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A Gardening Guide For Growing Hulless Oats

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 07:07

Hulless oats are whole oats grown without the exterior hull, which means they require less processing after harvest and can be rolled or ground into flour.  They also provide a quick and healthy breakfast.  In our ongoing quest to become more self-sustaining, why we’ve put together this “seed to table” growing guide so you can try to grow your own hulless oats.

Regular oats have a hard shell that is rather difficult to remove. Unless you have a mechanical way of removing this hard shell, you are better off growing some hulless oats (also dubbed “naked oats”) because they have a paper skin rather than a shell that is incredibly easy to remove. Hulless oats are also low in cholesterol and full of iron and fiber, this superfood provides 9 grams of protein per serving. Hulless oats are also a very good source of manganese, selenium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.

Helpful tip: Though oats and other small grains are definitely suitable for the home gardeners, you will need to have more space for them than you do for other fruits or vegetables. That doesn’t mean that you need acres to dedicate to your oats in order to get a useful crop.

PLANTING

  • Oats should be planted as early in the spring as you can get them out. Plant in early spring for grain, or in early fall to produce a heavy mulch right where the plants grew.
  • As winter frosts kill the plants, and rain or snow knocks them down, producing a thick mulch all ready to be planted into in spring.
  • To help reduce the weed levels in your field, you should try to do a cultivation in the fall, to bring up any seeds to the surface for the winter cold to kill. Dig again in the spring closer to when you’re going to do your planting.
  • You should plant your oats in a sunny location where it will be easy to access water for them. Oats need more water than most other grains, and you will probably have to water them if there are too many days between rainstorms. Although they like moisture, oats will not grow well in low-lying areas where water accumulates. The soil needs to be well draining.
  • To sow your seeds, you just broadcast them out over the soil. For a small area (like a quarter acre or less), you can just do it by hand. Try to get the seeds evenly distributed.
  •  Cover all that seed once you’re done. If you leave it all on the surface, you will surely lose most of it to the birds. Go over the entire area with a rake and turn over the soil to get the seeds at least an inch under the surface.
  • Consider covering the oat beds with pine needles.  This will help keep the seeds nice and moist and kept the weeds at bay.

Helpful Tip: Another helpful trick is to do your seeding right before an expected heavy rain. The water will beat the seeds into the wet soil, and do a pretty good job of covering without any more effort on your part.

TROUBLESHOOTING

Other than the birds and rodents stealing your grain, there are few pests to worry about when growing oats. But there are some rust fungi that can attack your oats, particularly if the weather is very humid. You will see patches or streaks of rust on the leaves and stalks of your oats. There are fungicide products you can use, as long as you aren’t spraying right before harvest time.

HARVEST & STORAGE

Harvest and Storage

  • Oats will be between 2 and 5 feet tall when they are mature. The leaves should be starting to turn brown, and the oat kernels should be in what is called the “dough” stage. When you squeeze a kernel, there should be no milky fluid left (its still in the milk stage then). The kernels should be soft and can be dented with a fingernail. If you wait until they are hard (also called “dead ripe”, you will likely lose a lot of grain with all the handling during harvest.
  • To harvest your oats, just cut the seed heads from the stalks. You can cut the stalks anywhere along the length, but the higher up you cut, the less straw you’ll have to deal with when you are threshing. A sharp knife or garden sickle will work fine.
  • Once the seed heads are harvested, you will need to let them cure. How long this takes will really depend on the weather, and it can be several days up to several weeks.
  • Store your cut oats outside if it’s not expecting to rain, or indoors where it is warm and dry. When the kernels are dead ripe, you can start to thresh out the oats.
  • You can actually thresh your wheat with a meat grinder with great success. The design of the latest harvesters uses the same principle of a turning screw to thresh the grain. If you’d like to make one improvement to the hand-cranked grinder, attach a drill to drive the auger. It makes the job a bit smoother. Leave the blades of the meat grinder on and run the oats through!
  • Store whole oats in an air-tight container away from the light. They should last up to 3 months. Their high-fat content keeps them from storing longer, and they will go rancid.

Before using your oats, soak them to ensure the skin is gone (it should float to the surface while any pebbles that may have gotten through will fall to the bottom). Once soaked, hulless oats can be sprouted because they are a healthy living grain, unlike common oats that are de‐hulled by a heat process that actually damages the whole grain. Sprouting oats will change their nutrient content, improving it! The carbohydrate content will decrease and the vitamin count will increase as the sprouts take energy from the seed to create a sprout. Not only that, but our human bodies respond to the sprout in a more healthy way; acting as if we are eating a plant as opposed to grain.

For full directions on how to sprout your hulless oats at home in a jar, please click here. 

Use oat sprouts in salads or in your sandwiches! They also go great on soups or as a garnish for dips.

Hulless Oats

 

Why You Should Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day, and How to Do It

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 06:23

We often hear that we should walk 10,000 steps a day for good health and for weight loss. But where did that recommendation originate?

You may be surprised to learn how that guideline became so popular. It wasn’t based on research – it was created as a promotion by a pedometer company in Japan in the 1960s. The idea became more widespread as walking clubs adopted it as a goal.

That being said – it isn’t a bad goal to work toward. Any physical activity is beneficial, and the more steps you get in each day, the better.

Let’s take a look at what research does tell us about walking.

How fast you walk appears to matter quite a bit.

An analysis of more than 50,000 walkers conducted by the University of Sydney in 2018 found that walking pace matters. The researchers found that walking at an average pace was associated with a 20 percent risk reduction for all-cause mortality, compared with walking at a slow pace. Walking at a brisk or fast pace was associated with a risk reduction of 24 percent. Older age groups saw a pronounced protective effect. People 60 years of age and over who walked at an average pace experienced a 46 percent reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes. Fast-pace walkers experienced a 53 percent reduction, according to the study’s press release. How do you know if you are walking fast enough to reap these benefits? A good indicator is to walk at a pace that makes you slightly out of breath or sweaty when that pace is sustained, said lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis.

“Especially in situations when walking more isn’t possible due to time pressures or a less walking-friendly environment, walking faster may be a good option to get the heart rate up – one that most people can easily incorporate into their lives,” Professor Stamatakis explained.

A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology in 2018 also found that pace matters. For the study, researchers followed 1,078 hypertensive patients, of whom 85% also had coronary heart disease and 15% also had valve disease. They recorded the number of all-cause hospitalizations and length of stay over the next three years. During the three year period, 182 of the slow walkers (51%) had at least one hospitalization, compared to 160 (44%) of the intermediate walkers, and 110 (31%) of the fast walkers. The press release elaborates on the findings:

The slow, intermediate and fast walking groups spent a total of 4,186, 2,240, and 990 days in the hospital over the three years, respectively.

The average length of hospital stay for each patient was 23, 14, and 9 days for the slow, intermediate and fast walkers, respectively. Each 1 km/hour increase in walking speed resulted in a 19% reduction in the likelihood of being hospitalized during the three-year period. Compared to the slow walkers, fast walkers had a 37% lower likelihood of hospitalization in three years.

