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Updated: 33 min 34 sec ago

Food Prepping: Why You Should Store Wheat And How To Use It

12 hours 28 min ago

Although wheat is the cornerstone of a prepper’s food storage, many don’t understand why they should have a bunch on hand, or even how to use it if the SHTF. It certainly feels like every single preparedness author out there recommends the storage of hundreds of pounds of wheat, but why? And what can you use it for?

The first reason and maybe the most obvious one as to why many suggest storing wheat is because it has a long shelf life. Hard grains, (which include more than just wheat) such as buckwheat, corn, flax, mullet, Kamut, spelt, and triticale, if stored properly, have an average shelf life of 10 to 12 years, however, this can be increased to 30 years or longer. Not to mention wheat is fairly inexpensive and storage isn’t all that difficult.  It’s actually pretty easy to add to your food storage, as many have discovered. To ensure the proper long-term storage of grains, use the following:

But is there more to it than the storage longevity, a relatively low cost, and ease of storing? The simple answer is yes.

Who wants to be hungry, especially in a time of difficulty? Extra activity and stress can cause an increase in a person’s appetite. But whole wheat bread or other whole wheat foods can more quickly fill those ravenous and hungry stomachs. High-fiber foods such as whole grains help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Many of the freeze-dried gourmet meals out there are light in calories and meal plans often provide for only two entrees a day, leaving those who require more food on edge with a slight hunger. (Anyone with children has likely experienced their child getting “hangry”: a term used when someone is so hungry they become angry as a result.) But even though wheat is low in calories while helping maintain that “full” feeling,  it is actually surprisingly nutritious too. Some argue that humans shouldn’t consume wheat because of the gluten in it, and if you have Celiac disease, that is the case.  Wheat has been a part of the human diet for much longer than 10,000 years and packs a nutritional punch.  There is a benefit to eating whole grains as opposed to those which have been refined and bleached in the store. Grains are a great source of many nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate) and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium).

So you’ve stored 100 pounds of wheat.  Now, what do you do with it? Your first step is to get a grinder so you’ll be able to make flour.  Make sure you’ve got a manual one so it’ll work in times when the grid is down. One tip is to only grind up the wheat as you use it because it loses it’s nutritional value as it oxidizes after being ground. But why not put that solar over to use if you’ve got one? If you don’t consider investing in one.  They are a great option for a SHTF situation and can be used for much more than cooking. But give some homemade bread in a solar oven a try!

You’ll need:

  • 2-1/4 cups warm water (or 4-1/2 cups warm water for a gluten-free version)
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/3 cup of organic sugar
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
  • 6 cups whole wheat flour

Combine thoroughly water, yeast, sugar, salt, and oil and allow 15 minutes for them to sponge. Add your flour. Mix well and then leave set to rise for roughly 20 minutes. Once risen, pound it down and split the dough in half to place in two loaf pans. Preheat the solar oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 20 minutes.

Viola! Perfect preppers bread that will fill you up and sustain your energy. But wheat can also be cooking into a cereal.  Much like oatmeal, wheat can be used as a high-energy breakfast food! Use two cups water and one teaspoon of sea salt for every cup of wheat.

You can also make your own wheatgrass! Wheatgrass can be sprouted from wheat grain and used to create a healthful tonic.  It’s the health craze that preppers can partake in as well. Wheatgrass is often consumed as a supplement for its nutritional and health benefits. These young sprouts of the wheat family can be eaten whole and raw, but more often they are juiced raw and consumed as a liquid.

Just a few things to keep in mind: juicing may be more difficult without the use of an electric juicer and wheatgrass can sometimes be difficult to digest in its whole form. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try wheatgrass, just bear in mind that it may take some trial and error before you figure out the best way to reap its benefits without the luxury of electricity.

 With wheat, the best tip by far is to use some and get familiar with it before the grid goes down.  This way, you can become comfortable with grinding it, making it into a cereal, baking it, or growing wheatgrass before the SHTF.  Preparedness takes time and effort, and while wheat is vital to any good food storage plan, practice makes perfect. So grab some wheat and start experimenting today! You may stumble upon the perfect use for wheat and be able to use it as a survival food more effectively than you ever thought possible.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 24th, 2018

Botany: The Most Neglected Subject in Survival (and Why You Could Die From Not Understanding It)

Sun, 09/23/2018 - 20:03

One of the most neglected things regarding survival in the wilderness are resources to properly identify different plants, animals, and other natural resources that might aid you. Regarding the plant kingdom, there’s a fine line between foraging for food and unknowingly causing your own demise. This is because there are many plant species out in the wild that are downright poisonous. You need an edge and need to know what you’re looking for.

Do-it-Yourself Botany: Plant Identification and Four Must-Have Resources for Your Survival Library

Lupine can be mistaken for chicory. Some plants, such as poison oak, ivy, or sumac are dangerous to you if they come in contact with the skin, and also if they’re accidentally burned over a campfire and the smoke inhaled. The first article that I wrote for Ready Nutrition was a review of the book “Eat the Weeds” that gave a listing of all the weeds that are fit and nutritious for consumption.

I’m going to recommend another reference that I found recently that will be a great addition to your preparation library. It is an easy-to-use resource that is very comprehensive in nature and an excellent instructional manual. Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification,” is written by Thomas J. Elpel, and this stresses identification by the plant family, and then narrowing it down to the individual plant.

The book gives the history and structure of plants and then how to identify the different families of plants, finishing off with an entire reference guide with the in’s and outs of each kind. This includes trees and ferns, as well as your standard flowering species. Elpel goes into great detail of the differences between Monocots and Dicots, and flower shape and structure to identify first the family and then the individual plant.

The reason emphasis is placed on the family is that it is easier to identify the group and then narrow that group down to the exact type of plant than to just take a plant in the middle of nowhere and have nothing to compare it to or points of reference. Now’s the time to pick this one up for a reference, as everything is growing all over the country and it can be used as a guide regardless of the geographic location you reside in.

I have already written about my appreciation for Peterson Field Guides for animals, plants, fungi, and so forth: this is because of the color photographs that enable you to accurately ascertain what plant is in front of you. Use those guides to corroborate your hypothesis and to verify your find. Use Elpel’s guide here to enable you to narrow down the field with or without a field guide with color photographs. Peterson’s is by example, and Elpel’s is by the scientific method of observation.

Botany in a Day will run you $30 for the cover price, and you can order it through Amazon if you cannot find it in a bookstore near you. It is not a “pocket-sized” reference, but it is a soft cover and can be tucked away in a backpack when you’re out and about. It is a worthwhile investment that will teach you how to identify the plants you encounter in your travels.  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 September 23rd, 2018

Change of Season? 6 Healthy Ways To Change Your Activities to Adjust!

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 14:31

Ready Nutrition Guys and Gals, this article presents some of the differences you need to be aware of that will directly affect you in your everyday life with the change of season. One of the problems with our modern society (definitely post-agrarian, and really post hunter-gatherer lifestyle!) is the inability to remember that natural laws still govern us in our lives.

Our circadian “pacemakers” are the suprachiasmatic nuclei. These are located in the brain (within the hypothalamus, to be precise), and these are synchronized with the amount of light in the day and the times of the day. To be sure: it is not identical for all people…this is due to genetic differences based upon your heredity and where your ancestors originated. These suprachiasmatic nuclei receive input from light-sensitive cells in your retinas that give you an almost-exactly 24-hour rhythm within your body.

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

This is an affliction comprised of successive or continuous episodes of depression brought about in the change of seasons (such as late Fall to early Winter, and then repeating again during the Spring-Summer change). One of the key findings associated with a study of this affliction is that SAD-sufferers happen to secrete more melatonin during nights of Fall and Winter. Melatonin is a hormone that greatly affects our sleep patterns.

Coupled with this is the fact that the daylight and daytime hours diminish greatly, bringing about a feeling of sluggishness and over-tired responses. This is natural. We live in an artificially-lit world of light bulbs and computer screens, with an excessive amount of noise during the course of the day. Centuries ago, the winter months were a time to live quietly from what was grown, harvested, and gathered during the warmer seasons.

6 Healthy Ways To ChangeYou Can Adjust

The Autumnal Equinox begins on September 22 of this year. So, what can we do to adjust and compensate for the disturbance to our circadian rhythmic desire for prolonged sleep and rest? Let’s go over a few things:

  1. Then sleep and rest! This will take some adjustment on your part, especially since the majority of people may not realize they are affected by the weather changing. It’s important to rest even during the day and giving yourself a “power nap” during the middle of the day can do wonders. Moreover, turn in to bed earlier in the evenings…give yourself an extra hour…a conscious effort on your part. The hour you have to jump up in the morning, put on your “goof” suit and drive to Happytown for work in the Happy Store…that hour may not change, but you can change what time you turn in for the evening and give yourself the extra sleep your body needs.
  2. Vitamins and nutrients: A well-balanced diet is essential. Vitamins during the winter months that people neglect are the D vitamins and the B vitamins, both of which are important for everything from skin tone to stress. Supplement your meals with a well-rounded intake of vitamins and minerals. A good multivitamin goes a long way.
  3. Go easy on the caffeine: This is really easier said than done (especially for Yours Truly), but it can be done. I make 6 pm my “cutoff” time for coffee, and if I have one close to that time? It’s “half-caf,” or half a tsp of instant and half a tsp of decaf. Coffee, tea, and caffeinated beverages have the effect of keeping your neurotransmitters on “high alert,” and by the evening hour, you should be “weaning” yourself off of them to promote better rest.
  4. Nervines: What? What was that? Yes, Nervines are a group of herbs that work on the nervous system…either excitatory or calmative. You need the latter.  Peppermint, Chamomile, and Catnip (yes, Catnip is calmative for humans) are three good examples of herbs that can be taken as a tea before bedtime. I have mentioned Catnip (Nepeta cataria) in other articles. All are effective, as is the herb Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). Be cautious! If you take more than one, they have a synergistic effect…they will work in tandem and potentiate the actions (increase the effects) of the others.
  5. Know when to stop. Oh, that’s a good joke, right? No, it’s the truth. Take a huge task (such as stacking all of your wood on the porch) and break it down into a couple of days. Pace yourself in your undertakings, and break a job around the house up into two or three parts. You’re not decreasing production, you’re increasing effectiveness! Adjust your activities seasonally to compensate for the increased need to rest and slow things down.
  6. Exercise, meditation, and relaxation. You all know what a big believer I am in physical fitness and training. It will help you to relax. That’s right! Exercise has been proven to help people rest more efficiently and effectively. Meditation is important to clear your mind and to decrease the amount of stress during the day. Relaxation can take the form of any activity that promotes peace and serenity or enjoyment in your life, such as reading a good book or listening to some soft music.

So we’ve touched on a few things here to help you in the transition from Summer to Fall…a transition you may have never been fully aware of until now. Questions and comments are welcome, along with some of the experiences you’ve had that may help others to deal with the changes of the season. Fight that good fight, and adapt to changing conditions to win your daily battles!  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 September 21st, 2018

How To Have Zero Waste in Your Kitchen

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 05:39

How would you like to save a LOT of money, and benefit the environment while you are at it? There are many tricks and tips you can use to do both.

Unfortunately, many of us generate a lot of waste – which damages our bank accounts and the planet. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Just how much waste does America generate?

According to a 2013 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, it is an astonishing amount:

In 2013, Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash and recycled and composted about 87 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.3 percent recycling rate. On average, we recycled and composted 1.51 pounds of our individual waste generation of 4.40 pounds per person per day.

Municipal solid waste (more commonly known as trash or garbage) consists of everyday items we use and then throw away, including product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps, newspapers, appliances, paint, and batteries. This waste comes from our homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses.

This is a shame because most of the trash we throw away can be reused, repurposed, or recycled for another use.

Food waste, in particular, is a huge problem and is unnecessary and especially tragic.

According to a study funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and published earlier this year, American consumers waste about one pound of food per day or 225-290 pounds per year. This means US households throw out about 150,000 tons of food each day, total.

Put this into perspective: this means that about 20% of all the food put on our plates is tossed out every year – enough to feed 2 billion extra people annually. It is equivalent to about a third of the calories the average American consumes.

The healthiest Americans are the most wasteful, the study found. This is because of their high consumption of fruits and vegetables, which are the items that are most frequently thrown out. Dairy, and then meat, followed fruits and vegetables for the food items most often tossed.

Lisa Jahns, a nutritionist at USDA and co-author of the study, told The Guardian:

“We need a simultaneous effort to increase food quality as well as reduce food waste. We need to put both of those things out.

Consumers aren’t connecting the dots, [and] they don’t see the cost when they throw food in the trash. At the same time, we don’t want to undermine legitimate food safety concerns and we need to be aware it’s not just the cost of food that’s the issue. It’s the time and energy required to prepare and store food, which often isn’t a priority in a busy household.”

As you can see, the little things you throw out here and there really can add up.

Here are some tips and ideas to help you reduce, reuse/repurpose, and recycle. Reducing food waste

Shop smart – only buy what you need and what you know you will use. I know this can be tricky, and even when we have the best intentions we may not use everything we buy. Meal planning can help you here. Build meals around what you already have. Use items that have a shorter shelf life first. Use shopping lists and stick to them.

