Barefoot Running


Barefoot Running sounds strange, yet humans have only been wearing modern shoes for a few hundred years. When Napoleon sent nearly 20,000 troops to waterloo, why is it that there are no accounts of foot injuries, or sore backs, knee pains, or foot aches? Surely those soldiers had worse shoe wear than us.

Or how about the pyramids, built by people wearing shoes? Good shoes? Probably not.

Nike started in 1963. That was barely 50 years ago. Since then, western society has seen in a boom in back, foot, hip, knee, and ankle problems. Everyone wants more air, or more gel in their shoe. Can’t the world see that the more “air” we put in the “injuries” we’re getting out?

The reality is that when we purchase these expensive shoes, we’re purchasing for convenience, and it could be affecting our health.

High cushioned sports shoes allow us to not feel the shock created when stepping on odd shaped objects like rocks, and bottlecaps. Barefoot running teaches to jog slower, and more careful, using your eyes to avoid those obstacles that would surly pinch. This creates an athletic focused concentration on the activity as apposed to running endlessness in boredom on a treadmill.

For the first few days going barefoot, you should simple walk and look out for objects. If you can walk to your mailbox, or even walk around the block, consider it a success. Anyone who’s familiar with walking on a beach can testify that engaging those tiny foot muscles will wear you out. Consider week one, a success.

After you’ve learned the balancing act and incorporated a concentrated mental game, you’ll want to simply lean over and start jogging slowly, very slowly. Barefoot running takes considerable amount of time to learn because it can be dangerous if you don’t use your head more than your heart. Our feet have the most nerve endings of our extremities. Those are there to receive information, not to be muzzled by a shoe. Barefoot offers the advantage of more biological sensory information to guide us to our destination.

Jogging barefoot is like switching from an old flip phone to the newest iPhone. The amount of sensory information you take in is overwhelming at first, but if you just start slow, getting to learn this new device can help to improve your life.

Most athletes in performance shoes will “grind it out”. This type of JV approach toward athletics and health will result in higher levels of lactic acid build up by constantly engaging fast twitch muscles. Lactic acid builds up leads to cramps, time off from training, an imbalance of nutrients/electrolytes, and eventually can lead to injury. In addition, barefoot prevents the runner from traveling with poor technique. If you try to sprint before you’ve trained your feet, you’ll rip the skin right off your feet.

Barefoot offers the ability of the jogger to cut your training time in half due to the complex spider web of muscles that must be engaged to avoid debris when running.

Since I started Barefoot running, I’ve been able to cut my work out times by ½ to 1/3. I’ve learned to run more upright as well. I’ve slowed by mile pace from 8 minutes per mile to about 8:30, but I’ve completely isolated sore muscles out of my training. I don’t have those same tired heavy legs the next day as I used to have worn performance running shoes. When I put the shoes back on and go for a run, I easily can travel at those old 8-mile pace and for longer periods, averaging 4-7 miles, 3 times a week plus weight training without shoes.

While I don’t run barefoot every day, those work outs are now some of my most favorite during the week. I tend to go maybe once or twice a week as it saves time. While I might do 2 to 3 miles normally as a warm up, I’m completely dead tired after 2- or 3-miles barefoot jogging.

It may look weird, but if you’ve read this far, FYI, you are weird so own it. I feel much healthier. I enjoy engaging the road. By touring the neighborhood barefoot, I’ve sampled the local germs and bacteria and my immune system has improved by creating bio-film that can adapt to the changing environment. I don’t care get colds or the flue because my body is constantly sampling my habitat while my cardiovascular system is at its highest-level creating ATP, Oxygen, and repairing my lungs while jogging.

-Mark Tuura

Kale, And the Rise of Dehydrated Healthy Snacks

Kale is the recently infamous “Super Food” due to its impressive nutritional content of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants, providing a great source of vitamin K, A, C, omega fatty acids, flavonoids, iron, and calcium. These nutrients help keep our bodies healthy by regulating blood clotting, building cell membranes in our brain, and protecting against heart disease and stroke. 

Since fresh kale has a short shelf life, preserving it while keeping all its nutrients and benefits is a concern when introducing packaged Kale products to the market. It is worthy to mention that cooking, baking or pasteurizing of food, means sacrificing a large amount of their nutritional benefits, while adding chemical preservatives has been linked to a plethora of health issues that the health-conscious public are, rightly so, trying to avoid. 

So, how can we preserve food and make it readily available to everyone without draining it from its benefits, or adding harmful chemicals to it? The answer is food dehydration, and it is a very old solution that some packaged food manufacturers are starting to use when making their packaged products.  

