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 #162 (expensive restaurants)

An expensive restaurant is not just about the food. O.K. one more story about NYC before I move on. When two adults and three teenagers try to reach a consensus on where to eat it can take some lobbying, selling, negotiating and compromising. We were not too worried about breakfast or lunch but for us the evening dinners in NYC are always an “event”. This was our 8th trip to NYC (seven without the kids) and we’ve used the Zagat restaurant guide with great success in the past to find delicious food, good value and hidden gems.

My husband and I enjoy spicy ethic food but two of our three children are a little more reserved. We landed on a barbeque joint (Virgil’s) and an Austrian place (Café Katja). The final choice was between Italian or a steakhouse. I was obviously lobbying for the steakhouse to avoid the Italian “carbfest” but the steakhouse we were considering (Del Frisco’s) is rather pricey and we knew it would set us back a pretty penny. Finally we decided what the heck…let’s splurge. The kids were in awe of the architecture, the dark wood décor and the power suit patrons. The service was impeccable and the food was amazing! They all agreed that it was one of the most memorable meals they’d ever had. I was satisfied that we weren’t just paying for a steak…we were creating an experience to remember!

Image   Del Frisco’s of New York, 1221 Ave. of the Americas • New York, NY


My Truths #161 (Whole Food Market)

No visit to NYC is complete for me without a stop at Whole Food Market. My husband doesn’t understand how or why I would want to spend hours just walking up and down the aisles at Whole Food. We just don’t have stores in Atlantic Canada that carry such a variety of natural and organic products. It’s not even that I buy much…I just find it fascinating to look. For the record, I did buy dried organic coconut chunks and dried morel mushrooms.

One thing that we do both enjoy doing is “hunting & gathering” in the prepared food section at the WFM at Columbus Circle. We like to get a bit of this and a bit of that then head outside to eat it “picnic” style in Central Park. The choices are extensive and, this year, trying to get the three kids to decide what they wanted to sample was time consuming and a bit stressful. That being said, everyone seemed happy with their lunch. Emma, my youngest, loved the warm marble pound cake that she chose for dessert (she’s not primal so has no hang-ups about cake). Seems it was the highlight of her trip to NYC…The Lion King on Broadway a close second. 


My Truths #160 (wheat/carb splurge)

I ate a scone and I’m still thriving. We were in NYC recently and made plans to meet a friend for a morning coffee near Union Square. He suggested a little cafe called “Joe”. You know the kind of place with great coffee and a display case full of pastries. No bacon or eggs in sight. I was on vacation and my primal ways were already suffering. I considered just having coffee but that little devil on my shoulder piped up. In a matter of seconds my self-talk sounded something like this “You’re on vacation, you’ll get back on track when you get home. Biking season is now in full swing so a few extra carbs won’t hurt. Having a pastry with our friend is the social thing to do…yadda yadda”. Next thing you know I’m digging in to a currant and rosemary scone and the truth is…it was absolutely delicious!!! It was not one of those times when you think it’s not worth the carb splurge. This was totally worth it! I tolerate wheat just fine so I felt no adverse effects from eating it. Now, days later, I’m feeling a strange mixture of guilt for having devoured every last crumb and a burning desire for another one.


My Truths #159 Part 2 (sneakers)

Just got back from NYC. Did I mention that we took our three teenagers? We had a great trip but the time we did spend shopping was spent looking for a) rare vinyl records b) a hip pair of skateboarding sneakers c) the perfect turquoise shoes for graduation. Suffice it to say Mom’s need for a new pair of crossfit sneakers went unmet! but that’s ok… They sell minimalist options here at home. When I do get around to buying a pair you’ll be the first to know!


My Truths #159 Part 1 (sneakers)

I’m not a big sneaker person. I would never wear a pair of sneakers if I wasn’t working out. I would wear a comfy and stylish pair of boots, loafers or sandals instead. I do own other athletic shoes specifically designed for the workouts that I do regularly i.e. clipless cycling shoes and hiking boots.

