Facing the Flinch

We have all done it in some form or another during our time on this earth and it’s completely natural and ingrained in us to keep us safe, but unfortunately, this once life saving adaptation has taken control of our subconscious and most of us now flinch at just the thought of doing anything uncomfortable. 

I was first exposed to the concept of “the flinch” a fair while ago after reading a book, funnily enough, called “The Flinch” and after reading and digesting the information I started to take action in catching the flinch, and overriding it by choice. 

This wasn’t always fun, but I did it to open myself up to new possibilities and opportunities that would otherwise never have happened.

“The concept is straightforward: your flinch mechanism has the potential to save your life. It bypasses the conscious mind, allowing you to back up and avoid danger faster than you can imagine it exists.

What if, on the other hand, danger is exactly what you require?

What if facing your fears is the only way to achieve your goals?” The Flinch book

Now that I work exclusively with children, one of my goals is to help them safely step out of their comfort zone and try new things they usually wouldn’t; things that make them flinch. Especially because with ASD kids in particular, they tend to be more ‘techy’ and indoors often, less physically capable than neuro-typical kids, experiencing sensory and textural sensisitives, with more anxiety and discomfort around getting in among natural environments outdoors.

Some of the activities in sessions and at camps have included walking barefoot through mud, climbing in a tree higher than before, jumping in cold water, playing in the rain, and even picking up hermit crabs.  

To many these activities may seem insignificant, but to a child who isn’t used to being outside playing in nature they’re a big deal!

Helping children overcome the flinch is not always straightforward and easy and can often be a process that takes time. An example of this would be climbing trees. If a child has an obvious fear around this I don’t take them to the tallest tree and expect them to climb right up, we start off at the lowest level and get them comfortable with that.  It might even be a really low branch, barely off the ground, if that’s where they need to start.

When they start I ask them questions about what they are feeling, how they are feeling and even where they are feeling it in their body. This is so they can express in as much detail as possible what emotions and sensations are going on at the time, to connect to those feelings and not try to push them down or ignore them. They also like being heard and interested in by their coach. 

I then ask them if they’d like to go a little higher. Sometimes the answer is a flat-out “no”, other times the answer is a hesitant “yes”.  If the answer is no, I invite them to take two or three more steps higher and again stop, then repeat the process over and over until it gets too much for them and we need to stop climbing.  

One of the biggest things I’ve noticed while working with ASD children is they tend to overthink things and, in fact, I can often see them obviously processing the information as they climb, their brain working overtime, which can lead to anxiety and getting ‘the wobbles’.  When this happens, I slow them down a little and remind them their brain is trying to keep them safe, that it’s currently over reacting, I then get them to verbally thank their brain for keeping them safe and “I’ve got this”. 

If that doesn’t help them I take it to the next level and suggest they tell their brain to “shut up”  or “be quiet” (if “shut up” is considered as swearing to them, which I’ve discovered is the case for some kids!).  This little break in their thinking is usually enough to allow them to keep going.

Just after having successfully defeated the flinch is an important time to reinforce the belief I have in them and in their abilities as well as the belief they should have in themselves, and also to remind them that getting better at something they find challenging is possible and a little bit of discomfort and noise from our brain are often the only things getting in our way.

This is a little insight into one of the elements of Private Kids Coaching sessions, and the main reason I’m able to take the children through this process is due to the trust and bond we create during our time together each week. My unique and fun style of coaching really helps children feel safe and comfortable with me and be open to trying new and highly beneficial experiences. Beneficial to both their emotional and physical health – a role I’m privileged and grateful to have.



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

Clint

Primal Fitness Coach | 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 don’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.

Returning to our Traditions

Quite a unique topic because it’s a little outside of the usual zone of health and wellness we focus on, but just as important as any of the usual modern paleo lifestyle content.

We’re as modern and ‘normal’ as the next couple in so many ways… we love to get our dance on at live music gigs, going to the movies, chilling out to Netflix, wearing regular clothing, getting dressed up to go to something fancy, we live in a built-up urban area, we drive a nice 4×4, we have ‘normal’ hobbies, we even own an Xbox!

But we also like to incorporate primitive living elements our ancestors used into our modern lives because it connects us to our roots are humans and provides a type of satisfation and inner confidence not comparible to anything else.

From as primal as possible, to more modern versions, we love dabbling in primitive and ancestral skills ourselves, and teaching them to others when we can.

In this post we’ll talk about some of our favourite skills and activities, their emotional and physical benefits, how to take them up no matter where you live, for kids AND adults alike. The benefits and positive changes we’ve seen in those we’ve shown this stuff to, and with others who practice these skills have been quite amazing. So we hope you feel inspired to try some of these yourself!


Basket Weaving 🗑️

Let’s kick this blog off with a great intro activity… making coil weave baskets with natural materials.

There are loads of types of traditional basket weaving and making techniques, from different parts of the world, but back in the day when the first humans had to come up with a way to make food and other items transportable and for storage they would have used whatever was available to them in whatever way was most practical and functional. Different cultures have different methods and rituals of course but at the end of the day there are no real rules when it comes to this type of activity. Creativity and ingenuity are encouraged!

The method of coil weave is very basic and one that took me a few goes to get right and I used different materials in different ways, I wasn’t taught but I found out the general basics online before starting. I knew a local beach spinifex grass was an option as the material, as well as lomandra which is a really common and useful native plant. The only only non-natural part of my baskets has been the yarn needle used but one of my to-do-eventually projects is to make a needle from bone so it’s all totally natural!

Basket weaving can be a mindful, calming, relaxing, frustrating, annoying, fun, painful and enjoyable activity. As with most traditional activities all kinds of things can go wrong, there’s almost always physical and mental challenges involved, and the intention you have before starting and while doing it can change how you feel about the experience and the outcome.

It’s sometimes nice to do alone, or with others, like any craft really. Kids, adults, anyone can give it a go and benefit. It can be quite tough on the fingers as well as time-consuming so it’s helpful for building resilience and patience – attributes sadly becoming less common these days.

If you’d me to make a video on how I create simple natural coil weave basket, let me know!

Alternatively there are heaps of tutorials online and in books.


Star Gazing 🌟

“We’ve been fixated on the starry sky since our inception. We have stared at the cosmos as humans, as Neanderthals, as base simians, and, no doubt, as the scrabblers who came before the primate. There are recordings in chalk, cuneiform, tablet, scroll, paint and stonework from every era of man, in every corner of the world, dedicated to the mapping of heavens we knew we would never touch. Mapping the stars was a method of early compassing, aiding travellers and sailors with their recognizable constellations. If you knew the stars, a clear night could always guide you home. But these reasons for stargazing have staled with the advent of modern solutions. We have GPS now, and the pagan beliefs which spawned the first gods and heroes who populated the cosmos have been consigned to history books, labelled as mythology rather than religion. So, why stargaze in our modern age?

Beyond the fact that the stars are beautiful to see, same as any fine art, the main reason may be that it helps and heals us on a mental level.

Piff (a psychologist) defines awe as a crucial social function; a requirement for shifting our focus from individual, self-focused concerns and expanding our perspective to include others’ well-being. What’s felt when experiencing the grandeur of nature–be it Earth’s or the stars’–is a catalyst for inspiring goodwill and broader social-thinking in us. Looking on the galaxy, we recognize that we are one small piece of an enormous whole, and we become more likely to act on our ability to help others within our own small world.” – Optics Max

We absolutely agree with that take on why star gazing is so important. Not only that but it’s calming, relaxing, interesting, and a sky full of twinkling stars is just so beautiful.

