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Flood Warnings In New York: Are You Prepared For A Flash Flood?

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 05:00

In a previous article, we wrote about homes in a U.S. that happen to fall in disaster zones. Now, it seems, with the recent flash floods on the East coast, many families are finding themselves in a flooded disaster zone.

Thunderstorms have extended the flash flood warnings on the East coast in recent days. Heavy floodwaters have engulfed parts of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, washing out roadways, submerging vehicles and forcing water rescues.  Would you be prepared for a flood? If not, don’t worry.  We have a few tricks that can help you map out a survival plan for a flood emergency.

Back East, sheds and cars were tossed across neighborhoods and entire homes were destroyed as record amounts of rain fell across the region. Entire campers have been seen floating away in the flood waters, according to a report by CBS News. In this case, evacuation quickly would be anyone’s best bet.  That means you’ll need a bug-out bag.  The good news is that if you are lacking on time and have no clue where you would even need to begin to prepare your own bug out bag, there are several that come highly rated at all price points on Amazon. Remember to take into account the size of your family when planning, however, or you may be more uncomfortable than necessary.

Something else to consider would be a bug out bag for each vehicle. This may not be in your budget just yet but think about saving up for it if you must. You should tailor each bag to the vehicle itself and take into account the size of your family just in case your vehicle is the only one that “survives.” Having a bug out bag in every vehicle is the choice that was made by myself and my family because our home is in a very rural location.  Although flooding is rare at our altitude, a wildfire could certainly whip through in a few minutes taking out everything, and if you leave your bug out bag at home, you’ll be out of luck in the event your home is completely destroyed. A quick survival bag in all of the cars of those who can drive can ensure at least some gear will make it to a predetermined rendezvous point especially if the flash flood happens when no one is at home.

In addition to your bag, packed with survival gear ready to go, should be a family plan. Flooding can happen very quickly and with little or no warning, so in the event that this should happen, all family members need to be aware of the plan and understand the importance of following it.

Just as with a fire, earthquake, or any other natural disaster, you need to have a plan for exiting your home safely, a location identified as a meeting place for your children and other family members, and a family member or friend designated as the central point of communication.  Children in the family should understand all of this, so it may be necessary to repeat it many times. Both the elderly and children tend to be less able to take the lead, which means they have a greater chance of falling behind and being exposed to the hazards caused by a flood.  Keep kids and older people out of the water and dry!

The rule of keeping children and the elderly out of water really applies to everyone and should be the cardinal rule of flood survival. Here are a few reasons to avoid flood waters.

Another pre-flood preparation you may consider is the creation of a laminated list (so it won’t get destroyed if it gets wet) of important phone numbers and keep it handy, just in case.  Consider tossing this list in each bug out bag if you decide to keep more than one on hand. Review any emergency plan with your family a few times a year to make it second nature during an emergency.

Of course, preventative measures can be taken, such as avoid building a home in a flood zone, or ensuring you elevate the home if you feel you must build it there.  Avoid buying a home in a floodplain too. Not only will insurance be expensive, but the chances of flooding means a higher probability of a good amount of your possessions being destroyed.

The chances of everyone making it through a flood unscathed are infinitely increased when a good emergency plan is implemented and followed properly, and with the right survival gear on hand.   Because each family’s situation is unique, you’ll need to come up with your own list of flood survival tips tailored to your family’s needs based on your location. Get a plan of action figured out sooner rather than later. Go over the details of the plan with all family members together frequently so everyone, including the older and younger people of the household, will be ready for any flooding situation.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 17th, 2018

Inferno: How To Get Ready for a Rapidly Spreading Wildfire

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 06:40

Six large new wildfires erupted in the United States, pushing the number of major active blazes nationwide to over 100, with more expected to break out sparked by lightning strikes on bone-dry terrain, authorities said on Saturday… and more are expected.” – Reuters

The fire season has been in full force for several weeks, now. Fire season is brought on by both seasonally (in some areas) and unseasonably dry weather with ignitable material. Currently, there are wildfires burning in several states in the West and Southwest. Some of the main states experiencing heavy wildfire activity are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Interactive maps can give you a view of areas now suffering from the advent and spread of wildfires. One of the problems besides the hundreds of thousands of acres burning and the losses of life, property, and forests with wildlife is the smoke. The drifting squalls of smoke are carried eastward by the prevailing Westerly winds and everyone “downwind” from the fire’s path is subjected to smoke inhalation.

Click here for a full map of active wildfires in the United States

Fires during fire season are not confined just to those high-risk Western states. Fires also break out from carelessness on the part of outdoor adventurers and enthusiasts who do not realize just how dry the ground and terrain is. So what if you are in one of the states listed previously, or what if a fire should break out in your locale?

7 Things Your Family Need to Do To Be Wildfire Ready

Let’s go over a few things that you can do to give you and your family a better chance.

  1. Evacuate when necessary: This means clear out while you have the chance.  Sound advice. Discretion is the better part of valor. Typically, firemen give a home 10 minutes to evacuate. If they are warning you to leave, then heed the warning and grab what you can, and leave, plain and simple. You can replace your house and anything you may own in it.
  2. Have a plan: Planning is key. Know where you’re going to go, the route to get there, and take into consideration days of travel and impediments in the form of blocked roads, shifting weather conditions, and crowds of people.
  3. Have all of your supplies ready to load up and to go: Your basics of bullets, beans, and band-aids…food, water, medical supplies, and the ability to defend all of it. Don’t waste time when the order comes down:  be ready to load up and go. Here is an evacuation checklist of suggested items.
  4. PACE: Acronym in the military for “Primary, Alternate, Emergency, Contingency.” Have your Primary plan in place. Have an Alternate plan (with an alternate route, etc.,) in place, should something come along to disrupt the Primary plan. Emergency – this covers specific actions to take if something arises. For example, if one of your family members with a medical condition takes ill, are you going to hunker down and treat them for short-term treatment, or continue to roll, converting the travel trailer to a “field hospital” on wheels?  Contingency – to include “what if’s” and things that may arise…scenarios you’ll have to “game,” and what you’ll do to work through them.
  5. Fire extinguishers and protective gear: Get a couple that are A-B-C rated, that will work on grease, oil, electrical fires, and wood fires. Pick up some fire suits to protect you if you have to be exposed to enable you to get through a blaze in your immediate area. Pick up burn cream and first-aid supplies such as silver sulfadiazine and some oxygen respirators. Many emergency first aid and fire supplies can be ordered online at amazon.com, to be delivered to your door.
  6. A good radio with National Weather info – This will be worth its weight in gold when the time arises. You should have one anyway, but especially in fire season, as it will be updated to let you know where the areas of high risk are located, as well as possible shelters if you are on the move and need them.
  7. Talk with your local firemen: No, really. These guys and gals will give you the “up and skinny” on what is going on for your area. They may even provide sagacious (that’s “sage” in the vernacular) advice that you may not find anywhere else…info they’re privy to outside of the channels of the regular public.

Information is your most valuable tool in this regard, however, keep this in mind: information itself is not the entire solution. Acting in a timely fashion and using the expertise of others at the right time is just as important as the information itself. Proper planning will increase your probability of success. The planning is in your hands. Use the Internet and your community resources to keep tabs on these wildfires so that you can take action in the event that they should threaten you and your community.  JJ out!

 

Additional Articles:

Creating a Family Preparedness Plan

Short-Term Emergency Checklist

Emergency Evacuation Checklist

5 Ways to Keep Your Vehicle Ready For Emergencies

Checklist for Preparing the Home Exterior For a Disaster

Top 10 Preparedness Tools

 

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 15th, 2018

When Clean Water Isn’t Available, Make it So – With a Sawyer

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 14:37

As you well know, many surface water sources must be treated before drinking because they are repositories for bacteria, viruses, and a slew of parasites both microscopic and/or larger.

I have written several articles for Ready Nutrition about water purification methods, as well as methods for water storage. What we’re doing here is “cutting to the chase” to let you know about a product that will do more than just do in a pinch: it will suffice for a long, long time and work quickly and almost effortlessly.

The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is a compact, portable, three-part “system” that you can stick into a cargo pocket of your pants or shorts with ease. It can be put together and placed over a drinking vessel such as a water bottle, or you can hook up the straw that comes with it and drink directly through the filter itself. It can also be hooked up to a Camelbak water pouch. It comes with a pouch of its own that you can fill up with water and then squeeze through the filter into a bottle or other drinking vessel.

The Sawyer was invented a few years back through experimentation with kidney dialysis equipment, and they came up with a filter that uses a 0.1-micron filter that circulates the water to be filtered through fibrous micro-tubes, for a central collection of filtered water.  It works on protozoans such as giardia, bacteria such as E.coli, cholera, and salmonella, and also on more “difficult” organisms such as Cryptosporidium. Want the “kicker” for this thing?

It filters up to 100,000 gallons

If you drank 2 gallons a day, in 100 years, you would drink about 74,000 gallons. Pretty good, huh? The whole thing weighs less than 2 ounces. Now, JJ’s tips here are simple when you use this thing.

  1. If you can, try and “soft filter” the major particulate matter out of the water you’ll use the filter on, such as dirt, sediment, detritus from trees (bark, sticks, seeds, etc.) to help facilitate the filtration process, with a cloth or towel or even a paper towel if you don’t have anything else.
  2. As I’ve said in the past if you have the time to do it? Boil everything. If you’re in a hurry, it’s understandable, and this is the reason for the filter, but there is no substitute for boiling it for ten minutes or longer if you can do it.
  3. If you see a “sheen” or a multicolored “film” on the surface of the water, steer clear of this source: this is probably a chemically-contaminated body of water, and the filter is for natural contaminants, such as bacteria and other nasties found in urine and feces that find their way into the stream. It is not for chemically contaminated water such as the Love Canal or the radioactive outflow from Three Mile Island.

Also, remember to clean and sanitize your hands with filtering water. Many become so focused on filtering the dirty water that they forget they’re getting it on their hands!  A good pair of latex or neoprene gloves is one way to help in this matter, as well as before you “mate” that filter to that water supply, be sure and scrub those hands down before and after you start to drink. If you pick up the germs on your hands, filter the water and drink? The water you’re drinking may be cleaned up, but your hands touch your mouth and the whole filtration is for naught.

The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System will run you about $20.00, and you can order it online from www.amazon.com. The first time you use it the filter will pay for itself, especially if you’re on foot in the middle of nowhere. You can stock up on these guys for a disaster and they will last indefinitely on your shelves. It is simple to use, user-friendly, inexpensive, and it has an instruction booklet that covers all the variables. Try it out and you’ll find it is an extremely good buy that delivers more for your dollar.  JJ out!

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 13th, 2018

How To Overcome Betrayal in a Prepper Group

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 04:23

Editor’s Note: Choosing your prepper group in one that takes careful thought and consideration. On one hand, you know there is power in numbers, but it is paramount that you choose wisely for in a SHTF event, you are stuck with them – for better or for worse.

One of the possible obstacles we may face in a prepper group is a betrayal. While this is not a welcomed situation to arise, it can happen – and trust between members can be irrevocably damaged. This is part of being mentally prepared to press on and this article will give you essential tips on how to get through a deeply felt betrayal.


Understand that you do not have to forgive unconditionally: you have to forgive if the person is repentant about the offense they’ve committed against you. That does not mean you have to have a tearful, slobbering embrace and welcome them back with open arms. We live in an era that when politicians and religious figureheads blubber on TV and claim to be sorry, that is taken to be “genuine.” What about those who are supposed to be “sharing your foxhole” with you? Most of the time it’s lip service. If they are involved with you past your normal vetting procedure? Chances are they know you and your family, as well as what supplies you have, etc.

So, what if you do have a “trusted ally” who all of a sudden goes “South” on you and betrays you in one way or another? You may have even depended on them for some type of contribution or support to your survival group/unit, in the form of money, material, or action (when the time arises). Let’s cover some guidelines when those who were supposed to be covering your back are stabbing you in it, and you need to cover your backside.

When it’s over, it’s over

If you wish to forgive them, that’s on you. It’s even more on you if you take them back in and they hurt you or others in your family or preparedness group even worse. Best thing to do is cut them loose. Give them back whatever they gave you, and send them packing. Don’t waste further time or energy with them.

