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Updated: 2 hours 38 min ago

Without This Tool in Your Hurricane Supplies, You Could Be Screwed

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 13:00

I wrote several articles (a series, a few years back) about my family’s experiences in Hurricane Katrina (Editor’s Notes: Links to these articles will be provided at the end of this article). With hurricane season about to crop up again in a few months, it’s important to remember how important tools are for hurricane preparedness endeavors and for rebuilding after a hurricane.

To maintain a general readiness stance for what may come down the pike, we’re going to discuss drills. Simple enough, right? Not necessarily, because all drills don’t satisfy the same needs: even two drills that are the same size and specs in appearance may function in totally different manners.

Not All Drills are the Same

Drills with cords are important. During times when electricity is available, the drills with cords will run stronger and steadier. Cordless drills are “finite,” in that the power pack/battery will eventually run down and have to be charged. That being said, I have a pair of Sears Craftsman’s from “back in the day” that run on cords for general-purpose work.

The biggest problem with cordless drills is that the battery runs down and becomes “un-rechargeable” long before the actual drill goes kaput. Then the price of a new battery is only a few dollars less than buying a completely new drill package. This is purposed: the planned inefficiency of a tool with a finite lifespan in order to assure new purchases of batteries or the whole shebang. The “Dick Jones” parts and contract philosophy out of the original “Robocop” holds true here.

I had a Ryobi cordless, an 18 V that just recently crossed the River Styx after serving me well for six years. My replacement for it? A DeWalt 20 V Model DCD 791 D2 ½” drill, that comes with an extra LiIon (Lithium Ion) battery pack. It comes with both battery packs fully charged, and this thing has a really high output. It has a variable speed trigger (essential when you don’t want to stop drilling but you don’t want it turning at full speed), and a three-setting work light built into the drill.

The cordless is really important for times when you don’t have power, and also to use on hard to reach places where a cord either will not stretch or you don’t have the time to fool with it. In addition, if you’re on the road, unless you have an outlet in your vehicle, the cordless drill is the way to go. I explained in the other articles how I needed to affix pressure-treated plywood to pre-drilled sections of my window casements prior to Katrina striking. As I used galvanized deck screws with hex heads, with a ratchet set it would’ve taken a while, but with the drill, I affixed them in no time.

With the two-pack of power packs, I can do my work and then have a fresh pack when the first one is expended, then charge the first while I’m working with the second one. This drill has a good warranty: three years on the drill, and two on the power packs. It has different torque settings for different drilling strengths, and all in all, it’s pretty rugged. I picked mine up for about $180. If you can’t find one in your area, you can order it online at www.amazon.com and have it sent to you.

The only thing I didn’t like about it is that it didn’t come with any attachments…not even your usual “token” piece with standard and Phillips screwdriver-heads on opposite ends. No matter: I’m using the one from the Ryobi and the other attachments that I already had. The best thing about it is that if I need to work with it, I can pull it out and begin without fooling around with any cords or what have you. When you’re pressed for time or have to fix something that was unforeseen (such as board up a window smashed out by a storm), you want a good drill that you can rely on. I highly recommend this one for price and quality: it should serve you well for whatever your need may be.  JJ out!

 

Additional Reading:

A Family’s Survival Story: Hurricane Katrina, (Part 1)

A Family’s Survival Story: Hurricane Katrina, (Part 2)

The Hurricane Primer

 

Prepping For Women: How To Prepare MENTALLY When Our Brains Won’t Shut Off

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 15:03

One of the hardest things to get in order for us women is our mental state.  When thinking of how to prepare ourselves for a catastrophe, we also often worry and become mentally overloaded thinking about everything from our children and what they might need to our dog and what he might need.  Then, before we know it, our thoughts are spiraling out of control.

So how do we cope with making sure we remain mentally strong and “in the moment” while our mind is reeling and trying to prepare us for a bleak future and the safety of our families? Very personally and very diligently.

Related article: Mental Preparedness: The Mental Gymnastics Will Sharpen the Mind

As we mentioned in a previous article written for female preppers, not one of us is alike.  This is not only in reference to our personal “female anatomy” but our mental processes too.  Therefore, preparing yourself to overcome the mental strain may be different for some, but we can all take similar actions to make sure we are as strong as we can be!

You will need a level head and you will need to learn to remain calm while knowing you may have to defend yourself or your children.  That’s a lot of mental strain and that often shows up as stress, which is damaging to our bodies too. But there are ways to get through this, we promise!

PRAYER OR MEDITATION

I’ve found that those who are more religious prefer to use the term “prayer” while those who don’t subscribe to a religion like the term “meditation”, but both offer very similar mental benefits.  The goal is to just calm the mind.  Realize we don’t have to drive ourselves nuts trying to make sure we get everything perfect.  The truth is, it won’t be perfect because we aren’t even sure what exactly could be the cause of the next catastrophe: nuclear war? Economic collapse? Societal uprising? A food crisis? Or a mixture of them all?  It’s really impossible to say, to be fair, so let’s try to set aside a small amount of time every day for ourselves to quite those thoughts and be thankful for what we have now. Take the time to pray or meditate on the things you do have, and forget about what you still want or need in order to feel “prepped” for the next event.

Praying and meditating go a long way to get our mental state where we need to be to balance being wives, mothers, breadwinners, and preppers. Oftentimes, even women who don’t take on the added task of prepping for disaster feel overwhelmed, and it is OK! As long as we make sure we are taking ample time to de-stress and reconnect with our family or friends. Praying and meditation bring a sense of peace in a world that is increasingly moving more quickly and changing before our eyes.

Related article: 9 steps preppers should take to mentally prepare for a major disaster

FIND A COMMUNITY (SUCH AS THIS ONE AT READY NUTRITION) OF LIKE MINDED WOMEN

Understand that not everything will go perfectly, but that there are others out there willing to give you free advice or a quick hug (even if it’s only digitally.) Know that you are not alone! All of us are struggling in some way mentally, whether we have a daughter that may “come of age” and experience her first period during an economic downturn or are pregnant and don’t know what we will possibly need as our baby ages in unstable times.

A community will give you a sense of belonging and help you hash out any concerns you have.  When I have mental blocks, I actually just take the time to sit with my older neighbor and ask him what he would do, or how he would prepare.  As a fellow prepper who has lived on this Earth over 35 years longer than I have, he has invaluable insight that I truly know I can only get from him. Talking things out is often not only a calming way to come to a solution, but it gives us the knowledge that we really aren’t in this alone.

COME TO TERMS WITH THE UNDESIRABLE

Realizing you’ll probably have to defend your stash of food or water from hungry people, or knowing you may need to be more secretive and be able to hide some of your things and coming to terms with all of this is a huge step. Not one of us wants to hurt someone else, but when the SHTF, decisions about your survival and the survival of your children or spouse will likely need to be made.  Maybe, for example, you’re afraid of a lot of blood, but it’s important to know why and work toward mentally overcoming these things so you can be at your best during the worst times. If someone gets wounded, you’ll need to be able to cope with that, right?

This is the hardest part, I think because it involves acceptance.  We have to learn to accept that there are things we cannot do anything about, but our preparedness can help make those things an inconvenience as opposed to an apocalyptic scenario.

And here’s a little personal peace of mind from us: Know that by just preparing and getting your own family outfitted with backup plans and storing some food and water will help you in the long run.  It’s better to have it and never need it, than to need it and not have.  You’re already doing better than those who think there’s no reason to have an extra dollar in the bank or an extra can of beans in your pantry.

 

Read previous articles in this series:

Hygiene and Feminine Needs When Supplies Are Running Short

How To Handle Birth Control After The SHTF

 

How To Find Hope in Hopeless Situations

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 06:33

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Natural disasters. Economic downturns. Personal financial problems. Civil unrest. Crime.

You are likely at least somewhat physically prepared for various kinds of disasters if you are a regular Ready Nutrition reader.

But are you mentally prepared?

Part of being preparedness-minded is keeping up with current events in order to be ready for anything. This means we are bombarded with bad news nearly every day. Unfortunately, this can cause our views on life to be quite bleak. Sometimes being informed makes it easy to slip into feelings of despair. And when bad times do invade our lives, it can be hard to hold on to hope. Feelings of depression and anxiety become more present than positive feelings.

While preparing for the worst is a positive thing – it is certainly better than being blindsided by a major event and not being ready to weather the storm –  it is important to your well-being to find balance.

There may come a time when all the preparation in the world doesn’t matter. Bad things DO happen, even to the best of us.

But even when the worst-case scenario becomes reality, there are ways to maintain some hope. How do you push back those dark clouds of hopelessness and find the strength to dig yourself out of the problem? How do you keep going when it seems like so much is working against you?

What is hope?

Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation.”

Hope is not your typical form of positivity, as Barbara L Fredrickson Ph.D., explains in Why Choose Hope?

Most positive emotions arise when we feel safe and satiated. Hope is the exception. It comes into play when our circumstances are dire – things are not going well or at least there’s considerable uncertainty about how things will turn out. Hope arises precisely within those moments when fear, hopelessness or despair seem just as likely. Perhaps you’ve just lost your job, your dreams for starting a new business or retiring. Hope, in times like these, is what psychologist Richard Lazarus describes as “fearing the worst but yearning for better.”

Hope literally opens us up. It removes the blinders of fear and despair and allows us to see the big picture. We become creative, unleashing our dreams for the future. This is because deep within the core of hope is the belief that things can change. No matter how awful or uncertain they are at the moment, things can turn out for the better. Possibilities exist. Belief in this better future sustains us. It keeps us from collapsing in despair. It infuses our bodies with the healing rhythms of positivity. It motivates us to tap into our signature capabilities and inventiveness to turn things around. It inspires us to build a better future.

Hopelessness can manifest in several ways.

In the book Hope in the Age of Anxiety, psychology professors Anthony Scioli and Henry Biller discuss hope from a variety of different perspectives. They say there are nine forms of hopelessness, each related to the disruption of one or more of the basic needs that comprise hope; attachment, mastery, or survival, as Therese J. Borchard explains in her review titled 9 Types of Hopelessness and How to Overcome Them:

The authors present three “pure forms” of hopelessness resulting from breakdowns in one of these three needs or “motive systems” (alienation, powerlessness, doom). There are also six “blended” forms of hopelessness which results when two needs are challenged. We can overcome hopelessness by first recognizing which of these nine types we are confronting. For each form of hopelessness, they present a mind-body-spirit treatment cocktail, involving a restructuring of thoughts, accessing the right kind of hope-sustaining relationship, and specific spiritual practices. Armed with these prescriptions we can summon the light back into our lives.

The 9 types of hopelessness listed in the book follow, along with some highlights from Borchard’s ideas for overcoming them.

1. Alienation: Feeling isolated and cut off from society and unworthy of care and support, which can cause even more withdrawal and pain

2. Forsakenness: Feeling abandoned, especially during times of greatest need

3. Uninspired: Lack of opportunities for growth and lack of positive role models

To alleviate feelings of alienation, forsakenness, and/or being uninspired, evaluate the available evidence to see if the feeling is justified or if you are overgeneralizing or engaging in all-or-nothing thinking.

4. Powerlessness: Feeling a loss of control over one’s life path and ability to achieve goals

5. Oppression: feeling subjugated by others or by society

6. Limitedness: Feeling deficient in some way, as if one does not have what it takes to make it in this world

Feelings of powerlessness, oppression, and limitedness can arise when we feel inadequate or doubt our talents and abilities. Create a list of all of your successes, and write down positive traits you have that disprove the idea that you are powerless.

7. Doom: feeling that one’s life is going to end, trapped in irreversible decline – those with a serious illness or suffering health effects of aging are particularly susceptible

8. Captivity: physical or emotional captivity enforced by an individual or group – examples would be prisoners or those who feel stuck in controlling and abusive relationships

9. Helplessness: feeling vulnerable, as if one is no longer safe in the world

To manage feelings of doom, captivity, and helplessness, examine the evidence that applies to your specific situation. Spend some time doing research and evaluate the entire body of facts that you gather. If you feel stuck in a dangerous situation, seeking outside assistance is a good idea as well.

Feelings of hopelessness are often rooted in irrational self-limiting beliefs.

Hope’s enemy is fear.

Frederickson emphasizes that choosing hope over fear is vital:

Hope and fear are not mere words or facial gestures. They’re deeply felt neurochemical stances toward our current circumstances – stances that alter our outlooks, our actions, as well as the life paths that unfold before us.

