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Louisiana garage gym HIIT training vibes. (**insert butch emoji here**) Interval insanity from the last session of our #Chronicallychill & @nola_mma anti-inflammatory 6 week “Change It The F*** Up” challenge, which is way more entertaining if you imagine the Benny Hill music playing. Six weeks ago some of us were so inflamed, injured, or atrophied we couldn’t even add weights to the workouts safely. All these weeks of moderate diet and lifestyle changes, a moderate exercise schedule, one mandatory meditation and recovery day, daily polyphenols and nootropic goodness from matcha courtesy of @matchakari, switching off NSAIDs and onto daily @allitomcbd + @leefyorganics turmeric-ginger tincture, and here we are. Everyone did the whole workout. No one couldn’t complete their stations. No one threw up. (Wanted to. Didn’t.) It’s amazing how quickly we can start to transform when we pull out bullshit, terminate our own bullshit reasons why we “can’t,” and just show up and try. Showing up and seeing what happens is so hard, so emotionally uncomfortable, that most adults cannot do it. They won’t even try. I’m so impressed and inspired by these people. They’re a bunch of sarcastic, weird, foul mouthed, snarky nerds and assholes, and there’s no other kind of people I want to spend an afternoon hurling sandbags and box breathing with. 💗👊🏼🔥 #changeitupnola #HIIT #intervaltraining #functionalnutrition #functionalmovement #wellnessjourney #transformationtuesday #fitfamilylife #AIP #dysautonomia #IBD #hEDS #onepercentbettereveryday #fighton
It’s been a very “Princess of Wands getting banged by the King of Swords while The Devil watches in The Tower” kind of week and haaay who the fuck else is exhausted? (Undying love to @trollbindemagic and @ryanlanephotography for this photo.) #thatwasadoozy #geminiproblems #majorarcana #minorarcana #witchyvibes #asabovesobelow #neworleansstyle #frenchquarter #nolaliving #dysautonomia #strugglewell #fighton #chronicallychill
We moved the challenge out of the gym today and into some of the best healing and recovery possible: walking and grounding in nature on a sunny day, meditating and moving among trees, following both with really clean, fresh, herb-heavy, DELICIOUS gluten-free food shared by tribe members invested in wellness and each other. @nola_mma and I worked these people so hard yesterday with a combination of HIIT training and functional kettlebell-weighted movement—even my shoulders and fruit basket were screaming today—so we needed an equally restorative active recovery day. #shinrinyoku has been used medicinally for centuries at this point, but it’s also evidence-based as fuck for reducing blood pressure and lowering inflammation and you don’t need to be in a haunted Japanese forest to do it. The combination of walking, sunlight, ionic exchange with the moist earth beneath us, and gentle stretching is equally evidence-based as a way to reduce pain and support the repair of the small muscle fibers torn apart in class yesterday. We piled on the psychological and hormonal benefits of laughing and chatting with smart, funny, focused people, and meditating among 300-500 year old live oaks, and “eating the rainbow” at @1000figs cuz this #changeitupNOLA challenge has been about how to rebuild a better, stronger, less painful life and hummus + hibiscus tea are definitely part of a less painful life. I’m going to be sad when we wrap up the challenge next week, but am so proud of the progress these people have made. Choosing to change how you live and break harmful, toxic habits is one of the bravest, and hardest, things any human being can choose to do. Y’all put here meditating on trees and shit while your peers stay asleep on autopilot. Heart so full. 💗 @michyquita @theprassassin @sergiogonzalezpagan @karondelet23 @erictheredbeard504 @oddkarla @michaelcerveris @noellemarion #gratitudejournal #recoveryispossible #onepercentclub #jiujitsulifestyle #fitnola #nolafit #citypark #nolaliving #liveoaks #breathwork #functionalnutrition #chronicallychill
I don’t always dress head to toe in velvet draped in borrowed jewelry while fondling a massive geode in the middle of a southern lapidary, but when I do it’s @trollbindemagic’s jewelry and @ryanlanephotography takes the picture. #trollbinde #nolaliving #neworleansstyle #geode #witchery #asabovesobelow #gratitudejournal #chronicallychill #casualfriday
His birthday was today...but we snuck in early and threw him a surprise party this weekend. (We threw it at his own @loosecattleband gig so that he had to perform as his entertainment at his party, because we are shitty friends and also poor.) The number of people who love and cherish @michaelcerveris was obvious that night. It’s obvious every other night of the year too, whether he’s performing or just being the generous dog dad or zinger of one-liners and puns you’re grateful to know. PS: @bridgetworld19 your cake was so epic!