Understand what the food packaging terms “best by”, “sell by”, “use by”, “best before”, and “expiration dates” actually mean so you don’t throw out perfectly good food.

Organize and store your canned goods and other food items properly so they last longer.

Do your best to use leftovers. Freeze them, eat them the following day, or add them to another meal. If you are preparing a meal that tastes best the day it is made, then try to only make what will be eaten that day.

Buy in bulk – but ONLY for items that have a long shelf life and that your family will actually consume. Buying in bulk reduces waste from packaging and saves you money – but only if you will actually use the items.

Grow as much of your own food as possible. You can find free gardening guides, seeds, vegetable garden kits, and articles on growing vegetables at Ready Gardens. There’s nothing like being able to walk into your backyard to pick fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, and basil for a fresh salad. Pick what you need, as you need it, and learn how to properly preserve the rest.

Learn how to dehydrate, vacuum seal, can, and properly freeze foods for long-term storage.

Store fruits and vegetables properly to maximize freshness and help them last longer.

If you have fruits and/or vegetables that are losing freshness, check out these creative ways to use them so you don’t have to toss them out.

The article 25 Ways to Keep Food From Spoiling provides tips you’ve likely never thought of or heard before.

Learn how to cut fruits and vegetables to maximize use with these tips from Feeding America:

Cut Smart – Most of us simply lob off the tops and bottoms of our fruits and vegetables to get rid of the stems or roots, taking a lot of the edible vegetable along with it. Instead, use a paring knife to cut closely around the stem on peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and more. Cut as close as possible to the tops or bottoms of carrots, celery, or onions. Use a sharp spoon or melon baller to bore out soft spots and brown spots, leaving more of the healthy portions intact.

Save scraps to use in homemade broths and soup stocks. Make sure they are clean, then store them in freezer bags until you are ready to use them.

Learn how to compost the items you aren’t going to store for future consumption.

Here’s another great tip from Feeding America:

Dedicate one night per week to “sweep the kitchen.” Make use of recipes that are flexible enough to accommodate whatever you might have on hand that needs to be used up, like stir-fries, soups, or casseroles. This weekly challenge will also exercise your creativity and help you discover exciting new flavor combinations.

Reduce other kinds of kitchen waste

Eliminate plastic – buy reusable shopping bags, lunch bags, and sandwich and snack bags. Phase plastics out of your life with these tips.

Store food in non-toxic reusable containers like Mason jars, glass containers, food-grade stainless steel containers, and CorningWare.

Invest in a few good quality reusable water bottles, insulated mugs, and thermoses. Plastic water bottles and paper coffee cups create unnecessary and expensive waste.

If you are worried about consuming tap water, invest in a good quality water filtration system for your home, like a Berkey. To eliminate the need to buy bottled water when you are away from home, try a portable system like the Sawyer Mini.

Avoid using coffee makers that require the use of one-serving plastic cups, like Keurig machines. Instead of using paper filters, try a reusable, BPA free basket filter.

Buy milk in reusable glass bottles if they are available in your area.

Buy pans and appliances that are good quality and will last a long time. Investing in high quality, versatile items like Vitamix blenders will save you money and will prevent you from having to replace your blender every year or so. I’ve had my Vitamix for nearly 18 years and it is still going strong. I use it several times per week. Can you imagine how many poorer quality blenders I would have gone through in that time period? I would have spent far more than what my Vitamix cost and would have contributed unnecessary waste to landfills.

Cast iron cookware is durable, great to cook with, and lasts a long time – and only gets better with time.

Repair items when possible rather than discarding them.

Use cloth instead of paper napkins and paper towels.

Reuse and Repurpose

Finding ways to re-purpose what you’d normally consider “trash” can not only make your lifestyle more green, but it can save you money and time as well. For example, what many natural living homesteaders are doing are using their foodscraps to feed their livestock or adding it to their compost pile to make nutrient-rich compost.

A lot of the trash we generate can be used for other purposes – your imagination is the only limit. For an extensive list of examples, read 50 of the Most Thrown Away Items and Clever Ways to Reuse Them.

Donate items you are not going to use, or give them to neighbors, friends, or family members.

Join The Freecycle Network, a grassroots, entirely nonprofit movement made up of 5,323 groups with 9,337,869 members around the world. Give away (and get) stuff for free in your area. The network’s goal is to encourage reuse to keep usable items out of landfills. Local groups are moderated by local volunteers, and membership is free.

If your family likes to use drinking straws, buy some reusable ones. You’ve likely heard some talk about plastic straw bans. Sure, bans might sound extreme, but it is true that plastic straws create a massive amount of waste (and are polluting our oceans).

In the US alone, we use nearly 400 million straws every day. Plastic straws present a unique problem because they are not easy to recycle, are not biodegradable, are commonly littered, and on a particularly sad note, they are responsible for the deaths of many marine animals, including turtles and seabirds. As of early 2018, data from Ocean Conservancy’s TIDES system showed that straws and stirrers are the 11th most commonly found trash in ocean cleanups, making up about 3% of recovered trash.

Cut up old sheets and towels and use them for dusting and cleaning.

There are things you probably have lying around the house or that you might normally dump in your trash bin that can be used to help grow your garden. These include coffee grounds, toilet paper rolls, lemon rinds, eggshells, beer, and even broken pots. Speaking of coffee grounds, they can be used for many surprising purposes – check out 14 Genius Ways To Recycle Used Coffee Grounds for examples.

Recycle

Ideally, you won’t need to recycle much because you are reducing the amount of waste you generate and are able to repurpose waste that you do generate. However, it is important to know how to properly recycle items that just can’t be reused or repurposed.

Recycling CAN make a huge difference, so don’t skip it.

According to EPA data:

  • Recycling one ton of office paper can save the energy equivalent of consuming 322 gallons of gasoline.
  • Recycling just one ton of aluminum cans conserves more than 152 million Btu, the equivalent of 1,024 gallons of gasoline or 21 barrels of oil consumed.
  • Plastic bottles are the most recycled plastic product in the United States as of 2014, according to our most recent reportRecycling just 10 plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a laptop for more than 25 hours.

To find out which items can be recycled in your area, contact your local county or municipality. The website I Want to Be Recycled has a search feature that will help you locate recycling centers in your region.

While what recycling facilities will accept varies, most do not accept the following items:

  • Garden hoses
  • Sewing needles
  • Bowling balls
  • Food or food-soiled paper
  • Propane tanks or cylinders
  • Aerosol cans that aren’t empty
  • Syringes, broken glass, and broken light bulbs (these should not go in your regular garbage bin either – contact your local waste authority to find out what to do with them)
  • Styrofoam
  • Batteries (for information on how to recycle these, see this guide)

Generally, plastic bags and wraps, electronics, and textiles cannot go in a curbside recycling bin. Please check with your local recycling provider first, though, to be certain since it depends on your local area.

Plastic, metal and glass materials must be empty and rinsed clean of food debris before being recycled. Paper materials must be empty, clean, and dry before being recycled. Wet paper/food-soiled paper products may be compostable, so don’t throw them in your recycling bin – add them to your compost pile.

According to the EPA, these items can be put into your curbside recycling bin, unless your local recycling provider says otherwise:

  1. Cardboard
  2. Paper
  3. Food boxes
  4. Mail
  5. Beverage cans
  6. Food cans
  7. Glass bottles
  8. Jars (glass and plastic)
  9. Jugs
  10. Plastic bottles and caps

Earth911.com has handy recycling guides you can use to find out what to do with various items.

Have you found ways to reduce waste, reuse items, or repurpose things around your home? If so, please share your tips in the comments.

 

 

soap and brushes for washing dishes, metal straws, granola in glass, eco bags with fruits, flat lay. plastic free items.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 21st, 2018

Your Body’s Recovery and Why Diet is Paramount

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 05:00

This piece is designed to emphasize the importance of recovery from your physical exertions. Such a recovery doesn’t mean simply lying down on the couch, or refraining from any physical labor. We’re going to discuss glycogen and cannibalism, the latter referring not to the headhunters of Papua New Guinea, but the body’s own actions to replenish losses.

These losses we inflict upon it every day. Improper diet, not enough fluid intake, and excessive work without recovery are the inflictions we foster on ourselves. In past articles, I have stressed the importance of protein in many Ready Nutrition articles, as well as tissue repair and building muscle. Regarding muscle, the substance we need to discuss is called glycogen, and it is defined as a substance formed by your liver and muscle tissues from carbohydrates (glycogenesis) or non-carbohydrate sources (then termed glyconeogenesis).

Glycogen is excess carbohydrates stored in the liver and muscles that is (in a process known as glycogenolysis) later converted to glucose. When blood glucose levels decrease, the liver picks up the slack and makes new glucose from the stored glycogen.  Glucose is used by the body for many functions and is the primary energy source for all living things. This is basic stuff, and it is important for you to understand this in order to allow your body to recover.

Glycogen stores are utilized with heavy lifting and physical exercise. When you’re lifting weights, shoveling snow for three hours, or cutting wood for two, your body is breaking down muscle tissue. Anabolism is a phase of where the muscle tissue is “torn,” or broken down with the physical exertions. Catabolism then follows, where the protein in your body needs to be prevented from breaking down too far: in this phase, you must take in (replenish) your protein and carbohydrates.

With those activities just mentioned, your body uses its stores of glycogen within the muscles and liver.  After the supplies are depleted?  Your body then resorts to breaking down its own muscle tissue and converting it into glycogen, then glucose (we just mentioned glyconeogenesis as glycogen-production from non-carbohydrate sources…in this case, your own muscle tissue). This “self-breakdown” and conversion of your own muscle tissue to feed your body’s need for glycogen (and then glucose) is referred to as “cannibalism” by bodybuilders and weightlifters. This can (and should!) be prevented.

When that point of depletion is reached, here is what you face: For every 30 minutes of ongoing activity (when glycogen stores are depleted), your body cannibalizes 5 to 6 grams of protein to convert it into glycogen.

That’s serious, folks.  This is the reason you must constantly supply your body with high-quality protein in order to prevent that cannibalism of your muscles from occurring.  There are 8 essential amino acids that we’ve covered in prior articles. Your sources for protein are as follows: dairy products (milk and cottage cheese are biggies), eggs, poultry, fish, beef, oats, nuts, and soybeans.

When you work out or perform strenuous work, you should immediately take in high protein and low to medium carbohydrates within 30 minutes of the exercise or work. If you have a whole day ahead of you regarding strenuous activity, you need to take frequent breaks on the half hour or hour, and take in protein and carbs.  Along with the protein is another important point to consider, and that is water.

We’ve already discussed the importance of water (even during the wintertime) and staying hydrated even when you do not feel you are thirsty. Remember: Thirst is a late sign of dehydration.  When you’re thirsty, you’re most likely already depleted of water. Regarding muscle and strenuous activity, our sweat is comprised of 60% water, and our muscle tissues are made up of 80% water.  You see the point, right?  You should drink anywhere from 80 to 96 ounces of water on days without strenuous activity, just as the normal course of your day. Intake of water prevents kidney stones, lowers the risk of bladder cancer and infections, and keeps you hydrated.

Your body is akin to a machine, and you must keep it properly fueled and maintained to derive maximum performance from it. Recovery should also involve sleep, especially in the winter months when the days are shorter. The circadian rhythm was not inculcated into us as a species for no reason. You need your rest in the winter even more than in the warm months. Proper rest, proper diet, and an understanding of how your body works and fuels itself at the cellular level will promote success for you in your undertakings. Eat well, drink plenty of water, and know your limitations…how to work with them and the times your body needs you to help it along.  Be good to one another and 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 September 20th, 2018

How To Avoid Financial Scammers After A Disaster

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 18:48

Natural disasters bring out the best in some people, but the worst in others. As the nation grapples with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, victims of the storm’s wrath should also be on alert to avoid becoming victims of financial scammers looking to make a quick buck off those who have already lost so much.

It’s important to take a look a the inner workings of these scams to better understand how good people end up losing a lot of money. The scams themselves are timed so that criminals can take advantage of natural disasters to steal money from unsuspecting individuals.  Since a lot of people will give voluntarily to charities to help their fellow humans after disasters occur, scammers often set up fake charities to steal money from those wanting to donate.

The Federal Trade Commission is urging the public to be cautious of potential charity scams and recommends doing some research before donating to ensure that your money will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised. The FTC also offers the following tips to consider before you make a donation:

  • Donate to charities you know and trust with a proven track record in dealing with disasters.
  • Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events. Check out the charity with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) Wise Giving AllianceCharity NavigatorCharity Watch, or GuideStar.
  • Earmark your funds as best as you can for the disaster so you can ensure your funds are going to disaster relief, rather than into some general fund.
  • Never click on links or open attachments in emails unless you know who sent it, even if it’s seemingly from a charity. You could unknowingly install malware on your computer.
  • Don’t assume that charity messages posted on social media are legitimate. Research the organization yourself.
  • When texting to donate, confirm the number with the source before you donate. The charge will show up on your mobile phone bill, but donations are not immediate.
  • Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials. If they should be registered, but they’re not, consider donating to another charity.

