Want to Learn Weird Tricks for Healing Barefoot Injuries Fast?

  1. Blood Freeze: Ice Bucket Bath
    Freeze inflammation in its tracks using the ice-bath body hack. Ice baths may hurt at first, but they ease the ache over time. This natural remedy for pain is much safer than over the counter drugs. Best of all it’s a body hack. The cold bath fools your body. When you step from the cold, the circulatory system thinks there is an urgent emergency and floods the cold body part with a warm healing rush of blood. The extra blood flow speeds the healing process. This is the only form of homeopathy your doctor will approve. But it is homeopathy. The cryotherapy mimics injury, thereby kick-starting the healing process.
    Guidelines for Cold Water Recovery

    • Protect the Skin.
      Do not put ice directly on your skin; use a plastic bag or towel to buffer the chill.
    • No longer than 20 Minutes.
    • Red means STOP.
    • At least 10 minutes for muscle aches. It takes the cold about 10 minutes to reach your deeper muscles; so it’s a good idea to apply cold for at least 10 minutes.
    • Wait 2 hours before you REPEAT THE ICE.
  2. Rolling Pin
    Valen's sexy right lower leg with dynmaic rolling pin action, he soothes the aching muscles in his lower leg--the ones that ran 8 miles in sandals.
    Rolling pin to alleviate muscle aches, break scar tissue, and increase circulation

    I’ve posted about this trick before. But no one read the post. This secret works so dang well that I decided to re-post it here. The rolling pin breaks up scar tissue, increases circulation, and leaves your muscles refreshed. It will reveal tightness in spots you thought were fine. Firmly it roll over your lower leg. I start rolling from Achilles up to my calf. Then I move to my ankle over my shin up to my knee. I find a lot of hidden tension in my tibialis anterior. Don’t MASSAGE OVER VARICOSE VEINS.

  3. Chia Seeds & Other Anti-Inflammatory Foods
    These foods aren’t as potent as the over counter drugs, but there not as harmful either. The following edibles contain natural anti-inflammatory agents.

    • Chia Seeds
    • Garlic Powder (1 teaspoon)
    • Cayenne Powder (1 teaspoon)
    • Ginger, ground (1 teaspoon)
    • Spinach, cooked (1 cup)
    • Carrots, chopped and raw (1 cup)

Pain can be your friend. It tells you when you’ve done too much. Without this crucial alarm signal, the body cannot communicate effectively.

Do you have any tips for speedy recovery?
Post a comment.

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How I Run Barefoot in the Snow

How I safely and comfortably run barefoot in the snow.

My Safety Tips

  1. I bring a hefty pair of wool socks when I run in the snow. I put them on my if and when my feet or toes go numb. I massage my feet/toes to get the circulation going before I put on the socks. The socks are emergency protocol: GMAH  “Get My Ass Home.” (As long as the wool isn’t worn through AND your feet are NOT NUMB, the wool socks will allow for LONGER running in cold weather. Wool is great because it stays warm even when it’s wet. Cotton socks are a BIG FAT FAIL for snow running. They will make your feet colder because they sponge water, they’ll freeze onto your toes,  causing foot rot in chilly climates. Kill Cotton for Cold Climates.)
  2. I stay close to home. I use my 1 mile route and just do laps. So, I’m always less than a mile from home–my place is close to the center of my loop; as a result, I can quickly cut down the streets to get to my place ASAP.
  3. I STOP RUNNING & MASSAGE my FEET if my TOES go NUMB. Numbness is BAD. It makes it easy for sharp metal, glass, etc. to slice my foot. I ALWAYS, STOP, GET WARM. I never try to Run through Numbness.
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Rosey’s Veggie Powered Voyage to Health & Fitness

English: Par cooked brown rice.
Image via Wikipedia

While I was tweeting my  barefoot Bay Area adventures, I discovered Rosey Eutsler. As I read her tweets, I became more and more interested in her story. At the time of this interview (12/26/2011), she has lost the 6.9 spare tires (138 lbs.). She didn’t do it by eating gimmicky caramel candy bars, she didn’t do it by fasting 3 or 4 days a week, she didn’t even do it by watching Richard Simmons videos.

She did it by changing her lifestyle, by discovering that some foods nourish while others damage. Anyone can follow her journey by visiting her Blog, Rosey’s  Getting Fit. Enjoy my interview with this inspiring, happily married mother of two.