Fear is a powerful and primitive human emotion that alerts us to the presence of danger. To a certain extent, we have fear to thank for our very existence –  it played a critical role in keeping our ancestors alive and still serves as a survival mechanism. Fear causes two kinds of responses: biochemical (universal) and emotional (individual).

But sometimes fear turns into an irrational panic about imagined catastrophes that will likely never become reality. Chances are, you have heard of this popular acronym for fear: False Evidence Appearing Real.

When we confront a perceived threat, our bodies respond in specific ways. Physical reactions to fear include sweating, increased breathing rate, increased heart rate, peripheral blood vessel constriction, increased blood flow to muscles, and high adrenaline levels that make us extremely alert.

This physical response is also known as the “fight or flight” response, in which your body prepares itself to either enter combat or run away. This biochemical reaction is likely an evolutionary development and is an automatic response that is crucial to our survival.

Fear can lead to panic, which is why training yourself to recognize situations that signal actual danger is so important (I highly recommend the book The Gift of Fear). If you allow fear to take over, hope will be suffocated, and your well-being will be diminished as well.

Even if (or when) actual danger does show up on your doorstep, learning to control fear and panic can influence the outcome of the situation.

In the article Keeping Your Mind Present in the Midst of Chaos, Tess Pennington explains that in the event of an emergency, your state of mind can be more powerful than any prep you may have purchased:

It’s perfectly natural to feel some panic in a life-threatening situation, but it is your ability to overcome that panic and make good decisions that will ensure the survival of you and your family.

It’s important to understand what panic is. It is a collection of physical symptoms that are the human body’s attempt to survive. Unfortunately, the body is acting separately from the brain, and this can have some devastating physiological effects that countermand real survival.

The symptoms of panic can be debilitating and include a pounding heart, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, a choking feeling, chest pain or discomfort, nausea or gastrointestinal upset, feeling faint, and fear of losing control or of going crazy.

If you are focusing on being able to breathe, how are you going to deal with the actual threats surrounding you?

Having the right frame of mind to handle the stresses before and after a disaster is a key component to surviving the event, as Tess explains in Are You Ready Series: Using Mental Preparedness to Survive:

When fear strikes, it causes stress and anxiety, which can lead to poor decision-making, paralysis, and hopelessness. Mental preparation creates resilience and keeps a person moving on. Maintaining a positive, hopeful attitude in the wake of a disaster can literally keep a person alive; giving them the will to keep putting one foot in front of the other. When a person begins to doubt they will see tomorrow, they need to cling to hope and optimism.

For Tess’s tips on how to override your body’s natural tendency for “fight or flight”, please click here.

Living in fear can cause anxiety disorders. And, in some cases, people develop a fear OF fear. Most people tend to experience fear only during a situation that is perceived as scary or threatening, but those who suffer from anxiety disorders may become afraid that they will experience a fear response. They perceive their fear responses as negative and go out of their way to avoid those responses.

Cultivating hope is the antidote to living in fear.

In the article A Real Dose of Hope When You’re Feeling Hopeless, Margarita Tartakovsky writes:

According to Kate Allan in her uplifting book, You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness  to Help With Anxiety and Depression, hopelessness is simply “a misbehaving brain doing misbehaving brain stuff. It’s like a bug, a glitch.”

Allan, who has anxiety and depression, understands first-hand what it’s like to deal with a sinking sense of hope. When she feels hopeless, she instantly tells herself, “You are depressed. This is depression.”

After many years of therapy, Allan has realized that her feelings of hopelessness are a sign—not “that life is bad or that my problems are impossible,” but “a weirdly dramatic notification from my brain that I am not keeping up on my self-care, and that I need to reach out and connect with somebody.”

This is when Allan turns to her mental health checklist, and asks herself: Did I sleep well? Have I eaten? Did I connect with anyone today? “If the answers to any of these are ‘no,’ I know I then need to be more careful with myself. It’s a signal that my defenses are down, and it takes little for my mental health to spiral into severe depression.”

You, too, can use your feelings of hopelessness to check in with yourself. What do I need? Am I meeting those needs? What am I telling myself?

Here are some other tips for building hope.

Ask for help. Are you the kind of person who wants to do it all alone? If so, remember that none of us is in this alone. You may have to muster up some courage to do this, but do consider reaching out for assistance from a friend or family member, or even an organization that offers such services.

Set goals.  Although there may be aspects of your situation that you cannot control, there are likely SOME things you can do to make things a bit easier for you now or in the future. Set some goals that are realistic, and be open to changing them as needed.

Shift your focus from problems to possible solutions. Often we get so focused on what’s going wrong in life that we forget about available resources – including our own skills and strengths. What CAN you do

Create a plan. Write down every possible action you can take now or in the near future to make the situation more bearable. Brainstorm with others if you can. Develop a written plan based on your goals, possible solutions, and ideas for action.

Break things down into small tasks. Once you have set goals and generated ideas for solutions and actions, break it all down into manageable tasks. Then, prioritize those tasks. Which action items need attention now, and which can wait?

Be flexible and adapt. Even the best-laid plans often don’t work out due to circumstances beyond our control. Be willing to adapt and overcome as needed.

Develop equanimity. A major concept in Stoic philosophy and in Buddhism, equanimity is mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in difficult situations. It refers to the mind being at peace even in the face of stressful and unpleasant experiences. Consider these wise words the late Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote in Psycho-Cybernetics, “Even in regard to tragic conditions and the most adverse environment, we can usually manage to be happier by NOT adding to the misfortune our own feelings of self-pity, resentment, and our own adverse opinions.” There may be circumstances in your life that are within your control but will take time and effort to improve. And, there may be circumstances that are NOT within your control, and never will be. Either way, meeting those circumstances with equanimity can make your life a whole lot more peaceful – and happy.

Believe in yourself. If the challenges you are facing are causing you to doubt yourself, think back to times when you have overcome obstacles and achieved success – no matter how small the instances. You have what you need within you – now, tap into it.

Value persistence and hard work. Take breaks if you can, but don’t give up. simply sitting around and attempting to conjure up feelings of hope won’t work – you have to take action.

Take heart in the small victories. Every little success counts. Take things day by day if you must – even moment by moment.

Related Reading

Are You Ready Series: Using Mental Preparedness to Survive

How to Condition Yourself to Face Your Fears

Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in a SHTF World

 

 

Promote Deep Relaxation With Valerian Root Herbal Tincture

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 15:57

We all could use some relaxation and calm in our ever-stressful lives. Several herbs promote deep relaxation, but none quite like an herbal tincture with “nature’s Valium,” valerian root.

Herbal tinctures are gaining in popularity thanks to their safety in comparison to pharmaceutical drugs. If you are looking for an easy way to reap the benefits of medicinal plants, take a look at herbal tinctures.

A [herbal] tincture is a concentrated liquid herbal extract made from herbs that are taken orally.

Tinctures are typically made by soaking herbs in alcohol for several weeks to extract the active components (phytochemicals) of the plants. After a few weeks, the herbal mixture is strained and the herb parts are removed, leaving behind the concentrated liquid. Alcohol is used because it is an excellent food-grade solvent and can extract herbal constituents (such as resins and alkaloids) that are poorly soluble in water. Another benefit of using alcohol as a solvent is that it is an excellent preservative that retains the freshness and potency of medicinal plants and greatly increases the shelf life of the tincture. Don’t worry – you won’t get intoxicated from the alcohol in tinctures.

Fresh or dried leaves, roots, bark, flowers, and berries may be used to make tinctures. They can be made from a single plant or a combination of plants. –Ready Nutrition

One of the most impactful herbal tinctures for deep relaxation is valerian root. Valerian root is often referred to as “nature’s Valium.” In fact, this herb has been used since ancient times to promote tranquility and improve sleep. While some have questioned Valerian root’s safety and effectiveness, it likely isn’t nearly as dangerous or has long-term effects such as with chemical sleeping aids.

According to Healthline, the root portion of Valerian has been used in traditional medicine for at least 2,000 years. Unlike its delicately scented flowers, valerian root has a very strong, earthy odor due to the volatile oils and other compounds responsible for its sedative effects. Interestingly, the name “valerian” is derived from the Latin verb valere, which means “to be strong” or “to be healthy.”

Ready Nutrition’s Valerian Root herbal tincture is specially formulated to promote a total body deep relaxation. It is made using one of the most powerful plant-based sedatives that nature has to offer -Valerian root. The herbal tincture can be used to relieve occasional anxiety or panic attack, restless behavior, racing thoughts, nervous stomach, trouble sleeping, headache, and muscle spasms.

Valerian has received attention for its interaction with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your brain and nervous system. Researchers have shown through several studies that low GABA levels related to acute and chronic stress are linked to anxiety and low-quality sleep.   Valerenic acid has been found to inhibit the breakdown of GABA in the brain, resulting in feelings of calmness and tranquility – complete with a lot less stress! This is the same way anti-anxiety medications like Valium and Xanax work. Valerian root also contains the antioxidants hesperidin and linarin, which appear to have sedative and sleep-enhancing properties

All of this makes valerian root herbal tinctures an attractive option for those seeking a more relaxing overall feeling and better sleep.  It’s great for those who want to steer themselves toward a more natural and holistic lifestyle as well.

RN’s herbal tincture can be used by taking one or two dropperfuls every morning and night. Drop desired amount into water, tea, or your favorite beverage.

The good news is that Valerian is remarkably safe for most people, regardless of the fears. Studies have found that it does not cause adverse changes in DNA, nor does it interfere with cancer therapy in patients who take it to relieve anxiety and promote sleep. Furthermore, it does not appear to affect mental or physical performance when used as directed. One study found no difference in morning reaction time, alertness or concentration in people who took valerian the evening before, according to Healthline.

Pregnant women and children under the age of three should avoid valerian root. Valerian has been reported to cause headaches, stomach pain, and dizziness in a few cases. Ironically, even insomnia has been reported, although this is rare. If you have liver disease or another serious medical condition, it’s important to speak with your doctor about whether it is safe for you to take valerian.

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to treat, cure, or diagnose any medical or health condition.  Please contact a medical professional if you have any questions about your health or supplements.

A Preparedness Guide for Women: How To Handle Birth Control After The SHTF (Part 2)

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 05:41

Because women have different needs than men, when we prepare for a SHTF scenario, we must consider those needs. In the first part of our “Prepping as a Woman” series, we discussed how to prepare for women-related needs in a long-term emergency. In the second part of this series, we will expound on that and discuss birth control and how to deal with pregnancy prevention during a catastrophe.

Let’s get right into another controversial, uncomfortable, but necessary topic for female preppers:

BIRTH CONTROL

The obvious answer is this problem is to stockpile prophylactics like condoms.  But these have a shelf life and become less effective with age, so having a stockpile of 20-year-old condoms won’t do you a whole lot of good! Another option that isn’t as easy seems like it would be oh-so-simple on the surface. Just stock up on contraceptives. However, most contraceptives are only available by prescription and that makes it almost impossible to stockpile.  Not only that, you will run into the same problem as you do with stockpiling condoms – if you do manage to store a year’s worth of birth control pills, their effectiveness will lessen as time goes on eventually making you vulnerable to pregnancy.

That doesn’t mean if you CAN store some pills and condoms that you shouldn’t, you definitely could and if it eases your mind, go for it!  But you should also consider using another method to protect yourself when using older birth control pills, or when those condoms run out or expire. Fortunately, there is a natural way to prevent pregnancy that could be useful during an apocalyptic event – whether you’ve stockpiled contraceptives or not.

NOTE: This advice is for the female preppers who have a partner and are looking to avoid pregnancy during and after the SHTF. This guide could also possibly be useful to those looking for a more natural way to prevent pregnancy as opposed to taking a pill every day.

The easiest way to use a natural birth control method may be the “thermometer” method.  As far as we know, thermometers can be stockpiled pretty easily! (I only say that because I am really good at dropping and breaking things and having a backup or two might be a good idea if you are as clumsy as I am.)  And, all joking aside, many women do use this as their only method of birth control choosing to go fully natural and stay away from the hormone-altering contraceptives.

The thermometer method (also often called the BBT or Basal Body Temperature method) works by using the temperature of your body upon waking in the morning.  It’s important to take your temperature at the same time every day, and right when you wake up for the utmost accuracy. Don’t check your phone first or get up to use to the bathroom.  Hold it for a few seconds so you can get an accurate reading if at all possible. The better you are at taking your temperature at the same time before doing ANYTHING else, the more accurate you will be and the more effective this method becomes.