Of course, phony charities are only one-way scammers try to get your hard earned money.  Many like to take advantage of the actual disaster victims – for the second time.  As if dealing with a hurricane isn’t enough, Frank Dorman, a public affairs specialist with the Federal Trade Commission, noted that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported a “robocall scam” in which the message states that your flood insurance premiums are due.  People living in the disaster zone are told to pay up in order to be covered for an upcoming disaster. “In order to have coverage for Hurricane Harvey, consumers are told they need to submit a payment immediately,” Dorman noted. “Don’t do it. Instead, contact your insurance agent.” But that isn’t even the worst scam when it comes to taking advantage of those who have already suffered during a disaster.

After natural disasters, many unlicensed contractors and scammers often come into the affected area promising quick repairs at discount prices, Dorman warned. “Always ask contractors for references and call previous clients,” Dorman said. “Write down the driver’s license and vehicle information – make, model, and license plate number – in case you need to report the contractor to authorities.” It’s also important to be skeptical of people promising immediate clean-up and debris removal in exchange for cash. “Some may demand payment up-front for work they never do, quote outrageous prices, or simply lack the skills, licenses, and insurance to legally do the work,” Dorman said.  If you wish to hire someone to help with cleanup on your property, make sure you do the following to avoid being scammed:

  • Check with local officials to find out whether tree and debris removal contractors need to be licensed in your area. If so, confirm that the license for the contractor you’re considering is current. Never sign any document or pay any contractor before verifying their license.
  • Ask a contractor to provide their license and certificate of insurance once they are on your property. If a contractor tells you certain work is covered by your insurance, call your insurance provider to confirm.
  • Pay with a credit card or check, and be wary of contractors who ask for a deposit in cash or to be paid in cash. Negotiate a reasonable down payment with full payment to be made only upon satisfactory completion of work.

The BBB also warns homeowners affected by natural disasters to beware of “storm chasers” and out-of-town contractors soliciting businesses. “Although not all storm chasers are scammers, they may lack the proper licensing for your area, offer quick fixes, or make big promises they can’t deliver,” Katherine R. Hutt, BBB national spokesperson said. “Although not all storm chasers are scammers, they may lack the proper licensing for your area, offer quick fixes, or make big promises they can’t deliver,” Hutt said.

  • Do your research. Find businesses you can trust on bbb.org. “We have BBB Business Profiles on more than a million home contractors,” Hutt said. “Check your state or provincial government agency responsible for registering and/or licensing contractors.”
  • Resist high-pressure sales. Some storm chasers use tactics such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot. “Be proactive in selecting a contractor and not re-active to sales calls on the phone or door-to-door pitches,” Hutt advised. “Disaster victims should never feel forced to make a hasty decision or to choose an unknown contractor.”
  • Be especially careful of door-to-door contractors. Many municipalities require a solicitation permit if sales people go door-to-door. “Ask for identification,” Hutt recommended. “Check their vehicle for a business name, phone number, and license plates for your state or province.”
  • Know your rights and responsibilities. “Check with your town or municipality to see what permits contractors need to work on your property,” Hutt said. “Check with your insurance company to make sure your liability insurance covers falls or injuries to contractors.”

At the end of the day, it’s up to us to protect ourselves from the financial (and other) predators out there. This is by no means a complete list of the measures you can take to protect yourself, nor is it complete in the manner in which people may attempt to scam another.  Be cautious and aware at all times. No amount of government or lack thereof will stop bad people from doing bad things but you can be prepared, and trust your gut instincts.  You are responsible for your own life and this guide should be a starting point to help you recognize scammers wanting to make a quick buck off of your misery.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 18th, 2018

Honey’s Health Benefits and Why You Need It In Your Ready Nutrition Medicinal Pantry

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 05:25

Ready Nutrition readers, the use of honey in medical emergencies is older than recorded history. There are many reasons that honey is excellent for use in first aid and homeopathic aids such as cuts, abrasions, burns, coughs, colds, and infections. Honey has anti-inflammatory properties and is also anti-bacterial/microbial in nature. Honey is bacteriostatic against certain “bugs” such as E. coli and Salmonella. Bacteriostatic means that honey prevents these organisms from growing…and as these two are found in food, that’s a good thing.

Honey actually fights against bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus. The latter is the most common bacteria found in the human nasal passages and nose. Also, honey should be as raw as possible, and the darker the better.  Dark honey contains more antioxidants, and it is more effective in fighting microorganisms and bacteria.

It is highly effective as a cough-suppressant and as a demulcent. That latter term means something that coats the throat and the linings of the trachea and mouth to soothe the surfaces…a principle for which cough drops and lozenges have a primary function/goal.  Buckwheat honey surpasses dextromethorphan (the primary cough suppressant found in Robitussin, for example) in terms of cough suppressant action.

There is also a type of honey known as Manuka Honey, a special type of healing honey that can fight against more than 200 types of bacteria and some of the species it defeats are resistant strains such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Manuka honey is obtained from bees that are in New Zealand and is differentiated from other types of honey for its healing qualities because it comes from pollen the bees there take from the Manuka bush.

This bush apparently has a compound in its nectar called dihyroxyacetone…and this compound is converted from the nectar when the honey is made by the bees into another compound called MG. This MG stands for methylglyoxal, and it is found in other types of honey, but in only small qualities. It is believed that Manuka honey’s main “power” as an antibiotic comes from this high concentration of MG formed when the bees convert the Manuka bush nectar into honey. The Manuka honey can be used to treat burns, ulcers, and bacterial infections. Local health food stores in your locality may carry this health-promoting honey too.

When you treat a wound with honey, what happens is similar to what happens with sugar…a substance with high osmolality (basically, it can remove/absorb the fluid from a wound). While the water content of the wound is reduced by this action, the growth of bacteria is greatly inhibited. Honey is hypersaturated with sugar (about 80%), and it kills Staph bacteria within a couple of hours of application. The sugar also causes the bacteria to dehydrate and stops their spread.

  • You can apply it topically on wounds or burns to help soothe the wound and stop the spread of microorganisms.
  • Be careful to follow standard first-aid procedures first, such as cleaning the wound/burn, and stopping the bleeding prior to the application of the honey.  Also, safety precautions are in order.
  • Do not use honey as first-aid for an infant that is one-year-old or younger: their immune system is not developed yet, and if raw honey is given, it can contain spores of botulism that adults will not be harmed with, but will hurt an infant.
  • Do not give it to a diabetic and anyone who has ever suffered an allergic reaction to it, or is allergic to bee-stings.

Consider the honey in your supplies, as it is easy to obtain, not particularly expensive, and it has few complications regarding its administration as a first-aid measure. Learn as much about it as possible (let this article be a “Honey 101” primer to stimulate your interest), and realize how it will be useful in a medical emergency and almost always readily available. We hope! Read the excellent article written by Ready Nutrition’s Lisa Egan on the dangers faced with the world bee population declining and why it is occurring. Until next time, 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 September 17th, 2018

What Solar Minimum Means and 10 Ways You Need To Prepare For It

Sat, 09/15/2018 - 05:42

In the article, “Earth’s Big Freeze Looms as Sun Remains Devoid of Sunspots for Most of 2018, the writer addressed an issue that we are perhaps beginning to see the start of right now.

Throughout the United States, you may notice the change in seasons from summer to fall is happening at a much faster rate than normal. The UK Daily Mail published a piece about this and explains how fall is occurring about a month earlier than it normally begins. This is evidenced in the way deciduous tree foliage is changing its leaf colors almost a month ahead of schedule.

In Montana, I have noticed that the flocks of geese have already started their migrations, and this is also about a month earlier than normal. Other things here locally have occurred, such as drops in temperatures, domestic animals (dogs, cats, and horses) have begun to grow in their winter coats, and normal cycles of plants (such as pine pollen) either haven’t happened or are “off”.

Not to steal the thunder from the cited article, but in a nutshell, the decreases in sunspots mean we are approaching a solar minimum: lower heat produced by the sun in a cycle that occurs every 11 years. This is the kind of thing that (when prolonged) heralds a condition called a “mini-ice-age,” such as the one that occurred from 1645 to 1715. This caused changes in the seasons and food shortages.

10 Ways to Prepare for a Solar Minimum

What can you do about it when the sun changes during this cycle? You can do plenty of things. Let’s go over a few of them.

  1. Refrigerated Food Supply: I wrote several articles on seasonal changes you should make to your food supply, both refrigerated and in the pantry. Now that winter is approaching, take the majority of your food in the freezer, and cook it.  With power gone, it’s better to heat up food that’s already been cooked and eat it than waste time, fuel, and energy cooking it from the raw.
  2. Pantry: Ensure that your Mason jars are wide-mouthed jars (that take a freeze), as much as possible. Ensure that all of your dry and canned goods are able to be warmed by a wood stove or moved into a room with a fireplace if there should be a power loss.
  3. Overall Food Supply: this encompasses canned and dry goods, as well as dehydrated, high-protein foods, is the way to go.
  4. Water: remember that water in the winter under 32 degrees F is ice. Allow for some headspace (about ¼) in your water containers to allow for freezing. Move any water stored that is in danger of being frozen into an area above the freezing temperature. Have a way to take the ice and turn it into the water, and purify it.
  5. Winter Fuel: For years I have advocated cutting wood in the spring and curing it to cut and section in the fall. You should break out the chainsaws (see my article on them) and if there are fire restrictions prohibiting its use, get out the ax and bow saw for a good workout along with the wood gathering. Any dead trees on your property and any fallen dead timber or standing dead timber (with a permit in a national or state forest) is fair game. Cut it now, while the cutting is possible.
  6. “Snivel” Gear: that’s what we called it in the Army. I’m talking about my favorite – the Gore-Tex – and all of the polypro long underwear you can pick up. Plan on that Gore-Tex exterior and all layers beneath, top and bottom. Don’t forget the boots! Dry and warm, and as much Thinsulate as you can obtain. Don’t forget good sleeping bags (Extreme Cold Weather bags ) and a good Gore-Tex cover for the outside…enables it to lock in heat yet still exude moisture.
  7. Vehicles Weatherized and Prepped: Now is a good time to top off all of the fluids, perform any maintenance, and get that vehicle ready to be your tool in the winter. Extra blankets and clothing in the car along with your BOB (bug-out bag) and supplies are necessary. Don’t forget a food supply that is either dehydrated or one that can take a freeze.
  8. Thermoses and Hot Food Containers:  Can’t be overstated. As I wrote in other articles, here in Montana, an auto disaster or a sudden storm that stops you can mean death. You need to have a supply of hot water and a hot meal if you can swing it. Please refer to the articles I wrote on the subject in the past on these techniques.
  9. Commo: Yes, communications gear. Prep by investing in Motorolas for the family, CB radios for the vehicles and a base station, or long-range radios and a base station as well. Don’t forget to support it all with a generator and solar panels to charge batteries and to run radios from.
  10. Defense: Archery equipment and firearms are necessary for both hunting game, and also making sure that two-legged hunters don’t make your supplies their game if it hits the fan and there is a prolonged collapse. ‘Nuff said there.

The final thoughts are you need to address this list for the winter and a solar minimum event, as well as continued readiness if things fall apart and a collapse occurs. A solar minimum could also cause a cascading power failure if too much drain is placed on the supply. This could cause catastrophic conditions that you don’t want to happen prior to taking the correct measures. As Ben Franklin termed it, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” He was right. Stay in the game by staying ahead of it, and prepare long in advance of something happening.  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 September 15th, 2018

CODE ZERO: Ambulance Shortages Could Create Major Catastrophes During Disasters

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 06:33

Will 9-1-1 and its emergency services always be there for us? Recent statistics on the shortages of ambulances in some cities in the United States say maybe not…especially during a disaster.

It can be easy for the public to assume that when they call 911, the cavalry will arrive quickly to save them, will know what to do, and will have the resources to take care of their every need. But what many fail to understand is that there’s a very serious staffing crisis in the field of emergency medical services, and many major cities are feeling the effect. That effect is compounded in rural areas.  And it isn’t just the U.S. that is experiencing this understaffing of EMS units. It’s happening in Great Britain as well.

The Journal of Emergency Medical Services stated that rural EMS departments are facing the biggest challenges. On-the-job stress is not unusual for EMS workers and combined with long hours, low pay, and an increase in ambulance calls, this is causing their ranks to thin as co-workers burn out and quit as they snag higher paying and lower stress jobs with better hours. The emergency worker shortage, seen nationwide, could endanger patients’ lives through increased response times, and a disaster could mean many go without the vital medical care they will need to save their lives.

In the city of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, in January of this year alone,  there have been 31 situations where one or no ambulance was available to respond to an emergency.  This is known as a “code zero.” It was the highest monthly level in five years and even the mayor has taken notice:

I am at the general with a friend for care & there are 8 ambulances & 16 @HPS_Paramedics waiting for hours to off load patients. I am told this is normal! Another 7 ambulances waiting @ #St. Joseph's. Mindboggling problem that must be fixed @RobMacIsaac & @Kathleen_Wynne #HamOnt pic.twitter.com/GcoUp2ueYF

— Fred Eisenberger (@FredEisenberger) January 30, 2018

This shortage of ambulances and EMS staff could affect us all should a disaster strike. The average response time is already 15 minutes and 19 seconds, and with these reported shortages, patients often wait hours to be transported to the hospital. That’s a rather long time for a person suffering from a heart attack. But with government funds and promises always limited to what can be taken from others, what can you do to protect yourself and give you and your family a fighting chance after a disaster when an ambulance is just not available?