I read on your blog that you like Nichoals Cage. So, I have to ask, what is your favorite Nicholas Cage movie?
Con-air would have to be my favorite. I love all his movies but that is definitely my favorite.

Con-Air was a great flick. Face-Off was another Nick Cage movie I liked. It’s all about changing identity. Speaking of complete about-faces, what lead to your lifestyle change?
I got all the way up to 399lbs and started to have a ton of health issues that were making me feel like I was dieing. I tried all kinds of Standard American Diets and would lose weight and regain it over again getting sicker all the time.

What kind of health issues plagued you?

  • Irritability, Moodiness
  • Joint pain, Muscle cramps, Tingling and numbing in the legs, feet, arms and hands.
  • Weight Loss & Gain
  • Digestive Disorders
  • General weakness and fatigue
  • Hair Loss
  • I had a rash all over my body, Blisters in mouth, and Brittle nails
  • I bruised easily
  • I had Severe Insomnia–no more than 2 to 4 hours sleep.
  • Asthma, and other respiratory problems
  • I suffered from Ear infections, Allergies
  • There was severe swelling of my hands, legs and feet.
  • Heart arrhythmia, High Blood Pressure
  • Calicium deposits just under skin, age spots
  • Fatty tumor in my back
  • Curled toes
  • Arthritis in hip, knees and shoulder
  • Sharp pains in heels of feet after long walks
  • Panic attacks
  • and Migraines [to name a few.]

Wow! You must have been miserable. Before you realized that you had to live healthy to be healthy, did you try any of the weird fad diets, such as grapefruit only, or any of the wacky weight-loss concoctions on the market?
Let’s see I tried a few weird diets. The grapefruit one I did not try though. I tried fasting 3 to 4 days of the week. I tried diet Ayds which was like a little caramel candy that was suppose to make you not hungry. Slimfast: Gained weight instead of losing. Atkin’s: I lost weight but I got so sick I ended up in the hospital and doctors told me to quit that diet. When I did I gained back all the weight plus more.

I also tried Richard Simmon’s diet and exercises. I still love his videos. But didn’t keep weight off with his diet either. Weight Watchers: Didn’t lose hardly anything on it and put it right back on.

All of the fad diets made me feel sick and didn’t keep the weight off because they were diets not lifestyle changes to me.

My new lifestyle is making me feel so much better that it is here to stay.

I read on your blog that you eat vegan. How did you discover vegan eating?
Very first time was through a friend giving me

Dr. McDougall’s book. “The Mcdougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss“.

That is the Program I have been following… But I’ve learned a lot from others…like Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Colin T. Campbell, Chef AJ and the Dietician…

Do you have any favorite dishes?
Favorite dishes almost anything that has brown rice in it.

I love to have brown rice in my frig. pre-cooked at all times.

That way, there is always something quick and easy to fix. A lot of times I take the brown rice, steamed greens and frozen veggies. Throw them in the microwave add salsa and seasonings when done. You can spice it up just by adding different seasonings.

Since you’ve been eating vegan and learning about healthy eating, what benefits have you enjoyed?

Since I went vegan and Barefoot/Minimalist, I’ve been enjoying not only feeling 100% healthier from head to toe but also losing the weight easily: 399lbs to 261lbs at moment.

I still got a ways to go. But I know I’m going to make it. [And nearly all of the problems I mentioned earlier have either improved or gone away and I’m loving it.]

How has your relationship to food and eating changed
My relationship is so much better.

Food used to control me and make me really sick.

I am feeling healthier and fitter as a vegan.

Earlier, you said you went barefoot/minimalist. What part has bare-footing or minimalist living had in your change?
I’ve noticed that since I’ve went bare-footing and minimalist that my whole body is loving me. Not near as much pain as I was having before I started doing so. Amazing how going back to natural helps the whole being not just the feet.

Do you listen to music or audio when you run?
I use my ipod when I’m running but only put it in one ear. I’m using couch to 5K podcast to get myself running. I also like to listen to running and walking podcasts when I’m walking. I don’t really listen to music when doing so because I have found that seems to make me not pay as much attention to my posture and I end up with blisters and hurting again.

What would you say to someone who struggles with his or her weight?
I’d tell them to give the McDougall program a try for a month and go for walks and build up to other exercises. Never give up you can do it!!!


