SHTF Fitness Tuesday 2/21/2017

So it’s been 2 weeks since I started working out at the Gym and increasing my caloric intake to 3200 calories a day.  I’ve been going 5 days a week and doing 30min of HIIT cardio twice a week.

Increasing my calories has been really difficult because when I’m under stress or dealing with any sort of depression my appetite really lacks.  Thankfully, I started meal prepping so that I always have a nutritious meal on hand.

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This week I prepped  salmon, sweet potatoes, and a lemon, parsley, garbonzo bean salad. Week before that I prepped chicken breasts, broccoli, and rice.

Drinking my calories has also helped immensely.

Tonight I made a banana orange smoothie with almond milk, oats, whey, maca powder, spinach, and parsley.  I made a full blender of it and so I drank three pints.

I’m happy to say that I have gained 2 pounds per week and intend on keeping that up until I reach my 15lb bulking goal.  At the rate I’m going it should take close to two months.

Perhaps in the future I will share some progress photos.

Anyway, that’s how my training is going so far!

Take care,

Ravn Thor

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DIY Deodorant

Transitioning really opened my eyes to how powerful hormones are and how the body reacts to whatever chemical combination is put into  it or is exposed to.  Transpeople, however, aren’t the only ones who (if they choose to medically transition) are exposed to different hormones.  Everyday, people are unknowingly being exposed to endocrine disruptors that effect the hormone levels and cause a wide variety of health problems.

A few chemicals that are found in our everyday items include:

BPA

BPS

Phthytates

Parabens

and the list goes on.

Endocrine disruptors “mimic or partly mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body like estrogens (the female sex hormone), androgens (the male sex hormone), and thyroid hormones, potentially producing overstimulation.” source  This can lead to hormonal imbalances, obesity, reproductive problems, neurological and behavior problems, early puberty, and cancers.  Check out this entry in Wikipedia, skim through it and be sure to look at the bottom list of sources cited.

Endocrine disruptors can be found in cleaning products, plastics, cans, hygiene products and more.  While it’s difficult to completely eliminate these disruptors, you can limit your exposure to it.

One way of doing that is by making your own hygiene products.

Tonight I made my own deodorant using coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda, witch hazel, vitamin e oil, essential oils and some shea butter.  I followed a simple template at this website.

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I made a mixture of cedarwood, tea tree, patchouli, bergamont, lavender, sage, and rosemary essential oils to scent it.  It’s really fun to make your own signature scents.  I added witch hazel as a way to wick moisture away.

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I was really impressed with how it mixed!

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I recycled my recently emptied deodorant stick and it fit right in.  I tried it on and it felt kind of wet at first, but it surprisingly dried within a minute or two.

In the future I may experiment with more recipes.

Prepping for your body: Prepper Fitness

Taking care of the body is very important when it comes to prepping (and should always be important all around!).  When SHTF, being able to run, hike while carrying large amounts of weight, fight, lift, carry, work, etc a won’t do you much good if you’re out of shape.  You can get in shape at home or join a gym. Whichever works best for you!

Today I re-enrolled at my local Golds Gym. I’ve been weight training off and on for over 4 years. In college I had access to the fitness centers.  After I graduated I was enrolled at another gym for a few months until I lost my job.   It’s been about 4 months since I’ve been at the gym, however, I have kept up with exercising at home. Now that I have a stable income I decided it’s time to go back.

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This morning I got a complimentary fitness assessment and got a base reading of where I’m at currently.

Ravn’s Stats as of 2/7/2017

Weight:  129

Body Fat %: 18

I’m excited to see where I’ll be a month from now.  The trainer at the gym said that I’m what he calls a “hard gainer” and recommended I eat 6-8 meals a day.  I have a few meals prepped already.  Training really helps stimulate my appetite.  He also recommended that I cut down on cardio to maybe 2 times a week for 3o minutes.  I could be over-doing my cardio and burning off that hard earned muscle and setting myself back.  He advised I gain about 15lbs.  My goals are to gain that and then I’ll test myself with a weighted endurance hike in the spring.

A gym really works for me because it gets me out of the house and doing something constructive.  Going to the gym while being trans can be nerve-wracking though.  I pass as a man now, and so the locker room I use is the mens locker room.  I feel a bit of nervousness about it but so far I’ve not encountered anything.  Today I just used the entry way and changed my shoes. I show up already dressed for exercise.  I know you shouldn’t wear your binder when exercising, but I don’t have anything else to wear to hide my chest.  I really hope to get top surgery sometime in the near future.  I’d like to be able to shower right away after a hard work-out, but I’m still unsure if that would be safe there. I do believe there are private showers. I’ll have to feel it out some more and figure out what time of day is the least volume in terms of busyness.