What You Can Do:

You need to start by knowing the basics.  Learn how to recognize the signs of a medical emergency. Knowing these signs and acting quickly could save the individual’s life. In an emergency medical situation time is very important and people should be treated immediately and to the best of your ability.

Once you have become aware of what could constitute a medical emergency, you’ll need to know how to provide basic trauma care until help can arrive – whether it be soon, or days later. Writer Jeremiah Johnson, who was a Special Forces Medic, EMT, and is ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction and has written extensively on the subject. Read up on some of his emergency medical care articles and consider having them printed for your emergency binder.  You should also take the time to study trauma care and read about it so you’ll be well prepared to offer help if you need to.

Know How to Provide Basic Trauma Care Until Help Arrives

A Green Beret’s Introduction to Trauma Medicine

Basic Emergency Trauma Supply Considerations

When There Is No Doctor: Caring For Head Trauma

A Green Beret’s Trauma Guide to Bandaging and Splinting

Trauma Medicine: First Aid For Burns

How To Use and Apply a Tourniquet

 

Plan for the Worst & Train

There could be significant delays for those who require medical attention during disasters and inequitably this leads to systemic breakdowns. Plan for the worst and learn the basics of emergency medical care.

Educate Yourself 

Read the attached guide, When there is no Doctor.  This valuable document was developed and written many years ago for use in third world countries where medical help was not available.  Its use in an emergency situation will be priceless.

Learn First Aid

The Red Cross, the YMCA, and many other community organizations offer lessons and instruction in basic first aid techniques. Many individuals have had the advantage of learning first aid in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts or perhaps even in the military, but the rest of us need to take the initiative. By learning first aid, you’ll know valuable basics such as how to care for someone, how to stop bleeding and knowing how to treat infections.  Knowing basic first aid should be a priority for everyone, especially those already living in rural environments. Apply this to your everyday life and become comfortable with thinking about the potential medical needs of others. Here’s one example of how I personally apply this to my life:

As a pee wee flag football coach (ages 5-8), before checking for enough footballs or flags for games and practices, I make sure that I have my first aid kit.  Even if I know I haven’t used it, I check my kit anyway to make sure I’ve got a minimum of three instant cold packs and some gauze. (This reminds me of basic gun safety: even if you know your gun is unloaded, check to make sure it’s unloaded before handling.) It may seem over the top, but getting into the mindset of preparedness and safety will be much easier when it can be applied to your own real-life situations.  Plus, if one of those kids ever needs a cold pack after a fall or gets a bloody nose, their parents will be thankful that I decided to think ahead.  I’ve also taken basic first aid and CPR courses just in case; which leads me right into the next tip.

Learn CPR

Experts now say that CPR—even inadequately done—is better than no CPR at all. Many folks shy away from learning CPR because mouth-to-mouth resuscitation makes them uncomfortable. Lately, it was reported that CPR without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is adequate enough and could save a life. What are most significant are the multiple chest compressions. Most areas offer some basic CPR courses and even if you have to drive a little way to attend, it could be life-saving to do so.

Talk about medical plans with your family

At the next dinner with the family, discuss what should occur if someone needs medical attention.  Who in the group could insert sutures if needed?  If you have children in the group, they should be told it’s ok to be afraid and it is ok to discuss their uncertainties. Keep in mind that the more you talk about what may occur and how to help in a medical situation, the less terrifying it can be.

Preparing for a medical emergency seems like a daunting task, but once you’ve prepared yourself mentally for the possibility that anything can happen, it becomes easier.  It will become second nature to think of the safety of others and the medical supplies needed as you continue to learn. And you can always start small if you feel overwhelmed.  Apply basic medical preparedness to your personal life. For example, will I need a tourniquet for a pee wee flag football game? I certainly hope not.  The chances of that are incredibly slim, so I avoided tossing one in my bag. But I could make my own and apply it if necessary.  However, bloody noses, sprained ankles, bloody knees, and kicked shins are not few and far between, so those I am highly prepared for.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 13th, 2018

From Tree To Table: Tips For Fresh Maple Syrup

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 06:31


The freshest, unprocessed, maple syrup comes directly from trees and you can tap into all of that yummy goodness yourself! Not only does maple syrup taste great, but it can be a potent natural medicine with additional health benefits as well!

The sap in trees contains water and dissolved sugars and other nutrients that travel up towards the branches, feeding the developing leaves. But surprisingly, sap is only about 2% sugar or sucrose depending on the species of tree and is also good for bone health. It has been shown to contain 16 times the potassium, 37 times the calcium, and 3.9 times the magnesium of spring water.  All 3 of these minerals are essential nutrients for optimal bone health. Just as calcium and potassium are two minerals that function in supporting optimal bone health, they also play a role in regulating blood pressure.  Sap also supports a healthy immunes system and is an antioxidant!

*Sap is a clear fluid and it looks like water.

TREES YOU CAN TAP FOR SAP
  • Maple – Sugar maple, silver maple, red maple
  • Birch tree
  • Black walnut tree

*Other trees to tap include: Heart Nut, Butternut, Beechnut, Hickory, Sycamore, Hop Hornbeam, Bow Elder, Alder, Elm, Gorosoe, Linden or Basswood, and Palm

Sugar Maple tree pictured below:

If you’d like to try to tap a tree and harvest some delicious and nutritious sap for syrup, choose trees that are at least 12-inches in diameter and not diseased or damaged. If a tree is larger, about 24-inches in diameter or more, you can use more than one tap.

You also should bear in mind that most trees are tapped in the early spring (from February through March) depending on the type of tree and your location. Trees are best tapped when the temperature is warm during the day and still cold at night. Typically, the sap flows best with these fluctuations in temperature because this gives the sap a chance to flow up during the day, and down at night. Sap flow usually lasts for about 5 weeks.

 HOW TO TAP A TREE AND GET SAP

First, you’ll need to gather a few supplies:

  • Drill
  • Drill Bit (corresponds to the size of spile)
  • Spile(s)
  • Food Grade Bucket
  • Container or Jug
  • Food Grade Hose

Make sure you’ve properly sterilized the drill bit, spile(s), buckets, hose, and containers.

If you don’t have anywhere locally that sells spiles, try Amazon.  There are several options to choose from.  These come as a “tapping kit” with a corresponding hose. 

Once you’ve gathered the supplies necessary and know which tree you’re going to tap, it’s time to get started!  You can watch the entire process in the video below:

HOW TO TAP FOR SAP
  • Start on the sunny side of the tree, usually the south side. Use a drill bit that is about 5/16″ and make the hole about 2½ inches deep. Angling the hole slightly upward will help the flow.
  • Insert the spile (the tube that carries the sap out of the tree and into the bucket). You can use a bamboo tube that has an angle cut on the end.  
  • If your spile doesn’t already have a hook attached, cut a few notches in it to hold the bucket. You can also nail a hook into the tree. This won’t hurt the tree if it is removed when you’re done. Hang the bucket and cover it to keep rain and debris out of it.
  • If all goes well and the temperatures stay above freezing during the day, you can get anywhere from 10-70 gallons of sap from a single tree. Be sure to cover and refrigerate (or even freeze) your sap until you’re ready to turn it into syrup.

Once you’ve retrieved your tree sap, you have a few options.  You can either drink the sap straight from the tree or boil it down into delicious syrup. Some suggest you always boil tree sap to remove any micro-organisms that could be living in the liquid, however, use your best judgment.

TO MAKE MAPLE SYRUP

 For a gallon of maple syrup, you’ll need about 40 gallons of sap.  Depending on how many trees you’ve tapped and how much sap they produced this is entirely feasible. Turning sap into syrup is the simple process of boiling the water off so you’re left with the sugary thick and almost candy-like syrup we all are familiar with.

  • Boil the sap down in a large kettle, being sure to keep a lot of sap in the kettle at all times.
  • Watch it closely, as the sap boils down fast.
  • When the sap reaches 219°F, you’ll have pure syrup.
  • Filter the syrup while it is still warm. Bottle, label, and refrigerate.

Tree tapping is almost a “lost art” it seems, as most in American tend to go for the processed and synthetic products rather than take the time to reap nature’s benefits.  However, tree tapping is something that can be done as a family! After all, what child dislikes maple syrup?  Kids will love to see where the sap comes from and the process involved in getting it from the tree to their pancakes.  Boiling sap into syrup is also a great way to teach children the science behind evaporation (water transforming from a liquid to a vapor and leaving the sap). So consider letting your kids join in the fun and experience the journey of delicious “tree to table” syrup with you!

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 12th, 2018

The REAL Reason Bottled Water Has An Expiration Date

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 13:39

Bottled water is a popular item to store in case of an emergency, and for good reason. It is normally readily available and water should be able to be stored forever, right?  So then why is there an expiration date on bottled water?

Of course, water doesn’t expire, but you should still check the expiration date on the bottle before you drink it. According to Live Science, there a few different reasons why water bottles come with expiration dates, and the first one, you shouldn’t worry too much about, but the second one should make you think twice.

Since water is a consumable product, regulations and laws require bottles to be stamped with an expiration date even though water doesn’t ever “expire.” Rational people understand this, but the government feels the need to step in and protect us from ourselves anyway. The only reason they were put there in the first place was that a 1987 New Jersey state law required all food products to display an expiration date, including water, according to Mental Floss. Since it wasn’t very cost effective for companies to label and ship batches of expiration-dated water to one state alone, most bottled water producers simply started giving every bottle a two-year sell-by date—no matter where it was going. Because the law is rather arbitrary, don’t worry too much about drinking expired water just because a law demands a company stamp the bottle. However, the expiration date serves more of a warning about the bottle itself than the water contained inside.

Unlike the water itself, which has existed on Earth for 4.5 billion years, that manufactured plastic bottle only has so much time before it “goes bad.” The plastic bottles that water comes packaged in (usually polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for retail bottles and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for water cooler jugs). The bottle will eventually fail (expire) and begin to leach plastic chemicals into the water with an effect on the overall taste. So if you happen to find a water bottle well past its printed expiration date in your home, it’s probably safe to drink, if you don’t mind the chemical bits of bottle which have broken down and are now swirling around in it, but you should also be aware of the fact that it might not be super fresh tasting anymore either.  But in a life and death situation, you could drink well-expired bottled water and probably be alright. But there are many options for storing water that could help you avoid drinking the plastic.

PLASTIC CONTAINERS

That said, storing water for a disaster or emergency should be done in only food grade containers. You can avoid plastics such as HDPE and PET to prevent the leaching of chemicals, but those are, technically “food grade” plastics (according to the FDA – so take that with a grain of salt) and you may not have a way around it.  Also, choosing BPA-free containers will be safer as well. If water is not stored correctly, it can (and will) become toxic.  You can minimize the chances of plastic chemicals leaching into your water if you store it in a cool dry place.  Direct sunlight will break down the plastic more quickly. But if there is any doubt in your mind at all about the integrity of your container, trust your gut over the labels and do not store water in that container even if the FDA says its safe to do so.  There are plenty of other options.

5 Short Term Methods to Store Water

One water storage suggestion is a 55-Gallon Rainwater Collection System. Some are made from FDA approved polyethylene resin (and are also BPA free). This particular one has a  plastic barrel and the capacity to hold enough water to supply a family of 4 with over 13 days worth of water, or 2 people nearly a 30 day supply of water. The dark blue color of this 55-gallon barrel restricts light and helps control the growth of harmful algae and bacteria.

GLASS CONTAINERS

You can also use glass containers to store water.  There is no chance that the container will leach and if you’ve got some extra mason jars laying around after canning, it may be a good way to put those to some good use.  Of course, the major disadvantage of glass is that it’s not only heavy, it is pretty easy to break. However, steps can be taken to minimize the chances of the glass breaking, such as wrapping the glass containers with newspaper or cardboard. Check out these highly-rated 18 oz leak-proof glass bottles for your water storage needs if you decide glass is right for you.

 

A WELL

The best way to ensure you have enough water on hand and a replenishable supply of the water is to get a mechanized well.  This is my family’s method of “storing” water. We don’t actually have to store any at all, though, and can focus on building our supply of ammunition and non-perishable foods because of it.  Of course, we have the well on a pump that works with electricity, however, we also have devised a way to retrieve water from the well in the event of a crisis or disaster in which we have no power. It is important to keep in mind that this is more of a water generation system than “storage” system, but its the most effective for long-term disasters and therefore worth mentioning. Since wells both store and produce water, if you can build one on your property, you should have a good source of drinking water during an emergency. As the website, Skilled Survival put it: this is highly dependent on how much of your well is mechanized. But the fact remains: someone with a working water well is going to survive a disaster far easier than the rest.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 11th, 2018

The Fall & Winter Prepper Checklist: 9 Things To Get Your Home Prepped for Disasters

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 06:59

Now that Summer is winding to a close and the kids are all getting ready to go back to school, we’re about to enter the “Post-Vacation” Zone…and get to the business at hand of readying the house for the fall and winter. Be aware that Hurricane Season is here and Fire Season has not ended. This article is a reminder of the things you need to get done and squared away before the cold weather arrives.

