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Updated: 1 hour 56 min ago

5 Easy Ways To Boost Your Immune System Naturally During Cold And Flu Season

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 05:45

Not everyone is on board with the flu shot once winter rolls around. If you are one of those who doesn’t want to get the shot, this guide is for you! It is possible to boost your immune system naturally and give your body the extra edge this cold and flu season without getting the controversial shot.

1. Cut Back On The Booze And Smoking

The first thing to do to get your body ready to fight off all those germs is to cut back on alcoholic drinks. Excessive consumption of alcohol impairs the immune system and increases vulnerability to lung infections. Consider cutting back or quitting smoking too if you enjoy this indulgence.  Tobacco smoke undermines basic immune defenses and raises the risk of bronchitis and pneumonia in everyone including in those around you who breathe in the second-hand smoke.  It’s been known to aggravate and increase the likelihood of middle ear infections in kids.

2. Eat More Citrus Fruits, Veggies, Nuts, and Seeds

You can also begin eating healthier.  Even if dieting is not your thing, having a well-balanced and vitamin and mineral rich diet will benefit your body in several ways, including that much needed immune system boost. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, and try to get in healthier fats, such as seeds and nuts. On top of feeling better in general, add citrus fruits specifically.  Fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons have high vitamin C content, and that’s one of the most powerful vitamins to boost when feeling ill.

3. Get Plenty Of Sleep

The next thing you should do is get enough sleep.  Americans, in general, are chronically sleep deprived. But during those months when you need your body in tip-top condition in order to fight off those nasty germs. Your body needs sleep to fight off viruses. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.  This is because while you sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation often decreases the production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods in which when you don’t get enough sleep.

4. Get Some Sun!

Sunlight triggers the skin’s production of vitamin D. In the summer, a 10-15 minute exposure (minus sunscreen) is enough. However, above 42 degrees latitude (Boston) from November through February, sunlight is too weak and very few foods contain adequate levels of this essential vitamin. Low vitamin D levels correlate with a greater risk of respiratory infection. A 2010 study in kids showed that 1200 IU a day of supplemental vitamin D reduced the risk of influenza A.  This vitamin is essential to managing stress, which too much of can also impact your immune system.

5. Try An Immune-Boosting Bone Broth

According to Ready Nutrition, medical experts point out that broth helps to kick-start your immune system through the slow cooking process. The process of slowly simmering bones for up to a period of 24 hours causes the bones and ligaments to release healing compounds such as collagen, and essential amino acids such as proline, glycine, and glutamine.  These amino acids have the power to transform your health, heal your body, and calm your mind. Further, the minerals in the marrow help build blood cells, which is the healing mechanism in the body. When vegetables are added to the broth you’ll get an even more powerful immune boost! They release dense nutrients, antibiotic, and antiviral properties into the liquid.

For great recipes and how to make the best most effective bone broth, click here.

If you follow even a few of these easy and helpful tips you should be putting yourself on the path to having a strong immune system and giving your body the ability to fight off the common cold or the flu!

 

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 14th, 2019

4 Healthy Reasons Why Echinacea is a Wondrous Medicinal Herb

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 07:00

Echinacea is perhaps most widely used as an herbal remedy to help fight off colds or the flu once ill.  It’s often used in a tea or as a supplement to boost the body’s natural immune system, yet it has even more incredible health benefits even if you aren’t sick with a cold!

Echinacea, also known as the Coneflower, is not only great tasting in teas, it is a pretty easy medicinal herb to grow in your own home and comes packed full of beneficial substances to help the body.  It is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family known as Asteraceae.

Echinacea is one of the most popular garden ornamentals with its showy purple flowers that attract all kinds of butterflies and bees.

In fact, the entire plant from the roots, seeds, and fresh flowers are all medicinal and can be made into a flavorful immune-stimulating tea or tincture. –Ready Nutrition

Echinacea is a beautiful medicinal plant to grow in the garden and hummingbirds love it. Because it is a perennial plant, it lasts for many years so you do not have to worry about replanting each year. It is approximately 1-2 feet (30-60 centimeters) tall when mature. It is slightly spikey and has large purple or pink flowers, depending on the species. The center of the flower has a seed head, a cone, which is also spiky and dark brown to red in color.

4 Reasons Echinacea Is Good For You

Recovery From Colds Or The Flu:

Echinacea has a complex mix of active substances, some of which are said to be antimicrobial making it a great choice while combating a viral infection like a cold or the flu. The herb also contains alkylamides or alkamides, (although these are not in found in the species Echinacea pallida), which have an effect on the immune system, as well as polysaccharides, glycoproteins, and caffeic acid derivatives. Many plants, including echinacea, contain phenols, which are active substances that help control the activity of a range of enzymes and cell receptors in the plant, and protect it from infections and ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage. Phenols also have antioxidant properties, which may be good for human health.

Studies on whether or not echinacea has any effect on the cold have produced conflicting results. Scientists from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy reviewed over a dozen studies on the effects of echinacea on people’s risk of catching a cold. They concluded that echinacea could reduce a person’s chances of catching a cold by approximately 58 percent, as they detailed in the Lancet. They found that the herbal remedy also reduces the length of time a cold lasts by 1.4 days.

However, other scientists reported in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) (October 2005 issue) that the ginseng herb reduces the frequency of colds, but Echinacea does not.

Acne Prevention:

Because Echinacea is an anti-inflammatory herb, some declare it can be used to help treat or prevent acne. Echinacea extract is capable of phagocytosis, a process of devouring damaged cells, bacteria, and other microorganisms that cause infections. Whether it is taken internally or the herb is applied topically, echinacea just might boost the immune system and resist acne-causing bacteria. Since acne is often caused by infection and inflammation, echinacea may be able to help stop the eruption before it even begins to show. Echinacea’s anti-inflammatory properties can also reduce the appearance of red and painful acne too.

Laxative:

Echinacea can also be used as a gentle laxative by helping to relax your gastrointestinal tract.  The herb can help provide a mild relief from the discomfort of constipation. Drinking an herbal tea is especially effective to help with this fairly common condition. For more chronic conditions of constipation, a cup of tea every day can help loosen up the bowels, whereas 2–3 cups per day can help with sudden bouts. However, be sure not to overuse echinacea. Limit your tea intake to two cups a day maximum and take any supplements only as directed on their labels.

ADHA (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder):

Echinacea angustifolia is the recommended species to help with the specific ailments related to ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD. The herb can be considered one of the natural remedies for ADHD. Both adults and children suffering from ADD/ADHD have a higher-than-normal chance of experiencing emotional disturbances, especially anxiety, depression, and social phobias.  But just the right dosage of echinacea can alleviate some of the distress caused by these disorders. It’s recommended to only take 20 milligrams of the herb at a time and no more. In fact, taking more than 20 milligrams per dose can actually cancel out the echinacea benefits that help relieve anxiety.

The Bad News

Echinacea products are commonly mislabeled; some have been tested and found to have no echinacea in them at all according to a National Institute of Health warning and reported by Medical News Today.  Many of the benefits are also labeled as purely anecdotal, as studies have not been conducted in-depth on some claims.

Echinacea generally doesn’t cause problems for most people, but some people taking the herb have reported some side effects such as an upset stomach or diarrhea.

 

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to treat or diagnose any illness or health problem.  Please seek help from a professional before using any supplement.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 10th, 2019

This Small Change Increased Bee Populations by 45%

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 20:36

For quite some time, scientists across the world have been warning the public about the decline of bees and other pollinators.

We’ve known for years that bee populations all across North America and Europe are collapsing at an alarming rate.

Our very existence relies on the tiny buzzing creatures, as we explained in Will the Extinction of Bees Really Mean the End of Humanity?

This is a huge threat to our food supply. One-third of all the food we eat comes from plants that are pollinated by insects, and 80% of those crops are pollinated by bees. It also has big implications for our meat supply as well: plants (like alfalfa) that feed animals are pollinated by bees.

The largest international survey of insect pollinators found that just 2 percent of wild bee species now account for 80 percent of global crop pollination.

Put bluntly, if all the bees die, humanity will follow.

There is one place where bee populations are growing and flourishing – Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands.

According to a recent report from NBC News, the diversity of wild bee and honeybee species in the Dutch capital has increased by 45 percent since 2000!

The city of 2.3 million people attributes the success to creating bee-friendly environments like the overgrown, sunburnt patch of shrubs that commuters pass by daily.

The installation of “insect hotels” and a ban on the use of chemical pesticides on public land also appear to have played a role.

Geert Timmermans, an ecologist who works for the city, explained that four years ago, Amsterdam set a goal to convert half of all public green spaces to native plants. He added that residents and local businesses are provided with information on how to avoid using pesticides and the use of alternative treatments:

“Insects are very important because they’re the start of the food chain. When it goes well with the insects, it also goes well with the birds and mammals.

Our strategy is to when we design a park, we use native species but also the species that give a lot of flowering and fruit for (bees).

(Citizens) acknowledge the importance of the natural environment. It’s part of the culture.”

The city also employs what Timmermans calls a “nature-inclusive” ideology in its design plans:

Developers are also encouraged to install green roofs on new buildings, which help control the climate within the structure, reducing reliance on heating and cooling systems, and also create a better habitat for wildlife.

Subsidies are available through the city for residents and owners looking to retrofit existing roofs or exterior walls.

City ecologists are helping residents determine where and what to plant in their neighborhoods to support healthy populations of bees, bats, and birds.

Their project appears to be working: a 2015 survey of pollinators found 21 bee species not previously documented in the city, according to the NBC News report.

Other projects are also helping the pollinator community regain its health.

Deborah Post, who lives in a rural area outside of Amsterdam, founded Honey Highway so she could do her part to save the tiny creatures when the honey bees in her own apiary began dying off:

With a new highway being built in the area in 2015, she pitched to government and developers to allow her to sow wildflowers along the sides of the road that would typically be left with only gravel or grass. The experiment was a success.

Building on the experience, Post expanded Honey Highway, sowing flowers along other major routes and also along dikes and railways.

The flowers she uses are all native to Holland and chosen based on what is most likely to thrive in a given area.

Other regions have implemented “bee highways” as well. A few years ago, Oslo, Norway, created a bee highway with feeding stations. The public and local business owners were asked to plant bee-friendly plants on their property, rooftops, and businesses along a route from east to west through the city.

Threats to bee and pollinator populations include human destruction of habitats, the use of harmful chemicals like glyphosate (found in products like Monsanto’s RoundUp), and antibiotic overuse.

Bees – like humans – have a gut microbiome (an ecosystem of bacteria living in the digestive tract, including those that protect it from harmful bacteria) that is crucial to its survival. A study conducted at the University of Texas in Austin in 2018 found that honey bees exposed to glyphosate lose some of the beneficial bacteria in their guts. This makes the bees more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.

In 2017, researchers at the same university found that treatment with the common antibiotic tetracycline were “half as likely to survive the week after treatment compared with a group of untreated bees.”

“In large-scale U.S. agriculture, beekeepers typically apply antibiotics to their hives several times a year. The strategy aims to prevent bacterial infections that can lead to a widespread and destructive disease that afflicts bee larvae,” the researchers explain in a press release.

The scientists found that after treatment with tetracycline, bees had dramatically fewer naturally occurring gut microbes (healthy bacteria that can help to block pathogens, break down toxins, promote absorption of nutrients from food and more).

They also found elevated levels of Serratia, a pathogenic bacterium that afflicts humans and other animals, in the bees treated with antibiotics, suggesting that the increased mortality might have been a result of losing the gut microbes that provide a natural defense against the dangerous bacteria.

What YOU can do to help bees

As Tess Pennington explained in the article First Bee Highway Set Up in Oslo, any community can create a bee highway, and individuals can plant bee-friendly gardens on their property.

Consider planting some of these beneficial flowers:

  • Asters (Aster/Callistephus)
  • Sunflowers (Helianthus/Tithonia)
  • Salvia (Salvia/Farinacea-Strata/Splendens)
  • Bee balm (Monarda)
  • Hyssop (Agastache)
  • Mint (Mentha)
  • Cleome / Spider flower (Cleome)
  • Thyme (Thymus)
  • Poppy (Papaver/Eschscholzia)
  • California poppies (Eschscholzia)
  • Bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea)
  • Lavender (Lavandula)

Choosing flowers with long bloom cycles will be less work for you and help bees for months on end. Many of the flowers listed above are drought-tolerant and can be grouped together to reduce watering requirements (for more on Xeriscaping – building a sustainable system that creates regionally appropriate landscaping, conserves water, and reduces your water bill – read Sustainable Gardening: Reduce Watering by 50-75%).

Fruit trees are also wonderful for pollinators and are an abundant source of blossoms.

Build nests for native bees. They are easy to make – instructions can be found here.

Bees should also have a source of water in the garden too. Birdbaths, water fountains, and small ponds are great for bees.

Remember not to use any chemical-based fertilizers on plants as this will harm bees.