Another study published in 2018 found that walking for at least 40 minutes several times per week at an average to fast pace is associated with a near 25 percent drop in the risk of heart failure among post-menopausal women. The researchers found the benefit appears to be consistent regardless of a woman’s body weight or whether she engages in other forms of exercise besides walking. This study analyzed walking behavior and health outcomes in 89,000 women during a 10-year period. According to a press release published by the American College of Cardiology, this study is the first to examine the benefits of walking by parsing the effects of walking frequency, duration, and speed. It is also the first to specifically focus on the risk of heart failure among women over age 50.

Dr. Somwail Rasla, a cardiology fellow at Saint Vincent Hospital who conducted the study during his residency at Brown University, said of the findings:

“We actually looked at women with four different categories of body mass index (BMI) and found the same inverse relationship between walking behavior and the risk of heart failure. The results show that even obese and overweight women can still benefit from walking to decrease their risk of heart failure.”

Even lower intensity walking provides benefits.

study conducted in Sweden found that there are considerable health benefits to be gained not only from moderate or intense physical activity but also from low-intensity (everyday) activity. Researchers analyzed how different levels of physical activity in 1,200 people across Sweden affected the mortality rate due to cardiovascular disease (among other causes) 15 years later.

Replacing half an hour’s sedentariness a day with low-level activity can reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by an estimated 24 percent, the researchers found. While lower intensity exercise was shown to provide benefits, this study also found that replacing sedentariness with physical activity of at least moderate level equivalent to a brisk walk or higher intensity training had an even greater effect on cardiovascular-related mortality. “Ten minutes of moderate to intense activity a day reduced the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease by 38 percent, 30 minutes a day by a full 77 percent, according to their calculations,” the press release reports.

In 2017, researchers looked at data from nearly 140,000 participants in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort and found that walking has the potential to significantly improve health. The team found that regular walking, even if not meeting the minimum recommended levels, is associated with lower mortality compared to inactivity. Walking for less than 2 hours per week was associated with lower all-cause mortality compared to no activity. “Meeting 1 to 2 times the minimum recommendation (2.5-5 hours/week) through walking-only was associated with 20% lower mortality risk. Results for those exceeding recommendations through walking-only were similar to those who met recommendations,” a press release reported.

Research has found several ways to stay motivated and to track progress.

Join a walking group and track your steps with a pedometer.

People may be more likely to stick to taking exercise if they walk in groups, according to a study published in January 2018. The research, led by Anglia Ruskin University, also found that group walking plays a part in improved physical activity and better quality of life. Researchers analyzed 18 studies of physically healthy adults who walked in groups compared with those who walked alone (or not at all). They found that people who participated in group walking were more likely to have kept up the exercise by the end of the study, which was an average of six months later.

Researchers at the University of St George’s London found that people who use pedometers to count their steps as part of a 12-week walking program had a healthier, more active lifestyle three to four years later.

If you’d like to use a device to count your steps, you have a lot of options, including basic pedometers, fitness trackers, waterproof fitness watches, and more sophisticated trackers like FitBit Smart Fitness watches with heart rate monitors and GPS and the Apple Watch (this one even has an Emergency SOS feature). (ALL of those are Amazon links)

No pedometer? No problem – you can still estimate your steps.

If you do not have a pedometer and do not want to use complex calculations to figure out your walking intensity, you can measure your walking cadence instead, according to research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Catrine Tudor-Locke, professor of kinesiology, and postdoctoral researchers Elroy Aguiar and Scott Ducharme concluded that for adults, age 21-40, walking about 100 steps per minute constitutes moderate intensity, while vigorous walking begins at about 130 steps per minute. To use this method, count your steps for 15 seconds and multiply by four to determine steps per minute.

In a press release, the researchers elaborated on their findings:

Aguiar said that the natural walking pace of 90 percent of the study participants was above the moderate-pace threshold. “If you just tell people to walk at their normal speed, they probably are going to walk above 100 steps per minute. Asking people to walk for exercise is a low-cost, low-skill, feasible activity choice which has the potential to drastically improve people’s health,” he says.

The research suggests a simple but powerful public health message: Just walk, as much as possible. “Our society has engineered movement out of our life,” Aguiar says. “We have TVs, we have cars, we have remotes. It’s clear that you can achieve the public health guidelines for physical activity through walking.”

How many steps per day is ideal?

Public health organizations typically offer recommendations for physical activity in general, not for walking specifically. Of course, walking IS physical activity, so let’s take a look at what general guidelines for that say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Physical Activity Guidelines recommends the following:

For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.

How do we translate those guidelines into steps?

The time it takes to reach 10,000 steps depends on intensity of your steps. For moderate intensity, take 100 steps per minute, and for vigorous intensity, take 130 steps per minute.

If your walking pace is moderate in intensity, it would take you 100 minutes to reach 10,000 steps. If you do this every day, you’ll get a little over 11 hours of walking in each week.

If your pace is vigorous in intensity, it would take you 77 minutes to reach 10,000 steps. If you do this every day, you’ll get close to 9 hours of walking in each week.

As you can see, walking at a moderate to vigorous intensity every day (or nearly every day) exceeds general recommendations for physical activity.

If you want to think in terms of distance, 2,000 steps is about a mile, and 10,000 steps equals roughly 5 miles.

Do you need reasons to start a walking routine? Here are a bunch!

The American Heart Association’s guidelines match those of the CDC. The organization’s website provides an excellent summary of the benefits of physical activity:

  • Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and Alzheimer’s, several types of cancer, and some complications of pregnancy
  • Better sleep, including improvements in insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea
  • Improved cognition, including memory, attention and processing speed
  • Less weight gain, obesity and related chronic health conditions
  • Better bone health and balance, with less risk of injury from falls
  • Fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Better quality of life and sense of overall well-being

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) reports that regular physical activity:

  • Improves good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Lowers blood pressure (it is recommended to shoot for a top number (systolic) of 120 mm Hg or lower)
  • Aids in weight management
  • Reduces HbA1c (measure for diabetic control)
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces mental stress
  • Reduces the incidence of depression
How can you add more steps every day?

This depends on several factors, including your current activity level and overall health.

First, figure out what your baseline is. Put on a pedometer or fitness monitor or use an app (remember to carry your smartphone with you throughout the day if you use an app). Go about your day as usual. At the end of the day, check your step count. Do this for a week, and calculate your average.

Then, gradually add steps every day.

According to a report from VeryWellFit, Professor Tudor-Locke advises a goal of 10,000 steps per day as a good baseline. She offers these tips to match physical activity recommendations for heart health:

  • Increase your daily steps by 3,000 to 4,000 steps taken during bouts of 10-minutes or longer at moderate-to-vigorous intensity, which is a pace of brisk walking to jogging.
  • Achieve a goal of 8,900 to 9,900 steps at least five days per week with at least 3,000 steps of moderate-to-vigorous intensity bouts of 10 minutes or more.
  • Alternatively, set a goal of 9,150 to 10,150 steps at least three days per week with at least 3,250 steps of vigorous intensity bouts of 10 minutes or more.
Here’s how to fit 10,000 steps into your busy schedule.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to get all of your steps in one walking session. All of the walking you do during the day counts! Here are some ways to sneak in more steps to help you reach your goal.

