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The Dragon Reborn

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About The Dragon Reborn

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  • Birthday 01/14/1994

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    Los Angeles, La-La-Land
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    adventurer
  1. Since you have some pounds/fat to lose, I would suggest incorporating High Intensity Interval Training. Also, for reading material in regards to nutrition and fat, especially, I would recommend some books written by Gary Taubes, who really dives into the science and reason behind the benefits of fat; I'd also recommend It Starts With Food for a great crash course in nutrition; also covers fat. It also wouldn't hurt to pick up some iron (ie, weights)!
  2. Thanks for your input! I take it then you would look for someone who would become your best advocate/cheerleader/accountability associate? I'm looking into programs that also incorporate a lot of the psychological element of coaching. I think the mind is like the glue that holds everything together when it comes to health, fitness, weightloss/gain, etc. If your willpower is a weak muscle, untrained and sensitive, then it too needs an overhaul! A good service I would consider, for a fraction of extensive 1-on-1 coaching, would simply be like 30 minute phone calls. It's not coaching so much as time/space for YOU to chat about your goals, questions, etc, privately with me.
  3. Hopefully you are not seriously considering staying exclusively on a liquid-only diet for the long-term! #1- ALL nutrients are essential to supporting life. #2- Performance Wise- Make Sure you get enough Protein/Amino Acids. #3- Energy/Digestion- Make Sure you get enough Carbohydrates #4- Hormones/Skin-Hair-Nailes/Digestion/Energy- Make Sure you get enough FAT #5- Overall Health/Immunity/Anti-Aging/Life Supporting- Make Sure you are eating enough PLANTS- fibrous vegetables, mainly- leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, some fruit on occasion, nuts and seeds, seaweed. But here are a few 'hacks' for those who are active- If you are in support of the paleo diet, then I hope you understand that fat is NOT the devil (neither is carbs, but the one macronutrient that is continuing to be villified like the devil incarnate is fat)- avocadoes, coconut oil, olives, egg yolks, fish, and nuts/seeds are AWESOME sources of fat that will actually provide a TON of energy and anti-inflammatory benefits. If I go on a long hike, eating an avocado or high fat meal provides me a sustainable boost of energy in comparison to carbohydrates, which quickly lose their effect shortly, even if they of the complex variety (starch). Second, exercise creates inflammation. It's just science. In order to build muscle, you need to tear it apart, rip it to shreds, so that your body will repair it and grow newer, more resiliant muscle (until that gets broken down too, haha). Anyway, this is an inflammatory process. Eating plenty of plants provides anti-inflammatory benefits to help the recovery process when COMBINED with adequate protein intake. A major, major condiment to sneak into your diet? Turmeric! Found in curry in mustard, but even better used when bought as a straight up seasoning. To increase your body's absorption, combine it with fat of choice and BLACK PEPPER. Minerals- If you sweat a lot, pay attention- the salty sensation in your sweat (come on, at one point, you must have tasted it) is due to its concentration of minerals. Adequate hydration helps when we sweat, but it does not replenish the amount of minerals that were lost in the process. Solution? Well, first of all, eat your plants (yeah, I know I sound like a broken record, but it's true!), and second, consider boosting your diet with seaweed/algae (nori, hijiki, dulse, kelp, spirulina, chlorella, wakame, etc), which are LOADED with minerals (including iodine; make sure to eat 1-2 brazil nuts on the days you eat seaweed/algae to balance out the iodine levels with selenium). Another option is to supplement- you have natural mineral drops that you can put in your water (drinking mineral water doesn't hurt, either), Sunwarrior also offers a High Mineral supplement as well, Fulvic/Humic Minerals, and, finally, Magnesium Powder; I add this to my smoothie on the days I perform HIIT or am out in the heat for more than a few hours on a long hike, run, or walk- just keep in mind that it can have a laxative effect, so go low and slow when it comes to supplementing- you'll know when how much is enough. In spite of everything I just wrote, I sincerely hope you are not embarking on an all liquid diet. It is not sustainable for the long term and can cause more harm than good.