For some folks a gym isn’t really their atmosphere, and that’s okay! There are plenty of different ways to get in shape! Whether it’s doing more outdoor activities or exercising at home, there’s something for everyone.

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When I work-out at home I use this doorway pull-up bar and resistance bands as well as some body weight exercises.  The pull-up bar was a great investment for me because not only can you use it to do pull-ups, but you can use it for sit-ups, push-ups, and dips.  Resistance bands are pretty inexpensive and there are numerous exercises you can do to really feel the burn.

On top of building your body you must fuel your body right too!  I have cut alcohol completely from my diet, and four years ago I quit smoking. I continue to eat clean, but I do treat myself now and then. In the past I had restricted myself too much to where it was unhealthy.

I wrote an article about fitness and nutrition that got published in FTM Magazine: Embodiment and Empowerment through Exercise and Nutrition that goes through some of the things I do and eat.  I also am an avid reader of this website: Muscle For Life.

Having a strong and healthy body is vital for living in the apocalypse or encountering any kind of emergency situation.  If you can think through scenarios but your body doesn’t follow through with the kind of strength, endurance, stamina, and energy it needs, then your chance of survival diminishes. You could really endanger yourself and that of your party.

Until Next Time,

Ravn Thor

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”  -Jim Rohn

 

Learning Folk Medicine

*Disclaimer: This post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness. I am not a health care practitioner. Please discuss your personal health with a qualified doctor before making changes to your diet or health regimen.

In a previous post I noted that in the first couple days of office, Dictator Cheeto signed an executive order to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Through my 20s I’ve been very interested in mind/body holistic health. I’ve studied up on nutrition and looked through what’s fact and what’s fad, and the same with alternative remedies.  In my arsenal of prepping I believe learning basic first aid and preventative medicine are vital tools. Keeping my immune system strong so it’s not susceptible to diseases is very important, because if I get sick I won’t be able to afford to see the doctor. And if I do go see the doctor, there is a good chance that doctor could cite “deeply held religious beliefs” and refuse to treat me. So it’s in my best interest to protect and empower myself to understand my body and keep it healthy.

Honey for a cough. The tried and true chicken noodle soup. Tea tree oil for a skin blemish. For a brighter smile brush with baking soda. What these things all have in common is that they can be considered folk medicine!

According to the World Health Organization, Folk Medicine is:

“the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.”

It’s very important to learn how to weed through all the snake oil. Just because blood-letting was once a practiced ‘traditional’remedy doesn’t mean it was ever a good idea.

“A man may esteem himself happy when that which is his food is also his medicine.” -Henry David Thoreau

My kitchen in a lot of ways is a mini apothecary.

A few staples that I keep in my kitchen are:

  • Garlic
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Green Tea
  • Ginger Root
  • Lemons
  • Raw Honey

Garlic

Garlic is one of the worlds most researched and important medicinal plants (and it adds amazing flavor to most anything!).

Best taken raw, the key actions of this plant is that it’s an antibiotic, anti fungal, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, supports beneficial intestinal flora, and is an amazing antioxidant keeping free radicals at bay. It’s excellent at preventing the common cold or shortening the length of time if you catch one.   It’s a real immune system booster!

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It also gives you an edge when dealing with not so nice vampires.

I eat about 3-4 cloves a day. I put it on most everything. Potatoes, rice, noodles, pasta, pizza, bread, salad, nachos, tacos, steak, soups, etc.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is an amazing spice to add to any meal if you need a kick but it also has some pretty nifty health benefits too.

Cayenne pepper helps fight inflammation and can give your metabolism a much needed boost as well as stimulate the circulatory system. It’s key component, capsaicin, is what makes this pepper spicy. High in vitamins A and C this pepper helps support the immune system.  The heat of this pepper also gives you a nice endorphin rush.
Since cayenne stimulates blood flow, it can be a useful spice to add more spice to your sex drive.

I love to use cayenne in many different dishes and I even like to put cayenne in my ginger lemon honey tea or even make a spicy hot chocolate.

Green Tea

Legend has it that in 3rd century China, Emperor Shen Nung was sitting under a tree boiling water and leaves fell from the tree into his kettle.  He took a sip and found it to be quite delightful, so resulting in the timeless tradition of drinking tea!

Tea is a stimulant with a moderate amount of caffeine which offers a nice pick-me-up(not as much as a cup of coffee though).  It contains high levels of polyphenols, which is an antioxidant that has been found to help weight loss,  and hinder inflammation.