🔭 There are apps you can download to help you and your kids learn about what you can see above you at night time, some astronomy groups hold public get-together and education sessions, and of course, just going out to a dark area to see a sky full of stars at night is just a nice thing to do. There are plenty of ways to learn about the night skies above or just to enjoy them.

Are you already into star gazing or is it something you’d like to start getting into?


Using Sticks to Make Fire 🔥

+ why everyone should try it at least once!

Whenever we demo this primitive skill to others they get really impressed and say “I couldn’t do that” because it seems so hard to do. The reality it is.. it can be hard but doesn’t have to be. If you’re lost in the bush and are unfamiliar with the natural materials around, there’s nothing artificial or modern to use to make fire and you’re experimenting with what you find then yeah, that’d be hard. But if you have access to materials that you know can work and you’ve practiced the method then it’s really not hard to do.

Once the materials are ready it can take just 10 seconds to make fire!

It’s more complicated than just picking two random sticks and rubbing them together quickly, there are a few other key elements. And when you understand the process and actually manage to get am ember then a flame, it’s honestly one of the most satisfying human experiences.

There are quite a few different friction fire methods, we’ve tried two popular ones: Hand Drill and Bow Drill (modified version). Hand Drill is one of the hardest and the first type Clint attempted and achieved. It was a huge and exhilarating achievement! We actually partnered up and got fire together one night, he did most of the work but I helped, something we’ll never forget!

Since then we’ve taught our nephew and his best mate (AKA The Jacobs) the steps to take to learn fire making using a flint and steel with natural materials up to a modified bow drill method they achieved on the weekend with help from Clint. It’s physically challenging and tiring, so when it’s successful it’s such a huge reward and the boys were over the moon when they eventually got it.

Clint and I have achieved it with this method first go together which I’m super proud of and it’s re ignited (pardon the pun!!) my passion for this stuff, it’s now more of a priority to fit these projects and activities into my super busy modern life. Why? Because it makes me feel good. It brings me closer to my roots as a human being. It makes me a more capable human. It gives me confidence and inner strength. Learning and doing well with skills our ancient ancestors used for not only survival but, in many cases, to thrive, brings a connectedness and deep satisfaction I can’t compare to anything else.

Not only is learning fire making extremely practical and functional should you find yourself in a situation where it’s crucial and can save your life, it’s also just incredibly rewarding, interesting and enjoyable in general.

Stay tuned for our next newsletter when we include info on HOW to get started, even how to get the kids into it safely and other important benefits it can have for them.

Check out a previous blog 5 𝙏𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙨 𝙄’𝙫𝙚 𝙇𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙙 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙍𝙪𝙗𝙗𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙏𝙬𝙤 𝙎𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙠𝙨 𝙏𝙤𝙜𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 – 𝙗𝙮 𝘾𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙩


Foraging for Wild Foods 🌿

Many of you will already know this is one of my fave things to do! I love foraging! I got into it quite a few years ago, when, like with all the primitive/ancestral/traditional skills we dabble in, came from an interest in expanding our knowledge and experience within this sphere of health and well-being, further to just how our ancestors ate (i.e. ‘Paleo’). Eating paleo is just one element, our ancestors did a lot more than just eat! But eating is a big one, and since supermarkets and even farms and markets weren’t around for an extremely long time (until the Agricultural Revolution) humans had to hunt and gather their own food.

Now, I believe hunting for animals is far more beneficial than foraging for plant foods, as animals did give us, and still do give us, the most nutritional benefit and energy to sustain life, but plants were a supplement and also used medicinally.

It’s interesting because from what we’ve learned about humans in history, in primitive times generally men were the hunters and builders while women were the gatherers, cooks and creators. Not always of course but generally speaking, because often everyone had to be capable at every task, but in most cases men and women had different roles. Clint and I feel very connected to those roles and interests respectively today, just naturally. He’s naturally more connected to tracking, hunting etc while I can’t help but look for edible plants around me!

Once I learnt to forage for wild foods I couldn’t ‘un learn’. I’ve never lost interest. I go through periods where I’m not overly active in foraging but I’m always noticing what natural foods are available wherever I am. Native and introduced, I’m fascinated by it all and I love nibbling on a few berries or fruits while I’m out and about, or taking a few home with me to cook and use in interesting ways. Or to turn into healing balms and poultices. It’s a very handy and rewarding skill to have that definitely enriches my life. I’ve been lucky to teach this skill to many groups of people of all ages and have even inspired our niece and nephews to enjoy foraged food when they’re with us which I love.

Disclaimer: I never ever ever consume a wild food without being 100% certain of identity and edibility. And I’m always extremely conscious and protective of the eco systems.


Hunting 🏹

Or simply learning about + using the tools!

Another eventual transition for us within the Paleo Lifestyle sphere was hunting. The idea of being able to source food to eat, from absolute scratch, with an incredibly basic weapon… well it doesn’t get much more ‘human’ and natural than that! Clint, more so than me, grew a very keen interest for primitive hunting, in particular using traditional bows and spears. He was gifted a beautiful recurve bow and taught himself to shoot arrows still and moving targets (in our garage and driveway believe it or not!!). He managed to hunt a hare on a solo camping/hunting trip to the country after learning safe, ethical and smart hunting methods and a lot of practice. It was an emotional and meaningful experience for him and one I hope to experience myself some day as I want to become a trad hunter like him. We’d practice way more often if we could but we just don’t get the time needed, or the space, to become really good at it or to provide lots of food and useful materials.

He used almost every bit of that hare and it fed us so well for many meals. Meals we’ll cherish the memory of no doubt forever.

Besides using bows for hunting we enjoy simply using them for target practice. Clint even made a bow (for me!) and just that whole process was an amazingly fulfilling and interesting experience for him. Making and practicing using a ‘weapon’ is not the same as hunting, can have huge benefits physically and emotionally and hunting doesn’t have to be about actually killing an animal for food, it can be about every part of the process up until that point.

Ever watched a child build a hunting tool and pretend to go for prey?

It’s a natural and instinctual practice.

Other than traditional-style bows, Clint also dabbles in spear making and loves to teach kids how to make and use spears. Throwing is a natural human movement and skill (because we once had to throw as part of surviving) and shouldn’t be limited to balls and frisbees. Making and throwing a spear well for physical fitness can be more challenging, more rewarding and more enjoyable.

With spear making comes whittling and knife skills, understanding and appreciating natural materials used, learning safety, patience and gaining confidence. Honestly, the joy these kinds of practices and skills have brought us is indescribable. We hope this inspires you to start looking into traditional hunting practices and methods in a modern way, even if not for the end purpose of actually hunting.

Clint’s tips on how to get started making hunting tools:

Spear making:

  • Start with a basic whittling knife (there are rounded blade end versions for kids) and use green, light and soft timbers for practicing, either fallen, cut or bought. Bamboo makes a great fishing spear and Macaranga (native to Australia) makes great atlatls and throwing spears.
  • Remember (and teach to kids) the ‘blood bubble’ rule where you outstretch your arm with the knife held and if you can touch someone around you they’re in your blood bubble, therefore you can’t start until you move away from them so they’re no longer close enough to be inside it.
  • For bamboo spears, slice one end into 4 points and sharpen each point, wedge a stick across each direction about 3 inches deep and tie in place with string
  • You can make rock and glass spear heads if you want to get right into it too
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  • Make green wood spears stronger and harder by hardening in fire (in the flames)
  • Look on YouTube for “traditional spear making” videos

Traditional Bows:

  • Start with a Board Bow and use a piece of straight-grained timber from the hardware store. Spotted Gum works really well and was used to make Aimee’s bow
  • Watch YouTube videos for tutorials and to find out what equipment you need for the process
  • I built a timber shave horse and used a draw knife to make bows but more modern tools can be used
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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bow-making.jpg

Kids Bows:

  • These can be made with any slightly bendy sticks with string attached to each end. Saplings work well.