Food dehydration is one of the oldest methods of food preservation known to mankind. The process of drying, inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and mold through the removal of water. This process was used by prehistoric peoples to preserve seeds by sun-drying, to store food for later consumption during the harsh winter months. It is worthwhile noting that unlike most other preservation techniques, dehydration does not breakdown the enzymes and nutrients, thus preserving all the goodness by keeping food in its “Raw” state. 

Kips Kale Chips, a newly founded San Diego based company, is using food dehydration to produce raw and heathy kale chips. They only add natural ingredients to make their healthy product tasty, providing snack lovers with a guilt-free, nutrient filled, bag of goodness, proving that healthy and tasty can coexist.The recent rise in childhood obesity and diabetes is now becoming a world-wide pandemic. Therefore, finding alternatives to sugar and hydrogenated-oil filled snacks should be a priority, especially to parents trying to raise a healthy family. Luckily, companies such as Kips Kale Chips, make it easier to switch to a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing taste or flavor.


  • Fares R Srouji –
Kips Dehydrated Foods L.L.C.

Is sitting too long killing you?

We've all heard about the dangers of spending too much time sitting down at work. But how much sitting is too much sitting? According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting for long periods of time can have ill effects on the cardiovascular system, and lead to early mortality. However, they found that activity for 60-75 minutes per day can help combat the effects of too much sitting.

Engaging in some of these helpful tips can help you achieve more balance at work and with your body.

  • Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes.
  • Stand while talking on the phone or watching television.
  • If you work at a desk, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
  • Walk with your colleagues for meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.
  • Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.


Health benefits of Dandelion root

For years I have heard about the benefits of all the ‘backyard weeds’ that can be harvested for medicinal purposes. I never really took it all that seriously or even gave it much thought to be honest. This past Spring, I decided I wanted to take a shot at learning what ‘weeds’ I had growing in my yard. I downloaded a few apps, and utilized a few plant Identification websites.

Some plants are very obvious and cannot be easily mistaken, so I jumped in and decided I would take on one at a time. During the course of learning about purslane, plantain, violets and violets, I realized that I was also completely overrun by dandelions. Come to find out, what most homeowners think of as an invasive weed is actually completely edible from root to leaves.

I found myself scouring my yard looking for the very best specimens I could find -digging it up by the roots. I tried the leaves. I will be honest here. Not very tasty to me. The root however surprised me very much. I was a little nervous at first. Triple checking to make sure I was indeed correct, then dived in. My husband thought I was a bit nutty. I diced the roots really tiny and Ryder roasted them in an iron skillet until they were nice and toasted then after cooking for a few minutes, tossed them into my coffee grinder to make a nice ‘coffee’ of them. Next I brewed it just like I would coffee.

Apparently in many places the root has been used as a caffeine free coffee substitute. So my husband and myself were now my guinea pigs. What s shock! Sweet and nutty. This was honestly the best cup of herbal brew I think I have ever had. Hubby actually liked it too! Off I went back to the yard to search for some specimens that were large enough to have good roots! I can’t wait for next Spring!

-Cindy Edmonson

Natural Mosquito Repellents

On August 23 ICoHS was asked by a local FOX network TV station to do a segment on Natural Mosquito Repellents. Our Academic Coordinator, Shari Grayson, rose to the occasion and made her first TV appearance like a pro.

Here are some natural ways (all Julie Plunkett approved!) to combat pesky mosquitos (summer may soon be over, but mosquito season is not):

  • Wear light colored clothing (mosquitos like dark colors and dark places)
  • Stay covered with long pants and long sleeves
  • Avoid areas of standing water
  • Keep the air moving (fans on and blowing)
  • Plant mosquito repellent plants in your yard – rosemary, lavender, basil, mint, geranium
  • Use a yard spray such as Theraneem Yard Spray when enjoying the outdoors on your property
  • Burn a Citronella candle or Citronella incense
  • Use essential oils to create a room spray or body spray and apply to your ankles, neck, arms (re-apply every 2 hrs.) Alternatively, use natural (deet-free) commercial products like Badger,
  • Buzz Away or All-Terrain sprays/lotions
  • Avoid bananas because mosquitos love the smell of bananas from your pores
  • Take vitamin B1 as mosquitos do not like the smell of it coming from your pores
  • Try some of the above suggestions and enjoy the rest of your summer mosquito-free!

    Laughter Yoga


    I walked to my first Laughter Yoga class wondering what you are probably wondering right now - what in the world is laughter yoga? Will there be a stand-up comedian cracking jokes while I am in downward dog?