9 Things To Get Your Home Prepped for Disasters In Fall and Winter 1. Wood Supply

In years past, I’ve emphasized this continually. Now is the time (if fire season precludes use of chainsaws) to cut your wood and to assure your wood supply is ready and accessible. This is both for winter and as a prep: if everything goes down the tubes tomorrow, you will find that the nice fire becomes a necessary fire to heat the home and to cook food. Make sure you have a supply that you can put the majority of the wood, and an area that is readily accessible. Make certain your wood is off of the ground and that it is protected: either under a roof (as in a woodshed) or under a tarp. Cut it all now, and do a sound estimate on your rate of consumption under adverse conditions (loss of power, or SHTF scenario). Don’t forget fire starting materials and a good supply of newspaper: since the latter contains no “news” it’s perfect for burning and can be stored in your woodshed. Ensure chainsaws, axes, splitters, and other tools are in good working order and ready to use. And don’t forget about new box of matches!

2. Chimney, Roof, and House “Integrity”

Don’t procrastinate, and have that chimney swept out now, or do it yourself. It’s easier if you have a stovepipe rather than a chimney: then you need the appropriate-diameter brush and the detachable rods. Creosote fires can burn down the whole house. You can pick up the rods and brush at a hardware store or order them online and have them sent to you. Read more about how to properly clean your chimney here. Make sure your roof is cleared of debris and your rain gutters are cleared and in working order. House “integrity” refers to closing up any kinds of gaps, cracks, or holes in the foundation or body that leave room for heat loss and entry of cold air. This is best accomplished with spray-in foam, silicone caulk, and weatherization with heavy plastic and foam molding.

3. “Twice on the Pipes”

[To paraphrase Tony Orlando and Dawn] check to make sure all of your pipes are well insulated, especially those exposed to the freezing temperatures. The foam-type with the slit/slotted aperture is good; make sure to close the aperture with duct tape, as the glue on the edges is usually lacking.  Once again, blow-in foam in an aerosol can works really well in those tight spaces where there isn’t much room to cram in insulation. It’s only about $8 per can and goes a long way. Protect your outlets for hoses with foam outlet covers. Make sure your drain the water out of all your garden and utility hoses before the freezing weather sets in.

4. Shift the Food Supply

For your perishables, now will be a good time to fill up that freezer with frozen food, as you will soon have freezing temperatures to sustain them if you should lose power. Hunting wild game is a great way to fill the freezer with tasty protein sources. I once wrote that anything needing cooking you should do prior to freezing. Then you freeze it after it is cooked.  Your item is then ready to go…just warm it up.

5. Personal Gear and Clothing

Get those winter clothes out of storage and ready to use. This includes changing out the light sleeping bag of the summer with the extreme cold weather bag and Gore-Tex cover. Pull that Gore-Tex “Gumby” suit out of the storage! Ensure all of your thermal underwear is serviceable and ready to go. Remember: dress in layers, and plan on dressing in layers. It is easier to “peel” off a layer if need be than remove the whole “space suit” and then be cold underneath. Boots and footgear need to be cleaned and serviceable. Almost time to switch off from summer hikers to winter boots with Thinsulate.

6. Stored Goods and Prepper Supplies

Ensure that all of your perishables and canned goods and supplies are protected from the cold and from alternate freezing-thawing cycles. Long ago I recommended “wide-mouth” Mason jars, as they can usually stand up to the rigors of a freeze. Ensure that medications that cannot be frozen will not be frozen. This is a good time to conduct an inventory and make sure your FIFO (First-in, First-out) lists are up to date. Also be sure that there are adequate measures to control vermin, such as rats and mice that will enter the house as the temperatures drop. The cat (as you know) is my preferred measure of choice, but if you do not have one, you’ll have to plan accordingly with traps and other deterrents. Regularly checking your supplies (yes, even once every day!) will help in this department. Also, if you have a cat? Make sure he can go in where the supplies are kept.

7. Emergency Equipment

This means all of your alarms, night vision devices, family communication devices (such as CBs and Motorolas), scanners, radios, emergency signaling devices, and first aid gear are accounted for and in working order. Some time back I wrote a piece on the importance of taking an inventory for accountability and serviceability on your equipment. This piece needs to be applied here. Check all of your battery compartments for any signs of rust or leakage, and actually test the device. A thermal sight does no good if the batteries are either dead or leaking into the chamber. Ensure all of your family members know where this equipment is and how to use it.

8. Snow Removal

This may seem minor until you’re in a snowstorm and have to get out of the house because of some emergency. Have the high-tech (the snow blower) as well as the low-tech (the shovel) ready and in good working order. Have plenty of ice melt, salt, and sand prior to an Arctic Ragnarok moving into your neighborhood. On a side note, if you have an ample supply of snow, you can harvest the clean snow for an emergency water supply.

9. “I’m your vehicle, Ba-by!”

As Tom Jones once crooned, only the reverse is true here. It won’t take you anywhere you want to go…unless it is serviced and in good mechanical working order. Load up the trunk or back bed with supplies for emergencies, such as food, blankets, emergency gear, and what is needed. Don’t let yourself down by allowing your vehicles to be in disrepair. Take care of this stuff now, before the winter sets in.

These are the basics to get the “creative juices” flowing in your mind. Of course there are many more items that could be listed; however, these are basics and not intended to be comprehensive. The best time to start on them is now. Don’t put off doing these tasks, as they are important to accomplish before the cold, wet weather sets in. An ounce of prevention over a pound of cure any day.  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 September 10th, 2018

Prepper Burnout: 5 Healthy Ways To Deal With It

Sat, 09/08/2018 - 05:41

In many articles, I have stressed the precept “Don’t stop the training!” I still stand by it; however, there are times when as a prepper, a survivalist, a constitutional patriot, or whatever label you wish to apply to yourself…you may feel “burned out,” or lackadaisical. We are having a tremendous amount of people feeling this way since the Presidential elections of 2016. Many are questioning what need is there to prepare for the end of the world or a collapse?

That is an excellent question, yet it is best answered thusly [to paraphrase “Upgrayedd”]: Is the election of President Trump a guarantee that a collapse or a SHTF scenario will no longer happen? The answer is that it is not a guarantee of such. There are plenty of different things happening around the world. North Korea was written off as a threat in the minds of many at the time of the summit meetings, only to be revealing its fangs once again. Russia (every Hollywood film is painting them as the “bogeyman”) is still an issue, as are China and Iran. Ebola is breaking out in the Congo, and the economies of the world are on shaky ground. All the more reason to continue to train and prepare: but how do we deal with burnout?

5 Ways to Deal With Prepper Burn-Out The answer is simple here and rendered in one word: Balance.

It is not an oversimplification. It is a word that means several different actions in different categories of preparation. Let’s cover a few of them and explore the concept.

  1. Physical Training: Overtraining here can be (potentially) almost self-explanatory, but it is more involved than it appears on the surface. When you work out a muscle group, there are two types of physical recoveries that are taking place after the workout is done: local and systemic. Local involves the muscles themselves, now in a catabolic state that needs the replenishment of nutrients such as proteins and vitamins, and actual rest from physical activity. Systemic involves the organs, such as the liver, heart, kidneys, lungs, and so forth. These, too, need recovery from the toxins produced during the course of the workout. They do not experience the same growth as muscle tissue, yet the demands placed upon them are even more to compensate physically for what you’ve “done” to yourself with a workout. Whether you’re a strength-trainer with weights or an endurance-trainer with marathons and long-distance marches, you need to give your body time to replenish and compensate after the exercise.
  2. Cross-Training:  You may have as your forte and profession the skills of a mechanic, and at the end of the day (or society), that is your main skill and interest. To give your mind a rest and also to explore other areas? You may wish to train in other skills. How about acquiring the skills of a welder? You could even pick up some training on heavy equipment or driving certain types of vehicles.  These would complement your main profession. Or find something to study that is totally different. You can never learn too much, and every skill you pick up is good for you down the road.
  3. Supplies:  Are there ever really enough? No, there are not. Your budget and time constraints, however, may say otherwise, at least temporarily. Then do something different with the existing supplies to improve them…such as store them in a special order or with a new inventory system. Take factors such as time, temperature, humidity, and dates gathered, and fine-tune your warehouse or disaster larders.
  4. Family Time: Give your mind a hiatus by having days where you’re not focused on anything but having a good time and enjoying each other’s company, whether out to dinner, or having a dinner/movie night at home, or activities with your church or any organization you may belong to. Having “normal” (a better word is unstressed) family time is just as important as preparing them for the next disaster to come up.
  5. Activities with Dual Purposes:  Make a project that will have more than one use or benefit, with one being a “Happy Hallmark Family” purpose, and the other a backup for a disaster…a “secondary” purpose. An in-ground swimming pool is a great example of this. Think of all that you guys could do with the pool in your backyard…the barbecues, the family gatherings, and such. Think also of the training that you can do: swimming is excellent for physical training. Disaster wise? Think of the in-ground reservoir you’ve built in the event of an emergency.  In this case, one stone gets three birds, right?

Underlying to all of this is your mind. You must continually replenish this most valuable (and finite) resource: through proper diet, through exercise, and through meditation. You must also give your mind a hiatus from too much activity. Be aware, but do not be troubled, alarmed, or worried. Handle things in a controlled fashion and work on mental discipline and concentration to be able to take care of things as they arise.

There is a time for all things, and as such, also a time not for all things. Know when to draw the line on excess, and maintain balance in your life. You can do all of this without relenting or letting up on your prepper posture or being able to shift into action at any given time. Be as the lion: strong and prepared, resting on the grass, yet mindful of the cubs…ready to spring to their defense when danger threatens. Your preparations are an investment, and make sure you take some of that larder before you pack it away…and have a nice dinner with a portion of it with your family. Balance in all areas, and readiness when the time comes. Look to the lion, and look out for one another.  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 September 8th, 2018

5 Likely Hurricane Aftermath Scenarios To Prepare For

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 20:04

It is currently hurricane season for the Atlantic and Pacific regions of the United States.

As I write this article, Hurricane Florence is a Category 3 storm with the potential to reach Category 4 status. As of now, the storm has an uncertain path, but East Coast folks – please watch this one closely, as some models suggest it could head right for you.

Helene and Issac could form in the Atlantic later this week. In the Pacific, Hurricanes Olivia and Norman are being watched closely.

Hurricanes are unpredictable, as anyone who has experienced one knows. This makes them challenging to prepare for, but fortunately, there are things you can do to increase your odds of survival, should one head for your region.

It is important to understand that a hurricane need not be a Category 5 to be incredibly dangerous and cause serious damage. When Hurricane Isabel hit my Virginia neighborhood in 2003, the storm was barely a Category 1. It was the first (and to date, the only – thankfully) hurricane I’ve experienced personally, and back then I really had no idea how difficult the aftermath would be.

I fully expected the “authorities” to take care of everything after Isabel passed. I thought they’d clean up all the debris and have the roads cleared and power on within a day or two.

I was seriously mistaken.

Isabel had an unusually large wind field (an example of a hurricane doing “unpredictable” things). Thousands of trees were uprooted. Power lines and telephone poles were downed all over. Hundreds of houses were damaged…many beyond repair. Hundreds of roads, including major highways, were blocked by fallen trees and other debris. The heavy rainfall caused inland flooding, which closed roads and damaged homes and businesses.

We were without power for over two weeks. Because we – and most of our neighbors – did not think to purchase generators in advance, one neighbor decided to head out to buy them for us. He wasn’t able to find any until he reached Pennsylvania – every store he checked in Virginia and Maryland was either closed due to the storm or had already sold their entire stock of generators. That gives you an idea of how hard it can be to find important supplies in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Preparing for a Hurricane

In The Prepper’s Blueprint, the importance of understanding how unpredictable hurricanes can be is discussed and emphasized. This type of natural disaster is truly one of the most difficult emergencies to prepare for simply because there are so many variables to account for. These storms can range from mild to severe and can cause wind damage, flooding, and tornadoes. You can be fully stocked with provisions, but what good will that do if your home is flooded in a matter of minutes and all of your supplies are destroyed or inaccessible? Before Hurricane Harvey made landfall last year, it was predicted as merely a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane. In fact, many living in the area did not think much of it in terms of severity and only stocked up on supplies for a few days. Within those few days, it had developed into a Category 4 with 132 mph winds.

This hurricane primer has essential articles with supply lists that can aid you in preparing for a storm.

Should you stay or should you go?

Often, when a hurricane is approaching, government officials will issue evacuation orders to people in designated evacuation areas. Most governments use one of two terms when issuing evacuation notices. An evacuation order is when officials strongly encourage people in certain areas to move to a safer location. Personal discretion is allowed, but not advised. A mandatory evacuation order means that emergency management officials are ordering all people in the designated area to move to a safer location – personal discretion is NOT an option. People who refuse to comply need to understand that this kind of order means they should not expect to be rescued or given any kind of assistance once the storm has reached the area.

If you can leave the area before the disaster strikes, then do so, and seek shelter elsewhere.

Should you decide to stay put for whatever reason during a hurricane, adequate preparation is crucial to survival. Please check out our guide here – now, so you can prepare far ahead of the storm: Last Minute Preparedness: How To Prep For Sheltering in Place.

What about disaster shelters?