  • If you drive to work, park farther away from your office.
  • Get off the bus or train one stop earlier and walk home.
  • Take several shorter walks daily, preferably outside. Yes, even during the colder months! Research shows that spending time outside during winter provides many benefits.
  • Go for walks during your lunch break and other work breaks. Even 10 minute walks spread through the day add up.
  • Join a walking group. Sites like MeetUp have lots of them. If you can’t find a group, consider starting one.
  • Take the stairs instead of using elevators and escalators.

If you walk alone, please keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Stay alert – if you use headphones, be sure to keep the volume low or leave an earbud out of one ear so you can hear what is going on around you. Don’t look down at your device – practice situational awareness.
  • Tell someone your planned route and your expected return time. Ask them to check on you at that time.
  • Carry a personal safety device like pepper spray, an alarm, or a stun gun (legality for each varies in different localities).
  • Know how to avoid possible attackers, and how to defend yourself should someone attack you.
  • Wear bright colors. Carry a flashlight if you walk when visibility is low.

Do you currently walk on a regular basis? Do you have tips for other readers? Let us know in the comments!

Be well!

 

10 Health Boosting Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Tonics

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 09:00

Apple cider vinegar has a fairly lengthy history when it comes to natural home remedies. It has been touted as a cure-all for almost everything; from helping blood pressure issues, fungal infections, to sore throats and even weight loss.

Let’s get one big myth about apple cider vinegar out of the way first. Many erroneously believe that apple cider vinegar contains a lot of nutrients; it actually doesn’t.  Apple cider vinegar is fantastic for all sorts of ailments, not because of it’s nutritional content but from its ability to acidify the body.  ACV does have acetic acid, which is the one reason why it helps with so many conditions. Acetic acid is actually the key ingredient and has a pH of 2.5. This will help in the transportation of minerals, especially calcium, the digestion of protein and the stimulation of thyroid function. Interestingly, due to the common excessive alkalinity, a good portion of the population has, apple cider vinegar is a safe and healthy solution.

10 Healthy Benefits From Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar’s most common use may be for weight loss, however, it may work overall on a lot of conditions by balancing your gut microbiome. Because of the new and trendy “Give It a Shot” craze, many have found that “taking a shot” of ACV can have lasting effects on your health. Some of those benefits include:

    1. Antibacterial and Antiviral – Vinegar has been shown in studies to mildly lower the growth of gram-negative bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Gram-negative bacteria have an impenetrable outer wall and are more difficult to kill with antigens than gram-positive bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria are often more resistant to antibiotics making them culprits for “superbugs.” But bacterial colonies like these are higher in bacterial endotoxins called lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Higher levels of LPS are implicated in a whole of inflammatory health problems and leaky gut syndrome, so it’s great that apple cider vinegar could help keep the number of these bacteria down! ACV has also been shown to have antiviral and anti-yeast and -fungal benefits, all helpful in supporting microbiome and overall immune balance.
    2. Digestion and acid reflux – apple cider vinegar increases the acidity of your stomach, which helps your body create more pepsin, the enzyme that breaks down protein and aids in quality digestion of your food.
    3. Immune boosting – most germs can’t survive in the overly acidic environment created by ACV.
    4. Improves complexions and helps with skin disorders – although there are few studies to prove this, ACV can help with acne. ACV contains acetic, citric, lactic and succinic acid, all of which have been shown to kill acne. In one study, 22 people applied lactic acid lotion to their faces twice a day for one year. Most of them experienced a significant reduction in acne, while only two people experienced less than a 50% improvement.
    5. Weight loss as a hunger suppressant – ACV helps you feel fuller for longer.  Because of that, you’ll consume fewer calories. The acetic acid acts as a natural appetite suppressant. 
    6. Helps with Diabetes by reducing blood sugar –  One European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, for example, found that those who consumed ACV before eating white bread experienced 31 percent smaller spikes in blood sugar than those who ate bread but no vinegar. Acetic acid, one of vinegar’s main components, decreases the activity of an enzyme that breaks complex sugars into simple sugars. It’s also been shown to increase levels of glucose-6-phosphate, a compound that helps convert glucose (the simple sugar in our blood) to glycogen (a form of sugar stored in our muscles and liver to be used as energy). Both effects contribute to vinegar’s potential blood sugar benefits.
    7. Reduces Inflammation – ACV is an anti-inflammatory, see #1.
    8. Pain relief – Since ACV helps eliminate inflammation in the gut, it can also help with pain relief. A healthy gut microbiome can help reduce inflammation in the digestive system, joints, and even other areas of the body such as the heart, blood, and more.
    9. Natural detoxan ACV detox may help your body function at optimum levels by removing toxins and “detoxing.”
    10. Headaches – using a compress of ACV helps to reduce the pain in headaches
THERE ARE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF CONSUMING ACV

It’s incredibly important that you are aware of a few of the negative effects associated with apple cider vinegar. Please keep these in mind when consuming ACV, especially if you drink it straight or “take a shot” of it. Some of those potential negative outcomes are:

  1. Dental Erosion – Studies have found that weekly consumption of apple vinegar increased the risk of dental erosion. Acetic acid is the culprit. If you are concerned about your teeth enamel, consider taking ACV supplements.
  2. Stomach discomfort – The acids in vinegar can have a negative effect on those who have sensitive stomachs and can cause issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

* DO NOT “take a shot” of ACV, or consume it straight.  Mix “the shot” in a salad dressing or dilute it in more than 8 oz of water. “Apple cider vinegar has a strong effect on the teeth because of its acid content,” says holistic dentist Tom Valmadre, D.D.S. “Exposure can increase [the] risk of decay, sensitivity, and erosion.” Not to mention, it can rather unpleasantly burn the heck out of your throat and damage its lining over time.

The best type of ACV to purchase is perhaps in an already made drink. This one from Bragg’s is organic. If you’re buying ACV itself, look for organic apple cider vinegar with a cloudy bloom in it: this is the “mother” fermentation in the vinegar and is a sign of quality. This will afford you the freedom of making your own tonic, but again, we suggest heavily diluting the ACV.  If you choose, more than 10 ounces of water can be used.  Personally, I loathe the smell and taste of vinegar and ACV is not any different.  I dilute 1/2 tablespoon of ACV in 20 ounces of water because I honestly can’t handle it any stronger. My dislike of the stuff actually helps keep me from consuming it more than every 10-15 days or so, which helps with minimizing the tooth enamel erosion risk.

ACV Tonic Recipe for Health

Ingredients:

  • 10 – 24 ounces warm water
  • 1-2 tablespoon/s apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger, grated (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Add all of the ingredients to warm water. Do not use boiling water as it will destroy the vitamin C in the lemon juice. Add optional fresh ginger and cinnamon to help with the taste and give the body a little extra boost.