    I walked to my first Laughter Yoga class wondering what you are probably wondering right now - what in the world is laughter yoga? Will there be a stand-up comedian cracking jokes while I am in downward dog?

    There was no comedian, and no downward dog, but there was plenty of laughter.

    We started with a traditional cross-legged circle and introduced ourselves by our laughs, then took turns laughing like the other. While it sounds strange to laugh without thinking something is funny, we also laugh with joy, and this was the laughter of the second kind. Something took over, and what started as a pretend laugh became a real laugh as we passed our laughter around the circle.

    According to Laughter Yoga instructor Vanessa Rhae Nordhues, whenever we laugh, our brains release positive hormones that induces yet more laughter and fills us with peace.

    There were plenty of movement activities. We handed an imaginary phone off to one another and found hilarious laughter in what the imaginary person on the end had to say. We pretended to be in traffic and laughed hilariously at our minor collisions. We found laughter in the ridiculousness of life and let the stress melt away.

    But I won't give it all away. Vanessa has agreed to hold a free Laughter Yoga class at ICoHS.

    When: Thursday, September 20, 2018

    Where: ICOHS College: 1500 State Street, San Diego, CA 92101

    Cost: FREE – donations are encouraged.

    Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea

    Hibiscus tea is a sweet fall freshment that you can drink hot or cold that not only won't add on pounds, but can actually help you lose weight. That's right - lose weight. Hibiscus properties help to stimulate your metabolism which helps you shed those pounds.

    But did you know it also comes with some amazing health benefits? Along with a slimmer figure, hibiscus tea is also heart healthy. It can help to lower high blood pressure as well as lower high cholesterol. It is also a mild anti-inflammatory and can help ease aches and pains caused by pressure in your body.

    Next time you want to pick up a sweet hot or cold beverage with zero guilt, try a cup of hibiscus tea.

    Movement and Learning

    Want to learn better?  Get Moving!  Physical Activity improves brain function, enhances memory, improves creativity and has protective effects from cognitive decline associated with aging.  Exercise/Movement enhances learning through activating the sensory motor systems of the body, it gets blood pumping to the brain and increases oxygenation to all of the organs. Keeping the body active promotes mental clarity.  Our own experience of feeling mentally clearer after taking a short walk and studies show improved test taking performance after 20 min. of exercise (walking, running, other exercise)1; also, increased attention span after periodic 20 min. physical activity bouts2; and improved memory when movement is engaged during learning3

    The integration of the sensory and motor systems improves learning, especially of things that require action like touching or giving a massage.  Because touching with sensitivity (giving a massage) is a sensory motor activity, using movement paired with touch instruction enhances the learning and retention, and ultimately the embodiment of these skills. At ICoHS, we incorporate movement into the classroom experience.  We use Brain Gym from Educational Kinesiology4, designed to promote better synergy between the right and left hemispheres of the brain for improved learning outcomes. We teach a movement series that connects students with the basic principles of movement and promotes increased body awareness as well as movements for applying good body mechanics at the massage table.  We also include Tai Chi and the exercises for energy generation from Qi Gong to encourage slowing down, increasing body awareness, mindfulness, cultivating centeredness and building “wei chi” (protective energy).  Tai Chi provides a great outlet for moving during meditation, especially helpful when sitting still in meditation is challenging. All this physical activity sets the student up for improved learning outcomes.







    Footprints in Machu Picchu

    A travel blog from Naira Yeghian about her recent visit to the Inca City

    Visiting Machu Picchu had always been on my bucket list, not only because it is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, but also because I am interested in learning about all things ancient. Setting foot on the grounds of this great 15th century Inca citadel is breathtaking, humbling and inspiring, all at the same time. It is believed that Machu Picchu was the royal palace of Pachacutec, the Inca Emperor, whose military victories transformed the empire.

    The site is a true engineering marvel with well-designed agricultural terraces for growing crops, drainage system to prevent rain flooding, sun dials to predict solstices and seasons and walls of polished stones perfectly fitted together with no mortar in between.

    Historians and archaeologists still do not know when and why Incas abandoned the site, but it is well documented that the Spanish conquistadors never discovered the Inca city. It wasn't until the early part of the 20th century when an American historian H. Bingham stumbled upon Machu Picchu ruins during one of his searches. Directly behind Machu Picchu is Wayna Picchu, a large mountain that offers amazing birds-eye views of the city complex and highlights the magnitude of the site.

    The hike to the summit is a bit challenging in some sections, but very well worth it.

    As I leave this stunning site after a full day of wandering through stone temples and climbing steep trails, I am dead tired, but feel content and have a big smile on my face.