Ready Nutrition

Subscribe to Ready Nutrition feed
Live a healthier and more fulfilling life in every way. Find exciting and helpful topics to live better today!
Updated: 2 hours 50 min ago

Tips And Tricks To Instill Healthy Eating Habits In Your Children

4 hours 49 min ago

Many kids seem to be overly picky, eating only one or two different foods, or they just simply refuse to try new foods.  It can often be trying to attempt to get the right amount of nutrients in your child if you’ve got one of these picky eaters, but we’ve gathered a few tips and tricks to help you build up a strong nutritional foundation.

Let’s face the facts, if your child only eats macaroni and cheese from a box, they aren’t getting the proper nutrients their growing body and brain needs to keep them healthy in the long run.  Most parents know the value of proper nutrition but struggle to follow through.  But making fun food projects is one way to add at least a nutritional snack once in a while. Try cutting broccoli into “paintbrushes” and letting your child paint their own tortilla with hummus, organic ranch dressing, or even oil and vinegar.  Not only will they be able to eat their art, and their utensil, they ‘ll have a blast doing it.  A bonus tip is to try cutting up red peppers or carrots into fun shapes that the kids can stick onto the tortilla. You could even give them some nuts.  Organic nut butters, such as almond, are great to use as “glue.”  Everything you use should be healthy and edible and this will not only be a fun art project, but it will allow your child to combine different healthy and flavorful foods that they just might be willing to try to eat!

Another tip is to start a garden of any kind.  Children are curious, but they also love to eat what they grow.  My kids will pick serviceberries (also known as Juneberries, wild sugarplums or saskatoons) to snack on all day and even though they are not the sweetest of berries, with a flavor and look similar to the blueberry, but the kids love them simply because they can get to them on their own! Consider planting berries that your children can pick. Kids also like gardening.  They are naturally curious and explaining where their food comes from has the added benefit of staying with them for years to come, and they are more likely to pass on their gardening knowledge to their children. In fact, a recent study found that kids who had gardens at their childhood home or school ate more healthy foods such as vegetables and were more likely to garden themselves when they left for college. Good eating habits start at home, and it’s never too late to work with your kids!

If you are having trouble getting your child interested in vegetable art projects or gardening, don’t fret just yet! American children are surrounded by “food-like products” that are laden with fat, sugar, and artificial ingredients.  Not only do these “foods” often taste better, they are less expensive than vegetables and fruits.  But there’s always a starting point and way to get back on track so your child will be healthy and make better food decisions in a world of chemically laced additives.  There are actually a few vegetables that may be a little more palatable to a child, even a more picky one. Sweet snap peas, for example, are usually universally loved by children.  They have a mild sweetness to them but pack a nutritional punch. Carrots also tend toward the sweeter side and can be really fun for kids to pick!  Another great vegetable that most kids seem to enjoy is cherry tomatoes.  These little treats are great snacks and not only healthy but taste great.

Kids may not gravitate naturally toward vegetables, but when they are responsible for growing them and harvesting them from their own gardens, they are much more likely to taste their efforts! So consider growing some of the “sweeter” vegetables as a launch point! Once you win kids over with a few known favorites, you can sneak in the less sugary veggies and open them up to a lifetime of flavorful, healthy choices.

If you are concerned about space you can try indoor gardening activities too! Let kids grow some bunching onions (sometimes known as scallions or green onions in mason jars right on your kitchen counter! Just save the white part of the onion with the roots.  Add the white part of the onion roots down to a mason jar with enough water to cover it. In a few weeks, you can eat the sprouted green parts.  Of course, this won’t go on forever, eventually, the onions will stop growing, but then, simply start the experiment all over!  Kids might be more interested in trying vegetables, even onions if they watch them grow and help keep them alive.

Kids will emulate their parents.  A healthy way of life starts early and will serve as lessons that can help as children age.  Eating a wide variety of healthy foods will help keep kids from developing diseases such as obesity as they grow into adults.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published November 14th, 2018

Why You Need BPA-Free Drinking Vessels For Your Bug-Out Bag

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 05:49

Ready Nutrition readers, this piece stresses the importance of finding drinking vessels that will not leach chemicals out of their very walls and poison you. Yeah! Sounds problematic, doesn’t it? Well, it is. BPAs (Bisphenol-A, a chemical used in plastics for the past 60 years). BPAs are found in both epoxy (used in food cans and even in dentistry), and in polycarbonate plastics. The latter is used in vessels that hold drinks and food. Studies have shown that BPAs affect the brain and other systems of the body. The FDA said the levels of BPA within the plastics are safe.

No. Safe is when there are no levels of such things in your food.

Fortunately, you have solutions at hand in the form of glass drinking bottles and steel bottles. I have mentioned this in the past, but there are a few things to consider here also to make your “finds” truly effective. Let’s cover them.

  1. If it’s glass, make sure it’s wide-mouthed and/or freeze-resistant: The problem is in the wintertime. If that glass vessel should freeze, having it wide-mouthed, and not filling it up all the way are the solutions. Leave about ¼ or more “headspace” to provide for expansion with a freeze, if it should occur.  Suggestions here are for wide-mouth Mason jars (one-quart or larger). You can find them in stores that sell canning supplies, and also order them online. Glass also gives you another advantage: a glass jar with water inside and left in the sun will heat up almost akin to a “solar oven,” and for those old enough to remember Don Meredith and his “Sun-Tea” ads for Lipton…yes, it works. Put your tea bags inside and leave it out. The sun will do the rest.
  2. Steel: Yes, to paraphrase “Rage Against the Machine,” a “fistful of steel” will knock out those BPAs. I will give you my own preference right here:  WWII issue canteens. Here’s a photo of one by itself, and also how it appears in its carrying cover:

These guys are made of steel, and their lids have a cork liner…if it’s gone, you can easily replace it.

No leaching of the plastic, and no aluminum or aluminum blends. In the wintertime, fill them up to about 2/3 capacity, and they’ll take the freeze. Even better: you can place them on the coals of a fire and your ice will then thaw out. Look for these guys in your local military surplus stores, or you can order them and the carrying covers online at Amazon.

Just pay attention, because in ‘45 Uncle Sam started making them out of aluminum. It will be stamped on the bottom (the date), and it’ll take a magnet if it’s steel and not aluminum.

Another “plus” is the fact that you can hook these guys up to your vest or military gear.  You may have to attach Alice clips in order to do it, but that’s no large feat.

Both glass and steel bottles are easier to clean and prevent “detritus” from remaining or forming a film, as is wont to do on surfaces that are made of plastic. Both stand up to heat better than plastic and will not catch on fire…another “plus” to file away. As they do not break down as readily, you don’t have to worry about chemicals leaching with the passage of time. I recommend both to you. It is trickier with glass to protect it from being broken, but why not use some of these insulated bottle-carriers you see on the market for plastic bottles?

If the glass bottle should break, the carrier will contain the glass for a short time and perhaps prevent cuts. In addition to this, the Mason jar (if used) can stand up to the heat.  You can make up some stew in a pot, and use the Mason jar to eat a nice bowl of soup.  Then it’ll clean up just fine and can go back to being used as a drinking vessel. You’re only limited by your imagination, but as the winter approaches, keep in mind: your need to drink does not decrease. Arm yourself with these tools and try them out until they become second nature and a part of your daily routine.  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 November 12th, 2018

5 Easy And Natural Ways To Beat Stress During The Holidays

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 09:25

The joyous time of the holiday season brings with it several factors that can cause stress to become out of control.  But there a few simple and all natural ways that work wonders for combating that extra pressure this season!

5 Ways To Beat Holiday Stress

‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? But we’ve all been there; the stress can be intense! Many times it’s as simple as forgetting a Christmas gift and realizing you only have $4 in your bank account.  Maybe it’s the extra pressure of spending money and wrapping gifts, decorating your home perfectly, attending all the church events in a timely and punctual manner while making sure you didn’t forget one thing for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve done that! One year shortly after my husband and I first got married, I realized I had no poultry seasoning for the small turkey we’d just bought.  Everything was closed in the teeny rural town where we lived at the time and I had to make due with salt and pepper.  To this day, every year, I buy poultry seasoning when I make my holiday dinner shopping trip.  We now have 10 (possibly more) unopened jars of the stuff hanging out in our spice cabinet because I’m afraid it’ll happen to me again!

But this happens to the best of us.  Sometimes it is just too much and we need to de-stress.  So here are a few simple and all natural ways to help you combat the stress the holidays can place on us.

Diffuse Essential Oils

One of the most calming things we can do is ignite our sense of smell.  Using essential oil aromatherapy, this form of stress-relief can trigger the different senses in the brain through smell. Certain oils produce scents that can trigger positive feelings and thoughts in the brain.  Sometimes these scents are more universal, for example, lavender is calming to virtually everyone, while others strike the person a little more personally. Essential oils can also be heated in an oil warmer, used in a bath, or made into candles to diffuse the scent. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can make one at home:

DIY: How To Naturally Make An Essential Oil Diffuser {Plus Aromatherapy Oil Blends}

As we breathe in the scents of the oils, our brain is prompted to think positive thoughts, and the scents can stimulate a calming effect. Using essential oils while deeply breathing in through the nose (and smelling the wonderful aroma of the oils) and exhaling fully through the mouth can be one of the most effective ways to destress all naturally, immediately, on your own in the privacy of your own home. In addition to lavender, try diffusing chamomile, ylang-ylang, rose, vetiver, and bergamot to relieve stress.

Meditation or Prayer

The simple act of calming the mind’s constant chatter can help the human body unwind.  Depending on your personal spiritual belief system, you may prefer the term prayer, however, both will have a similar destressing effect on the brain. Prayer and meditation can help you avoid getting too frustrated with the “little things” in daily life and help you look at the “bigger picture.” Spirituality (or religion, if you prefer) can also offer much-needed comfort and strength when dealing with stressful situations.  Relaxing the mind can help us realize what’s important and which things we should let go. Deep breathing while praying or meditating will also help provide oxygen to the brain and keep our body calm as we release the tensions of the day from our body. Breathing deeply will help your body’s functions and breathing slow down. Your heart rate and blood pressure will lower, your muscles will relax and release the tension, and even your brain will become less active.

Light a Candle

This is a personal favorite of mine.  I like diffusing essential oils, and I enjoy my nightly meditation. But there is just nothing like lighting a candle and having the lovely warm glow light up your day. And science has agreed that candles do have a calming effect on the mind. The gentle, mesmerizing quality of their light makes them a perfect aid for any relaxation routine. The low light that comes from a candle is captured by your sight and sent straight to your brain for processing. Because of our associations with candlelight, the body begins to relax both emotionally and physically. You can also take the science of relaxing with candles one step further though; by lighting scented candles proven to transform your mood.  Like essential oils, adding in a calming scent to the soothing glow of candlelight will not only have the waxes melting, but stress melting away as well.

Drink Some Tea

Another perfect way to relax is curled up with a piping hot cup of tea, next to a candle or diffuser. Teas have been known to be medicinal and have many wonderful herbs that will calm the mind and soothe away your holiday stress.  My mother and I frequent a shop in Ft. Collins, Colorado and admittedly, I spend a lot of money there every time I visit her. But the aromas of the Spice and Tea Exchange are unexplainable.  My mind is immediately soothed just walking in the store and being hit with the aroma of teas and spices from around the world. If you know of a similar business in your area, consider going in and asking about teas that will help with relaxation. Oftentimes, chamomile teas offer a calming effect on the mind and coupled with a scented candle, it’ll be hard for the holiday stress to not melt away. Peppermint teas and lemon teas also offer soothing and stress relieving flavors and aromas. Or, you could go for the Sleepy Time tea by Celestial Seasonings that even our small rural grocery store stocks.

In addition to herbal teas, taking a stress-reducing supplement like Xivvium For Stress a few weeks prior to the stressful event can help keep high-tension get-togethers running smoothly. What I like about this supplement is it is a broad-spectrum that combines herbs, vitamins, and nutrients such as 5-HTP, St. John’s Wort, and Valerian Root to promote stress relief – all the right stuff to help you when you need it the most!