Arrows for Kids Bows:

  • Find small, straight, light sticks, whittle one end into a point, glue 3 feathers onto other end for the ‘look’ of a proper arrow

Proper Arrows:

  • Buy these from a local supplier or online or make some with dowel, proper feathers, points or blunts, nocks etc. Certain pieces of equipment are needed for this, much like the art of fly making for fishing, so if just starting out it’s definitely easier to buy ready-made arrows suited to the bow you’re using.

Building Basic Shelters 🏕️

Most survival shows talk about how to use the tarp you just so happen to have in your backpack to make a basic shelter if lost in the wild. What if you don’t have a tarp or similar?!

Knowing how to build a basic and functional shelter using natural materials makes sense. And it’s a great activity kids can do just in the backyard. Not only does it teach them about their environment and what they could use if they needed to construct a survival shelter, it also teaches them about structure (what works and what doesn’t), patience and resilience.

When we take the Jacobs’ out for Primal Kids Camps we get them to help with putting the tents up and the next level for ‘shelter building’ is to make one from natural materials that actually works. They did this a few months ago using the debris hut method, a finger saw and knives and they achieved the Silver ‘shelter building’ Primal Kids Badge, with the next being Gold for using ONLY natural materials they can find, and being able to sleep in the shelter for a night (or some of a night at least!) which will be done in Spring when it’s warmer.

It’s a tiring task. And for kids with ASD even more so, and when they get frustrated it’s not happening as fast as they’d like it’s a test of patience and resilience. Supporting them to complete the project, to stick it out (ah, accidental pun!) and feel the pride that comes with making a legit shelter with their own hands is so important and rewarding, for them and for us.

This is the basic debris hut style of shelter, a great beginner design:

Shelter building is a handy skill for all ages!


Putting Our Ideas into Action 🔪

I said I planned on making a spoon and I’ve started!

We went camping on the weekend to get lots of hunting and project time in. Hunting wasn’t successful but making stuff was!

I found a small piece of timber perfect for spoon making and went about cutting it down, well, starting to, it’ll be a slow process and I need to get my fingers used to it, they’re sore today! Such a nice activity to do while Clint was out hunting and one I can do at home in my downtime.

Stay tuned to see how it goes!

Also during a creek exploration Clint cut some weed trees down and turned them into a stand to hang the camp oven from for paleo chicken curry dinner. It worked brilliantly!


If you have any questions for us regarding traditional bushcraft and hunting methods, email us at info@primalinfluence.com or comment below.


I hope this information and our perspectives and experiences help you and your family on your journey to better health + more happiness!

Aimee

Primal Health Coach

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 don’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.

𝟭. 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗴𝘁𝗵 + 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆. 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!

𝟮. 𝗘𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴. 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 ‘good’ brands) essentially blindfold the feet and greatly restricts movement. There are now plenty of companies offering ‘natural’ 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 can’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 Earth’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.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is vibram.jpg
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

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 don’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.

7 years + 3 different pairs: my overall EarthRunners review with style comparisons

If you’re already a barefooter or minimalist shoe wearer you’ll appreciate the importance of finding the right one, or various few, barefoot-style shoes that not only feel comfy but also last. If you’re totally new to the concept, here you’ll find an honest review of one of the longest running (pun intended!) barefoot shoes on the market and possibly some inspiration to venture into barefoot movement.

When I first transitioned from regular joggers to a more minimalist style of shoe there were hardly any brands to choose from. Now… there are loads! Brands, styles, colours, for a huge variety of uses. From sandals to snow boots and everything in between.

My first flat sole shoe was the good ol’ Dunlop Volleys! They had a reasonably wide toe box, a flat sole, were a bit bendy and definitely good quality. I wore them on long walks and while exercising, for a fair few months, which allowed my body to get used to far less padding and cushioning.

I then spent a lot more time walking and moving barefoot (at home, at parks, even at the shops sometimes) to get my feet and body stronger and more stable, and to toughen my feet up. I even started barefoot bushwalks with gravel and rock surfaces to really allow my feet to adapt to a large variety of natural surfaces and become more comfortable.

But, as I mention in my last two blog posts about going barefoot, there are situations and environments that going barefoot just isn’t do-able and I had to find a ‘barefoot’ shoe option. I chose to try EarthRunners sandals way back 7 years ago, and have been a fan ever since!

I’ve tried the three different soles they offer and different laces over those years so I want to share my honest experiences and recommendations.

In the last barefoot blog I posted with a review I had tried one thickness of sole with 100% leather laces and since then have tried two other soles, and nylon laces.

My first pair has the Circadian sole with full leather laces (which no longer exist), and multiple copper discs in the sole. The second pair had the Elemental sole style without the moisture-wicking cotton on top, with nylon laces. My current pair are the Alpha sole style and leather conductive laces. The company stopped adding multiple copper discs at one point, and realised one was enough, with conductive stitching on the laces. So the second and third pairs just had one copper disc underneath each sole, and conductive laces as opposed to 100% leather.


3 x Style Reviews

Circadian Review

Positives:

  • The sole thickness suited me well, I liked minimal material between my foot and the ground, especially for rock-hopping, balancing etc, I need my feet to grip to the surfaces as much as possible.
  • The original all-leather laces were so comfy, I loved them!
  • The moisture wicking layer underfoot was great and helped prevent my feet slipping and sliding around inside the sandal when wet

Negatives:

  • The moisture wicking wore off before the soles wore through, which made them a little slippery at that point, when wearing in wet conditions
Thickness of sole

Elemental Review

Positives:

  • The same sole thickness as the Circadian

Negatives:

  • All-nylon laces were definitely not as comfortable as the leather – they didn’t squish up and soften enough between my big and second toes and never felt quite as comfortable over the few years I wore them
  • Not having the moisture-wicking material was a downside, as I felt it provided more grip and comfort with my previous pair of sandals
Similar thickness to the first pair

Alpha Review

Positives:

  • The thicker sole may last longer than the other two pairs and not need replacing as soon (why I chose them this time around)
  • The moisture wicking fabric
  • I paid extra to get the new style of leather laces which has conductive stitching on top but leather touching the skin and I’m glad I did because, while not as mouldable and comfy as the original all-leather version, they’re much more comfortable than the completely nylon option

Negatives:

  • The sole is too thick for me. When I first started walking in them I actually felt higher up in them, I could really feel the height difference compared to the thinner soles! I’m used to that now, but when walking on rocks, balancing etc they don’t mould to my feet quite enough or allow for enough ‘feeling’ to what’s under my feet. I miss being able to feel more texture underfoot for sure
Much thicker sole

My overall verdict + style recommendation

I prefer the thinner soles, and even though the Alpha soles may last longer, it’s not worth it to me. Especially seeing as the thinner soles lasted me many years each, while wearing them MOST days and mostly on bitumen and rough natural surfaces! I believe Alpha is a good ‘beginner’ sole because it provides more cushioning. But for someone who needs to feel more and grip better with the surfaces they’re moving on and who’s feet are reasonably used to ‘barefoot’, the Circadian and Elemental are more suitable.