After taking your temperature, you need to record it on a chart. You can buy some charts, print some for free off the internet, make your own, or use a smartphone app. (Obviously, you’ll want to know how to track your cycle on paper too and have extra charts available in case there is no way to power your smartphone.) There are books available to help you understand where to begin and how to read your charts. [Click here for free printable charts]

The changes in your temperature will be really small, tenths of a degree, in fact, so get a special large-scale basal thermometer. Some basal thermometers are used in your mouth, and others are used in your rectum (butt). Rectal thermometers are usually more accurate and reliable however they are also more uncomfortable and take longer to clean.  You’ll need to take extra care to disinfect a rectal thermometer, so bear that in mind.

Source: Fertility Friend

The basic idea is to find out when you ovulate and avoid sexual intercourse during those days to prevent pregnancy. This method is incredibly accurate if you can learn it, use it religiously, and get really in tune with your body and your charts. If you want to implement this birth control method, it is suggested that you wait for three months before going off contraceptives just to make sure you have 3 charts to reference. The more you can learn about your own body, the better and more effective this method becomes.  It does get easier too, so don’t freak out if your first few weeks are rough.

BIRTH CONTROL DEVICES

This one is pretty simple – we just aren’t going to suggest any of these for the female prepper. Internal Uterine Devices (IUDs) fall into this category.  They could work and be effective, but they need to be administered and removed by a doctor which isn’t helpful during a catastrophe or shortage of doctors.  They also come with side effects and complications that could make your life miserable without a SHTF situation taking place.  If you decide one of these is right for you, do your research and understand the possibilities, risks, and effectiveness.

The thermometer method has zero side effects (unless you eat the thermometer, please don’t) and for that reason, we will stick with that as our suggestion.

Learning how to naturally provide birth control for yourself could be an invaluable tool! You will still be able to be intimate with your husband or partner while having some peace of mind during a highly stressful situation. This is TRUELY the essence of prepping because you need to learn how to use this method before things go bad and implement the system beforehand to make sure it’s effective and will work for you!

As female preppers, we can do anything! If you are a female prepper and have any advice about birth control after the SHTF, please let your fellow women preppers know in the comments!

 

*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes ONLY! This article should not be misconstrued to be a political or religious statement of any kind.  This is simply a guide for women who would like to prevent pregnancy during an apocalyptic situation or use a natural pregnancy prevention method currently.

 

Hidden in Plain Sight: How To Create a Strategic Spider-Hole

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 05:09

What we’re going to detail today does not involve any arachnids, but the Spider-Hole takes its name from the creatures. A Spider-Hole is meant to have the characteristics of the home constructed by the Trapdoor spider and other similar species. What does the Trapdoor spider do? He constructs a hole in the ground for himself and lines it with silk. Then the spider builds a “trapdoor” out of silk and debris from ground level to camouflage his portal. Then the spider waits, with the door open a “crack,” looking out with his eight eyes and awaiting movement of his prey.

Then, quick as a snap, he rushes out and jumps on his prey with lightning speed, and drags the now-envenomated prey down into his spider-hole. How’s that for a survival food prep? His technique has been used by man for some time, and we’re going to refresh on it here.

A Spider-Hole should not be used for a long-term hide unless you have no other options. You can prepare them on your property, and utilize them either for a temporary hide site or for a hasty fighting position with which to ambush an enemy. It is not to be used as a proper fighting position for a static defense, as a “foxhole,” as it is not a very defensible position. The spider hole is used to make a quick disappearing act, and also to prep for an ambush.

As we covered “Fabian Tactics” in the post-SHTF combat operations article, I will refresh briefly. Named after the Roman Consul Quintus Fabius Maximus, the Fabian Tactic is also referred to in the vernacular as a “hit-and-run” maneuver. It is especially useful in an ambush meant to slow down or harass a larger unit by a smaller force. Fabian Tactics are perfect for the Spider Hole: hide for a brief time, and when the moment is right, emerge or fire to give the enemy the soup-bone. Then seal up the Spider-Hole and move out of the area quickly and with a purpose.

Optimal places for a Spider-Hole are on the sides of hills with limited access to your rear once the Spider-Hole is in place, with large boulders or rock faces to your rear, and at the edge of a forest just before an open area (field) meets with it. The Spider-Hole should be able to accommodate one person and their rucksack and weapon. The best dimensions should be the length/height equal to 1 ½ the height of a man and twice the man’s girth for the diameter of the hole. The Spider -ole should be on a slight (very slight) grade for the interior chamber so that if the person inside is in the prone, the feet will be slightly lower than the torso.

Such will enable rest within the hole if necessary, and will not be too unnatural a position in which to lie. A Spider-Hole should be as flush with the earth in the entrance as possible, and the “portal” should be made of materials from the local area that do not appear out of place with the immediate site. Do not take those materials from the immediate site! Then there would be gaps/bare places that would be noticeable. The mouth should have some cover (such as a log, sandbags, or rocks), to be located at the entrance to fire a weapon behind, but not preventing you from escaping from the hole.

Essential Supplies to Add 

You will also want to tote in a quart or two-quart plastic bottle to urinate in if you need to be in the hole for an extended period of time.  Ladies: Medical supply warehouses make female “urinals” similar to a urine collecting bottle that are in hospitals. Cost is about $10.  Male or female, when you fill up the bottle, you’ll need to get out and pour it somewhere at a distance to the hole. Don’t allow the urine to turn to methane and then give the position away. If you need to fire your weapon from it? Put those earplugs in first. Triple-flanged earplugs seal off that ear canal and protect those eardrums from the shots. If you’re underground the sound will be amplified by the closed surroundings.

“Niceties” will be a poncho and a poncho liner to be able to wrap up in and insulate you from the ground. A pad would be a good thing.  Remember: you may have to leave it in a heartbeat and come back to it later. One of the primary tools is an entrenching tool (also referred to as an “E-tool,” and I recommend US Army issue with the protective case. The others are cheap pieces of junk. The military’s E-tool is durable and reliable. Your first choice is to use an existing hollow, but remember, it is a hasty position. You can always reinforce it with pressure-treated plywood and boards (to keep it from caving in) if you want to construct it for use on your property later.

You may also want to run out a couple of wireless remote cameras and a screen to monitor movements on trails if you decide to use the spider hole. Good thermal optics and night-vision devices will also be worth their weight in gold. Your family will need to know where each hole is located, and there needs to be a readily-remembered numbering or lettering system to identify the holes. You are once more only limited by your own imagination and creativity regarding these holes.

So, take the tips here and tailor them to your home ground. The Spider-Hole is another preparatory measure you can create to give yourself a hidden edge for when the SHTF and the going gets rough. It has worked well for spiders for millions of years, and it will work for preppers and survivalists, too. Stay in that good fight, camouflage those trapdoors right, and come out when you’re ready to bite!  JJ out!

 

 

A Preparedness Guide for Women: Hygiene and Feminine Needs When Supplies Are Running Short

Tue, 05/07/2019 - 10:20

The prepper community can often feel like a “Men’s Only” club.  But there are women who want to prepare themselves and their families for the worst. Many ladies often feel like it’s a “guy thing” to get in the survivalist mindset. I’m here to say, we may be few and far between, but we are out there and ready to help support women in their desire to prepare for anything!

Whether we like it or not, we ladies have different bodies and different needs than our fellow male preppers.  We also need to prepare differently because of this, and we’ve compiled some tips for a series dedicated to women; some of which need to be discussed even though they are downright uncomfortable.

Sanitation is a critical component of being prepared for extended emergencies. In “The Prepper’s Blueprint“, Some of the greatest threats in an emergency occur after the disaster. Lack of accessible clean water following major disasters can quickly escalate and create secondary problems in a post SHTF situation. Additionally, those unsanitary conditions can exacerbate the spreading of diseases, infections and health risks.

With that in mind, since this is the first of the just for ladies series, let’s start with the most uncomfortable topic first:

FEMININE HYGIENE 

The question I am asked most often when other women discover my family is one of “preppers” is how do women deal with their monthly visitor when feminine hygiene products are not readily available.  This one is uncomfortable, but it has an easy answer: Menstrual cups.

These have the added benefit of not being disposable and are better for our Earth and will save you a ton of money over time. One menstrual cup can last for 5 years!  Disposable pads and tampons could run out if there’s a run on a grocery store, but women can prepare by keeping a menstrual cup on hand or in a bug out bag [LINK]. Heck, why not have a couple in case something goes wrong?

The key to making a menstrual cup work is finding one that YOU like.  This is a very personal decision, as menstrual cups are not “one size fits all.” Not all menstrual cups are created equal and you may need to try a few before you are comfortable with their use and find one that will work for YOU.  Look around on Amazon and you will see many different options. Two popular versions are the Diva Cup and the Athena Menstrual Cup. These are shaped slightly different and only the woman using it can possibly know what shape will fit her body the best.

Once you’ve selected a menstrual cup, the process of learning how to use it begins. Trigger warning: it can it icky. Menstrual cups are designed to be inserted into the vagina where they collect the menstrual blood rather than absorb it such a tampon.  However, after you remove the cup, you simply dump the contents away and rinse it off for another use.

When you first begin the use of the menstrual cup, it’s wise to use a pad (disposable or otherwise) because there is a learning curve involved.  We would suggest getting to understand how to use it before something bad happens, just to be certain you know what you’re doing. Plus, again, disposable pads won’t be readily available. You will want something you can reuse, and  “period underwear” is an excellent option. It isn’t actually as uncomfortable as you’d think, but much like the menstrual cup, finding the right pair for YOU is essential.  While they won’t be effective as your only protection, they will be invaluable while learning to use the menstrual cup and could come in handy on the lighter days you just don’t need a cup for!

OVERALL FEMININE HYGIENE

The last thing you’ll want is an infection when the SHTF, so it’s important to wash everything you use well and disinfect the menstrual cup. There may not be a way to completely eliminate your risk, as any catastrophe will be a difficult situation for everyone.  But you can mitigate the risks by keeping your hygiene top notch.

Once you are done menstruating, you will want to store your cup in a bag (most come with one.) Don’t just toss your cup into a backpack, as it’ll get dirty. But first, before you even consider storing your cup for use next month, soak it in hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes to make sure it’s clean, and let it air dry.

INCREASE WATER AND PEROXIDE STORAGE

Maybe this is a good time to stock up on some peroxide, just in case. Not only that, if you are in a situation in which you must store water (you don’t have a well and an electricity-free way to get water out of it) you need to save extra for your personal hygiene and care of your women’s items. You will need to wash your period underwear as well as you possibly can considering where they will be on your body. That said, make sure you never neglect your feminine hygiene, as it could cause you to get a yeast infection and that won’t be fun at all in a SHTF situation!

Of course this is an uncomfortable topic, however, we need to discuss it as women and preppers. We definitely have different needs than men, and we will need to prepare for those regardless of how uncomfortable those topics may be.

Shopping List
  • water
  • peroxide
  • Menstrual cup
  • Period underwear
  • sanitary napkins
  • yeast infection cream
  • hand sanitizer

Are you a female prepper? Do you have any tips or advice for your fellow women? If so, let us know in the comments!

 

 

4 Reasons To Choose Heirloom Seeds For Your Garden

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 06:59

Shopping for vegetable seeds, whether online or locally, you will come across two different types: hybrid and heirloom.  It’s important to always choose heirloom if you can, and there are several reasons for this.

Hybrid seeds are created by crossing two selected varieties, sometimes resulting in vigorous plants that yield more than those plants that grow from heirloom seeds. Heirloom vegetables, on the other hand, are the “old-time” varieties. They are open-pollinated instead of hybrid and saved and handed down through multiple generations of families. Neither are bad options, per se, but heirloom seeds are better and there a few reasons why you should try to use them as opposed to hybrid seeds.

  1. COST

Usually, heirloom seeds cost less than hybrid seeds. Check the catalogs and you’ll notice this. But the great news is that heirloom seeds reduce their cost further because you can save your own seeds. If you choose to do this, the price drops to nearly zero for the heirlooms. This will also lead you toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

How To Save Your Seeds For Planting Next Year

2. NON-UNIFORMITY

The second advantage of heirloom vegetables is that they are “less uniform” than hybrids.  This may seem like a con, however, since heirloom seeds are less uniform, they often don’t ripen all at once, and there will be less chance your food will be wasted.  Commercial growers love the uniformity of hybrids because they can pick the crop in one fell swoop and ship the vegetables to several stores for purchase all at once. But for the average everyday home gardener, a gradual supply of fresh produce is usually preferable to the glut of the all-at-once harvest that many hybrids provide.

