The Roundup: Soaking your Grains, Shine your Skull, Run with freedom
It’s been a while since I threw down one of the roundups!
Over the last two months, I’ve really refocused my efforts toward my training business and have been laying low on the site. But I still find cool information that I want to share with you. So here we go!
You’ve probably heard that you should soak your grains. But do you know why?
As you can see from many of my recipes, I frequently eat beans and whole grains, Both beans and whole grains contain a compound called phytic acid. It’s considered an “anti-nutrient” because it blocks the absorption of minerals like calcium, zinc and iron. And all three of those are very important for your health.
You’ll hear alot of “paleo” enthusiasts and other low-carb people harping about the detrimental effects of phytic acid. The funny part is how easy it is to remove the phytic acid from whole grains. Soak them in water before cooking! Done and done.
But is phytic acid something to raise alarms about to begin with? For most of us, the answer is “NO”. This write up on the Precision Nutrition website gives a detailed, scientific explanation of how phytic acid acts in the body, how the way you eat in general changes how phytic acid is absorbed and even gives many reasons that phytic acid has beneficial health effects.
Now, what was that about shining my skull?
Although I’ve been learning, practicing and teaching breathing exercises for more than 14 years, this is one I’ve somehow managed to miss. Called Kapalabhati in sanskrit, this is a powerful, advanced breathing exercise.
I practiced this breath several times at a rapid pace and it really does amplify your awareness. And I can see why it’s called the “skull shining” breath. You become more physically aware of the inside of your head and it does feel like it’s the inside of your skull. Here is a great article giving more details about kapalabhati from Yoga Outlet. As the article states, this is not a beginner exercise, so please make sure you’re well versed in diaphragmatic breathing and the Yogi Complete Breath before starting this practice.
Aside from when you’re in bed, how often are you in bare feet? Ever run that way?
I’m all about being barefoot. For most of my time as a GYROTONIC instructor, I’ve worked barefoot. At gyms, they frown upon that. They generally give two reasons for that: 1) It’s unhygienic, which is definitely valid, especially in the age of MRSA. 2) It’s unsafe. You risk injury from weights falling. This is nonsense. Unless you’re wearing steel toed boots to workout, your athletic shoe isn’t going to protect you at all against a 45 lb weight plate!
But I digress. I prefer to be barefoot or as barefoot as possible. When I’m training, I wear Vibrams. It’s as close as you can get to barefoot, even allowing your little toes to wiggle. When I exercise or run, I wear Mizuno Wave Evo shoes. These are zero drop minimalist shoes that feel great and allow the natural motion of your bones.
I’ve also tried straight up barefoot running but I think that even though I’m not even close to a germophobe, I do fear broken glass, random pieces of metal and other things that jab and cut feet. Michael Sandler would disagree with that last part.
Michael is a author and proponent of barefoot running. His own story of how he came to even start running barefoot is inspirational. Many people would never get to walking properly again after the devastating injury he suffered.
In the video at the end of the story, you’ll see he does indeed disagree with my fear of getting my feet all cut up. And he’s even running in New York’s Central Park!
Even if, like me, you’re hesitant about going completely barefoot, I highly recommend zero-drop, minimalist shoes, like the Vibrams or the Mizuno.
Soaking grains, breathing exercises and barefoot running? Hmm… I’m turning you into hippies!
Have a great weekend. Get outside and MOVE!