No matter what form the betrayal comes in, it’s a betrayal

Plain and simple. If they screw you over on the small things, you can’t trust them on the larger things. Whether it is money, property, or a spouse or partner they are after is irrelevant. What do you think they’ll do after it hits the fan when there are no laws that can prevent them from going after what they want?

BDA (that’s Battle Damage Assessment)

You must assess how much damage has been done to you. What potential exists for more damage to be done to you by this person in the future? What do they know that they might be able to use against you, either with others of their ilk or something trumped up with the authorities? Do they know your layout of supplies and emergency procedures? Are they aware of your actions in a collapse or disaster, and the actions of those of your family? Do they know where you and/or family members work, bank, shop, frequent? Do they know your medical needs and your family’s weaknesses and strengths? You must reassess these and many other factors in order to figure out what damage is done by severing ties and what damage could be done in the future in Fisher-Price Land, or after the S hits the fan in a “Road Warrior” scenario.

“Nickel D to the Musk Oxen”

You must change the entire playbook and tighten up the screws on all of your procedures. Anything the Benedict Arnold and his brood may have been privy to, you must now change or eradicate completely. New passwords must be agreed upon; new radio freq.’s and call signs, new rally points, new near and far cache points. All of your supplies have to be moved or removed and hidden where they’re now in “parts unknown” to Benedict and his tribe.

“The seed never falls far from the tree”

Take this one to the bank. If the betrayer is cast out, then get rid of his family from your group along with them. They may play along with you for a while and denounce Benedict their dad or cousin. No matter. Blood is thicker than water. You keep them in with you? They’ll open the gates for Benedict and his group, and you will then be cast out [Note: if you haven’t done so, see the movie Time of the Wolf]

“What if they’re family, the betrayer?”

Not anymore: cut them loose and kick them out of the group. Immediate core family presents a special problem. What if mom betrays the group or dad? What about the kids? You have to live with them, but that doesn’t mean you have to include them in your plans for after it happens. Kids are different in that you are obligated to take care of them until they’re 18, and then they’re not a kid anymore (legally). The house that is divided does not stand, and your greatest foes can be those of your own family. But they’re human: if they betray once, they’ll do it again, as simple as that. Don’t allow “heartstrings” to turn into a garrote to throttle you.

“What if the betrayer is a “boss” or employer?”

Then find a new job as soon as possible. An employer that is part of a survival group who betrays you? He’ll try to play the part of the tyrannical warlord when it falls through. You give him your own pink slip and be done with him. Best option: don’t ever invite a boss into your midst and alleviate a battle for control that will arise.

Before it all comes to this, don’t let it come to this. Practice OPSEC with even the most “reliable” ally, remembering that all men have the capacity to betray and usually do. Don’t give up all of your sensitive information on your procedures and supplies. Form groups that may train together, but do not reveal what you have in your storehouse before a need arises, and even then, carefully consider what you’re doing.

Let an alliance be a loose confederation of like-minded people, yet avoid entangling alliances (George Washington). Train together on different survival tasks and agree on functions to help one another out, but be vigilant. The most trusted people in your lives can turn on you without batting an eye when the need arises if it is in their interests. If it happens before it hits the fan? You can bank on the fact that they will do much worse after it hits…if you allow it. Don’t allow it, and don’t be a victim or allow others in your family or group to be victims because of a poor decision.  JJ out!

 

Additional Reading:

Creating a Prepper Group: How To Assess Family Members During a Crisis

Know Your Enemy: 9 Prepper Truths You Need for Defense Preparations

If You Don’t Know the Answers to These Questions, You Need to Work on Your Prepper Mindset

The Warrior Mentality: Controlled and Purposed Action in a Post Collapse Combat Situation

 

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 10th, 2018

5 Tips You Need to Know When Bugging Out in a Trailer

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 07:06

There are many completely everyday occasions during the summer months when a trailer is a nicety: that happy family vacation to a remote wilderness area, or the family trip to the beach. Visiting the relatives in another state without imposition. The list runs on and on. What about for a disaster as a backup residence? What about a complete collapse? A travel trailer can be much more than just a recreational vehicle.

We saw the practicality for campers in The Walking Dead. Granted, they are bulkier and slower but provide essential shelter during a full-on disaster event. Keep in mind, this is not a piece designed to address the human factors of displaced marauders or the “need” for allies and alliances. You’re going to have to assess what is in your area and where you estimate the human “flow” will occur relative to where you’ll be, as well as whatever territorial tribal “fiefdom” or enclave you’ll have to pass through, or around. The article addresses the basics.

A Hefty Price Tag

Firstly, this will run you some money. Then again, you’ll have to weigh whether or not you and (if applicable) your family that you’ll take with you are worth it to you in financial terms. If the answer is “yes,” then you’ll just have to figure out whether you’re going to pay for it or find a deal, but the basics are the same, bottom line.

If you’re “flying solo,” the needs and logistics are less, but they exist and are still the same.  Volumes of things needed such as food, water, medicine, etc., are less, but you need to take account of them. One good pick in this regard is one of the older model Bell Travel Trailers. I still have one for when I want to hunt a long distance from home. These are equipped with niceties such as a bed, refrigerator, stove, sink, bathroom, and some storage room, with a folding table.

5 Tips to Follow for Bugging Out in a Trailer

You can tow these with a pickup truck and not a “fifth wheel,” especially when they’re measuring about 25 to 30-feet in length. The tow hitch is usually fitted for a couple of propane tanks to use for heat, for the refrigerator, and for the kitchen stove. The trick for all of this is to maximize your storage within the space allotted. Before you start, there are some things you need to check out first.

  1. The integrity of the camper body: you need to be really thorough on this one. Ceilings tend to leak, and seams become cracked or they widen. A good way to test is to take a garden hose and run a steady flow of water over the rooftop.  You’ll find a leak in this manner. Look for places that have been repaired and then “stealthily” caulked and painted over. Leaky areas include edges where rooftop and walls meet, skylight/rooftop hatches, windows, and vent pipe openings.
  2. Check your fittings for the propane tanks and their hookups: the nozzles should be able to seal to the bottle and the tubes should not be bent, kinked, or missing. There should be a normal flow between the bottle and the stove or the refrigerator. There should be a heating system that works. Pilot lights should be in order.
  3. Mileage and tires: Most of these types of smaller trailers have two wheels and a post-stand that retracts for a third point. Check the tires for their condition and also see how it moves when it’s hitched up. The axle and bearings should be in good order and the wheels turn smoothly and straight. Many trailers are sold because they’ve been banged up and their axles and bearings are either bent or not working.
  4. Cleanliness: if it’s a used trailer and appears to be a pigpen? Then it hasn’t been maintained properly and you can depend on it to be undependable. This isn’t about complete trailer restoration. You can fix some things but don’t allow P.T. Barnum to “sucker” you with a low price on a lemon. This includes the bathroom, and if it has a septic/bathroom tank that hasn’t been cleaned out prior to sale?  Don’t even deal with them any further.
  5. Inspection record: if the trailer has a maintenance log, you should request to see it, and with a sale of good standing, the owner should have no problem with that or with explaining anything the maintenance records cover. Check out the engine and if you can swing it, bring a mechanic with you whom you trust to give you the yes or no nod.

There are many advantages to having a trailer to bug out in if a SHTF scenario occurs or a disaster strikes. During Hurricane Katrina (that I made it through personally: see my articles on it: Part 1 and Part 2), there were tens of thousands of people stranded on the highways. All hotels and motels were filled, the gasoline was gone, and the grocery stores and convenience stores for a radius of a hundred miles were emptied.

A trailer is “hard” shelter from the elements that can give you a base of operations to range out from…that you can return to and rest in, feed yourself, clean yourself up, and sleep in. In “Part II” we’ll go over how you can use it as a residence and how you can make it more permanent and usable in a survival situation.

We have covered a basic checklist of things to look for that I’m sure will be added to. Shop around, and do not sacrifice quality for a lower price. In the long run, the investment will pay off. If the “dings” and glitches are minor, estimate how much it will run or how much effort to fix it and shop accordingly. More to follow in Part II, and until then stay in that good fight.  JJ out!

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 9th, 2018

Why It Is Imperative to Maintain Fishing Gear for Long-Term Survival

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 08:10

Ready Nutrition Guys and Gals, we’re still knee-deep in the middle of fishing season (or hip-deep if you’re wearing waders), and it’s time to cover a topic that isn’t usually high on the radar. Why? Because fishing gear is something you may pick up a few times in the season if you’re not a regular to it. We wrote one recently on how to smoke fish, and several articles on the importance of fish and seafood to obtain Omega-3 fatty acids. But fishing gear? How is this survival-related? Simple: when the grocery store shuts down indefinitely or the trucks stop delivering supplies to your area after a hurricane, disaster, or a SHTF-event, you’re still going to need food.

70% of the population of the U.S. lives within 50 miles of a coastline

If your point of origin places you in a coastal city, your access to seafood is considerably higher than most. Freshwaters are also abundant with fish such as bass, trout, bluegill, and such. In a disaster or a collapse, you’ll need to feed the family. Fishing gear that is both clean and maintained in working order will not then be leisure toys: your gear will be survival tools.

Fortunately, if you don’t have experience with fixing those rusted reels, untangling that endless mess from last year’s boating trip, or fixing the tips of those rods, there’s help available. There are a couple of DVDs entitled “Fishing Reel Maintenance 1 and 2,” put out by Tommy and Connie Kilpatrick, the owners of a fishing tackle repair shop in Texas. You can order these dvds and other videos they release through www.lakeforktacklerepair.com to get you started.

Kits for maintaining reels and rods for a low price can be found at Amazon and the internet that you can keep at home for a longer repair job, with a smaller “first aid kit” for the fishing gear to take with you in the woods for repairs on the spot. Nets are another matter, yet equally important, especially in a grid-down, survival situation where you need to fish and hunt to survive. A torn net can be a big problem. A suggestion here is to make sure you have excess material that is the same composition as your netting.

Another suggestion is a book on knot tying to enable you to throw in extra loops and repair those torn nets. Survival fishing is different than sports fishing. Survival fishing means you need to succeed to obtain meat for your family, not for a big check and a trophy. Multiple cut poles with lines and hooks guarded only by a bobber in a pond are OK, but you need the rods and reels to get farther out where the bigger fish are. In a SHTF scenario, it may not “behoove” you to go out on a boat and expose yourself (silhouette) out in the open.

Let’s not forget about winter. The disaster doesn’t always leave you with idyllic, sunny weather: it may be in the dead of winter in a raging snowstorm. You want to have ice augurs for frozen lakes or creeks, as well as ice tents to block the wind and enable your fishing. A completely different subject of ice fishing, but the rules of good maintenance still apply. Your reels should be well oiled, rust-free, and fully functional. Saltwater poses a little more of a problem, as your gear can be corroded by the salt water.

After any excursion, you need to clean off your reel and gear and oil them, especially the moving parts. Preventative maintenance is the name of the game. You want to pick your gear up when you need it in the same condition as when you set it down. Maintain that fishing gear, and you’ll find a smooth transition from using it during your leisure and vacation time for fun to placing meat on your table in a survival situation.  JJ out!

 

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 8th, 2018

Everything You Want (and Need) To Know About Long-Term Canned Food Storage. (Plus 10 Signs To Look For When It’s Spoiled)

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 06:07


You’ve likely got a nice supply of canned goods in your pantry and food storage inventory, but how long do those products truly last?

Will they still be safe to eat when a disaster arises and you need to start popping those cans open and consuming their contents?

“Best by”, “sell by”, “use by”, “best before”, and expiration dates are all terms used on food packaging, and they are often a source of confusion.

Here’s what those commonly used terms actually mean, according to the USDA:

  • “Best if Used By/Before” indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
  • “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date.
  • “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula as described below.

Regarding infant formula, the USDA elaborates:

Federal regulations require a “Use-By” date on the product label of infant formula under inspection of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Consumption by this date ensures the formula contains not less than the quantity of each nutrient as described on the label. Formula must maintain an acceptable quality to pass through an ordinary bottle nipple.

The “Use-By” date is selected by the manufacturer, packer or distributor of the product on the basis of product analysis throughout its shelf life, tests, or other information. It is also based on the conditions of handling, storage, preparation, and use printed on the label. Do not buy or use baby formula after its “Use- By” date.