Glyphosate isn’t the only thing that can harm bees. Pesticides can as well. In particular, steer clear of systemic pesticides such as neonicotinoids, which are taken up by the vascular systems of plants. This means bees and other pollinators are exposed to the poison long after a product has been applied when they feed on the plant’s nectar and pollen.

Here are some additional things you can do to help bees and other pollinators thrive in your yard:

  • When purchasing plants, ask your garden supplier to ensure that they have not been treated with neonicotinoids or other systemic pesticides.
  • Instead of using pesticides, use a “companion planting” system to discourage pests from making an all-you-can-eat buffet of your garden. For more on sustainable pest management, please see this guide from Xerces Society.
  • Provide flowering plants from April through October (early spring through fall).
  • Fruit trees typically bloom early in the spring, which is a critical time for foraging bumblebee queens. Try to ensure that your new plants have not been treated with neonicotinoids or other systemic pesticides. Avoid invasive non-native plants and remove them if they invade your yard.
  • Plant native wildflowers that bloom throughout the year in containers on your windowsill, porch or deck, or in your garden. Since these flowers attract bumblebees and other pollinators, they will enhance pollination of your fruit and vegetable crops too.
  • Because most queens overwinter in small holes on or just below the ground’s surface, avoid raking, tilling or mowing your yard until April or May. If you do need to mow, do so with the mower blade set at the highest safe level.
  • Many native bumblebees build their nests in undisturbed soil, abandoned rodent burrows, or clumps of grass. Preserve un-mown, brushy areas and do not destroy bumblebee nests when you find them. Reduce soil tilling and mowing where bumblebees might nest.
  • Here’s how to protect bee habitats during the fall and winter months: Put Down Those Pruners: Pollinators Need Your ‘Garden Garbage!’

For more information on companion planting for natural pest control, here’s an in-depth guide: The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control: A Complete Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Garden and Yard the Earth-Friendly Way.

Report the bees you see in your yard or community to Bumble Bee Watch, a citizen-science project sponsored by the Xerces Society and five North American partners.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 8th, 2019

5 Incredible Ways You Can Use Hemp

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 14:57

By now, you probably have heard the great news: President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law, which legalizes industrial hemp. The new bill defines industrial hemp to include “all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers” of industrial hemp.

This means that hemp will now be treated as an agricultural commodity instead of a “controlled substance” like marijuana (hemp and marijuana are both plants in the cannabis family, but unlike marijuana, hemp does not get people high).

Why is the legalization of industrial hemp great news?

Well, industrial hemp is an incredibly versatile plant. If there is such a thing as a wonder plant, hemp is it.

The list of products that can be made with hemp is in the thousands (possibly tens of thousands!) and includes textiles, clothing, paper, plastic substitutes, fuel (bio-diesel), beauty and skin care products, sheets, bedding, towels, blankets, furniture, rope, canvas, carpet, home-building materials, and even cars.

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can start using hemp today.

5 Incredible Ways You Can Use Hemp 1. CBD oil

As more people seek natural remedies for health problems, interest in cannabidiol (commonly known as “CBD”) is growing.

CBD oil is a fascinating substance that has tremendous therapeutic value.

It is one of over 100 compounds found in cannabis plants (including hemp!) that belong to a class of naturally occurring, biologically active chemical constituents called cannabinoids. CBD is non-intoxicating.

Cannabinoids bind to special receptors in the human body that make up what is known as the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biochemical communication system that all humans (and many animals) have. Endo refers to endogenous, which means originating within the body. Cannabinoid refers to the group of compounds that activate the ECS.

The ECS is responsible for the physical and psychological effects of cannabis.

You could say we are “hard-wired” for cannabis because we have receptors throughout our bodies that respond to cannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors to regulate basic bodily functions, including mood, temperature, digestion, sleep, pain, appetite, and many more.

The list of health concerns and conditions CBD has been shown to benefit include:
  • Chronic pain and inflammation
  • Arthritis (including rheumatoid and psoriatic)
  • Epileptic seizures
  • Neuropathic pain (as seen in conditions like multiple sclerosis)
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Cancer
  • Serious neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease,  multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular protection

*Sources provided below

There are even pet-friendly CBD formulations to help your furry friends.

2. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds contain essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) which help support the immune system and healthy cholesterol levels. They have a slightly nutty flavor and a nice crunch, and a serving (3 tbsp) contains 10 grams of protein. Blend them into smoothies, or sprinkle them on top of oatmeal or yogurt for a nice nutrient boost.

Note: Hemp seed oil is NOT the same as CBD oil. Hemp seed oil is nutritious, but it does not contain the cannabinoids like CBD oil.

3. Hemp Protein Powder

A sustainable source of amino acids, Omega-3 fatty acids, protein (15 grams per serving), and fiber (8 grams per serving), hemp protein powder is a nutritious (and delicious) way to add protein to your smoothies and shakes. The protein found in hemp seeds is very digestible, which makes this powder a good option for those with sensitive digestive systems. My personal favorite is Nutiva, and it is available in plain, chocolate, and vanilla flavors.

4, Hemp Oil Skincare Products

Hemp seed oil has been used to treat skin conditions for thousands of years. It contains essential fatty acids (Omegas -3, -6, and -9), which contain anti-inflammatory properties and helps soothe irritated skin. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, and can help improve skin’s health and appearance (some people report success in improving conditions like eczema and acne). Hemp seed oil can be found in skin care products like soaps and moisturizers.

5. Hemp Coffee

Believe it or not, you can buy hemp-infused coffee! Hemp seeds contain all 20 amino acids – including the 9 essential amino acids the body cannot make itself – making them an excellent source of protein. Hemp-infused coffee also contains fiber, and of course, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. You can even get reusable eco-friendly coffee filters made from hemp!

Do you use hemp-based products in your home? Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments.

Be well!

 

 

*Sources for CBD Health Benefits:

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 7th, 2019

Simple Ways To Help You Get Enough Leafy Greens During Winter

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 06:24

Getting your daily dose of greens seems difficult for most people on a sunny day in the summer when they have those vegetable readily available. But come winter time, some all but stop eating those nutritious veggies that help keep the body running in tip-top condition. Because of that, we’ve come up with this helpful guide to show you how easy it is to still get your veggies in even when that blizzard rolls through!

Dark leafy greens are one of the items missing out of winter diets and can easily be grown indoors, but are often put on the wayside. That is unfortunate because those veggies are packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients. The United States Dietary Association (USDA) food guide also underscores this necessity.  The food pyramid states that most adults need only 3 cups (servings) of leafy greens per day, but nutrition and health experts say that number is actually 5-9 cups per day, depending on your size. But that number is daunting to so many – even when conditions are ripe to consume that amount of leafy greens.

But the easiest way to make sure you’ve got enough is to simply eat a big salad for either lunch or dinner taking care of your leafy greens for the day.  Of course, feel free to add any other vegetables you may like so the salad is flavored to your taste. After all, you’ll be trying to eat the entire thing in one sitting.  Also, you should consider eating some healthy fat with the salad. You can try drizzling olive oil on it.  You will want to add some healthy fats to your leafy green salad because many of the essential vitamins and minerals in those hearty leafy greens are fat soluble, meaning your body will not break them down for use unless they are in the presence of fat. If you dislike the idea of an oily salad, consider cutting up an avocado and tossing that in! Avocados have enough fat to help your body digest those fat-soluble nutrients!

Another helpful tip is to use your freezer! Leafy greens, such as kale or spinach from your garden (not lettuce, only because it won’t hold up that well in the freezer) can be washed, precut, and put in your freezer for winter use.  I personally do this, and use the frozen greens to make green smoothies that even my kids enjoy – and beg for if you can believe it! (The secret is one frozen banana tossed into the blender with all those greens.)  Spinach, kale, and swiss chard are all great options for not only freezing but green smoothies!  Make sure to toss in your avocado (which will help make the smoothie creamy) or add a bit of olive oil or other natural oil, such as organic peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter!  Remember, you’ll need some of these to add fat so that your body absorbs all of those fat-soluble nutrients. I also have been known to toss in some hemp hearts for a little bit of a protein boost too!  Hemp oil is also a great addition with 9.47 g of protein – you can’t go wrong! This is all personal preference, and instead of following a recipe, my suggestion is to grab your leafy greens and start blending until you’ve come up with a concoction that you love and will actually enjoy consuming. Ginger, stevia, and blueberries could also be added. My friend puts pineapple in her green smoothie! Just use your imagination and ingredients you love, and soon enough, you’ll be getting your daily dose of greens in just one delicious smoothie!

For those who may need to start a little slower, consider measuring out your greens first thing in the morning.  If you need 6 cups, simply prepare it, put it in a container, and have it in your fridge so you know you’ll need to consume it by the end of the day. This way, you can see how much you have left and how much you will need to eat for dinner.  For those who work, this is also an easy and quick way to go about getting enough vegetables in the winter.  Precut your salads for the work week and simply take them with you.

Another helpful tip is to switch to frozen greens in the winter.  Stock your freezer with your own garden greens and veggies, or buy flash frozen veggies from the store. The leafy green section of the grocery store in my neck of the woods is pretty sad during the colder months because of my location. But there is usually a good selection of frozen organic greens that can be used to supplement those I have saved and frozen from the summer garden. I toss them into soups and stews and sometimes just pan fry some frozen spinach with butter, chopped garlic, and some salt. (This is also a treat the kids just love and can’t seem to get enough of!) Plus, you get the added bonus of the immune boost from the garlic, so it’s really a win-win!

If all of this sounds too time-consuming still to prepare salads and make green smoothies, try a green powder. Super Green is power-packed with over 40 different nutrients the body needs all in one small scoop.  Just stir it into pure water or add to a protein shake or protein water and you’ve just taken care of your body’s daily need for dark leafy green vegetables. *This shouldn’t be a long-term solution. The goal should be to actually consume your greens and get the nutrients from food, but this will definitely add that nutritional boost.  It is also a great way for beginners to get on track for a healthy lifestyle!

These are just a few simple and easy ways to help you make sure you give your body the nutrients it needs even during the wintertime.  If you have any helpful tips or tricks you’d like to share with us and with others on how you give your body the proper dose of vegetables even when it’s cold outside, we’d love to hear it! Share a comment with us!

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 4th, 2019

10 Practical Reasons You Need Tarps in Your Emergency Preparedness Gear

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 07:36

I’m a big believer in using the daylights out of tarps, or tarpaulin, if you prefer. Very versatile, and they can benefit you in a lot of ways as a homesteader, prepper, survivalist, and in your day-to-day existence of just being prepared. There are a slew of different types, so we’re going to cover not so much the types needed, but the job they’ll be employed for.  In this manner (and as there are plenty of variances from store to store), you’ll be able to find out what one you need by identifying how you will utilize it. Let us begin!

You should try to find tarps with a good UV or Ultraviolet rating. You’ll just have to search it out by product. You can find these even in your friendly neighborhood Wal-mart, although they have a problem with theirs. They usually make them “Jupiter-2/Lost-in-Space” grey with the other side being either brown or blue. These colors are worthless in terms of staying concealed…the “earth tone” principle I have reiterated continuously over the years.

Try to stick with your colors and base them on the season. There are tarps that are white (obviously for winter, or if you’re in secure enough surroundings, summer…for the purpose of reflecting the sunlight), as well as earth-tones, such as dark green, brown, or camouflage patterns. (Editor’s note: You can also get one that is reversible white/brown). You want your tarps to have sturdy grommets…holes through which you can fasten a hook or run a line/rope through. In addition to this (to digress slightly), there is a grommet kit you can pick up at happy Wal-mart for almost nothing. Get it. The reasons: you may have to fix a grommet that has busted out of your tarp, or make a tarp out of some type of plastic. We’ll go more into the second reason later.

10 Emergency Preparedness Uses for Tarps

1. Shelter: a smaller one (such as a 6’ x 8’, or 8’ square, or so) can be used as either a protective overlay for a lean-to, or stretched out with bungee cords, 550 cord, or such for a tent/four-cornered rain fly. Larger tarps, of course, can be constructed into larger tents. Here is where the UV factor comes into play so that you will not be a sunburned “baked potato” under a tarp that can get pretty warm in the summertime.

2. Ground cover: under your tent, to help prevent moisture from coming under the floor. Also, spreading it out (folded or unfolded) under your sleeping bag can help as a moisture barrier, if you don’t have a Gore-Tex cover for the bag or an inflatable pad.

3. Protect the Supplies: I use them all over my property just to protect and cover up woodpiles. They’ll wear out after about 3-5 years, but so what? They aren’t very expensive, and they work to keep my woodpiles dry during the wintertime.  You can use them for other things, such as palleted supplies, augments for existing structures (a “snow-fly” to deflect snow if you have a tent of some sort on your property), and so on.