While disaster shelters may be the only option for many, it is important to understand the risks associated with them. In the article, Just How Unhealthy And Unsafe Are Disaster Shelters, Sara Tipton explains the harsh truth about such shelters:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many found themselves in non-profit disaster shelters, and many reported conditions that were not healthy or safe for human beings, especially children. As hundreds of thousands of people packed in close proximity to one another in Houston’s convention centers, churches, mosques, and schools all serving as temporary shelters, their basic needs seemed to be met. Food, water, and a place to sleep were provided. But the danger of an infection -both viral and bacterial– and subsequent horrible illness was high. And in close quarters, these infections could easily spread sickening many in a short amount of time.

There is another danger associated with spending time in a disaster shelter: sexual assault. Overcrowded and understaffed shelters unintentionally put all those who stay at them at risk. There’s no way a handful of people can monitor hundreds of others at all times.

The elderly are a part of the population that is particularly vulnerable during times of evacuation and emergency. They face many concerns both before a disaster strikes and immediately afterward. Hurricane Katrina is a tragic example of how devastating big storms can be to the elderly: roughly 71 percent of the hurricane’s victims were older than age 60, and 47 percent of those were over the age of 75. Most of these victims died in their homes and communities. At least 68 (some of whom were allegedly abandoned by their caretakers) were found in nursing homes. If you are elderly or have loved ones who are, please plan accordingly. Staying at home and local shelters may not be the best places for those who have special health concerns and are not able to adequately care for themselves.

Also, please don’t forget about your furry and feathered family members: take your pets’ needs into account when you are preparing for an impending hurricane as well.

What to expect in the aftermath of a hurricane

Many Americans believe that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will come to their rescue after a natural disaster. Unfortunately, the agency has many challenges (to put it lightly). Even if you are one of the few who manages to successfully navigate FEMA’s confusing red tape and complicated bureaucratic system to get aid, help from the agency often becomes something many describe as an “inescapable hell.”

Prepare for the worst and make sure you can survive on your own. We cannot emphasize this enough.

While the bad weather hurricanes bring usually sticks around for 12 to 24 hours, there are other dangers that often linger for much longer. As I mentioned earlier, after Hurricane Isabel struck my city, my neighborhood was without power for over two weeks. Some areas in the Hampton Roads region were without electricity for even longer. Some roads were closed for more than a week.

There are five possible life-threatening scenarios that hurricane victims must understand and prepare for. 1. Contaminated water

Water contamination is common after a hurricane. The facilities that remove contaminants from drinking water are typically unusable if they’re inundated with floodwaters, or if they do not have the power needed to run their pumps or the ability to get fuel for their generators. The water supply could be tainted with anything from unpleasant but relatively harmless gastrointestinal invaders like Norovirus to more serious bacteria like Vibrio, a potentially deadly microorganism.

Ideally, you’ll have enough water stored for you and your family. Water is a top preparedness priority. Aim for a supply of 3 gallons of water per person/day, minimum, stored in food-grade containers. If you have pets, you’ll need to make sure you have enough water for them too. Remember, while water is crucial for proper hydration, you’ll also need to use it to prepare food and for sanitation purposes. I don’t think there’s such a thing as having TOO much water stored.

For more on water storage, please see Emergency Water Storage Ideas for Every Type of Disaster and 5 Short-Term Methods to Store Water.

Even if you believe you have adequate water stored, be sure to learn about water purification methods and devices as well…just in case. Always ensure the safety of your water by properly filtering or boiling it before use.

There are portable water filtration systems you can keep on hand in case of emergency. The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is one of them. It’s a compact, portable, three-part system that can be put together and placed over a drinking vessel like a water bottle. This system comes with a straw that you can use to drink directly through the filter itself. It can also be hooked up to a Camelbak water pouch.

2. Flooding

The risk of contracting an infectious disease is heightened after a hurricane, in large part due to flooding. Flood water is a perfect vehicle for pathogens: it can harbor bacteria, different viruses, and fungi – and often is contaminated with sewage and hazardous chemicals.

There are numerous reasons to avoid flood water entirely. Wading through it – even if it is shallow – can cause drowning because moving water can sweep you off your feet, and can rapidly transport you to deeper bodies of water. Snakes and other dangerous creatures (depending on where you live) can lurk in flood waters. Debris could be floating in it, and could cause serious harm. And, of course, electrocution is a deadly risk – fallen power lines may have exposed the water to electricity.

To protect your home from flood damage, learn how to properly create a sandbag barrier or consider investing in a system called AquaDam.

If you live in a flood zone, special preparations are in order. The following articles can help you better prepare.

3. Blackouts

A major risk after any hurricane, blackouts can be devastating for those without a plan.

From refrigerators to cell phones, people have almost become completely reliant on electronic devices for their survival, and for this reason, a blackout can have disastrous implications for the ill-prepared.

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast and left widespread, long-term power outages in her wake. On October 31, over 6 million customers were still without power in 15 states and the District of Columbia. On November 7, 2012, 600,000 people were still without power. After Hurricane Ike hit in September 2008, our very own Tess Pennington and her family experienced a power outage that lasted more than three weeks!

In an article about her experience, Tess wrote, “In retrospect, I was naive in my preparedness planning. I was planning for the best-case scenario rather than the latter, as well, there were many aspects of preparedness that I hadn’t considered and paid the price for it.”

The grid in New York City is still vulnerable, nearly 6 years later. But NYC is not the only part of the US that has an aging and weak grid that is susceptible to damage – much of the US power grid is vulnerable.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prepare your family for power outages.

  • Be ready to prepare food off the grid.
  • Stock your pantry and bug-out bags with nutrient-dense food that does not need to be refrigerated or cooked to eat, like nut butter, nuts, seeds, granola bars, protein bars, and dried fruit.
  • Fill up your vehicle’s tank while you still can – gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  • Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist. Have a backup plan in case your power is out longer than a few hours.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help to lift it.
  • Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.
  • Have cash on hand in case ATMs are down and stores are not able to process credit cards.
  • Learn how to protect your food supply when the power is out. To be proactive, begin using perishable foods in the freezer and refrigerator to minimize food spoilage. Also, to keep items as cool as possible during a power outage, limit the number of times the refrigerator or freezer door is opened. If you are concerned that your meat may spoil, preserve it beforehand, by either the canning method or the dehydration method.
  • Freeze soda bottles filled with water and place them in the refrigerator during outages – they will help to maintain the optimum temperature.
  • Stay indoors and try and keep your body temperature as normal as possible.
  • Close window blinds and curtains to keep your home cool.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics in use when the power went out. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage computers as well as motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.
  • Consider purchasing at least one gas-powered generator. They require about a quarter gallon of gasoline for each hour of use. This means you will need to keep plenty of extra fuel on hand. For a blackout period lasting 3 days, it would be wise to keep at least 15 gallons stored in your house for use in your generator (or car).
  • Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. For more on safe generator use, please read This is One of the Unspoken Dangers That (Silently and Quickly) Kills During Emergencies.
  • Leave on one light so that you’ll know when your power returns.
  • Use the phone for emergencies only. Listen to a portable radio for the latest information.
  • Access to fire will be critical in a blackout. Be sure to have at least three different ways to make fire, such as a magnesium and steel fire-starter, matches, and butane lighters.
  • Lanterns will be effective alternative light sources as long as you keep kerosene in storage. Speaking of fuel, you may also want to use propane for use in a barbecue grill or for other propane-powered appliances.
  • Having extra flashlights will make a fundamental difference during a power outage. Keep extra sets of batteries for each flashlight.
  • If you don’t already have a first-aid kit now is the time to get one. Sanitizing gel is also a smart item to have in your supplies.
  • A radio with a crank generator will enable you to hear emergency alerts without having to ubackup-up power.
  • Have at least 3 days of clean clothes ready for each family member.
4. Supply shortages 

If you live in an area where people shift into panic mode at the mere mention of snow flurries, you know that grocery stores can become a chaotic scene in the days prior to the expected weather. We rarely get snow in this part of Virginia, so when it pops up in the forecast, stores quickly run out of bread, milk, and water.

As you can imagine, everyone and their second cousin will be scrambling to stock up on supplies in the days before an impending hurricane. The closer it gets to landfall, the worse the situation gets. This is why getting ahead of the crowd is crucial – to your stockpile and your sanity.

Obviously, food, water, and gasoline are items that can quickly become scarce in the event of an emergency. But, there are other items that some might not think to purchase in advance of a big weather event. These include bleach and other chemical disinfectants, cleaning supplies, disposable gloves, trash bags, toilet paper, and home repair supplies.

Regarding toilet paper – hurricane survivors tend to grossly (pun intended) underestimate how much they are going to need. Toilet paper is used every day and when it runs out, things can get very, very unpleasant. Why add to your misery? This is an item that is very much worth stocking up on. On average, consumers use 8.6 sheets per trip – a total of 57 sheets per day. Multiply that by a week-long storm and a family of 5 and you are going to run out quickly if you don’t buy enough.

5. Tornadoes

As if dealing with a hurricane isn’t enough, it can bring along a particularly dangerous partner in crime: tornadoes.

Hurricanes and tropical storms are collectively known as tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones and tornadoes are both atmospheric vortices.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Tropical cyclones may spawn tornadoes from a day or two prior to landfall to up to three days after landfall. Statistics show that most of the tornadoes occur on the day of landfall, or the next day. The most likely time for TC tornadoes is during daylight hours, although they can occur during the night, too. Although statistically, the largest number of tropical cyclone tornadoes occurs on the day of landfall, some of the biggest and most damaging outbreaks have taken place 1 or 2 days after landfall.”

“A tropical storm has all the ingredients necessary to form a tornado: They have multiple supercell thunderstorms, they contain the necessary instability between warm and cold air, and they create wind shear, an abrupt change in wind speed and direction which can create swirling vortices of air,” explains 6abc.

Most hurricanes that make landfall do create at least one tornado. “The majority of those tornadoes are short-lived and of the weaker EF0 or EF1 variety, but some can reach EF2 or EF3 intensity,” according to The Weather Channel:

Tornadoes from tropical systems make up an average of over 20 percent of all United States tornadoes during the month of August, and sometimes 50 percent or more of all tornadoes in September, said Dr. Greg Forbes, severe weather expert for The Weather Channel. Most of the tornadoes develop in bands of thunderstorms and intense showers outside of the eyewall about 50 to 250 miles from the hurricane or tropical storm center, he said.

Brian McNoldy, a researcher at the University of Miami, explained the phenomenon to Live Science:

“It’s pretty uncommon to not have tornadoes with these,” he said. Tornadoes mostly form over land, instead of over water, because the land slows down surface-level winds, creating even more wind shear, McNoldy said. Tornadoes form wherever these pre-existing supercells happen to be, he added, but meteorologists are still unable to predict exactly where tornadoes will strike.

Most tornadoes occur in a tropical cyclone’s outer rain bands, about 50 to 200 miles from the center, but some have been spawned near the inner core. “In a hurricane’s outer bands, tornadoes represent a burst of concentrated destruction in an area that otherwise might not see the devastating levels of wind produced by the hurricane’s core,” according to a CNN report.

Hurricane-produced tornadoes are difficult to predict – they tend to appear quickly and with little to no warning. For this reason, it is very important to pay attention to the weather and to be prepared for a tornado (or several tornadoes!) to strike.

Are YOU ready for a hurricane?

Earlier this year, AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski predicted the United States will see 12-15 tropical storms in 2018 – of which, 6 to 8 are likely to become hurricanes, and 3 to 5 are likely to become major hurricanes.

For more on hurricane preparedness, please read Hurricane Expert Warns: “Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario”… The U.S. Could See Up to 5 Major Hurricanes in 2018.

For cautionary tales and advice from people who have experienced hurricanes, please read 20 Hurricane Survival Tips From Real-Life Scenarios.

Stay safe out there!

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 6th, 2018

Natural Medicine 101: Three Carriers To Use for Making Herbal Remedies

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 10:20

We’re going to cover some basic carriers that you can use to dispense your herbal formulations. This is a basic primer, just to get you started, and you’ll need to follow this up with some research depending on the type of herbs you wish to employ. We will be detailing three “carriers,” and they are honey, vinegar, and wine. Let’s get right into it!

For starters, a carrier is a substance that preserves either the full herb or any extracted portion of it as a protectant and a medium with which to dispense it to a person. It is not to be confused with a tincture. The tincture is differentiated from the carrier in that it is meant to dispense but also to preserve for a substantial length of time. The “shelf life,” if you would term it is not as long for carriers such as those described herein as a tincture, which is usually stable for 3 years or more.

In addition, functionally the carriers differ as well. Honey is a demulcent, a soothing substance that can coat a throat or mucosal membranes and help alleviate redness, swelling, or other discomforts. Vinegar and wine can be used internally and externally with herbs as the formulation calls for. Once more, the alcoholic mixture found in a tincture is in sufficient percentages to preserve, with the objective of dispensing the herbs being a quantifiable and accurate dosage (in milligrams or grams per ml…that’s milliliters) as well as preservation.