In other words, the only items required by federal law to be labeled for expiration are infant formula and some baby foods. All of the other labels you see on foods have been placed there voluntarily by manufacturers.

Unless a use-by or best-by label is followed by the words “for safety,” these dates refer to the quality of your product. There’s no need to panic if you’re a few days past the use-by date.

The USDA explains further,

Dating is for quality, not safety. However, if a calendar date is used, it must express both the month and day of the month (and the year, in the case of shelf-stable and frozen products). If a calendar date is shown, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date, such as “sell by” or “use before.

According to WebMD, “The actual term “Expiration Date” refers to the last date a food should be eaten or used. Last means last — proceed at your own risk.” Expiration dates are rarely found on canned food.

Companies use these labels to protect the reputation of their products, which makes sense – they want consumers to see and consume their food when it is as fresh as possible.

There is no standardized rule that determines which types of products get best-by, use-by, and sell-by stamps. Food manufacturers conduct their own shelf-life studies and indicate the quality timeline of their products based on that data.

Even though there is no uniform or universally accepted system used for food dating in the United States, the dating of some foods is required by more than 20 states. Some states also mandate pulling dairy from store shelves on the expiration date.

Unfortunately, dates on labels often mislead consumers into thinking food magically becomes dangerous to consume on those dates – resulting in a lot of perfectly good food being tossed into the trash.

Understanding that the dates applied to food are for quality and not for safety can help you avoid wasting food – and your money. Keep in mind that regardless of the date, you should always evaluate the quality of a food product prior to eating it.

If you’ve opened the product already, the dates no longer mean much. Once you open a can or package, things become a little less precise because the food is at risk of being contaminated by you or the environment. This is something the date on the packaging can’t account for. Some product labels provide timelines for consumption after opening – look for phrasing like “After opening, use within 7 days.”

Smell and taste can be good indicators of contamination, but are not foolproof: organisms that cause food poisoning are invisible and don’t always cause odors and other obvious signs of trouble.

Here are some additional things to know about canned food.

What do those cryptic codes on canned goods mean?

Each canned food manufacturer has a unique coding system, as the Canned Food Alliance explains:

Some manufacturers list day, month and year of production, while other companies reference only the year. These codes are usually imprinted on the top or bottom of the can. Other numbers may appear and reference the specific plant manufacturing or product information and are not useful to the consumers. If you have specific questions about a company’s product, most manufacturers offer a toll-free number to call for questions about canned food expiration dates.

These codes are primarily for tracking purposes. All food companies in the US are required to follow a strict Food Safety Plan which includes continuous monitoring of food safety functions:

The codes you see on the top/bottom of a food can dictate many tracing items which potentially include Plant Location, Production Line within that Plant, Lot Codes Related to the Food Producers Food Safety Scheme, Supplier of Food Ingredients, Country of Origin of Food Ingredients, Production Date, and Possibly the Can Manufacturer.

How long do canned foods last?

The answer to this question depends on where the food was canned.

Was the food canned at home (your home, or someone else’s)? Or, was it canned at a commercial factory?

Commercially canned food can last several years past the expired dates printed on the cans. According to the Canned Food Alliance, “The general rule of thumb is that canned food has a shelf life of at least two years from the date of purchase.” Writing your purchase date on canned good labels is one way you can track this yourself.

While it can retain its safety and nutritional value well beyond two years, canned food may have some variation in quality, such as a change of color and texture, beyond that time frame. “In fact, canned food has an almost indefinite shelf life at moderate temperatures (75° Fahrenheit and below),” according to the Canned Food Alliance.

Home canned foods are another story. We usually advise readers to use home canned goods within 12 months of the canning date, but the storage life can be prolonged by many years if they remain sealed and stored properly.

Dangers of Improperly Canned Foods

A danger all canned foods pose is from the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which causes botulism. You cannot see, smell, or taste botulinum toxin – but taking even a small bite of food containing this toxin can be deadly. Most cases in the United States come from home-canned vegetables, reports the CDC:

From 1996 to 2014, there were 210 outbreaks of foodborne botulism reported to CDC. Of the 145 outbreaks that were caused by home-prepared foods, 43 outbreaks, or 30%, were from home-canned vegetables. These outbreaks often occurred because home canners did not follow canning instructions, did not use pressure canners, ignored signs of food spoilage, or didn’t know they could get botulism from improperly preserving vegetables.

The CDC recommends boiling all home-canned foods for 10 minutes before consumption to reduce the risk of infection.

Outbreaks are rare, but the botulinum toxin is generally considered to be the most poisonous substance in the world, and one gram could kill as many as 10 million people. A few years ago, we shared the tragic story of Mike O’Connell, a man who took shortcuts when canning some elk meat and became infected with botulism. Despite proper diagnosis and administration of an anti-toxin, O’Connell became paralyzed. He had extensive rehab and was eventually able to walk again with the aid of a cane.

What is the best way to store canned food?

Proper storage of home-canned foods can help you reduce the risk of serious illness. Store home-canned foods for recommended times only. After preparing safely, label and date the jars and store them in a clean, cool, dark place. For best quality, store between 50°F and 70°F. Can no more food than you will use within one year unless directions for a specific food give other advice. The National Center for Home Food Storage Preservation provides more detailed guidance here: Storing Home Canned Foods.

Store commercially canned food at 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in a dry, dark place. Humidity can speed up deterioration. The FDA notes that taste, aroma, and appearance of food can change rapidly if the air conditioning fails in a home or warehouse.

Canned food as old as 100 years has been found in sunken ships and was found to be still microbiologically safe! Now – we certainly don’t recommend keeping canned goods for 100 years, but this is a powerful example of how well canning can preserve food.

The best way to avoid canned food spoilage is to rotate your food stores. Do an inventory check every 6 months to make sure that canned goods, preserves, and other storage items are within their expiration dates. When organizing food reserves, place the item that has the earliest expiration date in the front so that it is used first. FIFO is a well-known acronym used in the restaurant business. It means, “First In, First Out.” This is a great acronym to use when organizing food storage and is the best way to have the freshest foods available in the event that a long-term disaster occurs.

How to tell if your canned food is safe for consumption

If you are concerned your canned goods have expired, the best way to test them is to use your senses.

How does it look? How does it smell? Do you hear anything when you open the cans?

Before you open a store-bought or home-canned food, inspect the can for contamination.

Suspect contamination if the can is leaking, has bulges, is swollen, or looks damaged or cracked. If you think the food might be contaminated, do not open the can – toss it in the garbage.

Even cans that look fine on the outside might have contaminated food inside. Suspect contamination if the can spurts liquid or foam when you open it, and if the food inside is discolored, moldy, or smells bad.

Obviously, cans bulging with bacteria growth should be discarded, no matter when it was canned at home or what the manufacturer’s expiration date says.

Here are 10 signs your canned food has gone bad:

  1. Bulging
  2. Streaking
  3. Hissing
  4. Bubbling
  5. Leaking
  6. Rusted
  7. Discolored
  8. Dented/Damaged
  9. Smells
  10. Looks Moldy

Remember: When in doubt, toss it out!

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 6th, 2018

5 Things You Never Thought You Needed In Your Prepper Gear

Sat, 08/04/2018 - 05:22

Preparing for the worst is often looked down upon by those who don’t think there’s any reason to prepare for even a natural disaster by storing a bit of extra food.  But when you live in an area where even major blizzards are possible in winter, thoughts often go to the most obscure items and their potential use.  Here, we will list five things you may or may not have thought to add to prepping supply or gear and some possible uses.

While food, water, and ammunition seem like the obvious items to hoard and store safely for a SHTF scenario, these five items could also help, even though it may not have been considered before now.  But once you see the things we’ve come up with, we are confident you could think of even more ways to use these valuable items!

1.A PENCIL SHARPENER

A pencil sharpener is small and light, but that’s only one reason to toss it in your bug out bag or put it in your bunker or food storage room.  You could even save a few pencils if you so desire.  But a pencil sharpener could be an invaluable tool to help you make kindling.  You would simply use the pencil sharpener to sharpen a pencil (or a twig) and get kindling to help you start a fire. Most preppers carry a lighter but stop short at thinking they could need kindling to help get a fire going. Obviously, you can shave down wood into tinder using a great knife (if you have one handy) or you might be able to find some small twigs, but nothing you can carry can make kindling quite as easily and more safely as a pencil sharpener.

2. DENTAL FLOSS

Did you know that dental floss could also be used as kindling? You can wrap some waxed dental floss around a dry stick bark and then light it like a candle. While the floss itself is a tinder, use waxed floss or dental tape to fasten bundles of kindling too. But its got so many other uses as well making it an item that it should be tossed into any preppers bug out bag.  Dental floss is pretty strong and could be used as a hair tie or fishing line if needed. Not only could floss help you seal up bags of unused food, but it could also be invaluable to your camping gear. Dental floss or tape will work nicely for your camping gear since it’s sturdy enough to hold canvas and tarps in place, yet slender enough for getting through the eye of the needle. In a survivalist situation, tie down a tarp with braided floss secured to trees for a do-it-yourself tent. If there’s no tarp, then floss could help bundle wood frames and materials together to forge a shelter.

3. CHEESECLOTH

Cheesecloth is not just used for making cheese. This is another obscure item that isn’t normally on the radar of preppers.  But because it has many uses, it could come in handy in a survivalist situation. The cheesecloth will not disintegrate when wet and after being used a strainer for foods to keep out fats, bones, or other solids.  Other uses include making a dust mask to help mitigate a biohazard. Wrap a few layers of cheesecloth around your nose and mouth and it will help keep some dust or ash from getting into your nasal passages and lungs.  Something you may have thought of is using cheesecloth as a gauze for first aid. Cheesecloth might also be useful as a makeshift fishing net if you’re having trouble catching fish to ear.  Another interesting use would be making a spice bag or tea bag out of cheesecloth and your dental floss.  Flavoring food and having a cup of tea out of herbs you’ve saved could be a little easier if you’ve got a way to same the herbs and spices.

4. CRAYONS

Crayons can be melted down into candles (use your dental floss as a wick) and then used for lighting or heat. But if you have small children, crayons and a coloring book could save your sanity while trying to set up a camp, start a fire, or cook some food. You could save the small broken pieces of crayons and make candles beforehand too so you have some already made and ready to burn in case of a SHTF situation!

5. BAKING SODA

Baking soda, often known as sodium bicarbonate has some use in apocalyptic scenarios.  Not only can it be used as a cleaner for the household but can be used for many hygienic purposes too. For instance, body odor will be a real issue if showering and bathing become infrequent, and baking soda is great at killing the stench. But it isn’t just about the stench.  Moisture in your shoes could cause a much more dangerous condition, and baking soda soaks that excess moisture right up! Sprinkle some in your boots or shoes to cut down on odors.  You can also brush your teeth with it! Baking soda could also extinguish an accidental fire from one of your crayon candles or kill body odor on clothing making it easier to hunt animals.  Most animals pick up on the scent of human body odor and will scatter unless you’ve done something to cut down on that smell.  On the plus side, baking soda is fairly inexpensive making it an easy item to stock up on because it won’t break the bank.

These items are often overlooked, but in a situation that may mean life or death, these five obscure items could come in handy and might even make your apocalyptic situation seem a little more optimistic. So sit back, have some tea in a cheesecloth bag and ponder what other interesting or multi-use items you could save or toss into a bag for easy use during a disaster scenario.  It is never too late to prepare or at least think about preparing for the worst.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 4th, 2018

Just How Unhealthy And Unsafe Are Disaster Shelters?

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 04:17

There has been much evidence to support preparing for an emergency and disaster scenario on your own without putting your hopes in crowded shelters or government-operated camps.  Even though FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has come out and said they are not efficient nor are they even effective at helping people, most just don’t seem to care, and won’t until it is too late. And a shelter may not have conditions that are any better.

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

“The primary concern is communicable diseases,” Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services, told Newsweek. “When people get in that close proximity that’s sort of the right conditions for illness.” Health care providers, coordinators, and volunteers involved in operating shelters are constantly on the lookout for any sudden signs of illness in those packed in like sardines. Van Deusen says shelter residents are at risk for developing many respiratory illnesses such as influenza or common colds. Epidemiologists, sanitarians and health department workers constantly monitor the situation to ensure these problems remain in their control – meaning even life in a shelter is merely a little better than that of a FEMA camp.

