Breaking Bread

The Primal way of life…it's much more than eating low carb…it's my religion! NOTE: I will not be posting a lot of scientific evidence to back up my claims. These are MY TRUTHS after all. Most of these concepts are well documented in cyber space. I would encourage you to explore further if you are curious or skeptical.

My Truths #186 (change)

Things do not change; we change.” ~Henry David Thoreau. I’ve changed! When I stumbled on to Mark’s Daily Apple something clicked for me and I jumped in with both feet. I found the Primal way of eating & exercising (the whole philosophy) intuitive and based on sound logic & science. I changed my body and my attitude towards food. I no longer see food as a chore or as something to feel guilty about. I now see food as life sustaining nutrition, as fuel/energy and as a source of pleasure.

I became a believer and I felt a strong urge to share my experience with others but my need to sing the virtues of the Primal ways is fading. Unfortunately, I’ve found that most people are closed off to new ideas. I had hoped that others would benefit from my blogging (and a few have told me they have) but I think that I personally have benefited the most from it. It has strengthened by dedication to the Primal/Paleo way of eating and it has introduced me to others who have already found the same path. I feel a great sense of community.

I had hoped to get back to regular updates this fall but I’m finding I have less to say. The recent pressure to write something is causing me a little stress which is NOT primal so I’m signing off for now… I’ll be back when I’m inspired. Grok on!



My Truths #185 (the smart choice)

Home alone tonight with my 16 year old son who is almost 6′ tall and very thin (bordering on sickly). He’s not a picky eater and will hoover down just about anything I place in from of him including all sorts of vegetables…the weirder the better…strange kid!

It’s Friday night and, although there were a few leftovers in the fridge, there was not enough to put together a meal for myself and another for a growing boy so I offered to get him take out. #1. I feel like a bad mother for feeding him that crap. #2. I feel like a bad mother for being too lazy to cook him something.  I don’t do it very often so I convince myself that it’s o.k. and out I go.

20 minutes later I have a medium Little Ceasar’s Hot ‘n Ready pepperoni pizza and 8 hot wings in my car. It smells amazing and my stomach starts growling. I try not to think about it, turn the radio up to my new favourite tune (Royals by Lorde) and force myself to think about what I’m going to eat when I get home. 

Willpower wins tonight and I resist the temptation. I’ve just finished my dinner of broiled salmon with sour cream/lemon/caper sauce and fresh roasted Brussels sprouts. It was delicious but I’m still thinking about that pizza and oh oh… here he comes to put his leftovers in the fridge. God help me!


My Truths #184 (just thinking)

It’s been shown that, even before you start eating, your body starts to release hormones (such an insulin) in preparation for consuming food (particularly carbs). So recently I’ve been asking myself this question: If thinking about eating causes you to release insulin then wouldn’t you suffer the negative consequences of insulin if you only think about eating something even if you don’t eat it?

For example: Is it possible that watching TV might make you fat for two reasons?


Read the rest of this entry »

My Truths #183 (the three keys)

I’m a member of a closed Facebook group which is local to my community and focused on living a healthier lifestyle. Much of what is shared in the group is conventional wisdom. Many of these people are taking important steps to taking control of their health i.e. giving up junk food, eating “healthier” and moving more.

I find it difficult to “hold my tongue” when someone suggests switching from white bread to whole grain (Why not go all the way and give up bread?) but I also don’t want to be that preachy “know it all”.

That being said, someone opened the door this week by asking the question:

“Anyone have any great diet plans? I’m struggling to stick with anything!”.

I gave a quick intro to Primal including a link to the basics. A few people came back with positive comments and follow up questions. This morning I posted this:

I would like to say just a few more things in defense of low carb/paleo/primal eating for those who are still skeptical or curious. (Can you tell I’m a huge believer?). It has been my experience that:

1) using full fat products is key (stay away from products that have be re-engineered to be low fat). Full fat food taste better and is more satisfying physiologically and psychologically. This has been key for me.

2) Giving up bread and sugar is where the magic happens (these foods drive insulin). It may be difficult at first to stop eating bread and sugar but it has been my experience that, over time, you stop craving these foods.