  4. First and foremost, become your own best advocate for your health. Calmly and respectively make your case with your mother. As others have noted, it is your life, and your body- the decision is ultimately yours, at the end of the day. How badly do you want to be the healthiest that you can be? Secondly, there is a growing division amongst medical doctors today. The curriculum they have been taught is outdated and small; most doctors barely receive a proper education in nutrition, and are mostly taught to prescribe pharmaceuticals instead of prevention through lifestyle, notably diet. For those that do realize that prescribing pills is not enough, there is a mixture of opposing schools of thought. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, for instance, advocates a vegan diet. Primal Docs, on the other hand, prefer paleo/primal. And then you have Naturopaths who seem, for the most part, on board with ancestral diets, which include grains and dairy and legumes. To make matters worse, you still have your run-of-the-mill physicians ignoring the evidence that processed foods are bad, and believe that the principle of moderation is fine in the context of a Standard American Diet (I'm talking about doctors who believe that all the junk and allergenic foods like dairy and gluten have no correlation to chronic conditions like diabetes, irritable bowel, depression, or metabolic syndrome). But the point is that more and more doctors are finally singing a different tune and realizing that what goes on our plates and into our stomaches plays an integral role in our overall health and longevity. So your mother may be in a different class of doctors. That being said, if you want to further support your decision, refer her to legitimate studies and luminaries in the paleo community. Look for doctors, nutritionists/dieticians, athletes, and studies that support the paleo diet. There's Dr. Cordain, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Nell Stephenson, Abel James, Gary Taubes, Vinnie Tortorich, Terry Wahls, and many, many more, well known paleo advocates. You have The Paleo Diet book, of course, to provide research and studies, but I believe Mark Sisson just recently posted a great article linking various studies on PubMed relating to the benefits of a paleo/paleo-esque diet. There is also Whole30/It Starts With Food, which also cleverly researches the ramifications of consuming processed foods, dairy, gluten, soy, and grains and legumes. By the way, all of these folks have created communities that are very supportive of this lifestyle. By reaching out and investing in learning from them, you can find a TON of recipes, solutions, and quick-fixes to support your paleo choices. Everyone from students to families have incorporated the Paleo diet into their budgets and circumstances, you just have to be persistent in your research to find them. They will also help support you when it comes to dealing with nay-sayers! And then there's always the Rebel Army here at Nerd Fitness XD
  5. Uh-oh- FODMAPS! Tell me, were you diagnosed with SIBO? Is your gut out of whack? If so, please know that restricting FODMAPS should only be a short term blanket covering up a symptom that hopefully is being treated (and properly, too!). Resources: Books- The Gut Balance Revolution (discusses FODMAPS in detail, as well as SIBO and treatment; offers recipes and a meal plan) The Body Ecology Diet (nightshade free; may have to modify for FODMAP, but is a great source when it comes digestion) The Microbiome Diet (similar to Gut Balance) The Meyers Way Internet: SIBO Info SCDLIFESTYLE Animal Pharm Gut Institute Amy Meyers.com Dr. Allison Siebecker Body Ecology Diet.com Instagram- Hashtag SIBODIET/SIBO/LOWFODMAP Accounts: Paleo Cajun Lady, Zucchini and Carrots, Low Fodmap Living, and Sibo With Hope. Google is also your friend when it comes to recipes. Good luck!