Be Generous

This doesn’t mean that you have to go on a spending spree and be generous with your bowstring tight budget. But, one of the best ways to stay calm, content, and cheerful this time of year is to act generously with your loved ones, co-workers, and friends and the way you compliment them or help them. Tell your co-worker you love her dress, or make sure to compliment the food your neighbor made for you out of genuine affection. You can also generously offer to do loved ones dreaded errand. If a friend is stressed, offer to give her your soothing candle to try or invite her over for a chat and a cup of your favorite relaxing tea. Helping others will always help you and it will be mentally beneficial for everyone involved. And isn’t that really what the holiday season is about anyway?

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published November 9th, 2018

Ready Nutrition: Power Protein Pancakes – Just Add Water

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 11:40

Recently Mrs. Johnson went out on a buying mission and obtained something that I find will be excellent to add to the supplies. Kodiak Cakes is a pancake and waffle mix that is manufactured in a plant in Park City, Utah. What’s the big deal on this? First of all, the ingredients are actually good for you: flour of wheat and oats, along with egg whites, wheat protein, sea salt, and honey, for starters. It also has yeast and baking soda.

A box of this stuff will give about 13 servings: each serving is (3) pancakes of 4” in diameter. Here are the stats on a serving of these:

  • 8 grams (g) protein
  • 37 g carbohydrates
  • 1.5 g of fat
  • 20% RDA for Calcium and 10% for Iron
Just Add Water and You’ve Got a Go-To Protein Powerhouse for Your Pantry

A box contains 24 ounces of this mix (a pound and a half). This stuff is perfect for a grid-down disaster food and addition to the pantry.

The Mrs. took all of the interior bags of this mix (a strong plastic that can take a beating) and loaded them all into the freezer for 48 hours. This is to kill any bugs that may exist (and do exist in most types of flour). Then she withdrew them, sealed them up in large Ziploc bags, and placed them into storage. Voila! When it is needed, it can be prepared with water simply and easily.

Unfortunately, we’re in the middle of fire season here, so I’m not using the woodstove just yet. I did cook up a batch on my “regular” stove, and they’re not only good, but you can do a lot with them. For extra protein, you can add ground beef or shredded/finely-chopped chicken into them. After they’re made (especially in the wintertime) they should keep a few days in that state.

You can cook them on a flat griddle over an open fire easily, and what I’m looking forward to trying is cooking them directly on the top of my woodstove, as I am able to do so with other things, such as eggs, bacon, and the like. As it keeps without any refrigeration and only needs the addition of water, this is a perfect source of fiber (5 grams per serving mentioned) and a high-protein and carb adjunct that you can make with little effort. They beat the daylights out of plain buckwheat flour because of the stats and the ingredients.

There are plenty of brands you can get that will allow you to add just water, but the quality of this stuff in terms of actually being good for you is light years ahead of standard brands out there on the shelf. It will run you about $5.99 per box (the Mrs. found them on sale for just $3.99 a box and bought a lot of it) at the grocery store. You can find them at either Costco or the other common supermarkets: your Costco/warehouse-type store will sell them at lower prices when you buy a case or whatever increments they sell in bulk.

I’m also thinking about taking some of this stuff with me and “field-testing” it in the fall when the fires are gone and it’s time to cut wood. As I said, they taste really good and fill you up, along with being made from ingredients that are good for you. Store them properly and they’ll keep for years, and you can FIFO out the older supply from what you use on a regular basis. You can make other things such as muffins, etc., out of the mix, but we haven’t tried that out yet. One step at a time, and (at least for me!) half a dozen pancakes at a time!  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 November 7th, 2018

How To Protect Your Skin From Wind, Cold, And Sun During Winter

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 05:40

These crisp cool winter months are beautiful. The fresh snow lingers on the ground as you wake up to a lovely frost coating what used to be vibrantly colored trees just a few weeks ago. But now that winter is here, many still have to be outside to care for animals or land, and because of that, we’ve designed this helpful guide with natural alternatives to help keep your skin perfectly beautiful and healthy even in the icy cold and dry winter wind.

Winter presents some seriously interesting problems for those with already problematic skin.  Have no worries! There are some things that can be done to minimize the effects of the harsh cold and dry weather on your skin. Here they are:

DRINK MORE WATER

During winter months, the body is going to need more water. According to a previous Ready Nutrition article by Jerimiah Johnson, getting enough water could even end up being crucial to your own survival. As Johnson puts it:

During the winter, you’ll need about a quarter to a half extra water than your body normally requires, and this increases further if you are working hard physically or exerting yourself.  Remember what is happening in the cold weather.  Your body is burning up calories and extra sugar and carbohydrates to heat your muscle tissue.  This requires a tremendous amount of metabolic energy, down to the cellular level.  Water is fuelnever forget that.  With the increased cold temperatures, your metabolism works harder to stay warm.  Food intake is critical, and so is water. –Ready Nutrition

Not only does water help your body stay warm, but it will inject the cells of your skin with vital moisture that is often sucked away by the dry climate. The fact is that skin is an organ, and just like any other part of the body, according to UW Health.  Your skin is made up of cells and those skin cells, like any other cell in the body, are made up of water. Without water, the organs will certainly not function properly or at their best. If your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling. As water is lost in large quantities every day, you need to replace it somehow. Drinking more fluids especially straight water will help your skin’s condition, but you might consider other ways too since just drinking water will force the body to distribute it among other vital organs first.

HYALURONIC ACID

At first, the name “hyaluronic acid” may seem a little scary.  I admit I didn’t want to purchase a moisturizer with an acid in it (although I did, and this one is fantastic during the winter; I personally use this every day) until I’d done some research.  The fact is, hyaluronic acid is an all natural substance found naturally in the human body. Even though hyaluronic acid is incredible all year round, it can be especially vital during the winter due to the harsh weather conditions that dry out your skin, taking away both moisture and your natural oils. The good news is that hyaluronic acid serum works to help you get smooth skin whether it lacks water (hydration) or oil (moisture). You can’t really overdo it, so just slather this stuff on!

**Special tips via Jaba Labs: When you use hyaluronic acid serum during the winter, your primary goal is to hydrate the skin (and the anti-aging effects are just a bonus) and because the acid bonds instantly with water, you should always apply it with water. To do this, you have two options; the first one is to wet your face and then apply the serum. If you’d prefer not to wet your face, you can also put a small amount of the hyaluronic acid serum in your hand and then add a bit of water. This will not only help with the hydration but by diluting it, it will be better able to penetrate your skin. Personally, I wash my face in the morning, DO NOT dry it, then immediately rub in some pure hyaluronic acid or the aforementioned moisturizer.

KNOW YOUR SKIN

Whether you’re a sun worshipper or vigilant about sun safety, it’s important to examine your skin regularly and take note of any new moles or growths, and any changes in existing growths. Sun lovers need to really assess whether their desire for a tan is worth a lifetime of looking ten years older.  As a pale skinned person who cannot leave the house any time of year without sunscreen, I’m often told I look more than ten years younger than my actual age.  It isn’t all genetics. I learned at a fairly young age that a sunburn is useless and painful and no tan is worth it. But those who do love the sun and desire that deep tan that comes from too much should be aware of skin changes during winter. Lesions that change, itch, bleed, or don’t heal are huge alarm signals. And even if you’ve carefully practiced sun safety all summer, it’s important to remember to continue being vigilant about your skin in fall, winter, and spring. Self-exams can help you identify potential skin cancers early, or you can get a full body “mole check” by a dermatologist if you feel more concerned. Please keep in mind that seeing a dermatologist even once is a good investment. They can analyze your skin type, troubleshoot your current skin care regimen, and give you advice on the skin care products you should be using.

DO NOT USE TANNING BEDS

Most people are under the impression that a tanning bed will provide adequate levels of vitamin D needed to sustain the body during winter. And while vitamin D is important, it isn’t worth getting skin cancer over. Both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation cause cell damage that can lead to skin cancer. Instead, try to eat foods high in vitamin D or take a supplement.

It’s really that easy to get vital nutrients from good quality foods in the winter.

 

*This article is for information purposes only and is not meant to treat, cure, or diagnose any health problem. Please see a qualified medical professional if you are concerned about your health.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published November 6th, 2018

Technology Detox: The Health Benefits of Unplugging & Unwinding

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 07:55

Recent studies have shown that 90% of Americans use digital devices for two or more hours each day and the average American spends more time a day on high-tech devices than they do sleeping: 8 hours and 21 minutes to be exact.  If you’ve ever considered attempting a “digital detox”, there are some health benefits to making that change and a few tips to make things a little easier on yourself.

Many Americans are on their phones rather than playing with their children or spending quality family time together.  Some people give up technology, or certain aspects of it, such as social media for varying reasons, and there are some shockingly terrific health benefits that come along with that type of a detox from technology.  In fact, more and more health experts and medical professionals are suggesting a periodic digital detox; an extended period without those technology gadgets. Studies continue to show that a digital detox, has proven to be beneficial for relationships, productivity, physical health, and mental health. If you find yourself overly stressed or unproductive or generally disengaged from those closest to you, it might be time to unplug.

DIGITAL ADDICTION RESOLUTION

It may go unnoticed but there are many who are actually addicted to their smartphones or tablet. It could be social media or YouTube videos, but these are the people who never step away.  They are the ones with their face in their phone while out to dinner with their family. They can’t have a quiet dinner without their phone on the table. We’ve seen them at the grocery store aimlessly pushing around a cart while ignoring their children and scrolling on their phone. A whopping 83% of American teenagers claim to play video games while other people are in the same room and 92% of teens report to going online daily.  24% of those users access the internet via laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.

Addiction therapists who treat gadget-obsessed people say their patients aren’t that different from other kinds of addicts. Whereas alcohol, tobacco, and drugs involve a substance that a user’s body gets addicted to, in behavioral addiction, it’s the mind’s craving to turn to the smartphone or the Internet. Taking a break teaches us that we can live without constant stimulation, and lessens our dependence on electronics. Trust us: that Facebook message with a funny meme attached or juicy tidbit of gossip can wait.

IMPROVE RELATIONSHIPS AND BE MORE PERSONABLE

Another benefit to keeping all your electronics off is that it will allow you to establish good mannerisms and people skills and build your relationships to a strong level of connection. If you have ever sat across someone at the dinner table who made more phone contact than eye contact, you know it feels to take a backseat to a screen. Cell phones and other gadgets force people to look down and away from their surroundings, giving them a closed off and inaccessible (and often rude) demeanor. A digital detox has the potential of forcing you out of that unhealthy comfort zone. It could be a start toward rebuilding a struggling relationship too. In a Forbes study, 3 out of 5 people claimed that they spend more time on their digital devices than they do with their partners. This can pose a real threat to building and maintaining real-life relationships. The next time you find yourself going out on a dinner date, try leaving your cell phone and other devices at home and actually have a conversation.  Your significant other will thank you.

BETTER SLEEP AND HEALTHIER EATING HABITS

The sleep interference caused by these high-tech gadgets is another mental health concern. The stimulation caused by artificial light can make you feel more awake than you really are, which can potentially interfere with your sleep quality. It is recommended that you give yourself at least two hours of technology-free time before bedtime.  The “blue light” has been shown to interfere with sleeping patterns by inhibiting melatonin (the hormone which controls our sleep/wake cycle known as circadian rhythm) production. Try shutting off your phone after dinner and leaving it in a room other than your bedroom.  Another great tip is to buy one of those old-school alarm clocks so the smartphone isn’t ever in your bedroom.  This will help your body readjust to a normal and healthy sleep schedule.

Your eating habits can also suffer if you spend too much time checking your newsfeed. The Rochester Institute of Technology released a study that revealed students are more likely to eat while staring into digital media than they are to eat at a dinner table. This means that eating has now become a multi-tasking activity, rather than a social and loving experience in which healthy foods meant to sustain the body are consumed. This can prevent students from eating consciously, which promotes unhealthy eating habits such as overeating and easy choices, such as a bag of chips as opposed to washing and peeling some carrots. Whether you’re an overworked college student checking your Facebook, or a single bachelor watching reruns of The Office, a digital detox is a great way to promote healthy and conscious eating.