** This article is for informational purposes only.  It is not meant to treat, cure, or diagnose any health concern or medical condition.  Please see a qualified medical professional if you need treatment or diagnostics.

 

This Winter Survival Skill Saved Two Women Lost in the Mountains

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 00:47

Emergencies happen when we least expect them, and as two women recently found out, when you plan for the worst, your odds of survival increase.

A survival story made headlines recently about two women who lost their way in the Sierra Nevada mountains over President’s Day Weekend. The two became disoriented in the snow and lost their way while cross-country skiing and spent two days in harsh winter elements before they were able to notify relatives that they were lost, and the relatives then called 911. Emergency responders are now claiming they survived subzero temperatures from knowing how to make a winter survival shelter.

Image Source: Mountain Democrat

In the article:

El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Almos said they received the call about the women’s distress at midnight on Saturday. On Sunday they did a “hasty search” but all attempts were failing due to conditions, Almos said that even snowmobiles and a snow cat couldn’t navigate in the deep snow. “We even contemplated sending a drone,” he said, but there was a blizzard. “It’s tough to even send people out there due to the conditions.”

Fortunately, the women knew enough to build a snow cave in the heavy snow and were able to survive Saturday night when temperatures dropped below freezing.

….

Jared Boothe, a flight officer/paramedic with the California Highway Patrol’s Valley Division Air Operations said the helicopter crew spotted the women around 9:30 a.m. on Monday. “If they hadn’t had the skill set and experience to build a snow cave, it likely would have been a fatal event as temperatures were reported to be a minus 8 degrees without considering wind chill,” Boothe said. “If they had sat out in the open, they likely wouldn’t have made it out.”

Navigating in the Snow

It is easy to become disoriented in a snowy landscape. In a previous article about navigating the snow, the writer states it’s more difficult than one would think. “First, with snow blanketing the landscape, the appearance of the terrain is changed. Secondly, the landscape is also physically altered: it is a different thing to walk across six inches to several feet of snow. Right now, where I live, I have almost three feet of snow on the ground. The winter weather conditions are another item: it’s a far cry from a summer stroll when you walk into a cold wind that is throwing sleet right into your face in the middle of February.” He emphasizes knowing the terrain and pace count is the best way to navigate in a wintry area.

While it should go without saying, dress appropriately for winter conditions. You never know when you will find yourself staring down the business end of an emergency situation. “Pick up a good pair of goggles that do not fog up, and appropriate shielding for the face. Make sure you’re dressed in all-weather to combat the weather.  I recommend Gore-Tex from head to toe.  A GPS compass will help, but here it is important to rely on the basics because batteries do die, electronics can be fouled up by extremes in weather and temperature, and it’s always best to rely on the “primitive” and skills.” Try this compass instead.

Other lightweight tools to keep in mind are:

How a Snow Cave Will Protect You

If you find yourself in a situation like the women skiers who lost their way, learn from their survival story and teach yourself essential winter skills. A snow cave or a quinzee will protect you from the elements and is perfect for areas where snow is not too deep and has powdery snow in order to form correctly. This snow shelter uses the powdery snow which will pack and bond together so that it is easier to hollow out and form a shelter. A properly made snow cave can be 0 °C (32 °F) or warmer inside, even when outside temperatures are −40 °C (−40 °F).

A snow cave is constructed by excavating snow so that the tunnel entrance is below the main space to retain warm air. If made correctly, your body heat will insulate and heat the inside of the cave and save your life.

The video provides step-by-step instructions. If you do not have a shovel on hand, look for makeshift tools like a flat rock or a split piece of wood.

Keep These Winter Shelter Tips in Mind
  • If you can face your shelter towards the east you will be able to prevent heat loss from prevailing winds and storms coming into your shelter.
  • Protect yourself from the elements by using branches, sticks, tarps or whatever you have available. Pine branches are great for wind-proofing your shelter and preventing heat loss from the ground.
  • Body heat can quickly escape if you do not have a ground insulator. If you can make your bedding area off the ground, you will be able to conserve more body heat. Consider pine needles, leaves, spruce boughs and/or branches, or even building up the snow around your primitive shelter.
  • Dehydration in cold climates can be a major risk when outdoors. Excessive perspiration, heavy clothing, and increased respiratory fluid loss are other factors that contribute to dehydration in cold climates. For example, when you can see your own breath, that’s actually water vapor that your body is losing. The colder the temperature and the more intense the exercise, the more vapor you lose when you breathe.
  • Take into consideration your energy output on building the shelter versus the protection of the shelter. This is labor intensive so be mindful of how much time it is taking to ensure you are not overexposed to the winter elements. Being exposed to the elements longer than three hours could be life-threatening.

Start training for winter survival emergencies with some basic shelters and then move into more advanced. Knowing these skills could save your life!

 

Additional Reading:

How To Build a Snow Cave

Quinzee Building

A Step-By-Step Guide To Prepare You For Any Disaster

A Green Beret’s Guide To Building an Emergency Winter Shelter

 

How To Get More Eggs From Chickens Over Winter

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 05:28

Backyard chicken owners dread winter! Winter conditions and changes in sunlight cause a decrease in chicken’s egg production. While this can be bothersome to see your investment of egg-laying hens “close up shop” during winter, (and you’re still footing the bill for the cost of feed) there are some things you can do to help them. In a previous article, we covered how to winterize your coop for winter and touched on a few of these pointers. Today, we are going to go into more detail.

So why do hens stop producing? When the cooler days of autumn turn into the bitterly cold nights of winter, more of your chicken’s bodily resources have to go into keeping her warm rather than go toward producing eggs. As well, after the long egg production that happened during the warmer months, chickens tend to “rest” when the days get shorter. This is a normal reaction for hens, and if you allow nature to takes its course, they will stop laying completely during winter and start back up in spring. This also reduces burn out from overactive egg production. But, some of us depend on a daily amount of eggs and try to encourage them to continue laying.

Give your girls what they need to keep them laying all winter long 1. Plenty of Food and Water

Did you know that chickens need more food in winter? Typically, they require 1.5 times more food during colder months. They tend to eat more because their bodies are fighting more to stay warm. It’s alright to play around with the amount of food as chickens do not tend to overeat. If you’ve overfed them, you may notice some leftover food in their feeders in the morning. Giving them extra food will help them ensure they have adequate nutrition during winter.

In addition, pay attention to adding extra nutrients to their diet. Because they do not have as much access to fresh grasses, fruits, vegetables, and bugs, they need more carbohydrates and protein in their diet during winter. Remember, hens need protein to produce eggs! While most chicken owners will add some chicken scratch to their feed, there are some additional nutrients to keep in mind. As well, a hens’ diet shouldn’t consist of only cracked corn/scratch grains. What nutrients do they need in winter

We’ve had great success sprouting our garden seeds that we didn’t use the previous growing season and mixing those sprouts in with mealworms. This provides them with the extra protein they need in winter and they love it. A note of caution: stay away from feeding nightshade seed varieties (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, etc.) to your chickens as these contain solanine and can cause your health problems for your girls. A frugal alternative to sprouts is to supplement their diets with fodder, as well as vegetable and fruit scraps for added nutrition.

