Posts Tagged ‘Body Efficiency’

Reinforced Hobbit Hole Sanctuary


Here I am in the reading nook, aka a sitting cushion that folds up for when I’m on the computer at the kneeling desk.

Living with brain injury includes having a brain that is easily short circuited by loud sounds, bright flickering lights, scents and any other sensory input. Thus, the concept of a sanctuary, which I call my hobbit hole.

I was blessed to receive from Catholic Charities and GE Johnson Construction the gift of new windows and increased sound proofing in the walls (a friend took several years arranging it). The result is beautiful. I am going to keep things very simple.

At this end is my desk (I kneel on a kneeler) and the floor couch (think thin sitting pad) for visiting with my family in the quietest room in the house. The other end houses my cloths and is my walk in closet and reserve bedroom for when the town is too loud and I need somewhere quieter to sleep. Not bad for 200 square feet.

One of the therapies that is very effective at restoring God’s Engineering and helping me both function and heal as much as possible is floor living. Our whole family sits, eats, plays, sleeps on the floor. This keeps the body’s core very strong, keeps us shifting positions every 20-40 minutes, and keeps us feeling lithe and limber all the time. Our bodies did not evolve to be in chairs or cushie beds. Quite simply we feel far better all the time because we live on the floor. I never need to stretch before running or biking, I just go. It also uses space much more efficiently.

The earphones are Bose noise canceling headphones. The mechanical rumble still comes through the walls and windows a wee bit (there is a fan on the restaurant across the creek that runs 24/7 that none but me can hear, and it puts out sound that carries through most things — the longer the waves the harder they are to stop). So unless I am talking with the family, my earphones are on.

The windows and walls now stop the infra noise that was finding its way into my hobbit hole, and that is perhaps the biggest gain. I have been able to write and think far more in the week I’ve been in the new hobbit hole than in the months before (at least until the doctor’s office debacle). We’ll see what the noisier spring and summer bring!




Here I am at the kneeling desk on the computer. The desk is two night stands connected by a board in the middle, which happens to be the right height for kneeling.


Here I am in a wider shot, and you can see the small couch area in front of me, where is works to meet with family in a quiet room. Before I couldn’t have many conversations with my family until the town quieted down in the evening (if it did, in summer it stays pretty loud (for me)).

Running again!

Crystal Falls early in my standard run. The left side of the waterfall is frozen.

Returning to the trails is like meeting an friend you used to see almost daily but circumstances kept you apart for a month. Not just the running. The experience of primal running is much, much more. It is prayer. It is breathing God’s creation. It is flowing through God’s creation. It is a return to the way things are supposed to be.

These last three days I’ve run 8 miles total. That was made possible by about a week of rather pathetic outings, hobbled combinations of running in place and trotting/stumbling a few dozen yards and back.

Pathetic as it was, I returned each time feeling better than I left. That how running primal works. I’ve said it before, but there is something about running that helps us heal.

This recovery I am doing a number of additional things that I was not on my previous 6 month recoveries (which matched how I felt at the beginning of this one and the only other times I was super slammed like this, so it’s the only bench mark I have.).

First: I understand now how having adrenaline kick in sets me back and I know how to avoid it. I’ve again regained the ability to shut down rather than enter fight or flight, which helps.

Second: The Genotype diet, Buteyko breathing, barefoot running, and floor living. God’s engineering makes everything more efficient, and so healing occurs more rapidly.

Third: I am eating a few finger-fulls of Cacao nibs each day. This raw, unprocessed bean is used to make chocolate. It soothes my continuing skull tectonic plates as they find their proper places. I’ve no idea what else it does, but it is considered a superfood for the brain and it’s part of my Genotype diet.

Forth: the inversion table and hyperbaric chambers.

Fifth: I’m intentionally staying out of interacting with my family as much as I usually would to prevent myself from short circuiting as often, which research shows only prolongs and deepens recovery time. Better two month of greater seclusion than 6 months of being slammed.

My hope is that since I am near the one month mark, I will take an additional 2-4 weeks recovery time to get back to where I was, then see where I get to go from there. Now that I am able to run, perhaps that will speed up the timeline?

Brain Food Burns off Brain Fog

Everyone experiences, it just hits us brain bludgeoned harder. Brain fog from drop of protein, fat, and sugar in our blood. Granted, there are other reasons for low brain energy, but if eating something tasty can not only burn off some of our brain fog, but keep it from coming back, what a gift!