IMPROVE OVERALL MENTAL HEALTH

Social media addicts experience a wide array of emotions when looking at the photos of Instagram models and the exercise regimes of others who live in exotic locations.  These emotions can be mentally draining and psychologically unhealthy and lead to depression.  Smartphone use has been linked to loneliness, shyness, and less engagement at work. In other words, one may have many “social media friends” while being lonely and unsatisfied because those friends are only accessible through their screen. Start by limiting your time on social media. Log out of all social media accounts.  That way, you’ve actually got to log back in if you want to see what that Parisian Instagram vegan model is up to.

If you feel like a detox is in order but don’t know how to go about it, start off small. Try shutting off your phone after dinner and don’t turn it back on until after breakfast. Keep your phone in another room besides your bedroom overnight. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, buy a cheap alarm clock to use instead to lessen your dependence on your phone.  Boredom is often the biggest factor in the beginning stages of a detox, but try playing an undistracted board game with your children, leaving your phone at home during a nice dinner out, or playing with a pet. All of these things are not only good for you but good for your family and beloved furry critter as well!

 

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published November 5th, 2018

How To Beat ‘Cabin Fever’ During The Winter With Vitamin D

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 05:29

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and one that can be synthesized by our body when sunlight hits our skin. But during the winter when we are curled up by a warm fire sipping hot cocoa, it can be hard to get enough vitamin D to keep the body running in tip-top shape.

Vitamin D is a precursor hormone and has multiple roles in the human body. It helps to maintain the health of bones and teeth, support the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system. It also helps regulate insulin levels and aid in diabetes management. Vitamin D also supports lung function and cardiovascular health while influencing the expression of genes involved in cancer development.

Researchers in clinical studies had tested fifty-five adults between 18 and 65 with artificial light sources containing ultraviolet radiation or UV rays. The adults participating in this study were told to sit under a heat lamp or UV light in their underwear for up to 10 minutes.  Researchers noticed that their vitamin D levels increased afterward. Of course, buying UV lights or heat lamps and sitting around under those lights in your underwear might not be the best or easiest solution for most people.

It is estimated that sensible sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per week allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D, but vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, meaning that stores can run low, especially in winter. In fact, recent studies have suggested that a substantial percentage of the global population is vitamin D deficient partially because of this.

Spending time outside is one way to get vitamin D, but eating a more healthy and balanced diet can help too. Standing outside in the freezing cold in winter attempting to get some vitamin D isn’t comfortable nor is it realistic for many people as a method to beat “cabin fever.” Adults, aged 1-70 need about 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day and adults over the age of 71 require  800 IU per day. Some experts say humans need closer to 1000 IU of vitamin D per day.  That’s equal to 20-30 minutes in the sun without sunscreen for those with pale skin. While supplementation is perfectly fine (and relatively affordable), sunshine is still free and the best way for you to increase your vitamin D levels.

Supplements are becoming more affordable, and there are several options for vitamin D on the market if you live in a cold winter climate.  Try starting lower though, so your body can adapt. Your body does not absorb vitamin D from supplements as well or quickly as it does from the sun, so you will need to take higher doses. Try a 600 IU supplement and gradually increase up to 800 IU. Just one tablespoon of cod liver oil will provide your body with 1,360 IU of vitamin D

If you would like to consume more vitamin D, there are also many ways to boost the essential vitamin by eating.  You should eat a sufficient amount of cholesterol. A lack of cholesterol has been shown to cause malnutrition due to the lack of fat-soluble vitamin absorption. You should also make sure you have sufficient vitamin D cofactors such as vitamin K2, magnesium, boron, and zinc.

Some foods that provide a high level of vitamin D are fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon. A mere 4 ounces of cooked swordfish contains 941 IU. Other foods which are fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals are also excellent sources of the essential vitamin. Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks will also help you boost your level of vitamin D.  In order to get enough vitamin D from your food, fish is a good option. Three ounces of cooked salmon has more than 450 international units (IU).

There are risks when attempting to boost your vitamin D levels, and as with anything, consult a doctor if you need to. Excessive consumption of vitamin D (hypervitaminosis D) can lead to over-calcification of the bones and hardening of the blood vessels, kidneys, lungs, and heart. The most common symptoms of hypervitaminosis D are a headache and nausea but can also include loss of appetite, dry mouth, a metallic taste, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has suggested that vitamin D toxicity is unlikely at daily intakes below 10,000 IU per day, but again, consult your doctor if you are concerned about your vitamin D levels at all.

 

*This article is for information purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness.  Consult your doctor if you have major concerns regarding your health and overall well being.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published November 1st, 2018

The Medicinal Power Of Nettles

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 05:27

Deemed a useless plant by many, nettle is often avoided and weeded out of yards because it can be annoying and irritating.  But after being the subject of several studies, nettle has begun to prove its worth. While you may curse the plant for the temporary discomfort, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is actually a beneficial perennial that treats several conditions.

History

Stinging nettle is a perennial flowering plant that has been used medicinally for ages, dating back as far as Ancient Greece. Today, it can be found all over the world, but its origins are in the colder regions of Europe and Asia.

The first historically documented use of this beneficial herb was when Roman soldiers battled the cold by rubbing the leaves on their arms to induce inflammation and irritation, according to Mercola. The plant’s popularity has now spread across the world and has been used by medical practitioners since the 19th century because of its abundance of chemicals and compounds that can help the body function optimally.

How To Identify Nettle

Nettle plants can be differentiated from other plants through their leaves. The nettle leaf has an ovate shape with deeply serrated edges. These leaves also have long stinging hairs that inject chemicals into the skin when you accidentally touch or brush past them. These hairs often cause pain and inflammation in the affected area.

The stems of the leaves often have hairs on them and neither the male or female flowers have petals. The flowers form in string-like clusters at the leaf axis. The plant usually grows between two to four feet high and blooms from June to September. Nettle grows best in nitrogen-rich soil, has heart-shaped leaves, and produces yellow or pink flowers.

Stinging nettle contains a number of chemicals, such as serotonin, histamine, and acetylcholine, some of which can be very irritating to the skin. These chemicals cause the stinging irritation on skin and are found at the base of the fine hairs on the nettle. When brushed up against, the fragile tips of the stinging hairs break off. The remaining hair becomes a small needle, able to deliver the chemicals into the skin causing a reaction. The reaction to stinging nettle can cause pain, redness, swelling, itching, and numbness.

Health Benefits

Perhaps its most popular use is turning the leaves into stinging nettle tea, which is a common natural allergy relief remedy. It’s also proven to benefit skin, bone, and urinary health as well. Nettle also contains vitamins C and K, B vitamins, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron. It also has amino acids and antioxidants, which may help fight free radicals.

The antioxidant properties of the nettle plant have been observed to help minimize inflammation. It can be used topically to help relieve joint pain as well.

One of the more common uses of nettle is to treat allergies, as mentioned before. Nettle can alleviate an allergic reaction. While physical contact with the nettle leaf can cause allergic reactions, the ingestion of nettle tea is known to help dampen the body’s response to allergens by binding with the body’s histamine receptors. It can aid in the prevention of rhinitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose as the result of a virus, aka. the common cold) and act as a soothing remedy for the congestion.

BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) symptoms and urinary issues can also be treated using stinging nettle. Often the symptoms of BPH are caused by an enlarged prostate gland pressing on the urethra. BPH sufferers experience varying levels of increased urges to urinate, incomplete emptying of the bladder, painful urination, post urination dripping, and reduced urinary flow. A testosterone-induced BPH study on rats has shown that stinging nettle may be as effective at treating this condition as finasteride, the medication most commonly used to treat BPH.

How To Make Nettle Tea

It is important to take precautions first before using any herbal remedy. When making stinging nettle tea, only use younger plants that have not flowered or gone to seed. The older leaves on the younger plants are often sweeter if that is a flavor preference.  Some medical articles state that when nettles flower and go to seed they can form cystoliths or calcium concretions (aka bladder stones) in the body. Don’t drink nettle tea if you are pregnant. It can alter the menstrual cycle and may contribute to miscarriage. Other doctors warn that people with heart disorders, kidney problems, or hormone-mediated cancers should use caution. Some studies have suggested that nettle raises blood sugar levels and others show that it lowers them, so if you are diabetic you should monitor your blood closely.

To start your tea, gather about one cup of nettle leaves while wearing gloves to prevent irritation to the hands. Stinging nettle leaves can be dried for later use as well, so consider harvesting more than you’ll need. The leaves will lose their “sting” when they dry out. Put some leaves in a dehydrator, or dry naturally by hanging them upside down in a cool, dark, and dry place. Next, boil 2-3 cups of water.  Pour the boiling water over the dried (or fresh) nettle leaves and allow it to steep for a few minutes.  Feel free to add mint and/or honey to help with the flavor and enhance the medicinal properties of your tea even further.

*This article is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or disease. It is for information purposes only and should be taken as such. Please contact your physician before giving anyone, including yourself, natural remedies.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 30th, 2018

City Size & Structure Can Influence Influenza Epidemics, Scientists Say

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 07:16

New research is suggesting that the size and structure of the city you live in has the possibility of influencing epidemics.  With flu season upon us, and everyone lining up to get the flu shot, researchers are saying an outbreak may be less in our control than we originally thought.

But just how does your city’s structure impact an epidemic?

Regardless of whether flu cases rise to a wintertime peak or plateau from fall to spring, new research suggests that the size of a city itself influences the contours of its flu season according to Science News.  Larger cities with higher levels of crowding were associated with a steady accumulation of influenza cases throughout a flu season. Smaller cities with less crowding tended to have a flu season with a more intense surge in winter, researchers report in the October 5 publication.

“Understanding how the size and structure of cities impact disease spread may help us to predict and control epidemics,” study co-author and population biologist Benjamin Dalziel of Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, said October 2 at a news conference.

In the United States, “flu season” occurs during fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Flu activity typically peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). –Ready Nutrition

Flu cases generally peak during the winter in most areas of the United States because the air is quite a bit drier. That lack of humidity can help the flu virus to survive longer once sneezed or coughed out of an infected person, for example, allowing the virus to potentially infect more people.  Dalziel his research team wondered how city size and structure fit into the mix, so they went about studying the implications.

The team found that in large cities that have more crowding (that is, concentrated areas where people live and work) there appear to be more opportunities for the virus to find new hosts, even when the air conditions aren’t ideal for virus transmission. So the flu spreads steadily during the season; the virus doesn’t need to wait for winter’s dry air.

But in smaller cities with less crowding, the air conditions (rather than crowded spaces) seem to be the main driver of new cases, causing a spike in winter. Overall, the research team claimed that cities with high-intensity flu seasons, in which cases rise to a peak, tended to be in the eastern part of the country and had wider seasonal fluctuations in humidity levels.

However, scientists do admit that this idea that a city’s size can affect an epidemic needs to be looked into more. Infectious disease researcher Jeffrey Shaman of Columbia University said: “if we’re seeing these patterns, we have to figure out why.”  Doing so could help researchers understand more about how flu is spread so that they “can do more to prevent its transmission.”  Although there’s probably little anyone can do to prevent the spread of the flu, except protect themselves from it.  No one else can boost your immune system for you and the flu vaccine has been shown to actually weaken your immune system’s antibody response in subsequent years.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests getting the flawed vaccine to prevent the spread of the flu, it does also have a page that is dedicated to the numerous other ways people can avoid the flu called Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs. Here, one can find useful common sense guidelines, like:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose
  • Clean your hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Practice other good health habits

While “practice other good health habits” is wise advice, unfortunately, the CDC does not elaborate other than this blurb:

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

The best, easiest, and the most obvious way to fight the flu before you get it is to boost your immune system, which can be done naturally. In the article titled: The Flu Fighting Arsenal: 5 Ways to Naturally Stop the Flu Dead In Its Tracks, Tess Pennington explains that “the best defense is a natural one.” The article will discuss how to boost your immune system and add some natural flu preventatives to your natural well-being arsenal. Eating a healthy diet (such as avoiding processed foods), drinking plenty of water, taking vitamins to supplement your diet, and getting plenty of good quality sleep can all help you stay healthy during cold and flu season.

While we may not be due for a flu pandemic, taking steps to minimize your chances of getting sick as opposed to relying on government agencies to save you afterward gives you a better fighting chance.

