|Inge Morath’s portrait of La Golondrina doing a floor
backbend in Granada, Spain, in 1954. I bet she drank plenty
of bone broth to keep that back supple!
Every time I tell someone that I’m a flamenco dancer they say, “Ooh, that must be hard on the knees.”Actually, it can be hard on everything depending on your level of training and level of fitness, especially the back.
I try to keep fit to prevent injuries. However, you can be a super fit flamenca and still get injuries.
The way I see it, there are three ways of preventing dance injuries in flamenco. The first is having proper flamenco technique including shoes. The second is through being kind to the inside of your body through proper nutrition. The third is strengthening and conditioning through proper exercise.
Today I’ll focus on nutrition. I am definitely not a nutritionist (so please consult your physician with any questions), but I can safely say that if you put junk in your body your body will react accordingly. If you’re in your 20’s you might not feel it, but once you hit your 30’s, believe me you will.
There are so many choices of styles to eat: paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, whatever is in front of you. Whatever style of eating you choose is fine as long as you reduce or eliminate processed foods. You know, the boxes of food with unreadable ingredients and sugar as its first ingredient. Get rid of those or at the very least choose items that have few READABLE ingredients- but not high fructose corn syrup!
So fill up on real food– the kind that doesn’t come from the middle of the grocery aisles- and you’ll be well on your way to having a healthy body, strong for flamenco and preventing injuries.
Besides eating real food, one food you want to add to your diet is homemade bone broth. It’s full of bone building and joint replenishing nutrients including gelatin, calcium and magnesium. It’s known for speedy healing, fighting inflammation, and inhibiting infection.
Homemade is better than store bought because many have additives and don’t have the essential health-boosting gelatin. I just throw a chicken carcass into a slow cooker, fill it with water and a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, then set it on low for 24-48 hours. Here is a tutorial on making your own bone broth from Wellness Mama.
Not interested in making your own broth? You can try the following supplements that I use regularly:
Curcumin is an extract of Turmeric (used in many Indian dishes) and is known for joint pain and arthritis relief.
This is the pure gelatin powder that you can use to make gelatin (ala Jello, but without the dyes and sugars), or make homemade marshmallows. You can also just swig a cupful of water mixed with the gelatin. This has a good amount of protein and promotes joint and collagen health.
As a flamenco dancer and instructor in my 40’s, I’m always keeping the pain in my knees and hips at bay. When I drink bone broth consistently I feel fantastic and strong. If I slag on the bone broth and stretching, I usually start feeling the aches and pains, so I try to supplement with the gelatin and/or curcumin to feel relief.
Let me know if you make some bone broth! What kind of aches and pains from flamenco dancing do you feel? Do you find a certain method to help alleviate the pain?
Check out the next post in the series where I’ll discuss proper flamenco technique and proper fitting shoes.
Thanks for reading!