3 Carriers for Herbal Formulations Honey

As mentioned, a demulcent. When you use honey as a carrier for your herb, you want to have the purest, least processed that you can find…as close to right out of the comb as you can obtain. This is going to be a process of selection for you. Find an apiary (beekeepers) that is near to where you live as possible. Why? For several reasons. It assures you of quality control so that you’ll know there aren’t any pesticides or pasteurization going on with the honey you buy. Also, since the bees will make the honey from pollens that are near where you live, there will be less of a chance that the honey will conflict with any allergies you may have to pollen. Be advised: raw honey should not be given to any children under 1 year of age.

Vinegar

The vinegar you pick up should not be clear to the eye, and it should have sediment/precipitates that form on the bottom. The best apple cider vinegar has the “mother” in it, which basically are bacteria that help to ferment and produce the vinegar.  Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is top quality and found everywhere, although you may find an equivalent made locally or of a less-known brand. The important thing is to strive for organic and with the “mother” to assure it has not been processed.

Wine

A local wine is your best bet for many reasons, but primarily because you can have a batch before they bottle it and throw in any chemicals or seal it up with anything that may leach into the wine. You can always make up a batch for yourself that takes a couple of months. There are plenty of resources for you in this area on the Internet, and winemaking is outside of the scope of this article. Once again, strive for purity and high-quality.

How To Infuse Your Carriers

With wine and vinegar, you will place your macerated/chopped herbs into a jar and cover them over with either the wine or vinegar, sealing the jar as tightly as you can.  You will then keep it in a cool, dark place, such as a cupboard. You will also need to shake your jar vigorously twice a day a minimum of 100 times per session. Three weeks will be the time to leave it in. At the end of it, strain off your wine or vinegar into a bottle, and voila! Pretty simple. As you may deduce, it is easier to use wine and vinegar that is already made than to make your own and infuse it in this manner. Your shelf-lives are between 6 months to a year.

With honey, it is a simple infusion. You will prepare the herb by boiling and then steeping water, straining the water from the herb, and then adding the now-infused water to the honey after the water cools. The good thing is that honey is antimicrobial in nature and will not be a medium for germs if it is covered to protect it from insects and contaminants and kept out of the sun. Before emplacing the herb, boil some water, take it off the stove, and then let it sit for about 1-2 minutes. Then place your herb in and let it steep. This prevents boiling water from destroying the beneficial qualities of the herb.

You can flavor the honey with different types of flowers, or you can add herbs such as a ginger infusion for a tonic (ginger is excellent for cold, flu, and sore throats associated with both). Once again, you’re only limited to your imagination as what you wish to do. Research your herbs for intended use and find out their compatibility with what you wish to make.  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 September 4th, 2018

This is One of the Unspoken Dangers That (Silently and Quickly) Kills During Emergencies

Mon, 09/03/2018 - 05:40

It claims the lives of hundreds of unsuspecting victims every year and makes thousands more seriously ill.

This invisible killer is odorless, colorless, and tasteless – and strikes without warning.

Everyone – yes, including you and your family, and even your pets – is at risk of becoming a victim of this insidious poison.

Fortunately, simple precautions can keep you and your family safe.

Carbon Monoxide – a Silent Killer

Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Carbon monoxide is produced every time a fossil fuel is burned. This includes fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces.

Everyone is exposed to small amounts of carbon monoxide throughout the day. However, inhaling too much of it can cause CO poisoning. The actual poisoning occurs when you breathe in this air – especially if you’re in a place that isn’t well ventilated.

When too much carbon monoxide is in the air you’re breathing, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This prevents oxygen from reaching your tissues and organs.

Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can have irreversible brain damage or die from CO poisoning before ever anyone realizes there’s a problem.

Depending on the degree and length of exposure, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause:

  • Permanent brain damage
  • Damage to your heart, possibly leading to life-threatening cardiac complications
  • Fetal death or miscarriage
  • Death
How To Recognize CO Poisoning

The warning signs of CO poisoning can be subtle, but because it is a life-threatening condition, it is important to be vigilant.

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning include dull headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, difficulty breathing, blurred vision, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

If you think you or someone you’re with may have carbon monoxide poisoning, get into fresh air and seek emergency medical care immediately. You should go to the hospital right away if you’ve been exposed to a source of CO, even if you don’t show symptoms of CO poisoning.

If you cannot get to the hospital immediately and someone you are with is unresponsive, not breathing, or not breathing normally, move them away from the source of CO. Call 911 and begin CPR if necessary. Continue CPR until the person begins breathing or emergency help arrives. Even if you are able to resuscitate someone who has been poisoned by CO, please seek emergency medical care. This is not a condition to take lightly, as even minor cases can cause long-term, serious complications including brain damage, heart damage, organ damage, and of course, death.

Note: if you do not know how to perform CPR, please learn as soon as possible so you are prepared in case of an emergency like CO poisoning. The best way to learn is via hands-on instruction, but if you don’t have access to a course, at the very least, buy a guide and study it. In fact, buying a guide to keep on hand is a great idea anyway – even for those who have been trained in CPR.

If you believe YOU have been poisoned by CO,  go outdoors immediately and call 911. Don’t drive yourself to the hospital (unless it is your only option) because you may pass out while driving.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A doctor or nurse will take a blood sample to determine the amount of CO in the blood. Once CO levels increase to 70 parts per million (ppm) and above, symptoms become more noticeable.

The best way to treat CO poisoning is to breathe in pure oxygen. This treatment increases oxygen levels in the blood and helps to remove CO from the blood.  The emergency healthcare provider will place an oxygen mask over your nose and mouth and ask you to inhale. If you’re unable to breathe on your own, you will be given oxygen through a ventilator.

Pressurized oxygen chambers (also known as a hyperbaric oxygen chambers) are also used to treat CO poisoning. The oxygen chamber has twice the pressure of normal air. This treatment quickly increases oxygen levels in the blood and it’s typically used in severe cases of CO poisoning or to treat CO poisoning in pregnant women.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Risks specific to off-grid and emergency situations

When power outages occur after severe weather, using alternative sources of power can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in a home and poison the people and animals inside.

During any kind of emergency that results in a power outage, you may be so consumed by doing the things you need to do to survive that the thought of CO poisoning doesn’t cross your mind. For this reason, it is important to understand the risks and learn how to prevent poisoning now, while you are clear-headed and can prepare adequately.

One of your first precautionary measures should be installing battery-operated or battery back-up CO detectors near every sleeping area in your home. Check your CO detectors regularly to be sure they are functioning properly.

There are many sources of possible CO poisoning that are commonly used during off-grid events and power outages.

CO is found in fumes produced by portable generators, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood.

Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if all the doors and windows are open. Only use generators outside – and be sure to place them more than 20 feet away from your home.

This informative video explains why you should never place generators close to your home:

Never use grills, or other gasoline, propane, or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, garage, or carport or near doors, windows, or vents. If you have a gas oven, do not attempt to heat your home with it.

Recreational vehicles with gas heaters also pose a risk, so ensure there is plenty of ventilation if your RV burns gas, wood, propane, or other fuel. Buy a CO detector and place it in an area near the source of CO. Be sure to change the batteries regularly.

Don’t sleep near a gas or kerosene space heater.

General prevention

The CDC provides the following CO poisoning prevention tips:

  • Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO detector, buy one soon.
  • Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open. Keep vents and flues free of debris. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.
  • Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
  • When you use a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home too.
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.
  • If it’s too hot, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter.
  • If you suspect CO poisoning, call 911 or a health care professional right away.

For an extensive, very detailed list on CO poisoning prevention for your home, please click here.

To prevent CO poisoning in your vehicle, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Have a mechanic check the exhaust system of your car or truck every year. A small leak in the exhaust system can lead to a build-up of CO inside the car.
  • Never run your car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house even with the garage door open. Always open the door to a detached garage to let in fresh air when you run a car or truck inside.
  • If you drive a car or SUV with a tailgate when you open the tailgate open the vents or windows to make sure air is moving through. If only the tailgate is open CO from the exhaust will be pulled into the car or SUV.

To learn about CO poisoning risks on boats, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Install and maintain a working CO detector listed by Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) as appropriate for marine use inside the boat to alert people when dangerous levels of CO have built up inside the boat cabin.
  • Properly install and maintain all fuel-burning engines and appliances.
  • Educate all passengers about the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning.
  • Swim and play away from areas where engines vent their exhaust.
  • Watch children closely when they play on rear swim decks or water platforms.
  • Never block exhaust outlets. Blocking outlets can cause CO to build up in the cabin and cockpit areas–even when hatches, windows, portholes, and doors are closed.
  • Dock, beach, or anchor at least 20 feet away from the nearest boat that is running a generator or engine. Exhaust from a nearby vessel can send CO into the cabin and cockpit of a boat.

It is currently hurricane season for the Atlantic and Pacific regions – in fact, right now, Category 4 Hurricane “Lane” is pummeling Hawaii. Earlier this year, AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski predicted the United States will see 12-15 tropical storms in 2018 – of which, 6 to 8 are likely to become hurricanes, and 3 to 5 are likely to become major hurricanes. For more on hurricane preparedness, please see Hurricane Expert Warns: “Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario”… The U.S. Could See Up to 5 Major Hurricanes in 2018.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 3rd, 2018

Tips For The Caffeinated: Coffee After The SHTF

Fri, 08/31/2018 - 06:02

If you are anything like me, there’s nothing like that first sip of piping hot coffee in the crisp, cool, and silent morning mountain air, then you’ll understand the importance of making sure you’ve got your ‘cup of joe’ covered, even if the SHTF. Here are some tips and tricks to prepare for the worst, while still making sure you continue to enjoy the simple things in life – like your morning coffee.

Did you know that coffee restores mental alertness just seconds after you drink it? Although we’re primarily concerned here with it as a drink, caffeine, as well as ground coffee, is available in other forms, such as tablets and as an ingredient in a mixture.  It takes a lot to overdose, and the lethal dose for an adult is 150 to 200 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight.  To place this into perspective, if you weighed about 120 lbs., you would have to drink about 75 cups of coffee before you checked into the big Starbuck’s in the sky.

Coffee beans will last up to three years, but without electricity, or your handy Keurig, how will you prepare it? Well, plan for coffee after the apocalypse today so that should the worst-case scenario indeed come to pass  (or even a far-from-worst-case-but-totally-normal hurricane, snowstorm, or blackout) you’ll be able to move into an electricity-free world with ease; at least when it comes to your coffee. There are many “off the grid” coffee makers, and those who often camp know a percolator can be invaluable.  A percolator allows coffee to be made right over the campfire. The Yosemite percolator is an excellent choice, and it’s a bit heftier than the granite-colored ones we tend to think of from years past. Steer clear of vintage glass percolators simply because they just aren’t as practical and all that glass can be a tad nerve-wracking to deal with.

If you don’t have a certain nostalgic attachment to a percolator, a French press could be another excellent cord-free option. In fact, this one has three stainless steel screens as its filter, using food-grade stainless steel.  That helps make the double-wall french press eliminate the risk of cracking and reduce the effects of acid. The French coffee press has some really great things going for it for us “preppers” that are difficult to ignore.  For example, there’s no moving parts or gaskets to wear out over the long term, thus ensuring coffee for as long as you have beans.  The French press also doesn’t ever have to touch fire directly, so you don’t have to worry about messing it up over a campfire. All you need to heat up is just some plain water and since the ground beans you would use are more coarse, so they are much easier to crank out by hand. You could even pummel some beans with a rock if you wanted to get them smashed up.

Another option would be “cold brewed coffee.” Caribou Coffee, for example, makes their iced coffee this way, and it is pretty good because there’s less acid in cold-brewed coffee, which makes it super smooth and easy to down. And have no fear! You don’t have to drink it cold. You can simply heat it up and have a nice cup of hot, low-acid coffee. A great way to make cold-brewed coffee is using The Toddy. Because you brew 12  – 16 ounces of coffee beans all at once, you make a coffee concentrate that will last for 3 weeks at a time. This could be a huge plus for us in the post-apocalyptic world.

If comfort in smashing beans is essential, consider purchasing a handheld spice grinder.  It’ll work great on your coffee beans, and some are small enough that adding them to your prepper gear or bug-out-bag makes sense – especially if you love your coffee!

Now that we’ve got the hard part (making coffee without electricity) out of the way, what about coffee beans and the storage of those beans? As mentioned earlier, unground whole roasted coffee beans can last up to three years. But if stored correctly, you can get many more years out of a coffee bean.  Your beans’ greatest enemies are air, moisture, heat, and light. Keep your coffee beans in a dark and cool location. To preserve your coffee beans’ fresh roasted flavor for as long as possible, store them in an opaque, air-tight container. You’ll want to avoid clear canisters which will allow light to compromise the taste of your coffee.

Another tip you might want to consider is stocking up on some green coffee beans.  These beans are unroasted and will keep for a very long time by comparison. This allows you to roast only the beans you’ll need for the upcoming weeks to prevent the coffee beans from deteriorating – which begins about six weeks after roasting.  And the roasting is a rather simple process too. You’ll also get to roast the beans to your liking.  Just put the beans in a frying pan or soup pot that you’ve heated up over a fire. This can be difficult to master, as the beans should be roasted evenly, but practice now before the SHTF so you can be prepared and caffeinated.

Other preppers detail how to use an old-fashioned popcorn popper, such as the Whirley-Pop on a good, heavy-duty cook stove. If you don’t have a good multi-fueled cook stove yet, you could consider the Volcano stove.  This often requires the purchase of more items, which is why the “pan over the fire” method may appeal more to preppers on the go or those with limited space.  But if you’d like to try using a popcorn popper to roast green coffee beans, here’s a helpful guide that will walk you through each step. 