Here’s what I do. Every two hours I eat. If I’m running or exercising, I eat more frequently. Not a lot, just a handful of gourp (trail mix).

Peanuts, along with other nuts and seeds, yoghurt, cottage cheese, keefer, and other foods have a good supply and balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. As these drop in our blood supply our bludgeoned brains are extra sensitive and can’t draw on reserves most people have.

Experiment with what works for you, both food and timing. I make a gourp (trail mix) of pumpkin seeds, peanuts, dates, craisens, dark chocolate chips, refried bean flakes, and oats. I keep this or other similar food with me at all times for this exact reason.

Eat often enough that you stay ahead of the fog. Try and avoid foods with a lot of sugar, as the brain can easily get a sugar high and sudden crash after.

All kinds of science backs up the brain’s need for protein delivered via fat and carbos as brain energy.

Sometimes the simplest solutions can make a huge difference. This one has for me!

Let us know in the comments section how it works for you!

Take Off Your Shoes and Exercise!

Go Barefoot or Minimalist

There is a two-fold issue here. First, is shoes. They change the way our body moves, affecting everything from our toes to our nose. Why? Two reasons: they raise the heel, which changes our natural gait and makes motion far less efficient; and they “protect” and “support” our feet, making them, our ankles, legs, back, etc weak, hypersensitive, and prone to needing more and more support.

Does this mean you shed your shoes and run off happily into the sunset? No. Please don’t. The transition to going barefoot or “minimalist” (shoes that offer no support and minimal protection), can take up to a year. You have muscles, tendons, cartilage, posture, and new ways of moving to grow and learn. The hardest part of the transition, taken slowly, takes up to 3 months. To learn more about HOW to make this transition see:

How will making the transition to barefoot/minimalist shoes benefit your brain? The more efficiently our whole body functions, the less energy our brain spends on making it do the every moment tasks. The difference may startle you, because part of how we can help our brain have more energy is to decrease the energy our brain have to spend.


Studies are starting to show that running actually grows new brain cells in mice. Emerging studies also indicate that exercise helps promote overall healing and health. I’ll take both of those!

My own experience tells me that there is truth to both those statements. I the more I am able to exercise, the better I feel. I have reached the point that when my brain is fatigued (but not too fatigued), going for a run rejuvenates my brain and I come back feeling better than I left.

Whatever you form of exercise, be sure to do it with doctor approval and with help as needed so you are as safe as possible.

Baby Step Miracles!

Bathed in gentle alpine glow after a night’s snow, this view looks down Ute Pass.

As I connect with, learn, and live the basics of “God’s engineering” I am deeply humbled by how great we are made and how much we try and do things our way and simply gum up the works.

What do I mean by “God’s engineering?” I mean that God, through evolution, designed us to be the most beautiful and efficient and gifted creature on the planet: mind, body, and soul. Learning how to listen to our body and what it’s trying to tell us can make everything in life better. Two cases in point:

Primal Running:
When I first began going barefoot (last spring), my feet tingled as the blood rushed in, grew new tissue, woke up dormant neural connections and created new ones. My feet began giving the rest of my body input about where I as compared with the ground. My brain no longer had to struggle to figure this out. My body (from my navel down) just knew. As this awareness and reflex grew, I realized I could run. A few more months and constant testing to see if I still needed the 4 pound walking sticks, and I’ve shifted to 8 oz. trekking poles (Thank you, Mountain Chalet!). I’m now running and moving faster and more efficiently than ever (including before my brain injury!). I’m hopeful that running will help grow new connections and help me recover even more over time (studies show mice grown thousands of new brain cells when they run compared with when they don’t).

Primal Breathing:
Using the Buteyko breathing method, my breathing is now keeping the maximum amount of accessible oxygen in my blood, increasing my body’s efficiency throughout. I’ve even been able to run more in the afternoon and once in the evening (Mornings are my best “brain energy” time). I feel better more, have more brain energy, and my sinuses are not a constant presence in every moment of life. I suspect this new efficiency deeply contributed to my being able to go to lighter sticks, as it provides a better, more consistent oxygen supply to my brain.

Baby step miracles by way of learning how to listen to my body and the way God created me to breathe and move and eat (Blood Type Diet). I wonder what other aspects of life I take for granted that I’m actually doing things counter to how God created me? How else can I go primal? The search continues… Grin.

Plus 43.6 (Yes, I’ve been negligent in reporting them!)
Total mileage: 519.5 miles

Deacon Patrick’s Round the World Progress

Deacon Patrick's Round the World Progress