  6. Grain Free/Legume Free Vegan: You have- Nuts Seeds Spirulina Protein Powder (that is free of grains; Sunwarrior, Vega, Garden of Life, and plain hemp seed protein powder would greatly help) BCAA's/L-Glutamine Nutritional Yeast Grains will not neccessarily make you fat; if they are prepared correctly, they would not even cause the damage that the paleo community often affiliates them with (I am of course referring to anti-nutrients). Also, raw, sprouted, organic brown rice prowder has a high protein/amino acid profile and is one of the most tolerable supplements to take. It can also double as an excellent low carb, high protein replacement for flour. By knocking off legumes and grains, you make it difficult to recommend any outside sources when it comes to protein. There are seed-like grains such as quinoa, millet, amaranth, and even rice, but all are grains, at the end of the day; just gluten free ones. If you choose to have them, you would be considered 'primal', or 'ancestral', instead of paleo. And obviously all animal products are out of the question…. Some vegans succeed on a raw diet, but the vast majority all end up returning to either a cooked foods diet or one containing some level of animal foods (a la paleo). It is especially easier to succeed on a raw diet if you live in warmer climates and/or closer to major cities, like New York and Los Angeles. You have a wide range of restaurants and markets at your disposal, with well-informed staff to guide you in the right direction and assist you face-to-face rather than the obscurity and confusion of the internet. But otherwise, I would say, be careful. The answer may have more to do with your overall diet rather than just a sole component of it, in addition to the amount of exercise you engage in daily. Are you eating enough, and are you eating enough of the right foods to support your goals? (IE- protein, fat, carbs, calories, etc). If your diet is working against you, then it certainly is just a diet as opposed to your natural way of eating, which really ought to become second nature once you figure out what works to support your fitness goals.
  7. OK. First things first. You are willing to eat more vegetarian/pescetarian than vegan, yes? Here are your options: Vegetarian/Pescetarian: Fish/Shellfish (tuna, salmon, sardines, anchovies, clams, shrimp, trout, haddock, halibut, mahi mahi, lobster, crab…) and Eggs. There's also Collagen Protein Hydrosolate (Great Lakes brand or Vital Proteins); can supply anywhere between 6-17 grams of protein; use it as a protein powder replacement in smoothies, pancakes, etc. You can also use Egg White Protein Powder as well. Another, relatively new, source of protein that you can find online is Cricket Flour/Protein. It's not a dense source of protein, but it can be used in smoothies and baking. Vegan: Protein Powder; there are some grain-free varieties out there. Garden of Life has one- look up their website- as does Vega and Sunwarrior. Or, you can try either Soy/Pea/Hemp/Pumpkin Seed or a combination of these proteins. Legumes: Lentils and Beans. Probably the most economical of choices; just be sure to soak/ferment them overnight and thoroughly wash them to reduce the concentration of anti-nutrients within them. If you cannot do so, at least thoroughly wash the canned varieties. The best ones include: black/red/green lentils, mung beans, chicpeas/garbonzo beans (you can also find them in hummus), black beans, soy beans, fava beans and kidney beans. Soy: Either the beans (above) or tofu. I would recommend tempeh, which contains even more protein than tofu, but most brands contain rice, which is a grain; you might be able to tolerate it, so experiment around if you must. I know some brands carry a soy-only version, but you would have to do your own research and see. There are none where I live in the US. Nutritional Yeast- 3 Tablespoons packs 9 grams of protein, amino acids, zinc, iron, and a complex of b-vitamins. Has a 'cheezy' flavor that goes great with pasta, and can be applied to almost any dish, from salads to stir fries. Nuts: All kinds, unless you allergic (especially to peanuts)- the best are almonds, walnuts, and cashews, in terms of protein. You can also find them jarred as nut butters. Seeds: These guys pack more punch when it comes to protein. 