I also like to give my hens a cup of oats along with their sprouts every few days to provide them with additional carbohydrates. Moreover, a handful of grit can also help since it’s harder for them to get access to it in winter. A handful once every 2 weeks will be plenty for a small flock of 12 hens.

As well, ensure there is plenty of water for them. If chickens, particularly laying hens, are without water for a 24 hour period, they may stop laying eggs for several weeks following. Simply put, it stresses them out. As well, hydration protects them during periods of severe cold as well as extreme heat. One solution is to purchase a heated base for the water system and run a heavy-duty extension cord into the chicken coop. Another solution is to check on your chicken’s water more frequently. Bringing warm water out to replace the frozen water will be very welcomed.

2. Sunshine

According to The Happy Chicken Coop, “The amount of daylight tells your hen when to release a yolk and produce an egg. So when the daylight is reduced, chickens don’t receive this light ‘cue’ to tell them to release a yolk. This is mainly a survival mechanism as their offspring would have a very small chance of surviving during a cold winter.”

Keep in mind that young chickens will require more body heat compared to a fully grown chicken. Further, the avian reproductive cycle, which is how a hen produces eggs, is stimulated in poultry by increasing day length. 14 hours of light is what a chicken requires to lay eggs and usually get these results during the warmer months. Having a light bulb hooked up to a timer to assist in continued egg laying. An added benefit to this is it creates added warmth to the flock. To provide some warmth, but not too much light, we use a 250-watt bulb in our coop. One heat lamp per 30 chickens will be sufficient. Light fixtures in the coop should be placed above feeders and watering container, and care should be taken to avoid having areas in the chicken house that are shaded from light.

One homesteading blog asked Extension Poultry Specialist Jesse Lyons at the University of Missouri how to convince hens to keep laying using supplemental daylight, and she said, “It takes about 12 hours of day length to get the birds stimulated to where they start laying,” Lyons says. “Up to about 16 to 17 hours or so, somewhere in there, is probably the maximum day length that will stimulate the birds.” The light has to be constant, and if you have a timer set for say, 14 hours of light and the egg production slows down, Lyons adding another half-hour so the hens think springtime is coming.

3. Be Observant

There’s a chance that with all of these suggestions, your girls still may not produce eggs until spring. So pay attention and make sure it’s just the weather and not them being sick. Chickens may get sick in the winter, so keep an eye out for symptoms of the cold or flu. If your chicken gets sick, seek out the help of an avian veterinarian.

According to Backyard Coops, some common signs of chickens not feeling well are:

  • A pale, limp comb (potential symptoms of frostbite, worms)
  • Coughing, wheezing, runny nose (Chronic Respiratory Disease)
  • Mangy/patchy feathers (lice or mites)
  • Heavy breathing, holding wings away from their body (heat stroke)

If you notice any of these signs your chicken could be ill and you may need to give her some extra care or call a vet.

Other factors that could contribute to decreasing eggs is the hens age and even molting. Molting could also be an issue with decreased egg production. This occurs in response to decreased light as summer ends and winter approaches, so it is entirely possible they are using their energy to get their new feathers in; and with that you must be patient until this process is complete.

Just in case you need more reasons why your chickens aren’t laying here are 20 more reasons!

To conclude, during the winter months the best thing you can do as a backyard chicken owner is to keep them warm, well fed and watered, and give them extra light to try to encourage more eggs. On a personal note, we have 12 chickens on our little farm and the average daytime temperatures have been in the 30s – 40s with intermittent snow storms. With this nasty weather, I am still getting a nice amount of eggs from them. All that I have done this year is give them fresh bedding, increased their feed, give them extra nutrients (as described above), and made sure they have plenty of water. They seem happy and are still laying.

 

Why Sourdough Bread Is Great For Your Health (with recipes)

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 05:14

Sourdough bread is often known as the healthiest bread, and there’s a science behind that moniker. Although bread is a staple, many have trouble digesting it and it could be one of the worst things to eat if a person has a gluten intolerance. But sourdough bread could be the solution and a naturally healthy one at that!

So what exactly makes sourdough bread so much healthier and better for digestion than commercially made bread?

Part of the reason that sourdough bread is so healthy is the reduced phytic acid in sourdough bread thanks to the different fermentation process. Phytic acid is actually so hard on the body, it is considered an “anti-nutrient” by some. Phytic acid is a component found in the bran portion of all grains and beans.  It impairs the absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium because the phytic acid molecules bind with the minerals, which make these important nutrients unavailable to the body for use. Sourdough fermentation is much more efficient than yeast fermentation in reducing the phytate content in whole wheat bread (-62 and -38%, respectively). The lactic acid bacteria present in sourdough enhances acidification, which leads to increased magnesium and phosphorus solubility. Long slow fermentation of wheat can reduce phytates by up to 90%! Some recent studies have even indicated that those who are intolerant to wheat are able to tolerate sourdough bread because the old-fashioned fermentation process has been shown to break down the gluten in the wheat in the process.

*We still suggest steering clear of ALL bread including sourdough if you have Celiac or a major intolerance to gluten; unless the bread has been made with gluten-free ingredients. Better safe than sorry. We have included a gluten-free flour option in the sourdough bread recipe in this article for our friends who do live a gluten-free life!

Sourdough bread won’t spike your blood sugar either. Sourdough bread is rated lower in the Glycemic Index (a system that ranks food based on its effect on blood sugar levels) than other types of bread because of the build-up of organic acids. These naturally occurring acids make the minerals and vitamins in flour more available than they might be in other bread, and reduce the rate at which glucose is released into the bloodstream. Despite its significant carbohydrate content, which is usually an indication of a high glycemic index food, sourdough bread has a glycemic index of only 53. This makes it a low-glycemic-index food. As with other low GI food, sourdough bread will likely cause only a gradual increase in blood sugar levels rather than a spike.

There are also probiotics in sourdough bread that make it a better choice than the commercially processed bread at the store. Probiotics help to support the gut microbiome. Probiotics are the gut bacteria that aid the body in healthy digestion. While gut health can help balance your mood, stress levels, hormones, and some of the other somewhat invisible aspects of your health, it’s often misunderstood as being an agent for weight loss or dieting. Gut health is really just assistance for your digestive system. However, the mass-produced sourdough sliced in a popularly branded loaf is likely lacking when it comes to any real probiotic benefit. So that’s why you will want to make your own!

SOURDOUGH STARTER RECIPE

All you need to make your sourdough starter is flour, water, and a container large enough to hold 2 quarts to keep it in.

*For a gluten-free alternative, try brown rice flour. Try this one here!  