But a violent bacterial infection from contaminated floodwaters spreading around to hundreds packed into a disaster shelter is far from the only concern.  Children, and often young girls whose families have no other option than staying at a shelter often put the safety of their child at risk unknowingly.  The risk of suffering from a sexual assault in a disaster shelter isn’t small.  Officials are aware that incidences of rape and assault become more common in the wake of hurricanes such as Irma and Harvey because it becomes easier for predators to find victims. When state-wide evacuations for Hurricane Irma began, Florida’s Polk County sheriff tried to mitigate those fears, by announcing that sex offenders would be banned from all shelters. “We cannot and we will not have innocent children in a shelter with sexual offenders & predators. Period,” he tweeted. But based on how well the government runs their own shelters (FEMA camps) can anyone really trust that they will be able to keep out a sex offender? And if they do, that doesn’t mean there isn’t another creep lurking around the shelter who just hasn’t been caught yet.

This is all the more reason to prepare yourself and to have the necessary provisions for your family in the event of a horrifying natural disaster.  Everyone in the family should learn basic self-defense and be able to understand how to best avoid a dangerous situation that could lead to an assault or rape as many are putting their children in harm’s way unintentionally for a bottle of water and a dirty cot. All of these health and safety concerns can be averted if more of us can become better prepared ourselves and no longer feel the need to put our lives in the hands of others -whether it be a shelter or a FEMA camp.

For years, we have stressed the importance of having a preparedness plan including a financial plan for when disasters erupt. In the book, The Prepper’s Blueprint, we walk the reader through a prepping regimen with a guide and easy to follow instructions and give beginning preppers a foundation to build on so that one doesn’t have to rely on government handouts.  And isn’t just preppers who look to themselves for their own lives. Even the FEMA Director wants Americans to start understanding the need to take on a prepper’s mindset.

FEMA’s director, Brock Long, has even repeatedly warned that Americans do not have a “culture of preparedness,” and that’s why so many need the shelters to begin with. To avoid putting children in an environment that is something that is much-needed with the startling uptick in natural disasters. Long has only been the director of FEMA since June 20, 2017, and already has had to deal with a historic number of disasters.  “I really think that we have a long way to go to create a true culture of preparedness within our citizenry in America,” Long said in an interview. “No American, no citizen, no visitor to this country is immune to disaster. And we have a long way to go to get people to understand the hazards based on where they dwell, where they work, and how to be prepared financially, how to be prepared through insurance, how to have continuity of operations plans for their businesses, so that we can avoid the suffering, the strife, and the loss of life. It’s truly disappointing that people won’t heed the warnings.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria which devastated the island of Puerto Rico, FEMA has admitted to making deadly mistakes when attempting to help those in need. A FEMA After Action report found that the agency was “severely understaffed” and relied on “underqualified” staffers and that the leadership lacked much of the key information needed on the island’s infrastructure; both before and after the storm. The report advises that communities and families in remote areas must prepare independently of the agency for future weather disasters because FEMA is unreliable and inadequate at dealing with much of anything, let alone a disaster situation. And let’s not forget that the United States government is in a massive amount of debt, so FEMA, like all government programs and agencies, will eventually run out of money.

Health and safety concerns can be mitigated by taking the advice of the not-quite-as-crazy-as-you-thought preppers. Afterall, FEMA themselves are telling you not to rely on them and admitting to making mistakes that could have cost people their lives. One of the best action plans for a natural disaster is to have a backup shelter or a place your family can go on their own away from the infections and diseases of shelters.  You will also be more likely to keep your family safe from sexual predators if you’ve got a means to protect yourself away from the crowds of hungry and angry people fighting over the last can of corn.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 3rd, 2018

Light It Up: The Ultimate Survival Flashlight: the Fenix TK-25

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 08:34

Ready Nutrition Guys and Gals, we’re going to discuss a flashlight that you’ll want to pick up. The Fenix TK-25 has some features that you will be able to use to your advantage whether out hunting and camping or in the midst of some disaster such as a hurricane or snowstorm. It can also be used for your defense: not as a club, but because of it’s powerful light output.

Features

The TK-25 has Cree Technology white and red LEDs that have an estimated life of 50,000 hours. I’ve had mine for about three months, so you’ll have to give me some time to weigh in completely on that! Defensively, this light can be used to partially blind and disorient an attacker: it puts out 1,000 Lumens. Yeah! That’s a lot! If you had that on full-force, you could still run it for about 2 hours. The red light is good on full power for about 2 ½ hours.

The power source is your choice of either (2) CR-123 A Lithium batteries, or a rechargeable 18650 Li-ion (Lithium Ion) battery. I opted for the latter, as it can be charged up in a battery charger and used again. The length of this flashlight is about 5 ½” long, and it has a clip on it that can be used on the brim of a hat, although the weight makes it a little cumbersome for a head-supported spotlight. I’ve found that you can wrap a headband around it for further support if need be.

It has a “strobe” feature for both the white and red lights, although the strobe is not continuous…it pulses about three or four times, and then you have to press the button again. The power level is adjustable, so you can take it down to just 15 Lumens for the white and 10 Lumens for the red at its lowest settings. Distance-wise, the beams are effective out to about 600 feet on either setting.

The flashlight comes with a limited lifetime warranty and five years of repair, free of charge. You can’t do much better than that. Batteries are sold separately, and the one I use (the Li-ion 18650) runs about $5.00 a set. Since it’s rechargeable, it’s cost-effective, and I have spares just in case. It comes with a carrying sheath that you can use on your belt, although my personal preference is to keep it in a shirt pocket with a flap that buttons. If you put it on a belt, be sure and “dummy cord” it with a length of 550-cord that’s been gutted and burned off on both ends, tied off to a belt-loop or such.

The Fenix TK-25 doesn’t carry a “bargain-basement” price, but it’s affordable: it will pay for itself when you need it from either a tactical or a disaster perspective. Keep in mind the time-tested saying in the vernacular: “Cheap you buy, cheap you get.” You need your tools and equipment to work, be able to take a beating, and not fail you. This flashlight satisfies all three of those requirements. The Fenix TK-25 is available for about $90, and you can order it (as well as batteries for it) right off the Internet at www.amazon.com and have them send it to you. Try it out, and you’ll be pleased with your investment.  JJ out!

 

Find out more information about this product at FenixLighting.com

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published August 1st, 2018

How To Prepare For The 5 Most Common Financial Disasters

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 04:50

The worst financial disasters to affect an individual are often not due to the overall global economy and the bringing about of Armageddon.  They are more personal and localized.  We have a few tips to help you avoid financial ruin in the event one of these five most common financial horrors were to strike.

Families often have to deal with the loss of jobs and unexpected medical bills.  But having a plan in place could help you avoid losing even more of your hard-earned money should the unthinkable happen.  Many Americans go about their day with absolutely no care in the world and not even an extra can of peas on the shelf. Many don’t think to prepare for an event, even a localized or more personal one and have often looked down on those of us who have these plans in place.  In fact, only 16% of Americans say they are prepared for a disaster like one of the five we will cover.

*Keep in mind, some of these go hand in hand.  For example, if you have major medical bills because of a car accident, you’ll also have added car expenses.  If you are dealing with the death of a spouse who is employed, you also now must deal with the loss of a job.

Getting out of debt (especially credit card debt) should be the first order of business when planning for any financial crisis.  Paying off debt means that in the event of a financial disaster, you’ve encountered a setback and not a game changer in your life.  Start by no longer using credit cards. Keep one for emergencies if you can be responsible with it, otherwise, cancel them as you pay them off. The best way to pay off debt is to cut back where you can and use that savings to apply to debt.  Start with the smallest debt and pay that off.  Once it’s gone, move on to the next highest bill and pay that off using the money you were applying to the smaller and now paid off debt.  Work your way up until you’ve paid off your cars and eventually, your mortgage.

So what are five of the most common financial disasters and how can you prepare? We’ll start with the first and most obvious one and focus more on the financial aspects of preparations.

5 Simple Ways to Grow an Emergency Fund

NATURAL DISASTER

A natural disaster could be just about anything, from an earthquake or tornado to a hurricane or wildfire. If a natural disaster strikes, even those who are prepared will sometimes lose their provisions. The best thing to do in this situation is to have a backup shelter planned, or be able to quickly create one on your property (there are many reasons why you should do everything possible to avoid FEMA camps and shelters in the aftermath of a disaster in which hundreds of thousands have lost homes).  But focusing on the financial aspects of a natural disaster means you should also make certain you have insurance in place so you can quickly begin repairs on your home. If you’ve lost everything, the more money you’ve got saved and the better your insurance plans, the better off you’ll be.  We saw evidence of this first hand in the aftermath of the hurricanes that struck in Texas. Don’t just get insurance to “follow the law” so you can get your couple thousand dollars from FEMA, you should have insurance that covers likely disasters in your area.  You should have enough in a savings account to cover whatever amount of deductible you’ve chosen as well.  This way, rebuilding will begin immediately.

JOB LOSS 

In the event that there’s a job loss, especially if the loss is that of the primary breadwinner, savings will be your key to survival.  Start looking for work immediately, although that seems too obvious.  You should have been working toward becoming debt free, but if you’ve got bills that need to be paid, you will have to consider cutting back everywhere.  Cancel your extra TV channels or lower your cell phone bill.  Often cutting back on these two things can save about $100/month or more.  Be more frugal in general until there is a steady source of income again, and rely on your savings account.  There’s no set amount of money you “need” because it would be based on your personal lifestyle and how large of a family you have.  Obviously, if your rent is $400/month, your savings doesn’t need to be as big a person’s whose mortgage is $2500/month.  So consider adding up your bills (mortgage/rent, car payments, electricity, water etc.) and make sure to tack on several hundred just in case.  You’ll then know how much money you’ll need monthly and can begin saving or cutting back to ensure that number stays at a manageable level.  Don’t forget about these unemployment tips either.

CAR EXPENSES And MEDICAL EMERGENCIES

You should havan extra savings account with money set aside for unforeseen car expenses and/or medical expenses. You should have enough saved to cover the cost of the deductible on all cars and you should save enough to cover the deductible on medical expenses.  Look at your insurance policies (if you don’t have insurance, begin saving as much as you can now because vehicle expenses an medical are are far from cheap) and determine how much you’ll need. Often, car expenses and medical emergencies hit us like a ton of bricks and few Americans have adequate savings for either. Other than saving in advance, there’s not much else that can be done.  Humans get sick or hurt and cars break down. Save for these future events now, just in case.

MARITAL ISSUES SUCH AS DIVORCE

This one is difficult because all divorces, much like all marriages, are different.  Preparing for a divorce will take some major inward reflection on the part of the person who wishes to prepare for this particular financial crisis, and that’s exactly what it could be. Lawyers don’t work for free, court documents are added expenses, material possessions will have to be divided, and money would need to be available for one spouse to move out. You could also face the expenses of selling the shared home. Often, retirement savings accounts can even be split or given if one spouse desires that of the other. But the best advice we can give is to avoid being vindictive should you find yourself in this position because a bitter attitude will only cause more financial hardship as your soon-to-be-ex-spouse fights back. Seeking professional advice could be advantageous.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 30th, 2018

Radioactive Particles From Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Found in California Wine

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 15:53

On March 11, 2011, a major earthquake in Japan and the tsunami that followed disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident.

The disaster – commonly known as ” Fukushima” – was the most significant nuclear incident since the April 26, 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the second disaster to be given the Level 7 event classification of the International Nuclear Event Scale.

According to Our World in Data, 40-50 people experienced physical injury or radiation burns at the nuclear facility, with no direct deaths. But, mortality from radiation exposure was not the only threat to human health: it’s estimated that around 1,600 people died as a result of evacuation procedures and stress-induced factors:

This figure ranges between 1,000-1,600 deaths from evacuation (the evacuation of populations affected by the earthquake and tsunami at the time can make sole attribution to the nuclear disaster challenging). Stress-induced deaths affected mostly older people; more than 90 percent of mortality occurred in individuals over the age of 66.