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds supplies up to 9 grams of protein. The top choice would be Hemp Seeds, however- 11 grams of protein for 3 tablespoons. Other choices include sunflower, watermelon, and sesame seeds (although sesame seeds do not contain as much protein as the previous choices, they are a great source of calcium and can be found in the form of tahini, which is combined with chickpeas to make hummus). Peas: Split Peas. Regular peas. Either way, they support a decent sum of protein. Quinoa, Millet, and Amaranth- Gluten free, seed-like grains, which provide a lot of protein. If you can tolerate them, I would urge you to incorporate them into your diet. Like with legumes, be sure to soak/ferment them overnight and wash thoroughly prior to cooking. They are very economical and can last you up to a week when cooked in bulk. Rice- If you can tolerate it. Opt more for brown and wild rice, as they contain more protein and fiber; same rules as above with legumes when it comes to preparation. Algae- Spirulina- Not the 'best' source of protein, but it is a good one to incorporate. Don't go overboard, however, and stick to the serving recommendations on the label. If you have a sensitive stomach, give it a pass, as it can cause some stomach upset (bloating, loose stools). It is also a little pricey, so if you cannot afford it, no sweat. Honorable Mentions: L-Glutamine/ Branched Chain Amino Acids- To supplement; have pre and post workout, and optionally before bed. Not an aboslute, but can be quite useful and good for when you are in a pinch. Vegetables- Believe it or not, some vegetables provide a nice kick of protein to a dish! While they are INCOMPLETE sources of protein, they do add up to 6 grams of protein depending on how much you choose to eat. These include: Broccoli/Cauliflower/Spinach/Brussels Sprouts/Kale/Asparagus. Remember, all foods contain protein in the form of amino acids. The goal is to get the full range of ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS that your body cannot make on its own. The proteins I listed above (ie, the vegetarian and vegan sources) must be consumed to obtain all of these essentials. Be sure to eat them with plenty of vegetables and some fruits, and to eat enough dietary fat to ensure that you are absorbing the nutrients from them. Eating the vegetarian sources makes it easier to obtain the essentials, but it can be done only as a vegan provided you eat enough of those foods to support your goals and activities. Best of luck!
  8. Yes, it does help to know what you are eating. An upset stomach can mean a variety of things, and we can only surmise the sole reason as to why through what little information you have given. 1) Somewhat New Vegetarian- Dietary transition. Your body may be exposed to unfamiliar foods, and is A) having trouble digesting them growing accustomed to them OR C) all of the above. Oftentimes, people experience some digestive shift upon adopting a new diet. How long have you been a (newish) vegetarian? 2) The Standard Culprits- These are basic, easy to remedy things that can be treated without going to the doctor. #1- Hydration. Are you drinking enough water? #2- Fiber. This may seem rather redundant, given that a good, proper vegetarian diet ought to be filled with an abundance of fiber, but you never know. Some vegetarians may not be eating enough, thus the lack of fiber might be making their stools hard to pass. But I doubt this is your problem. #3- Stress. Are you anxious, stressed, depressed, etc, both during and after meals? This can speed up adrenaline and cortisol, and take away the focus from digestion and assimilating your food. And hopefully you are not experiencing an ulcer! Control your moods before they control you! 3 A) Food Itself. What kind of food exactly are you eating? If it is a lot of legumes, be forewarned- becoming a vegetarian can increase legume consumption, leading to more gas, flatulence, and bloating. Legumes are a concentrated mix of carbohydrates and protein, and for certain individuals, can be a difficult thing to digest without ailment. The other possibility is fruit- now I know some fruitarians/raw foodists/fruit-a-vores might start rioting against me, but hear me out. In compromised guts, high concentrations of fructose can exacerbate an already imbalanced digestive tract. There is even a legitimate condition known as fructose malabsorption, when a person cannot properly break down the fructose found in fruit; many doctors order a specialized test to see if this is present in a patient. 3 Food Intolerances- Carrying off the point from A, your body may not be breaking down specific food(s) as efficiently as it should. For instance, you in fact be intolerant to a variety of foods- dairy (I say this as you state that you are a vegetarian, and not a vegan), eggs, shellfish, soy, gluten, grains, corn, nuts, or peanuts (which are actually a type of legume XD). Those are the main culprits. Furthermore, it may be something that is not commonly labeled as allergenic- nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), a specific fruit such as bananas or apples, coconut, garlic. Testing for this can be done, but it is quite expensive. The solution would be to journal every little thing that enters your stomach for about a week. Write how you feel before and after each meal/snack/drink. Afterwards, notice any patterns, and the foods that turn up the most around the times you experience any upset. Eliminate these foods for about two weeks, and slowly, one by one, introduce them back into your diet, and observe whether or not you receive a (negative) reaction. 