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Barefoot at the Airport

English: Concourse D at Portland International...
Image via Wikipedia

Whilst traveling to California, I had the divine pleasure of making my way through the ever so tender and caring arms of airport security. At PDX, the line was 45 minutes long and the security guard in charge of the thing wore a wrinkled uniform that forced his ample belly to pop over his belt. Also, the man needed a proper shave for he had missed some stubble below his chin. And his left shoe was untied. But the worst thing about this guy was his directions, he said, “There’s a shorter line this way” then he motioned toward the left of the packed line I was in. I and some other people in my line headed in the direction he pointed. It lead to a “Do not enter, Restricted area.” When I cut back in line, the guard tried to get me to move to the end.
I said, “You told us the line was shorter there, but that’s a restricted area.”
He stammered, “Oh, I uh, meant the line over there,” then he pointed in the opposite direction.
He said, “Sorry, but you have to go the end of the line, sir.”
I freaking hate it when people apologize for giving me orders, polishing with sir! It makes me want kick ’em in the teeth. I looked at the people who let me cut back in line and said, “Do you mind my staying here? Security gave me bad directions and my plane leaves in 15 minutes.” They said they didn’t mind. So I turned from the guard and staid put, luckily the slovenly guard didn’t push the issue. He went on trying to control the line.

At the security check point, like the rest of the flock, I was forced to remove my shoes. That happily freed my  feet. I don’t wear shoes much and when I do, never

The sunset silhouettes a FedEx plane and the B...
Image via Wikipedia

with socks. My bare feet, of course, brought some glares. The expression on persnickety elderly woman’s face made me want to laugh; it looked as if someone had dripped warm maple syrup down her spine. I shot her a winning smile and wink. I was surprised when she returned the smile. I decided to leave my shoes off for a while. I love my black converse, but they still give me blisters. It felt good to be barefoot in PDX. Walking without shoes makes the world feel bigger, plus it’s easier to soak up the energy of a place and PDX has a funky energy. A few minutes later, I spotted security headed my way. I promptly sat my ass down and put my shoes  back on.

At SJ airport, I wasn’t the only person with bare-feet. The guy in front of me didn’t wear socks either. Of course, at SJ, I had endure a full body scan. During the scan I remembered that I had forgotten to remove a packet of eye drops in my LEFT pocket. “OH, Sh%#!”, I thought with my hands behind my head–firing squad style–while the scanner whirred me from head to toes. Sure enough after the scan, a guard approached, “Sir, follow me. Do you have anything in your RIGHT pocket?”
I said, “Not that I know of.” He padded my right pocket. Nothing. He looked to person manning the body scanner and said, “He’s clean.”
“Have a nice flight, sir.”
When I was well out of view, I reached into my LEFT pocket and administered my eye drop. They were in my pocket the whole time.

What do I think airports can do to improve travel? Let’s see. I think they’ve got humiliating innocent men, women, and children at security check-points down; they could, however, probably hire security guards that know how to shave themselves and give proper directions, and it wouldn’t hurt if the person running the body scanner knew his left from right.

Fly safe, fly bare.

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Covert Hippie Praises Sandals

Hirschvogel Sandals
Image via Wikipedia

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that Mr. Valen Longfeather is making some major life changes. But, at heart, I’m still a fun loving hippie. In my latest YouTube Video, I kick, yet again, the horse of barefoot shoes–you see I still mix metaphors. You may wonder if I kick the horse with a straight bare foot or with a fancy sandal wearing foot or  with some other stylish minimalist shoe wearing foot. The truth is that sometimes I kick it straight bare other times I kick it wearing classy sandals.

You are probably thinking that I am ramblings; you are probably right. Just watch the video. It is slightly more focused. It will take more than short hair, organization, goals, and better hygiene to tame this wild beast.

Thanks for watching, thanks for reading. May you be healthy, may you be happy, may you live with ease.

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4 Books that Changed my Life

  1. Zen and the Begginer’s Mind

    Still not sure I understand this one. But it has rocked my world and is a major source of inspiration for dramatic awakening and full life makeover. (This book is good and it is not good: That is the right understanding. To say it good, this is NOT the right  understanding, to say it NOT good, this is NOT the right understanding. It is good and it is NOT good that is the right understanding.))
  2. Getting Things Done

    (If you have trouble with a clearing your mind, read this book. It will help you organize your thoughts and activities. It’s sure helping me. VERY EASY. VERY PRACTICAL. It will change your life.)
  3. The Art of Worldly Wisdom