3. BETTER FLAVOR

Because heirloom seeds are saved and passed on to future generations, the seeds from the best plants are chosen, resulting in a better and more hearty flavor. When you are providing your own food with your seeds, and not shipping the vegetables across the country, flavor, over “shippability” matters. Backyard gardeners rarely cart their produce cross-town much less cross-country. Even today, small market farmers don’t usually transport their harvest in huge tractor trailers and even if they do, to stay in business, their veggies have to taste incredible by comparison to store bought produce. There’s no need to plant veggies bred to be tough when you can plant heirloom vegetables that are tender, sweet, juicy and just plain delicious – especially if you aren’t shipping those veggies!

4. BETTER NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Commercial growers often want seeds that will produce the most abundant crop.  Which is great, however, home gardeners choose flavor and nutrition, and heirlooms seeds create veggies that are a lot more nutritious than those from hybrid seeds. Even though hybrids will often outyield heirlooms, it turns out we’re now paying a hidden cost for this emphasis on higher yields and shippable vegetables. Recent research has revealed that in many cases, newer vegetables and grains are significantly less nutritious than heirlooms, according to Mother Nature News.

There are still 100% heirloom seeds out there for purchase too! Ready Nutrition offers a wonderful “Garden in a Can” full of non-GMO heirloom seeds in several different varieties. This is a great gift too for the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday.  All it takes to get started is one Ready Nutrition Brand Homestead Vegetable Garden-In-A-Can, some good dirt, clean water, a healthy dose of sunshine and a little TLC every day! Before you know it, you’ll be up to your ears in fresh food — enough to feed up to a family of eight for a whole year

Ready Nutrition sources only heirloom seed varieties because they truly believe the old adage that says, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. These seeds are sourced through American farmers who pledge to never, ever use GMO crops. Additionally, these seeds are tested to make sure they are positively pesticide free!

If you are a home gardener and actually eat the vegetables you grow yourself, there is really no downside to choosing heirloom seeds. Plus, imagine how incredible it’ll feel to pass on the best of the best of your heirloom seeds to your children. I know nothing excites my kids more than planting starts with their seeds in the spring and eating the vegetables their plants produce over the summer.

That’s the additional added benefit! Kids who enjoy gardening and planting and saving their seeds grow up to eat a healthier diet than those who don’t. Children are naturally curious and every planting season is filled with excitement and joy. They all want to taste the fruits of their labor, so why not start a new family tradition beginning with heirloom seeds?

You won’t regret it!

Happy Planting!

 

Balance and Renew Hormones Naturally with These Tinctures

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 13:54

The use of plants for healing purposes goes back centuries and forms the origin of much of modern medicine. While natural remedies have always widely been in use, their popularity is increasing as people seek safer, more gentle alternatives to pharmaceutical medications.

Hormones can be balanced naturally with herbal tinctures.

Hormone balance is a common health concern, and like many other issues, it often can be managed naturally. One way to use herbal remedies to do this is via tinctures. A tincture is a concentrated liquid herbal extract made from herbs that are taken orally. Tinctures are typically made by soaking herbs in alcohol for several weeks to extract the active components (phytochemicals) of the plants. Fresh or dried leaves, roots, bark, flowers, and berries may be used to make tinctures. They can be made from a single plant or a combination of plants. After a few weeks, the herbal mixture is strained and the herb parts are removed, leaving behind the concentrated liquid. Alcohol is used because it is an excellent food-grade solvent and can extract herbal constituents (such as resins and alkaloids) that are poorly soluble in water. Another benefit of using alcohol as a solvent is that it is an excellent preservative that retains the freshness and potency of medicinal plants and greatly increases the shelf life of the tincture.

For more on tinctures and how to use them, please see our guide: What You Need to Know About Herbal Tinctures and How to Use Them

Here are four herbal tinctures that can be used to help balance hormones for men and women.

St. John’s Wort Organic Herbal Tincture for Mood Balance & Positive Outlook

Also known as hypericum, Klamath weed, and goatweed, St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a plant with yellow flowers whose medicinal uses were first recorded in ancient Greece. The flowering tops of St. John’s wort are used to prepare teas, tablets, and capsules containing concentrated extracts. It is important to understand that St. John’s wort interacts with many medications, which can make those medications less effective.

St. John’s Wort is a neurotransmitter modulator that increases serotonin levels in the brain through a process called natural reuptake inhibition. Boost mood, promote a positive mood balance, improve day-to-day outlook, and increase daytime energy levels with this tincture.

 

Saw Palmetto Organic Herbal Tincture for Men’s Hormone Balance, Reproductive Health & Sex Drive

Saw Palmetto is derived from the fruit of the Serenoa repens plant, which is native to the southeastern United States. The berries of the plant are commonly used in supplements to improve prostate health, balance hormone levels, and prevent hair loss in men. Saw Palmetto is also associated with other benefits, including decreased inflammation and improved urinary function.

Strengthen and tone the male reproductive system, promote healthy levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, and improve sex drive naturally with this tincture.

 

Woman’s Formula Organic Herbal Tincture for Female Hormone Balance, Hot Flashes & Period Relief

This proprietary blend contains a combination of plant-derived medicines that gently relieve hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, periodic mood swings, and daytime fatigue. (Contains Black Cohosh, Astragalus, Licorice, and Wild Yam Root)

Black Cohosh is an herb that is native to North America and has a long history of use. Native Americans used it to treat musculoskeletal pain, fever, cough, pneumonia, slow labor, and menstrual irregularities. European settlers used black cohosh to support women’s reproductive health.

Today, black cohosh is one of the most popular natural remedies for menopause. It is most commonly used for symptoms including hot flashes and night sweats (together known as vasomotor symptoms), vaginal dryness, heart palpitations, tinnitus, vertigo, sleep disturbances, nervousness, and irritability.

Generally considered to be safe according to research, Black Cohosh goes well with St. John’s Wort (while they are not synergistic, both together have shown added efficacy in managing vasomotor symptoms of menopause).

Astragalus is an important herb in traditional Chinese medicine that has been researched for its cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory, and longevity effects.

Licorice is the root of a plant called Glycyrrhiza glabra. It has a long history of use for medicinal purposes and is an important herb in traditional Chinese medicine. It has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Licorice can stimulate the adrenal gland, which promotes healthy cortisol (a stress hormone) levels. It has estrogen-like effects and has been found to reduce the frequency and duration of hot flashes in postmenopausal women. Licorice may also be useful in relieving the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Wild Yam Root contains a chemical called diosgenin, which can influence the production of several useful hormones, including estrogen. Consuming wild yam may be a natural way of promoting these hormones in the body, which could have certain medical benefits. Wild yams contain compounds that are believed to be particularly advantageous for menopause and premenstrual syndrome. The outer bark of wild yam root is high in a compound called saponin, which research shows may help lessen inflammation. Saponins can help relax and otherwise treat a number of conditions involving the abdominal and pelvic muscles, as well as arthritic and rheumatic conditions.

Damiana Organic Herbal Tincture Female Aphrodisiac for Sex Drive

Damiana, also known as “hierba de la pastora,” is an herb that belongs to the Turneraceae plant family and is native to Mexico and the southern US. It has a long history of use as a sexual stimulant and aphrodisiac and also is commonly used for menstrual disorders. In addition, Damiana can also help relieve stress, anxiety, and mild depression.

Strengthen and tone the female reproductive system, promote healthy female sex hormone levels, boost sex drive, and increase sexual appetite with this tincture.

Herbal tinctures are incredibly easy to use.

Simply take one or two dropper fulls every few hours (per the label’s instructions), or take as needed. Drop desired amount into warm water, tea, or your favorite beverage.

To learn more about Ready Nutrition Tinctures, please see our guide here: What You Need to Know About Herbal Tinctures and How to Use Them

Be well!

 

 

 

 

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease or ailment. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the creation or use of herbal tinctures. A person should speak to their doctor before using a tincture or any other herbal supplement, especially if they take medications.

Fermented Foods: Kick Your Health Up a Notch Naturally + 10 Healthy Ready Nutrition Recipes!

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 13:06

Fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, and kombucha are widely available and wildly popular these days. There are good reasons for that – they provide some impressive health benefits.

Fermentation originated as a food preservation method and means to produce alcohol. The earliest record of fermentation dates back thousands of years, and nearly every civilization has included at least one fermented food in its culinary heritage. Bread, beer, Indian chutneys, miso, sauerkraut, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, soy sauce, pickles, and even chocolate are some examples of fermented foods that people around the world have created.

Fermented foods are preserved using an ancient process that boosts shelf life and increases nutritional value. In addition, they give your body a healthy dose of probiotics, which are live microorganisms that are important to good digestion and overall health. The bacteria in fermented foods are considered probiotics.

What is fermentation?

Fermentation is a process that involves the breakdown of sugars in foods by bacteria and yeast.

Here’s a more detailed explanation from a research review titled Inclusion of Fermented Foods in Food Guides around the World:

What exactly are fermented foods? Fermentation is a process that has been used by humans for thousands of years, with major roles in food preservation and alcohol production. Fermentation is primarily an anaerobic process converting sugars, such as glucose, to other compounds like alcohol, while producing energy for the microorganism or cell. Bacteria and yeast are microorganisms with the enzymatic capacity for fermentation, specifically, lactic acid fermentation in the former and ethanol fermentation in the latter. Many different products around the world are a result of fermentation, either occurring naturally or through addition of a starter culture. Different bacterial and yeast species are present in each case, which contribute to the unique flavors and textures present in fermented foods.

In the article Fermentation: A History, eatCultured explains it another way:

Fermentation, or more specifically of certain kinds of food, is called culturing. Essentially communities of microbes, or “cultures”, colonize a food. As they start to convert naturally occurring sugars in the food into energy for themselves, microbes cause spontaneous fermentation in the surrounding food or beverage.

That science is officially known as zymology and is really a study of naturally-occurring microbes, the family of organisms that play a role in fermentation.

During fermentation, these small organisms consume available biodegradable material – like the sugar in dairy or grains – without the presence of oxygen. This process is known as anaerobic digestion.

Anaerobic digestion creates a range of bi-products, from the bubbles in a bubbling bottle of kombucha to the textures and flavors of cheeses, dairy products, fermented vegetable products like sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), kimchi (cabbage again…) and of course, Cultured Coffee!

Lacto fermentation describes a process by which microorganisms convert sugars in vegetables and milk into lactic acid. Lactic acid is very beneficial to health. The more lactic acid present in food, the more acidic the taste will be. It is the main reason fermented foods taste tangy and refreshing.

Fermented foods offer a lot of health benefits.

Fermented foods are getting a lot of attention these days because they provide a wide range of probiotics that contribute to the health of the microbiome.

The bacteria and microorganisms that reside in your digestive tract are linked to a wide range of health conditions, so caring for your gut is very important. Probiotics have a range of positive effects on health, including the improvement of various inflammatory conditions, positive impacts on the immune system and even weight loss, and can alter the composition of the gut microbiome.

Fermented foods provide another unique benefit, according to The History and Health Benefits of Fermented Food:

In addition to supporting human health, Lactobacillus and other bacteria may protect against foodborne illness by inhibiting and eradicating foodborne pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenesStaphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus. The inhibition of pathogenic bacteria may be due in part to pH, as well as antimicrobial bacteriocins produced by Lactobacillus to inhibit other competitive strains, including foodborne pathogens. While these findings support fermentation as a safe method of preservation, and consumption of fermented grain has been associated with decreases in foodborne illness, more research is needed.

Dr. David S. Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explains that fermentation can extend the usability of food for months and can improve the flavor:

“For example, if you put cabbage on the shelf for a few weeks, it’ll spoil,” says Dr. Ludwig. “But if you ferment it into sauerkraut, it will last for months.” It’s the same concept with fermented dairy foods and proteins. “Think about how long milk lasts compared with cheese,” he says.

In addition to helping food last longer, fermentation also enhances the taste of foods, giving them added complexity. Plus, the fermentation process works other forms of magic on foods, changing them and adding nutrients. For example, by eating fermented vegetables, vegetarians can get vitamin B12, which otherwise isn’t present in plant foods, says Dr. Ludwig.

Here’s how to ferment vegetables.

To start fermenting vegetables you will need two things: equipment and fresh produce. Fermentation doesn’t require expensive gadgets, and to keep things simple, you can purchase a kit like The Easy Fermenter (Amazon link) or starter kits from Cultures for Health.