4. Quick Fixes: The friendly tree in the front yard just became “unfriendly” and smashed a giant hole in your ceiling. Obviously, a tarp is not a long-term solution, but when it’s -10 degrees Fahrenheit outside and snowing? A “stop-gap” is preferable to having a gaping hole where the “Snow Ghost” could enter through your roof. Another “gem” is where Mr. Tree reaches out his stinking branch and delivers a left jab to one of your windows. Chop his branch off…after you close off the window with the tarp…once again, a “quick” fix that you don’t want to leave in place as an “heirloom” for the next two generations.

5. For a temporary cistern: I just did a piece on how PVC pipe can be used to transport water to your camp. Well, if you dig a small depression, you can use tarps and/or plastic sheeting to cover the ground and thereby trap the water for your use later on. Be sure to place some stones on the bottom, and around the edges of your newly-made depression/cistern, to keep the tarp from shifting and thereby prevent water loss.

6. Protect your Gear in the Field: When you’re off on that hike away from your camp, and you’re not carrying your rucksack, you can cover the ruck with a tarp to keep your gear drier.

7. Camouflage a vehicle: Seasonally-dependent, of course, and also to be “blended” with the terrain. You may have to squirrel away a vehicle from view.  The first factor: obviously, a woodland-camouflaged tarp would stick out when the entire ground is covered with several feet of snow. If you have a white tarp for the vehicle, the color may be fine, but you have to blend it in: an 8’ by 4’ white “lump” will not be overlooked in the middle of a flat field. Use common sense and your eyes. If it jumps out at you, it will jump out at another hunter-gatherer hungrily plodding toward your location.

8. To collect rainwater: What better way to replenish those canteens and drinking jugs? Follow that principle: use the water and top off on your water carrying vessels as soon as you can. Bungee cords work the best to make this happen. Stretch out your grommeted tarp, and leave only a slight angle with the tarp. This will ensure it doesn’t pour off too fast. You can lift up on that lower edge and pour away when it starts to rain…it works pretty fast. The only thing that will limit you here will be the number of containers you have to catch it when it comes.

9. As a “quick fix” for a temporary cache: Yes, you may need to squirrel some gear or supplies away in a cache. Reason? Perhaps a medical emergency occurs, and you can’t haul out all of the gear and supplies with you…caching them is the only way to preserve them. You can emplace a hasty cache, and cover the supplies up with the tarp, or wrap them up in it, and then take your loved one or yourself to the doctor. Just make sure you know exactly where you cached the stuff.

10. In a medical emergency: as a temporary shelter, or even a field-expedient litter (if you have enough people) or for a “drag” type of litter…this latter being especially careful not to further injure the person.

Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, by picking up that grommet kit, you will not only be able to make repairs on busted grommets, but you will be able to construct a “field-expedient” tarp of your own. Check out the material you are considering using. There is a ton of plastic sheeting out there. You want to use something that doesn’t have a tremendous amount of “off-gassing,” that exudation of noxious and/or obnoxious fuming…the smell of the plastic. You also want to be able to utilize what you find…so try to find something durable. Construction/contractor trash bags are very sturdy and thick, indeed. This may do in a pinch. Also, that tent that the bear clawed through and got Uncle Ed last year? Or if it was just Mr. Tree dropping one of his branches to give the tent a skylight…relax. Use a razor/utility knife and cut it into a tarp. The floor is good for this, as it’ll be one piece. Set your grommets accordingly, and put it to use.

We’ve outlined some ideas here. Tell us what you have used them for: that’s how the community benefits, from good feedback and input. Quality is important, but as I illustrated with the woodpile tarps I use, nothing lasts forever, and it is best to gauge it remembering that all things wear out with the passage of time.

 

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 2nd, 2019

5 New Year’s Resolutions To Get a Jump-Start on the Garden

Tue, 01/01/2019 - 13:09

While we welcome in a new year, I like to take some time to reflect on the past and start dreaming of a better future. And, of course, I implement this into my gardening as well. While I have the best intentions to have a thriving garden, sometimes mistakes are made. These mistakes, although innocently made, caused me to be more mindful of my gardening habits and I’ve grown into a better gardener from them.

A new year is a fresh start. The slate has been wiped clean and you can put your best foot – or green thumb- forward! Before you put in your next garden, it’s important to think about the goals you have for the coming growing season. And, now with the new year, comes new garden resolutions!

Shop For Non-GMO Heirloom Quality Seeds 5 New Year’s Resolutions To Get a Jump-Start on the Garden
  1. I promise to give my organic garden what it needs to prosper. For those interested in creating biodiversity in their future garden, you must start with the soil. Homemade fertilizers can be made using items you would normally toss in the wastebasket. Items like egg shells, banana peels, and used coffee grounds are perfect for making a nutrient-rich, full spectrum fertilizer that will slowly release the nutrients to the soil. Best of all, it’s so easy to make and use 10 readily available materials you would otherwise throw away. Another way to help your garden grow is by adding a compost bin to the garden. This is a great way to make use of brown and green items full of nitrogen and carbon-rich materials.
  2. I pledge to only use non-GMO seeds. It should be emphasized that if a person is purchasing seeds for long-term sustainability, then the seeds purchased should be non-hybrid (non-GMO) and heirloom quality. These types of seeds will produce fertile seeds that can be stored for future harvests. As well, consider only using organic fertilizers to ensure your plants are getting the best nutrients nature can provide.
  3. I’m going to make a garden plan and stick with it. To have a successful garden, you need a plan of action! Each year, I like to start by making a list of plants I want to grow. This helps me map out how much food I plan on growing for my family. Then, I research which plants can be planted in close proximity (i.e., lettuce, bunching onions, spinach) as opposed to those plants that need lots of space (pumpkins and melons) and then check to see which vegetables and fruits are companions to one another. Once I have researched, I start drawing out how my garden will look. This helps me stay on target for the space I allow the plants when I actually start planting my young plants.
  4. I’m going to start my seeds early. Rather than going to the garden center and paying an arm and leg for pre-grown plants, start early and grow your own. Check when your optimum growing time is for where you are located and begin around that time. You can also get a head start by making your own seed starting mix. This will not only save you money but also give your plants the best chance at growing hearty roots. The key to making a healthy seed starting mix is light, well-screened materials to promote root growth. By doing so ensures that the mix doesn’t compact in small seed starting cells/containers. Good moisture retention and drainage are also important considerations to keep in mind. Soils that are too moist can lead to damping off which causes pathogens to grow and kills or weaken seeds or seedlings before or after they germinate. Seeds need perfect growing conditions to grow healthy: water – allows the seed to swell up and the embryo to start growing, oxygen – so that energy can be released for germination, and warmth – germination improves as temperature rises.
  5. I promise to grow my seeds over winter to give them the best chance of growing. Choose your seeds carefully and in the coming months, many of you will begin the early stages of your gardening adventures by starting your seeds. Since the weather outside is still on the dreary side, this is the best time to get a head start on your future garden by starting the seeds indoors. Doing so results in earlier and longer harvests. This economic gardening method doesn’t require special equipment – just some moist soil, comfortable temperatures, and some TLC! Starting longer growing varieties like herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions can greatly benefit from indoor growing methods. This gives the gardener a headstart and helps to control the growing environment.

These resolutions will no doubt inspire you to get into that gardening frame of mind and get growing! Some other garden goals you can add to your New Year’s Garden Resolutions are to take a gardening class in the spring, add some fruit trees to your garden, or encourage beneficial insects and birds to feel welcome by adding bird baths and flowers like coneflowers, roses, lavender.

 

Happy New Year, Friends!

 

 

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 1st, 2019

Colorado Declares A Disaster Emergency Over A Lack Of Propane

Mon, 12/31/2018 - 18:33

An emergency declaration was made in Colorado on Christmas Eve.  The state was suffering from a lack of propane. A series of problems led to the emergency declaration, but even minimal prepping could have helped those who were among the allegedly affected.

The propane supplies are now on the rise after the shortage prompted the state’s governor, John Hickenlooper to declare a disaster emergency over the Christmas holiday. Many are crediting the governor for his quick action (signing a piece of paper declaring an emergency is allegedly “helping”) to avert a crisis. While the shortage could have left thousands without heat in Colorado during winter, it seems like if you live in a colder climate, you’d have a backup source of heat anyway.  The governor’s “action” was likely nothing more than simple fear mongering brainwashing the public to believe they cannot survive without the government on their own.

There have even been some reports claiming there never was a shortage, adding even more evidence that the disaster declaration is nothing more than a confusing bit of fear mongering. Officials say the shortage stems from in-state production issues, which have forced propane suppliers to turn to out-of-state resources. But many in the industry don’t know where these so-called officials have gotten their information. As part of his declaration, Hickenlooper relaxed his own restrictions on how many hours drivers can work, allowing more propane to be delivered. But this would have all been useless propaganda and immediately labeled as nothing more than fear mongering had those affected by the disaster declaration been adequately prepared and not subjugated by the fear of a shortage that may never have existed, to begin with.

But, in the event of an actual propane shortage, there are some things you can you and your family can do now to be prepared. According to Martial Law News, it is pretty simple to prepare your home for a fuel shortage.  Should the propane industry face trouble or regulations that make it difficult to supply fuel, or during the event of a societal collapse where fuel is simply unavailable, it’s better to just be prepared in advance.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR A PROPANE SHORTAGE/INABILITY TO HEAT YOUR HOME 

  1. Have a backup source of heat.  It seems so obvious, and it can be an expensive endeavor to install a woodburning stove. But if you live in a cold climate and rely only on electric or propane heat, you’ll be pretty uncomfortable if you lose power during a blizzard for several days or there is a legitimate propane shortage. Consider installing a wood burning stove, as it only uses wood and you don’t need propane or electricity to keep warm.
  2.  You could also prepare by keeping a 500-gallon propane tank as your backup fuel, and you can use it when winter comes. You can pair it with a wall-mounted gas heater so you can keep your home nice and warm. This is an efficient way to heat the home, and it won’t deplete the propane in your tank. This method can also help keep the heat on when you’re experiencing temporary power outages. A standard and safe home heating system, a 500-gallon tank and a wall-mounted heater are easy to set up. If you conserve the fuel, a single tank can last for as long as a year.
  3. Consider improving your insulation and upgrading your windows.  Although this is a rather expensive endeavor, if you’ve only got one source of heat, and you cannot install a secondary backup source (such a wood fireplace in an apartment) you can get better window coverings, such as insulated curtains, to help keep what heat is inside from seeping out. You should also make sure everyone in your family has proper winter clothing, such as insulated socks and boots, and mittens. Hats will also keep you comfortable in a power outage, as most heat escapes from our heads.

Layering Clothes Effectively To Stay Warm Outside In Winter

4. Invest in a lot of candles. You can never have enough candles either in your prepping supply or randomly sprinkled around your house as “decoration”! Candles serve two purposes—heat and light. Just fill up the room you plan on staying in with candles and light them all up. Many scented candles should be avoided if any family members are sensitive to fragrances. Non-scented soy wax candles won’t overpower your sense of smell, nor will lighting them give you massive headaches. But, you will still want to make sure there is some ventilation in the room you’ve lit with candles. Use extreme caution when lighting a lot of candles. Do not burn anything inside your home without providing adequate ventilation to the outside. Keep a fire extinguisher right near whatever open flame heat source you are usingCarbon monoxide and fire can be deadly. You will also need to pay special attention to the kids and the pets as with any open flame.

As with any “disaster” or government fear-mongering, self-reliance is the key getting out unscathed.  Rely on yourself and your ingenuity to beat any odds and survive while others are pleading the authorities to take care of them and “do something.” You’ll be all set in many winter situations if you can take the plunge and get a wood burning stove installed as a backup source of heat. If you only do one thing to prepare for a winter without electricity or fuel, that will be something that could not only save your life but make you immediately comfortable while others scramble.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 31st, 2018

Workout Like the Pros: How Pre-Loading Meals Get You the Best Workouts

Mon, 12/31/2018 - 08:26

Ready Nutrition guys and gals, let it never be said that I under-emphasize weight training and physical conditioning. I believe it to be the centerpiece of keeping yourself in good health both physically and mentally. That being said, you need to give yourself an “edge” in your training. Train intelligently and with purpose, and you will garner significant results. Nutrition is the cornerstone of proper training. That being mentioned, we’re going to cover pre-loads in terms of both supplements and “standard” foods that will help you prior to a workout.

Everyone varies, and everybody is different. In the morning, I can’t stand to eat anything just before I lift. The food never sits well in my stomach. My pre-load comes the night before, in the form of high protein and ample carbohydrates. Let’s discuss this. Your body will digest the food slowly from the night before…especially if you eat very late at night, such as 10 pm or later. I like to finish up my meal about 7 pm if possible.

I stack up the high protein, and medium to high carbohydrates, the latter in the form of potatoes or pasta. I prefer the potatoes: they are more readily-absorbable and digestible for your system. The carbs and proteins provide energy and tissue repair, in that order. They “fortify” you by giving you a load of energy to work with after you arise in the morning. This may not sound important, but it is. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it does not detract from the fact that they’re all important.