How many people are projected to suffer in the long-term from low-level radiation exposure?

According to Our World in Data:

In its Health Risk Assessment of the nuclear disaster, the World Health Organization (WHO) note exposure levels too low to affect human health for the national population, with exception to a few communities in closest proximity. In these localities, it is those who were infants at the time of exposure who are at greatest risk of cancer—at the two closest sites, the incidence of cancer in this demographic is projected to be between 4-7 percent higher than baseline cancer rates for both males and females (with the exception of thyroid cancer in females, which is 70 percent higher). The WHO project the number of deaths from low-level exposure to be close to zero, and up to 400 in upper estimates.

In 2012, a screening program found that more than a third (36%) of children in Fukushima Prefecture have abnormal growths in their thyroid glands.  As of August 2013, there were more than 40 children newly diagnosed with thyroid cancer and other cancers in Fukushima prefecture as a whole.

People in the area worst affected by the nuclear accident have a slightly higher risk of developing certain cancers such as leukemia, solid cancers, thyroid cancer, and breast cancer, according to a 2013 report.

In 2015, the number of thyroid cancers or detections of developing thyroid cancers numbered 137. Of that finding, lead researcher Toshihide Tsuda from Okayama University said, “This is more than expected and emerging faster than expected. This is 20 times to 50 times what would be normally expected.”

Another 2015 report revealed that cleanup crews trying to mitigate the never-ending radiation crisis at Fukushima ran into more problems after sensors monitoring a drainage gutter detected a huge spike in radiation levels from wastewater pouring into the Pacific Ocean.

More than a year after the accident, fish off Japan’s coast showed high cesium levels, causing the country to ban the sale of several species. Radioactive wild boars continued to reproduce and eat crops in the region – and they marauded Japanese towns and attacked people.

Last year, scientists in Norway revealed that despite authorities claiming that radioactive particles from the disaster would not be widespread, the radiation emitted from Fukushima really did have a global reach:

According to the group’s data, over 80 percent of the radiation that was released by the meltdown ended up in either the ocean or ice at the north and south poles. Of the remaining radiation, each human on the planet received roughly 0.1 millisievert, which equates to about “one extra X-ray each,” according to the team.

While that isn’t a lot of radiation and might not seem like a big deal, it actually IS concerning, because it tells us that the Fukushima disaster is still unfolding.

As Joshua Krause explained last year:

Earlier this year it was revealed that the level of radiation at the power plant was at its highest level since this crisis began in 2011, and the fuel rods have likely melted through their containment vessel. If this situation isn’t contained, then these fuel rods could melt into the groundwater, and spew radioactive particles into the ocean for years (or at least, more than what the power plant is already leaking into the ocean).

Krause concluded:

That’s why the discovery made by these Norwegian researchers should be taken seriously. We know for a fact that the radiation from Fukushima is capable of reaching everyone on our planet. So if the situation in Fukushima ever worsens, we know that there will be nowhere to run to. There will be no escaping the lethal emanations from that power plant.

A new report supports Krause’s conclusion.

Radioactive particles from the Fukushima disaster have been detected in – of all places – California wines.

Inspired by tests conducted in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, researchers at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS, decided to test a series of California wines dating between 2009 and 2012. They looked for traces of radioactive particles, specifically cesium-137, a man-made isotope.

Smithsonian.com reported on the team’s findings:

Their findings, newly published in the pre-print online journal Arxiv, suggest that currents and atmospheric patterns carried radioactive particles across the Pacific, where they settled on grapevines growing in California’s wine regions. The team writes that bottles produced following the nuclear meltdown contain increased levels of cesium-137, with the cabernet revealing double the amount of pre-Fukushima radiation.

Cesium-137 is a radioactive by-product of the fission of uranium-235, and it leaves a long-lasting “nuclear signature.” In 2001, the French pharmacologist Philippe Hubert (who also conducted the new study) discovered that he could use this signature to date wines without opening the bottles.

MIT Technology Review explains the method:

It produces distinctive gamma rays in proportion to the amount of isotope present. Dating the wine is a simple process of matching the amount of cesium-137 to atmospheric records from the time the wine was made. That quickly reveals any fraud. Indeed, if there is no cesium-137, the wine must date from after 1980.

There is one blip in this record, though. The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 bathed much of Europe, and other parts of the world, in a radioactive cloud that increased atmospheric levels of cesium-137 again. Hubert and colleagues can see this blip in their data from wines.

That testing method didn’t work as well as expected. The study says cesium-137 activities “were either at the limit of detection or with a very high degree of uncertainty”, so the researchers decided to use another method – one that would increase the sensitivity.

The scientists opened the wine and reduced it to ash by evaporation. To do this, they heated the wine to 100 degrees Celsius for one hour and then increased the temperature to 500 degrees Celsius for eight hours. With this method, a standard 750-milliliter bottle of wine produces around four grams of ashes. The ashes were then placed in a gamma ray detector to look for signs of cesium-137.

Using this method, Hubert and his colleagues found measurable amounts of cesium-137 above background levels in the wine produced after 2011. “It seems there is an increase in activity in 2011 by a factor of two,” the team concluded.

Interestingly, the amount of cesium-137 was higher in red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)  compared to rosé, as it was in French wines tested after Chernobyl.

Study co-author Michael Pravikoff told The New York Times that “These levels are so low, way below the natural radioactivity that’s everywhere in the world.”

The Times reached out to the California Department of Public Health to inquire about the study. It that it had not previously heard of the study, but that there were no “health and safety concerns to California residents.”

“This report does not change that,” a department spokesman, Corey Egel, said in an emailed statement.

Meanwhile, on the East Coast of the United States, the possible health impacts of a new nuclear accident is causing concern.

On July 25, 2018, radioactive uranium leaked through the floor of the Westinghouse nuclear fuel plant in South Carolina. That facility also has a nearly 35-year history of groundwater pollution from the plant.

Here are more details, from SHTFplan.com:

The most conflicting part of the entire uranium leak is that officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said they have no reason to believe the uranium has trickled off the site or that public water supplies are threatened. But, the agency also said it does not have the results of recent groundwater tests on the Westinghouse property either, meaning they actually don’t really know what the extent of contamination could be. Those test results will show whether pollution in the soil washed into the area’s shallow groundwater, which seeps into creeks in the Congaree River floodplain.

Much like the problems that are linked with Fukushima, we likely won’t know the extent of the damage this incident will do to human health until its too late. Elevated levels of uranium in the water supply can increase the risk of developing kidney damage, and long-term exposure can increase the risk of cancer.

There are actually a great deal of foods that can be used both preventively and to detoxify after the body has absorbed harmful radiation, as Jeremiah Johnson explains in 5 Foods that Help to Naturally Prevent Radiation Poisoning:

  1. Activated Charcoal – this is easy to obtain without any complications or side effects, and it is not particularly expensive. Approximately 10 g (grams) of activated charcoal will neutralize up to 7 g of toxic material, and yes, it does neutralize radiation.
  2. Organic Geranium – this holistic herb combats the free radicals that are released with the introduction of radiation and harm the cells. It is effective against Cesium-137 and Gamma Rays. The Japanese have found great success with the use of this herb for patients exposed to radiation from Fukushima, and their experiments yielded good effects with a dosage of 100 mg (milligrams) per day. You can read more about it here.
  3. Clay – binds to radioactive particles and prevents them from having further damaging effects to the human body. The clay “carries” the radiation from the human body when it is excreted in the urine and the stool. A good website that details the types and uses of these protective clays is found here:  www.vitalityherbsandclay.com.
  4. Fruits high in pectin, such as apples – they bind to Cs-137 (mentioned in #2) and neutralize its effects.
  5. Calcium and Magnesium – in combination will lower Strontium-90 absorption by as much as 90%. The Orotate forms (Amazon link) of it are preferred, as it will be more readily absorbable into the human skeletal system. When taken preventatively, they strengthen bone tissue and increase bone health. The Calcium can be taken by adults 800 – 1500 mg/day, and children need 800 mg per day. The Magnesium is taken 550 – 1100 mg per day. Note: Caution must be taken by those with heart conditions who are already on such medications as Calcium Channel Blockers, or those whose conditional maintenance depend on a balance of electrolytes and minerals that the addition of these two may affect.

Other foods that help detoxify the human body and are effective against radiation include seaweed, kelp, garlic, onions, wheatgrass, sauerkraut, ginger, horseradish, spirulina, chlorella, and kale.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 26th, 2018

7 Uses For A Sun Oven (Other Than Cooking)

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 10:29

Sun Ovens are a great addition to any prepper’s gear.  In a previous article, we wrote extensively on how this is a must-have prep for your supplies. “If there is an emergency, there is a strong possibility that you may find yourself in a situation where you are off the grid. To prepare for this power interruption, the very basic preparedness plan should include considerations for fuel sources and alternative cooking tools for meal preparation. What many of us fail to realize is when our fuel supply runs out we are left without a way to quickly prepare food. The Sun Oven solves this issue by harnessing the power of the sun to cook.”

Not only can they be used to cook food, but there are several other ways you could use this prepper essential in an emergency situation when you don’t have access to modern power sources.  When you only have the sun to rely on, this solar tool can be incredibly efficient at many very important tasks.

A Sun Ovens is a device that lets you harness the power of the sun to heat food and water, even when no utility services are available. For obvious reasons, they are most effective in locations that have plenty of sunshine. They are less effective when it is cloudy or during inclement weather.

Sun Ovens work by capturing the sun’s rays and focusing them into the oven’s chamber, where it heats what is placed in a pan, dish or another vessel inside. A Sun Oven can reach temperatures ranging from 250 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cook food and boil water, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Since Sun Ovens don’t generate smoke like wood-burning stoves, their use can reduce the incidence of health problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia, according to a team of Solar Oven experts at Cornell University. But, during an emergency situation, a solar oven won’t give away your location the way a fire’s smoke can.  Here are a few ways you can use a Sun Oven to help you in an emergency.

(Keep reading for an exclusive Sun Oven deal!) Pasteurize Water

Access to potable water can be difficult to come by in developing areas of the world and anytime there’s a natural disaster, bottled water is the first thing to sell out. When the water supply isn’t safe to drink, you will need to pasteurize it, which means killing organisms that cause disease, such as parasites an bacterium. In locations where fuel, such as firewood, is scarce, or a fire would give away a location, a Sun Oven enables people to heat their water to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. It only takes about one hour to purify one liter of water in a solar cooker on a sunny day.

Canning

If you come across a large patch of edible berries but have no power, how are you going to save as much food as possible without it going bad? Canning in your solar oven of course! Although solar cookers are not suitable for canning low-acid foods like meats or certain vegetables because of the risk of botulism growing on non-acid foods,  it’s important to set aside surplus fruit and can it for long-term storage and future use. Canning jars can go inside the Sun Oven and the fruit will heat up until it boils. Then you simply remove the canning jars and allow them to slowly cool. As it cools, the lid is forced down, forming a tight vacuum seal, keeping your food safe.

Warming And Drying Clothing

You can actually put wet clothing or boots in a solar oven and have them dry out quicker.  This is especially useful for those living in climates that get a heavy snowfall or have harsh winter storms periodically. Mittens, socks, and hats can be placed in the Sun Oven and the heat will work like a dryer to remove all the moisture from your clothing items.

Dehydrating Fruits, Vegetables, And Meats

For those food staples that you cannot can safely because of their lack of acidity, dehydrating in your solar cooker is an option. This is desired when there is plenty of cheap vegetables or fruits available. It could also be useful to save meat if a large animal is hunted for food.  None of the meat would need to be wasted.

Refrigerate Foods

Solar cooling, as it’s often called, in this case usually relates to using the sun to create the necessary heat for evaporation. The resulting phase change of water from a liquid to a vapor absorbs the heat from the remaining water, and the surrounding materials will become cooler relative to the air temperature. With an ample water supply, this technique can be useful for keeping foods refrigerated without electricity.