I don’t run so I don’t really understand the concept of wearing out a pair of sneakers. I have retired a few pairs over the years but mainly because I grew tired of them or they were sadly out of style. Several years ago I purchased a pair of Nike athletic shoes for zumba. They are a “minimalist” style shoe i.e. flat with no heal lift. They are called “Musique” and are specifically designed for dancing but they also have served me well at crossfit which requires a shoe that simulates as closely as possible being bareboot. (Vibrams are the gold standard in the Primal community). Recently my Nikes have started to make an annoying creaking sound… this will not do!

Luckily I’m heading to NYC and I’ve got new crossfit shoes on my shopping list. I won’t be getting Vibrams because they’re just a little too weird for me but I hear Merrel makes a great product and Reebok is a huge sponsor of Crossfit so I’ll likely take a look at their minimalist options. I won’t be posting for a few days but when I do I’ll report back on what shoes I purchased…


my soon-to-be-retired Nike “musique” athletic/dancing shoes

My Truths #158 (dry brushing)

I’ve had a “dry brush” for a few years but have a hard time getting in to the habit. Dry Brushing is when you take a dense stiff bristled brush made of natural fibres (tampico fibre – the unbleached stem of the agave plan or palm fibre for example) and brush your skin all over in small circular motions. It is recommended that you start at your extremities and brush towards your heart avoiding any delicate areas such as the face. Dry Brushing promotes healthier skin by exfoliating dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and also stimulates increased skin cell production. The benefits don’t end there. Other benefits include:

  1. skin that is healthier and smoother
  2. boosts your immune system by stimulating your lymphatic system  and increasing circulation to help detoxify.
  3. reduces stressed areas of the body by increasing blood flow
  4. stimulates nerve endings in your skin which rejuvenates your nervous system.
  5. increases blood circulation to the skin which helps break down and releases toxins (toxins are said to contribute to the appearance of cellulite)

A benefit which is not frequently touted but that I have experienced is the prevention of ingrown hairs from shaving. When I shave the upper back section of my legs I sometimes get ingrown hairs. Dry brushing has done wonders to prevent these. Just make sure you always brush when your skin is dry…hence the name “dry brushing”. Brushing when your skin is wet can cause your skin to stretch…and we don’t want that!


My Truths #157 (modern cosmetics)

Although I use it in small quantities nearly every day, I am very leery of modern makeup. Most cosmetics contain chemicals and are likely contributing (if even in a small way) to the toxic load your body is faced with. Just because you’re not ingesting it doesn’t mean your body is not absorbing it. Your skin is your largest organ and what you put on it does end up in your bloodstream (think of the nicoderm patch for example). That being said, ingesting it is the fastest and surest route…which brings us to lipstick!  

Modern lipstick is made up of waxes, oils, fats, emollients and pigments. Many people believe that there are large amounts of lead in lipstick but this is not true. There are many conflicting stories out there about the amount of lipstick that a woman swallows in her lifetime. Some peg it to be as much as 10 lbs and I supposed he would be ingesting his fair share as well if he’s kissing those lips!  Snopes has put this argument to rest here

Regardless of the amount of lipstick you think you may be “eating” and how detrimental that might be, I think we can all agree that it’s probably not having a positive effect on your health.  If you are concerned about your overall wellbeing I would encourage you to consider the products that you are putting on your skin and to seek out more natural alternatives whenever possible.


My Truths #156 (make-up)

There may be more to wearing make-up than vanity. Research shows that there may be a biological urge that drives women to wear eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. Supposedly women’s faces have greater color contrast between eyes, lips, and surrounding skin than men’s. People unconsciously use contrast as a cue to tell what sex a face is and cosmetics are typically used to exaggerate this difference and make a face look more feminine.