Before I hit the hay, I like to throw down a protein shake. I’ve written about the benefit of the shakes, but I’ll recap. When you sleep (especially when you eat an early dinner, in the manner that I do), your body’s metabolism slows down. This is good because the uptake of the aminos and nutrients in the shake will pass into your system at a slow and steady pace. They’ll fortify you as you rest.

In the morning, I throw down about 5 grams of Branched-Chain Amino Acids in powder form in some water: easy on my stomach and I can avoid eating anything until post-workout. As mentioned in other articles, these BCAAs  are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine…crucial for tissue repair and convertible into glycogen…later turning into glucose and being used as fuel by the body.

Afternoon workouts are a little different. Many experts believe that the optimal time to work out is 3 pm in the afternoon. Unfortunately, for many who work, you’ll have to fit the time in when you can. The afternoon workout should be characterized by a pre-load of medium to high protein content and high carbs about two hours out. This gives time to digest and pump some of those substances into the bloodstream for use when you throw it down and move steel.

Pre-loads with protein shakes are good for some people, not so good for others. If you feel that you are sick to your stomach or queasy while you’re working out, you may have to do what I do and take BCAAs prior to the lifting, and then a protein shake post-workout. You want to eat a filling meal beforehand prior to the afternoon meal, but not so full that you feel as if you’re bloated. Eating too much puts a strain on your digestive system, and “shunting” will take longer.

Shunting is what takes place in your peripheral circulatory system. You just placed a slab of beef and a bowl of pasta into your guts. Now, what happens? Well, the blood moves from your periphery (arms, legs, appendages, brain) into your thoracic cavity as your stomach begins the daunting challenge of breaking down Aunt Gertrude’s slab of meatloaf and her fat German dumplings you had over at mom’s for lunch. Your body uses 10% of its derived food energy to digest the food. When this happens, your brain becomes desirous for sleep, and your concentration level vanishes…as your eyelids droop, your mouth hangs open, and you become a poster child for Neanderthal man.

Seriously, it presents other problems, because if you exercise with your concentration minimized, you could hurt yourself. Also, the muscles are not firing from the neurosynaptic junctions…where your nerves innervate the muscles…throwing off power, timing, and effectiveness. Two hours out or more before those afternoon workouts is when you should eat your food. Some proteins are more readily-digestible than others, as well as the form they’re in. Ground beef (the love of my dining life) is more easily processed then a steak, that needs to be cut up and chewed and then digested. It is self-explanatory if you see the two side by side.

The ground beef or shredded chicken breast can be inserted into mashed potatoes. Throw this down, and you’ll digest it within an hour. Follow it up with some pineapple, which contains Bromelain, a substance that helps you digest meat. Nifty: only pineapples have it.  I don’t believe in “power bars,” or any energy bars: although they can be eaten, they’re not as fast as most would believe, and you need to drink about a gallon of water to break them up so that you can derive the benefits.

Stick with pasta and potatoes as your mainstay for carbs, and don’t neglect the banana or even a few prunes for the potassium. These are some ideas to get you started. The pre-load meal or supplements will give you the extra energy and nutrients you need to get through those workouts. It is a continuous “feed,” whether before or after, but make sure you take into consideration just how much food you need to repair tissue and to promote muscle growth: it’s a lot.  Stay in that good fight.  JJ out!

 

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 31st, 2018

Boost Your Brain-Power With These Herbal Foods

Sat, 12/29/2018 - 07:35

Studies show that over the holidays, the average person gains at least 6 to 7 pounds. So, it is (as I’ve characterized it in the past) a relentless assault on your physiques.

Let’s assume it is not the case for you Readers, here. So, we can concentrate on bigger and better things. We will cover some herbs that are healthy for your brain…both for cognition and from a physiological perspective in other ways. If they do not directly enhance the formation of neurons, they enable better circulation and blood pressure and have adaptogenic qualities that will benefit you. Here we go!

As a refresher, an adaptogen is an herbal food/substance that alters the body either by form or function to bring it toward homeostasis. The word “homeostasis” refers to your body being at a normative/normal level of function. The interesting thing about adaptogens is that they can work for two people with dissimilar conditions. A diabetic may suffer from the inability to produce insulin to counteract blood sugar. An adaptogen will help to lower that blood sugar and/or to help produce insulin. Conversely, someone suffering from hypoglycemia processes their sugar at a higher or faster rate…due to metabolism, or increased insulin production. That same adaptogen will work for the hypoglycemic individual, but in the other direction, by keeping that blood sugar at a more stable level…according to the body’s needs.

The human brain is a marvelous apparatus that we are now only beginning to understand in terms of its capabilities and functions. There are some supplements that you can take that will help in terms of brain “improvement” that you may be interested in.

Ashwagandha: We have covered this herb in depth in another article, but studies have shown here that it increases the ability to develop new connections between neurons (those are brain cells). Ashwagandha lowers inflammation and can reduce plaques that form in the blood vessels of the brain. As an adaptogen, the herb is a stress-reducer and can increase your ability to learn things. It is being experimented with as a preventative for Alzheimer’s Disease. Also known as Withania somnifera.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea): This is another great adaptogen. This herb has had extensive experience and testing in the former Soviet Union as a mainstay for both the USSR’s Olympic athletes and also with their military. The root is the source of the herbal supplements, and it is extremely beneficial for recovery, as well as for use with stress and anxiety. Rhodiola improves both mental and physical performance.

Ginkgo biloba: Undoubtedly you have either heard of or used this one. It is concluded that ginkgo (as it’s called) will actually heal and repair brain cells, and enable your mental clarity of function as you age. Memory and attention are the primary areas that ginkgo benefits. Used for thousands of years in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), ginkgo biloba has withstood the test of time and science for being another weapon in the fight against cognitive decline that comes with age and/or illness.

Rosemary:  Yes, the spice, that’s right! Rosavins are good for the brain, and its use is not confined just to eating it. By inhaling/smelling the essential oil, it helps with mood and mental clarity in the discipline known as aromatherapy. Rosemary helps with memory retention and learning.

Gotu Kola: Another ancient herb used primarily in the Ayurvedic medicine of India. The herb is a tonic that improves the circulation of the body overall, and it also helps with memory retention. Gotu kola is highly adaptogenic and will restore balance to the body and the brain.

There is abundant literature in your health food concerns, as well as all over the Internet concerning these herbs. There are others as well, but this is good to get you started. The beauty of it all is that they work in other areas that are useful, and do not take much to incorporate into your diet or everyday routine. Always check with your doctor to see if any contraindications exist if you’re using any medicine.

You can find these herbs in any health food store, along with most of your “big-box” stores such as Wal-Mart or Target. They are affordable and highly effective. The brain is one of the most neglected parts of the human body and is taken for granted. Don’t forget about it! And if you find yourself forgetting it? Perhaps these herbs will help you to remember…and then you can take it from there.

 

 

 

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 29th, 2018

How To Prevent And Naturally Treat The Dreaded Stomach Flu This Winter

Fri, 12/28/2018 - 06:13

It always seems like this time of year brings the stomach flu along with all of the other viruses floating around in public.  But there are simple things you can do to prevent yourself from getting sick, and there are natural and healthy ways to ensure you feel better faster if you do come down with this nasty bug.

What is the stomach flu?

The stomach flu, also known as gastroenteritis, is an infection of the intestines. The viruses responsible for this illness are often the norovirus and the rotavirus. The symptoms of the stomach flu include nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, a low-grade fever, and abdominal pain.  Usually, these symptoms subside in less than two days or even 24 hours in some cases. The Mayo Clinic suggests contacting a doctor if vomiting has persisted for more than two days, there’s bloody diarrhea, you have vomited blood, or have a fever about 104. All of these can be signs of a more severe infection, one not caused by the norovirus or rotavirus.

Noroviruses: Both children and adults are affected by noroviruses, the most common cause of foodborne illness worldwide. Norovirus infection can sweep through families and communities. It’s especially likely to spread among people in confined spaces. In most cases, you pick up the virus from contaminated food or water, although person-to-person transmission also is possible.

Rotavirus: Worldwide, this is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in children, who are usually infected when they put their fingers or other objects contaminated with the virus into their mouths. The infection is most severe in infants and young children. Adults infected with rotavirus may not have symptoms, but can still spread the illness — of particular concern in institutional settings because infected adults unknowingly can pass the virus to others.

-The Mayo Clinic

Stomach flu spreads easily!

You can be infected by either the norovirus or the rotavirus by sharing utensils with an infected person, drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food. You could also become infected if you use the towel of a sick person.

What to do if you become sick?

If you are an adult, you’ll want to avoid infecting others and take care to not get anyone else sick. If someone in your home has viral gastroenteritis, disinfect hard surfaces, such as counters, faucets, and doorknobs, with a mixture of 2 cups (0.47 liters) of bleach to 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of water. Wash their bedsheets with bleach if possible. Many websites and medical professionals suggest isolating a sick family member.  Recently, my son got the stomach flu, and because he’s a little boy, we did not isolate him in his room.  We let him sleep on the couch and watch movies all day. Sometimes, depending on which family member is sick, isolation is not possible or conducive to household morale.  We gave him a large bowl in case he needed to vomit and after it was rinsed out, we made sure to thoroughly wash our hands and we kept all other kids away from him. Once he healed up, a quick disinfectant spray on the couch did the trick and no one else got sick. Encourage plenty of rest if you or your little one get sick!

Make sure that you try to stay hydrated.  Often, water won’t even stay down during the stomach flu, but try munching on ice chips to get some hydration. Avoid diuretics such as coffee, black (caffeinated) tea, and alcohol.

Make a ginger peppermint tea.  Both ginger and peppermint are known to calm stomach inflammation and promote digestion by relieving nausea and vomiting.  To make mint tea, simply take a few fresh mint leaves and boil them in some water and strain the infusion.  For an extra boost, grate some fresh ginger root (about 1/2 teaspoon as it’s a strong flavor) and stir it into your boiled mint mixture.  The tea is a natural way to soothe an upset stomach and hopefully put a little water back into the body.

Prevention

Although there is a vaccine for the rotavirus, there is not one for the norovirus (It is still undergoing tests). But simple hygiene can help prevent both of these viruses. Wash your hands before you eat.  If washing is not available, use hand sanitizer liquid or sanitizing wipes and make sure your children do too. Teach good handwashing habits after using the bathroom, especially in public places. It’s best to use warm water and soap and to rub hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds, remembering to wash around cuticles, beneath fingernails and in the creases of the hands. Then rinse thoroughly. You should also:

  • Wash all fruits and vegetables and thoroughly cook seafood before eating.
  • People who begin to feel ill should avoid involvement in food preparations for others.
  • Wipe shopping cart handles before use with sanitizing wipes.
  • Use a dishwasher instead of handwashing.

Hopefully, just minor and simple changes will have you and your family staying healthy all winter long.  And if you do get sick, remember, the stomach flu is short lived and you should be back at it in no time!  If you are ill for longer than two days, seek medical attention.

 

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness.  If you have questions or concerns you should speak to a medical or healthcare professional.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 28th, 2018

The Healing Properties of Mullein – Especially During the Cold and Flu Season

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 13:58

Mullein is a pretty easy herb to come by. It grows in “waste” places; that is to say, in arid, rocky, or sandy soil without many nutrients. It is a pretty common sight all over the United States and is actually considered a nuisance by many, although it was brought to the U.S. from Europe in the 1700s for its medicinal value. Its scientific name is Verbascum thapsus, and it is a biennial, meaning that it takes two years to complete its life-cycle.

It is available in your better health-food stores and herbal shops. The entire plant can be used: leaves, flowers, and roots. The flowers and leaves are the parts that are valuable for colds and flu. It can be taken as an infusion (a tea), or dried (1 ounce). The leaves can also be placed in an infusion/tea at the amount of about an ounce. You can also simmer them for about 10 minutes in milk. These mixtures can be used for a cough.

The leaves can be smoked in an ordinary pipe for tobacco to provide relief from inflamed membranes of the respiratory system and will control a hacking cough, asthma, and coughs that are spasmodic. The teas provide a demulcent action, and this means a coating action that will soothe the mucous membranes in the manner of a cough drop.

The herb can also be used for diarrhea, as it is a protectant and astringent that will help to clean out the bowels and intestinal tissues. If you crush the leaves and make a poultice out of it (that is simply put, a moistened “packet” of the herb) you can use it on rashes, boils, sores, and other skin ailments. Mullein lives for a good while, and you can always spot it by its stem that grows vertically from which the flowers bud. The seeds can last for more than a hundred years, which makes it excellent for your seed-saving endeavors.

The flowers are a bright yellow color and can be dried for teas. Mullein contains about 3% mucilage, and it is this that helps with the soothing, demulcent qualities on the mucous membranes that line the nose, mouth, and throat. Ready Nutrition Readers, lend me your ears! [para. Shakespeare] Well, you keep the ears…but when they act up? Mullein is also good for ear infections. Many will tell you to tincture it and then apply a few drops. My method: leave some flowers and leaves in a bottle of olive oil, for about 2-3 weeks after chopping the vegetative matter up finely.