I suggest spending a few extra $ for the leather laces too, they are far more comfortable between the toes and even on the skin on the other parts of the foot. They do stretch a little when wet but the clip is so easy to adjust that that’s not a problem. The leather also look a little ‘nicer’ than the nylon laces, maybe not as a relaxed look about them, so fashion-wise leather could be a better option for those conscious of that!

Each pair moulds easily to the shape of the feet and lets them move quite freely but Alpha definitely don’t mould as much as fast. I can see that with their thickness and how I use them they’ll wear and thin out in certain spots underneath while the rest will stay pretty thick.

They take the shape of the foot which is how it should be

All styles are quick to get on and off. The clips, made of plastic, can break, especially if you’re adjusting the laces a lot (but the makers will send you a replacement pair pretty quickly). I generally keep mine done-up at the same spot all the time and just slip them on and off my feet, only opening the clips for when the laces get wet, a little loose, I have to tighten them slightly to be secure enough for what I’m doing, and then I need to loosen them off a bit when they dry. Other than that I don’t touch the clips.

These shoes can take a lot of beating up! I’ve put them through their paces on bushwalks (on and off tracks) with really rough surfaces, in cold conditions, in water (fresh and salt), while playing and being really active outdoors, for many days in a row while camping, walking on sharp seed pods and, of course, mostly wear them on rough bitumen roads!

I love that I’m getting the benefits of earthing while wearing shoes and protecting my feet against prickles, broken glass and any other hazards at the same time!

After 7 years and three pairs, I’m still a massive fan of EarthRunner sandals and am definitely a forever customer!

I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to become more of a barefooter or current barefooters who want a sandal that allows for grounding while being worn.

If you’re new to being barefoot, keep in mind your toe box will widen so when choosing a size ensure you account for that in terms of the width of the sandal.

View products here

If you decide to grab a pair please use our affiliate link, it provides us with a small referral fee and lets the manufacturers know where you came to them from 🙂

Aimee

Primal Health Coach

Visit our website: Primal Influence | Follow us on socials: Facebook + Instagram + TikTok

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 don’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.

𝗟𝗲𝘁’𝘀 𝘁𝗮𝗹𝗸 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀 + 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗱𝗼 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗼𝗱𝘆

A grain-based diet contributed largely to my severe poor health and chronic pain for many years. Eventually, I transitioned off of them and made it sustainable, so I’m here to help you and your family firstly understand how the staple grain foods in your kitchen are affecting your health and secondly, how to move away from them and feel better.

Wheat, corn, rice, pasta, cereals, cooking grains (barley, millet, rye, oats, etc. + pseudo grains like quinoa), and all products made with them such as bread, pasta, crackers, snack foods, cookies, cakes, lollies and many other types of processed, packaged, frozen, and fresh-baked goods.

All forms of consumed carbs are converted into glucose in the bloodstream. While whole grains and other complex carbs may burn slower than sugars, they still contribute the same, gram for gram, to total insulin production over time.

Just as a quick sugar spike is pro-inflammatory and compromises immune function, a steady insulin trip from regular meals high in complex carbohydrates is also stressful and impacts our health.

Lectins, phytates and gluten are some of the natural defences in grains that the human body does not like at all.

“𝙄 𝙘𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙣𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙜𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙪𝙥 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙!” do you know who said that? Clint, back before we were Paleo, in about 2010, when he ate 6-8 slices of white bread daily. But guess what? He did get off bread! It sucked at first but it got easy quickly.

Same for me with oats for brekkie. And lunch. And snacks. I was addicted to muesli and porridge. But I transitioned out of them and over a decade later am doing MUCH better without ’em!

Check out my short video on my experience with grains and how they contributed to me living for a long time in agonising pain and always being exhausted and sick.

Click here to watch

You wanna know something cool? 𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙨 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙨 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙘𝙧𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙨, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙠 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙘𝙮𝙘𝙡𝙚, 𝙞𝙩’𝙨 𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙗𝙡𝙮 𝙚𝙢𝙥𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜!

𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗯𝗲 ‘𝗯𝗮𝗱’ 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘂𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗲 𝗸𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝗴𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗮 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆’𝗿𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵𝘆?!

Grains are a cheap and easy to grow ‘food’ source. They have almost no nutritional value (none that are bioavailable anyway), create excess insulin production, contain anti-nutrients that muck around with our digestive and immune function, create systemic inflammation and prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the gut.

Grains have been a part of the human diet for as far back as proof exists of what humans ever ate, but grains back then were not the same as today.

Modern ‘altered’ corn
How corn used to look

Most of what we consume today is GMO (new unnatural versions), produced using chemicals and are highly processed. Ancient cultures foraged for and grew original grains native to their region and had intensive processing methods to remove most toxins. Even so, grains were never a staple, plants in general were short-term food sources in between animal kills. They complimented the main foods, not were the main foods.

The companies who make the products promoted as ‘healthy’ are the same companies who finance the nutritional advice we’re fed (pun intended!). There is plenty of scientific evidence and sound nutritional advice proving modern grains are no good for us.

Today we basically live on grains and it’s having a hugely negative impact on our health. The protein in modern grains is addictive, the other ingredients added to make ‘food’ products are also addictive and harmful, and it can be hard at first to even think about going without, let alone actually weaning off and existing without them.

𝗚𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀 𝗱𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗹𝗲𝗴𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗿𝘂𝗻 𝗮𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘀

But what they do have is built-in natural defences. Toxins unsafe for humans and many other animals to consume.

𝗔𝗡𝗧𝗜-𝗡𝗨𝗧𝗥𝗜𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗦 >> Agents present in grains that compromises nutritional health instead of supporting it. The 4 main anti-nutrients in regards to grains are:

Lectins
Gluten
Phytates

𝗟𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗻𝘀 are natural plant toxins that damage the delicate lining of the small intestine, letting undigested foreign protein particles enter the bloodstream and cause an autoimmune response – commonly known as “leaky gut syndrome”.

𝗚𝗹𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗻, found mainly in wheat, is a highly allergenic type of lectin. Ingestion causes a mild to severe inflammatory response in the body, compromising digestive and immune function. Many functional medical practitioners believe we can all do better off gluten.

𝗣𝗵𝘆𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀 bind with nutrients in the digestive tract similar to how fibre does. Excess consumption can easily lead to nutrient deficiency. This is common when on a grain-based diet.

Image source: unknown

𝗠𝗼𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀 𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗺𝘀 𝘀𝗰𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗮𝘁 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗶𝘁’𝘀 𝗱𝗲𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗱𝗼-𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲!

As per my video, grains contributed to my many years of experiencing terrible health and incredibly bad gut problems. Going GF absolutely did not fix my problems or make me any better because I then relied on gluten-free grain foods.

Going Paleo was what helped me overcome my health problems and chronic pain. Healing the body, feeding it bio-available nutrient-rich foods and living more naturally.

Paleo: Nutrition Experts Weigh In - Dance Informa Magazine

If you and your family is pretty addicted to and reliant upon grain foods and can’t imagine going cold turkey off of them then a good first step would be a gentle transition.

𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲:

  • Swapping to GF breads and cereals to at least get away from gluten
  • Soaking, activating, fermenting some grains / buying soaked, activated, fermented products
  • Swapping some grain bars and snack food products to fresh fruit, GF ham, cold chicken wings, homemade gelatin lollies and hard-boiled eggs
  • Reducing the qty of grain foods each meal to smaller amounts and adding more eggs, meat and veggies to the plate (see previous posts about what grain foods actually are)
  • Using gluten-free flours and products
  • Adding in some healing and nutrient-dense foods to reduce inflammation

This could be done over the period of a couple of months with the aim of moving totally away from grains all-together. 𝙄𝙩’𝙨 𝙙𝙤-𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙪𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚, 𝙄 𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬, 𝙄’𝙫𝙚 𝙙𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙞𝙩!