3) Eating this way does not require perfection. There’s the 80/20 rule. As long as you’re being honest with yourself and eating “clean” 80% of the time you should see results. My 2 cents for today ladies (and gentlemen)!


My Truths #182 (use it or gain it)

I think it’s a fairly well know fact that a person with less muscle will have a slower metabolism (all things being equal). I think this is one of the key reasons that many people gain weight as they age but why and how does this happen?

Consider this scenario: Someone young & strong carries their groceries from the car to the house 6 bags at a time, at some point they cut back to 4 at a time and eventually they have 1 bag in each hand and that’s all they can handle. This doesn’t happen overnight but is a gradual decline. If you think about it I’m sure you can come up with many examples of things that young/healthy/strong  people do that older people don’t (moving furniture alone, taking stairs two at a time, sprinting to catch a bus)

Cardio exercise such as walking and step aerobics are good but they do almost nothing to prevent the loss of muscle mass. The only way to preserve and/or build muscle is regular weight bearing exercise. The expression “use it or lose it” is bang on! At the same time I’d like to coin a new expression “use it or gain it”. Use your muscles or gain weight!


My Truths #181 (weight & aging)

Is weight gain inevitable as we age? I turned 46 years old a few days ago. My weight has been basically the same (+/- 8lbs) for 30 years. To clarify… that would be the 8lbs that I lost and kept off after I went “primal” in 2011. As each year passes I think this is the year that, despite my best efforts, I’m going to gain weight. You see, if you believe what you hear and see in the media, gaining weight (particularly for women) is inevitable. But that’s just conventional wisdom right?

I did some quick research on the topic on-line and what I quickly concluded is that this is likely more health & wellness hype based on flawed thinking. It may be challenging to maintain your weight but I don’t believe for one second that gaining is “inevitable”. The recurring advice for women is that, as they age, they must move more and eat less to maintain their weight. I ask myself…

  • I’m already very active. Does that mean that if I don’t change my diet and that I don’t a) cycle more b) climb more mountains C) attend more crossfit classes that I will gain weight?
  • I already eat well. Does that mean that if I continue my current activity level and simply cut 200 calories a day that I will maintain my weight?

Clearly it’s not that simple. In the days ahead I will try to dig deeper in to this subject (hormones, type of activity, type of calories, timing of meals, supplements etc…)


photo source:

(Regarding the link directly above: Although I agree with the author of this article on the role of hormones, I’m not convinced that eating frequently or supplements are part of the answer)

My Truth #180 (the grind)

Well it’s September and time to get back to the old grind…working longer hours, kid’s school/athletic commitments and blogging on a consistent basis. Stay tuned for more regular updates on my primal lifestyle in the days and weeks to come.

NOTE: The expression “back to the old grind” is a little ironic is this context because the origin seems to come from “back to the old grindstone” which likely refers to grinding wheat for flour but I prefer to think of it as our primal ancestors sharpening tools/weapons for hunting.


My Truths #179 (climbing)

It doesn’t get more primal than climbing a mountain in the middle of a vast wilderness. This past weekend a few of us climbed Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park. The land was a gift to the state of Maine from Percival Baxter on the condition that it never be developed.

Read that story here.

I put together a 3:40 video of our amazing day on the mountain. It’s called “Keep Climbing”. Click on the photo below to watch the video.


My Truths #178 (She Rides)

I have not been posting recently but I assure you I have not fallen off the Primal Bandwagon. I’m still totally committed to eating clean…wheat, sugar and processed foods free! I still indulge from time to time as part of the 80/20 rule. In the summer these indulgences tend to be one of two things 1) ice cream … the ice cream parlour is 11 km away. There and back makes for a nice evening bike ride 2) Beer…after a long bike ride on a hot day nothing taste quite as good as a cold beer.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve been too busy to blog because I’ve been outside. That’s actually not quite true as I have been posting short updates on GIVEHERTHEGEARS. Yesterday we reached the half way mark towards our cycling goal. 1000 km down… 1000 km to go

To celebrate reaching our 50% milestone, I have put together a 2 minute & 40 second video of some of our rides this year…set to a great cycling song by Canadian artist Evalyn Parry. Please check it out!