    (Gracian kicks the teeth out of Machiavelli when it comes to real world practical advice about success. This work is much stronger than “The Prince”. Gracian was also much more successful in his life. So, he’s a much better person to model than Machiavelli.)
  4. Drawing Course

    (This book taught me the secrets of classical drawing. A bit tedious, but worth the effort. It’s the same book Van Gogh used when he learned to draw–perhaps not a ringing endorsement at first blush, but then resounding endorsement afterward.)
  5. Born to Run

    (The book that turned me into a barefooter. It’s not without misinformation, which is why I wrote a post about some of the myths in Born to Run. Even so, it’s well written book and it will get you excited about running without shoes.)
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Barefooting is Hot and Sexy

For decades, I was afraid to get naked in public. I had learned to despise my human form. I had succumbed to years of guilt and shame about my body, it’s needs, and what I really want.  Guilt is a self-manufactured feeling. It means that I’m hiding my REAL desires from others because I don’t think they will understand or accept them. It usually spirals into depression or self loathing and a general sense of dissatisfaction with life. I spent my life like that for far too many years. I shut myself inside my house and clung to my routines, seeking a “safe and quiet life.” That’s fine for some things, but not 24/7. After all the freaking years, I see the light.

Barefooting in public has opened me. It’s sensual, it’s somewhat daring, and, yes, it’s literally a step closer to full on nudity. I’m NOT a streaker, I’m NOT flasher, I’m not even a nudist–maybe I am.

Yesterday at Ano Nuevo State Park in the warm California sunshine on a deserted stretch of beach, I flung my shirt off, pulled down my pants, stripped off my boxers and ran headlong into the ocean surf. The first wave baptized with freezing salt water, next one knocked me down, the third, I dove beneath.

When I raised my head from the pounding surf,  I felt ALIVE, AWAKE, WHOLE, and JOYFUL. I was NOT ashamed to be nude in public–not really “public”–no one was around. I am NOT ashamed of myself any longer. I am who I am. I will be who I will be. If others don’t like it, they can use the tight fabric prisons around their feet to walk away. Best of all, the awakening has given me the impetus to overcome fear and it has super-charged my libido! I haven’t’ felt this good in a long time.

Speaking of libido, I think, deep down, many women find barefooters secretly sexy. We are, after all, a little daring; we’re indepedent thinkers; not satistfied with status quo; most of us don’t accept what we’re told; we’re very open minded and like to test the world against our personal experience.  But back to the sexiness, in San Francisco when couples headed toward me, I noticed this scenario: Guy looks at my barefeet, then looks a way; his girlfriend looks at my barefeet, scans me up and down. Direct eye contact. A smile, sometimes followed by a blush.

I am thrilled to the core that I decided to take the shoes not just off of my feet but also off my mind. I’m nude and I love it.


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Why I run: Wing Tipped Shoes with the Divots


Wing Tipped Shoes with the Divots
Grandpa's Black Leather Brogues

After my grandpa’s funeral, I trudged into the backroom were he passed away. I took off my dark blazer, white shirt, tie, and slacks and replaced them with blue shorts and white t-shirt. (My parent’s house was full; so I had to stay in the one room every one else wanted to avoid.)

I ran five miles that day. It was clear and sunny as is the case in California most of the year. My heart felt dead and heavy like tarnished lead. My neck slumped me toward the ground, my arms barely swung by my side; for the first few miles, I was miserable.

But around mile four, a presence overcame me.  And I imagined Grandpa Perez as a teenager. His hair was freshly cut, short, thick, full, and lampblack; his figure tawny the color of bronze. He wore dark brown polyester shorts that were too tight, a bright white shirt (also way too tight), and, of course, his world famous black leather brogues. The shoes made me chuckle.  I wonder if they ever left his feet. I suspect he may even have been buried in them. They had divots around the stitches, which, for some unspeakable reason, I associate with carpentry–the trade that brought him to California and which supported my young father until he was old enough to enlist in the Airforce. They were “nice shoes”: the kind I imagine an old world cobbler repairing with delight.

Even though my grandpa seemed sort of ridiculous in that outfit, his bones were no longer brittle as chalk, his skin was no longer like buzzard’s chin spattered with tan shoe polish, and his lungs no longer gurgled with each terrible gasping breath. For the last mile, my grandpa was young, strong, and full of life again. For the last mile, my grandpa was a runner, like me.

Rest in Peace Grandpa.