After the wait, you’ll have ear “oil” that is both medicinal and also soothing…I’ve found olive oil to be one of the best carrier oils that you can use. When you make a tea from it, or a poultice, ladies, this will help with a yeast infection…and will be a bit more soothing than other remedies due to its demulcent action as mentioned earlier.

A Clemson University study reported back in 2002 that Mullein is effective against several kinds of bacteria, to include Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Escherichia coli. In case you didn’t know it, Staph aureus is the bacteria found predominantly in everyone’s nasal passages. Its use is only contraindicated in young children for coughs, but for ear infections or for an astringent, it can be used with them. You can find it in leaf, tincture, pill, or capsule form, but this information is given to you in the hopes that you’ll go out next season and find it to make your supplies with as well.  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 27th, 2018

How To Put Measures Together to Weatherproof Food and Water in Winter

Mon, 12/24/2018 - 13:14

Over the course of the past few years and several winters past, I have written articles on the importance of water supplies and food during the winter months when traveling. The bottom line is that most of us are in a vehicle and/or away from home much of the day, whether winter or summer. Winter is a little different, as it poses challenges and perils that are not necessarily addressed as easily as in the warmer months.

In those articles, I stressed the importance of a thermos during the winter to carry (at a bare minimum) hot water. I recommend the water over coffee for several reasons. First, coffee is a diuretic, and this means that an excessive amount will cause you to lose water through urination. If you drink as much coffee as I do, it is not so much an issue there, as your body will compensate with the increased intake. Secondly and more importantly, you can do more with a thermos of hot water than you can with coffee.

Hot water can be used for soup (think “Vitamin R,” as we called it in the Army or Ramen), and if you are the way I am…you can pack either a jar or a Tupperware container with instant coffee. The hot water is invaluable to restore your core temperature if you need to do so. One thermos is good, and two is even better. Be sure to insulate your thermos, at a bare minimum by wrapping a heavy blanket around it. I have two old sweatshirt sleeves, very thick. The wide part goes over the top and to the bottom, folded, and the other sleeve wide part over the bottom, and up to the top. Voila! Just this little measure extends the heating time/life of the thermos by about 4-6 hours. No, really: it works.

The other method is with a box. Now, you can go to your thrift store and pick up one on the cheap…a cooler…for a few bucks. Hardly anybody wants a cooler this time of the year. The point: you can place your thermos and food inside of the cooler…and wrap it or “nest” it up in a newspaper, blankets, or what have you. This will insulate your stuff from the cold, plus you have the already-insulated plastic and foam walls of the cooler to serve as a barrier. Whatever the temperature is outside this will give it about a twenty to twenty-five-degree buffer or more.

In a previous article, I wrote about U.S. GI canteens from the Big One (WWII) that are made of steel and will, therefore, be much better to have from a health perspective (to prevent plastics leaching into the water). These guys can stay in their pouches, and this will help protect them from the freeze. Bring them inside with you when you leave the vehicle, or nestle them in your weatherproof box (the former action being the preferred one). If they freeze, then they can be thawed out over the coals of the fire. Be sure to fill them up ¾, to allow for some room if they do freeze.

If you have to pack food with you, pack it in wide-mouthed mason jars to resist a freeze. Cans work too, but you should not allow them to freeze, thaw out, and re-freeze over and over, as it can make your contents be less than palatable. Now, in the event that you’re “crunched,” you can also make a “warm” box with a cardboard box. Preferably two of them if you’re able, with one larger one that the smaller one fits inside with about 4” of space all around, including the bottom. What you’ll then do is crumple up the newspaper and pack it in these gaps, all around, before setting your smaller box inside of the larger one.

You’re duplicating “on the cheap/field expedient manner” with the two boxes what you would be getting if you use the cooler. Then it is just a matter of “nesting” what you want to protect inside of the smaller box, wrapping up those contacts. Insulation. Insulation is the key: to place loft in between your perishable item/item that can be harmed from the cold, and the cold itself. Other items you may need to place inside can be medicines, ointments, oils, beverages, and so forth. When you’re running that engine, yeah, you’re good. What if you can’t run it, though?

If you’ve had an accident, or an accident “has” you, such as an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) that suddenly turns your happy Honda Hybrid into a 2,500 lb. paperweight…you’ll need that box to protect your stuff. You’ll need that thermos. Depending on the situation, it may not be possible to get out and start a fire. When traveling, always carry a good supply of throw rags or cheap towels. These can be put to so many uses in insulating stuff that cannot take the cold. Winter is not the time to play around, and you want to give yourself an edge if a situation arises. Please feel welcome to share your own advice on what you have found to work for you, as every little bit helps.  JJ out!

 

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 24th, 2018

25 Hardcore Healthy Foods You Need in Your Emergency Pantry

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 06:02

Natural disasters like hurricanes, Nor’easters, and winter storms can cause you to be stuck in your home for days (or even weeks) on end – and stuck eating whatever you currently have stashed in your pantry and freezer.

Normally, enough notice is provided to allow time to run out to purchase items prior to a storm’s arrival. It is tempting to stock up on convenient comfort foods before a disaster, but this isn’t ideal. For example, many freeze-dried foods are notorious for having excessive amounts of sodium – thus causing you to consume more water to make up for it (oops, there goes your stored water supply!). Staying hydrated in winter is especially important – your body needs more water during winter than it does during the warmer months. And, remember – you will need to store enough water for drinking AND for cooking.

Surviving on your favorite junk foods may leave you feeling dehydrated, drained, and stressed, which will make enduring a sustained emergency situation even more difficult.

Building an adequate emergency pantry takes time and planning to make it fully functional. Ideally, you will store nutritious shelf-stable foods that your family normally consumes (and enjoys), as well as foods that serve many purposes.

Learn how to build a well-stocked pantry using a layering system: The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals, or The One-Year Pantry, Layer by Layer.

How to build a pantry stocked with nutritious, energizing foods

When selecting foods to add to your emergency pantry, focus on the most nutrient-dense items you can find that are also shelf-stable, with a focus on macronutrients.

Macronutrients are compounds found in all foods that humans consume in the largest quantities, providing the bulk of our calories (energy) from our diets. The three main categories are protein, carbohydrate, and fat.

You’ll want your pantry to have a diverse assortment of foods from all three macronutrient categories.

Protein is the most satiating macronutrient – in other words, it is the most filling. Carbohydrates come in second to protein, and fat takes third place.

Fiber is also filling, so including it in meals can reduce mindless snacking (which humans are prone to do when boredom sets in – and let’s face it, being stuck indoors for days on end can get boring).

In a previous article, we stressed that the foods you store for emergencies should provide you with the energy you’ll need during challenging times. Finding foods that are high in complex carbs and dietary fiber are more efficient from a dietary standpoint and will keep you feeling fuller longer.

To build balanced meals, including a source of each: protein, carbohydrate (ideally with fiber), and fat. Low carbohydrate vegetables (like broccoli and leafy greens) have no limits – add them to meals generously.

Here are some sample meal ideas that include each of the macronutrients:

  • Eggs (protein), spinach and tomatoes, cheese (protein/fat), whole grain toast (carb/fiber), and butter (fat)
  • Chicken (protein), vegetables, brown rice (carb/fiber), olive oil (fat)
  • Steak (protein), salad with leafy greens, potato – sweet or white (carb/fiber), almonds (fat), salad dressing – olive oil w/balsamic vinegar and herbs (fat)

If you are unable to cook, you’ll need sources of each macronutrient in shelf-stable, ready-to-eat form, so we have included ideas for those in each category.

Protein sources

Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for our bodies. If we consume excess protein in our diets, our bodies will usually find a way to use it – we don’t store a lot of extra amino acids like we do carbohydrates and fat. Because we either use or excrete extra protein, we need to replenish it through our diets.

Daily protein needs vary among individuals. Body composition, activity level, and overall health are factors that need to be considered when calculating protein needs. A VERY general guideline is one gram of protein per pound of body weight for healthy adults.

You likely already know that eggs, poultry, and meat are good sources of protein, but what about shelf-stable sources?

Here are some options to consider:
  • Protein bars: There are many, many varieties available to choose from, and they are not created equal. Read labels, and be sure to select bars that aren’t loaded with sugar. The RXBAR brand is a good choice – these whole food bars provide 12 grams of protein in 210 calories or less and are available in a wide variety of flavors, including Almond Butter, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Sea Salt, Blueberry, and Mixed Berry. These bars are among my personal favorites and have no added sugar, and are gluten, soy, and dairy free. Oh, and the shelf life is 10 months from the time they are made. Not bad for a whole food bar that contains no preservatives.
  • Protein powder: Varieties include whey, casein, egg, soy, vegetable, pea, rice, and hemp. Look for brands that do not contain added sugar or fillers. The fewer ingredients, the better. My personal favorite is Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein but there are many to choose from. Naked Nutrition makes nearly every kind of protein powder possible, and with minimal ingredients. All you need to make a basic protein shake is the powder and water. If you are able to use a blender, you can add more ingredients – like frozen fruits and vegetables – to make protein shakes and smoothies. To make your protein shakes and smoothies extra nutritious, you can add a scoop of a green food powder. Nativas Organics offers delicious superfood powders.
  • Jerky and air-dried beef: You can either purchase jerky, or make your own jerky or pemmican. When making your own, you can purchase cheaper cuts of meat, marinate it and dehydrate it. An alternative to traditional jerky is air-dried aged beef, like these, from Kalahair Biltong. 
  • Dehydrated meat: You can purchase this, or make your own – here’s how: Dehydrating Meat Sources for Your Food Pantry.
  • Bone broth: This is very nutritious stuff, and is versatile. It can be heated and eaten like soup or sipped on like a hot beverage. Make your own with leftover chicken carcasses from dinner or purchase beef soup bonesSlow cook your soup and freeze it for later use. In the event of an emergency, you can take out one bag at a time and place in the refrigerator. This will keep the refrigerator temperature down in extended off-grid emergencies. Additionally, you can your bone broth for longer longevity.
  • Protein pancakes or waffles: Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes mix is a great pantry addition and will come in handy if you are able to cook.
  • Beans and lentils: High in fiber, protein, minerals, and vitamins, beans and lentils are a nutritious pantry stable. In fact, beans and rice are a complete protein source! Smaller beans have shorter cook times and will conserve limited fuel sources in an emergency (keep cook times in mind when stocking food for emergencies).
  • Dried milk: A common emergency pantry item, powdered milk is high in protein and can be used for many purposes.
Carbohydrate and fiber sources

Many preppers find solace in growing produce from their gardens and preserving the fresh grown fruits and vegetables. Doing so gives them a constant supply of food to put away and seeds for the next year (provided that the seeds they use are non-GMO).

Fortunately, it is not difficult to find nutritious shelf-stable sources of carbohydrates and fiber.

  • Dehydrated fruits and vegetables: Dehydrating vegetables and fruits for long-term storage is a great way to get needed nutrition into diets with minimal investment. The dehydration process removes moisture from the food so that bacteria, yeast, and mold cannot grow. The added benefit is the dehydration process minimally affects the nutritional content of food. Dehydrated foods can last for 12 months or longer, provided they have been stored properly. Choose fruits and vegetables that are the most calorie dense. Look for small boxes of dried fruits for easy meal assembly. For best results, follow these rules when dehydrating.
  • Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables: Freeze-dried foods are emergency pantry favorites because their shelf life is much longer compared to dehydrated foods. Due to the freeze-drying process, freeze-dried foods are more expensive, but can last 25 years or longers. So, if you’re looking to ensure your long-term food needs are met, this is a good investment.
  • Whole grains: Keeping an assortment of whole grains like wheat and oats in your pantry can provide your family with healthful options in the event of an emergency. Some grains don’t even need to be cooked before eating – you can soak steel-cut oats, bulgur, and whole-grain couscous in water overnight, making perfect ready-to-eat meals – no heating required.
  • Granola and dry cereals: These are also good options – just watch the sugar content, because some can be quite high. Rice cakes are another option – spread a little nut butter and/or jam on them, or top them with dried fruit. Dehydrated/dried fruit can be added to granola and cereal and eaten with your choice of milk or made into trail mix that can be eaten as a snack.
  • Quinoa: Pronounced “keen-wah”, this unique food is often classified as a grain, but it is technically a seed. Quinoa is gluten-free, high protein, high fiber, and packed with nutrients. Use it to make nutritious snack bars, or try this fritters recipe.
Fat sources

Usually, fat sources that are solid at room temperature last longer on your pantry shelf. Fat sources can go rancid over time, and not only do they taste terrible when that happens, but they also aren’t good for your health. To increase the life of your fat sources, store them in a cool dark place, out of direct sunlight. Don’t let water get into the containers, and use a clean utensil every time you scoop a bit out.

