Home Remedies for Foot Tendonitis Pain

This week I am trying a new video format on the blog. Check out this week’s video to learn more about home remedies for foot tendonitis (inflammation or pain in the foot caused by overuse or injury). These are common items which you likely already have around the house that can do wonders for helping to reduce your foot pain. Be sure to comment to let me know what you think of the new video format!

To watch the video click here: Foot Tendonitis Natural Remedies

Stiff Ankles Might be Keeping you from Working Out to your Full Potential

By Rachel Song

The ankle is an often overlooked ligament that is actually crucial in utilizing the full strength of your legs, hips, and glutes and maintaining a healthy posture & gait.  Stiff ankles inhibit full fitness potential by restricting your movements and may even cause pain in the heels, calves, shins, knees, hips, and lower back as surrounding muscles compensate for the lack of mobility in your ankles.

Before you scramble to start ankle stretches & exercises, take a moment to assess yourself and make sure there’s an issue to address.

Here are 3 ways to test your ankles:

  • Perform a basic squat, feet hip width apart with a neutral spine. You should be able to get your thighs parallel to the floor without lifting your heels.
  • Stand up straight with your feet together. Lift the balls of your feet from the ground without moving the rest of your body.

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  • Get into the hip flexor stretch stance with one knee on the ground, the other knee up with the foot directly below it, upper body held straight up above the hips (see above image). You will be testing the ankle of the foot in front of your  body.  Face a wall with your knee at a distance about 5 inches from it.  The closer you can get your knee to the wall without lifting your heel, the better your ankle mobility.  Ideally, you should be able to touch your knee to the wall without lifting your heel.

If any of the above tasks are difficult, you may want to include the exercises below in your daily fitness routine to increase your ankle mobility:

  • Massage calf and foot muscles: Using a hard, round ball, roll the bottom of your foot from side to side and top to bottom several times, applying firm but not painful pressure. Do the same for your calves using a foam roller or similar item like a rolling pin. This exercise will help relax connective tissues that may be playing a role in your tight ankles.

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  • Heel raises: Stand with your forefoot slightly lifted (about 2 inches) on any workable object. Bend your knees while keeping your upper body straight with a neutral spine and heels completely on the ground.  Stand up straight. Repeat for about 5 minutes a day.
  • Half-kneeling ankle flex: Get into the same hip flexor stretch position from the ankle assessment exercise above. Stretch your ankle by pushing your knee forward, getting it past your toes if possible. Stay in position for 1-2 seconds before returning to the starting pose. Remember to keep your upper body straight with a neutral spine. Repeat motion 10-15 times.

In conjunction with these exercises, it’s important to wear proper footwear when exercising.  Correct support & cushioning can make a huge difference in your posture and stability, allowing you to prolong the health of your joints and muscles for lasting fitness & health!

How Toxic Is Your Kid’s Easter Basket?

Many parents love to fill their children’s Easter baskets with plastic grass, colorful candies, plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies each year. Have you ever stopped to think about how toxic and wasteful your basket is? Everything from the plastics to the food coloring is not only toxic to your children, but to the environment as well.

What’s wrong with colorful Easter candy?

Although these traditional Easter candies are colorful and fun, “parents and teachers alike attribute excessive motor activity and other disruptive behaviors to candy consumption,” cautions Anju Sharma, a pediatric dietitian with Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas. And, she adds, “There have been problems concerning the safety of some of these chemicals [additives and colorings], including the possibility of allergies.”

A growing body of research shows that many of these additives can trigger hyperactivity and inattention in children. When Harvard and Columbia University scientists analyzed 15 previous studies of hyperactive children, they concluded that artificial food colorings have a detrimental effect on children’s behavior.

“At the very least, regulators should track consumption of artificial food colorings; we know only that domestic production of food dyes quadrupled between 1955 and 1998,” warn the researchers.

Some safer candy alternatives

It may cost a bit more out of pocket, but aren’t your children worth it? There are many brands you can find in stores like Whole Foods, or even on Amazon.com, that carry candy made with fruit juice sweetener and food based dyes. Everything from gummy worms to jelly beans can be enjoyed without all the added toxins. Some great brands include Annie’s, Surf Sweets and others. Always be sure to read the ingredients and check for food dyes, sugar and artificial sweetener. You can also get organic dark chocolate bunnies, Easter eggs, crosses and more with a simple google search.

Plastic in baskets

We all know that we care greatly for our own children, but we should also care just as much for our planet! Using plastic Easter eggs, plastic grass, cheap/disposable/useless junk in Easter baskets only adds to the landfills. These plastics take MANY years to break down (if at all).

Rather than using plastics, try opting for shredded paper in your Easter baskets. Be sure to save and reuse your Easter baskets each year, rather than tossing and buying a new one. If you choose to buy plastic eggs to hide candy in, be sure to save them and reuse them each year. The kids love doing egg hunts year round, and it is not nearly as wasteful if you keep and reuse them.

By making some of these simple tweaks, you can make your family’s holiday healthier – for yourselves AND for the Earth!

How to Protect your Bones to Prevent Osteoporosis

By Rachel Song

Over 50% of women over the age of 50 suffer from low bone mass and 20% are eventually diagnosed with Osteoporosis, a disease that causes severe back ache, stooped posture, gradual loss of height, & increased potential of broken bones as the condition progresses.