If you don’t want to use a starter, you can give wild fermentation (Amazon link) (also known as spontaneous fermentation) a try. Probiotics Center explains how it works:

Spontaneous fermentation refers to the process of letting natural bacteria already present on vegetables or in the milk to start the fermentation process. Therefore, no microorganisms are added for this process to happen. However, the right environment needs to be created to promote bacterial growth. This might involve shredding vegetables, adding salt, using airlocks, or keeping the right temperature.

Microorganisms are present in most vegetables and raw, unpasteurized milk or cream. Cabbage, carrots, celery and many other vegetables can have up to 40 different bacteria species naturally occurring. Some bacteria species will, under the right circumstances, start consuming sugars present in vegetables and dairy. This process produces other substances including lactic acid. Lactic acid is responsible for the familiar tart, tangy flavor of fermented foods.

Almost any vegetable can be fermented, and you aren’t limited to one veggie alone. You can create a mix of several different kinds along with herbs and spices of your choosing, so get creative! Here is a list of vegetables you can ferment that will inspire you: Fermenting Vegetables – A-Z Veggie List.

After you select your vegetables, you’ll need to prepare them for fermenting. Because the size and shape of the vegetables impact the speed of fermentation, keep the size of the vegetables in each batch consistent. There are several ways to prepare your veggies for fermenting – you can grate, shred, chop, julienne, or slice them, or leave them whole.

According to Cultures for Health:

Grating works well for hard or crunchy vegetables

Firm veggies can be sliced very thinly

Softer vegetables should be cut into thick pieces so they hold their shape

Small vegetables such as radishes, green beans, and brussel sprouts are easy to culture whole

Once you have prepared your vegetables, it is time to start fermenting them. Try these guidelines from Cultures for Health if you don’t already have instructions or are not using a kit.

First, choose your culture.

A fermented food recipe may call specifically for salt, salt and whey, or a starter culture. The method chosen can vary, depending on personal taste, special dietary requirements, and even the vegetables used.

If salt fermentation is the preferred method, choose from the different kinds of salt appropriate for culturing.

Next, prepare your brine:

Water used for preparing brine or starter culture should be as free from contaminants as possible, for the best-tasting fermented vegetables. Consider the points in this article before choosing your water source for culturing.

Then, weigh your veggies down:

Once the vegetables have been prepared and placed in the chosen fermentation vessel, weigh the vegetables down under the brine, keeping them in an anaerobic environment during the fermentation period.

Once the fermentation process is complete, it’s time to move your vegetables to cold storage. This guide from Cultures for Health can help you determine when your veggies are ready: How to Know When Your Fermented Vegetables Are Ready for Cold Storage.

Give these Ready Nutrition recipes a try.

What to Do with Your Radishes: Making Kimchi

Contemplating the Kombucha Craze

Make Your Own Sriracha Sauce

Lacto-Fermented Pickled Vegetables

Cheat Sheet for Making Homemade Yogurt

Why Sourdough is Great For Your Health + Recipes

Bread Making With Homemade Yeast

Kefir: Your Solution To Milk Without Refrigeration

Yogurt Cheese

A Fermenting Staple: Old Fashioned Sauerkraut

Have you fermented vegetables before?

If so, please feel free to offer tips, tricks, and ideas in the comments.

Be well!

 

How To Survive A Flash Flood In Your Car

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 13:21

Since flood season is upon us, and it’s “unprecedented” this year, it could be helpful to learn how to gain some knowledge and learn to survive a flash flood.  If you get caught in your car in a flash flood, knowing the proper steps to take could save your life and the lives of anyone else stuck in the vehicle.

Flooding is one of the most common natural disasters in the United States. Already this year, record-breaking floods have devastated farmlands across the country destroying crops and land. Some of the floods have even swept vehicles away with people trapped inside. Sometimes it’s easy to see the water raging, but other times it looks calm enough to drive right through. But either way, you should be prepared and know what you should do in order to save your own life if you get caught in a flash flood.

The first thing you will want to note is the difference between a flood “watch” and “warning”:

  • flood watch means a flood is possible in your area.
  • flood warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon—and you should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

Jim Douglas, an instructor with Raven Rescue, toldTODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen that “not even a foot” of water is enough to make a car float. And SUVs and 4x4s are not immune: “Those big tires will make a truck float even easier,” Douglas said. “They are like big buoys. They’ll float even faster.”

The easiest to follow a piece of advice is simple and preventative in nature. Try to avoid anywhere that is flooded. Even if the water appears calm at the time, it can change in an instant!  If things do change quickly, you are not only endangering yourself, but you are putting those who come to rescue you and the others in your vehicle in danger as well.

Another reason to avoid flood waters is that often, the water is contaminated. In the aftermath of Hurrican Harvey, the flood waters actually help flesh-eating bacteria that infected some who had waded through the waters. But it isn’t just dangerous bacteria lingering in the waters. Gasoline, oil, or raw sewage may also be contaminating the flood waters. Additionally, water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and that could be deadly!

*NOTE: Even the mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals and possibly dangerous infectious bacteria. The mud should be avoided as well if at all possible.

If you do get caught in a flash flood, and you can get out of your vehicle before it is swept away, immediately move to higher ground. Be wary of seeking higher ground in flooded buildings, however. Those buildings could have sustained water damage that will make them incredibly unsafe and you won’t be any better off.

Never go back for your vehicle if you’ve abandoned it, as it could be swept away. Do not walk through moving water and keep children away from water. Six inches of moving water can sweep you off your feet. If you have no choice but to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving – like puddles that are standing still. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

If you cannot avoid getting swept up in the water and your car begins to float away, these following steps are critical to your survival:

  • Roll the window down the second the water rises.  It is the only way out of your vehicle. Climb out the window and
  • Get on the roof of the vehicle.
  • Stay low and hang on. Stay stable: A car can flip in 6 feet of water. “At least being on the roof you’ve got a fighting chance,” Douglas said. “If you are inside and that car flips over, you’ve got no chance.”

Knowing just how dangerous flood waters could be is a start toward staying safe. Avoidance is best and extreme caution should be exercised if venturing out knowingly into a flood. But knowing and understanding what to do in the event that the absolute worst happens and a flash flood sweeps away your car, will at least give you a chance at survival.

 

 

10 Best Vegetables for Urban Gardeners

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 06:42

When people envision a thriving vegetable garden, they often picture a pastoral scene, far out in the country behind a picket fence. Rarely does the first image that comes to mind appear as pots on a balcony, a collection of various-sized containers on a patio closely neighbored by other buildings, or a postage-stamp-sized backyard stuffed with plants in every little nook.

However, even in the city, if you have a little bit of outdoor space, you can grow some of your own food. The rewards are many!

Why Should You Grow Food in the City?

One of the greatest aspects of growing your own vegetables is knowing that you are growing food that is pesticide-free and high in nutrition.

That produce at the store isn’t nearly as nutritious (or tasty) as what you grow in your own backyard. Why? Because it’s harvested well before it’s actually ripe so that it can have a long enough shelf-life to reach your grocer’s location. The longer you can keep the vegetable on the vine or growing in the soil, the more nutrient-rich that vegetable will be. Vegetables start losing nutrients as soon as they’re harvested, and quality diminishes as natural sugars are turned into starches.

For the tastiest veggies with the best nutrition, try growing a few of these nutrient-dense foods in your own garden. Many of these superfoods can be grown in containers, so even if you don’t have a lot of garden space, you can still enjoy the thrills that gardening brings.

Never forget the positive effects of gardening on your mood – it’s nearly as important as the bounty you’ll bring in.  A bit of sunshine, green plants, the smell of the soil, and some fresh air on a daily basis is good for the soul, particularly if you spend most of your day roaming a concrete jungle.

Grow These 10 Veggies in Your Urban Garden

Some vegetables will work better in a small urban garden than others. All of the vegetables on this list were selected because they can be grown in containers or sown into the ground, depending on your situation.

1. Broccoli

Nutrition Info

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 31
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Protein: 2.6 g

How to grow

Plant seeds in mid to late summer to be ready for the fall harvest.  Broccoli thrives in full sun and well‐drained soil.  This variety of broccoli has a tendency to give yields from side shoots past its first harvest and can handle light frost with no problem. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable full of phytonutrients and antioxidants, as well as vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, and B‐complex vitamins.

  • Start: For spring harvest, start indoors 4‐6 weeks before the last frost. For fall harvest, start indoors 2-3 months before the first frost. Transplant into your garden when the plants are 3″ tall and the root systems are established.
  • Plant: Sow seeds in ¼” soil. Plants prefer full sun with 15‐18” of space between each plant.
  • Harvest: 60‐90days

Container instructions:  If you are growing your broccoli in containers, be sure that it is at least 18-inch diameter and a minimum of 3 gallons in size. Broccoli requires a container with good drainage. Only put one plant in each container, as they require lots of room to grow.  Use a light soil.

2. Peas

Nutrition Info

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 118
  • Fat: 0.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21 g
  • Protein: 8 g

How to grow

This is a winter loving plant that is resistant to frost, and one of the easiest vegetables to grow.  Sweet peas are a good source of protein, fiber and provide 8 different vitamins including vitamin A, B6, and K.

  • Start: 3-4 weeks before your last frost date. Peas prefer to be cool and can germinate in temperatures as low as 45 degrees. Seeds can be started indoors or sown directly into the soil.
  • Plant: Prefers to be planted in full sun in 1” deep soil, plant seeds 6” apart.  
  • Harvest: 50 days

Container instructions: Use the largest pot you can find, because peas like to spread out. Add a generous amount of peas to the pot, spread out evenly across the surface, then top it with another couple of inches of soil. If you use fertilizer, don’t use much, as the nitrogen can negatively affect your harvest. Keep the soil moist and locate it in full sun.  Be sure to have a trellis that the peas can climb for the most bountiful harvest.

3. Beans (especially navy beans, great northern beans, kidney beans)

Nutrition Info

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 245
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 45 g
  • Protein: 15 g

How to grow

Beans should be planted in the early summer.  Staggering your plantings will give continuous yields.  Beans are very high in fiber, and Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.

  • Start: Outdoors once all danger of frost has passed
  • Plant: 2‐4 inches apart in full sun
  • Harvest: Beans are ready after 58 days. Pick when the plant is dry. Frequent picking encourages larger harvest.

Container instructions: Depending on the type of beans you are growing, you may require a trellis. Bush beans don’t require trellising or staking, which could make them a better choice for a container.  Choose a container that is at least 8-10 inches deep.  You can plant 9 seeds for every foot of surface space. Beans need plenty of water, particularly when they are in pots.

 4. Brussels sprouts

Nutrition Info

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 38
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Protein: 3 g

How to grow

Brussels sprouts are slow-growing plants that thrive in cool weather. In fact, Brussels sprouts that mature in hot weather will be bitter and unpleasant. They even continue to grow after a light frost, making them the perfect addition to your fall garden.

  • Start: Indoors at least 4-6 weeks before the last frost.
  • Plant: Transplant seedlings 12-24 inches apart. Brussels sprouts thrive in raised beds with well-fertilized soil. Mulch after a few weeks to help maintain adequate moisture at the roots.
  • Harvest: Harvest sprouts from the bottom once they reach about an inch in diameter.

Container instructions: To grow Brussels sprouts in a container, you need one that is at least 12 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep. Prepare the soil several days before planting by fertilizing it well, then soaking the soil until the water begins to drain out the bottom.  Plant only one per container. Move them out of the direct sun during the hottest part of the day.

 5. Tomatoes

Nutrition Info

  • Serving Size: 1 cup (sliced or chopped)
  • Calories: 32
  • Fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Protein: 1.6 g

How to grow

Tomatoes can be planted in the early spring and then again, midsummer.  Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamin A, C, K, E, Potassium, thiamine, and Niacin.  As well, they supply antioxidants (including lycopene) that are powerful fighters of cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic tumors.

  • Start: Start seeds indoors to give a head start. Transplant when full leaves have set. Harden young plants for 1‐2 weeks before permanently planting.
  • Plant: Plant seeds ¼ “‐1/2” deep. Once transferred to garden, space tomato plants 36” apart for optimum harvest. Tomatoes should be planted in full sun.
  • Harvest: 62‐100 days

Container instructions

Tomatoes require very large containers, at least 18 inches in diameter.  They need to be deep and well-drained to allow the plant to develop a hardy root system.  Keep the soil consistently moist, but not wet. Provide support for the tomato plants in the form of a cage or stakes.  Add diluted liquid fertilizer every two weeks, and keep the plants in full sun.