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5 Holiday Gifts for Barefoot Athletes

Holidays 2011
Image by Christopher S. Penn via Flickr

What do you buy for the barefoot hippie , health nut, or super athlete in the family? If they’re anything like me, they’re as persnickety as cats when it comes to holiday gifts. So, here are 5 surefire, easy gift ideas for a joyous holiday season.  The athlete in your circle of friends or family will thank you, without the insincere, patronizing grin that they’ll probably lay on everyone else.

  1. Amazon Gift Card
    This is the ultimate no-brainer present. You can’t possibly go wrong because the person can pick whatever he or she wants. Amazon sells an array of products for bare footers, swimmers, and athletes: chia seeds, blenders, agave nectar, portable gps devices, and even books! Gift Cards also add an extra element of surprise. If the odd duck in your family is anything like me, he or she will enjoy the USPS anticipation. It’s one of the secret joys buying online. The USPS also seems to ship a little faster this time of year.
  2. Invisible Shoes
    These sandals are excellent “barefoot shoes”. Steven Sashen has upgraded the traditional Tarahurma Sandal without detracting from its brilliance. The Invisible running Shoes come in several different styles. There are bare bones kits and assembled sets. The barefoot running sandals are perfect for the DIY runner. The shoeless shoes will automatically conform to your foot; their thin soles and “feel true” technology really do give you all of the barefoot feel without destroying your sole.
  3. A Good Juicer
    Another essential product for anyone who wants to live healthy. Although juicing mostly separates the sugars and other nutrients from the fiber, it allows you to create and combine nutrient dense compounds which will give you the edge with turbo boost super all natural energy drinks. You can eat the yummy pulp or use it in other secret health concoctions.
  4. The Big Ass Book of Endurance Training
    This will make the family health-nut stoked. It gives you the low down on all things endurance. There is even a chapter about minimalist/Pose Style running. The premise of the book is solid and sensible: You have to be fine and fit for endurance sports. Step by step, the book teaches you this essential knowledge. Along with tips for proper diet and detailed exercise programs, this book will give you secrets to getting into, measuring, and staying in the best shape of your life. You’ll amaze yourself and your friends with your new found stamina and vigor.
  5. Water Bottles & Hydration & Food Pack Accessories
    Good water bottles, hydration packs, and holders are the kinds of things that most runners don’t often buy for themselves. They’re great for those longer runs.
  6. Runner’s Race Medal Hanger
    This is something every runner doesn’t know he or she wants. And it’s definitely something they won’t usually buy for themselves. Having a place to hang marathon medals will give your runner pride in the accomplishments of the past and motivation for the races in the future. My wife bought me one for my birthday; I use it more than my water bottles. It also it’s a lot nicer than draping your hard earned medals on a rusty nail pounded deep into your sheet-rock.
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3 Amazing Barefoot Running Secrets

  1. Still life with human legs and daisies
    Image by J. Star via Flickr

    Run Recovery. When starting out give yourself at least a day to recover from barefoot runs. Never run through foot or lower leg PAIN. This recovery approach has been the key to healing my unnecessarily torn calf muscle and soleus strain. If I had followed this simple time off for recovery formula, I would have skipped many of my aches and injuries.

  2. Straight gait, smooth stride. The easiest way to check your stride is to wear a necklace while running barefoot. I think this is the seventh million time I’ve written about the necklace trick, but it works. (Valen’s Official Barefoot Runner’s Life Barefoot Stride Checker Necklaces Coming SoonThe other essential way to ensure a safe, soft stride is to have someone video record your barefoot run. This is a surefire way to spot bad bio-mechanics. It’s how I cracked my calf and Achilles problems. When I watched the video of myself running, I saw right away that I was swishing my legs from side to side.
  3. Rolling Pin
    Image via Wikipedia

    Rolling Pin Massage Trick. I’ve written about this one too. Buy a cheap wooden rolling pin (LIKE THE ONE IN THIS SHAMELESS PRODUCT PLUG: J.K. Adams BRP-1 10-1/2-Inch by 2-1/8-Inch Maple Bakers Rolling Pin). The rolling pin will not only release the lactic acid from sores muscles, but it will also break up scar tissue, leaving your muscles strong and sexy. The pin will reveal tightness in spots you thought were fine. It’s easy to use, just firmly  it roll over your lower leg. I start rolling from Achilles up to my calf. Then I move to my ankle over my shin up to my knee. I find a lot of hidden tension in my tibialis anterior. Don’t MASSAGE OVER VARICOSE VEINS.

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