  • Day 1-2: In a clean jar or container: add 1/2 cup flour (unbleached white, whole wheat, rye, brown rice*), and 1/2 cup water.** Please note – If you do not want a major mess on your hands, do not screw the lid to a glass jar for your starter! Stir the flour and water until combined and allow this mixture to sit for 2 days on the counter (covered with plastic wrap or a canning lid that is not completely fastened) at room temperature.
  • Day 3: Observe the dough. If you have bubbles, add 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. Stir together and let sit for one day. If you don’t have bubbles, allow the dough to sit for another day and observe.
  • Day 4, 5, 6: Add 1/2 cup flour and water to the jar and stir on each of these days to build the strength of your starter. Let it sit at room temperature after each stirring. By the 6th day, your starter should seem mildly bubbly and it will have a pleasant sour smell building up. Add more flour and water so you have at least 3 1/2 cups of starter to use in a batch of dough.
  • Day 7: By this time, the starter will be actively bubbling and puffy. This indicates that your starter is ready for use.

Your sourdough starter looks like this when it’s ready:

MAKING SOURDOUGH BREAD:

  • Ingredients
    • 1 cup ripe sourdough starter
    • 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
    • 5 cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Instructions
    • Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or a large (6-quart) food-safe plastic bucket.
    • Mix and stir everything together to make a sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the paddle attachment for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don’t have a mixer, just stir with a big spoon or dough whisk until everything is combined.
    • Leave the dough in the bucket or 6-quart bowl, cover it with the bucket’s lid or a piece of plastic wrap, and let it rise for 1 hour.
    • Gently pick up the dough and fold it over on itself several times, cover it again, and let it rise for another hour.
    • Repeat the rising-folding process one more time (for a total of 3 hours), folding it again after the last hour. Then, place the bucket or bowl in the refrigerator, and let the dough rest for at least 8 hours (or up to 48 hours).
    • When you’re ready to make bread, turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface, and shape it into a rough ball. Leave the dough seam-side up, cover it, and let it rest on a floured surface for 15 minutes.
    • Next, shape the dough to fit the vessel in which you’ll bake it: a 13” log for a long covered baker, or a large boule (round) for a round baker or Dutch oven. Place the shaped dough into the lightly-greased or semolina-dusted base of the baker and cover it with the lid.
    • Let the loaf warm to room temperature and rise; this should take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. It won’t appear to rise upwards that much but will relax and expand.
    • With a rack positioned in the middle, start preheating the oven to 500°F one hour before you’re ready to bake.
    • Just before baking, dust the loaf with a fine coat of flour and use a knife to make one or several 1/2” deep slashes through its top surface. If you’re baking a long loaf, one arched slash down the loaf lengthwise is nice, or if baking a round, a crosshatch or crisscross pattern works well.
    • Cover the baker with its lid and place it in the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 450°F and bake the bread for 45 minutes.
    • Remove the cover of the baker and bake the bread for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the bread is deep golden brown and crusty, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 210°F.
    • Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.
    • Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

The flavor of homemade sourdough bread is incredible and you will still be making a large batch of dough and storing it for up to a week, so you will do the work on one day for many loaves.

 

 

Millennials are Flocking to CBD For Anxiety Relief

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 19:07

There has been a huge surge in CBD oil sales from Millennials.

With this generation being dubbed “the most anxious,” they are often the butt of jokes stemming around being entitled, emotionally fragile, and lazy; but perhaps older generations have jumped to conclusions considering what the pressures Millennials are under.

Recent surveys and studies have found that anxiety is a common challenge for many – and Millennials, in particular, are struggling. Unemployment, financial obligations like student debt, and addictions to technology are some of the surmounting issues causing anxiety in this age group. In fact, this generation is experiencing so much anxiety that in a poll conducted by Quartz found that 18% of the respondents overall said they experience anxiety or depression to the point where it disrupts work “all the time” or “often.” The rate was nearly twice as high (30%) among Millennial and Gen Z employees (aged 18-34.)

Why are young adults so anxious?

Quartz listed some reasons:

There’s ballooning student debt, for which a job in the gig economy is not particularly well-suited to tackle. So-called helicopter parents, some suggested, have taught middle-class millennials that achieving, not simply being, is all that matters. And millennials are the first generation to grow up with sophisticated mobile technology, and a fierce social-media habit. They’re therefore less nourished, so to speak, by face-to-face interactions, which can alleviate some of the symptoms of stress and depression, psychological research suggests. Meanwhile, all the selfie-posting leaves millennial psyches soaking in humble brags, showboating, and deceptive depictions of other peoples’ picture-perfect lives.

Perfectionism is another factor, according to a report from the American Psychological Association. Last year, the organization found that recent generations of college students have reported higher levels of perfectionism than earlier generations.

From the Chicago Tribune:

This “irrational desire to achieve along with being overly critical of oneself and others” takes a toll on young people’s mental health, according to its research, which analyzed data from more than 40,000 American, Canadian and British college students. Three types of perfectionism were measured: an irrational personal desire to be perfect, perceiving excessive expectations from others and placing unrealistic standards on others.

Recent generations of college students have reported significantly higher scores for each of these types of perfectionism than earlier generations, the researchers found.

Researchers have also found that social media adds comparison pressure, along with the drive to earn money and set lofty career goals.

Pharmaceutical options for treating anxiety carry serious risks.

Many different types of medications are used to treat anxiety disorders, including traditional anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines (typically prescribed for short-term use), and SSRI antidepressants (often used long-term). Common examples of benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan).

There are many questions about the long-term effectiveness of these medications. HelpGuide explains that “According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, benzodiazepines lose their therapeutic anti-anxiety effect after 4 to 6 months of regular use. And a recent analysis reported in JAMA Psychiatry found that the effectiveness of SSRIs in treating anxiety has been overestimated, and in some cases is no better than placebo.”

These drugs come with serious possible side effects and safety concerns – some of which are significant. Common side effects include drowsiness, sleepiness, next-day drowsiness, dizziness, impaired coordination, slowed mental processing, confusion, and memory impairment.

Drugs.com describes a particularly scary common side effect:

Unusual sleep behaviors and anterograde amnesia may occur with traditional benzodiazepines. Anterograde amnesia is the loss of the ability to create new memories, leading to a partial or complete inability to recall the recent past. Several benzodiazepines are known to have this powerful amnesic effect; triazolam (Halcion) is notorious.

Benzodiazepines have a high potential for abuse, addiction, and diversion (illegally selling the drug).

Physical and psychological dependence on benzodiazepines can occur even after short-term use. Withdrawal symptoms can be intense and serious and include sleep disturbances, elevated anxiety, blurred vision, panic attacks, nausea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, psychosis, and hallucinations.

If you are taking a benzodiazepine drug regularly, talk to your doctor before you stop taking it. If you suddenly stop taking the drug without tapering under a medical practitioner’s care, serious side effects – and even death – can occur.