  • Ghee: A type of highly clarified butter that’s popular in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, ghee is made by removing all the moisture and milk solids from butter. This makes it lactose-free and provides a higher smoke point than regular butter. Ghee has a longer shelf life than regular butter, both refrigerated and at room temperature. It does not need to be refrigerated, even after you open the jar. Most ghee is shelf stable for up to a year, as long as it is stored in a cool, dark place. Ghee is naturally rich in Vitamins A, E, and K, Omega-3, CLA, and butyric acid.
  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and melts at a low temperature. It can withstand high heat, unlike many other cooking oils. It can be used for sautéing, baking, roasting, and even frying. You can use it to replace butter in many recipes. There are two main types of coconut oil: refined/expeller-pressed and unrefined/extra-virgin (or virgin). The refined version does not taste or smell like coconut and can be used in recipes where you don’t want to taste any trace of coconut. Check to be sure the brand you buy doesn’t use solvents in the refining process. Oh, and coconut oil can be used for many things – to learn more about that, see 39 Manly Uses for Coconut Oil in Your Bushcraft Kit.
  • Olive oil: Long revered for its known health benefits, olive oil is an excellent fat source to keep in your pantry. The shelf life of olive oil varies based on the type of container it is stored in, and freshness when purchased. It generally is best if used within a year of pressing. Olive oil typically lasts for 18 months to 3 years, opened or unopened. Store your olive oil in a cool dark place, away from sunlight – and don’t keep it near the stove (the heat can cause it to go bad faster).
  • For more on oils, how to store them, and the average shelf of various oils, check out this handy resource: How Long Does Oil Last?
  • Nuts and seeds: This food source is one of the most nutrient dense foods and contains fiber, which can help you stay full longer. Nuts also contain protein. Seeds like chia seeds are especially high in nutrient content. Look for lower-salt varieties. The shelf life of nuts varies a lot, according to the type of nut, when they were bought, and how they are stored. Most nuts (and nut flours) can be stored in the freezer, which makes long-term storage of the kinds your family likes easier. The fresher the nuts are when you buy them, the better. Nuts are usually best kept in your refrigerator, especially when the weather is warm – they can become rancid more quickly in warm environments. Store them in sealed bags or containers. This chart from Eat By Date provides more detailed information on shelf life for specific nuts: How Long Do Nuts Last?
  • Nut butters: If your family doesn’t burn through nut butters as fast as mine does, purchase them in smaller packages. Some nut butters do need to be refrigerated. Justin’s Nut Butter brand makes single-serving packets which are perfect for bug out bags or if you are making your own MREs (meals ready to eat) Read labels – some nut butters contain added oils and sugar. Or, make your own – all you need is a blender or food processor, nuts, and jars or storage containers.
Beverages

Of course, water should be your top priority when it comes to building your emergency pantry.

However, there are various reasons you may want to include other things to drink in your emergency pantry. Many of us can’t imagine going a day without coffee, for example. In fact, during a long emergency situation – especially during the colder months – coffee can be a great source of comfort. Thankfully, there are ways to prepare coffee without electricity, should your power go out.

Instant coffee, powdered milk, rice milk, almond milk, and other non-dairy beverages can be stored in the pantry until ready to use (must be kept cold after opening, so buy small containers if you won’t use them up in one day).

Tea can provide comfort and nutrients during emergency situations, so consider keeping a variety of herbal options in your pantry.

And there you have it!

Hopefully, you’ll find the ideas presented here helpful when you are building your emergency pantry. Are there any items you’d add that we left out? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Be well!

 

 

Additional Reading:

8 Nutritious Foods You Can Afford When You’re Practically Broke

How To Stock a Prepper Pantry

Prepping for a Full On Breakdown? Stockpile These Foods

5 (More) Foods That Last Forever

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 21st, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Migraine

Wed, 12/19/2018 - 05:34

I will never forget the day I had my first migraine.

I was 25 years old and was a teacher. It was a sunny day, and I looked out of the classroom window and suddenly, a strange visual disturbance began. It was as is if someone had taken my picture with a flash camera – you know those squiggly, flashing lines you sometimes see after someone takes your photo? It was like that, and it lasted about 30 minutes. After it disappeared, I was slammed with round two: the worst headache of my life.

I thought I had a brain tumor or some other devastating disease. I called my doctor, and he was able to see me that afternoon. “It sounds like what you experienced is what we call an ‘aura,'” he said. “Have you ever had a bad headache or a migraine before?”

I was sent to an eye doctor, who then referred me to a neurologist. A few exams and tests later, and it was confirmed: I had experienced a “migraine with visual aura.” The scientific term for this kind of visual disturbance is “scintillating scotoma”.

They look like this:

 

Lucky me.

The neurologist prescribed a drug called Hydrocet for the pain, and a drug called Propranolol to use to prevent the migraines from occurring. Hydrocet is an “analgesic combination” drug – it contains acetaminophen and hydrocodone, both of which carry the risk of serious side effects (acetaminophen can cause serious and sometimes fatal liver problems, and hydrocodone is an opioid). Propranolol is a beta-blocker that can reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches. The list of possible side effects associated with the drug is lengthy and alarming, so I decided not to take it.

I took the Hydrocet when my second migraine occurred. A third migraine arrived several days later. I wondered if the drug was causing MORE headaches.

Was this going to be my life?

The neurologist wasn’t much help when I went for a follow-up visit and asked about other remedies.

I decided to stop taking the Hydrocet and started learning more about migraine and investigating ways to prevent them from interfering with my life.

If you have experienced a migraine, you know that these neurological events can knock you out of commission, often sending you into the refuge of a dark and quiet room for a day (or longer).

As if suffering from migraines isn’t enough, once the pain is gone, the “migraine hangover” follows.

Important note: If you experience what you believe are migraines, but you have not been evaluated by a healthcare provider, doing so is important. The symptoms of migraine can also be symptoms of serious (and possibly life-threatening) health issues including TIA (“mini stroke”), stroke, and aneurysm. If you have been diagnosed with migraine and your patterns change, or if new or disturbing symptoms develop or your migraines become more severe, it’s important to see your doctor to be sure that something more serious is not the culprit.

Let’s take a look at what migraines are, how to prevent them, and how to treat them.

What IS migraine?

Migraine is a neurological condition that can cause multiple symptoms and is frequently characterized by intense, debilitating headaches.

Migraines differ from other kinds of headaches. Symptoms of migraine are not limited to head pain, and include any or all of the following:

  • nausea
  • pain behind one eye or ear, and/or pain in the temples
  • seeing spots or flashing lights, or other visual disturbances
  • sensitivity to light and/or sound
  • temporary vision loss
  • vomiting

According to the Migraine Research Foundation (MRF), “a migraine is an extraordinarily prevalent neurological disease, affecting 39 million men, women, and children in the U.S. and 1 billion worldwide.”

Here are more statistics from MRF:

  • A migraine is the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with a migraine.
  • Amazingly, 12% of the population – including children – suffers from a migraine.
  • 18% of American women, 6% of men, and 10% of children experience migraines.
  • Migraines are most common between the ages of 25 and 55.
  • Migraines tend to run in families. About 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of a migraine.
  • While most sufferers experience attacks once or twice a month, more than 4 million people have a chronic daily migraine, with at least 15 migraine days per month.
  • More than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine.

Anyone who has experienced a migraine knows they are not “just a headache.”

“Migraine is a neurological disease with extremely incapacitating neurological symptoms,” explains MRF:

  • It’s typically a severe throbbing recurring pain, usually on one side of the head. But in about 1/3 of attacks, both sides are affected.
  • In some cases, other disabling symptoms are present without head pain.
  • Attacks are often accompanied by one or more of the following disabling symptoms: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.
  • About 25% of migraine sufferers also have a visual disturbance called an aura, which usually lasts less than an hour.
  • In 15-20% of attacks, other neurological symptoms occur before the actual head pain.
  • Attacks usually last between 4 and 72 hours.
Migraine Phases

Migraine attacks typically go through four phases, but it is possible to have attacks which skip one or more phases.

It is even possible to have a migraine attack without the “headache” phase. This type of migraine is referred to as acephalgic migraine – also known as “silent” migraine.

This chart from the American Migraine Foundation (AMF) shows the phases and associated symptoms of a migraine attack:

Phase 1: Prodrome
  • Often referred to as “pre-headache” or the “premonitory phase”
  • 30% to 40% of people living with migraine experience prodrome
  • It can serve as a warning that an attack is coming

During this phase, taking action may help you lessen the severity of an oncoming headache. Minimizing or avoiding other triggers and practicing meditation and other relaxation techniques may help you prevent the headache entirely.

Phase 2: Aura

The term “aura” refers to recurrent attacks of neurological symptoms that can include visual, sensory, speech, motor, or other central nervous symptoms.

Some people with migraine experience aura as a distinct phase in the progression of their migraine attack. Like other phases, aura doesn’t necessarily occur during every migraine attack in those who experience them. The visual disturbances I described at the beginning of this article are an example of an aura.

The symptoms and effects of aura vary widely, as AMF explains:

Some can be quite terrifying, especially when experienced for the first time. Some of the visual distortions can be exotic and bizarre. It’s interesting to note that migraine aura symptoms are thought to have influenced some famous pieces of art and literary works. One of the better known is Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

Not everyone with migraines experiences aura. Even those who are prone to them do not necessarily experience aura during every migraine attack, and sometimes, a headache does not follow the aura.

According to AMF,

People experiencing aura might endure periods of blurry vision or vision loss, or the appearance of geometric patterns, flashing or shimmering lights, or blind spots in one or both eyes. These symptoms usually gradually evolve over at least 5 minutes and can last for up to 60 minutes.

Aura can serve as a warning that pain may be on the way, sometimes it allows people living with a migraine to treat the migraine early enough to stop it before it progresses to the headache phase.

They are not limited to visual disturbances and numbness and tingling – other symptoms of auras include:

  • Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: a rare form of migraine aura in which the distinctive symptom is a type of metamorphosia, a distortion of body image and perspective (which people living with a migraine know while it’s occurring is not real). “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome can occur at any age, but it is more commonly experienced by children.
  • Allodynia – hypersensitivity to feel and touch to the point that what would be “normal” is painful
  • Aphasia – loss of ability to express speech (temporary)
  • Auditory hallucinations: hearing sounds that aren’t actually present
  • Confusion
  • A decrease in or loss of hearing
  • Dizziness and/or vertigo (spinning sensation)
  • One-sided weakness or temporary paralysis
Phase 3: Headache

Migraine headache pain can range from mild to severe. It can be so intense that can be debilitating.

The pain varies from person to person, but most describe it as pulsating, throbbing, or pounding.

Symptoms of the headache phase may include:

  • Headache pain that is unilateral (on one side). This pain can shift to the other side, or become bilateral (on both sides).
  • Although migraine pain can occur at any time of day, it is not uncommon for sufferers to be awakened by the pain.
  • In adults, the headache usually lasts from 4 to 72 hours. In children, it can last 2 hours.
  • The pain is worsened by physical activity.
  • The pain can be accompanied by increased sensitivity to sound, light, and odors
  • Nausea and/or vomiting may occur.
Phase 4: Postdrome

Also called the “migraine hangover,” this phase occurs in most people who experience a migraine. This phase can last for hours – or even days.

Symptoms include:

  • Lowered mood levels, depression
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Poor concentration and comprehension
  • Sensitivity to light and strong odors
  • Feelings of well-being and euphoria (some people feel quite good in the postdrome phase)

Engaging in relaxing activities like meditation, yoga, a walk outside, drinking water, and avoiding stress can help you recover from migraine attacks.

Migraine Causes and Triggers

Migraine causes are the underlying reasons people have migraines.

Migraine triggers are factors that contribute to migraine attacks.

Causes

Researchers have identified possible causes, but they don’t have a definitive explanation.

Possibilities include:

  • An underlying central nervous disorder
  • Irregularities in the brain’s blood vessel system, or vascular system
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Abnormalities of brain chemicals and nerve pathways
  • Environmental factors

Here’s more, from the Mayo Clinic:

Migraines may be caused by changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway.

Imbalances in brain chemicals — including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in your nervous system — also may be involved. Researchers are still studying the role of serotonin in migraines.

Serotonin levels drop during migraine attacks. This may cause your trigeminal nerve to release substances called neuropeptides, which travel to your brain’s outer covering (meninges). The result is migraine pain. Other neurotransmitters play a role in the pain of migraine, including calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP).

Triggers

A migraine trigger is anything that brings on a migraine attack.

Triggers don’t cause the migraine – they set them off.

The AMF eloquently explains:

Following exposure to a sufficient trigger, the genetically primed migrainous brain – cocked and ready – acutely responds by initiating a cascade of clinical and electrical events that clinically are expressed as “migraine”: headache, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

Different things trigger migraines in different people. And the same trigger doesn’t always provoke a migraine in the same person. Sometimes it only takes one exposure to one trigger to provoke an attack, sometimes it takes multiple exposures, and sometimes it takes exposure to more than one trigger.

What serves as a trigger may also serve as a treatment – caffeine is a good example of this paradox.