Make Ghee

Of course, there are the more obvious uses for a Sun Oven, like making your dinner, but what about using it to make ghee? Ghee doesn’t need to be refrigerated like butter and it’s less likely to burn when cooked at high temperatures, such as over a fire. In fact, it’s really just clarified butter! This device is ideal for the making of ghee. Ghee (popular in India because it doesn’t necessitate refrigeration) is made by heating butter in the Sun Oven over about an hour or so. It should have a very low simmering because over 176°F or 80°C the butter will burn. After some time an opaque residue will separate from the melted butter leaving a transparent liquid which is the ghee. The residue is then discarded.

*Fun Familly Activity* Make Candles

You can also melt wax to make candles in a Sun Oven! Give it a try!  This is also a great way to get children involved in the prepping experience.  Using small and broken crayons and a natural wick of your choice (cotton string works well) practice different ways to melt the crayons into useable candles of various shapes and sizes.  The kids will love helping and it’s a great family bonding experience!

To get more information about this prepper essential, read more here and check out all the great deals from Sun Oven. Exclusively for Ready Nutrition readers, get a $70 discount on a Sun Oven with a Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package!

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 25th, 2018

3 ‘Powerful’ Things You Can Do NOW To Prepare For A Future Grid Failure

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 15:40

In the event of a grid failure, would you be prepared?  Many who prep save extra food and water, but have no idea what actually going “off the grid” would entail.  But there are some tips and tricks to preparing so you don’t find yourself or your family at the whims of those currently running the political system.

So what could happen in the event of a nation-wide power grid failure? If you rely on FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the situation could be dire.  And what if it’s winter time? You will most likely be forced from your home in the dead of winter, with nothing more than the few supplies you were able to carry amongst yourselves. You would then be shuttered and locked into a community center (FEMA camp) with thousands of other families, displaced from their homes as well, relying on what few supplies the government could provide.  You would have to wait in long lines to use the portable bathroom and security guards would monitor your every move.  It wouldn’t exactly be a utopia – it would be more like a prison.

Living off the gird and staying out of those camps is your other option.  Of course, that’s far from ideal as well, considering you will be without the basic modern amenities we’ve all come to rely on, but you’d have your freedom. If you choose to “bug in”and live off the grid in the event of a prolonged power grid failure, here are three”powerful” tips to help you survive and make the most of your supplies or gear.

Tip #1: Keep extra ammunition stored

This may seem like a no-brainer, but so many preppers seem more concerned about making sure their “fight skills” with their guns surpass the supply of ammunition they have on hand.  Those skills are incredibly useful, however, absolutely worthless if you use up your ammunition on the first day of a grid failure. Keep thousands or even tens of thousands of extra rounds in your stored gear.  Keep them safe and dry.  The reason being is two-fold.  When power fails, it causes utter and complete chaos for those not fortunate enough to have had the foresight to prepare. Of those left who don’t have any or only keep a few rounds on hand, they will use up their ammunition quickly trying to either protect themselves and the little food they have or hunting to attempt to kill something to eat.  The grocery stores won’t be stocked when the power grid goes down so just where are the ill-prepared supposed to get any food?  There also could be a run on properties such as yours where provisions have been made.  In the event that you’ve saved a lot of ammunition, you’ll have plenty should you need to protect yourself and your family as well as the supply of food and water you’ve diligently stored for this exact SHTF scenario.  You can also use ammunition to barter.  Debit and credit cards will not work without the grid, and if someone doesn’t want your useless dollar or chunk of gold (which is unedible and only useful if someone wants it), a round of ammunition could be a viable currency.  It could mean life or death for someone wanting it to hunt for meat or protect their own home and you could work out a trade for it.

Tip #2: Up Your Water Storage 

Many of us have water stored, but most are not ready for a long-term grid failure in which a substantial dent will be made in that supply. You should find a renewable source of water. Rain barrels are one potential option, however, you will need to make sure that the capacity you are collecting is enough to last you from rain to rain. The great thing about rainwater collection is that the collection itself is virtually zero work once you have your system set up and it is possible to get an insane amount of water from the mildest of downpours. For every 1” of rain on a 1000 square feet of roof, you can collect around 600 gallons. If you have moderate rains, this could keep a family of 4 in water for a long time.  This is the better option because if you have to go collect any water, threats to your life and the water you’ve just acquired could present themselves.

You will also need a filtration system for your water. This is the part of the water problem that will cause more illnesses to survivors in a SHTF situation. There are virtually no untainted sources of water unless you tap into a spring right as it is coming out of the ground or a well.  If you have a well, consider rigging up a powerless well-pump.  Here’s one inexpensive and easy option:

Tip #3: Provide SOME Power 

If you still want to be off the grid but have the option to keep your home lit up, you could consider a wind turbine. Realistically, the perfect conditions for a windmill would be outside city limits so the sight of the windmill doesn’t offend those living near you or draw the attention of code enforcers. The further away from a town, the better, in fact. There are several different ways to approach wind power, and not all of them require the purchase of a costly windmill. Consider building one completely on your own.  This article lists 15 different and a few very inexpensive options for harnessing the power of the wind in the event of a grid failure.

It won’t be a utopia if the grid goes down, that’s for certain, especially when considering the very vast majority of Americans don’t have basic survival skills nor do they seem interested in learning them. But using these three “powerful” tips will help you avoid the FEMA camps that would most likely pop up everywhere and allow you to remain free.

Preparing does not have to be costly or difficult, in fact, there are many resources out there to add further assistance.  Consider reading The Prepper’s Blueprint by Tess Pennington for more concise instructions and a detailed guide to preparing for the worst.

“If we have learned one thing studying the history of disasters, it is this: those who are prepared have a better chance at survival than those who are not.” – Tess Pennington, The Prepper’s Blueprint

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 23rd, 2018

Tea Tree Essential Oil And Why It’s ‘Essential’ For Preppers

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 05:57

Tea tree essential oil is one of the most well-known of all the essential oils, for its powerful antiseptic and healing properties.  Tea tree oil, also known as Melaleuca, is a quick and easy addition to your prepper gear too since there are so many benefits to having the oil on hand in any situation.

Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Although Melaleuca alternifolia is known as the “tea tree,” it should not be confused with the plant that produces leaves used to make black, green and oolong tea.

Tea tree oil has been used as a traditional medicine by Aborigines for centuries. The native Australians crush the tea tree leaves to extract the oil contained in them, which can then be inhaled to treat coughs and colds or applied directly to the skin for quicker healing. And it makes sense to use the oil for medicine! The oil itself contains a few compounds that aid in healing.

Tea tree’s primary active ingredients include terpene hydrocarbons,  monoterpenes, and sesquiterpenes. It is these compounds that give tea tree its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity. There are over 100 different chemical components of tea tree oil, with terpinen-4-ol and alpha-terpineol being the most active.

The terpinen-4-ol contained in tea tree oil has been shown to kill certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Terpinen-4-ol also appears to increase the activity of your white blood cells, which help fight germs and other foreign invaders. These germ-fighting properties make tea tree oil a valued natural remedy for treating bacterial and fungal skin conditions. It could also aid in preventing infection and promoting healing of damaged skin.

In a SHTF situation, what are some uses for this all-around beneficial and medicinal oil?

Hand Sanitizer

Thanks to its antiseptic properties, tea tree oil can be just as effective as an alcohol-based skin sanitizer. Alcohol can be drying and irritating to some, especially those with sensitive skin, but tea tree can be an alternative.  Studies have shown that it kills several common bacteria and viruses responsible for causing illness, including E. coliS. pneumoniae and H. influenzae. Additionally, a study testing several types of hand wash shows that adding tea tree oil to the hand cleansers boosted their effectiveness against E. coli.

Related: Make your own hand sanitizer using three ingredients!

Soothe Skin Irritations

Tea tree oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties may make it a useful tool for soothing skin irritations and wounds. There is actually some evidence from a pilot study that after being treated with tea tree oil, patient wounds had begun to heal and reduced in size. Other evidence has shown that tea tree will help treat chronically infected wounds. Tea tree oil can help reduce inflammation by eliminating bacteria. It can also be used to soothe sunburns, sores, and insect bites.

Quick Tip: test the tea tree oil on your skin before using it to rule out any sensitivity that could occur.

Help Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

Essential oils like tea tree oil are being used in replacement of or along with conventional medications because it can serve as a powerful and antibacterial agent, without the adverse side effects.  Research published in The Open Microbiology Journal indicates that some essential oils, like tea tree oil, have a positive synergistic effect when combined with conventional antibiotics. Researchers see this as a positive aspect, meaning essential oils may help prevent antibiotic resistance from developing. This is extremely important in modern medicine because antibiotic resistance may lead to treatment failure, increased healthcare costs and the spread of difficult to treat infections.

Insect Repellent

Tea tree oil may also help keep those pesky insects away. One study found that 24 hours after being treated with tea tree oil, cows had 61% fewer flies than cows not treated with tea tree oil. Whats even more important is that a test-tube study revealed that tea tree oil has a greater ability to repel mosquitoes than DEET, the most common active ingredient in commercial insect repellents. Try this easy-to-make insect repellent using tea tree oil and other natural ingredients!

Treat Head Lice

Tea tree oil also has well-known insecticidal properties that can help treat head lice. Lice are incredibly small, parasitic insects that feed on human blood. Most often, children pass these parasites back and forth resulting in itchy and infested scalps. These annoying little parasites are also often difficult to get rid of with just medication. A lab study conducted in Italy investigated the efficacy of tea tree oil against lice and its eggs. Tea tree was used alone and in combination with nerolidol and tested at different ratios against 69 head lice and 187 eggs over a six-month period. Researchers found that tea tree oil alone was actually more effective against head lice, with treatment resulting in 100 percent mortality after 30 minutes of exposure. When tea tree oil was combined with nerolidol at a 1:2 ratio, the two substances caused the death of all head lice within 30 minutes and the abortive effect of lice eggs after 5 days of treatment.

Fight Toenail Fungus

Because of its ability to kill parasites and fungal infections, tea tree oil is a great choice to use on toenail fungus (onychomycosis) or athlete’s foot. It works too, is all natural, and doesn’t have any of the awkward side effects of chemical antifungal medications!  Put 2–5 drops of undiluted tea tree oil on the affected area using a clean cotton swab. And for stubborn fungi, consider mixing tea tree oil with another natural anti-fungal oil, like oregano.

As you can see, tea tree is a beneficial and natural medicine that should be a part of everyone’s medicine cabinet or prepper supply.  Its properties are not as widely studied as those of modern medicine, yet it still one of the easiest to get a hold of oils and one that has a multitude of uses, especially in a dire situation when modern medicines won’t be readily available. Grab some tea tree oil today and begin experiencing it!

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 23rd, 2018

What To Expect From FEMA After A Disaster (Spoiler: It’s Not Good)

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 05:46

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to get some “help” or disaster assistance from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) after a tragic natural disaster happens?  Well, some know all too well just how much and how little FEMA does to help those who have lost almost everything. Spoiler: it isn’t good.

For years, we have stressed the importance of having a preparedness plan including a financial plan for when disasters erupt. In the book, The Prepper’s Blueprint, we walk the reader through a prepping regimen with a guide and easy to follow instructions and give beginning preppers a foundation to build on so that one doesn’t have to rely on government handouts.

Why Government Red Tape is Hurting Disaster Victims

FEMA doesn’t seem to want to bypass the red tape in order to help those residing in the lower income parts of Texas affected by hurricane Harvey.  It’s been more than ten months since the hurricane devastated parts of Houston, and while middle-class and affluent neighborhoods are back to business as usual, those with less money are still struggling to get assistance from FEMA – or assistance is being denied because residents cannot afford the mandated flood insurance.

Part of the reason the wealthier people have their lives back could be the ability to save money on their own. They can also afford to comply with the law mandating flood insurance so their claims aren’t being denied as often.  With money to spare in the event of an emergency, those who are more affluent don’t need to rely on FEMA (or any aspect of the federal government) regardless of how dire the situation becomes.  But that leaves some families struggling to get what they need in the aftermath of a disaster because they don’t have the money to obey the law.

In nearby Kashmere Gardens, a 10,000 person neighborhood, FEMA has been less than useless. According to reporting done by Politico, nearly every street of the Kashmere Gardens neighborhood has homes that are gutted. Empty window panes reveal sparse interiors without walls, doors, or carpets. And because there’s nowhere to go, families still live in those homes. The challenges in Kashmere Gardens, where the median income is $23,000 per year, are not the result of any one policy or agency. They’re the consequence of a complicated, bureaucratic disaster-response system built up over decades that experts nearly universally agree is failing to provide critical support to low-income communities when a disaster strikes.  In other words, as always, when it comes to government, they just don’t care about anyone.