I know body painting goes way back but I believe the motivation was often more cultural (a form of art) or spiritual. Was it used to attract the opposite sex? I wonder if cave women (a.k.a. Mrs. Grok) used plants, minerals and other naturally occurring compounds to clear up or even hide any blemishes that she had? Did she use naturally occurring red dyes to tint her lips or cheeks? Did she even care about this stuff? Did Grok?

I like to think that Mrs.Grok may have used a little aloe vera gel right from the plant to moisturize and even gloss up her lips for “date night” but she sure wasn’t using modern cosmetics and therein lies the problem …


My Truths #155 (HGH)

Why buy HGH when you can make it naturally? Human Growth Hormone (HGH) supplements like Sytropin claim to provide results in the following area: building muscle, reducing the visibility of wrinkles, boosting energy levels, or even weight loss by boosting metabolism. It’s touted as a proverbial fountain of youth. The supplement “pushers” promote natural HGH as a viable option for boosting “growth factors already present in the human body”.

Don’t spend your hard earned money on this supplements. Your body is already producing HGH. The key is to optimize your body’s natural production of the hormone. According to one article some of the steps to follow to increase your natural production of HGH are:

  • Step 1 Get plenty of sleep.
  • Step 2 Watch your intake of simple carbs.
  • Step 3 Do compound exercises.
  • Step 4 Work out at a high intensity.
  • Step 5 Do not eat fat before you work out
  • Step 6 Become more relaxed.

For more details on each of these 6 steps read the LIVESTRONG article HERE. The irony of the anti-doping message is not lost on me!


My Truths #154 (fasting after workout)

Fasting after a working out may also have health benefits. How soon after your workout do you eat? There’s no one correct answer. It really depends on your fitness goals. A long distance runner will have different requirements than a body builder. All that being said, I think what you eat after working out and when you eat it matters A LOT! It’s called the “window of opportunity”.

Most of what I’ve read supports eating a high protein meal along with some carbs within an hour of your workout (always chose a “safe” starch” i.e. sweet potato…good! grains… bad!!).  That being said, there are proponents out there of continuing to fast post workout to maximize the production of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) “which critically influences everything from bone density to muscle mass and organ reserve to general cell reproduction in the body’s systems.” Source: Mark’s Daily Apple. And it’s not just renegade Mark that believes this. Just Google the “fasting twins” to get there take on it. Their Youtube videos are extremely annoying to watch but there’s no doubt they believe in fasting before and after their workouts.

Who knew that WHEN TO EAT would be such a complex issue? If you are interested in reading more about fasting after your workout and how this promotes the production of HGH check out this article…


My Truths #153 (fasted workout)

Working out on an empty stomach is good for you once in a while.  I asked my crossfit coach recently what he thought of fasted workout and he said Huh? “You know” I said, “working out on an empty stomach”. He said “Oh I wouldn’t recommend that. You should always eat something before your workout”.  I didn’t argue with him or try to explain that there are a lot of supporters out there for this notion and a big body of evidence that indicates that working out in a fasted state can even be beneficial.

The biggest benefit to working out in a fasted state, I believe, is improved fat loss. This is especially true if you follow a low carb diet and your body is efficient at calling on your stored body fat for fuel. But the benefits don’t end at weight loss. According to Mark Sisson “Research clearly shows that fasted workouts on an empty stomach are better all around for weight loss, muscle growth, and metabolic health.”

I usually work out fasted on Saturday mornings.  I still allow myself coffee with coconut oil before going to the gym. Technically this is not fasted but since it’s zero carb it doesn’t produce an insulin response so, in essence, it’s gives the same effect. I feel energized and strong and I can just picture my fat cells mobilizing to fuel my workout. I would highly recommend it!

