“Excuse me, What is that in your cup?!”

Chia Seeds

I drink a LOT of water. I’m not a big fan of soda and I water down juice because I think it’s too sweet. My best friend (The Bestie) laughs at me for drinking juice like a kid, but my mom always watered it down when I was a kid and I guess I just never really got the taste of it full strength. When you drink as much water as I do, you tend to start adding things to the water to make it more interesting. I used to add lemon, then when I was pregnant the acid would make me sick. The memory of the taste and the feeling still lingers for some odd reason so now I can’t drink lemon in water.

When I was pregnant, I found out about Barefoot Running and Chia Seeds through Christopher McDougall, the author of Born to Run. He explained that one of the secrets of the Tarahumara’s endurance was Chia Seeds. I am definitely someone that will try anything. So, I searched on the internet and ordered a bag online. (Of course now they’re in the Natural/Organic section of just about any supermarket so it makes it easier to pick up.) I decided to be careful and wait until after I was pregnant to try the Chia Seeds since I just didn’t want to take any chances with The Kid. Instead, I started researching it and used The Hubs as the test subject. The Hubs said he definitely felt a difference on days he had Chia before a run vs. days he didn’t. He just had more gas in the tank. I was amazed that there was so much information out there on this little seed and I’d never heard of it before.

Chia Seeds in Water

The most interesting claim I found was flax seeds which everyone was eating whole weren’t in a form that the body could break down. Seriously? Do you know how much flax I ate? The antioxidants and nutrients in the Chia Seeds was easily available since the seed coat breaks down when you soak them in water. Once you see the gel come out (and they look like alien eggs) you can get all the nutrients without having to grind them. And considering the flax seeds had to take up residence in the refrigerator because they could go bad and lose their nutritive value, I jumped on the Chia Bandwagon quickly because space is always at a premium in my fridge.

Now I put chia in my water daily partly because I know it’s good for me and partly because I like the texture. Okay… it’s mostly because I like the texture. I usually have water in my cup so I have to find ways to keep it interesting. You can make the gel and add a few tablespoons of gel to your water, but I just shortcut it and put about a 1/8 – 1/4 cup of the Chia seeds in my 24 oz water cup in the morning let it sit for while I’m drinking my coffee so the seeds release the gel then keep refilling it with water as needed until I get home. There’s enough Chia to last all day and FYI, it looks crazy. I have had people stop me in the hall at work and ask what is in my cup. People who like bubble tea with the tapioca balls in the bottom say the texture is close to that. Of course I drink it with a straw which helps. If you’re really not into the whole texture thing, then Chia seeds are perfect in smoothies. That way you get all the nutritional benefits and no seeds. Oh… and no people looking at you sideways when they see you walking by with your cup in hand.

Barefoot Running? Who could have predicted?

I’ve always had a difficult relationship with running.  The Hubs has been trying to get me to run with him so we could become a running couple, but every time I tried it, I hated it.  Then, when I was pregnant, I was listening to NPR.  They did an interview with Christopher McDougall, the author of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  There was something about the way he talked about barefoot running and the  Tarahumara Indians and Chia Seeds that was truly captivating.  I called The Hubs immediately and told him to buy the book and download the podcast and listen to it! Of course he didn’t… As we all know, life gets in the way of good intentions and I forgot to remind him and he forgot to download the podcast. (In his defense, his slightly nutty pregnant wife called him in the middle of the work day raving about something while he was trying to finish a project.)  At the time, the hubs was trying to get his running mojo back.  He snapped his Achilles tendon at the height of his running prowess and had been working his way back (clawing his way back) to that mile time.  Christopher McDougall spoke about how he too had almost given up on running because of an injury no one but a podiatrist could have diagnosed until he found out about barefoot running.  It just seemed like a story the Hubs could vibe with.

The Hubs' Vibrams

Eventually, worlds collided and the Hubs heard about Born to Run from another source.  He bought the book and was as captivated as I was by Christopher McDougall.  He found out that McDougall was giving a speech at a Penn State Campus not too far from us and we decided to go.  Despite the fact that I was pregnant, feeling huge and ran the chance of falling asleep in the middle of the lecture hall.  (I had a hilariously early unintentional bedtime when I was pregnant.  I would think I was going to stay up, but I’d just pass out.) McDougall was wearing Vibrams and no one even noticed until he pointed them out.  The black ones can go completely unnoticed.  That night, The Hubs went home and tried barefoot running and LOVED IT!  He ordered a pair of Vibrams and after an appropriate transition period, started  running “barefoot” and even got me to do it once I had my body to myself again.  The Vibrams give you more protection that you would have if the skin on your foot was actually coming into contact with the pebbles and what not you run over.  They are by the way also great for hiking.  We wore them when we went to Torrey Pines with Buff in San Diego and they made going over the terrain and walking back through the sand MUCH easier!  We even convinced Buff to get a pair!

My Vibrams

Barefoot Running is not something you just jump into.  It requires a transition period if you’ve been running in padded sneakers.  When I used to run, it sounded like Godzilla coming to wreck the town.  The Hubs used to marvel that if he put his hand on my head, he could actually feel the rumble of the impact of my steps as I walked.  One of the many things you have to learn in your transition to Barefoot Running is how to land on the balls of your feet so that you don’t rocket the impact of your entire weight coming down on your heel and straight back up your through your joints.  It takes time to learn how to do that instead of just coming down on your heels like you can in sneakers.  I used to have TERRIBLE shin splints, hurt knees and you name it when I ran in sneakers.  I all but gave up on the idea of me ever running.  Thanks to Barefoot Running in Vibrams it hurts much less to run.  I’m actually finding that I LIKE running…. okay, I love it now.  I guarantee I would have never gotten here without barefoot running.  And it looks like The Hubs may get his dream of us being a running couple afterall.