Try my recipe using Green Banana Flour
Soaking nuts can remove a lot of the toxins. Image source: Tampa Rejuvenation

The next step would be a 21-day total grain detox/primal reset and learning how to go Paleo with some initial easy transition options and then eventually consuming mostly just the optimal foods.

I wish you well on your less-grains or grain-free journey and am here if you need help or have any questions!

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 don’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.

Art Therapy: What exactly is it + how can it benefit ASD kids?

We’re very fortunate to be connected with a wide variety of talented and passionate practitioners and nature-based businesses on the Sunshine Coast to help build a community and team of caring professionals here to help local families. One such practitioner we’ve known for about a year who we first met when she brought her boys along to our classes and later saw them at a friend of theirs’ Primal Kids Party Clint provided entertainment for, is one we want to share with our tribe about because her particular modality is quite unknown in the ASD community and one that can be highly beneficial to pretty much every family with young ones on the spectrum.

Sally Cuthbert is a qualified and experienced Art Therapist based in Buderim here on the Sunshine Coast. When you hear the words ‘art therapy’ images of art classes at school and college might pop into your mind, of even the ‘paint & sip’ classes so popular with women these days for socialising. Neither are what Art Therapy is about!

So we invited Sally to be a guest on our blog to properly explain what this unique and beneficial therapy is…

Q :: What makes art therapy unique and different to other modalities?

A :: Art therapy is an enjoyable, inclusive form of therapy that’s suitable for people of all ages and abilities. It is a form of psychotherapy that uses art as its primary mode of communication. Ability in art isn’t important, nor do I interpret what people make. Art therapy is not just a collection of techniques, but is rather a planned intervention which attempts to create a safe environment for the client to express him or herself using art.

The focus is on the shared process of making, image or object, which allows for the relationship to develop in a comfortable, gentle way. It can feel less threatening than sitting face to face. Sometimes words alone don’t seem to be enough but words and images together can more accurately convey what you want to say and can be processed with the therapist. Sometimes, there can be too many words and they can get in the way of being able to be in touch with emotions. Art can bring insight or a new sense of ourselves which is especially helpful during times of difficulty. 

I like this description from Cathy Malchiodi:

“Art therapy is based on the idea that the creative process of art making is healing and life enhancing and is a potent form of communication. It uses the creative process which exists within each of us, to promote growth, self-expression, emotional repair, conflict resolution and transformation. Through art making as therapy you may find relief from overwhelming emotions, crises, or trauma: discover insights about yourself, achieve an increased sense of wellbeing; enrich your daily life; or experience personal change. It is a way to sense of that which is painful, to create personal meaning, to enhance wellness and to become whole.”

Q :: What are your favourite elements of this therapy and why did you get into it in the first place? 

A :: Creativity and artistic expression have always held such a sense of wonder to me. I like how art can be interpreted in a range of ways and each person’s work is so unique. Art therapy offers a fresh perspective on a person’s challenges and allows the voice of the individual to shine through. It can really help to highlight a person’s strengths. 

My approach is playful, warm and gentle. I have always connected well with children and enjoy the energy of teenagers. As a shy kid, art was a bit of a sanctuary for me, then as a teen I found art, journaling and music spoke to me in an deep and honest way and I have carried this interest into my career. 

I experienced counselling for the first time when I was in my late teens and whilst it was helpful, it was also daunting. I found it challenging and overwhelming to use words alone to describe the difficult experiences I’d had. After I left secondary school I went to art college, specialising in print making and textiles. Whilst living in London I heard about art therapy through a play therapist at the school where I was working as a specialist teaching assistant. I was running lunchtime art groups and the children who were often less engaged in lessons, or alone in the playground really flourished in this space. When I started exploring the profession I knew it was the right job for me and 10 years on I still love it. 

Q :: What are 2-3 examples of how an art therapy session with you could run? 

A :: I start with sensitive curiosity to find out as much as I can about what is happening for the child or teen. This can start with an intake meeting with the parent or can be a conversation on the phone. Sometimes it’s useful for me to talk to others involved with the child or teen to get a better idea of the child and how their challenges present in different settings. In session, I spend time discovering what brings your child joy and what makes your family unique. Then I introduce creative projects and games that can help to playfully challenge the things that aren’t working. 

Q :: What ages do you work with? 

A :: I specialise in art therapy with children, teens and families. Art making and play are natural ways to express, process and regulate emotions especially for children and teens. I have training in both art therapy and play therapy techniques such as sandplay and Theraplay as well as parent child dyadic art therapy which just means, working with the parent and child together with their ‘relationship’ acting as the client. In the art therapy space, adolescents can be free to use symbols, imagery and a range of art supplies to explore their emotions and developing thoughts about their identity. Art making can provide a visual outlet for their ideas when words are not easily expressed. 

Q :: What are some common symptoms/challenges you see presented with ASD kids?

A :: Art therapy with me may be right for families who have tried it all but nothing seems to be working, or for families who feel unsure about trying talk-based therapies.

The most common challenges parents contact me about are emotional outbursts, difficult behaviours or withdrawing. These might be signs that your child is facing a challenge that feels too big. Sometimes you know what’s causing the problem, but other times it can be a complete mystery. Often these feelings lead to feeling overwhelmed and asking them what’s wrong can lead to frustration and even more negative feelings. Art therapy doesn’t rely on verbal language and as such can feel less challenging for children and teens with ASD.

Q :: What benefits/results do you see with the different age groups and levels of ASD?

A :: Art therapy really is accessible to everyone. It can engage children of all abilities as the materials are enticing and the relationship is playful and supportive. Art therapy is a safe space for your child or teen to feel accepted, supported and encouraged. When things are really challenging, they need this more than ever. 

Q :: How do parents find a suitable Art Therapist in their area?

A :: A Registered Art Therapist is someone who has undertaken an approved training in Art Psychotherapy at post-graduate level, usually an MA. Art therapy is not yet a regulated profession here in Australia although there are strict requirements in the US, UK and Europe. ANZACATA is the professional association in Australia that sets the codes of practice and they have a Find A Therapist Directory on their website. Under the NDIS, Registered Art Therapists are allied health professionals and are available to support you or your child to achieve your personal goals. 

Q :: How can people find out about you if they live on the Sunny Coast and would like to chat to you about working with their family?

A :: I have a website with plenty of information about the services I offer.

Please check out www.sallycuthbert.com.au and I welcome enquiries from parents and service providers.

If you’re unsure about whether or not you can access art therapy through your child’s NDIS plan please contact me as I am probably able to help.

When we visited Sally’s studio Clint had a go at sandplay and really enjoyed it! And no surprises his ‘happy place’, the scene he created, including being on a boat in a river, fishing, and then hunting rabbits on land! haha

🎨 If this information encourages you to look into Art Therapy for your family, we wish you all the very best and truly hope it helps.

Clint + Aimee

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

5 Things I’ve Learned from Rubbing Two Sticks Together – by Clint

I’ve been working on improving my primitive skills lately.  This is not about practicing and preparing for the zombie apocalypse but allowing myself the opportunity to step back from a fast-paced digital life and reconnect with simpler things.  My latest project I’ve been practicing is making fire by rubbing two sticks together, something I’d been wanting to learn for a while, and something a lot of people also want to learn but think is out of their reach.