That being said, there is evidence to support eating a light snack before exercising. Here’s one article which supports my coach’s advice…


My Truths #152 (buff arms)

I think every bride-to-be would like arms like Madonna’s. I was at the gym this morning and one of the other lady crossfitters said to me “I want your arms for my wedding!” It was a very nice compliment! …and I can totally relate. Years ago, just after I got engaged, I started a Facebook group called “My fitness goal is to have arm’s like Madonna’s” (for the record, this was when she had nice arms). I think the Facebook group is defunct now. I did shoulder presses, bicep curls and tricep dips like crazy for months before my wedding to get those buff arms that I could show off in my spaghetti strapped dress and immortalize in my wedding photos. When the big day arrived all that hard work had paid off. The photo below wasn’t one of the best shots of the happy couple but I can tell you it made the wedding album and my husband knows why! Look at those arms!!

PS. The truth is Madonna’s arms are scary looking now. Too lean and veiny! check it out…


My Truths #151 (lead by example)

If you’re spouse/partner is not on board with your eating and/or fitness philosophy all you can do is lead by example. My husband has been through a lot in the past 2 years. He was diagnosed with Leukemia in June 2011. Following his bone marrow transplant in November 2011 he successful got in to remission and is doing very well now. He’s more keenly aware of his mortality and tuned in to his health. He watched closely while I virtually eliminated sugar and grain from my diet but he had absolutely no interest in joining me. He’s in the “bread is the staff of life” camp.  He gave up soft drinks years ago and rarely eats fast food. That’s his idea of eating “healthy”.  

He lost over 25 pounds when he was sick. Cancer will do that to you. In hindsight, he was fortunate to have a little “extra padding”. The truth is losing 25 lbs was too much for his tall frame. He looked frail and sick. This gave him license to eat and when he regained his appetite he quickly gained 10 lbs back. At 6’4”, 200 lbs seemed to be an idea weight for him so he went out and bought new smaller pants. His old pants were still way too big and he was surprised because he never really considered himself overweight. He even asked me a few times “why didn’t you tell me I was fat?” Yeah right? That would have gone over like a lead balloon!

Fast forward to this Monday morning…he tried on his pants and they were tight. He got on the scales and they said 206. He turned to me for advice! I said “just start by eating NO BREAD for a week”. He’s on day 4 and the scales showed 201 this morning and he was in a great mood! Baby steps!


My Truths #150 (eyesight)

Once your eyesight starts to go it just keeps getting worse…True or False? Answer = False. I have been wearing glasses for over 20 years. I’m near sighted which means that I need my glasses to see far away. Things like driving (especially at dusk) are the worst. Last year I went to get my eyes tested and the optometrist told me that my eyesight had improved slightly. I said “Really? Does that happen very often?” He replied that adopting a better diet can have a positive effect on vision. He said “You must be eating healthier”. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that several month before I had adopted the “primal” diet and subscribed to a CSA (community supported agriculture program) which inspired me to eat A LOT more produce that I had been eating in the past.

I found an article on-line which discusses how and what food can your improve eyesight. The article mentions specifically: carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, milk, eggs, cheese, liver, salmon, citrus fruit and dark chocolate among many others. The concluding sentence to the article states “Eating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meats can go a long way toward preserving and improving your vision.”… sounds like the Primal diet to me!


My Truths #149 (alcohol before workout)

I’ve been known to whine before a workout but wine? Really?  I was scheduled to go to the gym at 8 p.m. one night and was looking for some justification for that glass of red wine that I wanted to have with my dinner so I turned to the internet. Most of what I read on-line made sense (common sense!) and supported the notion that if you want to perform at your best it’s better to abstain. Alcohol is hard on your liver, is dehydrating and, for the most part, full of empty calories. You know what? Despite what I read, I still drank that glass of red wine and went to the gym that night and performed just fine.

I was reading a forum (Testosterone Nation) with arguments on both sides and I think TrainerinDC said it best “Sure I could perform better in the gym without alcohol. But in the gym performance is not the end all and be all secret of life. Lifting is a part of lives that we do to improve our lives. I refuse to live a life where I won’t drink a beer with my friends. When I go to Spain, I’m drinking the sangria.”

NOTE: There’s always two sides to the coin and if you search hard enough you can always find an article, study or expert that will support what you want to do…no matter how far-fetched.  I even found one article which claimed that one drink before hitting the gym eases stress on your heart during the workout.


