Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vibram Five Fingers

So, I purchased a pair of Vibram Five Fingers a couple of weeks ago.  I had done my research for several weeks, visiting forums and gathering as much information as I could.  I was really excited about the info I had been reading and felt that this would solve some of my issues with running.  I get shin splints easily and the pain was so intense that I had just stopped trying.  I purchased an expensive pair of Saucony's last year from The Running Room and they left me in the same painful place as all the other shoes.  I'd been eager to be able to run like many people I know, but felt that I was just not built for it.  The VFF's could be purchased online but fortunately MEC sold them  in downtown Toronto, so I set out during my lunch break to give them a try. 

I knew that I had to fit them to my longest toe (I'm one of those freaks with my second toe being longer than my big toe).  I had a hell of a time getting them on at first and after a couple of minutes of struggling, I strapped them up and walked around the store.  It felt strange at first and people trying on running shoes and hiking boots around me looked at them oddly.  My toes were uber sensitive and I didn't much like the sensation of fabric and rubber between them, but after a few moments the sensitivity diminished.

I did some light jogging and walking around the store and after about 10 minutes, I fell in love with them.  I was excited and purchased them immediately.  I showed them to my husband when I got home from work; he chuckled when he saw them.  It was fashion show time and I awkwardly shoved my toes into their snug little place.  They were much tighter trying them on in the evening and I could feel my tired, end of day, feet swelling inside them.  They were too tight!  I had to take them back and thought maybe that my freak toes were some of the ones described on various forums.  Not everyone could fit VFFs if they had freaky feet.

The next day I went back to the store before work to try a size up.  It was a bad move on my part to purchase shoes earlier in the day when my feet hadn't had time to spread out.  The size up was perfect and I made the exchange.  I no longer felt that I had freakish feet.

My first VFF running attempt was in the corridor of my apartment building (I'll admit, I was a little embarassed to take them out in public).  I trotted along lightly and got used to the feeling of running.  I had watched a number of videos featuring Barefoot Ted discussing barefoot running.  I noticed immediately that running barefoot was a completely different motion and it actually felt more fluid and natural.  I get shin splints easily and after 15 minutes of sprinting and jogging up and down the long corridor, I realized that it was all fairly effortless.  The difference between barefoot and modern running shoes is impact.  With running shoes, your foot impacts right at the heal which is why they modern running shoe has so much cushioning.  Barefoot running requires you to change the impact to the front of your foot, allowing for a more natural, springy tireless experience.

I took them for a test run outside (at night on a quiet street) and had the same wonderful experience as my apartment corridor sprint.  My movement felt silky and I the pain that I normally endured in a short amount of time never appeared.

They are, at most, quirky and I've started wearing them out in public on the weekends.  I'm still a little embarassed and have even hid my feet with my purse when I'm on the elevator with other tenants.  I'm sure I'll get over my embarrassment.

I love my Vibrams and look forward to the summer to wear them out . . . shame free.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Primal Cookbook!

I am uber excited for the release of The Primal Blueprint Cookbook by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier. I haven't had any trouble creating delicious meals and eating the primal way, but it will be nice to add a little something to my recipe repertoire.


The Primal Blueprint

I first became aware of Mark Sisson's book a few months ago while researching diets for optimal health and nutrition.  It's a subject I continuously have an interest in as I have struggled with dietary restrictions for the past 6 years.  Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever written about it, so let me start again...

I have a mulittude of dietary limitations. Due to many factors in my past, including poor diet, birth control pills and overuse of antibiotics to treat reoccuring infections, I have a very weak digestive system. I can no longer tolerate grains (bread, rice, pastas, corn), milk and cheese, fruit, sugar and many chemical preservatives. I've had my ups and downs (many many downs) with such a restrictive diet.  I always felt like I was part of an unfortunate group of people, the Candida sufferers.  It became tiresome to explain to new people that I met why I couldn't indulge in the luxurious breads and delectable sweets that they could.  It was really depressing and I would adopt a "to hell with it" frame of mind and join in, paying the consequences soon after.

My consequences included migraines/headaches, bloating and weight gain, intestinal cramps, lethargy, depression, insomnia...the list goes on. 

Finding this book has been a godsend.  It's not a weight loss or diet book.  It's a lifestyle and one that I've adopted quite easily in the last three weeks.  The Primal lifestyle is based on a modern hunter-gatherer eating style including vegetables in abudance, fruit, eggs, meats & seafood, nuts and plenty of saturated and monounsaturated fats (yum). 

The diet is fairly spot on to the Candida diet I had adopted on and off for so many years, the only difference was the increase in fat.  By increasing the fat in my diet, I feel satiated for long periods and cravings for complex carbs and sugar have almost completely diminished.  I also feel like I'm part of a healthier community and not a community of constant sufferers (no hard feelings, but it's been a little depressing).  Mark's website, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/ is full of fantastic articles and answers any questions readers have about this remarkable way of living.  The success stories of readers are inspirational and truly moving.

My energy levels have been through the roof and my afternoon nap attacks that subsided after grain based meals are gone.  I sleep better and most mornings I wake up before my alarm, refreshed and ready to start my day.  I never had any intentions to lose weight, but I've been losing 1 lb per week so far and it feels great.

Anyone looking to "reprogram their genes" and feel more connected with their bodies with "vibrant health and boundless energy", I completely recommend this book.