Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"A Day Without Shoes"

I awoke this morning with an excitement because I knew that I was going to make a difference today. By not wearing shoes for one day I was going to bring awareness to one big problem. A problem that one company, TOMS, decided it was time to resolve. A problem that one person can make a difference by doing one thing.

Today, I am participating in TOMS campaign “A Day Without Shoes” to drive awareness to the tremendous problem of foot-borne illness in developing nations and what many experience here in the states by going a day without shoes. The company I work for, Inceed, is a supporter of TOMS and their campaign, and challenged everyone in our offices to go one day without shoes. I couldn’t resist writing about the experience, even though usually my blog is primarily about food and living gluten free! I'll toss in an ending recipe for you sweet readers, how about that?

4:50 AM
The bell tolls on my phone to start my day. Bright, bubbly bells clinging together as I cling to the under side of my warm comforter. I throw myself out of bed after a couple stalling stretches, get dressed for my work out ,and head to the gym. Sans shoes. My first reaction when I stepped out this morning into the early morning air? It is frigid out! I haven’t felt the bare, cold concrete on my bare feet for a while. Why did it have to be 30 degrees today?

Driving barefoot wasn’t anything too new to me. I did have to scoot my seat up a few inches to compensate the distance from me heels.

I arrived at the gym and walked across the sidewalk, and onto the rough wooden slat bridge while praying the whole time that I wouldn’t be pricked with a splinter. I have never paid attention the roughness of that before! The trainer looked at me curiously. I explained what my mission was for the day. Although he said it was admirable, and even though I asked nicely (with cherries on top??) they said it was a liability for me to run on the treadmill without shoes. Darn. But hey, the thought that counts maybe? I suppose this one instance will have to slide. I can’t fight with liability. I did run a couple seconds when nobody was looking at the end of my work out SSSHHHH!

7:00 AM
Walking around the house this morning wasn’t too bad. The tile floors were chilly and hard on my feet and I did miss my slippers. I know the floors are clean though. Leaving the house again for work will be a different story.

7:40 AM
Time to get out of my car at work. I pause imminently in the parking lot and listen to my breath slowly inhale and exhale. I peruse the lot for glass, old wrappers, anything sticky… Oh who am I kidding? There is worse stuff microscopically lurking in the bits of pressed tar and concrete.

7:45 AM
I tip toe/ hop idiotically across the parking lot to the sidewalk. By the time I get there I decided that I am just going to have to suck it up and do it right. I laid my foot flat on the sidewalk lining our building. Whew. A long breath seeps out. This is going to be stressful. Here is the real kicker though…I was even more grossed out walking into our building. The tiles felt grimy and I grimaced with every step. I was happy to get into the carpeted elevator and up to my office.

Walking around the office isn’t too much a doozy for me. I sometimes do it when my feet are paining from me heels. Plus, I am surrounded by my barefoot co workers! The reinforcement really helped me stay on track. I have my TOMS shoes next to me, but I am now adamant about completing this challenge. I have a choice, those children without shoes don’t. Today, I am not going to give myself a choice.

Oh. No.

No. No. Please No. I didn’t think about this coming up. I have to use the restroom. I have to use the restroom without shoes. No.

Okay, I have to go. I walk anxiously down the hallway, pass the row of elevators, and through the other glass door. As the door shuts I wince at the loud clicking it makes to secure. I feel like it’s the gunshot at the first of a race, prodding me to get going. I open the swinging door and let it close. Once. Twice. I pep talk myself and step in. The automatic light won’t go on where the stalls are located. Great. Barefoot, and in the dark. I think I will hold it for a longer period next go around.

Back at my desk and feeling better. First challenges? Check!

My feet are cold! My office is always cold and my pumps helped pump warm blood through my feet. I would love to soak them in a hot tub right now. With soap! hehe
I am about to head to lunch with my co workers and I am very excited to march in together! Tracy, owner of Cafe Samana, said we could lunch at her restaurant barefoot! How sweet is she? Anyone that visits her restaurant today can dine without shoes. Go support this great cause Tulsa, and if you don't live in the area, make an effort to find a local place to show those cute toes while you eat!

Leaving the building without my shoes on was not as hard this time. The concrete was warm on my feet and it reminded me of running around as a kid all summer without shoes. I never thought twice about it then. Don't worry, I am not losing sight of why we are doing this and I have thought about the children who do this everyday.

Lunch at Cafe Samana with my co workers! We all enjoyed delicious healthy food from Tracy's kitchen without shoes. When my partner Scott and I entered the restaurant we definitely both felt  a little awkward. A little giggle emerged from all of us as we took our seats. I felt silly and almost embarrassed at first. I got a few looks in the parking lot but once we were seated I was comfortable. Cafe Samana will have that effect on anyone... Comfort and Charm.

I started with a cup of chilled carrot soup followed by a delicious deconstructed wrap that she had for the special today. Soft mango strips, roasted red peppers with warm black beans covered a bed of spinach and arugula. Always a delight to eat here!

Back in the office and content from lunch. My feet are happy campers...until I have to visit the restroom again. Not looking forward to that!

Let's break up the afternoon by putting one BAREfoot in front of the other! Check out TOMS site to learn about their mission, and what "one for one" really means: TOMS ONE for ONE <---Click me!

I think I will snack on the rest of my soup to tide me over until dinner. I am really wishing I had shoes or wool socks to keep me warm. Cold feetsies to the fridge!

I am about to run into my first meeting with someone. This should be interesting! I will be ready to do some explaining as to why I am barefoot!

15 min later...
Well, she got a kick out of me being barefoot! It was an impressed reaction versus appalled :)

Well, I am headed to dinner with the family! I will update how the rest of my night went tomorrow morning, and share with you some insight about my co workers day as well! Foot soak tonight!

Met my parents and grandparents for dinner at Chicory and Chives. Have you been? It is great authentic cajun food! Walking across the parking lot wasn't TOO bad...I kind of got used to that today. However, once I walked in to the restaurant I felt my stomach turn. I don't think the customers appreciated my bare feet. I walked quickly to the table and hid my feet. Ah, much better. My parents were not too happy that I was walking around barefoot all day.

Home at last. I rushed upstairs and turned the bath tub fauct to SCORCHING and begin scrubbing my feet. It was so satisfying. My husband came in and said something that brought the entire day into perspective: "Honey do you know how easily you could have contracted something today? Your feet are like a gateway into your body. Remember when we put VICKS on our feet and we could smell and almost taste it within minutes?"
That is exactly the point! If we wear shoes we are protected from those foot borne illnesses. If we could all make an effort to support TOMS, we could help stop the deaths of many children in developing countries.

Tomorrow I will post a recipe for all you dear readers who followed me today!

1 comment:

  1. It is sad to see something like this. You realize that barefoot is actually very healthy, and there are no illnesses that can get in through your feet? before making comments like "If we wear shoes we are protected from those foot borne illnesses." you should have done some research. All over the world there are numbers of people who live barefoot as a choice, even here in the United States. Its not illegal, its not UN-healthy, and as a matter of fact our feet are healthier than when closed up in non-breathing shoes.