Common migraine triggers include:
  • Stress: Mental and physical stress (extreme exercise, physical exertion, and even sexual activity) can trigger migraines in many people
  • Sleep issues: Irregular sleep, erratic sleep schedule, sleep disorders, too much sleep, too little sleep
  • Hormones: Menstruation, ovulation, menopause, pregnancy, birth control pills, and hormone replacement therapy. For some women, migraines occur around their menstrual cycle and mid-cycle. For others, birth control pills are the trigger.
  • Weather: Humidity (both high and low), sudden or dramatic changes in temperature, changes in barometric pressure, bright sunlight
  • Caffeine: While it can trigger a migraine in some individuals (and overuse can cause a migraine progressively to worsen in some people), others find that a little caffeine actually helps alleviate symptoms during an attack (and caffeine is in an ingredient in some headache medications).
  • Alcohol: Red wine is often blamed for an alcohol-related migraine, but some research suggests other types of alcohol are equally or more frequently the cause. Alcohol can provoke two types of headaches in migraine patients: an attack within a few hours, and a hangover headache.
  • Foods and additives: Artificial sweeteners (like aspartame), citrus fruits, chocolate, certain cheeses, monosodium glutamate or MSG (found in canned foods, processed foods, or Asian foods), nitrates (found in processed meats like deli meat, hot dogs), tyramines (found in fermented foods, aged cheeses, freshly baked yeast bread and cake), nuts, fasting, and skipping meals.
  • Dehydration: For some, even mild dehydration can be a trigger.
  • Sensory stimulation: Loud noises, strong smells, perfume, paint, and cigarette smoke
  • Light sensitivity: This condition is called Photophobia, and it is actually one of the criteria used to diagnose a migraine. Bright lights, flashing lights, flickering lights, bright sun, glare, natural light, and fluorescent light all can trigger a migraine in people with photophobia.
  • Medication overuse: Also referred to as “rebound headaches,” Medication Overuse Headaches (MOH) occur when pain medication used for migraines starts causing more headaches. Why does this happen? AMF explains: “Pain medications have complicated actions on brain functioning. Current research suggests that frequent pain medicine use can lower your threshold for experiencing pain, and reinforce the pathways that process pain.”
Migraine Threshold

“Migraine has a threshold, and how close a person is to that threshold at any given time determines how frequent, severe, and debilitating the headache and other symptoms of the attack will be,” explains the AMF:

The key is to understand your individual migraine triggers and how close you are to your attack threshold, and avoiding triggers during vulnerable times. Let’s say one person’s trigger is red wine. If he or she drinks a few sips of red wine, they may not reach the threshold to get a migraine. But if they drink a full glass of red wine and missed a meal that day, the chances of reaching that threshold are higher.

Keeping a migraine diary can help you identify your triggers and patterns, and can help you develop a migraine prevention plan. And, it can help your healthcare provider provide better care for you as well.

Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose migraines by evaluating your symptoms, taking a thorough medical and family history, and performing a physical exam to rule out other potential causes. Imaging scans, such as a CT scan or MRI, can rule out other causes, including:

  • tumors
  • abnormal brain structures
  • stroke
Treatment

Conventional treatment of a migraine will depend on your age, how often you have migraines, how severe they are, your other symptoms, other health conditions you have, and other medications you take.

There are various prescription medications that are given to prevent migraines and for pain relief. Some migraine sufferers choose to use over-the-counter pain medications, and some seek natural and alternative remedies.

A risk associated with using pharmaceutical drugs for migraines is rebound headaches, as mentioned earlier in this guide.

Other treatment and migraine management options include:

  • acupuncture
  • acupressure
  • chiropractic care
  • counseling
  • massage
  • biofeedback
Prevention

As a long-time migraine sufferer, I’ve learned that the best way to a manage migraine is to prevent them from happening. To do this, I had to become aware of my triggers and find a way to avoid them or reduce their severity.

Identify your triggers. Keeping a migraine diary can help you figure out what your triggers are, and will help you avoid them.

Managing Photophobia (light sensitivity): Wearing sunglasses is helpful when you’re outside. Carry a pair with you at all times.

If bright light, glare, flashing lights, or bright sunlight trigger your migraines, you can avoid them – or you can do things to reduce their impact. Glare from computer screens is one of my known triggers, for example, so upon recommendation from a fellow sufferer, I bought a pair of blue-light and glare-blocking glasses (Amazon link). I wear them anytime I’m looking at a screen (my laptop and my phone), when I drive at night (glare from street lights is another trigger for me), and when I shop in stores with bright lighting. I have not had a migraine since I started wearing them about three months ago.

Stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you at all times, and keep track of your fluid intake. If you have trouble drinking enough water every day, a bottle with time markers like this one (Amazon link) may help – it holds 64 ounces of water. Sometimes a migraine attack can be stopped in its tracks by simply drinking a glass of water.

Eat healthful meals. Don’t skip meals. And try to minimize (or completely remove) foods and drinks that you have found trigger migraines.

Consider CBD:  Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 compounds found in cannabis plants that belong to a class of naturally occurring, biologically active chemical constituents called cannabinoids. CBD is non-intoxicating and has remarkable therapeutic potential. Cannabinoids are a diverse set of chemical compounds that bind to special receptors in the human body that make up what is known as the endocannabinoid system. Studies suggest that CBD can reduce inflammation, has pain-relieving properties, and can help prevent a migraine.

Be careful with caffeine. In some people, caffeine triggers migraines, and in others, it helps to alleviate them. Pay attention to how caffeine affects you, and adjust your intake accordingly.

Catch enough Zzzs: For a long list of things you can do to naturally improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, please see Six (More) Reasons to Get Better Quality Sleep.

Manage stress. Stress is a major trigger for migraines. Good nutrition can help. Believe it or not, there are foods you can eat that have shown to have stress-reducing properties. There are herbal remedies that have stress-reducing properties as well. Supplements that promote relaxation and relief of tension like Xivvium may also help.

These articles contain a great deal of information on effective ways to manage stress:

Try some aromatherapy: Aromatherapy has been shown to have a profound impact on lifting moods and many say that it helps them manage migraines.

Dietary supplements for migraine prevention: Magnesium, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and Coenzyme Q10, all have shown some promise in the prevention of migraines.

Hopefully, the information we have provided here will help you prevent and better manage your migraines.

As with any health condition, if you experience migraines,  please consult with your healthcare provider for guidance.

Sometimes headaches are a warning of something far more serious going on. Here is a list of precautions from the Mayo Clinic.

See your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if you have any of the following signs and symptoms, which may indicate a more serious medical problem:

  • An abrupt, severe headache like a thunderclap
  • Headache with fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or trouble speaking
  • Headache after a head injury, especially if the headache gets worse
  • A chronic headache that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement
  • New headache pain if you’re older than 50
Be well!

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 19th, 2018

Cleaning Your House May Be As Bad For You As Smoking 20 Cigarettes A Day

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 06:26

A recent study published in the  American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine claims that regularly using house cleaning products could be as bad for your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.  Although it’s difficult to imagine cleaning could be just as detrimental to one’s health as smoking, the research suggests that the chemicals in cleaning products that get inhaled are actually just as bad.

According to an article by Forbes, researchers at the University of Bergen and Haukeland University Hospital in Norway calculated what happened to two common measures of lung function over time among 6,235 people who were part of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. The first measure is the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), or the amount of air you can expel from your lungs in one second. The second measure is the forced vital capacity (FVC), which is the total amount of air you can blow out of your lungs after you’ve taken the deepest breath possible.

These measurements were used to determine the lung health and vitality of those participating in this study.

While both of these measures tend to peak between 20 to 25 years of age and then afterward decrease gradually with age, the study found that the FEV1 and the FVC decreased faster (3.6 and 4.3 ml per year faster) for women who regularly cleaned their own homes than those who did not. The declines were even faster (3.9 and 7.1 ml/year faster) among women who worked as cleaners compared to those who did not work as cleaners and did not regularly clean their own homes. Also, asthma was more common (12.3%) among women who cleaned their homes (12.3 percent) or worked as cleaners (13.7%) than those who did neither (9.6%). These declines in lung function were comparable to those seen in people with a pack-a-day cigarette smoking habit. -Forbes

This does raise concerns about the chemicals we all use to clean our home and the effect on our lung health.  Natural or homemade cleaners are most likely the safest way to go.  Consider making your own laundry detergent and cleaning supplies in the comfort of your own home.  This way, you control exactly what you’re putting into the air that your family breathes in.

Related: Homemade Natural Cleaners Should Be Included in Emergency Preps

Although this was not the most pristine study on the chemical components in cleaning supplies, other factors such as age, and overall physical health were seemingly ignored.  But it is important to know that this is not the first study to look at the potential hazards of using harsh chemicals to clean.  The American Lung Association has warnings on their website about the effects of ammonia, bleach, and a variety of other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in cleaning products can irritate the eyes, throat, and lungs.  These chemicals and compounds may even lead to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reaction, headaches, and even cancer.

Also adding to the concern is that fact that not all chemicals are listed on most cleaning supplies.  There is no law in the United States mandating that manufacturers accurately label their cleaning products.  Again, this is a good time to mention how avoidable this really is by making your own cleaning supplies. However, if you choose to use up the cleaners you’ve already purchased, try taking precautions such as ensuring you are in a well-ventilated area and attempt to avoid direct inhalation. Opening doors or windows can make a big difference; so can turning on fans.

If you don’t want to make your own cleaners or don’t have the time, look for ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol. Baking soda is a pretty powerful scrub that can be used to clean toilets and tubs. Vinegar will clean floors really well and alcohol can disinfect kitchen countertops. For a fresh scent and naturally clean house, you can also use lemon juice to get the job done.  There are a whole lot of DIY recipes for cleaning supplies out there, but if you’re new to the game, consider watching the following video.

*Remember to make sure you are using the correct product for the job.  Lemon juice can damage some surfaces. 

This video will lay the groundwork for your new and safer cleaning routine. And the added bonus besides health improvement to making your own cleaning supplies? You’ll save a boatload of money! Now that’s worth getting excited about!

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 18th, 2018

You’ll Absolutely Need This Frugal Prep in the Event of a Total Collapse

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 07:27

There’s quite a bit of gear that I buy that is expensive. This is an abbreviated list of things that it is best to go with quality first: if you can find a deal, then do so, but not at the expense of the item’s quality being substituted. Some examples are firearms, optics (for daytime or for night-vision), cold weather gear, foot gear, snivel gear (sleeping bags, one to two-person tents), and blades/knives. These items you should always go with the best and with the type that is optimal for you to use effectively. In the interests of survival and adaptability, there are some instances where you can (and should) use something not so pricey if it will foot the bill.

One area you may wish to invest that is within your budget is gear that you can stow due to its collapsible nature that will help you out when you need it when the going gets tough. I’m talking about more than a “mess kit” for your food, or a sleeping pad for under your sleeping bag.

I’m referring to nylon bags that you can stow in your vehicle, in your backpack, or even keep on your person.

When it hits the fan, there’s going to be a tremendous amount of disorder. In this case, we’re putting English Property Laws and the innumerable, uncountable laws of the United States, its states, counties, towns, neighborhoods, etc., aside. This is information you will need for a disaster, for a collapse, or TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as we Know it), i.e., “this is the end” pat phrase. There will be a tremendous amount of stuff laying around, or stuff that you are going to need. Scavenge when you are able, and use the nylon bags to do it.

You can fold these things up so that they will fit inside of your back pocket. There are a few different types to choose from. I’m going to put some photos up for you, so you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about, right off of Amazon.com.

Here is one type, listed as Liberty Bags 8882 Large Nylon Drawstring Backpack (Amazon link). You can pick up a 6-Pack of these things for $14.

The reasons this one is perfect? It is portable and collapsible. It has those two backpack loops that can either be worn or tied off to the outside of a backpack. What is the use? Oh, I don’t know…like maybe as it was in Hurricane Katrina when the cops permitted anyone who needed food to go into Wal-Mart and load up on canned goods and packaged food. You get the idea: this is better than just trying to grab a whole bunch of grocery bags and “wing” it.

In addition, you can “tag” and categorize them…one bag for canned food, another for OTC meds, and so forth. No, really! When it hits, let them send you a bill! You can pay them in Federal Reserve Notes…or leave it out for them. Leave your card on the counter…you won’t be needing it later.

You can put one or two of them in your backpack, one or two in the car, and maybe even stick one in your briefcase or work bag. Hey, guess what? You may need to clean out your desk and office, and there you are…voila! A bag to load all of your stuff in. If you listened to me, I’ve been writing for years about how you need an emergency food supply at work for your office or locker. When it hits the fan, you aren’t going to abandon that food…and with this bag, you can cram all of it in there, tie it off, and hoof it.

