September 21, 2010

Running (almost) barefoot in Vibram FiveFingers

This article was originally posted on 

Walking and running barefoot has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. You've probably seen people walking around in those goofy looking toe shoes (including me!). Vibram FiveFinger shoes are designed to be as close to walking barefoot as possible. With a rubber sole and a slot for each toe, these shoes feel like you aren’t wearing shoes at all.

Created in 2006, with two chiropractors serving on the biomechanics advisory board, Vibram FiveFingers have become extremely popular over the past few years. These innovative shoes were created to help people move as naturally as possible. 

More than 80 percent of runners suffer a form-related injury each year. When running, it is important to have your foot land flat or on your mid-foot as opposed to running with your heels hitting first. Landing with your foot in this position allows the impact of your foot hitting the ground to be dispersed throughout the body, instead of your feet taking all of the impact. This dispersion also strengthens your feet and lower legs, reducing the risk of injury. 

Average walking and running shoes typically add an inch of padding to the heel of the foot for comfort. This extra padding may seem like a good thing, but it causes many people to become heel dominant when they run, which puts extra stress on the rest of the body. 

If you go out for a run in Vibrams or barefoot, you will quickly change your running form if you run heel first as you will bruise your heel. When walking barefoot, the impact on the ground helps to strengthen your feet and helps to correct your form. Unfortunately, running has turned into a skill with the invention of shoes as it causes our running form to become unnatural. For more information about form, check out the article How’s Your Running Form. 

Another benefit of walking or running barefoot is that it increases the proprioception in your body. Proprioception is the brain/body connection, also known as coordination. The nerves in your feet increase their communication with your brain, leading to better balance, posture, biomechanics and improved running form. Wearing shoes for 8-16 hours a day, as most people do, minimizes proprioception and can eventually lead to loss of balance and greater risk of injury.

Walking and running barefoot or in Vibrams should be done gradually. It is best to start off running on a softer surface, such as grass or a dirt trail. If you have been advised not to run barefoot for any reason, be sure to have your running and/or walking form analyzed by a trained professional.

The closer to barefoot the better, but when Vibram FiveFingers aren't an option, choose shoes without thick soles, air pockets or that cause unnatural gait. For more information, visit,, or contact Dr. Kehres at

Vibram FiveFingers are available at Runners, 2831 Bay Road in Saginaw. Contact 989-790-4000 or for more information.

September 14, 2010

What is Corn Sugar?

There has been a lot of buzz lately about corn sugar -- the new name proposed for high fructose corn syrup. You may wonder what the difference is, but there isn't one, just a marketing ploy to improve the bad reputation high fructose corn syrup has earned over the past few years.

In my article High Fructose Corn Syrup -- better than sugar? I wrote about the negative health effects associated with high fructose corn syrup. A common ingredient in processed foods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that HFCS accounts for roughly 41 percent of all caloric sweeteners consumed in the U.S.

As the New York Times reports, food products such as Hunt’s Ketchup, Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice and Wheat Thin crackers have stopped using high fructose corn syrup. The F.D.A. has six months to respond to the name-change petition. If the agency accepts it, the decision on whether to allow the name “corn sugar” on food labels may take another 12 to 18 months.

No matter if it is called high fructose corn syrup or corn sugar, it is still best to avoid. In excess, sugar is poison to our body and creates unwanted stress on our hormones and nervous system. Eat real foods, without the added corn sugar -- no matter how enticing its new marketing package is.

September 9, 2010

Dr. Dan's Veggie Shake

For the past few years I have been making vegetable shakes almost daily, and I have received a ton of questions about them and also a few crazy looks for drinking them (especially when I used to make them with broccoli!). These green shakes are an excellent way to get more nutrients into your diet throughout the day.

Sometimes I'll add protein to my shakes, but I typically drink it as a snack throughout the day. The great thing about a blender, is that you can mix anything together! I encourage you to try a veggie shake, and notice the increase in your energy levels.  I'd love to hear your favorite shake recipes.

Watch my video on vegetable shakes here!