Green tea is also good for focus and helping alleviate depression.  This is because green tea contains the amino acid L-Theanine:

“L-theanine is an amino acid responsible for increasing alpha brain wave activity, which promotes relaxation. In concert with the stimulant caffeine, this allows tea to induce a feeling of increased concentration over a longer period of time, compared to caffeine alone. Some tea merchants will tell you that tea “releases” its caffeine into the body more slowly than coffee, but in actuality, the effects of caffeine are being moderated by L-theanine.”

So besides getting really good focus and antioxidants out of green tea, there are even more benefits to your health:

“Studies have also shown that there are added benefits to tea, besides alertness. In a paper by Eschenauer and Sweet, it was concluded that “increased alpha activity in the brain induced by L-theanine has been associated with increased creativity, increased performance under stress, and improved learning and concentration as well as decreased anxiety.” [2] A 2001 study suggests that the combination of L-theanine and caffeine “improves the ability to multi-task and reduces task-induced fatigue,” [3]

I have around 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day. Matcha green tea contains even higher amounts of L-Theanine. I like to add matcha to my smoothies.

Ginger Root

There’s nothing quite like the zing of fresh raw ginger root! Ginger is anti-inflammatory and may even be used in place of aspirin to treat arthritic pain for those that can’t have aspririn. Personally, I can’t have OTC pain relievers because it flares up severe stomach acid distress.  Ginger has been a life savor for nausea and my aches and pains.

Ginger is also an antioxidant and can improve resistance during a flu or cold.

I like to add raw garlic and raw ginger root to my chicken soup when I feel a hint of a cold coming on.

Lemon

Lemons! An excellent source of vitamin C!  I use lemon almost as much as I use garlic! I like to use it in cooking or have tea with a squeeze of lemon, pinch of cayenne, chunks of ginger, and a spoonful of raw honey.  It’s my nightly ritual.

Raw Honey

Honey. Sweet ambrosia and nectar of the goddess!  Honey is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and chock full of amino acids and vitamins and minerals.  It’s by far my favorite sweetener. Raw honey in particular is minimally processed thereby keeping all of the enzymes and amino acids.

Honey gives the libido a boost and increases stamina. There are also studies that have found honey to be a great anticancer food.

I prefer to buy local raw honey.  Please note that while there are many benefits to raw honey, there are also potential dangers or drawbacks.  For example, honey is full of fructose (hence it being a sweetener) and so adding spoonful after spoonful is extra added calories. Raw honey should never be given to infants because of it’s potential although rare cases of endospores of Clostridium botulinum (the bacteria that can cause botulism) have been found.  The adult digestive system can filter that out but infants systems are not strong enough.

I daydream of having my own self sufficient farm and being a keeper of bees.

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For about a month I’ve been dealing with an infection that has made the  lymph nodes in my neck go into overdrive.  I went to the doctor and got everything all checked out. It’s nothing to be worried about thankfully, however, feeling really worn out all the time while my body is battling this infection has really gotten me down. I decided to ‘level up’ my beginner herbalism skills and make my very first decoction.

In Rosemary Gladstar’s book on medicinal herbs, a decoction is made of woody plant parts, roots and bark, twiggy bits, and other hard parts. It takes a slow simmer for about 45minutes to extract the medicinal properties of these herbs.

In my handy-dandy Herbal Remedies Visual Reference Guide by Andrew Chevallier, I looked up some herbs that would help with lymph draining and fighting infections.

So my first medicinal potion I made:

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Astragalus, Cleavers, Echinacea, Dandelion RootJuniper berries, Raw Ginger, Garlic, Raw honey, dash of cayenne.

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I let it simmer for around 45 minutes.  I put a quart of water in and after simmering it made about 2 cups totals.  I added the honey and cayenne pepper after the finished product.  It didn’t taste bad, but it did taste strange. Like a weird mix of coffee and rootbeer.

I’ve also been taking a hot bath with epsom salts and drops of eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint essential oils. I sometimes take an epsom salt soak after a particularly hard day of weight training or long hike.  The science behind whether or not epsom salts work the way other natural holistic health websites say they do is pretty iffy.  I take it with a grain of salt (no pun intended) when it comes to what it may or may not do. I just know that it feels really good and dissipates my stress.  Prolonged stress can lead to susceptibility to disease and the body being unable to regulate inflammation.  So for the most part I use Epsom Salt baths as a way to manage stress.

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So these are just a few things that I do to take care of myself to prevent getting sick or to take care of myself if I do ever get sick. When I lose access to my health care, I like to believe I stand a good chance of surviving.  However, if the access to my Testosterone is cut that will be another story.  It’s a medicine that can’t be stocked becuase it’s a controlled substance. Things are very uncertain at this period of time.

Until next time,

Ravn Thor

Please comment!

What are some of your favorite Folk Medicines or Remedies?

“Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.”  -William Shakespeare