6. Bell peppers

Nutrition Info

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 46
  • Fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9 g
  • Protein: 1.5 g

How to grow

Peppers should be planted after the last frost.  The more peppers that are harvested, the more the plant will produce.

  • Start: Indoors, 4‐6 weeks before the last frost
  • Plant: After all danger of frost has passed, move seedlings outdoors and plant in full sun, 15-20 inches apart.
  • Harvest: Peppers are ripe after 75 days. You can pick them when they’re still green or allow them to ripen to red.

Container instructions: Choose a pot that is at least 16 inches deep, with good drainage.  Water well-fertilized soil and allow it to drain thoroughly before planting.  Plant your pepper seedlings in full sun, turning the pot on a regular basis to keep them growing straight. You may need to stake your plants due to the weight of the peppers.

 7. Beets

Nutrition Info

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 59
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Protein: 2.2 g

How to grow

Both the leafy green tops and the tuberous root are edible and provide abundant nutrients.  Beets are a high source of fiber, folates, vitamin C, carotenoids, B complex vitamins, and potassium.  Beets are small plants with large dark‐green leaves.

  • Start: Seeds can be started indoors or directly sown as soon as the ground can be worked. For more successful germination, soak seeds overnight in a damp towel before planting.
  • Plant: Early spring or midsummer. Plant beet seeds in 1/2’” deep soil, 1” apart and thin weakest seedlings to the desired spacing.  Keep soil evenly moist to prevent beetroots from getting woody.  For a longer harvest, stagger beet plantings every 2‐3weeks.
  • Harvest: 60 days. If not harvested on time, it continues to grow, develops cracks and becomes unappetizing because it develops an overly fibrous consistency.

Container instructions: Choose a pot that is at least 6 inches deep. Be sure that it has excellent drainage since beets do not do well in soggy soil.  Too much nitrogen in your soil will result in huge, luxuriant leaves at the top, and not much development in the roots. Water only at the base of the plant to help prevent disease and pests.

8.  Salad greens

Nutrition Info

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 5
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1 g
  • Protein: 0.5 g

How to grow

Lettuce is an ideal urban garden plant. In fact, you don’t even have to have outdoor space to grow it – a warm, sunny windowsill will provide you with all the salad greens you need. Succession planting ensures you’ll have salad greens throughout the season.

  • Start: Sow seeds directly into the soil. Stagger plantings every 2-3 weeks.
  • Plant: Plant seeds at a depth of ½” and 6‐8 inches apart, in full or partial sun, and the cooler temperatures of spring or fall.
  • Harvest: 39-45 days. depending on the specific lettuce

Container instructions:  Choose a pot that is 6-12 inches in diameter with excellent drainage.  Too much water at the roots will cause rot. This being said, lettuce is more than 90% water, so frequent shallow watering is vital. As lettuce grows, cut the outside leaves to enjoy while allowing the inside leaves to continue growing, for a cut-and-come-again harvest.

9. Carrots

Nutrition Info

  • Serving Size: 1 cup of slices
  • Calories: 50
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12 h
  • Protein: 1.1 g

How to grow

Carrots prefer cooler weather and should be grown in the fall, winter and early spring.  They are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Smaller carrots have a sweeter flavor, so harvest early.

  • Start: Outdoors, after danger of frost
  • Plant: In full sun, 3 seeds per inch.  Thin seedlings to 2‐3 inches apart when they are 1‐2inches high – don’t overwater
  • Harvest: Carrots are ready in about 73 days

Container instructions: Since carrots are root vegetables, you will want to choose a container based on depth.  A great and inexpensive way to grow carrots is in the holes in cement blocks. Plant carrots in a lightweight soil medium that drains well. They require very regular watering when planted in containers. Mulch them to maintain moisture and keep down weeds.

10. Dark greens

Nutrition Info

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 33
  • Fat: 0.6 g
  • Carbohydrates 6 g
  • Protein: 2.9 g

How to grow

Greens like Swiss chard, spinach, and kale are easy to grow.  They can be planted 2‐3 weeks before the last frost and individual leaves can be harvested throughout the growing cycle, for a “cut-and-come-again” harvest.

  • Start: Sow seeds directly into the soil at a depth of ½” and 6‐8 inches apart.
  • Plant: Prefer full or partial sun and the cooler temperatures of spring or fall.
  • Harvest: 50‐60 days. depending on the green

Container instructions: Choose a pot that is at least 6 inches deep and 6 inches in diameter. On a hot day, move your pots of greens to the shade.  These greens are sweeter and less bitter when grown in cooler weather.

What are you waiting for?

If it isn’t planting time, it’s planning time! In the off-season, you can often acquire pots, amendments, and seeds. Decide well ahead of time what you intend to plant, and mark important dates on your calendar:

  • First frost
  • Last frost
  • Dates for starting different varieties of seeds
  • Dates for sowing seeds directly into the soil
  • Dates for transplanting seedlings outdoors
  • Approximate harvest dates

Before you know it, your urban oasis will be bursting with wholesome produce and you’ll wonder why you waited so long to start growing your own food.

 

What You Need to Know About Herbal Tinctures and How to Use Them

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 06:30

The use of plants for healing purposes goes back centuries and forms the origin of much of modern medicine. While natural remedies have always widely been in use, their popularity is increasing as people seek safer, more gentle alternatives to pharmaceutical medications.

If you are looking for an easy way to reap the benefits of medicinal plants, take a look at herbal tinctures.

What are herbal tinctures?

A tincture is a concentrated liquid herbal extract made from herbs that are taken orally.

Tinctures are typically made by soaking herbs in alcohol for several weeks to extract the active components (phytochemicals) of the plants. After a few weeks, the herbal mixture is strained and the herb parts are removed, leaving behind the concentrated liquid. Alcohol is used because it is an excellent food-grade solvent and can extract herbal constituents (such as resins and alkaloids) that are poorly soluble in water. Another benefit of using alcohol as a solvent is that it is an excellent preservative that retains the freshness and potency of medicinal plants and greatly increases the shelf life of the tincture. Don’t worry – you won’t get intoxicated from the alcohol in tinctures.

Fresh or dried leaves, roots, bark, flowers, and berries may be used to make tinctures. They can be made from a single plant or a combination of plants.

How do herbal tinctures work?

Tinctures bypass the need to digest entire herbs in the gut and are easily absorbed by the body. Because they are concentrated, dosages are small and can be diluted in your favorite beverage.

They are commonly made with the same plants as herbal teas, but tinctures are much stronger – a dropper of tincture is more potent than a cup of steeped tea. In fact, you can add Ready Nutrition tinctures to tea if you’d like.

Tinctures have a milder, more subtle effect than pharmaceutical drugs, so it is important to have realistic expectations if you are using them for a chronic condition. Some tinctures DO provide rapid relief of symptoms, but most do not offer a quick fix.

Some experimentation with dosages and frequency might be necessary to figure out what works best for you. Natural medicines like tinctures can be very effective and do have a long history of successful use, so be patient and consistent, and remember to make additional lifestyle changes to support good health and healing as well.

Here’s how to use herbal tinctures.

Tinctures can be taken straight or mixed with hot tea, water, or another beverage you enjoy. When mixed with hot tea, some of the alcohol content is “burned off” (without impacting the effectiveness of the herbs), which some people find more palatable.

Some herbalists recommend taking tinctures on an empty stomach, but that isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. While some natural remedies (like CBD oils) are often taken sublingually (drops are placed under the tongue), herbalists generally don’t recommend taking tinctures that way because the alcohol may cause an unpleasant burning sensation.

Tincture bottles come with a dropper you can use to measure your dosage and drop it into your tea or beverage of choice.

There’s a wide range of health concerns that tinctures can help manage.

Remember that with natural remedies, more isn’t always better. Follow the suggested dosage guidelines on your bottle’s label. If you have questions about which dosage is right for you, seek guidance from a trained professional.

Ready Nutrition is proud to offer the following high-quality organic tinctures.

California Chill: This tincture is made with California Poppy (Eschscholizia Californica), a non-narcotic natural sedative that is non-addictive and not habit forming. Safely relieve nervous tension, occasional anxiety, irritability, racing thoughts, and restless behavior caused by everyday stress.

Lomatium Root Organic Herbal Tincture for Cold & Flu Season: Stimulates the body’s own natural defenses to support healthy immune system response. This tincture can be taken daily during cold and flu season to support immune system function and protect the body during periods of heightened stress.

Woman’s Formula Organic Herbal Tincture: This proprietary blend is made using a combination of plant-derived medicines that gently relieve hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, periodic mood swings, and daytime fatigue.

Black Currant Organic Herbal Tincture for Joint Inflammation & Joint Pain: This formula activates the body’s own natural defenses to reduce inflammation in the body. Relieve inflammation that causes painful, swollen joints and promote greater joint health and joint mobility.

St. John’s Wort Organic Herbal Tincture for Mood Balance & Positive Outlook: This tincture is a neurotransmitter modulator that increases serotonin levels in the brain through a process called natural reuptake inhibition. Boost mood, promote a positive mood balance, improve day-to-day outlook, and increase daytime energy levels.

Corydalis Organic Herbal Tincture for Gentle Temporary Pain Relief: Stimulates immune system function and activates the body’s own natural defenses to reduce inflammation and temporarily relieve pain. Alleviate minor body ache, muscle strain, and tension headache w/ plant-derived medicine.

Valerian Root Organic Herbal Tincture for Total Body Deep Relaxation: This tincture is made using one of the most powerful plant-based sedatives that nature has to offer. Relieve occasional anxiety or panic attack, restless behavior, racing thoughts, nervous stomach, trouble sleeping, headache, and muscle spasms.

Damiana Organic Herbal Tincture Female Aphrodisiac for Sex Drive: Strengthens and tones the female reproductive system, promotes healthy female sex hormone levels, boosts sex drive, and increases sexual appetite.

Saw Palmetto Organic Herbal Tincture: Supports men’s sexual health w/ clinically proven plant-derived medicines. Strengthen and tone the male reproductive system, promote healthy levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, and improve sex drive naturally.

Passion Flower Organic Herbal Tincture: This is a neurotransmitter modulator that acts on GABA-B receptor sites to slow down central nervous system activity, producing sedative effects. Relieve nervousness, nervous tension, occasional anxiety, restless or racing thoughts, hypervigilance, and trouble relaxing during the day.

Prostate Power Organic Herbal Tincture: This tincture is made using a combination of plant-derived medicines that support prostate and urinary tract health. Relieve difficult urination due to enlargement of the prostate gland caused by age-related conditions in healthy men.

Rapid Detoxifier Organic Herbal Tincture for Fast-Acting Hangover Headache & Migraine Relief: helps the body to quickly rid itself of toxins by stimulating the liver and digestive tract. Relieve hangover headache or migraine, dizziness, nausea, stomach irritation, indigestion, or vomiting caused by an excess of toxins in the body.

Stress Relief w/ Arctic Root: is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the body — inside and out — so you are always ready to face everyday stress with your best foot forward. Stimulate immune system function to shorten physical and mental recovery periods, support a healthy neurotransmitter balance to improve mood, and boost cognitive functions like mental sharpness and memory so you get more done in less time.

Be well!

 

 

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease or ailment. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the creation or use of herbal tinctures. A person should speak to their doctor before using a tincture or any other herbal supplement, especially if they take medications.

Maximizing Your Food Pantry: 16 Healthy Ways To Use Dried Oats

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 14:00

Oats are a popular pantry staple, and for good reason: They are affordable, easy to store, and versatile. Packed with protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, thiamine, iron, and beta-glucan (which may help regulate blood sugar), oats are a true nutritional powerhouse. They also have been shown to reduce harmful cholesterol levels and may even boost the immune system.

They are commonly used in oatmeal, baked goods, and granola, but did you know oats can be used for everything from homemade non-dairy milk to pizza crusts to soothing itchy skin?

Here’s how to use all those oats sitting in your pantry.

1. Thickener for soups and stews: Stir a tablespoon or two of oats or oat flour into your soup, stew, or chili after it has been cooked and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until thickened. Alternatively, oats can be ground in a blender to make a natural protein powder to add to smoothies.

2. Binder for burgers: This works for regular burgers and veggie burgers. After you have made your burger base, toss in a handful of oats to add a great texture and a bit of binding power to the burgers. The oats help “set” the burgers as they cook, making them more tender and less crumbly.