Most prescription drug-related media coverage in recent years has been about the opioid crisis, but as Vice reported last year, it isn’t the only medication that is causing serious problems:

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open found that the number of regular American doctor visits resulting in a benzodiazepine prescription doubled between 2003 and 2015. Meanwhile, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has highlighted that more than 30 percent of opioid overdose deaths involve mixing opioids with benzos, and US overdoses associated with benzodiazepines—the vast majority of which also involve an opioid—grew by a factor of about ten between 1999 and 2017.

Also mentioned in Vice’s report: “…benzo withdrawal can kill on its own by causing seizures”, and “benzodiazepine withdrawal can last months or even years in some cases—and if tapers aren’t conducted slowly and carefully, people’s ability to function at home and at work can be destroyed.”

With the side effects of these prescriptions, it’s no wonder people are turning to more natural ways of handling some of their mental health challenges.

Like their elders, Millennials and those in Generation Z are turning to safe, non-habit forming solutions for managing anxiety.

Interest in cannabidiol (commonly known as “CBD”) is growing for a wide range of health challenges. Is it possible CBD could replace pharmaceutical drugs in the treatment of anxiety?

It seems possible because a growing body of research suggests CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties.

According to a survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in 2018, almost 62 percent of cannabidiol users reported that they used CBD to treat a medical condition, with the top three conditions being pain, anxiety, and depression.

Because research is still in its early stages, scientists aren’t quite sure how CBD oil might help treat anxiety. Some research suggests that in addition to working via the endocannabinoid system, CBD may influence receptors involved in the modulation of serotonin (a chemical messenger thought to play a role in anxiety regulation).

A 2015 research review titled Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders published in The Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics found that “existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely” and concluded that “current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, with the need for further study of chronic and therapeutic effects in relevant clinical populations.”

Research published in 2011 found that CBD reduced anxiety induced by public speaking in participants with Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder.

A recent report from Healthline described how CBD may help those with anxiety:

CBD oil is thought to work with a brain receptor called CB1. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond.

The exact way CBD affects CB1 is not fully understood. However, it’s thought that it alters serotonin signals. Serotonin is one of your body’s chemicals and plays a role in your mental health. Low serotonin levels are common in depression. Not having enough serotonin can also cause anxiety in some people.

The conventional treatment for low serotonin is prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Zoloft and Prozac are both SSRIs. CBD, for some people, may be an alternative to SSRIs for anxiety management. However, you should talk to your doctor before making changes to your treatment plan.

CBD is safe, non-intoxicating, and non-addictive. It is usually well-tolerated, but it can interfere with certain medications. Please consult with your healthcare provider if you are taking prescription drugs and would like to take CBD.

 

 

For more on CBD, please see Dispelling the Myths: Baby Boomers Still Aren’t Sure About This New CBD Craze and CBD Oil Is More Than Just A Fad: Holistic Vets Effectively Use It On Dogs.

For more studies on CBD and anxiety, please see Project CBD’s Anxiety page.

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease, illness, or any other ailment.

 

20 Unexpected Ways Zip Ties Will Save Your Life in an Emergency

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 12:42

Preppers may be known for their beans, bullets, and band-aids, but in a survival situation, they may also want to be known for their vast knowledge of zip-tie uses to get them out of hairy situations.

In past articles, we have covered articles on how to use common household items like rubber bands, bungee cords, PVC, and tarps to use in an emergency situation. Today, we are going to discuss the usefulness of zip ties in emergency situations.

Zip ties have multiple uses for multiple situations and are especially handy in emergency situations. These little guys should be added to preparedness supplies for the home, the vehicle, and for extended emergency situations.

Most zip ties are designed for indoor use and will deteriorate over time in direct sunlight. Therefore, look for durability especially weather resistant or UV-resistant/UV-stable. A point to keep in mind with zip ties is they tend to weaken in extreme temperatures. According to a zip tie manufacturer, “Ties withstand temperatures to 185°F (85°C) and have a melting point of 495°F (257°C); except for barbed design cable ties which withstand temperatures to 167°F (75°C) and have a melting point of 425°F (218°C).” With that in mind, for emergency planning, purchase industrial strength zip ties or heat stabilized nylon as these tend to last longer compared to others.

Weight can also be a factor in weakening its strength. Zip tie tensile strength is the amount of weight a zip tie can hold safely without breaking. For example, a single zip tie with a tensile strength of 120 lbs. will break if it is used to hold something weighing over 120 pounds. Did you know they make extra large 120-tensile zip ties? These would be useful for long-term emergencies situations!

Because zip ties come in a variety of sizes, you should consider purchasing different sizes to meet different scenarios. The average length of a zip tie is 7-12 inches, but the sizes range from 4 to 52 inches!

Let’s take a look at 20+ ways of utilizing zip ties in an emergency.

20 Unexpected Ways Zip Ties Will Save Your Life in an Emergency
  1. Shoelaces – We all know that when a shoelace breaks, you’re “up the creek without a paddle”. Using multiple zip ties will work as a makeshift shoelace until you can replace it.
  2. Makeshift snow chains – We found this idea on Instructables. While these certainly aren’t a replacement for the real deal (and will likely break off shortly after your car gets moving), if you’re stuck in the snow, this could be what you need to get your car and yourself out of danger. Likewise, you can fasten zip ties to your boots for traction if you are walking on ice or slick wet rocks.
  3. Trail markers – If you are in an area you aren’t familiar with, in the backcountry, or marking a path for your group to follow, mark your trail with some brightly colored zip ties.
  4. Make a snare – Catch small game like squirrels and rabbits with this snare made from zip ties. Likewise, this could also be used as a mouse/rat trap too.
  5. Makeshift belt loop – Attach gear or items you want to keep handy to your belt loops or attach zip ties to hold items on molly webbing for bug out bag.
  6. Medical emergencies – Zip ties can be used as a way to hold bandages in place or even make a makeshift splint.
  7. Make a small livestock enclosure – This would be great for chickens with PVC, chicken wire, and zip ties. Granted, this may not last the test of time, but it could be useful in a pinch.
  8. Fasten tarps for an emergency shelter – If you have a tarp or two in your preps, you will want some zip ties to go along with it. They can help fasten to tarp for emergency shelters. Likewise, you can insulate your emergency shelter by securing limbs and branches with zip ties.
  9. Haul large game – When dragging large game like deer out of ravines or crevasses, an XL zip tie looped in each of the deer’s hocks created handles and is a great way to get a grip on the buck’s tail end and keep from stinking up a hunter’s hands.
  10. Quick fix for gear repair – This is perhaps the most common zip tie use, but an important one at that!
  11. Handcuffs – Hopefully, you will never have to use zip ties in this manner, but it’s good to know that they can be used for home security. Purchase larger/wider zip ties for more holding power.
  12. Garden stakes – Zip ties can especially come in handy in the garden. Simply, loosely fasten a zip tie to stake plants like tomatoes, squash, and other vining plants to train them to grow upright.
  13. Food storage – To prevent opened food sources like rice and beans from succumbing to food enemies like oxygen, moisture, and rodents use a zip tie to secure them. Simply drill a hole in your 5-gallon plastic containers and secure it with a zip tie. This keeps your preps secure and safe.
  14. Zipper hack – Got a zipper malfunction? Loop a zip tie through the end of your zipper, then zip up your pants. Hook the loop onto the button, then button your pants. And voila! Zipper crisis averted.
  15. Camping necessity – Use a zip tie to fix broken hooks and loops on a tent. Or use one to secure your camp tablecloth to the table in windy conditions.
  16. Hang tools – Loop a zip tie through the hole in the handle of your broom and dustpan, shovels and other hand tools. They’ll be easier to hang, and you’ll be able to hang multiple tools from each hook or nail.
  17. Create a hunting blind – One hunter made this suggestion and said to use zip ties to pull back and secure obstructing foliage from shooting lanes. This makes for a more natural-looking hunting blind.
  18. Repair backpack straps – If your bugout bag strap breaks, repair it with a zip tie.
  19. Home security – The garage door is one of the easiest ways that thieves break into homes. Threading a plastic zip tie through the emergency release latch of the automatic door opener can prevent such break-ins. Read more here. This should be used during emergencies only as there is a federal code (UL 325) that indicates that zip ties can’t be used to secure garage
  20. Hands-free lighting – Use a zip tie to attach a mini flashlight to a pair of safety glasses and use whenever you need your hands free such as climbing into an attic or doing repairs in unlit spaces.
This video has some of the listed ideas and more