4) Poor Digestion. You mentioned being treated for Lyme and taking probiotics. This would suggest that your digestion is not in tip-top-shape and is in need of outside support, away from diet. This is where you need to work with a qualified professional to formulate an appropriate plan to address the root cause of your symptoms. You may be advised to heal the good through suppplementing L-Glutamine, Digestive Enzymes, probiotics (perhaps one that is different from the current product you are using), etc. Vitamin deficiencies may also be corrected as well, if evident. (I may also add that if you do have any food intolerances that your probiotic may be working against you- many brands contain extracts from milk- dairy-, as well as soy, gluten, and corn- from maltodextrin-, so the problem may lie in your probiotic.) 5) Infection. Similiar to 4, you are going to need a licensed, qualified professional to test whether or not you are experiencing side effects from an infection. This can be from yeast, bacteria, or parasites. If symptoms of your stomach problems persist, then please seek help! 6) Flue/Stomach Bug. Yeah, we all hate 'em, but they happen. Perhaps you are coming down with something? Just be observant of your symptoms, and don't hesitate to call the doc if they persist and things get of your hand. Gut complications are very unique and complex, and no one answer may be the only reason as to why you are unwell. Good luck!
  9. This is an offer to all my fellow Rebels. How can I help? This may seem like it is more for the Epic Quest section, but I thought it would pertain most here. My goal is to start an online business featuring a 'program' or brand related to nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle. This program is unique and thematic (I won't reveal my secrets just yet), with the goal being to help members become supernatural versions of themselves. IE- Supernatural, as you are more than what you are- you are something that transcends past normality. You are unique, with a different set of circumstances, goals, and individuality that sets you apart from every person on Earth. In order to accomplish this goal, I am currently seeking out different certifications that will enable me to become knowledgable in these subjects as well hold up the legal credentials to practice them. In the meantime, I want to hear from YOU- How can I help? What services, content, and support would you like to see? If you were to work one on one with a coach, what would you expect from him or her, and what do you want at the end of the day? Tell me, please, so I can better serve you and the future community I wish to build! Yours Truly, The Dragon PS- I am already certified by The American Fitness and Nutrition Academy to teach Yoga (200hr Yoga Alliance Approved program), so that is one area of expertise I have under my belt, in addition to six years of personal yoga practice. My style is based on a blend of fluid Vinyasa flow and deep stretching, intense Yin; I also integrate outside fitness techniques into my practice, such as High Intensity Interval Training and Resistance Training to transform a practice into one focused on either endurance or strength, with an emphasis on flexibility and body awareness.
  10. Can you exercise too much? Yes, indeed. Actually, someone posted a similar question to yours on this forum, and I will happily copy and past my response here as well. "Hello- I am a certified yoga instructor, and will say the observation made from your fellow running friend was spot on. If you cannot touch your toes with straight legs, ie, you are bending your knees to do so, and your feet are turning out, then you indeed have tight hammstrings. You also need to open up your lower back and inner thighs. On the forums in the past, I have vocally applauded the benefits of Yin yoga- both from experience and research. Simply put, Yin is yoga practiced without sequence, focusing on holding a 'pose' or 'stretch' for extensive amounts of time- anywhere between 3 to 15 minutes (this is more for the advanced). A good youtube search can lead you to tutorials/routines. For the basics, I strongly recommended Yogatic/Ekhart Yoga. However, I have evolved my current approach to dynamic stretching and flexibility. If your sole purpose is to increase flexibility and loosen up tension/tight muscles, then the key is to incorporate three elements into your approach (that I personally have dabbled and experimented with prior to formulating them)- 1) Holds- Like Yin, hold a position starting with 5 breaths and working your way up to 3 minutes. A timer will be useful to track the amount. 