The statistics may be alarming, but the good news is that you can take steps to prevent & even treat bone density loss with a few changes in life style!

Here they are:

  1. Get enough calcium & vitamin D

To maintain healthy bones, women need 1,000 mg of calcium & 600 IUs of vitamin D daily.  After 50, those numbers jump up to 1,200 mg & 800 IUs.  For women already experiencing bone problems, the recommended amount of vitamin D falls between 1,000 and 2,000 IUs.
Sources of calcium include low-fat dairy (8 oz yogurt, 402 mg), leafy greens such as spinach (8 oz, 29.7 mg), sardines (8 oz, 568 mg), and fortified beverages (8 oz calcium-fortified soy milk, 200-500 mg).

Vitamin D sources include sun exposure (15 minutes on half the body produces about 20,000 IUs depending on weather & skin tone), Salmon (3 oz, 447 IUs), Egg with yolk (1 large, 44 IUs), and vitamin D fortified milks (1 cup almond milk, 100 IUs).  Supplements can also be taken to help reach the required amount.

  1. Do weight-bearing & muscle-strengthening exercises regularly

Weight-bearing exercises stimulate cells in your body that create new bone while strength training causes your muscles to pull on bones, making them stronger.

Try to strength train 2-3 times a week, resting at least one day in between sessions to allow your muscles to fully recover before working them out again.  Do a total of 8 to 10 exercises, one for each major muscle group to ensure a balanced body.

When lifting weights, make sure to listen to your body for any signs of discomfort or pain and avoid movements that cause them.  Make sure you only use the muscles specific to the exercise rather than complementing your movements with other body parts.

  1. Get enough protein

Constant dieting and other unhealthy eating habits can deprive your bones of protein. Aim to consume at least 46 grams per day.  Healthy sources of protein include Greek yogurt (23 g per 8 oz. serving), eggs (6 g per 1 large egg), chicken and turkey breast (24 g per 3 oz. serving), and salmon (23 g per 3 oz. serving).

  1. Try the Mediterranean diet

Studies show that Mediterranean diets can help increase and preserve bone density.  To follow this diet, limit weekly red meat consumption to one serving (1 to 3 oz.), replace oils & fats with olive oil, and try to add 2 to 3 servings (2 to 3 oz.) of fish heavy in omega-3s & monosaturated fats.

  1. Get some slip-free shoes to prevent falls

For those who are already experiencing bone density loss, slip-free shoes & shoes that improve posture and balance are important in preventing falls that may lead to a fracture or broken bones.  Because bone producing cells decrease as people age, recovering from such an injury is a lengthy process and some injuries never heal fully, causing long-term discomfort.

Shoes with built-in orthotics & slip-resistant outsoles from health-conscious brands like Aetrex can provide healthy support and stability.

Some of these steps may seem overwhelming, especially if they require a change in a regular pattern in your life.  For example, I’ve always focused more on cardio than strength-training in my exercise regime.  When some of these changes seem tough, remember that the results will be well worth the effort as bone health is much easier to maintain than to treat.  Good luck!

 

Food Addiction is Real

Food addiction is REAL. It is just as deadly as an addiction to drugs or alcohol, but with slower death over time. It’s more socially acceptable in our society because SO many people suffer and refuse to admit it is a problem, so we walk around pretending it is the “norm.” People justify their choices by saying “we have to eat to live.” This is 100% true. HOWEVER, we do NOT need to eat cookies, brownies, deep fried foods and pure CRAP to live. We also don’t have to stuff ourselves until we feel like we are going to burst to live. It’s time to stop making justifications and get real with ourselves.

I am very familiar with food addiction because I have suffered from it for most of my life. Emotional eating, binging without being able to stop, feeling guilty, disgusting and ashamed after stuffing my face. It’s painful, it’s unhealthy and it’s not something I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing.

If you suffer from food addiction, you likely have trigger foods that will set you off on a binge. To recover from addiction, you must commit to yourself that you will NEVER eat them again. Not even a “healthier option.” For me it is brownies and donuts. One is never enough. I have not eaten them in years. I used to make paleo versions and tell myself it was healthy, but I know better. Eating a whole tray of anything is just not “healthy” and my relationship with them is like a drug. So if I am going to be sober from my food addiction, those are things I must be willing to give up. An alcoholic can’t say they’re just going to have “one drink” and claim to still be sober, so a food addict can’t say they are going to have “one brownie” and claim to be sober.

If you are committed to change, there are Overeaters Anonymous meetings you can attend for support. I have listed some steps below that you can start taking to get on the road to recovery. One of the things I find MOST helpful in overcoming addiction is an accountability partner to be sure you stay on track. Hiring a coach, asking a friend/family member or attending a meeting is a great way to find a partner.

1. Balance your blood sugar – eat a healthy breakfast, eat small meals/snacks throughout the day
2. Eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet
3. Get adequate sleep (at least 7-8 hours)
4. Be sure your diet contains adequate nutrients. Nutrient imbalance can cause cravings. Check for proper intake of vitamin D and omega 3’s.
5. Check to see if you may suffer from food intolerances or allergies. Our bodies often crave the foods that we are sensitive to. For example, If you find you simple MUST drink that glass of milk when you wake in the morning, you may have a dairy issue.

Don’t suffer silently. Do something to change your relationship with food and your relationship with your body. You deserve to feel healthy, vibrant and happy!