A POLITICO investigation found that numerous low-income families were denied funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency because much of Kashmere Gardens was in a flood zone, and homeowners were thus required to carry flood insurance — a law that many of them were unaware of. Other families, struggling with language issues and inexperienced with the federal bureaucracy, simply couldn’t cope with a system that even FEMA officials agree is too complicated. Still others fell victim to shoddy contractors who took their money and failed to make repairs. –POLITICO

And the News Just Gets Worse

Those who took the time and made the effort to jump through hoops and go around the red tape of the bureaucratic nonsense and were able to comply with the law to purchase flood insurance were only getting a mere $4,300 from FEMA – not enough to make many repairs. And as many prepare for the 2018 hurricane season, which is expected to be worse than last year’s, the situation becomes all too important to resolve.

Even when FEMA does come through and somehow manages to provide food and shelter for those in dire situations, it becomes something many describe as an inescapable hell. “It’s not a safety net,” said Craig Fugate, who served as the head of FEMA for all eight years of the Obama administration and, like other FEMA veterans, believes the current system is too confusing. “The system is really designed for the middle class. It’s not designed to take care of the pre-existing conditions.”

The horrors of a FEMA disaster relief camp became all too real for those who lost everything in the East Coast’s Hurricane Sandy back in 2012. Americans were literally freezing while wrapped in blankets and trash bags as they struggled to survive in FEMA tent cities such as New Jersey’s “Camp Freedom,” (the irony of that name isn’t lost on many) which reportedly “resembled a prison camp.”

“Sitting there last night you could see your breath,” displaced resident Brian Sotelo told the Asbury Park Press. “At (Pine Belt) the Red Cross made an announcement that they were sending us to permanent structures up here that had just been redone, that had washing machines and hot showers and steady electric, and they sent us to tent city. We got (expletive).” The officials “in charge” also banned residents from taking pictures and cut off WiFi. “They treat us like we’re prisoners,” Ashley Sabol told Reuters. “It’s bad to say, but we honestly feel like we’re in a concentration camp.”

Sotelo also said Blackhawk helicopters patrol the skies “all day and night” and a black car with tinted windows surveys the camp while the government moves heavy equipment past the tents at night. Reporters were not allowed in the fenced complex or “FEMA camp” to report on conditions either, where lines of displaced residents formed outside portable toilets. Security guards were posted at every door, and residents could not even use the toilet or shower without first presenting an I.D. to a government official.

One of the worst places to be when you have nowhere to go is a FEMA camp.  Don’t subject your family, especially if you have little kids, to the angry and hungry masses clumped together like cattle in those fenced in hells.  Sure, many FEMA workers mean well, but they are not well funded and incompetent.  At the end of the day, they are doing a job and getting paid for it, so their own survival trumps yours. Prepare for the worst and make sure you can survive on your own because, in the end, it may come down to having only yourself that you and your family can depend on.

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’” President Ronald Reagan

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 20th, 2018

3 Emergency Uses for Plastic Sheeting

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 05:01

The focus in this article is on rolls of plastic sheeting, and why you need it in your emergency supplies. Plastic sheeting is a cheap and multipurpose prep that has many uses in a survival situation. It can be used for rainwater collection, making a solar still, waterproofing containers, and it can even be used in a worst-case scenario as a body bag.

The best type of sheeting to store is 6 to 8-mil thickness. This can provide you with a wide range of emergency uses. I found a good type for you, made by Frost King, labeled as “Crystal Clear Vinyl Sheeting” for those windows. I have a roll of 3’ x 75’ for use with most of my windows if I lose them. It is also “greenhouse-grade” plastic, although it doesn’t have a UV rating. The best feature? It is 8 mil in thickness: that’s good stuff.  It is also transparent, not translucent, so you can actually see through it.

3 Ways You Can Make Plastic Sheeting Work in an Emergency! 1. Make a Greenhouse

One of the most practical ways to use plastic sheeting is to make a greenhouse. Did you know that greenhouses that use plastic sheeting provide better insulation than regular glass greenhouses? This is because the plastic has better heat retention properties than glass. So, not only is it cheaper, it is more energy efficient! Another added benefit is that it lasts longer. Unlike glass, plastic greenhouses are able to withstand impacts from heavy weather conditions and objects without leaving any sign of distress or damage. It’s also cheaper to maintain than glass and easier to fix or replace should you need to replace a panel in your greenhouse.

Learn how to make a plastic sheeting greenhouse for $50

How to add plastic sheeting to a greenhouse – the easy way

2. Temporary Repair From Natural Disasters

One of the problems with disasters (besides their unpredictability) is the amount of damage that can be rendered to your home while not actually destroying it. The most vulnerable points of the home are the windows. In fact, in the aftermath of Hurricane Hurricanes Harvey, repair supplies were one of the critical items to disappear. Hurricanes can throw all kinds of horrors at you if you live on the coast, but the coastal regions are not the only areas greatly affected by storms. Tornadoes strike throughout the Midwest, and severe winds accompany arctic storms in the Northwest where I live.

Wind and snow are conditions that tend to bring down trees, especially in the Rockies, as pine trees are not deeply rooted in the way deciduous trees are. The loss of a window in wintertime isn’t an inconvenience here: it’s an emergency of the highest order, especially when it’s 10 or 15 degrees below zero. If it happens, you need to close up the window and fast.

For hurricane and storm-susceptible areas, I’ve already covered how important it is to have pre-measured pieces of pressure-treated plywood cut for each window. I also mentioned how it would behoove you to pre-drill holes in both the corners of that plywood and in the exterior casing of the window frames (if applicable) where you will mount the plywood with galvanized deck bolts. First, seal it up with plastic sheeting on the outside, and then cover it up with the sheet of pre-cut plywood.

High winds may rip your sheathing off, but if you pick up some fir strips or 1” x 3” strips, you can cut them to be able to outline your window frames. After tacking the plastic up with the staples, then put the fir strips up all along the outer edges of the plastic. Use a cordless drill and put deck screws in (2-inchers will do just fine) to secure the fir strips.  They will act as a “frame” to support the outer edges of the plastic and to hold it down, thus preventing the wind from ripping it off of your now-broken window.

Don’t forget to put on heavy gloves and remove the glass from the windows all around. If the wind blows, you don’t want the sheet of plastic to flap against the window aperture and be ripped by shards of glass, not to mention the safety issue for those inside. My recommendation is to cover the inside as well as the outside. The reason you don’t want to cover just the inside is that there is nothing to really seal the window off when the wind blows, and the sheet is moved inward, causing more problems if it knocks things over or is dislodged.

Again, if you’re in a storm-susceptible area, you may even want to go so far as to have extra windows protected and in storage for replacement when such work can be undertaken. It also doesn’t stop there. You may even need that sheeting to temporarily close off a roof with a hole from a falling tree or flying debris. You can use it to protect something that is exposed with lack of a tarp.

You also want to pick up a good staplegun with long staples, such as ½ inch. Cheap you buy, and cheap you shall receive: stick with Stanley, and you can order one along with the staples on www.amazon.com as well. Keep in mind: this is your temporary fix…one that may need to be in place for a month to two months. Without windows, your “R” factor and insulation are going to diminish quickly. The staples can be put in on the edges quickly, and then emplaced for long-term with fir strips.

3. Pandemic Containment

Another way to utilize plastic sheeting in an emergency is during pandemics. In times of a pandemic crisis, it is important to prevent the spreading of illness by containing the illness to a containment area or sick room. By making a containment area or room, you can remove clothing that may be infected with a contagious illness so that you are not transferring the illness to other parts of the home. You will want to store enough plastic sheeting and duct tape to cover the entire room in plastic – including the vents, doors, floors, and ceiling. Remember, your main priority in a pandemic is to contain the illness in one room and prevent it from spreading throughout the rest of the house. This article has great instructions on how to seal a room using plastic sheeting.

It is important for you to pick up a few rolls for your home that can benefit you and your family not just for use in a greenhouse, but in a disaster, as well. Stock up on a few rolls of it, and you’ll appreciate your own efforts when something occurs. Just one time and it pays for itself.  JJ out!

 

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 18th, 2018

Every Member of Your Prepper Group MUST Have This On Them When the SHTF

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 05:26

I wrote several articles in the past about the importance of maintaining good first-aid treatment capabilities when you’re out in the woods, as well as in the home. I also mentioned the need for training and suggested several ways to go about receiving it to better prepare you and your family. That being said, your situation is your own: you may not have the time to do such training, although it is a priority.

In a related article, we discussed the importance of prepping trauma packs in detail:

“Having these items pre-packaged cuts down on response time, and gives the responders more of an advantage in properly caring for the wounded…

Medical first response packs can be made ahead of time using most of the medical products that you have on hand. In fact, these first response packs are not limited to medical emergencies, they can also be used for dental emergencies as well. To prepare for a SHTF scenario, it would be beneficial to take into account the most likely medical situations you may come in contact with and plan accordingly.

In the meantime, you can stock up on some supplies that will help you and perhaps “fill in the gaps” when you don’t have the time to train. As I’ve covered the topic extensively, this is not the scope of this article. You’ve all heard of “quick clot,” the substance used to stop bleeding and aid you in bandaging up wounds. We just put out an article on Yarrow, an herb that stops bleeding and aids in clotting. Let’s go a step further with a couple of kits to recommend.

These two products are put out by the Tendy Corporation. The first is a QuickClot advanced Clotting Sponge that will run you about $13.00 for deep wounds and lacerations. You apply it to the wound and either wrap it with a bandage or affix it with a cloth (field-expedient method), such as a “drive-on rag,” or cravat. It’s a “one-shot Willie,” meaning you use it once and then dispose of it. Be advised: it’s not a substitute for a good pressure dressing, but it’ll give you an edge where you need it with a severe or deep laceration.

The second item is the Trauma Pak, and this is a sturdy pouch with the following in it: 25 grams of QuickClot, a 5” x 9” trauma pad (dressing), one pair of gloves, a hand-cleaner pad, a 2” x 26” section of duct tape (without duct tape the world would come apart!), (4) Sterile dressings, some 3” gauze, and antiseptic wipes. The bag can be re-sealed if you need it. A perk to having this kit is it has a small booklet on First-Aid ABC’s and instructions on how to render first aid on life-threatening injuries such as a sucking chest wound.

This last: the instructions, could very well make the difference for those who are not well-trained in first aid and need some guidance in a hurry. The whole pack can fit easily inside a cargo pocket, as it’s only about 6” square, and about an inch and a half in thickness. This pack will run you about $20, made by the same company as the clotting sponge.

Throwing the Trauma Pak in the glove compartment of your vehicle or in an exterior pocket of your bug-out-bag could prove invaluable should the need arise. Both are inexpensive and will pay for themselves the first time you use them. As mentioned earlier, they are no substitute for sound training or for being able to improvise when the need arises, however, they can give you an edge and are valuable to add to your preps at home or on the go. Prevention beforehand usually carries you through the tough times, and these items may help you out in a pinch.  JJ out!


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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 16th, 2018

Six (More) Reasons to Get Better Quality Sleep

Sat, 07/14/2018 - 05:58

 

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” ― Ernest Hemingway

Scientists have yet to discover WHY humans need sleep, but one thing is certain: not getting enough shut-eye can lead to serious – even life-threatening – consequences.

In recent years, studies on sleep have revealed all kinds of interesting things.

Awakening several times through the night is more detrimental to people’s positive moods than getting the same shortened amount of sleep without interruption. “When your sleep is disrupted throughout the night, you don’t have the opportunity to progress through the sleep stages to get the amount of slow-wave sleep that is key to the feeling of restoration,” study lead author Patrick Finan, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explained.

When we sleep in an unfamiliar place for the first time, we often feel as though we haven’t slept as well as usual. This is often referred to as “the first-night effect.” Researchers from Brown University discovered the reason why: under those conditions, one hemisphere of the brain stays more awake to keep watch. This phenomenon is likely a survival mechanism that allows us to be more aware of any danger that may arise while we are sleeping.