2) Movement- After holding a static position, it is time to incorporate a little movement. For instance, a low lunge with your back leg on the mat will quickly transition between this position and a runner's stretch- go back and forth between the two, and increase your breath. Don't go fast to the point of over working yourself and increasing the chances of injury. Just move fluidly and mindfully between the two. After doing so for about a minute, go back, and hold the position again from where it began. 3) Strength- As you have noted above, you do incorporate resistance training into your routine. Continue doing so! Believe it or not, even with a regular yoga practice (be it yin, vinyasa, power, etc), we can become too flexible, and risk over-stretching our muscles. Resistance Training is the remedy to this complication; not only does it indeed 'harden' the muscle due to increased size/breaking of the fibers, it supports bone health and other benefits associated with resistance training. Strength and Flexibility go hand in hand- a yin and yang, so to speak. Right now, I would say you are more yang than yin, and may need to concentrate a little more on being yin- ie, flexible, especially in the lower body. The comments above are more precise in terms of what poses/exercises you need to do, but I hope this methodology will you help you to actually formulate a plan to address this problem. In time, you will not need to stretch as long, but will still need to incorporate it into your routine as a preventative measure. I also would highly recommend looking into Foam Rolling, which encompasses the first two principles I listed above- movement, and holding. It also reaches even deeper into the muscle fibers and breaks down Fascia, which is really what causes stiffness. Look it up. Best of luck, and hope this helps!"
  11. Hello- I am a certified yoga instructor, and will say the observation made from your fellow running friend was spot on. If you cannot touch your toes with straight legs, ie, you are bending your knees to do so, and your feet are turning out, then you indeed have tight hammstrings. You also need to open up your lower back and inner thighs. On the forums in the past, I have vocally applauded the benefits of Yin yoga- both from experience and research. Simply put, Yin is yoga practiced without sequence, focusing on holding a 'pose' or 'stretch' for extensive amounts of time- anywhere between 3 to 15 minutes (this is more for the advanced). A good youtube search can lead you to tutorials/routines. For the basics, I strongly recommended Yogatic/Ekhart Yoga. However, I have evolved my current approach to dynamic stretching and flexibility. If your sole purpose is to increase flexibility and loosen up tension/tight muscles, then the key is to incorporate three elements into your approach (that I personally have dabbled and experimented with prior to formulating them)- 1) Holds- Like Yin, hold a position starting with 5 breaths and working your way up to 3 minutes. A timer will be useful to track the amount. 2) Movement- After holding a static position, it is time to incorporate a little movement. For instance, a low lunge with your back leg on the mat will quickly transition between this position and a runner's stretch- go back and forth between the two, and increase your breath. Don't go fast to the point of over working yourself and increasing the chances of injury. Just move fluidly and mindfully between the two. After doing so for about a minute, go back, and hold the position again from where it began. 3) Strength- As you have noted above, you do incorporate resistance training into your routine. Continue doing so! Believe it or not, even with a regular yoga practice (be it yin, vinyasa, power, etc), we can become too flexible, and risk over-stretching our muscles. Resistance Training is the remedy to this complication; not only does it indeed 'harden' the muscle due to increased size/breaking of the fibers, it supports bone health and other benefits associated with resistance training. Strength and Flexibility go hand in hand- a yin and yang, so to speak. Right now, I would say you are more yang than yin, and may need to concentrate a little more on being yin- ie, flexible, especially in the lower body. The comments above are more precise in terms of what poses/exercises you need to do, but I hope this methodology will you help you to actually formulate a plan to address this problem. In time, you will not need to stretch as long, but will still need to incorporate it into your routine as a preventative measure. I also would highly recommend looking into Foam Rolling, which encompasses the first two principles I listed above- movement, and holding. It also reaches even deeper into the muscle fibers and breaks down Fascia, which is really what causes stiffness. Look it up. Best of luck, and hope this helps!
  12. I'm late (again!)- life has been hectic, filled with ups and downs, but I'm definitely back!
  13. Whoa! Ah! I thought no one was replying to this thread. Sorry for the delay. Thank you! I didn't mean for it to be so long, but I felt so open and comfortable about sharing all I have learned so far!
