed diced lamb with veggies cooked in the camp ovens for a few hours to become nice and soft and mushy.

Marshmallows were enjoyed again (not too many, they are made of honey and too much sugar right before bed is not fun!)

 

 

A very cold start to Sunday saw early risers heading straight for the jugs of boiled water at the drink station to make hot drinks to warm up with, as well as congregating around the fire egging Clint on to make it bigger!

Hands were warmed, brekkie was had, hot chocolates with marshmallows were downed, bellies were filled with food, and aย morning full of activities was about to begin…

Carly and Tanya took the kids for another nature adventure where they explored the area just outside of the property, identifying useful plants, and becoming more aware of their natural surroundings.

The parents stuck around to learn about all the bushfoods in season at the time, being able to forage for and taste them, ask questions, and get ideas for native edible plants they could perhaps grow at home.

We’re very lucky to have access to this beautiful property that just happens to be covered in bush tucker plants thanks to the owner who’s a local bush tucker guru.

The group found and tried Lilly Pilly, Finger Limes, Wild Currants, Lemon Myrtle, Aniseed Myrtle and a few greens as well. Unique and interesting flavours and a unique and interesting experience!

To round off the activities, the parents then were able to benefit from some Forest Therapy and a Rock Stacking Mindfulness Workshop at the creek. Forest Therapy is basically about using all of our senses, preferably in a forest setting, to absorb a huge dose of earthing and healing from nature to greatly benefit our health. It’s also a form of meditation without actually ‘meditating’ as it’s typically performed, and it’s time-out to unwind and de-stress from our busy lives.

Once everyone felt calm and relaxed the rock stacking activity was for them to stack rocks however they desired and then to look back over the whole experience noticing their thoughts and behaviours. Not to judge or try to change those thoughts and actions, but to simply recognise them and get to know themselves better – how they handle challenging situations, how they go about achieving tasks set out for them, what their attitude is, and how they find joy. Awareness is key.

Each person approached the activity differently and it was really insightful to hear their thoughts about that afterwards.

It was a lovely way to end the weekend and as if on cue, the kids ran back just as we finished!

 

Then it was time to pack up <sniff> ย so we could hold a Closing Circle around the fire, where we drank some freshly brewed billy bushfoods tea, Carly gave out small gifts to the kids, and we thanked everyone for coming along to the first ever Family WildTime Camp.

Wow, what a weekend!ย Even though we experienced a few ticks and ant bites, dirt, dropped gooey marshmallows, and cold nights… everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Phew! And hey, that’s bush camping right?!

We hope our campers have implemented some of what they learned throughout those days into their regular lives and noticing changes and benefits. We sure learned a lot and are grateful for the experience, especially meeting so many wonderful people and being able to bring them to this beautiful space and enjoy a stack of nature for a few days.

If you liked the sound of this event and would like to attend one in the future simply register to Primal E-news to stay up to date with all of our nature-based events and activities. And feel free to get in touch with us, we’d love to connect with you!

A HUGE thank you to all of our amazing sponsors (mentioned above) who kindly supplied us with top quality food and products, plusย Sunshine Coast Spring Waterย for our delicious drinking water!

Also, thank you to our helper Sarah who gave a lot of valuable time with the cooking and washing.

And thank you to Carly (and Tanya) from Natureweavers for all of your magic! Clint and I love you!

Aimee (and Clint!) x
Nature-based Health, Fitness + Food Coaching

Primal Influence

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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hip tiggy

 

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!ย 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 Classesย 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.

Knot

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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. ย 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 3ย all-things-primal-loving hosts:

Me – Aimee Clark

Aimee smiling

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 youโ€™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 weโ€™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…ย  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 didnโ€™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 didnโ€™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 toย 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 didnโ€™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 didnโ€™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 sheโ€™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 wasnโ€™t an option but this cloud cover meant weโ€™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 didnโ€™t hurry up haha, that got โ€˜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 thereโ€™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 โ€˜caviarโ€™ out and sucking it down.. not what weโ€™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, itโ€™s benefits and how to use it. I made Finger Lime Panna Cottaย (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 hadnโ€™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 Clintโ€™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 Iโ€™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 didnโ€™t bother anyone, overall the meal was deliciousย 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 relaxedย 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, ย 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 retreatย 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 hereย 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!

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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, ย 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.

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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.

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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Thanks for reading!

Aimee

Natural Fitness + Lifestyle Coaching | Visit our website:ย Primal Influenceย | Follow us on socials:ย Facebookย +ย Instagram

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Get grounded without going barefoot

Since my last barefoot-related blog post “Barefoot doesn’t = bogan” I’ve really become a bigย 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 in-love with walking and moving with no shoes on.ย 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 lifeย 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 ย 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 isย 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) ย 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.” ย 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 missย 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…ย 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 Earth Runners website (affiliate link) 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 areย 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 some here! (affiliate link)

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 andย 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