They had a few more types listed there, but this one looks the best for the money, and for what we would intend to use it for. Then when you’re in a safe area, you can download your stuff into something a little more rugged. Depending on how many are in your family/tribal group, you may wish to order a couple of sets so that everyone can have two or three bags. They are not expensive, and you can also use them for a few other things. Suppose something carrying food either breaks or is crushed? You can transfer the stuff to one of the bags.

If equipment goes down (as it is prone to do) you can use these bags as backups for your main backpack or load carrying gear…until you can effect repairs and bring them back up to speed. Another thing is footgear. If you wet the footgear and have another pair, you can stow the wet pair in one of these bags…nylon will not be worse for wear…and then dry them out later. You’re only limited by your imagination. I have a couple already, but I’m going to pick up a half a dozen of these…as they’re not something you find out in the stores that often. Stay in that good fight, and fight it to win.  JJ out!

 

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 17th, 2018

10 Last-Minute Stocking Stuffers for Your Favorite Prepper

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 07:02

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house/ Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;/The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,/…

… but mom forgot to stuff them and now they’re bare.”

If you’re anything like me, you probably spent countless hours organizing your Christmas lists, reading product reviews, and way too much time decorating the packages so they look just right for Christmas Day only to realize – at the last minute – that you forgot the stocking stuffers.

Every parent can relate to this … right? Please don’t let me be the only one!

Now that it’s crunch time, if you are still looking for some stocking stuffers, look no further than these prepper-inspired gifts for your favorite loved ones.

10 Prepper-Inspired Stocking Stuffers For Your Favorite Prepper 1. Pocket Firestarter + Paracord Keychain

These premium quality small fire starters are lightweight, compact and the perfect pocket size. If you want to extend the handle of the fire starter you can screw off the lid and the scraper and attach the lid on the other side of the fire starter.

Included in the packaging is also a keychain made of 79” (2m) 550lb paracord. You can attach the fire starter to the keychain and carry them together as a pack or let the paracord hang with your keys or on your bag. The paracord itself is useful in all outdoor situations thanks to its enormous durability.

2. Campsite Storage Strap

If you’ve been searching for camping storage ideas, this unique storage system provides you with infinite ways to stash your camping gear up high! Hang your bags or baskets of food to protect from critters, ants and other insects! Use it as a clothesline to drape your wet bathing suits, towels, and life jackets so they can air dry quickly! Or hang your pots, pans, and utensils to keep them off the ground!

You’ll find so many ways to make this storage strap useful to you! Use it horizontally between trees when you need the width for hanging larger items. Or wrap it around a tree so you can hang your stuff around the trunk. And, it works well to hang vertically from a tree or post!

3. UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case, 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers

Being able to reliably make a fire is vital for cooking, generating warmth, and in survival situations, making signal fires. UCO Stormproof Matches are perfect for camping, emergency kits, and should be part of every 10 Essentials checklist.

Stormproof Matches are windproof, waterproof, light up quickly and consistently in driving rain, heavy winds, and falling snow with a burn time of up to 15 seconds-plus they will relight after being submerged in water. Each kit includes 25 Stormproof Matches, 3 strikers, and a cotton ball inside a waterproof case that floats.

4. Solar Power Bank, USB Port, and 21LED Light Solar Power Bank Portable Battery Cellphone Charger

A power bank is a necessity when you are out of home since running out of battery is common. This product is especially suitable for camping, hiking, or for the traveler,With 3 USB ports available, there is ample space for multiple devices. Best of all, with 21 LED lights, this is an asset to have if there is a power failure.

5. GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight

This powerful and practical, general purpose flashlight is the perfect gift for a father, husband, wife, scout, or college student for any occasion. The tough, military-grade aluminum body makes it suitable for extreme conditions indoors or outdoors. You can count on it during storms, floods, power outages, earthquakes, and natural disasters.

Portable and small, this torch is convenient to pack in your bag, glove compartment, camping gear or survival kit. The flash and SOS functions are lifesavers when doing roadside repairs or signaling for help. Highly reliable and easy to use, it is the perfect flashlight to have while fishing, hiking, hunting, or exploring.

6. Throwing Knife Set

Set of six throwing knives!!! EASY ATTACHED ON YOUR LEG!!! Super sharp, double-edged blade. 440 Stainless Steel is used for a lifetime of target practice. These throwing knives will pierce straight through an aluminum can. They balance right after the end of the blade, giving precision and speed. Cutouts featured on the blade significantly improve the overall weight and balance. Attach a tassel to tune these knives to your throwing style. In addition, we will give you a nylon throwing knife sheath that can attach to your leg.

7. Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System

Weighing 2 ounces and fitting in the palm of your hand, the Sawyer MINI Water Filter provides 0.1 micron absolute filtration — removing 99.99999% of bacteria and 99.9999% of protozoa. The size, convenience, and performance of the Sawyer MINI make it perfect for everything from camping with the kids to traveling abroad where tap and bottle water cannot be trusted

8. Ka-Bar Tactical Spork

Many of you know of the superior quality of KA-BAR Knives. Their spork is no different. The Tactical Spork, which is made from food and water approved Grammid, is equipped with a fork/spoon combo and has a 2.5″ plastic serrated knife in the handle. The knife is accessed by pulling the spork in opposite directions from each extreme end.

9. Solar Lantern and Collapsible Flashlight

Charge your phone or tablet, light your campsite, AND signal for help from rescue teams. An essential camping gear addition, the Pocket Light’s multi-mode settings (2 level bright and super-bright luminous light, SOS emergency signal, USB charging capabilities) make this camp lantern your new favorite survival gear. Compact and easy to carry, we’ve nicknamed it the Pocket Light because it fits in your pocket. It also clips to your tent for all night light, then solar charge the next day. Keep this rechargeable camping lantern with you in your camping gear and bug out bag to prepare for your next adventure!

10. Harcore Lightsticks

The Cyalume SnapLight brings light to dark places. These heavy-duty light sticks aren’t some glow stick you pick up at a party store. SnapLight provides bright, reliable, 360-degree illumination for up to 12 hours. The green SnapLight is so bright it can be seen from up to a mile away – so you can rest assured knowing it will provide enough light for rooms, hallways, stairwells or your walk back to camp. SnapLight is waterproof, non-toxic and non-flammable. The light stick has a hook and gate top, for hanging, attaching or stringing the lights together.

 

If you still want some ideas, check out some of our previous posts on holiday gifts!

Ready Nutrition’s Top 2015 Picks for a Very Prepper Christmas

2016 Ultimate Christmas Shopping Guide For Preppers

Ready Nutrition Holiday 2017 Gift Guide

50 Awesome Stocking Stuffers Every Prepper Will Love

27 Last Minute Christmas Gifts For Your Favorite Prepper

 

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 14th, 2018

Winter Safety: The Best Shoes For Walking on Ice

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 06:33

The missus always thinks it’s funny when I fall down, and this usually occurs in the wintertime. Of course, when it happens to her, she doesn’t seem to laugh at this, but the cause for both of us is usually the ice. What a pain in the neck! Ice! Ice is everywhere over here…ice on the car, on the ground. Ice on the road. What to do? Surely you’ve encountered the same thing. We’re going to cover some field expedient techniques that will take the slippage away from you.

The Best Shoes For Walking on Ice

Naturally, if you’re in an urban environment and wearing typical clothing of employment, you may not be able to modify your footgear to help you with the ice. In this case, just spend the extra $40 to $50 dollars and order the Yaktrax. If you don’t want to fool around, you can order them or their ilk off of Amazon for anywhere from $10 up to $100.

Those STABILicers (Amazon link) are really good if you wear either boots or hikers, and here’s what they look like on Amazon’s site:

Those guys will run you up to a hundred bucks. There’s a reason that I wanted you to see the photo, however. If you take notice of the bottom, the sole is replete with a whole bunch of little “studs.” Those studs are actually screws with a hex head and a notch…I’m counting 17 of them right there. Guess what? They also sell those screws (and with longer shafts) in your hardware stores and in outdoor stores, the latter as replacement screws for these types of soles.

So you can see my next idea…that works because I’ve tried it. Take about a half a dozen of these screws. They look like this:

Do you get the idea? If you’re wearing something with thicker soles than “patent leathers,” or such…with a good sturdy rubber sole and heel…you can throw a half dozen of these beauties into your sole in no time at all. If you’re going to be walking to and fro to your job in downtown Manhattan, that’s a different story. Get the Yaktrax or the other one. I have them because I never know when a day will arise that I’ll need to walk in them for a good amount of time. For a “field expedient” job, however, these screws may be what you need to make the difference…give you some extra traction. Suppose you have to cross a body of water or a river, or an icy highway, and you’re in a situation. Five minutes to throw these screws in can make the difference.

Another idea for you: Golf shoes. They have the little spikes implanted on the soles. You can pick up a used pair in your thrift store or a used sporting goods store for just a couple of bucks. Throw these shoes in the trunk of your car. When you have to cross over ice? Take your other footgear off and put on the golf shoes until you are across the obstacle.  You could probably do it with baseball and football cleats, but only if those cleats are made of metal. The plastic ones will slip all over the place.

You can also make ‘em. A chain that would be used either for a dog leash or one of those oval-linked chains with some galvanized loops…that might be used for starters. Simply start up on the tongue/instep of your shoe or boot. Wind it clockwise around the footgear, front to back and then to the front in a “figure 8” pattern, and make sure the chain is affixed (either tie it off with wire or twine). There you have it: something that will enable you to cross the ice-covered area in front of you.

So, these are some basic ideas. Let’s hear some of yours…I’m all ears. I’m sure that some of you guys and gals are real “Day After Tomorrow” survivor-types that have some outstanding methods. Stay safe, stay stable, and don’t laugh at one another if you fall down!  JJ out!

 

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 13th, 2018

Bungee Cords and Their Uses in Off-Grid and Survival Situations

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:49

Bungee cords are one of the most useful devices ever invented by man. Their simplicity is only surpassed by the multitude of uses they can be employed for. They can make life a lot easier: at home, out in the woods, or when a disaster strikes…you want to stock up on these guys and know how to use them.

One of the problems is that they can be “faddish” in terms of selling them. There are so many hardware and big-box stores that sell these plastic tubules with lids with what appears to be a wide variety and array of styles, that are pretty much about a third unusable, either because they are impractical or they’re junk. They have little “mini-bungee cords,” and others that have a nice plastic ball on the end instead of a hook. In a wide variety of fluorescent and highly obnoxious colors, they are also noxious with their “off-gassing” of chemicals from the Chinese factories.

I prefer subdued sets with hooks. They don’t have to be so sturdy as to be able to airlift cargo under a CH-47 helicopter. They need to be able to be carried with ease. One of the things I mentioned is with a field-expedient “hootch” or lean-to. In a previous article, we talked about necessary winter gear and a military issue poncho is one of those items. If you are lucky enough to have a poncho that comes with grommets on the corner, you can take five bungee cords…four on the corners, and one on the point where the hood protrudes.  This latter point: tie off the hood with the drawstring, and then loop one end of the bungee cord around it, and secure the other to a tree branch, for vertical “lift” on your hootch.

Bungees (if you use the old large Alice Pack of the U.S. Army that I use) can be attached to the frame on the inside, so they sit up against your back when the rucksack is on, and then you can just take them off and use them. Bungees secure gear, such as your poncho, to the outside of your pack (if you don’t use a “butt-pack” on your LCE (Load Carrying Equipment) or vest. You can roll up that poncho, and then go around it with the bungee, and secure it to the outside of your gear to break it out if you need it.

That poncho can also be secured overtop of your gear if you want to cover your ruck after grounding it. You already know my rule that I’ll repeat here again: you should have two of everything at a minimum. The bungees can be used to secure all kinds of equipment to the outside of your rucksack, and to a vehicle if need be, from a motorcycle to a truck or car. If you live in a “Twilight Zone” state and out in the middle of nowhere as I do, you’ll come to see that every other vehicle has a broken hood or trunk. Enter the bungee cord to keep it closed. Keep a half dozen of these in your trunk in the event of an emergency or mechanical failure such as I’ve just outlined.

We just covered an article on tarps, and the buddy of the tarp is the bungee cord. They enable you to stretch out just about any length of canvas and use it as a tent. You can use one of them between two trees, and then plop a tarp or canvas over the top. Then you pull out the corners and either stake them down or bungee them off. Voila! Instant tent.

Strong bungees can be secured and stretched out to use multiple fishing lines (called “trot” lines) for survival fishing. Watch doing this normally, as you have to check with your friendly local laws in your happy State. There are some states where you can’t fish with that method, although in a survival situation, you may wish to pursue your own objectives.

You can twine them together or plait them to multiply their strength, but this should only be used as a last resort and in an emergency. They are extremely useful to moor kayaks and boats temporarily to a fixed point. The best ones I’ve used came from US Cavalry, but that one’s been down and out for years. Any suggestions? No, really: I’m asking, as I think that many of the readers will want to know if you’ve found a good source. The bungee cords should always be cleaned and maintained. The better you take care of them, the better they will serve you. Looking forward to your comments.  JJ out!

 

 

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published December 11th, 2018

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