Symptoms of the flu generally include:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
    * It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

*This article is not meant to diagnose or treat any illnesses.  It is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice.

Source

 

 

Read More:

Are We Due for a Pandemic Flu? Here’s How to Prepare Just in Case

The Flu Fighting Arsenal: 5 Ways to Naturally Stop the Flu Dead In Its Tracks

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Is the CDC More Prepared for This Year’s Flu Season? And – Are You?

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 29th, 2018

9 Ways You Can Save BIG On Energy Costs This Winter

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 16:15

Heating your home during the winter can be costly and many don’t have the extra money to pay for the uptick in energy costs.  But we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to help you save your money on energy and use more sustainable ways to heat your home.

Not only can a reduction in the amount of energy you use lower your impact on the Earth, but it lowers the impact on your wallet, freeing up some funds for emergencies or for other uses. In a 2013 survey, 10 percent of renters who participated in a Rent.com poll said that utilities are their biggest monthly expense, coming in third after monthly rent and groceries. And just heating your living spaces accounts for about 48 percent of your home’s total energy bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

None of the things listed below will require a big investment, but they should help you notice a little relief when your next energy bill comes.

1. Use the sun for free heat: That burning bright orb in the sky should be the focus of temperature control in your residence throughout the year, even in summer. However, once winter rolls around, open the curtains on your south-facing windows during the winter days to bring free heat into your home. Close your window coverings when the sun goes down to keep the heat locked inside.

2. Use a programmable thermostat: Save up to 10 percent on your heating costs per year by setting your thermostat 7 degrees to 10 degrees lower for eight hours a day, says Energy.gov. Set it and forget it by using a programmable thermostat.  This works especially well if you are at work during the day.  Set the thermostat to 62 degrees for the hours you’re working instead of 70 and you could immediately start seeing the savings on your next bill. If you stay home, try lowering the thermostat overnight by a few degrees while you sleep.  You likely won’t notice the difference, and if you do, toss a warmer winter blanket on the bed.

3. Adjust your water temperature: Having hot water at your disposal is a big energy user. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping your water heater’s thermostat set at 120 degrees. According to the agency, anything higher is unnecessary. Water that’s too hot can even be dangerous and scalding. Every 10-degree reduction in your water heater’s thermostat can save you about 3 to 5 percent on your energy bill.

4. Use a ceiling fan to your advantage: Homes that have better ventilation and airflow are usually more energy efficient in both the heat of the summer and during those cold and snowy winter months. If you have ceiling fans in your living space, you have so much more control over ventilation than you know. Ceiling fans can be used strategically to achieve better airflow: counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer and clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months. Turn your ceiling fan on a low setting to gently push hot air back down.

5. Use a wood burning stove for heat:  This obviously only works if you have a wood burning stove and firewood isn’t insanely expensive, or you have the ability to chop it yourself. Wood burning stoves are both warm and efficient, but in some areas, you’ll have to invest a lot of labor to make up for the lower cost of energy usage.  It’s definitely worth it to some, but not to all.

6. Change your furnace filter and keep vents clean and unblocked: Replace the furnace filters regularly, even monthly, depending on the type you buy and how much your furnace needs to be running. Read your appliance’s manual to find the replacement schedule and type, as well as installation instructions. Keeping your furnace and vents properly maintained, such as making sure the vents remain unblocked, will reduce energy consumption and help you save some money. Check your furnace filter monthly, and replace it when it gets dirty. When you are checking your filter, also consider cleaning your vents and clearing any that have obstructions.

7. Close all drapes/blinds/curtains at night: Reduce heat loss by keeping drapes closed at night, or when the sun is not streaming in.

8. Only heat the rooms you use: If you have rooms that you never use, like guest rooms or large storage areas, close and seal off the vents in those rooms to be more energy efficient and direct the flow of warm air into the rooms you use the most. By using a space heater in the rooms where you need it and setting the thermostat to 62 degrees, you can save approximately $200 each year.  This comes with a disclosure, however.  You need to heat rooms that have running water, such as bathrooms and kitchens to avoid frozen pipes. But you can keep the room at a lower temperature, like 50 degrees, and not have to worry much about the pipes freezing.

9. Invest in insulation: If you have some extra cash, try investing in some really good insulation.  While this is the most expensive solution on the list and may seem counterproductive as you’ll be spending thousands to save hundreds every year, it will eventually come out as savings. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to escaping warm and cold air in homes because they lack the proper insulation. Get some inexpensive insulation from your local home improvement store, and cover up all those areas where heat might escape. Start with foam weather stripping for your doors and windows; it’s cheap and is extremely easy to apply.  If there are places that seem “leaky” try using caulk to seal them up.  Larger gaps that allow a bigger chunk of air may require expanding foam to completely block.  If your home is older, you may want to consider paying to upgrade all of your insulation.

These tips should help you to save on your energy costs this winter and have a little extra cash on hand.  Not only will you be saving money, but you could also be helping the planet.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 26th, 2018

The Supplement One NFL Player Took For Injury Recovery and Went on to the Super Bowl  

Thu, 10/25/2018 - 13:07

Ready Nutrition Readers, as you know I’m an avid proponent of exercise and fitness training. It is not the focus of my life, but I focus a large portion of my life on it, as it benefits me in every area. There is a supplement that is good for athletes, good for people with physical problems, ailments, and challenges, and the supplement has a wealth of documented use historically with success. That supplement is Deer Antler Velvet extract.  Before we get into it, let’s talk some “pointy-ball.”

During the 2012 pro-NFL season, the press and the NFL were giving Ray Lewis of the Ravens (one of the greatest middle linebackers of all time) a rash of static for taking Deer Antler Velvet.

Turned out they couldn’t do much, as it did not contain any banned substances, and he took it in accordance with TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) to aid him in recovery with injuries he sustained during the game with Dallas that took him out for the rest of the season with a torn bicep and torn rotator cuff. He performed rigorous physical therapy (yes, the Deer Antler Velvet was included) and came back to play in the playoffs…all three games. Then came the Super Bowl, his last game, and then he retired.

The point: it works, and the proof that it works is that the establishment either decries it or attempts to ban it.

What Is Deer Antler Velvet and How Does It Help?

Here’s what it is. Deer antler velvet (just what the name implies) is taken from deer, elk, caribou, and moose…any of those guys. The velvet is a layer of growing antler that is harvested for its components and for its beneficial actions. TCM has been using it for thousands of years successfully. Athletes can use it to increase performance and strength: it contains amino acids, proteins, and IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor), a hormone produced naturally inside of the human body by the liver.

Deer antler velvet also has collagen, chondroitin, and glucosamine. These substances are well known and proven to aid in problems with arthritis, cartilage, and joint ailments. The velvet is packed full of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, as well as zinc, calcium, and magnesium. It does not pose any side effects, and very few people are allergic to it or its components.

It can increase blood circulation, prevent inflammation, and speed recovery both from traumatic injuries and disease. It acts in an adaptogenic fashion. Adaptogens (to refresh) are substances that either raise or lower effects in the human body to bring it toward homeostasis. Ginseng is an example: lowering the blood-sugar levels in diabetics, and raising the blood sugar level in those with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

How It Helps Athletes?

For athletes and those in physical training, it increases endurance and workload and decreases the recovery time. This was proven in the 1970s and 1980s in the USSR (Soviet Union) with their numerous gold medal winners in the Olympics. The Russian Olympic teams were second to none, and yes, they also used the deer antler velvet.

 Deer Antler Velvet Is Harvested Humanely

Most of it these days is harvested in Korea and Australia. They do it humanely and painlessly, with no harm done to the animals. To learn more information on this, here is a really good ready-reference for more in-depth study, Deer Velvet Technical Manual Version 6.3 (pdf), and this is put out by the Deer Industry of New ZealandThe manual is 104 pages and rife with great information and charts pertaining to composition, the breakdown of amino acids and proteins, as well as helpful substances such as the prostaglandins, vitamins, and minerals. It delves into the history behind the use of it in traditional naturopathic medicines and gives the science behind it all, along with medical testing.

There are 5 pages just on athletic performance with its use, as well as cases and reports pertaining to recoveries from illnesses, surgeries, and traumatic injury. The athletic performance pages are very interesting because these chronicle studies performed by the aforementioned Soviet Union’s trainers, coaches, and doctors that prove the results in the performance of its athletes.

Be advised: if you pick it up, you want the spray or drops that are taken sublingually (that’s under the tongue, to be precise). This is because the ones taken orally in capsule or pill form are not able to pass through Mr. and Mrs. Hallmarks’ digestive tracts without loss of effectiveness. By taking it sublingually, you receive the benefits and avoid the nasty enzymes of the mouth and the friendly, acid-filled stomach of the digestive tract.

Everybody wants a name (“What’s in a Name?”  Billy Shakespeare), and I strongly recommend anything coming out of Antler Farms, taken from red deer of New Zealand. AntlerFarms.com has many products to choose from and more information.

If the price is a problem, IGF-1+ is put out by NOW Sports with a 1-ounce bottle running you about $30. Generally speaking, anything they (NOW Sports) puts out is really good quality for an affordable price. Your decision (to paraphrase “Alice in Chains”), but you can go high-end or lower-end on it and still succeed.

Consider Deer Antler Velvet as a supplement to use for your daily routine, for recovery from an illness or injury, or to increase your performance athletically. You can use it for less than a night on the town. It’s a matter of prioritizing, and your physical condition should never take a back seat to anything else.  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 October 25th, 2018

19 Foods That Eat the Stress Away

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 06:56

 At best, stress can interfere with your happiness and productivity.

At worst, stress can be a slow killer: It can adversely affect your immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and central nervous systems, especially when it is experienced chronically.

Avoiding stress entirely is impossible. Many of the ups and downs of everyday life are simply out of our control.

For many, reaching for comfort foods that are high in sugar or refined carbohydrates during times of stress is instinctual. It is an attempt to self-soothe.

Unfortunately, this approach usually makes the problem worse. You feel guilty for eating “junk food”, which causes more stress. The next thing you know, you are trapped in a vicious cycle of stress and overeating.

But there is a bright side – how we respond to stressful situations IS within our control.

There are many ways you can reduce or manage the stress in your life. Good nutrition is one of them. Believe it or not, there are foods you can eat that have shown to have stress-reducing properties.

Cortisol – your body’s stress hormone

Stressful events (even relatively minor ones) can cause cortisol levels to rise to problematic levels.

Cortisol (a steroid hormone) helps fuel the fight-or-flight response – the psychological loop that fires you up to fight or run for your life when facing danger.

Think of it as your body’s built-in alarm system. When you are faced with immediate danger, increases in cortisol help you respond. The hormone works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear.

Cortisol also handles other important bodily tasks, explains WebMD:

  • Manages how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
  • Keeps inflammation down
  • Regulates your blood pressure
  • Increases your blood sugar (glucose)
  • Controls your sleep/wake cycle
  • Boosts energy so you can handle stress and restores balance afterward

Your hypothalamus and pituitary gland (both located in your brain) can sense if your blood contains the right level of cortisol. If the level is too low, your brain adjusts the amount of hormones it makes. Your adrenal glands read those signals, and then fine-tune the amount of cortisol they release. Cortisol’s primary function is to increase blood sugar levels so your brain, muscles, and organs have enough fuel to get you through a stressful situation.

If you are under constant stress and your cortisol levels remain high, health problems including anxiety, depression, headaches, heart disease, memory and concentration issues, digestive troubles, and sleep struggles can all result.

High cortisol levels can increase the amount of fat you hold in your belly. This is called visceral fat, and it is particularly nasty. It is thought to play a larger role in insulin resistance – which may increase Type 2 diabetes and heart disease risk. Excess visceral fat is also linked to an increased risk of developing cancer, stroke, dementia, depression, arthritis, obesity, sexual dysfunction, and sleep disorders.

You don’t have to be visibly overweight to be at risk. Even relatively thin people can have too much visceral fat, which is why it is often referred to as “hidden” belly fat.

Chronically elevated cortisol levels increase blood sugar levels, which in turn elevate insulin levels. Some studies (including this one) have found this can interfere with fat loss – no matter what exercise or weight loss program you follow.