My Truths #148 (keep searching)

Not every new idea works out. Yesterday I suggested that people who have not yet found a physical activity that makes them happy and inspires them be active should get out there and cultivate a passion. Just keep in mind that you might not like the first activity that you try. Don’t get discouraged…just get out there and try something else.

Last year I was approached by a group of women in my neighbourhood to try TRX. This is a workout where you are use straps that hang from the ceiling combined with your own body weight to create resistance and build muscle. I was motivated to support a women entrepreneur, be part of this group and try something new. I signed up for 8 weeks. I gave it a try but I didn’t like it. I like traditional weight lifting where you know exactly how much you are lifting.  I like numbers!

There are also times when you may not have a natural aptitude for a certain activity. I would love to be able to water ski. I’ve tried to do it several times but I just can’t seem to get the hang of it. Golf is another one… I’ve even taken lessons. My putting and pitching are pretty good but I can’t, for the life of me, master driving the ball off the tee. I have a lot of respect for people who work hard to master their sport but the truth is I might never try water skiing or golf again. You can’t be good at everything and I’m o.k. with that!


My Truths #147 (find your passion)

Make exercise a way of life by finding your passion. There are so many ways to stay fit that it’s mind boggling to me that so many people are sedentary. News flash folks…for the most part, what you’re watching on TV is garbage! Get out there and find your passion! There are the obvious ones…walking, hiking, running, swimming, skiing, cycling (my personal favourite). Then there are the not-so-obvious ones….roller derby, martial arts, dancing (belly, ballroom, latin, poll and many more), canoeing/kayaking…the list is probably endless if you really think about it.

If you are not currently active you may not know what you will enjoy. Pick the least objectionable and try it. Your chance of success will be greatly improved if you bring a friend along.

Several years ago, when I was a newlywed, my husband suggested we go for a bike ride. It started out as “just around the neighbourhood”. For a long time we would do the same 11 km circuit every night. It was difficult at first but then started to get easier. We then started to track our time and tried to go a little faster each night. We didn’t have good equipment or the right clothes but we started to cultivate a passion. Eventually, we got bored with our neighbourhood and decided it was time to try something crazy. One Saturday morning (on a sunny and not too windy day) we biked 30 km to a farmer’s market for breakfast and then biked back home. We were very excited and nervous about our adventure but we did it and from that day on we were hooked! May to October…every Saturday morning…we bike to that farmer’s market. It’s our thing! Our cycling goal for 2013 is to cycle 2,000 km. I track our progress here


My Truths #146 (daily carb intake)

When following a low carb diet for weight loss it’s important to track your daily carb intake. I’m not a big fan of tracking what you eat i.e. counting calories or grams of fibre etc… I feel that if you eat a varied & healthy diet of “real food” in reasonable quantities that over time you are likely to get the macro and micro nutrient that you need.

That being said… if you just starting to eat low carb or you’ve had limited success it may be a valuable exercise to track you daily carb intake. In many cases your total daily carb intake will mean the difference between success or failure in reaching your weight loss goals.  According to Mark Sisson (Mark’s Daily Apple), between 50-100 grams per day is the optimal daily target for weight loss. Here are the various targets (I have paraphrased…click on this link for the whole story)

  • 0-50 grams/day: Rapid fat loss zone. Usually achieve through intermittent fasting. Can only be achieved by avoiding fruit and veggies. Not recommended for prolonged periods.
  • 50-100 grams/day: “Sweet spot” for weight loss. Minimizes insulin production. Enables 1-2 pounds per week of fat loss while allowing a more varied menu.
  • 100-150 grams/day: Maintenance zone. Maintain your ideal body composition while enjoying abundant vegetables, fruits and other Primal foods.
  • 150-300 grams/day: Weight gain zone. High carb diet due to frequent intake of sugar and grain products.
  • 300+ grams/day: Danger Zone. Will cause the average person to produce excessive insulin and store excessive fat over the years. (exception would be extreme exercisers and elite athletes.)