A 2014 study published in The Journal of Neuroscience found that 24 hours of sleep deprivation caused healthy people to have hallucinations and other schizophrenia-like symptoms.

Perhaps the most promising theory of sleep so far is that it plays a major role in the brain’s connectivity and plasticity, explains Live Science:

Plasticity is involved in learning and memory. Although it’s unclear exactly how, plenty of evidence suggests that losing sleep can cause problems with memory, particularly working memory, the process that allows people to hold information in an easily accessible way while working out a problem. People who are sleep-deprived also struggle with choosing what to pay attention to and regulating their emotions.

Much about sleep remains a mystery, but six recent studies have uncovered more about the importance of getting adequate Zzzzs.

Let’s take a look at those studies now.

Inadequate sleep is a worldwide public health problem

A study published in the journal Sleep found that inadequate sleep is a public health problem affecting more than one in three adults worldwide and that insufficient sleep could also have serious economic consequences. In Australia, between 35 and 45 percent of adults report inadequate sleep and associated issues, but the researchers emphasize that the problems associated with lack of sleep apply to other nations with similar demographics:

Some 35 percent of U.S. adults are not getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep each night. About 30 percent of Canadians don’t feel they’re getting enough sleep. Some 37 percent of those in the UK, 28 percent of people in Singapore, and 26 percent of French people also report insufficient sleep.

Insufficient sleep is associated with:

  • lapses in attention and the inability to stay focused
  • reduced motivation
  • compromised problem solving
  • confusion, irritability and memory lapses
  • impaired communication
  • slowed or faulty information processing and judgment
  • diminished reaction times
  • indifference and loss of empathy
  • increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and depression

The goal of this study was to measure the economic consequences of limited sleep time in Australians, defined as “difficulties with sleep initiation, maintenance or quality associated with the presence of impaired daytime alertness” at least several days a week.” The researchers found that the financial costs associated with inadequate sleep are substantial: the estimated overall cost of inadequate sleep in Australia in 2016-17 (population: 24.8 million) was $45.21 billion.

The impacts of inadequate sleep were summed up by the researchers:

We are in the midst of a worldwide epidemic of inadequate sleep, some from clinical sleep disorders, some through pressure from competing work, social and family activities and some from failure to give sleep sufficient priority through choice or ignorance. Apart from its impact on well-being, this problem comes at a huge economic cost through its destructive effects on health, safety and productivity. Addressing the issue by education, regulation and other initiatives is likely to deliver substantial economic as well as health benefits.

Poor sleep quality appears to be linked to junk food cravings and related health problems

A study by University of Arizona Health Sciences sleep researchers found that junk food cravings were associated with double the increase in the likelihood of nighttime snacking, which was associated with an increased risk for diabetes. They also found that poor sleep quality seemed to be a major predictor of junk food cravings and that junk food cravings were associated with a greater likelihood of participants reporting obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.

The study was conducted via a nationwide, phone-based survey of 3,105 adults from 23 U.S. metropolitan areas. Participants were asked if they regularly consumed a nighttime snack and whether lack of sleep led them to crave junk food. They also were asked about their sleep quality and existing health problems. About 60 percent of participants reported regular nighttime snacking and two-thirds reported that lack of sleep led them to crave more junk food.

Light exposure during sleep may increase insulin resistance

According to preliminary results from a new study published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, nighttime light exposure during sleep may affect metabolic function.

“Our preliminary findings show that a single night of light exposure during sleep acutely impacts measures of insulin resistance,” said lead author Ivy Cheung Mason, PhD, who was a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine when this study was conducted. “Light exposure overnight during sleep has been shown to disrupt sleep, but these data indicate that it may also have the potential to influence metabolism.”

The researchers found that a single night of light exposure during sleep can acutely impact measures of insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas. It allows your cells to use glucose (sugar) for energy. When a person has insulin resistance, it means they have cells throughout their bodies that don’t use insulin effectively. The cells have trouble absorbing glucose, which causes a buildup of sugar in the blood.

If your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes, you have a condition called prediabetes, which is caused by insulin resistance.

While more research is needed, this finding is concerning, given the increasingly widespread use of artificial light.

Study links screen time to insomnia symptoms and depressive symptoms in adolescents

Greater amounts of daily screen time are associated with more insomnia symptoms and shorter sleep duration among adolescents, a new study found.

The study, published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, revealed that social messaging, web surfing and TV/movie watching, insomnia symptoms and sleep duration fully explained an association between screen-based activities and depressive symptoms.

“Higher rates of depressive symptoms among teens may be partially explained through the ubiquitous use of screen-based activities, which can interfere with high-quality restorative sleep,” said postdoctoral researcher Xian Stella Li, Ph.D., of the findings.

The research team suggested that parents, teachers, and health care providers educate young people about the risks of too much screen time, and teach them how to regulate it to improve sleep quality and reduce depression.

Why do some sleep-deprived people experience worse cognitive functioning than others?

Many studies have linked sleep loss with cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and other disorders, and it is well known that sleep loss negatively affects cognitive performance. Those adverse effects are experienced differently from person to person, however, and little is known about how to accurately predict and detect these individual sleep-deprivation deficits.

A recent study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine is the first to find that microRNAs in the blood are changed by total sleep deprivation (TSD) for 39 hours, and by psychological stress, and can predict the resulting cognitive performance in adults.

From the press release:

MiRNAs are small non-coding RNAs and are key regulators of gene expression, which guides information in a gene to be made into a functional protein. MiRNAs typically repress expression of their target messenger RNAs, preventing translation into proteins.

“These findings show for the first time that miRNAs can track responses to total sleep deprivation and its detrimental combination with psychological stress and predict robust individual differences in various types of cognitive performance,” said senior author Namni Goel, PhD, an associate professor of Psychology in Psychiatry. “As such, miRNAs are viable biomarkers of sleep deprivation, psychological stress, and cognitive vulnerability in humans and can be used to identify individuals ahead of time who are in need of countermeasures or interventions such as caffeine or naps to mitigate or prevent impairments associated with insufficient sleep.”

Optimal sleep linked to lower risks for dementia and early death

Short and long daily sleep duration were risk factors for dementia and premature death in a study of Japanese adults aged 60 years and older. The findings of this study are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

For this study, researchers followed 1,517 adults for 10 years. During that time, 294 of the participants developed dementia, and 282 died. After adjusting for age and sex, the study found that rates of dementia and all-cause mortality were greater in participants with daily sleep duration of fewer than 5.0 hours and 10 hours or more, compared with those with daily sleep duration of 5 to 6.9 hours. Participants with short sleep duration who had high physical activity did not have a greater risk of dementia and death, however.

If you are one of the millions of people who just aren’t getting enough Zzzzs, there are things you can do to naturally improve the quality and quantity of your sleep:

  • Establish consistent sleep and wake times – even on the weekends
  • Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy
  • Create a comfortable and inviting sleep environment – your bedroom should be calming, cool (65 degrees is optimal but no warmer than 75 degrees), and dark
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine – turn off electronic devices, take a bath or read a book (not IN bed), or listen to soothing music
  • Avoid using your computer or watching TV while in bed – turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime
  • Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings
  • Finish eating 2-3 hours before you go to bed
  • Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime
  • Exercise regularly (but not for a few hours before bed – it may keep you awake if done too close to bedtime)
  • Avoid caffeine too close to bedtime

For more tricks and tips to help you improve your sleep quality and quantity, please see Natural Ways to Improve Sleep.

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 14th, 2018

3 Medicinal Herbs You Can Grow Indoors

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 05:57

The advances in modern medicine are obviously wonderful and have added years to the average American’s lifespan.  But what will you do when medical care isn’t so readily available, such as in a survival scenario or for a mild ailment?  Hopefully, this list of three medicinal herbs that everyone can easily grow in their own home will help you decide if herbal medicine could be of some aid.

Herbal medicine has been around for much longer than Western medicine, and with interventions like chemotherapy being only 2% effective at the 5-year mark, many are already looking to use mother nature instead of or in addition to radiation treatments to help cure ailments.  That isn’t to say you should not undergo chemotherapy, it means only that many are looking out for their health by using nature and diet to affect the appropriate changes in their bodies.

The use of traditional remedies increases when conventional medicine is ineffective in the treatment of disease, such as in advanced cancer and in the face of new infectious diseases. Furthermore, traditional medicines are widely perceived as natural and safe and non-toxic.  Although that isn’t necessarily true, especially when combining herbs with chemically made medicines, each person should still decide for themselves if they would like to begin growing medicinal herbs.  If you decide that’s right for you, here are three herbs that anyone can grow in the comfort of their own home!

1.ALOE VERA

Aloe vera plants have many benefits, and not just for the skin.  Most people know of using aloe vera gel to soothe a sunburn. When you snap open an aloe vera leaf, you’ll immediately notice the clear gel inside. That gel is packed full of nutrients that are great for common skin ailments such as cold sores, minor cuts, and rashes. Aloe gel will help soothe the pain and itching and speed up healing.

Because of its skin-soothing properties, aloe is also an excellent addition to homemade beauty products like soaps and lotions.  Aloe gel can help heal tissues in the digestive system, too. The one caveat here is that you need to be careful ingesting too much of the aloe latex  (the yellow-ish sap that seeps from the leaf when cut.) It tastes bitter and can act as a strong laxative for some people.

Aloe is also readily available.  Check at any store near your home that sells plants, and it’s likely they’ll stock aloe. If you prefer to grow it yourself, consider first that aloe is a succulent – a desert plant and prefers a loose dry soil and they thrive without regular fertilizer. These plants also like sunshine and warmth.  Consider growing aloe in a sunroom or on a window sill in a warm space. Aloe plants are rather difficult to kill, however, if you manage to kill an aloe vera plant, it’s probably because you overwatered it.  Aloe plants don’t like being wet, so you want to make sure your pot has plenty of drainage holes and your soil is amended with lots of perlite or sand. You can also buy special potting soil designed for succulents. Allow the soil to go completely dry before watering.

2.LEMON BALM

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

Lemon balm is a great anti-viral with amazing relaxing properties that are helpful for soothing frayed nerves and calming hyper children. Traditionally, it’s been used to gently treat colic and upset stomach in everyone from infants to elders. A leaf can be chewed to freshen the breath or crushed and placed on a bug bite to help ease the itch. Leaves can also be dried an made into a tea. Lemon balm is also a natural mosquito repellent.  Rub a few leaves on your clothes or skin and those blood-sucking critters will stay away!

Lemon balm is hearty and one plant can easily take over your garden!  That’s why you could consider growing it in a pot inside.  It would be easier to simply buy a plant at a store, or you could grow your own. Lemon balm likes good quality soil, lots of sunshine, and regular watering.  It will thrive inside next to a sunny window, but it doesn’t mind a little bit of shade either.

3. SPEARMINT

Spearmint is very closely related to peppermint in terms of medicinal properties, but the reason it was chosen over peppermint is that many feel the flavor is preferable. Spearmint is a less minty and almost sweeter flavor that’s a bit milder due to a lower concentration of menthol. It makes teas that taste amazing while offering plenty of health benefits.

Medicinal uses of both peppermint and spearmint include aid in digestion and a reduction in flatulence. Spearmint is used for the relief of nausea, cold symptoms, stomach distress, headaches, and indigestion. Spearmint teas are flavorful and could help relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or diarrhea.

Spearmint is readily available in nature but can be purchased at some stores which sell herbal plants, but you could grow it yourself too. Spearmint is a hardy perennial that grows best in partial shade with well-draining, rich, moist soil and a pH of 6.5 to 7. Mint is easiest to grow from plants, but you can sow seeds once the ground has warmed in the spring. Keep seeds moist until they germinate and then thin the plants to 1 foot apart. Since spearmint can quickly take over, many gardeners grow spearmint in hanging baskets or containers to avoid having to pull out runners constantly.

There are obviously many more medicinal herbal plants that can be added to your home or garden space.  If there’s a certain plant you’ve been eyeing, consider looking into its healing properties and how to grow it at home!  You won’t regret your decision! Even if you never use the plant as medicine, you’ll have a beautiful and sometimes fragrant addition to your garden or home.

*Always consult with your healthcare professional if something seems serious. This article is meant for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or cure.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 13th, 2018

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