Over the course of this past week, struggling to achieve this goal, I was lucky enough to learn some things about the process that could easily relate to many aspects of my life, and other people’s also.

 Here are the top 5 things I’ve learned about rubbing 2 sticks together:

1. Patience is essential

When first learning how to make fire, it’s extremely important to have patience! Since it is such a new, yet simple, skill to learn you need to take the time to prepare your body for it.   Realistically you should give yourself at least 2 weeks of practice to allow for your body to adapt to the physical changes.  I did not do this! I was stubborn, impatient and went hard into it. And, a result I suffered large blisters on my palms and bruised fingers.

No matter what skill or challenge you’re learning it’s vitally important to be patient with the whole process and not rush it. In this modern time with so much available at our finger times as soon as we decide we want them, patience is lacking for a lot of us. Activities like this that build patience are really handy to partake in.

Blister from not taking the time to adapt.  Lucky I heal quickly!

 

 2. Teamwork is great

As much as I love to be competent and skillful enough to achieve tasks by myself, it’s sometimes great to work as a team.  The first time I managed to succeed at the whole process (rubbing sticks together -> ember-> Fire!!)  I didn’t have enough stamina to achieve it by myself.  Lucky enough I had Aimee to work with.  She was there to take the slack and allow me the recovery time that I needed to keep going.

She was proud of her inclusion in the process and the outcome we reached. She may have squealed when we eventually created flames!

Teamwork is something you can easily apply to everyday life.  Remember that it’s ok to ask for help to achieve something.  Working together is often far more efficient and effective than being too stubborn and proud to ask for help. Our ancestors mostly lived in tribes and worked together to carry out all the necessary tasks required to survive.

3. Once you have an ember, you need to nurture it

Generating an ember from the dust made from the friction is the first step and it’s hard work, but the hard work is far from over at this point.  You need to gently nurture it till it catches fire on to fine materials to then become bigger and eventually into flame.  If you don’t nurture it well it will die!  Trust me, I know!

Much like a friendship, a business or yourself, you need to spend time nurturing it; if you don’t give what is needed you will achieve substandard results or no results all.

4. Frustration and joy are not far from each other

While working hard to generate the heat to make an ember it’s so easy to get frustrated and give up.  Many times I’ve felt like giving up because it’s too hard or I was too tired, only to push on and a second later develop an ember, then feeling relieved and happy I didn’t end up quitting.

Much like life, it’s sometimes easier to give up on something that seems hard or impossible, when in reality success is so close.  You just need to push a little further through the discomfort to achieve your goal.  This has been a big realisation for me, and as a result, I’m more determined to work harder and longer in achieving my goals.

5. Simple things can bring immense joy

I never imagined that something as simple as making a fire with two sticks would bring so much joy to my life.  I can’t really explain the feelings I had after successfully making fire for the first time. It was a mix of joy, success, power and pride and a whole lot of other emotions thrown in.

I’m enjoying this new project so much that I’m practicing every chance I get – outside during the day and in the garage at night time… just whenever and wherever I can!

I think often we’re striving to achieve massive feats, but I also think it’s equally important (if not more so) to celebrate and find joy in the simple things as well.  By finding joy in the simplest things you are opening your life up to a whole lot of joy. It’s not something I can properly explain in words, but you’ll know what I mean when you do this yourself.

These are only five of the things I have learned from this process but really there are actually many more things I’ve learned about myself and my world.   If you ever get the chance I highly recommend taking a step back in time and trying your hand at some primitive skills.  You’ll really be amazed at what you’ll experience and learn!

 

Clint

Health + Fitness Coach

Primal Influence

Become a Movement Hunter

Movement.  It’s what we have a brain for and it’s fundamentally who we are. Without movement we’re dead. movement evolution And with very little good movement and so much time spent being sedentary and in poor posture, we’re sick, injured, sore and tired. laziness So, if this is the case, why do so many people have such a hard time getting movement into their day and week?  Why is the world around us setting us up with opportunities and means to do less movement than ever before?  One thing I know for sure is it’s making us sicker and weaker.  Sure our overall life expectancy has risen, humans are living longer, but what kind of life is it if we struggle to move our body in the most basic of ways?  I’ve decided I am definitely not going to go down the path of limited movement and becoming decrepit when I’m in my older years.  I’ve made a conscious choice to  take control of my life and become a “movement hunter”. A movement hunter is someone who actively seeks out opportunities to move, compared with  most humans who let modern comforts and laziness rule. Every single person living right now has the opportunity to become a movement hunter! Most people today have limited movement opportunities throughout their day and think that movement needs to be in the form of exercise to be effective and drive results in the improvement of health and fitness. For example, it’s a general belief that 30 mins gym time a day is required, or 20 mins a few times a week at home performing pushups, crunches and following a workout DVD is essential, or that going for a 40 minute run with the heart rate being in a particular range is the key to good fitness and weight. These people are stuck inside a box and these perceptions are flawed and limiting. It’s sad humans nowadays need to make an effort to seek out general and truly beneficial movement, but it’s just how it is. And more people need to be aware of this. Job search So many of us as adults are lacking imagination and creativity because of our lazy lifestyles and how quick and easy we access what we want to have thanks to the internet and modern comforts. But it really doesn’t take much searching to find more ways to enjoy more mindful movement in our day! The best thing about becoming a movement hunter is that you open your eyes up to the endless movement possibilities.  Really the only limit to movement is your imagination and the more movement you do now, the better off you’ll be in the long run.  So allowing yourself to generate curiosity, imagination and creativity when it comes to movement, which may feel kind of  challenging at first, will be worth the effort later on. Becoming a movement hunter really isn’t a hard task, but it may cause some minor inconvenience and may slow you down a little. But is that really such a bad thing in such a fast-paced world? We think not! For a year or so now, Aimee and I have been seeking ways to gain more movement within our day-to-day lives on top of the times we set aside specifically for play and natural movement sessions. Some of the ways we’ve adopted the movement hunter lifestyle include:-
  • Sitting on the floor more often and sitting on the lounge less often. Sitting on the floor forces our bodies to change positions frequently as floor sitting can become uncomfortable quicky. Removing the ‘prop’ allows our body to give us accurate feedback and signals of when adjustments need to be made. We’re not relying on the comfort of a lounge to do all the work for us, our muscles, joints and mind are getting a workout while we sit on the floor, and the muscles, joints and mind benefit greatly from that!
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  • Sleeping on a thin mattress on the floor. This makes us get up from a lying down position instead of just putting our feet down onto the floor. It means our joints are getting more full-range movements and we’re more capable humans because we can easily get from lying down to standing whenever we need or want to.
bed
  • Walking to the shops instead of driving. We often leave the car at home and walk to the grocery store, markets and butcher. This allows us to get the benefits of walking, fresh air, good conversation time and we see and experience more because there’s always something interesting to see when out and about!
  • Adding to that one.. we carry a basket at the shops instead of using a shopping trolley, then carry our groceries home in eco-bags.
Healthy-Shopping bags
  • Putting the washing basket on the ground outside while hanging wet washing instead of on a trolley at waist height. This makes us have to bend down to pick clothes up so we get a full range of movement in from such a low position to then high when reaching to peg washing to the line.
  • Placing pieces of string between door frames, forcing us to step over each time we want to enter and exit the rooms. This stepping over motion is great for the hip joint, lower back, ankles, knees, basically the entire lower body, as well as the brain because we have to stop and think about it each time. The brain like this!
step over 3   step over 2   step over 1
  • And just for fun and as an experiment… placing pieces of string between walkways to then be able to crawl under to get to where we want to go. We did this recently for a week in the lounge room so every time we wanted to get to the lounge area we had no choice but to crawl. It wasn’t the most convenient method of getting more movement but it was challenging, enjoyable and beneficial. We’re going to use this tool as a sometimes option, taking it down when we want to but making a conscious effort to place it back up and crawl regularly.
crawling 1 crawling 2 As you can see adopting a movment hunter attitude is really easy to implement. There are many more ways in which you can do it other than the ideas we’ve mentioned above, you just need to switch that creativity on in your brain, get it working and come up with some ways you can add more functional movement into your own life. One of movement ‘gurus’ we look up to and greatly respect, Rafe Kelley, coincidentally, posted a video to his Facebook page while I was writing this blog post, about this very same topic. Talk about timing! Watch here for more inspiration on how to add more movement to your day The challenge though is to stick with it.  After time these adjustments will become second nature, if you let them. Don’t become/stay a slave to laziness and the negative effects too much comfort can have. Hunt some more movement, enjoy the journey and reap the benefits! If you decide to become a movement hunter I’d love to hear about it!  Please share any photos on our Facebook page or tag us in Instagram! Thanks for reading! 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 don’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.