Cortisol causes food cravings, and those cravings tend to be strongest for carbs, especially sweet foods.

Nurturing your “second brain”

There is an extensive network of neurons (nerve cells that transmit information throughout your body) lining your guts. It is filled with neurotransmitters (chemical messengers), and it does a heck of a lot more than dealing with digestion and giving you “butterflies” when you are nervous. It plays a crucial role in diseases throughout your body – and in your mental state.

This network in your gut is called the enteric nervous system. It is often referred to as a “second brain” because it contains around 100 million neurons (that’s more than in your spinal cord or peripheral nervous system!)

A growing body of research shows there is an intricate link between the mental health and our gut microbiome.

One study found that both high-fat and high-sugar diets cause changes in gut bacteria that appear to be related to a significant loss of “cognitive flexibility,” or the power to adapt and adjust to changing situations. The effect was the most serious on the high-sugar diet, which also showed an impairment of early learning for both long-term and short-term memory.

Those findings are consistent with other studies about the impact of fat and sugar on cognitive function and behavior and suggest that some of these problems may be linked to changes in the microbiome –  the approximate 100 trillion microorganisms in the digestive system.

Studies have shown that glyphosate – the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup – can damage the human microbiome. Because of the role gut health plays in mental well-being, avoiding food that has been exposed to the chemical is probably a good idea.

As you can see, eating an unhealthful diet and being chronically stressed can be a dangerous duo, in large part because of the impacts on cortisol levels and your gut health.

Thankfully, there are many specific foods and nutrients that have been shown to help reduce stress and balance overall mood.

The role of nutrition in stress management

Fill your diet with protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and a moderate amount of dietary fat. Avoid trans fat, keep your added sugar intake as low as possible, avoid soda (yes, even diet soda), and consider reducing (or eliminating) gluten and grain consumption.

A simple way to remember to eat a balanced diet is this: focus on nutrient density. This means trying to pack as many nutrients from whole foods as possible into every meal.

19 vitamins, minerals, and foods to explore the ways they can help you manage stress

Folate (also known as Vitamin B9): Helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Folate is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health. Studies show that folate paired with B12 can help treat depression. Dietary sources: dark leafy greens, asparagus, turnips, beets, Brussels sprouts, beans, avocado, milk

Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Sometimes called an “anti-stress” vitamin, B1 can help strengthen the immune system and improve the body’s ability to withstand stressful conditions. Dietary sources: pork, beef, poultry, legumes, black beans, seeds, nuts

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Studies have shown B2 can help support adrenal function, help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and prevent or alleviate depression. Dietary sources: dairy products (like milk, cheese, and yogurt), eggs, enriched or fortified cereals and grains, meats, liver, dark greens (including asparagus, broccoli, spinach, and turnip greens), fish, poultry, and buckwheat

Vitamin B3 (niacin): Mild deficiency has been associated with depression. Dietary sources: beets, brewer’s yeast, salmon, swordfish, tuna, sunflower seeds, peanuts

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): helps the body make several neurotransmitters –  chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another. It is needed for normal brain development and function, and helps the body make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which influence mood, and melatonin, which helps regulate the body’s internal “clock.” Dietary sources: fortified cereal, chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, shrimp, milk, cheese, lentils, beans, hummus (chickpeas), spinach, carrots, brown rice, sunflower seeds, bananas

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): aids in the creation of red blood cells and nerves. Low levels of B12 can cause short-term fatigue, slowed reasoning, and paranoia, and are associated with depressionDietary sources: fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, milk, Swiss cheese, and fortified breakfast cereals

Tryptophan: An essential amino acid (this means your body cannot produce it – you must get it from your diet), tryptophan helps your body make niacin, melatonin, and serotonin. In order for tryptophan to be converted into niacin, however, your body needs to have enough iron, vitamin B 6, and vitamin B 2. Dietary sources: chicken, turkey, eggs, cheese, lentils, fish, peanuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, milk, turkey, tofu and soy, chocolate

Foods that support gut health: Your gut loves fermented foods like yogurt (not the sugary kind), kimchi, pickles, kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that is important for brain health (it contributes up to 18 percent of the brain’s weight!). One study in Brain Behavior and Immunity showed a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among medical students taking omega-3. Other research has shown omega-3 fats work just as well as antidepressants in preventing the signs of depression, but without any of the side effects.

The body does not naturally produce omega-3, so you need to get it from dietary or supplemental sources. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, mood swings, memory decline, and depression. Dietary sources: wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies, halibut, mackerel, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, fortified foods (check labels), high-quality krill oil supplements.

Blueberries: Anthocyanins – the pigments that are responsible for the deep colors of the tiny fruit – help with the brain’s production of dopamine.

Bananas: In order to make dopamine, your body needs the amino acid tyrosine – and bananas are a great source (almonds, avocados, eggs, beans, fish, and chicken are also decent sources). Bananas also contain B vitamins and magnesium, which can calm you down.

Pistachios: One study found eating two servings of pistachios a day lowered vascular constriction during stress, which means the load on your heart is reduced since your arteries are more dilated. Choose fresh organic pistachios: conventional ones carry a high risk of contamination by a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin, and may be bleached or fumigated during processing.

Oatmeal: A complex carbohydrate, oatmeal causes your brain to produce serotonin, which creates a soothing feeling that can help you ease stress.

Zinc: An essential mineral that may help reduce anxiety, zinc is found in nearly every cell of the body and plays an important role in immune system functioning. Low levels of zinc in the diet can lead to a variety of ailments, including loss of appetite, mental lethargy, and depression. Dietary sources: roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, pine nuts, almonds, dark chocolate, cheese, oatmeal, beef, oysters, pork

Vitamin C: Studies suggest this vitamin can curb levels of stress hormones while strengthening the immune system. In one of the people with high blood pressure, blood pressure and levels of cortisol returned to normal more quickly when people took vitamin C before a stressful task. Dietary sources: cantaloupe, citrus fruits (including oranges, lemons, and grapefruit), Kiwi fruit, mango, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, watermelon, Acerola cherries, rose hips, blackcurrants, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green and red peppers, spinach, cabbage, kale, turnip greens, and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, tomatoes and tomato juice, winter squash

Vitamin D: Often called “the sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is unique in that it is a vitamin AND a hormone your body can make with help from the sun. But despite the ability to get vitamin D from food and the sun, an estimated 40%-75% of people are deficient. Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D are associated with mood disorders and depression. Dietary sources: salmon, tuna, mackerel, eggs, cheese, fortified foods like orange juice and milk

Some vitamin D researchers have found that somewhere between 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually leads to sufficient vitamin D synthesis. Indoor light therapy can help, too.

Chromium: A trace mineral found in small amounts in the body, chromium plays an important role in increasing the brain’s levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin, which help regulate emotion and mood. Because chromium works directly with the brain’s mood regulators, it’s been found to be an effective treatment for depression. Dietary sources: broccoli, grape juice, potatoes, garlic, basil, orange juice, turkey breast, apples, bananas, green beans

Magnesium: Studies found that this mineral helps ward off depression and migraines. It has also been found to function in a similar manner to lithium, which is often prescribed for bipolar disorder as a mood stabilizer. Dietary sources: almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds (1/2 cup provides almost 100% of your daily requirement), sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, flaxseed, pecans, dark chocolate, bananas, strawberries, blackberries, grapefruit, figs, yogurt

Dark chocolate: Chocolate is one of the most-craved foods in the world, and the reasons go beyond its pleasing taste and texture – it contains over 300 naturally-occurring chemicals, some of which make you feel happy via the release of certain neurotransmitters.

Here are a few of the feel-good chemicals in chocolate and their effects:

  • Tryptophan and serotonin: Creates feelings of relaxation and well-being
  • Caffeine: Psychoactive substance that creates temporary alertness
  • Xanthines: Mild stimulant that occurs naturally in the brain and, like caffeine, increases wakefulness
  • Theobromine: Stimulant and vasodilator that increases blood flow
  • Phenylethylamine: Compound that stimulates the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and motivation
  • Anandamide: Neurotransmitter that activates pleasure receptors in the brain
  • Flavonols: Compounds that boost blood flow to key areas of the brain for two to three hours after being metabolized. Creates effects similar to those of a mild analgesic (painkiller) like aspirin

For more on the health benefits of chocolate, and how to choose the best quality, see Ten Reasons to Eat Chocolate.

Herbal teas

Studies have shown that sipping a few cups of tea daily reduces stress, promotes healthy sleep, and boosts mood. Amino acids present in green and black teas have a calming effect on the body, reducing the adverse effects that stress can have.

A study from University College London discovered that tea drinkers de-stressed faster and had lower cortisol levels than those who drank a placebo. Although (caffeinated) black tea was used in the study, caffeine revs the stress response in many people, so stick to decaf and herbal teas.

Lemon balm is an herb that smells and tastes fantastic in a tea. It can help with mild depression and acts as a very calming sedative.

Chamomile can help relieve stress and anxiety and – bonus – it can even help you sleep.

Valerian root has anti-anxiety properties and has long been used to ease nervous restlessness and insomnia.

Passionflower has a range of benefits that all lead to stress reduction: muscle relaxer, relief from heart palpitations, seizure reduction, and general lessening of hyperactivity.

St. John’s Wort has been used for anti-anxiety relief for over 2000 years. While it is not clear exactly how St. John’s Wort works, it is believed to prolong the action of serotonin. It also often used for symptoms associated with sleep problems, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and PMS.

Catnip isn’t just for felines: it has sedative effects and helps calm the nervous system.

Linden flower has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. It can be found in various herbal teas, by itself, or combined with Hawthorn and lemon balm.

Rosemary has long been used by herbalists for its calming effects and can be used in herbal tea.

If you’d like to learn how to make your own herbal tea blends (from herbs that you can grow in your own garden!), here’s a handy guide: Make Your Own: 10 Herbal Tea Blends You Can Grow in Your Garden

In addition to single herbs, or for those who don’t really like drinking tea, a broad spectrum complex like Xivvium For Stress ( which combines herbs, vitamins, and nutrients such as 5-HTP, St. John’s Wort, and Valerian Root) can promote stress relief.

Daily life can certainly be stressful, but hopefully the tips above will help you manage it better (and, improve your health overall).

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 23rd, 2018

5 (More) Foods That Last Forever

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 07:06

When planning and storing food for emergencies or survival situations, we have long advocated incorporating foods that will last forever (or at least longer than you will). By doing so, this does double duty by boosting your emergency supplies. panties, and your bartering power, as well as ensuring you are purchasing foods as frugally as possible.

In The Prepper’s Cookbook, 25 must-have foods were explored in this best-selling book. These 25 foods are the foundation of your prepper pantry and used to make an array of foods. 11 of those 25 foods were what is considered “forever foods.”

Today, we are going to explore five more foods to add to your forever food pantries, and if stored properly, they will last forever. Best of all, many of them will serve multiple purposes beyond human consumption and this could give you a hand up should the SHTF!

5 (More) Forever Foods for Your Prepper Pantry 1. Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is actually not made by distillation at all, but made by the fermentation of the natural sugars found in either grains or fruit.  Those sugars are converted to alcohol and the alcohol is then fermented a second time and it turns into vinegar by the production of acetic acid after the fermentation of ethanol, sugars, or acetic acid bacteria. Vinegar typically contains anywhere between 5 and 20% acetic acid by volume and is currently mainly used as a cooking ingredient, or in pickling. The mainstays of the category include white distilled, cider, wine, and malt have now been joined by balsamic, rice, rice wine, raspberry, pineapple, Chardonnay, flavored and seasoned vinegar and more.

Vinegar will slowly lose its concentration of acidity over time. The vinegar will absorb water from the air diluting its concentration of acetic acid. And over time, the acetic acid will break down or decompose leaving behind a less acidic product. Distilled white vinegar is perfect for marinades, sauces, and dressings, but because it will decompose and dilute itself, try to use fresh distilled white vinegar when pickling or making dressings, but those older gallon jugs of vinegar will work great as a cleaning solution. Distilled white vinegar is great to use to clean your house or add it to your laundry as a fabric softener! It is actually just as good at killing germs as bleach, according to a Colorado State University publication. Once 5% distilled white vinegar is heated to at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit it is as effective as bleach in treating Listeria Monocytogenes, E. Coli, and Salmonella.