My Truths #145 (gaining muscle)

When you adopt a new and/or more challenging workout routine you risk gaining weight. (This is particularly true if you’re fairly lean starting out.) One of the desired results of working out, for most people, is a positive change in overall body composition. By building more dense muscles and losing body fat your weight may actually increase, while your body fat percentage may decrease. The only way to really measure this is by getting your percentage body fat measured which, where I live, is not an easy thing to do with any degree of accuracy. Some of the most common ways to measure body fat are: skin fold caliper, bioelectric impedance analysis, anthropometric, hydrostatic weighing, DEXA Scan.  Curious about what these are? Check them out here 

I don’t have easy access to any good body fat measuring techniques so I’m stuck with my scale. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of the frequent weight-in and beating myself up when the scale goes up but when I look in the mirror I can see that my body is lean and I’m getting more definition in my muscles. Why does that number on the scale matter to me so much?  My husband keep reminding me that it’s just a number and that I’m obviously getting more fit and that’s what matters. He’s right but to hear him say it does make me feel better!


My Truths #144 (the “pump”)

The “pump” is immediate feedback that your hard work makes a difference.  You know that pumped up look your muscles get when you’re engaged in heavy lifting? That pumped look happens because your muscle fibers contract during a high intensity workout and then fill up with blood and lactic acid. It’s that build-up of pressure that gives your muscles that bulging look.

Some people (mostly men I believe but probably some women too) “pump up” their muscles (particularly biceps i.e. their “guns”) by working out just before going somewhere where they want to “impress” others. The let-down is that once that blood and lactic acid dissipates the muscle might look like a deflated balloon. In fact, the “pump” is so sought after among bodybuilders that it’s given rise to an entire category of supplements (nitric oxide) that focuses on doing one thing…prolonging the pumped look you get in the gym.

It’s often hard to stay motivated to work out when the results can take week, months …even years to really show themselves. The pump is like crack for the ego and it’s what keeps many going back to the gym because it’s immediate feedback that all their hard work is paying off.  The question remains… Does going after “the pump” have any long term effect on your results? I guess it really depends on the results you’re seeking. From what I’ve read, if you frequently experience the pump when working out this will likely result in bulkier muscles long term…especially for men.


My Truths #143 (fluid retention)

Temporary weight gain can be discouraging. Have you ever noticed that right after and sometimes up to a day or two after an intense workout the scale goes up? “A person’s scale mass is a combination of muscle, fat, bone, the brain and neural tract, connective tissue, blood, lymph, intestinal gas, urine, and the air that we carry in our lungs. Immediately after a workout routine, the percentage of mass in each of these categories can shift as much as 15 percent.”  Says Jeffrey A. Dolgan, a clinical exercise physiologist at Canyon Ranch in Miami Beach, Fla.

One reason for this is inflammation from muscle damage repair which can be felt as the muscle pain called delayed onset muscle soreness. This type of soreness is thought to be caused by a several factors including tiny tears in muscle tissue. As a result, the muscles become slightly swollen by fluid retention. Most people are motivated enough to put up with muscle soreness, but if they are watching the scale go up, they can easily become discouraged. Just keep in mind that this weight gain is fluid retention and not permanent.


My Truths #142 (Italian)

Italian food is not just pasta. I am a commercial real estate agent and I recently helped a chef lease a great restaurant space. He’s opening an “authentic” Italian eatery and, since he’s a client, I’m somewhat obligated to check out the new restaurant which is opening this weekend. I know… poor me…right?

This chef has been creating a nice buzz in social media about his new establishment and asked for some suggestion of what people wanted to see on the menu. I understand that he’s going to have some heavy carb dishes… pastas and risottos (not to mention the bread!). I chimed in to the discussion with a plea for some lower carb options as well… antipasti, frittata, meatballs (proceed with caution can be full of bread crumbs), “creative soup” (since it’s the name of the heritage building that they’re in) and, of course…salads (caprese being one of the classics!). The chef responded with a big thumbs up to all my suggestions and mentioned that he was also going to be featuring “Osso Buco !! and yes..with veal..!!”