Welcome to our Natural Bathroom: the theme is clean!

ournatural bathroom

Part 1: The theme is clean!

We like to say we live a Paleo Lifestyle. We live this way for the benefit of our health and happiness. This obviously means we eat mostly Paleo-friendly foods. But food isn’t the be-all and end-all to good health and wellbeing; there’s more to it than that! You can’t be well just from eating clean. You can’t be well just from moving naturally. You can’t be well just from having a happy mindset. Nor can you be well from just eliminating chemicals in the home. There needs to be a nice balance of all aspects of living. Kind of obvious when you think about it like that right?

So one of the ways we live more Paleo in a modern world (ie simpler, less stuff, cleaner, happier, more sustainably, environmentally friendly, etc) is by trying to avoid using chemicals around the house and on our skin, as opposed to just being mindful of eating low/no chemical foods.

We’ve mastered the switch to the general natural household stuff but the trickiest switch has definitely been in the bathroom; mostly with makeup and beauty products. We hear that a lot from our Sunshine Coast Paleo Lifestyle Meetup Group members too who often ask us and each other what natural cosmetics and skin care products are recommended.

When you walk into a health food store or supermarket and look at the beauty and cleaning sections it’s easy to be overwhelmed with options. It’s good to see there are so many natural products on the market now but it’s confusing to know which are actually safe for humans or are just eco-friendly and how to work out what’s going to be right for you and your family.

Over the last few years living more Paleo we’ve realised one thing… simple is always best. Whether you’re talking movement, cooking or natural cleaning and beauty… simple is always best!

So in terms of natural products… how about you pick up a few different brands of say… shampoo and conditioner next time you’re at the shops or health food store and look at the back to have a read of the ingredients. Take note… is there a list of about 20 things and at least half of which you can’t even pronounce? Yeah that’s pretty common and it’s not necessary! There are SO many natural and organic products on the market now and unfortunately, most of them still contain a myriad of ingredients. Derived from plant sources, yes, that’s great but a lot of ingredients in the one product can still be too many ingredients for a person’s skin or health, natural or not!

We’ve experienced it for ourselves. We’ve bought top quality, expensive skincare products, with a list of ingredients a mile long, only to have found they’ve irritated our skin or simply just not worked. Who wants to spend a fortune on a fancy product that doesn’t even do what it’s advertised to? No one!

Through those experiences and trying different products on the market, as well as then also trying lots of DIY options (which can be really time-sucking), we’ve finally settled on the few natural and simple items we’re happy with. And we’d love to share them with you!

Our next post in this series will be about makeup and beauty products, so stay tuned for that one, but this first blog is all about how we get ourselves and our bathroom CLEAN without chemicals! Yay!

So let’s take you on a virtual tour of our bathroom and how we clean ourselves and the surfaces naturally…

bathroom 7

Let’s start with the shower. We live in South East QLD so we have a few nasties in our water, plus it’s an older townhouse so the pipes aren’t great. Our ENVIRO PRODUCTS Designer Shower Filter removes chlorine for up to 12 months. We know it works because a few weeks ago I ran a bath using the lower taps in this bath/shower combo. As I was letting it fill up slowly I went back to work on the computer in the office nearby. I noticed a strange smell. It was disgusting… it was a very strong, distinct smell of chlorine! So because I wasn’t using this filtered shower head, but the unfiltered bath taps, the tub was filling up with chlorine water!! I immediately emptied the bath and then started again using the shower head!

Some people notice improvements with skin conditions when they switch to chlorine-free water in the bathroom. We haven’t noticed any obvious changes but we like knowing we’re having chlorine-free showers every day!

 

bathroom 8

We’ve gone through so many different types of natural shampoo and conditioner options. Boy oh boy have we just! From bicarb soda, rosemary and acv rinses, various ‘natural’ and organic products, to DIY aloe/rosemary/acv/gelatin cleansing tablets… and we’ve settled on this product! Alaffia is 100% coconut, fair trade and works.

The other natural brands we’ve tried, with a million ingredients, always left our hair and scalp feeling dry and stripped of the natural oils and softness. The DIY tablets I used to make worked but they were a pain to make and messy to use. Bicarb left our hair feeling like straw, completely stripping it of it’s  natural oils and nutrients. Yuck! Never again! ACV and rosemary rinses are good, and we’ll get back into using them sometimes as hair conditioning treatments, but now for the two times a week (or less for Clint!) we do a basic wash, we like using these.

Another positive is the bottles are huge and they last for ages! Some friends and family have reported back that they always run out of the conditioner a lot faster than the shampoo, which we think is because it’s so natural and simple, not quite like the chemical-laden products like Pantein etc that leave a thick chemical coating on the hair making it feel super soft and luxurious. It takes more of it to get the same feeling through the hair. But it’s very affordable, the shampoo actually FOAMS UP unlike most natural brands out there, and they work well for us.

Keep in mind, if switching to natural hair cleaners for the first time, allow a couple of months for the first product/concoction to see if it’s working for you because transitioning to natural haircare does take time. The hair needs to detox before you can find out whether it’s doing the job or not.

 

bathroom 1

Soap. There are stacks of natural soaps on the market now and as much as we’d love to always use a 100% Paleo brand, they are sadly far more expensive and we go through bars of soap too quickly to justify spending that much money on it! If you haven’t met Clint yet, just know that he’s kinda a hairy fellow! So all that friction when he washes himself results in the soap bars shrinking pretty darn quickly!! lol

We just buy the $2 vegetable oil based soaps from our local Flannery’s store.

We were buying pure coconut soap but at $6 ea, you can see why we opt for the cheaper alternative! It’s not a bad soap, we’re fine with it for now. It’s a lot better than what we used to use, that’s for sure!

One of our goals though is to make our own coconut oil and tallow soaps! It’s a project we’re starting soon. We just need to get to my mum’s house with all the gear because she has plenty of garage space for soap making. The process takes six weeks all up but it’ll be so worth it to have a stack of totally natural and handmade soaps! Family Christmas presents sorted! 🙂

 

bathroom 9

Our good friend Crystal Fieldhouse from Ecology Skincare sells these terrific konjac vegetable sponges which hang in the shower and work well for gently cleaning the face. They stiffen up when dry so just holding them under water for a few seconds in the shower softens them up quickly then they’re really easy to use.