My Truths #177 (Holy Crap)

Holy Crap is touted as a breakfast food but I prefer it as a snack. Holy Crap cereal is made in Canada, non-GMO, gluten free, high fiber, organic, salt and sugar free and made with lots of tasty ingredients. The Holy Crap company makes 4 different products. Their signature recipe is called “Holy Crap” and according to the package it’s “All natural ingredients (non-GMO): organic chia, organic buckwheat, organic hulled hemp seeds, organic raisins, organic dried cranberries (organic sugar, organic sunflower oil), organic apple bits, organic cinnamon.” The recommended serving size is 2 Tbsp. When mixed with cream and allowed to sit for a while it puffs up so you end up with a decent serving size. It’s quite expensive so I often mix in some cheaper hemp hearts that I pick up at Costco to make the bag go a little further. Oh…and did I mention? It’s very tasty!

Check out their website:


My Truths #176 (greens)

I picked up my first organic produce pack of the season yesterday. I always look forward to the pick up each week at my neighbourhood strip mall when all the crates of veggies are lined up in a row. Subscribers to this CSA bring their own boxes, baskets and hampers. Each person goes down the line and picks one item from each box. Because it’s early in the growing season the choices this week were greens, greens and more greens.

I brought home lettuce, bok choy, swiss chard, spinach and broccoli! The only item that was a little different was the radishes. I know that some people eat the greens off those too but they went directly in my compost bin…I’ll do well to eat all that other green stuff.

My farmer did feel a little bad for the lack of variety this week so he threw in a homemade hummus (technically not Primal but not the worse thing you can eat) and a dozen free run eggs. Yum! There was a loaf of artisan bread in the mix too but of course I passed on that!


My Truths #175 (creativity)

I mentioned several days ago that I’ve been working on a new project called “she rides”. It’s a little mini movie about my 2,000 km of cycling this summer. It’s been a great motivator to 1) get out and cycle and find new routes with interesting scenery 2) learn about creative photography techniques 3) learn some new software skills i.e. GoPro’s Cineform Studio and Windows Live Movie Maker.

I’ve been capturing footage using my son’s GoPro camera and channeling my inner creativity to edit it down to 3-4 minutes of the best shots with the best light. I want everything to be just right… creative footage with clean transitions set to the perfect soundtrack.

The song I’m using is providing a lot of inspiration. It’s by a Canadian artist. I contacted her via email to ask if I could use the song and she responded very positively. Isn’t that awesome?

I’m not giving away all the details just yet…so stay tuned…


My Truths #174 (pastimes)

Pastimes: “An activity that occupies one’s spare time pleasantly” ~ Source: Free on-line dictionary. I’ve mentioned before that I’m hooked on my computer. I work on it all day at the office and then I come home and “play” on it. It’s a little sad really. If I’m awake and not preparing meals, eating, cleaning or exercising then I’ve probably got the laptop open. Sometimes I even have it open when I’m eating but I try to avoid that.

I’ve been known to play games on my computer (mindless games like Yahtzee or thinking games like Scrabble or Boggle). I’m sure this is a healthy way to unwind after a stressful day but after 15 minutes or so I start to feel guilty about “wasting” time. Stress is bad for your health. Feeling guilty is just another form of stress.

I feel that blogging is a better use of my on-line time. It’s creative, it makes me think and it reinforces my beliefs and priorities but even blogging has lost a little of its shine for me. When I first started, I enjoyed picking the themes, colours, graphics and topics. I still enjoy writing and plan to continue but I’ve discovered a new “pastime” which involved the computer that I’m really excited about. Don’t worry… it’s not some “get rich” scheme. Stay tuned for an introduction soon to my “she rides” project.

play outside

My Truths #173 (personal records)

I haven’t been posting much on Breaking Bread recently because I’ve been outside! Some of you may recall that this was a concept that appeared recently on my vision board. I had posted a a quote that said “turn off the computer and go outside” and that’s what I’ve been doing.

Saturday we cycled 100.04 km which was a personal record. The funny part (well it’s funny now) is that Rob wasn’t really sold on the idea of doing 100 km until I locked the keys in the house just as we were leaving and the only spare key was with my step-son at the 60 km mark of a 100 km loop. It all worked out. We rode to the Kingston market for breakfast, rode across the Kingston Peninsula (very hilly!), stopped in and picked up the key, had ice cream at the Pumpkin Patch and then grinded out those last 40 km.