3. Vegetarian oatmeal Patties: These patties contain oatmeal blended with broccoli, carrots, egg, and garlic, but other vegetables like asparagus and green beans work well in them, too. Get the recipe here: Vegetarian Oatmeal Patties

4, Use as breadcrumbs: Replace regular breadcrumbs with oats in just about any recipe.

5. Oat flour: Blend oats in a food processor until you have flour of your preferred fineness. This is used in place of regular flour in most recipes.

6. Oat milk: This recipe is from The Prepper’s Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons rolled oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ quarts filtered water
  • Optional: sweetened coconut, agave nectar, or sugar for sweetening
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Place the oats, salt, water, and desired sweetener in a pitcher. Stir until mixed.
  2. Allow mixture to soak in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. After the mixture has soaked overnight, pour the contents of the pitcher into the blender and blend.
  4. Pour contents of the blender into a fine mesh sieve that is placed over a large bowl, and strain it thoroughly. Strain again if needed. The leftover strained oats can be cooked and used for oatmeal or used in baking recipes.
  5. Add Vanilla and stir.
  6. Chill and shake before use. Oat milk lasts up to 5 days.

7. Pizza crust: Yes, you can make a pizza crust with oats, believe it or not. Check out this simple recipe: Oatmeal Pizza Crust with 3 Ingredients

8. Fruit Pizza: Speaking of pizza, try this tasty (and healthy) dessert recipe: Healthy Fruit Pizza with Oatmeal Cookie Crust

9. Pie and cheesecake crusts: Oats can be used in place of crushed graham crackers in cheesecake and pie crusts. Mix about 1 cup of oats with 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil and press into your pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Or, sprinkle some toasted oats on the bottom of a pie pan and pour the cheesecake batter right on top and bake as directed.

10. Fast oatmeal mixes: Follow these basic instructions and add your choice of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds – Instant Oatmeal Mix. Try adding any of the following to oatmeal – chia, flax, berries, fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, nut butter, seeds, dark chocolate, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon.

11. Savory Spanish oatmeal: This unique oatmeal recipe has some kick to it – there’s garlic, roasted red peppers, tomato, paprika, and cayenne in there! Click here for the recipe: Savory Spanish oatmeal

12. Oat Rolls: This recipe is from The Prepper’s Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups water, divided
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 4-6 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions:

  1. In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring 2 of the cups of water to a boil. Stir in the oats and reduce the heat to a simmer until oats are soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool until it reaches 110 degrees F.
  2. Stir in remaining ½ cup of water and the brown sugar, butter, and salt. Stir in the yeast. Let rest for 15 minutes and then stir in flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix until all the flour has been absorbed and the dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour, then punch down.
  4. Shape the dough into rolls on a greased baking sheet and cover, allowing to rise for another 30 minutes in a warm place until it begins to rise again.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the rolls have risen, bake them for 15-20 minutes.

13. Protein bars: Many of the protein bars on the market today contain some obscure and downright disgusting ingredients. And, some of the grains used in making bars may be genetically modified. Store bought protein bars are often exorbitantly priced, making the little nutrition they do offer not really worth the high price tag. Try this easy recipe instead: Four Ingredient Protein Bars.

14. Granola: Instead of buying granola mix at the store, try these two recipes: Crunchy Cran-Delight Granola and Homemade Granola.

Bonus: Non-edible things to do with oats

15. Soothe itchy, dry, inflamed skin: Oatmeal has long been used as a home remedy for irritated skin. To use oatmeal in a bath, put a half cup in an old sock. Tie a knot in the top of the sock. While you are filling the tub with warm (not hot) water, hold the sock under the water and squeeze it often.

16. Exfoliate: Make a scrub with oats, warm water, and coconut oil. Use as needed to smooth your skin.

What do You use oats for?

Have you found any unique ways to use oats? Please share your ideas in the comments!

 

Hidden in Plain Sight: How To Make a Tactical Hideaway

Mon, 04/22/2019 - 06:23

Home defense is a concern for many. And who wouldn’t be? 2,000,000 home burglaries are reported each year in the United States. More interesting, is that the average burglary takes 10 minutes and the stolen property amounts to over $2,000 in stolen property.

According to one home security website, “most people don’t hide their valuable items carefully, and burglars know it. Once they break in, burglars head straight for the master bedroom, where they scavenge through dresser drawers and nightstands, look under mattresses, and search closets. Cash, jewelry, and weapons are some of the things a burglar wants most from your home.”

Safety concealment systems are an easy way to remedy this. Not only can you hide firearms in easy-to-access locations in the home, but you can also hide valuables and make it more difficult for burglars to steal your property.

What is a concealment system or a tactical hideaway? Essentially, it is a floating shelf with a secret compartment to conceal hidden items. These are especially helpful from a home security standpoint because valuables and/or self-protection items are hidden in the open and would not attract attention. Some other items that you could hide away are:

  • spare keys
  • valuables
  • jewelry
  • cash
  • passports/documentation

While pre-assembled concealment shelves like this one run anywhere from $100-$400, you can easily make one for a fraction of the cost and add a more decorative look.

What You Will Need For This Project:
  • 4 ft. length of 1″x2″ common board
  • 1/4″ x 1″ hardwood emboss rope
  • 4″ ft. length of 4-1/2″ hardwood emboss crown molding
  • 12″ chop saw
How To Make a Tactical Hideaway

“Unprecedented” Flood Season: How To Know If Your Home Has Water Damage

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 14:56

Across large swaths of the United States, people are deeply entrenched in an unprecedented flood season.  From bomb cyclones to the complete annihilation of farmland and crops across the nations, Americans are experiencing one of the worst flood seasons in history.

According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association), this year is “unprecedented” when it comes to flooding. “The extensive flooding we’ve seen in the past two weeks will continue through May and become dire and may be exacerbated in the coming weeks as the water flows downstream. This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities,” writes Ed Clark, the director of NOAA’s National Water Center.

This warning comes as farmers suffer the massive loss of land and crops due to the floods. Because of this, we thought it would be beneficial to put together a guide that will help you determine whether or not your home has water damage, and what you can do about it. Water damage is a serious hazard and happens far more often than most people think. It can strike a home at any time, resulting from any number of different problems, leaving the homeowner unsure of where to turn for water extraction and restoration.  Water damage can cause structural damage which can continue to worsen over time if not properly treated.

Property damage resulting from water and leaks is the third most common cause of homeowner loss. Water damage alone caused $9.1 billion in homeowner property losses from 2007 to 2009. The American Insurance Association (AIA) states that “water damage claims have been growing faster than other components of homeowners insurance.” About 14,000 Americans experience damages due to water and leaks every single day.

Many of these accidents could have been prevented, up to 93% according to the AIA, and most water damage occurs because leaks that were slow and gradual turned into a bigger problem seemingly overnight. The quicker you are able to spot water damage and repair it, the less impact it will have on your finances. Time is of the essence when it comes to homes damaged by water. Instead of living in fear, know the signs so you can stay on top of problems water can cause to your home!

Tell-Tale Signs To Look For

There are a few tell-tale signs that will alert you should your home have water damage.  You will want to be on the lookout for:

  • Dark or wet spots on the wall or ceiling – These spots indicate a leak of some kind and it would be beneficial to find the source of the water and prevent further damage to your home
  • Drywall that begins to flake or crack – Again, the drywall will need to be replaced, but you will first need to find where the water doing the damage is coming from
  • Wet spots, drips or puddles around your pipes, sinks, toilets, taps, etc.
  • A damp, musty or moldy smell that suddenly appears; there could also be a sewage smell coming from any plumbing fixtures
  • Hearing water running even when all the fixtures are turned off
  • Suddenly feeling unusual dampness or humidity in the home
  • If you are not on a well and use city water, check your bill every month. An unusually high water bill could be a sign that you have a leak in a pipe somewhere.

If you are unable to find the source of the water after determining you’ve got some damage, immediately call someone for help. Find a business that specializes in water damage and fixing it, and the sooner you can get them to your home, the better!

Water damage can quickly worsen and become a mold problem if not corrected as soon as possible.  That will certainly ratchet up the cost of repairs and could end up making your family sick being inside a home with mold.  Some mold can also be lethal, so it is of the utmost importance that you take the initiative and spot any damage as soon as possible!

 

California Chill: Lower Your Stress, Improve Sleep, Reduce Feelings Of Anxiousness

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 00:11

As humans drift toward a more holistic and natural approach to health and wellness, herbal tinctures grab some of the spotlights. And as stress becomes a bigger concern for so many, Ready Nutrition’s “California Chill” can provide some much-needed calm in our ever stressful lives.

Herbal tinctures have increased in popularity lately due to their effectiveness and natural, homeopathic approach to wellness.  Tinctures are a concentrated liquid form of one or more herbs and made by soaking parts of an herb for several weeks in alcohol or vinegar to draw out concentrated levels of the active medicinal properties of the herb.  Alcohol is often the liquid of choice, though, as it can extract components, such as resins and alkaloids, that are not water-soluble. And Ready Nutrition’s California Chill is made in the same manner.

The herb in California Chill is the California poppy or,  Eschscholzia californica. Well known for its beautiful orange color, the California poppy is native to California and other places on the West Coast where water is readily available. California poppy seeds, which will germinate after the first fall rains, are very easy to grow, as they only need to be sown no more than about a quarter-inch deep in the fall or early spring (in mild, wet winter climates).

Regarded as a highly effective stress reducer, bringing calmness and serenity to its users. The California poppy, which is also the state flower of the Golden State, is used for supporting those who have problems sleeping, such as problems sleeping, aches, nervous agitation, and temporary anxiety. It is also used to promote relaxation and is stress reducing. The main chemical components of the California poppy can cause sleepiness and aid with depression.

The major health properties of this herb are sedative, analgesic, and antispasmodic in action.

The main active ingredients in the California poppy are alkaloids such as chelirubine, sanguinarine, and macarpine. There are other alkaloids present, although they minor by comparison. This herb has a natural and gentle effect on the human body.  And don’t worry – while the California poppy herb contains some alkaloids that act as sedatives, it does not contain any opium and is only distantly related to the opium poppy. Further, California Chill Organic Herbal Tincture is made with a non-narcotic natural sedative that is non-addictive and not habit forming

When it’s made as a tincture, such as Ready Nutrition’s California Chill, the California poppy herb is also widely used for its antimicrobial properties when applied externally to cuts and scrapes and other inflammatory skin ailments.

Herbal tinctures are incredibly easy to use too! Simply take one or two dropper fulls every four to six hours, or take as needed. Drop desired amount into warm water, tea, or your favorite beverage.

The California poppy and Ready Nutrition’s California Chill are fairly safe to use. The plant itself is also considered child safe and based on normal intake levels there are no known side effects from using this herb in either powder form or a tincture. However, the use of the California poppy is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease or ailment. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the creation or use of herbal tinctures. A person should speak to their doctor before using a tincture or any other herbal supplement, especially if they take medications.

 

 

Study Suggests Doctors Prescribe ‘Food as Medicine’

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 05:36

A new study suggests that doctors return to more natural and holistic roots by prescribing healthy foods and an improved diet for some Americans.  Long stuck in a culture where unhealthy diets and chemical-laden foods have become normal, many doctors are now breaking the mold – but it’s good and bad at the same time.

Those doctors who choose to prescribe a healthy diet feel that simply improving the quality of the foods a person eats could save the healthcare industry billions of dollars. Although this is far from a new concept, it is nice to see Western medicine doctors try something new instead of jumping to prescribe the latest and greatest Big Pharma pill loaded with side effects.  These pill prescriptions also come at a time when a patient is already sick while prescribing a healthy diet could prevent major costs down the road.  In an effort to stop a preventable disease before it starts, some researchers and medical professionals are pushing for programs that would let doctors prescribe healthy foods and force insurers to cover those foods. This would inevitably lead to a change in eating habits that could help patients shift to a health-promoting diet from a disease-causing one, the researchers have claimed.

Related article: 19 Foods That Eat the Stress Away

According to Popular Science, these types of healthy eating programs work. Subsidizing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods under Medicare and Medicaid could prevent millions of cases, as well as the deaths associated from cardiovascular disease, according to a new model. It would prevent hundreds of thousands of diabetes cases, as well, and save billions of dollars in healthcare costs.

