Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quest For The Perfect Sleep

I came across this post from Modern Paleo and it got me thinking about my own sleep patterns.  I know a lot of people discuss what amazing sleeps they have while eating paleo.  I have had moments of perfect sleep as well, but I don't seem to have the consistency of it night after night.

Getting to bed by 10 pm is ideal for us.  Our circadian rhythm dictates a healing process and between the hours of 10pm to 2am our bodies engage in physical repair. During the hours of 2 am to 6 am our bodies engage in mental repair.

I work from 12 pm to 8 pm during the week and I'm usually home just before 9 pm.  I spend an hour with my husband before he leaves for work at 10 pm (he works nights) and then I take the rest of what's left of my evening to unwind, catch up on blogs and entertain my needy cats.  I start to get sleepy around 11:30 pm.  At this point I'm already well into my "repair window" and this may have a lot to do with my ability to deal with stress and get the restful sleep I need.  I am clearly in disrepair.

My sleep is slightly interrupted throughout the night.  I awake briefly when changing positions and sometimes I hear my husband come home in the wee hours of the morning,  Other times I won't hear a thing.  The other day my colleagues were talking about a wicked thunderstorm that happened.  It seem to wake everyone up but I didn't hear a thing and slept right through it.

I thought about the best sleep I've ever had and it happened back in April when my husband and I spent three weeks in Japan.  We stayed with a good friend of mine and her mother and were offered the guest room with 2 large futons side by side.  The futons appeared to be thick and soft but when I went to bed that first night, I could feel the hardness of the floor beneath me.  I thought I would wake up with back and neck pain, but quite the opposite.  I slept right through the night without interruption and I woke up feeling really refreshed.  I was so excited to go to bed everynight; it was the best sleep of my life!  Even with all the abuse I went through with poor eating, intestinal upset and walking a million miles a day, the one consistant positive was my sleep.

We were so physically exhausted everyday that it was easy for us to crash as soon as we got back to our futons and most days we were in bed by 10 pm.  My husband experienced the same great sleep and he suffers from terrible neck kinks and back and shoulder issues.  I was up by 7 am most mornings, muscles so sore from the day before I had new born deer legs, but I still felt refreshed from an amazing sleep.

I'll try a little experiment for the next couple of weeks with sleeping on the floor.  I understand the importance of getting to bed by 10 pm and even if that doesn't leave me much of an evening, I'm at a point where I seriously need to address my issues with stress.  I'll attempt to recreate my futon experience tonight and report back in a few weeks.

Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Farmer's Markets & Sunshine Breaks

It's been quite warm here in Toronto and for the first time in my life I'm enjoying it.  I've always been a winter person.  I love the snow, especially big heavy winter storms where you have to lift your knees really high just to take your next step.  People curse, but I love it.  There's something about it, slowing everyone down, makes me appreciate life a little more, if that makes sense at all.

I've never much liked the summer heat or the sun for that matter but lately I've found an unusual appreciation for it.  I take sunshine breaks everyday (weather pending) while at work.  I sit in a grassy park in downtown Toronto, take my shoes off and feel the warmth on my skin and the coolness of the grass.  I love my sunshine breaks.  We'll see how much my appreciation lasts as the high humidity rolls in for July and August.  We don't have air conditioning at home, nor do we plan on getting it.  I feel battling the heat makes us stronger but it can make some nights a little difficult for sleeping.  Cool showers and a fan usually do the trick :)

The farmer's markets are in full force here and I look forward to taking my lunch scoping them out in the city.  I love looking at fresh produce, asking the farmer's questions and relishing in my head all the creations I could make with all the food.  It looks like it's going to be a good season.

My delicious breakfast this morning from some fresh market goods:

Three eggs lightly scrambled in coconut oil, garnished with dill.  Red leaf lettuce and fresh raspberries with a simple extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.  So delicious.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Twitter: @PrimalKat

Just a quick little post to say that I now have a Twitter account.  You can follow me @PrimalKat and I hope to follow you too! :)

I have a few drafts on the go so looking forward to posting some more soon.  Hope everyone is keeping well!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Why are Japanese scientists creating meat alternatives and from all things, human excrement?

After all that we know about GMO's, they get the green light from Obama.

Monsanto takes a bit more heat on the topic of birth defects.

Man fined $5,000 for growing too many vegetables?  (video)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Alcohol Tolerance

Friday night was a fun night.  An old work friend dropped in for a visit from Vancouver and a few colleagues and I went out to meet him for drinks.  It was a night of greasy bar food, alcohol and my first karaoke experience.

I had one cranberry vodka and a shot of jaggermeister early that night followed by the wings.  I enjoyed my mild buzz and the rest of the night was glasses of ice water and some awesome karaoke.  I know, not very primal/paleo, but sometimes it's nice to cut loose and just relax with friends. 

This was my second drink of alcohol this year and I've decided that it's going to be my last.  My first experience was a few months ago.  My husband and I celebrated our five year anniversary in February and I purchased a nice bottle of white wine to go with our dinner.  I had two champagne flutes (I actually don't own wine glasses) of wine and my husband polished off the rest of the bottle.  A few hours later I spent several hours with violent shakes and vomiting.  I got very little sleep and spent the next day dry heaving and completely ill.  I was very embarrassed of my reaction and my husband thought that it may have been something I had eaten earlier that day.  Being such a small amount of alcohol, we weren't sure that it could have made me so violently ill.  I felt better after 24 hours and went on with my life.  (My husband was fine, by the way, after drinking the rest of the bottle).

Back to Friday night.  One vodka cranberry and a shot of jagger followed by water the rest of the night.  I felt fine by the time we got to the karaoke bar and got home safe and feeling well a few hours later.  My husband was still up when I got home and we chatted for a bit.  I drank more water and had a cup of peppermint tea, watched a tv show and then went to bed.  There were no "spins" or nausea when I lied down, so I felt that everything was pretty good.  A few hours later I woke up with terrible nausea.  My body felt like it wanted to reject every organ inside of me and I spent the next hour or so trying to find a position that didn't make me feel like throwing up.  That position was curled up on the cool bathroom floor, my two cats hanging around me to keep me company. 

I realized that night that I had a zero alcohol tolerance.  I wasn't drunk, at least not by the typical symptoms that I've had in the past.  I didn't understand how I could feel fine for hours, successfully go to bed feeling well and then wake up with painful nausea.  I thought about some of the things I consumed that night besides the alcohol.  There were the greasy wings and a couple of nachos, but I've indulged in these things on other occasions when in social situations and never had a reaction like this. 

The next day I googled "paleo and alcohol tolerance" and read other people's accounts of similar experiences, but there are also others that say they gained a higher tolerance for alcohol.  It's mixed bag of info, but I seem to be in the company of majority.

I can honestly say I won't miss alcohol.  Sure, I have a favourite beer (Früli) and there are some pretty tasty cocktails out there.  I can count the number of times I consume alcohol in a year on one hand.   My chances with small amounts of alcohol are sending me into terrible sleepless fits of pain and nausea now and that's not how I want to experience life.  It's just not worth it anymore.

Has anyone else noticed their tolerance for alcohol diminish?  Do you limit yourself to social drinks or still enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or have you completely cut it out?  Let me know in the comments :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Smoked Mackerel Salad

After visiting two grocery stores tonight and failing on finding some decent fresh fish, I settled on some smoked mackerel.  Out of the eight items I had on my list to pick up, I found success with three.  It's just been one of those weeks and it's only Tuesday.

Tonight's dinner was salad with red leaf lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers from a local farmer's market, smoked mackerel and an EVOO, balsamic vinegar and fresh garlic homemade dressing.