Rob was none too thrilled with me at the time but he was thrilled to upload our 100 km ride to Garmin Connect and brag to his friends about his PR!

P.S. That thicker red line is where we biked in circles around our neighbourhood until the odometer read 100!

route map 6 01 2013

My Truths #172 (mood)

I’m in a good mood today because the sun is shinning! I started this post by trying to give my definition of “mood” but had a hard time coming up with the right words. According to Wikipedia:

“A mood is an emotional state. Moods differ from emotions in that they are less specific, less intense, and less likely to be triggered by a particular stimulus or event. Moods generally have either a positive or negative valence. In other words, people typically speak of being in a good mood or a bad mood.”

I’m not particularly sold on their definition because the sun (i.e. a particular stimulus) can take a huge amount of credit for my good mood today. That being said there are many other underlying factors that I realize are also playing a role:

  1. I slept well…being tired is a real downer.
  2. I ate a delicious breakfast… no hunger.
  3. I ate a healthy breakfast…no guilt (sad!…but if I eat crap i feel like crap physically and emotionally).
  4. Hormones… mine are not raging today.
  5. My kids didn’t “test” me…morning routine went smoothly.
  6. I’m having lunch with my husband…something to look forward to.
  7. I’m caught up with my work… I’m in proactive versus reactive mode.

All of these things combined are having an impact on my mood today but the proverbial “icing on the cake” is that the sun is shining and I get to ride my bike!


My Truths #172 (dinner parties)

My husband and I love to cook and eat and so do our friends. This past weekend we were invited out to dinner at Dave and Jane’s house. Three couples enjoying some delicious food, fine wine, good music and stimulating conversation. This scene is recreated about once a month, on a rotating basis, at our respective homes. Usually these dinner parties revolve around a theme. They are a lot of fun to plan & execute and especially attend! Recently we’ve enjoyed Indian and Mediterranean. Last night we feasted on Italian. The meal featured an antipasto course (cold cuts, roasted peppers, olives, bread with olive oil and balsamic for dipping), next was a Caprese salad, then a raviloli course, then on to the main course of grilled steak and veggies and finally a decadent triamisu for the “dolce”. It was fantastic and the only thing that I passed on was the bread.

My turn is next and I’ve been looking for inspiration on Pinterest. I’m in search of a theme that could feature mostly Primal dishes but where my guests would be none the wiser.  I looked at French, Mexican, Chinese and others but breads, noodles and rice and often integral to these cuisines. Then I happened upon Caribbean. I think I may have a winner! Although the recipes I have chosen are not pure Primal they are at least “Primalish”  and I think can be tweeked a bit to make them even healthier NOTE: due to allergies no shellfish

I look forward to preparing these dishes for my friends some day soon.


My Truths #171 (the bright side)

I always try to look on the bright side. Severe rain warnings for my area this weekend and its been raining for days. May 1st is the official start of cycling season but mother nature has played a cruel trick on us. She’s been serving up a load of crappy weather. I cancelled my Crossfit membership at the start of the month and it feels like I’ve been mostly sitting on my butt looking outside at the rain falling for the last 3 weeks.

I always look at the bright side of everything. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. I got a well deserved rest from my fairly rigurous training schedule
  2. The grass, trees and flowers need the rain
  3. This will help keep the forest fire index down
  4. When things do finally warm up my morel mushrooms might grow
  5. Finally, and I hope I don’t jinx things…  if we get all of the rain out of the way now, the rest of the summer will be beautiful!

The Primal Blueprint encourages you to avoid stress and adopt coping mechanisms to manage stress in your life. Looking on the bright side is a great way to cope with a stressful situation especially if that situation (like bad weather) is out of your control.