“The power of food as medicine is increasingly clear,” said the study’s author Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. The idea of treating food (which is the nourishment we all need to survive) as a key element of healthcare is catching on across the healthcare industry, says Rita Nguyen, Medical Director of Healthy Food Initiatives at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. “People are recognizing the common sense of it all,” she says. “We spend so much on healthcare, and our outcomes are abysmal. We don’t invest in prevention.” And many are now saying a switch to healthier eating habits is all that’s needed to improve your chances of well-being.

Of course, it isn’t nearly as fun to eat a kale salad as it is to chow down on a bacon cheeseburger, but those more health conscious people who make better decisions when it comes to what they eat tend to be healthier and spend less money on medical care overall. They also tend to live longer than their junk food addict friends. But there is one caveat.  The prescription is actually paid for by the taxpayer in the form of food subsidies.

The study team found that subsidizing fruits and vegetables would prevent 1.93 million cardiovascular events, like heart attacks, and 350,000 deaths from the conditions. It could also prevent 620,000 deaths, and 120,000 cases of diabetes. The fruits and vegetables program would save taxpayers nearly $40 billion in healthcare costs, and the addition of other healthy foods would save over $100 billion. Doctors admit that there would be a cost burden, but it would be offset by those on taxpayer-funded healthcare programs becoming much healthier.

“It costs money, but most of that is offset by lower healthcare costs,” Mozaffarian says. “When you look at the cost per year of life saved, all of the interventions were extremely cost-effective.” It’s just as cost-effective, he says, as paying for drugs to prevent high blood pressure. “So many of us want health insurance companies to recognize the value of food,” Nguyen says. “It’s not because we’re ‘bleeding heart liberals.’ It’s based on the science. When you give people food, and healthy food, it saves money.”

But without any kind of nutritional education, the program may be doomed.  Just paying for another person’s vegetables does not mean they will eat them. It could be a cost that won’t pay off in the end. According to Popular Science, however, there are studies underway about the efficacy of a program such as this one. A $6 million study in California is providing “medically tailored” meals to patients. Additionally, the 2018 Farm Bill included $25 million in funding for produce prescription pilot studies. “These ‘food as medicine’ approaches are gaining real traction,” Mozaffarian says. “If pilot studies are implemented and work, there’s a very real chance you could in the near future go to the doctor, a doctor could write a prescription for food, and an insurance company will pay for part.”

Access to healthcare isn’t the main concern for the researchers who conducted this study and it appears that many doctors now seem to be interested in finally treating the actual problem rather than controlling the symptoms of a disease. This is both good and bad.  It could lead to less choice, which is fundamentally vital to human beings mental state, but it could lower the costs of caring for those who are already using government welfare to buy food and see a doctor.

When your health is your problem and the costs of damaging your body are on you and not your neighbor (in the form of welfare like food stamps, Medicaid, and other forms of welfare) you will take care of yourself.  When it doesn’t matter how unhealthy you are because someone else will foot the bill, the system is already designed to fail.  It doesn’t look like that was taken into consideration when conducting this study, and human nature should have been accounted for. Obviously, there are good and bad things about the outcome of the study.

But does the good outweigh the bad?

 

 

Simple Ways To Beat Technology: Don’t Let Your Smartphone Steal Your Health!

Wed, 04/10/2019 - 06:56

We live in the golden age of technology, whether we want to or not.  And because of the need or desire to have a smartphone and keep it on your person at all times, there are things we can to that will boost our “technology health.”

In 2018, 95% of Americans said they owned a cellphone of some kind while a whopping 77% of Americans said they owned a smartphone.  That’s up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011. Smartphones are used for everything anymore.  They have become our maps and weather sources.  They are a reprieve from our daily lives and a way to stay connected in a world that is both increasingly interconnected and distant at the same time.

But because of this phenomena, our phones can also have an impact on our health and it is rarely for the better. Infectious germs, poor eyesight, eye strain, and muscle strains can all be some of the negative side effects of using a phone for a long period of time.  Often, a complete technology detox is what is needed. But when that won’t due, try these tips for help with common technology health problems

MUSCLE STRAIN

If you find yourself staring at your phone for long periods of time, try to take breaks every 20 or 30 minutes.  This will relieve the neck and shoulder muscles working hard to keep your head bent down. Consider rubbing your own muscles to relieve the tension and stretch out for a few minutes before returning to your phone. Muscle strain can lead to knots and spasms, as well as nerve pain that radiates down the back.  Take caution to keep your head up to provide minimal straining on the neck if you must look at your phone for a long time.  Some people are fine using their phone for hours on end, while others will definitely need to take breaks and soothe their sore muscles.

GERMS

Nasty germs lurk on the surface of smartphones. Most people don’t do anything to clean those infectious organisms off of their screen either! In fact, one study showed that smartphone screens harbor three times more germs than a toilet seat. Yikes! Researchers swabbed different phones to test for aerobic bacteria, yeast an, mold. The findings of the study showed that all areas of the smartphone” harbor at least some quantity of each type of organism.” E. coli was even found on some phones!

More than a third of people (35 %) have never cleaned their smartphones with wipes, a cleaning fluid or a similar product, according to the study done by Insurance2Go, a gadget insurance provider based in Portsmouth, England. Take the time to wipe off your smartphone now!  I know I did as soon as I had written this! With superbugs on the rise, it just makes sense.

EYESIGHT AND EYE STRAIN

Staring at any screen can strain the eyes and lead to poor vision. Scientists and doctors say that blue light is so dangerous because the lens and cornea of the eye cannot block it. Shorter wavelength blue light that is emitted by smartphones, lights, and computer, tablet, and TV screens causes damaging health effects. Exposure to this wavelength of light disrupts circadian rhythms and exposure to blue light after the sun goes down interferes with sleep.  Try wearing blue light glasses if you have to look at your phone (or if you work on a computer for long hours during the day).  I personally picked up some cheap blue light glasses on Amazon because staring at a computer screen for 9+ hours a day was heavily straining my eyes. These ones are inexpensive, yet offer protection from the dangers of the blue light.

Eyesight itself can be damaged too if you look at your smartphone long enough. This is also the fault of the blue light.  It is also one more good reason to protect your eyes with blue light glasses. According to the New York Post, researchers at the University of Toledo, in Ohio, have found that exposure to blue-light promotes the growth of “poisonous molecules” in your eyes, leading to macular degeneration. “It’s no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye’s retina,” professor and study co-author Ajith Karunarathne said about the study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

TEXTING WHILE DRIVING

I can’t even begin to describe how many times I’ve seen a person driving while typing away on their phone.  Some are in their own lane, while others are completely oblivious to the world around them as they travel at 55 mph down the highway. Texting while driving distracts you from what’s happening on the road and takes your eyes away from what you should be paying attention to. Texting while driving could actually hurt someone else too! It only takes a few seconds of inattention to lead to an accident. In 2015, nearly 3,500 people were killed and approximately 391,000 people were injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers.

Put the phone in your purse and put the purse under your seat or even under the back seat out of your reach. Turn off the sound before getting in your car, or simply shut it off if you are one of those who can be tempted to check your email while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Making the phone difficult to get to will help prevent you from being distracted by it, and if you can’t hear it, you will have less of a desire to reach for it.  If you like to listen to the music on your phone while you drive, make sure your playlist is set up before you put the car in gear, and then turn off all notifications.  Limiting your distractions is just one way to keep yourself focused on the task of arriving safely to your destination.  Your family and friends will thank you!

While it seems like not much can be done to limit the use of smartphones, things can be done to mitigate the negative health effects of their use. Let us know your techniques for not allowing your smartphone and other technology to steal your health!

 

Drink To Your Health: 5 Ways Herbal Tea Benefits and Improves Your Health

Tue, 04/09/2019 - 11:19

I was first introduced to herbal teas while visiting my soon-to-be mother-in-law for the first time. It was a blustery winter day and we were all sitting around a table when she kindly offered me a cup of hot herbal tea. It was perfect – warm, sweet, and my body immediately felt the effects. Since then, my family drinks custom-blended herbal teas to boost our immune system, treat an ailment, or to help to relax and fall asleep. No matter what the season, herbal teas are wonderous – and in this case, Momma does know best!

After years of enjoying immune-boosting teas, I found there were teas for other ailments such as for sleep disorders and joint health. This lead me to further research this subject and drinking herbal teas for health is as old as time and could easily be hailed as the first health drink.

Tea is As Old As Time

Herbal teas date back thousands of years to ancient Egypt and China, where they would drink teas for its health promoting abilities. Egyptians, especially, would mix their tea with medications – to help the medicine go down. In ancient China, tea was discovered by happenstance when some wild leaves flew into a pot of boiling water.

According to legend, in 2732 B.C. Emperor Shen Nung discovered tea when leaves from a wild tree blew into his pot of boiling water. He was immediately interested in the pleasant scent of the resulting brew and drank some. Legend says the Emperor described a warm feeling as he drank the intriguing brew as if the liquid was investigating every part of his body.

Now, Eastern wisdom has taught the world of the health-promoting benefits tea have to boost health, assist in body functions, prevent chronic diseases before they become problematic, and are especially proactive in combating ailments such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Other common health benefits from drinking herbal tea include relaxation, anti-aging properties, pain reduction, weight loss, improvement in complexion, and the improvement of body systems (such as the digestive and immune system). It’s no wonder so many are turning to herbal tea infusions as a natural health booster.

Here are the top health benefits and the herbal teas that you should consume to get them.

Drinking Tea Daily is Natural Health Booster
  1. Teas is the ultimate health drink and fights chronic diseases. If you’re looking for an all-around health drink, look no further than herbal tea. Due to the polyphenols present in tea, studies have shown a result in a lower likelihood of cancer. Studies point to the polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins that are present in herbal teas as the reasons for positive health benefits. Polyphenols work to widen the arteries, which can lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels and prevent blood clots.
  2. Herbal teas naturally clean and protect teeth. Infused herbal teas are a way to promote good dental health as it does not erode tooth enamel. Green tea. especially contains polyphenol antioxidant plant compounds that reduce plaque and help reduce cavities and gum disease. Tea may help reduce bad breath as well. “Japanese researchers have found that tea can decrease tooth loss,” Ardine said. “It changes the pH in your mouth when you drink it and that may be what prevents cavities.” Further, rinses can be made by preparing an herbal infused tea in the usual way, or by simply stirring herb powder into water. Hold the rinse in the mouth for a few seconds or up to several minutes, gargle, and spit out. A holistic mouth wash can be made of green tea, or the following herbs: cloves, cinnamon, peppermint, or echinacea. Brew a strong tea and place it in the refrigerator for up to a week and use as a mouthwash.
  3. Flavorfully hydrates the body. The warm water helps the body absorb the phytonutrients and healing abilities, as well as, providing hydration to the body. Because of the high presence of antioxidants in herbal teas, it works to eliminate free radicals throughout the body and prevent oxidative stress. his is especially good for those who are actively trying to detox their body. In a UK study by the Tea Advisory Board, hydration levels were compared in 21 individuals who drank four mugs of tea to those who drank the same amount of water and found remarkable results. The findings were that “drinking four to six mugs of tea a day is as good for keeping you hydrated as a liter of water.” In a separate article, one doctor notes, ” Drinking tea is actually better for you than drinking water. Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants so it’s got two things going for it.”
  4.  Tea is beneficial for your digestive system because it can absorb gas, improve blood flow to the entire digestive tract and eliminate free radicals that can cause an upset stomach and indigestion. Herbal teas have phenols that can strengthen both stomach muscles and the muscles in your esophagus, which can reduce acid reflux and heartburn symptoms. Teas also enable your digestive tract to more easily absorb nutrients. (reword)
  5. Relax and unwind. There’s a psychology to drinking to tea where people often feel it’s relaxing properties. As one article explains, the combination of warmth, aroma, and health properties boost mental and physical states of the body and there is science to back it up.

Tea has been around for generations and many of us are starting to see the ways it enhances our lives. If there is an improvement you want to make for your health, there is undoubtedly a tea to help. Drinking herbal teas will not only help to improve your health, but it can also be a healthier choice compared to sugar-ridden drinks like soda and coffee runs. Make the choice to commit to a healthier you and start with drinking one cup of herbal tea a day.

Great tasting teas with amazing health benefits

Try our Ready Nutrition Custom Tea Blends and drink to your health!  

 Tummy Tamer Tea

 Throat Soother Tea 

 Immune Booster Tea

Deepest Sleep and Relaxation Tea

 Joint Relief  Tea

 

 

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