You can also use distilled white vinegar as a fruit and vegetable wash! Try using 2 tablespoons of the vinegar to 1 pint of water.  It is also great at removing lime stains from bathroom faucets.  Every few weeks or so, I use distilled white vinegar to run through my essential oils diffuser.  It acts as a cleaner and keeps my diffuser running great.

Its shelf life is almost indefinite.  Its acidic nature makes it self-preserving. To keep distilled white vinegar virtually forever, store in a cool dry area and keep a lid on tight.

2. Cornstarch

Cornstarch is powder made from the starch in corn kernels and generally used as a thickener for sauces and gravies in the kitchen. But it can be used for so much more, including cleaning and medicinal uses.

Cornstarch can be used to help cool off a sunburn. A simple paste of cornstarch and water spread over a sunburn soothes inflamed skin. This paste on insect bites and stings.  Use aloe vera gel instead of water to ramp up the soothing properties as well! Cornstarch will also help prevent chaffing. If you have sensitive skin and a tendency to chafe, simply dust a little cornstarch on your problem areas before dressing.

If you have a creaky spot in your hardwood flooring, try adding a sprinkle of cornstarch and then sweep. The superfine starch works itself into nooks and crannies, effectively stopping the noise.  It is also great at cleaning up greasy carpet stains! If you have a greasy mess on your carpet, simply pour cornstarch over it and let it sit for 20 minutes. The cornstarch absorbs the grease and freshens the carpet. Just vacuum the powder away! Cornstarch is also an amazing window cleaner.  Since its a super fine to the touch but naturally abrasive at a microscopic level, adding a tablespoon of cornstarch to your favorite window cleaner will make cleaning easier and leave a streak-free shine.

While cornstarch can go bad, that can only happen in very specific circumstances, so if you are willing to make sure it is stored properly, it will be perfectly fine for years.   If the powder gets wet, it will go bad.  It’s important to store cornstarch in a cool and dry place.  If cornstarch cannot absorb water, it will stay good indefinitely.

3. Distilled Liquor

Distilled liquor is also not only useful by can be stored forever.  It also has the added benefit of being a bartering tool, which comes in handy in the event of a societal collapse. The base liquors, such as brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey are typically the most stable distilled spirits because they do not contain any sugars. The more sugar a liquor has, the faster it will deteriorate. Bottles of base liquors can be stored for a very long time opened, although they may lose some flavor, they will keep indefinitely if they remain unopened.

When it comes to prepping, it is always important to keep in mind your trading and bartering power.  Distilled liquors can definitely give you an edge when it comes to bartering. Other than perhaps ammunition, there may not be a better item to store to ensure you’ve got something others will want than some extra liquor. Whiskey is a great option to store for bartering while vodka can be used as in first aid.

Liquor can be used not only as a way of keeping wounds free from infection but for keeping nausea at bay and or for making dental work more bearable for the patient.  Any liquor above 60% can be used as surgical alcohol and anything above 40% can be used to disinfect wounds for first aid purposes, not to mention medicinal tinctures.

4. Bouillion

Bouillon cubes generally contain enough salt to preserve them from spoilage, but the flavor (which, after all, is why you’re using them) may weaken, dull, and change over the years. But the bottom line is that they will last forever if they remain stored in a cool dry place!  Bouillon cubes are used to add flavor to foods and can be invaluable in your prepping supply. Since they contain a high salt content, they will basically preserve themselves.

5. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup will also last forever if the bottle remains unopened and its kept in the cold. If you open the maple syrup, it can get moldy and its incredibly unpleasant to eat at that point. It will only last about a year after you crack open that bottle, so if you want to save it, put it in your freezer.  It will retain its flavor best and keep indefinitely when it’s stored in the freezer and don’t worry, it won’t freeze solid.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 22nd, 2018

Hurricane Preparedness for Tech Gear

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 05:09

This article originally published at Geeks of the Galaxy

It is hurricane season in the United States (until November 30th!), and while most of us think about things like batteries, canned foods, and drinking water, we don’t give a lot of thought to preparing our technology and gadgets for a potentially devastating storm. Here are some basic tips to help keep your sanity and your data together!

1. Move electronics to a safe room off the ground and away from windows.

This sounds like pretty basic advice, but you might be surprised by how many people never even think about it, especially if they have decided to hunker down and play on their devices while riding out the storm. Storm Sense 101 tells us to unplug all electronics from the wall and disconnect Ethernet cables from computers and docking stations. You should also put small electronics in sealed plastic bags if they do not have waterproof cases.

2. Keep electronics unplugged until after a storm has passed and power has stabilized.

Power surges can be damaging to your electronics, and this damage may be difficult or impossible to repair. You may think having your computer on a surge protector is enough, but it really isn’t. Many people aren’t even using the proper type of protector for their devices.

3. Create digital copies of important family documents, such as birth certificates and tax returns.

In case of a flood, you may end up losing these documents and it can take days/weeks to get replacement copies. While the digital copies aren’t official, they can still be useful when filing insurance claims, seeking medical attention, or a variety of other situations that may arise after a storm.

4. Backup important data either to an external hard drive that you can take with you OR to an online service, such as Apple iCloud, Dropbox, etc.

In case of evacuation, you can grab your external hard drive and throw it into your bug-out bag easily. You can also upload your important information to one of the cloud services like iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. This ensures that it is backed up somewhere in case disaster strikes. Make sure you choose a service with enough storage space to hold all of your information.

This includes backing up all your online photo collections! If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can upload an unlimited amount of photo files for FREE as part of the subscription service. The following formats are included in that unlimited storage: JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF, and most TIFF, HEIF, HEVC, and RAW file formats.

If you use Apple iOS or macOS, you can upload photos to iCloud Photo Library in full resolution; but you may need to pay to upgrade your iCloud storage.

If you use Google Android or Chrome OS, you can upload unlimited photos to Google Photos for free—up to 16 megapixels in resolution.

If you use Microsoft Windows, you can upload photos to OneDrive in full resolution; but you may need to pay to upgrade your OneDrive storage. If you are already an Office 365 Personal or Home subscriber, 1TB of storage is included as part of your subscription.

(Note: Because of upload speed limitations from your Internet Service Provider, very large photo collections can take up to several days to upload.)

5. Make a list of device model names and serial numbers in case of evacuation for insurance and tax purposes.

This is also just good advice in general. You never know when a storm, failed equipment, or break-in could claim the life of your electronics. Make sure you also have this information somewhere other than your main computer, just in case it is the thing to die/disappear.

6. Keep device chargers nearby and ready in case of evacuation.

In addition to your wall chargers, consider purchasing a power bank to keep all of your devices charged in case of extended power outages.

7. Use your voicemail greeting on your smartphone as a means of keeping loved ones informed of your situation during a power outage or storm evacuation.

It is always hard to be out of touch with loved ones in times of crisis. This allows you to keep everyone up-to-date, even if you don’t have the ability to call.

These seven useful tips can help keep your data, electronics, and your sanity intact during a stressful situation.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 16th, 2018

Cleaning Products May Alter Children’s Gut Bacteria and Lead to Obesity, Study Suggests

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 14:09

Over two thousand years ago, Hippocrates said: “All disease begins in the gut.”

The father of modern medicine was way ahead of his time. While gut health has not been linked to every disease (yet!), a growing body of research into the gut microbiota is revealing just how important the communities of bacteria that reside there are to our overall health.

Obesity is one serious health issue that studies have linked with gut bacteria imbalances.

How can bacteria in our gut affect our weight? Anthony L. Komaroff, M.D., Editor in Chief of Harvard Health Letterexplains:

When we eat food, our gut breaks it down into small pieces. Only the smallest pieces get absorbed into our blood. The rest is eliminated as waste material. In other words, not all of the calories in the food we eat get into our body and increase our weight. The gut bacteria help break down food. Some bacteria are better able to chop food into those smallest pieces that get digested, add calories to our body and thereby tend to increase our weight. Theoretically, if our guts have more of those kinds of bacteria, it should be harder to lose weight.

Scientists continue to explore the role that chemicals play in weight gain and obesity. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, more than 80,000 chemicals are registered for use in the United States. Some of these chemicals interfere with how the body’s hormones function:

The ones that impact hormones are called endocrine disrupting chemicals, or endocrine disruptors, and are linked to a variety of diseases.

Some endocrine disruptors have been shown to be obesogens, or involved in weight gain, and may be contributing to the obesity problem in this country. The term obesogens was coined around 2006, based on the knowledge that exposures during early development to specific chemicals were found to disrupt normal metabolic processes and increase susceptibility to weight gain across the lifespan. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise are known contributors to obesity, but these chemicals may also be contributing.

The list of chemicals that may be obesogens includes a few that you’ve likely heard of before: triclosan, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), atrazine, organotins (including tributyltin), and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

In May 2018, the European Society of Endocrinology presented research on obesogens at their annual meeting. In a related press release, the group noted that “Obesity increasingly affects millions of people worldwide, with cases rising sharply in young children and babies – a trend which is not explained by evolving diets and lifestyles alone.”

Here’s more from the press release:

Dr. Ana Catarina Sousa and her research group, from the Universities of Aveiro and Beira Interior, Portugal, reviewed existing and new epidemiological surveys and animal studies, and showed that the most important sources of exposure to obesogens indoors are diet, house dust, and everyday products such as cleaning chemicals, kitchenware or cosmetics.

Obesogens can be found almost everywhere, and our diet is a main source of exposure, as some pesticides and artificial sweeteners are obesogens. Equally, they are present in plastics and home products, so completely reducing exposure is extremely difficult – but to significantly reduce it is not only feasible, but also very simple”, Dr Sousa says.

The findings of a new study suggest that commonly used household cleaners could be making children overweight by altering their gut microbiota. While this study did not differentiate cleaning products by brand name or the presence of specific ingredients, it’s findings are concerning.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on September 17, analyzed the gut flora of 757 infants from the general population at age 3-4 months and weight at ages 1 and 3 years, looking at exposure to disinfectants, detergents and eco-friendly products used in the home.

The researchers found that frequent use of household disinfectants like multi-surface cleaners was linked to lower levels of Haemophilus and Clostridium bacteria, but higher levels of Lachnospiraceae in the gut flora of babies 3 to 4 months old. The body mass index (BMI) of the children was higher at age 3.

Anita Kozyrskyj, a University of Alberta pediatrics professor and principal investigator on the SyMBIOTA project (an investigation into how alteration of the infant gut microbiome impacts health), elaborated on the finding:

“We found that infants living in households with disinfectants being used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the gut microbes Lachnospiraceae at age 3-4 months; when they were 3 years old, their body mass index was higher than children not exposed to heavy home use of disinfectants as an infant.”

Children living in households that used eco-friendly cleaners had different microbiota and were less likely to be overweight as toddlers, Kozyrskyj said:

“Those infants growing up in households with heavy use of eco cleaners had much lower levels of the gut microbes Enterobacteriaceae. However, we found no evidence that these gut microbiome changes caused the reduced obesity risk.”

Families that use eco-friendly products are also likely to have healthier lifestyles overall, which may mean that other factors played a role in the study’s findings.

However, studies in piglets have found similar changes in the gut microbiome when exposed to aerosol disinfectants.

Lachnospiraceae are a family of bacteria in the order of Clostridiales that appear in human and mammal gut microbiota. Members of this family may protect against colon cancer in humans by producing butyric acid.

Having a diverse community of bacteria in our gut is ideal. The more balanced our diet is to sustain and feed those bacteria, the less chance there is of one type of problematic bacteria taking over.

“Antibacterial cleaning products have the capacity to change the environmental microbiome and alter risk for child overweight,” the study’s authors wrote. “Our study provides novel information regarding the impact of these products on infant gut microbial composition and outcomes of overweight in the same population.”

Dr. Gina Posner, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in California, told Healthline the findings aren’t that surprising:

“There have been recent studies showing the importance of gut bacteria on weight. If you are using lots of chemicals that then kill that bacteria, it only makes sense that this could lead to problems with weight.”

While more research is needed, some experts say there are some things we can learn from this study.