My Truths #170 (overtraining)

Setting aggressive goals can be bad for your physical and mental health. I have a girlfriend who, a couple of years back, started training for endurance events. Last year she completed a triathalon and this year her goal is to complete a full marathon. She has been training very hard to the point of being almost obsessed. She runs…a lot. She also has a personal trainer that kicks her butt several times a week. She posted this message recently in an “active living” Facebook group

“I’m struggling… Finished a 30 km run on Sunday. In pain both mentally and physically. However, the mental part was worse. I’m pushing my body to its physical limits and its taking its toll. I have to be honest and say that I truly wished my hamstring would pop or my quad tear so I could have a valid excuse NOT to do a full marathon in 4 weeks… I think I can convince myself to do it but I’m not sure I’m really going to be happy with my results. I’ve had some serious convos w myself and asked myself lots of questions: A marathon is 42.2 km, isn’t just finishing it enough? No! You know you can do it, but is the stress worth it? Maybe? You’ve come this far and put this much effort, don’t you want to just be done with it? Argh!!! Some wise gal once told me that long distance racing is as much of a mental game as a physical one. Trying to convince myself to push it and get it done. Any words of encouragement??”

She received a lot of pep talks and cheerleading from the group but not from me. I messaged her privately to say:

“I read your post about being tired and looking for motivation to complete the marathon. I know you’ve been training for this and I think you need to follow your gut. If you think you can complete it safely then go for it but when you finish I think you should take some time to read up about overtraining. I’m going to send you a few links to look at”.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this woman is overtraining and headed for a burnout or injury. Plus she’s really not doing her body any favours! Before I discovered the Primal movement I always believed that more exercise was better. I’ve since learned that there is a strong body of evidence that indicates that, in the case of exercise, you CAN overdo it and that overtraining can cause a multitude of negative consequences. Check out this great article on the 8 Signs You Are Overtraining by Mark Sisson.


Photo source:

My Truths #169 (Garmin)

Having a GPS to track our exercise/play makes it even more fun.  When my husband and I first started cycling we didn’t have an odometer. We knew our route was 11 km and we would use a watch to track how long it took us to finish it. Who needed all those fancy gadgets? It was a simple a.k.a. primal approach.

I’m always stumped for good Christmas gifts so one year I asked if he would like an odometer for his bike. His initial reaction was that it would be a waste of money but I went ahead and bought him one anyway. It was a “Sigma 1106” and set me back about $60. It was a great little rig. Once you get it calibrated to your tire size they are very accurate and the nice thing is that you can manually adjust the odometer reading. For example, when we cycled in NYC we would come back and add that mileage to our total. Although my hubby didn’t want the odometer in the first place he fell in love with it….maximum speed, average speed…I created a monster! He’d say,  “pick up the pace little mama we gotta keep our average speed up”.

He decided what was good for the goose was good for the gander and bought me my own odometer one Christmas. He bought a different brand (Cateye) and I used it for a couple of years but it wasn’t as user friendly as the Sigma and you couldn’t adjust the total mileage manually. It’s sitting in a drawer somewhere now because I’m using the Sigma and Rob splurged on a Garmin Edge 200. It’s not the Cadillac of Garmin’s but it’s a great gadget. Now we can track elevation and calories burned! It also allows us to generate fantastic maps of the routes we’ve biked. Check out the map below which shows our 63.4 km ride from yesterday on the beautiful Kingston Peninsula.

PS. I have a feeling that Rob is itching to upgrade his GPS soon so I suspect that I’ll have the Garmin Edge 200 on my bike in no time!


My Truths #168 (poo poo’ing Paleo)

“Debunking the Paleo Diet” is just a catchy title for a presentation which really supports the Paleo/Primal way of eating.  Someone asked on Facebook recently if a certain recipe was Paleo. Since it contained ¼ cup of honey I pointed out that technically it’s not pure paleo but that it sounded delicious and healthy. Someone responded by posting a link to a TED video presentation called “Debunking the Paleo Diet” by Christina Warinner.  I try to keep an open mind and was curious to see what this “expert” had to say. My overall impression is that most of the comments she made support the Primal/Paleo diet as opposed to contradicting it. Here’s a summary of her most salient points. Read the rest of this entry »

My Truths #167 (sunscreen)

Sun exposure provides both health risks and benefits. My daughter learned about the dangers of tanning at school yesterday. I immediately thought of tanning beds and asked “are there many girls in grade 8 that go to tanning salons?”  she said “no mom, they were talking about laying out in the sun”.