  14. Hello, everyone! Wow, what an usual post for this part of the forum, no? I thought I'd do so here, though, not as a means of picking myself back up after failure, per se, but to really become reacquainted with the forums, and to state where I'm at personally. When I first signed up several months ago, I was not in good shape. Digestion was a wreck; turns out I had a case of S.mall I.ntestinal.B.acterial.O.vergrowth. I was still fighting my past as a former vegan, trying to push away ANY opportunity to eat animal foods, and eating soy from tempeh and tofu, which it turns out my body absolutely HATED. On top of that, I was committing to taking too many aerobics classes at my gym, which basically canceled out any progress I would make when it came to lifting. In my personal life, I was struggling to find work as a newly certified yoga instructor; I was so consumed by yoga that I was in a state of denial, thinking that all I had to do was teach yoga and be happy. Other aspects of my life were out of control, from the minute things such as cleaning up my workspace, getting my workouts in (yeah… I skipped, a lot), setting up priorities, surrounding myself with things that brought me down (I was subscribed to a lot of vegans waxing poetical against paleo and meat eating, as well as believing that all meat eaters deserved to die; not a good state of mind to have I believe, even if you're vegan- I also was letting myself be guilted by former friends I knew way back in high school who were essentially bullying my lifestyle and choice to not go the traditional route and enroll in college…). Anyway, I had things that needed to be straightened up pronto. Around mid April I should say, I first decided to slowly add back in some meat. I still do not eat animal foods every day, but I am getting close to doing so. My stomach acid is very low, especially after having SIBO, so I'm currently supplementing right now to boost it up; major improvements so far, as it no longer feels like there's food sitting in my gut for hours. I also kicked the SIBO infection to the curb, which is no easy feat. Digestion is still a matter of maintenance, but so far, I've improved dramatically. With my workouts and nutrition, I'm going to preface by saying I'm a natural hard-gainer, with a bit of endomorph thrown in; I can certainly feel an improvement or change post workout. But visually, I'm an ectomorph through and through. I've tried the old fashioned approach of eating everything in plain sight, but because of my former IBS struggles, yeast infections, and recently, SIBO, doing so was not good both for my digestion and state of mind. Now, I just try to focus on investing in nutrient-rich, whole foods; leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, squash, fermented foods (kefir, kraut, kimchi, pickles, miso, kumbocha), chicken liver (don't knock it till you try it), eggs, fish, chicken/turkey, etc; I take L-Glutamine (post workout and in the afternoon, mainly for gut health), a good multivitamin, HCL (for low stomach acid), probiotic (doctor's orders), and a fermented greens powder that's also good for gut health (Vitality Greens by Body Ecology). That's it. At the gym, I lift 4X a week; 2X Upper, 2X Lower. I work on my core once or twice a week. HIIT once a week. Long Hobbit walks a few days a week, depending on time and the weather. Yoga/Foam Rolling/Deep Stretching (YIN) DAILY; good for the body, good for the mind, and good for the spirit. I used to struggle at using the 20 pound barbell back in March, now I'm at 30 pounds, and am close to using the 40 pound one. I use the machines as well, and have varying set weights I've managed to improve upon; too much to list here, but I'll say I've jumped up quite a bit since April on all of them! I can see some improvement physically; there's a bit of size to my lower body now, and some of my workout pants are actually starting to tighten up a bit. My upper body, though still thin, has gotten a bit of definition at last. Same for my core, which is the hardest to really 'tone', as my IBS can flare up and cause a bit of bloating on occasion (which is why I avoid eating out whenever I can). Otherwise, I'm finally starting to see some 'gains', even if they are small. The best results have come from my performance. Well, I think I'll stop here, but I just want to say to all of you reading this, that consistency truly is key, and fine tuning along the way isn't so bad either. Just commit. Persist Until Something Happens Yours Truly, The Dragon
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