“Hopefully, people will realize that it is not always good to keep things that clean,” Dr. Posner explained to Healthline. “Don’t obsess about your child getting sick and touching ‘dirty’ surfaces. It is good for your future health to be exposed to different bacteria and viruses. Obviously, we still want to emphasize hand-washing, but over-cleaning can lead to problems as well.”

While it is difficult to entirely avoid obesogens and endocrine disruptors, there are things you can do to minimize your family’s exposure:

  • Break up with plastic. Here’s a list of 9 ways to do that.
  • Buy non-toxic, reusable shopping bags, lunch bags, and sandwich and snack bags.
  • Store food in glass, stainless steel (Amazon link), and Corning Ware containers. Cook with cast iron instead of nonstick cookware, Teflon, or aluminum.
  • Avoid the use of plastic water bottles. Try glass or stainless steel bottles instead.
  • Do not feed your babies and children from plastic bottles and cups. Use glass baby bottles and stainless steel sippy cups instead.
  • Buy (or grow) pesticide-free fruits and vegetables.
  • Remove shoes when entering your home to avoid bringing in contaminants.
  • Vacuum often, using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. Dust frequently, using a damp cloth.
  • Avoiding over-cleaning, and use products that do not contain obesogens.
  • Do not use antibacterial soaps. Make your own eco-friendly hand sanitizers.
  • Try tea tree oil instead of harsh chemical sanitizers and chemical insect repellents.
  • There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives to harsh chemical cleaning products. Here’s a list of 9 to get you started.
  • Make your own all-purpose household cleaning products – and try these 10 DIY formulas.
  • Read labels, and choose eco-friendly, safe baby care products that do not contain obesogens or other potentially toxic chemicals.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 15th, 2018

How To Maneuver a Vehicle and Drive During Whiteout Conditions

Sun, 10/14/2018 - 14:00

Whiteout conditions can be dangerous if not deadly. With cold weather around the corner, we’re going to cover some basic information on what you need to do when driving in these winter conditions.

For those of you who are unaware of what it is like driving in whiteout conditions, this is a good video that demonstrates just how dangerous it can be.

 The most basic rule to follow for your safety before we proceed:

If you do not think you can drive further, pull off to the safest available portion of the shoulder or off the road, hunker down, and wait out the storm. Make sure you have some emergency supplies to survive being stranded in your vehicle.

One of the best things about living in the area that I do is that open stretches of empty road are just that: hardly any traffic at all. This Whiteout caught a lot of people off guard, and they were forced into it to make it home from work (as it began about 4 pm and lasted a few hours). Whiteouts are caused when the snowfall’s effects are exacerbated and strengthened by a strong wind. It is not necessarily a “blizzard,” but the more snowfall the worse it will be when the winds pick up. You cannot see even half a vehicle length in front of you.

How To Drive in a Whiteout

These techniques mentioned here should be practiced before you employ them for real.  How do you practice? Find a road that does not have a lot of traffic that is close to your home and take one or two people with you. Take flashlights and attachments that make the flashlight a “colored cone,” preferably red as it stands out in the falling snow the best. Now practice the techniques that we will outline, with one person in the vehicle, and another one as a “control” person to help ensure success by guiding the vehicle from the outside.

Now, let’s begin. This technique can be very dangerous if you do not employ it correctly. For naysayers and law-and-order worshippers, keep in mind: there are such things as mitigating circumstances. If you’re suffering from some kind of injury with no telephone and it’s a life-or-death situation, forget about Officer (Un)Friendly and go for the win…. succeed in your travel.

One of the problems with Whiteouts is with the headlights themselves. The lights reflect off the snowflakes and blind the driver. High-beams are out. Low-beams can also be “out,” and now for the punch line: You can drive through a Whiteout in a controlled manner better without the headlights than with them.

I can see smirks and skeptics gathering the straw now, but before you burn me, hear me out. Try this under normal snowfall conditions. Try it in your neighborhood, or in your driveway…if you are away from the “city glow” at night. Turn off the headlights and look around. You see? You can see. There is enough ambient light in a snowfall to allow you to see…if you follow the key rule:

You must give your eyes time to adjust to the low levels of light.

This takes practice. In the Whiteout, you’ll be able to see the outline of things without the headlights to reflect back into your eyes. You’ll see the edges of the road, and the road in the distance…farther than with the headlights. I’m not talking about with NVG’s (Night Vision Goggles). I’m talking about killing your headlights, giving your eyes time to adjust to the darkness, and then setting out slowly, at a pace where you’re sure you can drive.

If you can’t do it, then pull over to the side of the road and wait for a friendly officer with a badge…or for the storm to stop…the second option sure to be more productive.

You will see oncoming traffic, and from a long way off. Then just pull over to the side of the road and put on your headlights until the opposing traffic passes. Also: cars ahead of you can be seen from their taillights and possibly from their headlights. It takes time to perfect and takes practice. When I was in the Service, there were a couple of really good platoon sergeants who used to take everyone out in HMMWV’s (referred to as “Humvees,”) and we would “drive blind,” that is to say with no night vision goggles or any light. In Germany, when you’re driving cross country and off the road, it’s even more difficult: but we learned.

Practice does make perfect, and one final time, it’s not for everyone. When you’re faced with a life-threatening situation, however, and you must drive…it’s best to have something such as this for a plan. Let’s hear about your experiences with it, as it’s an important topic.  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 October 14th, 2018

The Whole Herb: The Most Important Principle of Herbal Medicine

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 06:09

One of the problems with supplements overall is the tendency for pharmacological science (commonly referred to as “Conventional Medicine”) to attempt to isolate each and every chemical in the supplement. Conventional Medicine then bases a supplement’s efficacy on the individual chemicals and pronounces an “edict” as to its effectiveness. This “edict” is based on the results of testing with individual chemicals identified and either extracted from or duplicated (reproduced) in the lab. These actions violate one of the foremost principles of Herbalism and Naturopathic substances:

The whole herb or food is more effective than any of its parts administered individually or in combination.

What this means is that with all herbs (especially those identified as utilitarian for the human body), there are constituent parts that render the herb effective in one or more “departments,” such as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, diuretic, and so forth. The constituent utilitarian part of that herb is in balance with all of the other constituent parts/component substances…for that particular plant. The plant is in balance. From a biological perspective and in medical terminology, the plant is maintaining homeostasis…the physiological balance of form and function…with the amounts of component chemicals and substances in it…that are balanced/counterbalanced by other substances.

Let’s take garlic (Allium sativum), for example. Allicin is the substance found in garlic that is productive as an antimicrobial and antibiotic when consumed by humans. That level of allicin in the garlic is also balanced by a host of other chemicals, such as sulfur, for example, in a proportion that maintains homeostasis for the herb. In other words, when you consume the herb, you take in the substance that will benefit you (the allicin) as well as other substances that can be beneficial to you and that also “buffer” the effects of the primary beneficial substance. Also, it is a fact that garlic loses part its efficacy when it is rendered into a capsule, tablet, or extract: the fresh, whole clove has the greatest/highest level of allicin content, just as it is crushed, cut, or chewed fresh.

In its natural state, the herb or food is in a form that readily promotes its consumption. This is the natural state of affairs in all of life (not to become either didactic or philosophical), and can readily be seen by observing nature as a whole. Pineapple has bromelain, a substance that readily promotes the production of HCl (Hydrochloric acid) in the human stomach. Pineapple for this very reason helps a person to digest meat. The Dole Corporation would jump up and down reading this. The bromelain is made more effective when taken not as an extract, but by eating the pineapple with its Vitamin C, its fiber, and the amount of water that is in it naturally.

Carrots are another good example. They have a large amount of Vitamin A. Guess what? Too much of anything is not a good thing. Those carrots have enough Vitamin A to sustain a person’s RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for it. It is also in a form that is not harmful to the person, either to their digestive tract or their system overall. Your food is just that: food, to be taken in to satisfy you both nutritionally and to provide you with satiety.

Supplements are great, and I’m a big believer in using them…especially the ones made by good firms that are not just out to squeeze a dollar out of the consumer. Take a look at the word supplement…it is just what it suggests: to supplement (or complement) your diet.  Supplements “round out” what is needed according to what you do in your daily activities. The more holistic and natural the supplement, the better it will be for you and the better it will enable you to perform.

“Garbage in, garbage out,” is an old saying that can be applied to almost anything in life. You cannot expect to be lean and fit if you slam down a half a bag of chocolate chip cookies each day, or hit the buffet at 3:00 pm and leave at 5:00 pm. You also cannot take the opposite route and just eat a “power” bar, pop some pills, throw down a shake, and still expect to perform.

Balance in all things in life will enable you to reach your goals. Regarding your supplements, they will make up for the shortcomings of your Happy Factory Farm-Conglomerate-Empire-supplied contents for your refrigerator. Meal planning is essential to your success, and your supplementation should take the form of things not readily available in your daily diet.

Bioavailability is another factor we need to discuss, and this translates into the ability of your body to actually process and benefit from the supplement you take. There are a tremendous amount of herbal supplements in pill form that are only half-hearted in effectiveness because they are degraded by your body’s digestive tract. I did an article on Pine Pollen, explaining that the sublingual method (spray or drops under the tongue) was the most effective way to take it, as it goes into the bloodstream and bypasses the digestive enzymes in your saliva and acids and enzymes in your Happy Stomach.

This is another reason the whole herb or food is often more effective than the extracted supplement: your body digests the food, and the food (its mass) acts as a buffer that keeps your digestive processes from destroying its beneficial qualities. Your Happy Stomach and Intestines then extract what is needed in the most natural way possible…the way it was intended to be processed. In the end, it’s your choice, but you can make better choices for yourself if you know the basics going in. Study and planning will give you the edge.  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 October 13th, 2018

Is the CDC More Prepared for This Year’s Flu Season? And – Are You?

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 17:19

It’s almost that time of year again: the sniffling, aching, coughing, feverish misery that is flu season.

In the United States, “flu season” occurs during fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Flu activity typically peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC is pushing hard for everyone to get the flu vaccination, but due to the flawed science behind the egg-based manufacturing process and the 2017-18 botched flu vaccination, many doubt it’s really worth it. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of contracting the flu, but we will get to that later in this article.

US health officials are trying to get ahead of the flu this year to avoid a tragic recurrence of the 2017-2018 flu season, which the CDC claims led to 900,000 hospitalizations and 80,000 deaths, including 180 children. So many people caught the flu that it was at epidemic levels and some hospitals and pharmacies across the US ran out of antiviral drugs like Tamiflu.

According to a recent article published by Bloomberg, the flu vaccine is expected to be more accurate this season. In the Southern Hemisphere, influenza activity hasn’t been too bad so far, which is a good sign for the US and Canada, the article says.

However, it is still too early to predict what things will be like once the virus starts spreading. The only thing that is predictable about the flu is its unpredictability.

Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, warns:

“It really exposed how vulnerable we are. It seems like we’re in a better position this year. But it’s the flu and it can do a lot of tricky things, so we won’t know for sure until the season begins in earnest.”

Bloomberg’s report also notes that vaccine science is “flawed”:

Drugmakers still grow vaccines in chicken eggs – a technique developed in the 1940s. Eggs don’t support all virus types and allow for mutations in the ones they do. The process takes at least six months, allowing time for circulating viruses to change and adapt.

Bruce Clark, the chief executive officer of Medicago, a company that owns the first plant-based seasonal flu vaccine to reach late-stage clinical trials, explains that “Human viruses were never meant to grow in eggs. The basic technology of growing vaccines in eggs has been a solution historically because we had no other options.”

Egg-related complications are what led to problems with the 2017-2018 season’s vaccines, according to Nathalie Landry, Medicago’s senior vice president of research and development. That’s because certain types of H3N2 can’t be grown in eggs without mutations that make vaccines less effective.

What is the CDC doing to help people prepare for this flu season?

Promoting vaccination, mostly – take a look at the agency’s Frequently Asked Flu Questions 2018-2019 Influenza Season and you’ll see an abundance of information about all the different vaccination options that are available, which viruses they will protect against, when to get vaccinated, and information on how many people get sick (and die) from the flu each year.