When I discovered the Primal movement I read about the health benefits of the sun. Now I go outside for 10-15 minutes per day without sunscreen and gradually build up a nice modest tan. She informed me that any colour is sun damage which is technically correct but I think the vitamin D is worth it. I believe the most important thing, where the sun is concerned, is to avoid getting burned. My son got a burn on his face and neck on our recent trip to NY and it made me feel like such a bad mother.

I also mentioned to my daughter that I believe that sunscreen is toxic and I worry about putting it on my skin. She did some research on-line about natural sunscreens…she found red raspberry seed oil which is said to have a natural SPF between 28 and 50 and “may also contain clinically significant anti-inflammatory properties”. Read more about natural sunscreens here.


My Truths #166 (GoPro video)

Play is an important part of the Primal Lifestyle and it’s fun to catch it on video. My son bought a GoPro camera for his ski trip to British Columbia in March. He brought back 8 hours of skiing footage but, as I suspected, never got around to editing it. Nobody wants to sit and watch 8 hours of skiing…particularly when the camera was pointed at the snow most of the time. At the time I thought it was a waste of money but now I’m thinking of all the ways that I can use it too!

I downloaded some editing software this week and took a stab at condensing some of the skiing footage in to a 2-3 minutes video. It was really an exercise to learn how to use the software so that I can make videos of some of my cycling and mountain climbing later this summer.

The trickiest part was finding some fun music to accompany the video. On my first attempt,  I used an awesome song called “winter” that I downloaded for free off the internet but when I tried to upload it to Facebook they were quick to reject it and point out that I was violating some copyright laws. I did my research and found some royalty free music that can be used if you give credit to the artist.

Here is a link to the final video…not bad for a first attempt!


My Truths #165 (vision boards)

Vision boards are more effective when you don’t over think it. I was invited to attend a session where everyone in the room created a “vision board”. I couldn’t make it but was intrigued by the concept. Basically it’s a poster board covered in words and photos that were ripped out of magazines. It may be tempting to go the cliché route and use photos of buff bodies, designer clothes, expensive cars and exotic travel destinations but is that really what you want?  I like the description below that I found on …sounds kinda primal doesn’t it?

“To really work, a vision board has to come not from your culture but from your primordial, nonsocial self—the genetically unique animal/angel that contains your innate preferences. When you start assembling pictures that appeal to this deep self, you unleash one of the most powerful forces on our planet: human imagination.” (link to source of quote below)

I decided to go with a virtual “vision board” using Pinterest. I have to confess that there are a couple of buff bodies on there… but there’s also some images and quotes that just spoke to me. The idea is not to post it on your fridge but instead to create it and then forget it and that somehow on a subconscious level your thoughts and actions are working to help you achieve your goals.

pinterest board

My Truths #164 (bananas)

For some reason I think bananas make you fat. Bananas are one of my favourite fruit. I love the taste!  They seem like such a treat to me that I always think of them as an indulgence plus I think someone at the gym once told me that bananas make you fat. I’ve read up on the subject and although they are one of the higher carb fruits, in moderation, they are still a very good choice as part of a varied primal diet. Bananas contain a good amount of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins and are especially famous for their high potassium content. Potassium helps control heart rate and blood pressure and helps counter the bad effects of sodium.  Lesson here…don’t believe everything random people at the gym tell you.

I prefer them all yellow with no brown spots. I rarely buy them because they usually ripen faster than I can eat them and a soon as that first brown spots appears they don’t “appeal” to be anymore. I could let them ripen further and bake some primal banana bread but to be honest I tried that and it was a miserable failure. If I’m grocery shopping and I see the prefect banana I will buy it (just one) and eat it in the car on the way home from the store.

My daughter did teach me something this year about the banana ripening process. She studied it and experimented with it for her school science project. Did you know that if you separate your bananas from each other and store them in a cool place away from other fruit they will ripen much more slowly?


My Truths #163 (recognition is nice!)

I was nominated for a Liebster Award by 


Breaking Bread started out on a whim with MY TRUTH #1 in November 2012. I just recently reached 100 followers …oh happy day!

Thanks to Urban Paleo Chef (“UPC”) for nominating me! I’m flattered and happy to “pay it forward” for other lesser known bloggers out there to help them get discovered.

The “rules” of the award are as follows:

Image                                                    If you’re nominated you don’t have to accept but I chose to complete the task. So here it goes…

Read the rest of this entry »