Louisiana can be a nightmare. We’re part of #CancerAlley. Our water, tainted with lead in many parts of #NOLA as it is, sometimes has to be boiled before we can bathe or drink it due to our decomposing sewage system. We are dead last in the nation in health care options, education, and job opportunities. Our median income is around $30K a year, $20,000 LESS than the national average. Huge chunks of our community live at or below the poverty line, and even citizens with masters degrees struggle to find work paying minimum wage. We are also a food desert—head to the grocery store for organic greens and fruit and sometimes you’ll find a produce aisle full of rotten chard and moldy “Dirty Dozen” berries. This combination of poverty, lack of access, and little education on health and healing have made us one of the most unhealthy populations in North America, with 36% of all adults obese; children AND adults suffering from preventable metabolic disorders; and high death rates from sepsis, cancer, diabetes, liver failure, and stroke. When I started working with clients, I wrote to every supplement and wellness company I could find, pleading for discounts so patients could afford essential health and recovery tools like matcha, full spectrum hemp oil, grassfed collagen and meats, and vitamins like methylated B-complex or D. I discovered (without surprise) most companies claiming they want to make wellness accessible to everyone don’t give a damn about anything but profit. @matchakari and @allitomcbd, however, were different. They collaborated with me on discounts so that even clients who are charity cases could try to integrate healing plant medicine into their daily lives. They sent samples I could share with students. When they heard we were trying to change the health outcomes of a city which has been left behind, they tried to help. Lots of companies say they care. It’s a joy to find ones which ACTUALLY care. If you’re someone who does, I hope you’ll consider supporting companies who actually support people back. And if you’re a wellness company or #geniusnetwork pro willing to help those trying to help themselves, please reach out to me. People here need you.
@hitoen9 lives in Tokyo and saves lives for a living. She is a passionate and promising pancreatic surgeon, working as the protege to pioneers in her field. So of course whenever she comes to visit me in the States I try to maintain the level of sophistication, dignity, and and honor she is accustomed to. I drag her to WWE-style wresting rumbles in the middle of Kenner, Louisiana. I force her to dress up and pass out candy to drunk adult strangers on Halloween. I bring her to Americana music gigs which double as surprise birthday parties for our lead singer and let my friends ply her with alcohol, red beans, smoked sausage, and rice. I unleash a 70lb. deaf monster dog with mild genetic retardation on her day and night. I leave her alone with @theprassassin, who teaches her essential English phrases like “this shit is dope” and “lets fuck some shit up my dude!,” and lure her to MMA gyms to swing kettlebells and train functional movement. For whatever reason she not only tolerates me, but finds the deranged people I love hilarious, goes along with all the dishonorable and strange shit I make her do, and even cooks amazing Japanese soul food for us as a “thank you” for harassing her for a week. Congratulations to Hitoe for surviving another “vacation” to the States. 😂 I promise if I am ever rich I will buy that plane ticket to Japan and let you harass me in whatever way seems appropriate! Shoutout to @nola_mma, @hottesthelltours, @bridgetworld19, @loosecattleband, @michaelcerveris, @karondelet23, @chuck_devine and the entire gym family + city of New Orleans for helping me make Hitoe question why she is friends with me. I miss you already, sis. 💗🖤💗🖤 #culturalappropriation #welcometoamerica #tribe #visitneworleans #animebabes #fighton
I relapsed this week. Most of y’all are bored of the story by now, but for the newly-found #EDS, #dysautonomia, and #potsie pals: 3 years ago I skidded into multiple organ failure out of the blue. I spent Halloween 2016 bedridden in a morphine stupor, Thanksgiving in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, Christmas at 98lbs. unable to eat or void, New Year’s scrambling to secure a bed at a research hospital on the other side of the country. Months of extreme isolation, physical agony, mental breakdowns, and chaos which ripped the whole family to shreds. I collected more trauma in those months of dying and the 22 months of rehab which followed than I can carry sometimes. The fall/winter holidays—colors, smells, sounds, gatherings, light changes—can trigger the shit out of me, to the point of flashbacks, night terrors, sleep paralysis, waking dissociation. So I go to therapy. Do the breathing exercises. Meditate, engage in somatic release, utilize CBD, journal, practice martial arts, microdose, reflect on gratitude. The progress has been profound, and my episodes have dwindled to 2-3 per year. But sometimes the holiday season sends me into a full-blown “relapse,” living in a Dr. Strange #multiverse version of my recovered life with the sensation of terror and heartbreak of quarantine layered right on top of my mostly safe present-day reality. It is brutal. It is brutal on the people who support me. And it can only be combatted by facing it head on. Investing in extra therapy sessions; radically accepting there will be waking up screaming or feeling terror in the body even as we’re just chilling, perfectly safe, on the couch with the dog. I wait for the trauma to go dormant again and work to get it there. Sometimes it’s fast, sometimes it dawdles. If you’re someone who gets triggered by the holidays too, you’re not alone. Also not incurable. It feels like forever but won’t be. We just have to keep doing the work. And, when we can, be thankful for surviving so we can enjoy things like glitter eyebrows, friends who make us laugh, and moments of gothic cosplay. We’re still here. 🖤