The agency does have a page that is dedicated to other ways people can avoid the flu called Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs. Here, one can find useful common sense guidelines, like:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose
  • Clean your hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Practice other good health habits

While “practice other good health habits” is wise advice, unfortunately, the CDC does not elaborate other than this blurb:

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Perhaps an agency called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should put a lot more emphasis on educating the public on prevention.

What YOU can do to prepare for the flu season

Rather than relying on a government health agency to guide you, there are steps you can take to better prepare your family through flu season.

Boosting your immune system before a virus has had a chance to invade is far easier than bringing your health back from a full-on flu assault.

The common-sense flu prevention tips offered by the CDC and listed above are certainly useful, but there’s a LOT more you can do.

In the article The Flu Fighting Arsenal: 5 Ways to Naturally Stop the Flu Dead In Its Tracks, Tess Pennington explains that “the best defense is a natural one”, and discusses how to boost your immune system and add some natural flu preventatives to your flu arsenal. Eating a healthful diet, drinking plenty of water, taking vitamins to supplement your diet, and getting plenty of good quality sleep can all help you stay healthy during cold and flu season.

Vitamin C and Zinc, in particular, are helpful immune-boosters. Since our bodies do not naturally make Vitamin C, we need to get it through supplementation in order to boost our bone, muscle, cartilage and vascular health. The best way to get Vitamin C is right from the source. Rather than taking a GMO vitamin, make your own vitamin C powder.

Should the flu descend upon your family despite your best efforts to avoid it, there are things you can do to reduce your suffering.

First, let’s review flu symptoms as a refresher.

Symptoms generally include:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
    * It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Natural flu remedies

While none of these remedies will actually “cure” the flu, they can ease your symptoms and aid healing.

Homemade elderberry syrup: Elderberries have a long history of use for colds and flu. Studies suggest that elderberry extract may offer potent anti-virus-fighting, immune-boosting, and anti-inflammatory effects. Research has found that not only can elderberry ease symptoms for those with the flu, but it can also help prevent influenza infection. To make your own elderberry syrup, try this recipe.

For more homemade natural flu medicine recipes, please see these articles: Natural Flu Medicines From Around the Web and Cold and Flu Remedies from the Pantry.

Herbal teas and tinctures offer an abundance of medicinal benefits. You can buy herbs and organic raw unfiltered honey in bulk, and you’ll have plenty leftover to make more syrup throughout the flu season.

Here is a list of great herbs to add to your natural medicine cabinet:

Add honey, lemon, ginger syrup to herbal teas.

Essential oils can also be used for assisting in relieving a myriad of medical ailments associated with the flu. Some more popular ways of using essential oils are aromatherapy, herbal soaks, compresses, tinctures, and salves.

You can make a steam bath and add a few drops of essential oil. The steam helps to loosen mucus and acts as a carrier to help the essential oil quickly alleviate flu-like symptoms.

Herb Infused Face Steam

This soothing face steam will help loosen congestion and kill viruses and bacteria in the lungs, bronchials and sinuses.

  • 2 cup boiling water
  • 2 drops thyme
  • 2 drops rosemary
  • 2 drops oregano

Cover pot for 5 minutes and then put face directly over pot with a towel covering your head. Breathe in the steam for up to 15 minutes.

Another way to create a soothing steam bath is by adding essential oils in bath blocks.

Don’t wait until flu season is in full swing to prepare: the flu comes on fast and furious, and you probably won’t feel like running out to pick up supplies when you are coughing, aching, and sniffling.

Stay well!

Additional Reading:

Are We Due for a Pandemic Flu? Here’s How to Prepare Just in Case

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 11th, 2018

Be Energy Efficient This Winter. This is the Best Wood To Heat Your Home

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 05:30

Those who choose to heat their home with wood are becoming fewer and fewer. However, with more interested in a self-sustaining lifestyle and going off the grid, those numbers may begin to rise again.  If you decided to heat your home with wood, there are simply some types of wood that are better to burn in your home.

There is nothing quite like a roaring fire to stand next to while listening to the crackles and pops on a subzero winter day while there’s a raging snowstorm blowing through. If you live in an area where those days are common in the winter, you probably know the benefits of having a wood burning stove firsthand.  The heat is immediate and fills the space quickly as opposed to waiting for propane or electric heat to keep up. It’s also oddly comforting.

When talking about burning wood inside for heat, it is important to first talk about the quality of your wood burning stove. Using wood as the main heat source in your home is not for everyone.  It’s actually lifestyle choice.  Many summer days will be spent cutting and splitting wood to be used during the winter months and if you choose to buy firewood, the cost may not outweigh the benefits.  In my little slice of Wyoming, a cord of wood that is already split and ready to go sell go for as much as $255 per cord for lodgepole pine which is a rather high price compared to many other areas. We use around 5-7 cords per year.  The number of cords used will vary based on the quality of your stove, the intensity of the winter, and the size of your home. (We have this wood burning stove and an over 2000 sq foot home.)   If you choose to cut your own firewood, that cost will go down to the price of a firewood permit, which is $20 and will allow you to cut 4 cords, the fuel to get the wood home, wear and tear on your equipment, and your labor.

Of course, the main benefit of using a wood burning stove is that it is not dependent at all on electricity. If a winter storm blows through and we are out of power for days on end, we are at the very least, warm and comfortable. There is also the added bonus that you can even use your wood stove to cook a few meals if you have to.  It isn’t my favorite way to make a meal because you have to get the stove so hot it’s uncomfortable to do so, but it can be done in pinch!

So what exactly makes some types of firewood better for burning than others? It comes down to two factors: density and water content. The more dense and drier the firewood, the better it will burn and the more heat it can produce in your wood burning stove.  Because of this, hardwoods, which tend to be denser, generally make for better firewood than softwoods.  Make sure they are dry, however.

1 cord = 200 to 250 gallons of fuel oil (hardwoods) High Heat Value
  • American beech
  • Apple
  • Ironwood
  • Red oak
  • Shagbark hickory
  • Sugar maple
  • White ash
  • White oak
  • Yellow birch
1 cord = 150 to 200 gallons of fuel oil, Medium Heat Value
  • American elm
  • Black cherry
  • Douglas fir
  • Red maple
  • Silver maple
  • Tamarack
  • White birch
1 cord = 100 to 150 gallons of fuel oil, Low Heat Value
  • Aspen
  • Cottonwood
  • Hemlock
  • Lodgepole pine
  • Red alder
  • Redwood
  • Sitka spruce
  • Western red cedar
  • White pine

Many of these types of hardwood listed above are not readily available to those living in the pine-dense forested areas of the Rocky Mountains.  For that reason, a wood that can be used is Juniper, if you can get your hands on it. It is wonderfully fragrant with a cedar-like aroma. It has medium hardness and mixes well with other woods while burning.  Alligator juniper is excellent in the fireplace or in a backyard fire pit and produces a cozy lively fire with crackle, pop, and pleasant aroma. It’s a wood used by many of Arizona’s elite resorts. Utah juniper or cedar is slightly less expensive than alligator juniper and has the same burning qualities. The shaggy bark can provide a nice kindling for your fire and although Utah juniper also has medium hardness, it burns clean and mixes well with any hardwood.

Lodgepole pine is another option as juniper is often difficult to get. This is the wood we choose to use based on our location, efficiency, and how easy it is to find. It has a lower heat value than the hardwoods, but it is readily available. It also has a good straight grain for splitting, it creates a quick hot fire and leaves very little ash. Your selection of firewood should align with the area you live in.  There isn’t much sense to made of looking for a sugar maple tree to cut down to heat your home when you live in Wyoming.  Therefore, the “best” wood is what you can find, cut, and split easily.

Make sure you “season” or dry your wood before use too. This will help with efficiency too. Wet wood is easier to split than dry wood, however, once split, it should be stacked to dry under cover and out of the rain for six months. If steam bubbles and hisses out of the end grain as the firewood heats up on the fire, the wood is still too wet, or green, and needs to be seasoned longer before burning. Well-seasoned firewood generally has darkened ends with visible cracks or splits. It is relatively lightweight and makes a sharp, distinctive “clink” when two pieces strike each other.

Heating your home with wood in a wood burning stove is about as cozy and comfortable you can get, however, be prepared for hard work to get ready for the winter season.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 10th, 2018

New Study Suggests Glyphosate Can Kill Bees By Damaging Their Microbiomes

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 07:32

We already know that glyphosate – the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide – can damage the human gut by killing beneficial bacteria. Now, an alarming new study has revealed that glyphosate can also damage the guts of honey bees.

The research, conducted at The University of Texas at Austin and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on September 24, shows that honey bees exposed to glyphosate lose some of the beneficial bacteria in their guts. This makes the bees more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.

Scientists believe this is evidence that glyphosate might be contributing to the years-long decline of honey bees and native bees around the world.

In a press release, the researchers explained their findings:

Because glyphosate interferes with an important enzyme found in plants and microorganisms, but not in animals, it has long been assumed to be nontoxic to animals, including humans and bees. But this latest study shows that by altering a bee’s gut microbiome — the ecosystem of bacteria living in the bee’s digestive tract, including those that protect it from harmful bacteria — glyphosate compromises its ability to fight infection.

To conduct the study, the research team took 2,000 honey bees from hives at the University of Texas campus and fed them either a low dose of glyphosate, a high dose, or a glyphosate-free syrup.

It didn’t take long for glyphosate to cause problems for the bees involved in the study: after only three days of exposure at levels known to occur in crop fields, yards, and roadsides, the herbicide significantly reduced healthy gut microbiota. “Of eight dominant species of healthy bacteria in the exposed bees, four were found to be less abundant. The hardest hit bacterial species, Snodgrassella alvi, is a critical microbe that helps bees process food and defends against pathogens,” the researchers reported.

When later exposed to bacteria called Serratia marcescens, an “opportunistic” pathogen that takes advantage of hosts that already have weaknesses (like lowered immunity or a disrupted gut microbiota), the bees were far more likely to die compared with bees with healthy guts:

Serratia is a widespread opportunistic pathogen that infects bees around the world. About half of bees with a healthy microbiome were still alive eight days after exposure to the pathogen, while only about a tenth of bees whose microbiomes had been altered by exposure to the herbicide were still alive.

“Studies in humans, bees, and other animals have shown that the gut microbiome is a stable community that resists infection by opportunistic invaders,” said lead researcher and professor Nancy Moran. “So if you disrupt the normal, stable community, you are more susceptible to this invasion of pathogens.”

Side note about Serratia marcescens: you likely have encountered it before in your home. It is commonly known as “pink mold”, but it is not actually mold. It’s a pink, pink-orange, or orange discoloration and slimy biofilm (bacterial colony) that likes to live in bathrooms (especially on tile grout, in showers and tubs, and in sinks). It feeds on soap and shampoo residue. It can cause infections in wounds, in the urinary tract, respiratory tract, and in the eyes. It is also a rare cause of pneumonia and meningitis. To learn how to safely remove it from surfaces in your home, check out Solved! How to Get Rid of Pink Mold in the Shower for Good.

What do the findings of this study mean?

Years ago, beekeepers in the US began finding their hives destroyed by what became known as “colony collapse disorder.” Millions of bees disappeared, leaving farms with fewer pollinators for their crops.

Various possible causes of this mysterious (and tragic) phenomenon have been discussed, including exposure to pesticides or antibiotics, habitat loss, and bacterial infections.

This new study adds herbicides to the list of possible culprits.

“Because native bumblebees have microbiomes similar to honey bees, it is likely that they would be affected by glyphosate in a similar way,” Moran noted.

The researchers recommend that farmers, landscapers, and homeowners avoid spraying glyphosate-based herbicides on flowering plants that bees are likely to visit.

“We need better guidelines for glyphosate use, especially regarding bee exposure, because right now the guidelines assume bees are not harmed by the herbicide,” said Erick Motta, the graduate student who led the research along with Moran. “Our study shows that’s not true.”

What YOU can do to help bees

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

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

Remember – our very existence relies on bees. One-third of all the food we eat comes from plants that are pollinated by insects, and 80% of those crops are pollinated by bees. It also has big implications for our meat supply as well: plants (like alfalfa) that feed animals are pollinated by bees.

We can all do our part to protect the tiny buzzing creatures.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 9th, 2018

Pages