Ossobuco (pronounced [ˌɔsːoˈbuːko]) is Italian for “bone with a hole” (osso bone, buco hole), a reference to the marrow hole at the center of the cross-cut veal shank. The veal is braised with vegetables, white wine and broth… I’m drooling!

My Truths # 141 (fake is the worst)

When it comes to personalities and food…fake is the worst! Someone posted a photo on Facebook today which read “You are what you eat. So don’t be fast, easy, cheap or fake”. At first glance this statement rings true but if you really think about it, when it comes to eating, the first three are really only bad if combined with the last one. Replace “or” with “and” and then I agree.

Fast & Easy: Some of the quickest and simplest dishes to prepare can be the most delicious and satisfying. 2 freshly cracked free run eggs fried in butter with fresh sage leaves from your herb garden for example. Fast, easy and amazing!

Cheap: There is an inherent negative connotation to the word cheap but you can buy some very healthy food which is very inexpensive. I can buy a can of sardines packed in water, on sale, for $0.99 per can. Organic liver is also fairly cheap when compared to more expensive cuts of aged grass fed beef. Liver is a nutrition power house and delicious when prepared well.

Fake: There is nothing good to be said about fake. Genetically modified, highly processed, chemical/additive laced food is bad and should be excluded from your diet if you are striving for health and vitality!

fast cheap and easy

Seems legit? but fast, cheap and easy can be good! FAKE = BAD

My Truths #140 (chilblains)

Chilblains have a similar underlying cause to Raynauds (See My Truths #139) but are much worse! In the winter I get the occasional attack of chilblains. These are small, itchy and painful reddish blue swellings which develop on my toes when my skin gets cold, causing the tiny blood vessels to constrict severely (chilblains can affect fingers as well but I, luckily, I have escaped that scourge). Because of the poor blood supply, chilblains sometimes don’t heal very quickly and can become infected. 

My chilblains are aggravated by wearing boots that fit snugly  are not lined and/or have high heels. My fall fashion boots quickly cause me swollen, red and itchy toes when the weather turns cold. Before I understood what was happening, when my toes got cold, I would warm them with hot water or put them next to a warm fire but this just aggravates the condition. It’s best to warm them gradually. The key to prevention and cure is warm, roomy, waterproof, lined boots and thick warm socks. I usually experience chilblains at least once early every winter. Once chilblains hit they can take several weeks to clear up but, provided I wear sensible winter boots, I can usually avoid another flare up. 


Don’t warm your toes next to a fire like a caveman might do…you risk getting chilblains.

My Truths #139 (Raynaud’s)

Sometimes I feel like a hypochondriac. I swear to god that I’m a healthy person and that eating “Primaly” has improved my mental & physical health and well being. That being said I do experience minor health issues from time to time. I don’t get all dramatic about them or complain but I do like to do my research and I feel better when my ailments have a clinical name and I understand better the underlying causes.

Take, for instance, Raynaud’s. In the winter time, occasionally, the tip of one or more of my fingers will turn ghostly white and get numb. It appears to be a circulation problem and to an extend it is. When exposed to the cold, the veins in your fingers and toes contract to reduce the blood flow and maintain body temperature. This vessel constriction is just a little more pronounced in people with Raynaud’s. It’s described as “a vasospastic disorder causing discoloration usually of the fingers and toes. Named after French physician Maurice Raynaud (1834–1881)”.

You would think that someone that eats a healthy diet and exercises on a regular basis would escape these minor heath issues but the body is a complex machine. Treating it right is an important factor in its optimal performance but genetics still has some role to play. People with Raynaud’s are also prone to Chilblains…stay tuned tomorrow for more on that.