They not only feel nice on skin but they’re eco-friendly and contain no chemicals!

Grab one here.

 

bathroom 5

bathroom 2

 

I still have some gut healing to do on my health journey and until then my skin is not the nicest and I feel more comfortable covering up the blemishes and dots with makeup (more on my natural makeup in the next blog post!) therefore I need to wash that off at night!

I’ve tried a few methods over the years but have settled on using organic olive oil. That’s it, that’s my cleanser! You may have heard people say they use coconut oil? I tried it for a long time and it definitely works but I found it was leaving my skin greasy. Whereas olive oil doesn’t, it feels lighter to me.

It’s weird to think oils work as cleaners. But they really do!

I buy the Coles organic olive oil (because it’s the best for making Paleo mayo!), pour some in a jar to keep in the bathroom, use my fingers to wipe a layer across my face at night then grab some organic cotton pads to wipe it all off. It gets every single skerrick off! It’s great!

Cheap, easy, 100% natural and minimal, works well… win!

 

bathroom 4

bathroom 6

Not every day, but maybe once a week or fortnight I use bentonite clay to give my face a nice deep cleanse and detox. We also use it when we brush our teeth (more on that in another blog post!) so, like many of our bathroom items, it has more than one use!

I simply put a little amount in my hand or a container and mix with some water so it’s wet enough to then spread across my face and leave it on for 5-10 mins. I wash it off with warm water and a face cloth.

It’s so soft and gentle, I really like using it on my face. Although when the clay has dried on my face I can’t actually move a single muscle! Hense the rather stiff expression above! lol

It’s fun when I put it on then go talk to Clint… always gives him a shock to turn around and see this scary mud-face ‘thing’ appear! haha

We buy it from Flannery’s in their bulk teas, herbs and spices section. It’s available online and in health food stores. Bentonite has SO many health benefits, it’s worth checking out the list of what it’s good for.

 

bathroom 3

Last in the cleaning theme is what we use to clean our hands and our actual bathroom with!

We buy boring old Earth Choice Bathroom and Shower spray because it has pretty minimal and basic ingredients and it works well enough sprayed onto the tiles and left for a few minutes then scrubbed off. We’ve heard Thieves oil works really well and is a better natural option, so it’s on our List of Things to Buy but for now we’re happy with this product. There are oodles of natural cleaning products to choose from.  Try a few different options and work out which is best for your needs.

EcoStore have a great range of natural and eco-friendly products and we quite like the liquid hand soaps. They feel like they’re cleaning well enough, you don’t need a lot of it, and the fragrance is minimal. There’s nothing worse than buying a ‘natural’ product only to be overwhelmed by the fragrances and perfumes added. You’ll find the most natural products don’t have a strong scent.

 

So that’s part 1 of our natural bathroom! Next time we’ll delve into makeup, or teeth/skin products… not too sure yet; you’ll have to wait and see!!

We hope this has given you some inspiration for your own natural bathroom transition. Please let us know in a comment below what natural options you use, or if you have any questions!

Clint & Aimee

The glutes: a holistic approach to strengthening them

“Gluteus maximus is the largest of the gluteal muscles. The general functions of the muscle are believed to be extension of the hip, adduction, and external rotation. There is also evidence pointing to the significant role of glute max in force closure or compression stabilization of the SI joint. While there is some debate in the medical literature of the role of glute max, it is fairly obvious it is an important hip stabilizer.” -Breaking Muscle

glutes

At the Aware Relaxed Connected workshop on Sunday, hosted by one of our mentors and friend Craig Mallett, we learnt a terrific glute activation technique. Yes, there are a lot of them out there; any physio, chiro or PT will have half a dozen you can do on your lounge room floor. And that’s great. And we’ve been given and tried many ourselves over our years within the health and fitness industry as both coaches and also as clients/patients.

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What we liked about Craig’s approach on the weekend though was the truly holistic (whole-istic) perspective. Instead of just lying down to perform a select few leg raising exercises, or some standing up, Craig explained the usefulness and true functionality of activating the glute muscles in ALL movements and angles. From getting up off of the floor in all different ways, standing upright and bending in different directions, to walking up and down stairs. Why set limits?

That was the theme of the day really… move well in ALL directions. Be a ‘generalist’ with movement. Adapt to different positions, angles, heights, environments so you can better handle being in different positions when needed, or when you want to. This really blew our minds! By the end of the day we were happily overwhelmed with this new (but not really ‘new’) concept and have been incorporating this idea into our everyday lives ever since.

So anyway, back to the glute relevance!

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The workshop started with us practising glute activation in all sorts of different positions, heights and movements. We want to share a couple of them with you guys that you can easily start implementing and hopefully benefit from.

SOME GLUTE ACTIVATION IDEAS FOR YOU TO TRY:

Standing position with straight back: bend knees slightly, keep back straight, lean forwards bringing your chest toward the ground. When you feel your butt is at full stretch stop. Then, concentrating, squeeze or ‘turn them on’ and as you continue to keep them switched on, slowly raise your torso back to standing position but take it slightly further by pushing your pelvis forward to finish. Repeat this 10-20 times to get the hang of it.

 

Standing position different angles: this is similar to the previous movement but instead bend the knees at different angles, feel the stretch in one or both glutes and stand to upright position squeezing them the whole time. Play around with every possible angle you can come up with, including a rounded back.

 

Standing from sitting on the ground: sit on the floor/ground in all different positions, activate your glutes as much as possible in each position, then get to standing position keeping the glutes on the entire time. This is a tricky one and takes a lot of concentration (which the brain likes because the brain and body work best together, not separately).

 

Step ups: this one you can do with stairs in your home (we often use 2 at a time to get the full glute stretch) or anything stable you can step up and down with. Simply place one foot up on the step, concentrate on squeezing that glute and stand upright keeping it squeezed the entire time. Do this a few times on one leg then swap to the other leg. Then play around with different foot positions and knee angles. If you automatically step up with your knee facing inward, try breaking that habit and step up with it outward a few times. Change the step height when you can and vary this movement up as much as possible.

 

Easy peasy!

We’ve been making a conscious effort to do these at home. It’s hard, they’re not something we were doing previously so to add the movements into our day has taken some mental effort. But even when we think of it sometimes and just do a few standing with straight back, or we remember to stand up with glutes on from sitting on the floor watching TV, then that’s something. And that’s all you need to do. Practice as many of these as you can manage and you’ll be doing your body some good. Especially your pelvic stabilisation, which is so important.

Remember to check out Craig’s website Aware Relaxed Connected for lots of great resources, grab the current videos on the Tutorials page and check back regularly for new videos. We urge you to spend a few bucks on them and benefit from the content. All the money Craig receives from the purchase of videos and workshop attendance goes toward him learning more from his own mentors and teachers. Eventually that seeps back to all of us.. so it’s really a positive cycle!

Let us know if you have any questions and have fun with your new movements!

Clint & Aimee

 

5 things we’re grateful for today:

  1. Attending Craig’s brilliant workshop last weekend
  2. Forest play time
  3. Meeting new lovely people at all of our recent free library talks
  4. You guys reading our blog posts!
  5. All the cherry tomatoes we’ve been picking from our container garden lately

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor or 000 immediately.

The views expressed on this blog and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are  affiliated.