May 31, 2013

Real Food, Local Food: The Farmer's Market

 So you read yesterday's post by Tony Cukierski, ATC, HHP about eating seasonally and you thought it sounded like a logical argument and a healthy habit to work into your dietary lifestyle. Now you want fresh in season food and you may have also read my first guest post by Jordan Anderson, ATC and now you know about supporting your local farmers with CSA farm-shares.

The girlfriend and I scored this catch of fresh produce last weekend.

However, you might be in a situation like myself and find yourself unable to bear the upfront investment cost of subscribing to farm-shares. Maybe you are unfortunate enough to live somewhere that farm-share subscriptions are unavailable. Don't fret! There is another alternative and that would be your local farmer's market.

May 30, 2013

Guest Post: Eating Seasonally

"It's been a while since my last blog post due because I've been busy with my thesis but today we have the honor of having another guest post. Today's post is written by Tony Cukierski, ATC, HHP.  Tony is a good friend of my last guest post author and is a personal acquaintance of my own as well.
 Tony is a certified health counselor and helps individuals through positive dietary and lifestyle changes. He is a certified Holistic Health Practitioner by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and he also attended and graduated from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Tony started his education at Northern Illinois University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and is a Certified Athletic Trainer.

Tony has his own website and blog at Tony founded Nourishing4Life Health & Wellness to better help others with their dietary and lifestyle changes. You can find and follow Nourishing4Life and Tony on twitter as well! His thoughts and post echo a lot of my own values and ideas about nutrition. I hope you enjoy it!"

Eating Seasonally

What is it?Eating seasonally is exactly what it sounds like—eating foods that are available or ripe during a season of year in your geographical region. Many years ago people didn’t know what eating seasonally was; they just ate foods that were available to them in their geographical region for that time of year. A wonderful excerpt from Joshua Rosenthal’s book Integrative Nutrition that elaborates, “Our ancestors ate seasonally because they had no choice. Fresh greens grew in spring, fruit ripened in summer, root vegetables kept them going in fall, and people relied on animal food to get them through the winter.” This is truly seasonal eating. Understanding this concept is beneficial in achieving good health and sustaining a healthy environment.

May 23, 2013

Why do you run?

I was asked a very innocent and nonchalant question the other day. The question was produced by a little small talk but in reality it was a deep question. The answer to this question has many parts or layers and many different but viable responses. I realized that the response that I would give is dependent upon time.

 I wasn’t always a runner or a fan of running. I label the younger or adolescent version of myself as the stereotypical fat or chubby kid. I dreaded the mile run for gym class in elementary school and one day I even faked sick so I could stay at home and not participate in the perceived torture.

I definitely was a stereotypical fat kid.

I didn’t get into running until my sophomore year of college when I worked with cross country and track athletes during my second clinical rotation as an athletic training student. My interests in endurance sports had begun to develop as I had taken up cycling as a recreational and fitness hobby before the start of college. I would assist my preceptor in evaluating and treating these athletes and would be amazed at the durations of their runs. I was shocked but inspired at the same time that people could run for 60-90-120 minutes without struggle and do it several times a week.

May 18, 2013

Hip Extension For Runners: Importance, Restrictions, and Quickies for Improvement.


Sufficient hip extension is vital for proper running gait, form, posture and efficiency. Inhibited or restricted hip extension in running can result in:
  • Over-striding
  • Decreased running economy
  • Poor movement patterns
  • Potential risk for injury and/or compensation up and down the kinetic chain

The Gluteus Maximus is the primary hip extensor and the strongest muscle in the body. It is hypothesized that our massive glute max relative to other primates is due to an evolutionary adaptation. This allowed better bipedal locomotion and enhanced our running ability. Proper activation of the glute max and hip extension motion is needed for most primitive and basic movement patterns, especially skills requiring power. This is evident in many basic power skills such as:
  • Squatting/Deadlifting
  • Sprinting/Running
  • Throwing
  • Punching
  • Jumping
  • Bridging of the hips
  • Swinging an object like a club, baseball bat or golf club.

Limitations in hip extension or gluteus maximus activation can also affect static postures like standing by influencing pelvic tilt, motor control activation strategies, lumbar curve and ultimately the body's center of gravity. For more reasons on why "running is all in the hips", see James Dunne's great post, here.

May 16, 2013

Acute Toe Pain: Magically Cured?

I have been following Dr. Erson Religioso's blog, The Manual Therapist, for quite some time now. I also recently subscribed to his OMPT Channel section where I have learned quite a few evaluation and treatment techniques to add to my arsenal. Dr. E has training in a plethora of different schools of thought and one of them is the Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy or MDT for short. Part of his MDT skill-set is a various amount of techniques that he refers to as "resets". He often uses them as part of his evaluation, treatment and home exercise programs. I hope I am saying all of this accurately, at least. Here is a couple videos of Dr. Erson Religioso III, DPT, FAAOMPT explaining the what, why and how related to these resets.

This is Dr. E's video highlighting the his favorite resets, and why they work.

An updated but longer video for Dr. E's favorite resets.

The Toe Pain:
I am currently pursuing a post-professional graduate degree so that means I am still a student (will be one for life) and that I still have finals. A couple Monday’s ago I was sitting around with a few of my classmates while waiting to take a final practical exam. One classmate mentioned that she had a very painful big toe on her right foot. She had been suffering this pain for a day or two since walking around Chicago the entire weekend while wearing ill-fitting footwear. She had only had the pain on one side without any direct MOI besides gradual onset related to the shoes and walking. She had pain with great toe extension when toeing-off in her gait cycle.