When @hitoen9 said she wanted to visit NOLA this fall from Tokyo and then mentioned she’d never been to an American Halloween, I squealed and then internationally bullied her into making sure she would be here for the high holy day of Halloween night—and a proper haunted history tour—in NOLA. She nailed playing dressup like a seasoned local, even rocking a glitter lip, then let me rope her into being a candy girl for @hottesthelltours. Shoutout to @bridgetworld19 for helping me introduce the tradition of costumes and freezing our assess off to my brilliant friend the surgeon from overseas. And thank you Hitoe, my brilliant friend the surgeon from overseas, for lowering yourself to pass out candy like a common intern and then shivering outside while we heard ghost stories. 💗👻🖤🦇 #thisishalloween #nolaliving #madqueen #queenofhearts #tribe #cosplaylove
We’re more than halfway through the #changeitupNOLA anti-inflammatory challenge. People look less swollen. They’re moving more easily with less pain. They have more energy with fewer stimulants. They’re sleeping better and aching less when they’re awake. They’re saying they crave junk a little less. And even though it’s not the point, they’re losing weight they didn’t need to be carrying as well. Added bonus is that they’re a fucking hilarious, fun, and sweet bunch of humans that we’re so proud of and honored to call tribe. Thank you again @matchakari, @allitomcbd, @true_food_kitchen, @Bearcatnola and @lamaracoffeeandkitchen for making this challenge easier, tastier, and more effective even for folks who struggle to make ends meet! TWO MORE WEEKS LEFT, tribe, SHOW UP AND FINISH STRONG. @nola_mma #onepercentclub #fighton #strugglewell #chronicallychill #nolafit #nolafitness #spoonielife #functionalmovement #functionalfit
It was pouring rain all day, and all these people (and then even more people) still showed up to take our little growing baby company’s tour. My tribe took them through the streets of the very old, very damp French Quarter and shared some of our city’s true crime, vampire, voodoo and haunting stories, and people laughed and gasped and smiled even with the raining. And today, in the midst of a very challenging month, that feels really wonderful. @hottesthelltours #gratitudejournal #frenchquarter #nolaliving #ghoststories #witchyvibes #seasonofthewitch #hottesthelltours
When they’re trying to hold you back out of fear you’ll ask them to change too. When they judge your progress because they don’t see you, just project their crap onto you. When they make you feel small even though you’re expanding, like you’re crazy or weird for not following anymore, just repeat it over and over: “The trauma cycle ends with me. Your trauma is no longer mine.” Repeat it. Be proud of it. Keep going. You’re doing the right thing. (Photo by sweet @julianne_markow while out and about with @hottesthelltours) #fighton #chronicallychill
It looks like, as @pugjitsu titles it, “The Great Contact Lens Search of 2019,” but it’s actually one of the most effective and beneficial forms of #activerecovery out there. Crawling is a primal restorative movement, one loved by chronic pain patients, professional athletes, Mayo Clinic physical therapists and your drunk friend Steve alike. Crawling engages the shoulder girdle, core, hips, back, legs, and arms, and helps us synchronize our sensory systems. It also brings the vestibular system (the human balance system) into the mix, improves spacial awareness, and can improve hand eye coordination even in clumsy adults. When slowed waaaay down, like we did in today’s active recovery and meditation training with the #changeitupNOLA challenge participants, it can also soothe the nervous system, ease aches and pains, and safely bring blood and oxygen to parts of the body inflamed by minor injuries or stress. Bonus? It’s pretty perfect for #dysautonomia freaks like me, since it brings our fall risk from #syncope down to nada. Pretty cool stuff to start integrating into this program...but still not as awesome as sitting around laughing and sipping ceremonial matcha lemonade at @lamaracoffeeandkitchen as part of our weekly Family Meal. Not being sick and inflamed is even more fun when you’re healing with people you like 💗💗💗 @nola_mma
Nothing that lasts happens overnight. Love, muscle, trust, strength, healing, wealth, a vocabulary, mastery, a precision winged liner application, the high score on the Street Fighter arcade game, liiiike—if it’s valuable, and necessary, it takes time. But we get programmed into thinking we’re failures or not good enough if we can’t pound out a four hour work week, or make a million dollars by 30, or rocket through promotions, or reverse a chronic illness in a few months, or meet our “soul mate” and have an argument-free fable into an Instagrammable wedding, or transform into a fit model in a few frames. This is nonsense, of course. It’s why everyone’s sick, can’t sleep, can’t stop feeling anxious, and is on the gram sharing memes about how they can’t stop repeating toxic patterns. “One percent better every day” has been the mantra we use in @nola_mma’s classes in order to stay focused. (It also keeps us from quitting during the “growing pains” periods of mastering new skills.) We built this #changeitupNOLA challenge around it as well, because changing the habits which have contributed to systemic inflammation, chronic pain, poor mobility, muscle atrophy, addictions, and physical decline takes time. Being part of the #onepercentclub doesn’t mean bragging on being the best, or better. It’s not throwing your dick around, trying to make other people feel less valuable. It means being part of a radical mindset shift where we don’t let invisible clocks and irrational goals hamstring us. We commit to being better, being stronger, understanding more, and being able to rebuild a more stable life where we can thrive vs struggle. Proud and inspired to be working with people who have decided feeling crappy, addictions, and the opinions of others no longer get to rule their lives. And super proud to have the support of two stellar plant medicine companies, @matchakari and @allitomcbd, for giving folks in a part of the country were wellness resources are limited access to essential healing tools like matcha and CBD. Week two = done and done. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