When I was pregnant with Andrew, my midwife advised me to remove refined sugar from my diet, since both my mom and grandma have suffered from varicose veins, and since it's genetic, it may easily affect me too. Once someone gets varicose veins they never go away, so I followed her instructions and was very disciplined about my diet. (While refined sugar is in your system, it thins the walls of your veins and arteries. When pregnant, there is such an increase in blood volume that the circulation often becomes congested and sluggish. If the veins and arteries are thinned out, they are much more likely to bulge out, causing varicosities.)
Watching your diet carefully and being self-disciplined while raising a toddler, however, is something else entirely. Already it takes a heck of a lot of creativity to convince yourself that the peanut butter and banana with soymilk is going to satisfy you even though all you really want is a donut and coffee. With a toddler, I've noticed that my creative powers are already stretched thin with amusing him, feeding him, understanding him, etc, so there's not a whole lot left for me. Now all of these are reasons, of course, not good excuses -- I'm just telling it like it is.
Anyway, the other day I had the car, and Joy, Andrew and I were out doing stuff. Dunkin Donuts started looking really good. We ended up stopping in there, and instead of just having "a little something", I had...two donuts. After my valiant attempts at not eating too much white sugar, the donuts tasted a little too sweet, but...yeah, I ate them anyway. A few hours later, I noticed a deep throbbing in the back of my lower left leg. By the time dinner was over, I could hardly walk over to the couch, I was limping so badly from the pain. The next day I called my midwife, and she had me buy compression knee-highs, cayenne pepper capsules and this herbal mix called vari-gone.
I feel way better now (except for a constant heat in my stomach from the pepper), but Greg and I noticed something -- these knee highs are the same things that older ladies wear to keep their feet from swelling! I've never thought about it before, but that's why their ankles and feet often look like fake legs. You learn something new every day! (And now you know how to improve your circulation!)