Dr. E’s videos had been on my mind and I was curious if his resets would really work because they were a foreign concept related to anything I had been taught. I had the idea of doing repeated-end range flexion of the great toe for about 20 repetitions and I asked her if she minded trying out the experiment. She obliged and we went to town with the repeated “resets”.

After I finished with the 20 or so repeats I asked her to stand up and walk around. Alas, she had no pain and no other complaints appeared. I told her that there was a chance that this would be a transient effect and that she may need to repeat this exercise about 10 times every hour. However, her pain never returned that day and hasn’t to date. I believe a week later when I inquired about her toe she mentioned that my “voodoo” had fixed the issue for good. While I don’t think I was doing any magic or voodoo I do think this highlights some merit to these resets on an n=1 level. Half of evidence-based practice is clinical experience and so far my “clinical” experience has been great; although I do wish I had some more extensive training or knowledge about MDT. I was impressed enough with these results that I tried using the repeated ankle plantar flexion reset for my girlfriend’s aunt who has had years of constant heel pain. This was just an offhand encounter at Mother’s Day brunch but it immediately took her symptoms from a wince-inducing 8/10 to a 4/10. I gave her instructions to continue these as a self-empowering home exercise and I hope she sticks to them. I really want to see how she progresses.
My conclusion about these resets so far is that I like them but I don’t see them as a replacement to my current clinical skill set. I see them as being another tool and a great way to put responsibility into the hands of the patient. I understand the theory and concept as explained by Dr. Religioso. However, I definitely feel and want to learn more about this stuff before it starts to become a mainstay of my clinical practice.

May 10, 2013

Guest Post: Support Your Local Farm!

Today I have the opportunity and pleasure of sharing a guest post by Jordan Anderson, MS, ATC. Jordan is or should I say was a classmate of mine at Illinois State University and is actually graduating this weekend with his Master's in Athletic Training! Congratulations! He is just as passionate about food, running and sports medicine as I am and it shows in his writing. You can find Jordan on Twitter or Google+. This was a great post and I can't wait to see and hear more from Jordan in the future.

Support Your Local Farms!

(and yourself)

    As most of you know now because of the news and various other outlets, our food has become riddled with growth hormones, pesticides, preservatives, and other unnatural substances.  Sure, this makes most produce look, feel, and sometimes even taste better.  All of these things have been developed over many years by bioengineers and has become the norm.  These additives are true of both meat and produce.  Some recent literature is linking these additives to metabolic disease and the components of such.  Not only do these things contribute to the problem, but also the food that animals are fed before they are processed for sale to us plays an even bigger role. 

For instance, many beef cattle are fed a combination of grains, animal bi-product, and given growth hormones.  This combination makes it inexpensive for large farms to feed their cattle but also produce HUGE amounts of food.  The problem is inherent, cattle are not meant to consume these things.  Cattle are grazers and survive off of local vegetation, mostly grass. This is where the term “grass fed” comes from when purchasing beef. 

The same also applies to eggs and chicken.  Chickens that are “cage free” are able to roam the land and search out their natural diet which includes things like insects, vegetation, and fruits.  However, some companies will trick consumers into labeling a chicken or eggs with “all-natural” fed with an all grain diet.  This is obviously NOT a chicken’s natural choice for food. This all-grain diet taints the chicken’s meat and their eggs. 

Eggs are nature’s perfect food when the chickens that produce them eat their natural diet. Yolks are especially high in essential Omega-3 and low in Omega-6 fatty acids, and do not contain much LDL lipoproteins (bad cholesterol, except for the big fluffy molecules which can be protective) and also contains HDL (good cholesterol, it exists!), but when these chickens are fed all grain diets, these things are not as prevalent and higher proportions of LDL and omega-6 fatty acids are found.  This gives eggs a bad name when in reality they are great foods.

So the ultimate question remains.  What can we do about this, where can I find these non-modernized foods and go back to the way these plants and animals were meant to be eaten?? And where on earth can I find them for a reasonable price?

May 8, 2013

Chronic Pain and Low Back Pain Quick Links!

Here are a couple quick links related to autoimmune disease, low back pain(LBP), infections and food.  These were brought to my attention via Paul Jaminet's recent tweets. Definitely something that hasn't been on my radar as a clinician or as a person that has suffered from LBP in the past. Everything is starting to look more and more related and interdependent day after day. Thoughts?

Antibiotic treatment in patients with chronic low back pain and vertebral bone edema (Modic type 1 changes): a double-blind randomized clinical controlled trial of efficacy.

Ancestral Diet Used To Treat Ankylosing Spondylitis

Pain in your calves could be from a problem with your butt: A Case Study

Today I wanted to showcase a mini-case study of an athlete that I consulted with recently. This was a 22 year old female collegiate track and field athlete. This patient was a mid-distance runner that specialized in the 800m event.

The athlete complained of chronic pain at the musculotendinous junction of the Achilles tendon that had been recurrent at the beginning of track season the previous two years. The athlete had a previous history of turf-toe like symptoms in the ipsilateral great toe.

May 4, 2013

5 Great Reasons To Try Intermittent Fasting

I often find myself having conversations about diet and nutrition with others on a semi-regular basis. Eventually, the conversation turns to questions about my own dietary habits and the inevitable question, "Well...what do you eat for breakfast?"

May 3, 2013

Researching the Adaptations to Running in Minimalist Shoes

I like research, especially research related to sports medicine and running. I like to read it, discuss it and implement it. Beginning this fall, I will even do some research myself for my Master's Thesis.

However, I find myself a clinician at heart and do not wish to solely do research as my career develops. Even though I have inklings of desire to get a PhD someday. Despite this, I wish I was helping conduct this research study that this article highlights.
This study out of UVA sounds very fascinating and I can't wait to see what becomes of it.


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