If there’s nothing like that hot cup of coffee in the morning to get you going, these tips and tricks should help you prepare to keep that relaxing routine alive and well even if the SHTF!

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 31st, 2018

24 Common And Frightening Concerns Elderly Disaster Victims Face

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 05:00

The elderly are a part of the population that is the most vulnerable during times of evacuation and emergency. They face many concerns both before a disaster strikes and immediately afterward.

The need to protect the elderly during a disaster is not going unnoticed either. “These catastrophic events have taught us we have to pay greater attention to evacuating, identifying, and ensuring the safe return of the thousands of frail older adults living on their own or in care facilities,” said AARP CEO William D. Novelli. “Much of the suffering and loss was undoubtedly preventable, and it must not be allowed to happen again,” Novelli said in a report which was written in response to photos of the elderly suffering in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

The statistics speak for themselves.  In Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, roughly 71 percent of the victims were older than age 60, and 47 percent of those were over the age of 75. Most of these victims died in their homes and communities; at least 68—some of whom were allegedly abandoned by their caretakers—were found in nursing homes. About 15 percent of Americans who are aged 50 or older say they would not be able to evacuate from their homes without assistance in the event of a natural disaster; of that 15 percent, half would require help from someone outside the household.

As a whole, 81 percent of Americans age 50 or older say they are “confident” or “very confident” in their ability to evacuate; however, 14 percent are only “somewhat confident,” and 3 percent are “not at all confident.” Those who are age 75 or older more frequently said they would need help evacuating (25 percent versus 13 percent of persons age 50–74). They are also less confident in their ability to evacuate than are their younger counterparts.

These are the 25 most common concerns the elderly face in times of disaster and emergency.  Please bear in mind, not all of these may apply to your loved one specifically, but if any do, consider taking measures in your personal prepping planning to accommodate older family members if you can.

24 Problems the Elderly Face

PART 1: Medical Conditions

    1. Many have chronic illnesses. The great majority of Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older experience two or more chronic conditions at the same time. For example, the prevalence of arthritis increases with age. Arthritis makes it rather difficult to move quickly when leaving homes or workplaces or to stand in line for lengthy periods of time, let alone carry anything. Chronic illnesses can increase the risk of pneumonia 40-150 times. Not to mention, sleeping on a cold, hard, damp surface (which isn’t fun for anyone, let alone the elderly) or getting up from low cots or mattresses on the floor can exacerbate chronic health problems.
    2. Many have a low level of immune function and therefore, an increased risk of infectious diseases, which is a big concern at a disaster shelter or FEMA camp where these infections can reign supreme.
    3. Most also take prescription medications. Fifty-one percent of persons age 65 and older take three or more prescription drugs per month. Changes in medications can result in a host of serious consequences, ranging from confusion to falling to dangerous changes in blood pressure. Many older persons who have multiple chronic conditions have complicated, individualized medication regimens that cannot be interrupted without serious, possibly fatal, complications.
    4. Many are “frail.” Medical researchers and others now recognize that frailty is a syndrome that is distinct from both the normal aging process and disability. Key characteristics of frailty include unintentional weight loss, muscle weakness, slow walking speed, exhaustion, and low physical activity. It is estimated that about 20 percent of persons age 80 or older are frail, aside from any acute and chronic conditions they may have.
    5. Some also have difficulties with physical functioning, such as being able to walk two or three blocks or reach up over one’s head. In 2002, 31 percent of women 65 and older reported being unable to perform at least one of five physical activities.
    6. Others use some type of assistive equipment, such as canes, wheelchairs, walkers, or medical equipment, such as oxygen.
    7. Sensory impairments are also common among older adults. Close to half of men age 65 and older and nearly one-third of women reported trouble hearing in 2002. In addition, vision difficulties affect 18 percent of the older population.
    8. They can have memory impairments, especially at advanced ages. Fifteen percent of men and 11 percent of women age 65 and older experienced moderate or severe memory impairment in 2002; at age 85, about one-third of both men and women experience moderate or severe memory impairment. Persons with cognitive impairments may need help in understanding the severity of the risk and in making timely decisions.
    9. Some have distinct mental health needs; for example, the rate of suicide deaths is much higher for older white men than for any other age group, including teenagers.
    10. The elderly experience hypothermia or hyperthermia must more quickly than an average adult.

 PART 2: Sociodemographic Characteristics  

    1. The elderly have lower literacy levels than the general adult population, which can present difficulties in understanding directions and can complicate or slow communications for everyone.
    2. They may not speak English if they are immigrants age 65 and older and may need the help of a translator or bilingual family member.
    3. Some live alone. As age increases and widowhood rates rise, the percentage of the population living alone increases sharply. Half of the people age 85 or older lived alone in 2002.
    4. Those that live in rural or remote areas, especially over the age of 75 may experience prolonged isolation after flooding or other disasters.
    5. Many are unable to drive, which makes an evacuation more difficult.
    6. Many rely on the help of informal caregivers, such as family and friends, for assistance with the tasks of daily living. More than 90 percent of persons 65 and older with disabilities who receive assistance receive informal care; nearly two-thirds rely solely on informal caregivers.

Part 3: PSYCHOSOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS 

    1. Some of the elderly can be reluctant to accept any public assistance;  sometimes it’s because of the perceived stigma and the belief that if they accept assistance, someone else who may need it more will have to go without it.
    2. Many are dependent on others for financial assistance.
    3. Some may fear the loss of their independence or being institutionalized, which may affect their behavior.
    4. They could experience “transfer trauma” that can result in illness or even death after being moved from nursing homes. Also, some older persons may regard the need to rebuild homes and life patterns or undertake complex procedures for applying for aid, as too formidable, leading to inaction and potential depression.
    5. The elderly sometimes experience multiple losses in short spans of time (e.g., spouse, friends, home, income, physical abilities), whose cumulative effect can heighten the risk of illness or death and make recovery more difficult.
    6. They can be “invisible” to relief workers or emergency personnel. Relief organizations often fail to see or understand the needs and contributions of older people during disasters. The research has identified an almost universal lack of consultation.
    7. Older people fight a losing battle in the competition for resources. In the chaos of emergencies, older people are physically less able to struggle for food or to travel far to find what they need. Many have spoken of using valuable energy to reach central relief points only to arrive too late and find little or nothing left.
    8. They are targeted by con artists and fraudulent contractors who seek to financially exploit victims after a disaster.

All of these concerns should be kept in mind especially if you’ve got an older family member who will need your help in the event a disaster strikes.  Use these concerns as a guide so your loved one isn’t left on their own.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 30th, 2018

The Dangers Of Disaster Shelters: Are Sex Offenders Welcome?

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 16:28

The dangers of going to a disaster shelter or a FEMA camp during an evacuation are many. Because of this, we’ve spent time attempting to encourage everyone to do their best to avoid both at all costs by having back up plans in place.  But there’s one more danger of going to a disaster shelter that is perhaps the most disturbing of all: sexual assault.

So just where exactly do sexual offenders go during a hurricane? According to some reports out of Florida, sex offenders in each county are given a designated location that is separate from general population shelters. Most of the sex offenders under state-wide community control are being told they can report to their nearest prison or jail. Officials are also well aware that incidences of rape and assault become much more common in the wake of hurricanes such as Irma and Harvey. When state-wide evacuations for Hurricane Irma began, Florida’s Polk County sheriff announced that sex offenders would be banned from all shelters. “We cannot and we will not have innocent children in a shelter with sexual offenders & predators. Period,” he tweeted.

But what about those who aren’t convicted of a sexual crime but have plans to prey on the women at the shelter? They’ll obviously slip through the cracks and likely be able to hurt a few women without getting caught.  there’s just no way to know if someone might be a potential sexual predator. It simply isn’t possible to do a background check on all people who enter a disaster shelter after being evacuated.  It isn’t as if those who work at or volunteer at shelters intend to put people in harm’s way, in fact, they just want to help.  But there’s no way to police everyone at all times making a sexual assault a horrifying reality of a disaster shelter.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans in 2005, many women came forward to report that they had been raped or sexually assaulted after being evacuated and their stories have been largely unreported. Charmaine Neville spoke to a local television station a few days after Hurricane Katrina hit. But she didn’t really want to talk about the storm much. When she took shelter on the roof of a school, she said, she was raped by a stranger. “I had lain down and gone to sleep and somebody woke me up,” she said in an interview with the TV station WAFB. “They put their hand over my mouth, and a knife to my throat.” Her rapist threatened her, saying: “If you don’t do what I want, I’m gonna kill you and then I’ll do what I want to you anyway and throw your body over the side of the building.”

The horrifying truth is that 80% of teenage girls who survive a sexual assault will also develop a mental illness (such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder) stemming from the assault about four or five months later.  That’s even more reason to keep your daughter and wife away from the creeps we all know are out there.

Overcrowded and understaffed shelters put all those who stay at them at risk, unintentionally. There’s no way a handful of people can monitor hundreds of others at all times, as Neville sadly found out. A disaster can also put people in situations where they’re at greater risk of being assaulted; from living with an abusive family member to staying at a crowded shelter. That’s perhaps the biggest reason to take your safety and shelter into your own hands.

FEMA’s director, Brock Long, has even repeatedly warned that Americans do not have a “culture of preparedness,” and that’s why so many need the shelters at all. To avoid putting children and adolescents (and anyone in your family) in an environment that is dangerous and potentially hazardous is something that is much-needed with the startling uptick in natural disasters. FEMA themselves are telling you not to rely on them and admitting to making mistakes that could have cost people their lives. So how do you prepare for a disaster to avoid a shelter or FEMA camp?

The book The Prepper’s Blueprint offers several suggestions and a step-by-step guide to help.  It’s especially essential for those just beginning as a prepper. One of the best action plans for any natural disaster is to have a backup shelter or a place your family can go on their own away from the disturbing infections and diseases of most shelters.  You will also be more likely to keep your family safe from sexual predators if you’ve got a means to protect yourself away from the crowds of hungry and angry people fighting over the last can of corn.  All family members should also learn some basic self-defense just in case, especially the women.  Women should feel empowered, not defenseless. Take classes in your area if you don’t know where to start. It’ll be well worth the money spent. Also, consider employing some simple situational awareness techniques too. Take the time to notice your surroundings and encourage female family members to do the same. Just recognizing that someone may be lurking or following you could save you from an assault.  But the simple decision of just being away from the masses and out of sight of others could help you stay safer as well.  We continue to advise that you avoid disaster shelters and FEMA camps at all costs.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 28th, 2018

Why Cast Iron is a Prepper Essential

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 06:42

There’s nothing better than a hard day in the winter of cutting wood than coming home at the end of the day with a Dutch oven sitting on top of your wood stove with elk cuts, carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, and garlic marinating in broth and seasoned up…hot and ready to eat. In the morning, just add some wood to the fire you banked, heat up the stove, and make a nice stack of pancakes on your cast iron griddle along with some eggs and bacon.

Cast iron is coming back into fashion in a lot of ways. Even in the cities, many people cook over a gas stove with cast iron cookware. Poisonous Teflon coating is avoided, as well as “Chinese Steel,” a term of yours truly to describe steel that appears to be stainless, but is not totally steel and is mixed with other metals. Aluminum is not good to cook with and high concentrations in the bloodstream are linked to Alzheimer’s in studies.

Cast iron is durable, versatile, and not expensive. It can work on the happy Hallmark home stovetop, on a wood stove, or over a campfire. The main reason people do not use it is that they perceive it as something that is difficult to clean, and it really is not. If it’s well seasoned and you don’t burn the food in it, then cleaning it is easy. Seasoning is a way to prepare your cast iron cookware by cleaning it and oiling it (with food oil, nothing petroleum-based), and then baking it in an oven for an hour or more until the oil dries.

Periodically you should wipe down the cooking surface of cast iron with fresh oil – just enough to lightly coat the surface. You can do it with shortening, but vegetable shortening is preferable, as lard is more to cook with and not coat. In my opinion, Lodge makes about the best stuff you can readily find, although I buy a lot of the older stuff from time to time from yard sales or thrift stores. I strongly advise making sure you have a lid for each item, whether it is a saucepan, Dutch oven, or skillet.

The lids, saucepans, and skillets need to be seasoned as well. Remember after coating them to turn them upside down, so the heat rises and seasons/dries their interiors. When it comes to a cabin out in the woods or an open fire, nothing beats cast iron. Depending on the size of your campfire, you can have several things going all at once, including a Dutch oven hanging over the fire. There are accessories you can pick up, such as a hook and chain apparatus for the Dutch oven, as well as a support to hang it over an open fire.

You can order these guys at Amazon and have them shipped to your home. Keep in mind: you don’t want to store food in these more than an “overnighter” that is placed right on the fire in the morning. Store your food in CorningWare containers. Cast iron can take a beating and be neglected to where it’s covered in rust, but you can clean it up and re-season it and it’ll be as good as new. There’s something to be said for cookware that you can use on a stove or use directly over hot coals or an open flame. Try it, you’ll like it! It never goes out of style and will serve you well in good times or bad.  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 August 27th, 2018

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