Share this article on Pinterest and share the knowledge!

Old Fashioned Horehound Cough Drops

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 22:50

If over-the-counter cough drops aren’t helping, you may need a more natural remedy to get to the source of the ailment. This horehound recipe is made with loving care using all-natural ingredients like horehound, peppermint, and honey.

This is the easiest recipe I found and works brilliantly! But first why horehound and peppermint?

Health Benefits Horehound

Horehound is one of the oldest medicinal herbs used and is renowned for it’s healing properties. It’s an herbal remedy best used for lung and breathing problems including cough, whooping cough, asthma, tuberculosis, bronchitis, and swollen breathing passages. It is a part of the mint family and contains certain antibiotic and antimicrobial properties that make it a natural way to boost your immune system. According to WebMD, horehound is such an effective cough suppressant because “the chemicals in horehound thin mucus secretions, reduce spasms in the stomach and intestines, and decrease swelling (inflammation).  While on its own it has a bitter taste, adding honey will help that natural medicine go down. More on that soon!

Peppermint

Did you know that sailors carried peppermint with them to help with ailments onboard ships? After reading that fun fact, adding peppermint to my homemade lozenges was a no brainer. The menthol in peppermint acts as a natural decongestant and has a cooling effect that naturally soothes inflamed throats. It provides effective relief from many respiratory problems including nasal congestion, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, and the common cold and cough. If you do not have loose peppermint available, you can add 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil to the recipe below and get the same medicinal effect.

Honey

Honey is the perfect accompaniment to your homemade cough drop recipe. Honey actually fights against bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus. The latter is the most common bacteria found in the human nasal passages and nose. Also, honey should be as raw as possible, and the darker the better.  Dark honey contains more antioxidants, and it is more effective in fighting microorganisms and bacteria. It is highly effective as a cough-suppressant and as a demulcent. That latter term means something that coats the throat and the linings of the trachea and mouth to soothe the surfaces…a principle for which cough drops and lozenges have a primary function/goal. You can read more about the healing properties of honey here. Moreover, not only does honey make the lozenges taste better it is also a binding ingredient which holds the lozenges together.

Old Fashioned Horehound Cough Drops

Before you start on your cough drop making adventures, make sure you have the proper equipment:

  • stainless steel pot
  • fine mesh sieve
  • spoon
  • cookie sheet
  • candy thermometer (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup horehound
  • 1/2 cup peppermint
  • 1-1/2 cup local honey
  • granulated sugar – optional

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil and add loose herbs. Stir herbs into the water and cover.
  2. Remove from heat and allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain and reserve liquid. Add used herbs to your compost pile.
  4. Add the honey to the herbal liquid, return to the pot, and bring to a boil once again.
  5. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to a simmer.
  6. Stir constantly until the syrup reaches 300 degree F (this could take up to 30 minutes). This is where a candy thermometer will come in handy. Or, if you’re like me and don’t have a candy thermometer, use the water test (see below).
  7. Grease a cookie sheet with butter or coconut oil and pour in the syrup.
  8. When the syrup has cooled and is pliable, begin pulling off small pieces and roll them between the palms of greased hands. Form a small, cough-drop sized ball. Note: Work quickly as the mixture hardens pretty fast. If balls harden during the process, return pan to a preheated 350 degrees F oven to soften for a few minutes. Note: for added sweetness, roll cough drops in sugar and set on a cookie sheet.
  9. Allow lozenges to cool and harden on a sheet pan.
  10. Wrap the lozenges individually in pre-cut sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container up to 3 weeks.
Candy Test:

To ensure that the horehound peppermint syrup has reached the correct temperature/consistency, place a drop or two of the syrup into a bowl full of ice water. If the syrup turns and stays hard (like a cough drop) then you know it’s ready. If it is still soft and sticky, it needs to keep cooking.

Feel better!

 

How To Find the Best Bench for Your Home Gym

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 05:29

A good bench for a gym you set up at home can really be the cornerstone of your workout program. It should have more than just your straight bars and yoke for benching weights. A quality bench will have a seat that inclines for use in other exercises and attachments that fit it. This is one of our faves:

Olympus MX WM-100 put out by IMPEX Fitness Products

This particular set has a detachable padded platform for strict curls that sits in an opening at the feet of the bench. In this same spot, a pull-down attachment for lats (that’s Latissimus dorsi) and reverse curls can be used. It has a T-bar that holds free weights with a post that the cable attaches through worked over a pulley and terminating with the pull-down bar. A third attachment will enable you to work the legs: quadriceps for the front in a seated position, and reverse leg curls when lying on the bench in the prone.

These attachments have pins that enable them to be set in securely. You can do a ton of exercises with this bench, and it doesn’t take up much room. You can fit the bench and all of your weights into about a 10’ x 10’ section with no problem. There are a few prerequisites for a good bench that are common to all, so let’s lay them out here.

  1. Solid: you want it to be of solid construction and either one piece, or several pieces that bolt together securely with sturdy bolts: none of these “rinky-dink” benches made of hollow steel tubing are worth the cost. Examine how the bench you’re interested in is made.  It should be of rugged steel and squared, not rounded in its posts and supports.
  2. Attachments: As mentioned, these help to multiply the number of exercises you can do. The more the merrier, and make sure these, too, are quality pieces.
  3. Warranty: When you’re lifting heavy, accidents do happen and cables, pulleys, supports, etc., can become busted. You at least want the ability to replace a part or a piece if this occurs.
  4. Ergonomically viable: as with a “rinky-dink” bench mentioned earlier, you don’t want your two vertical posts for the bench to be so narrow that only an elf could fit his shoulders in-between them.  The bench should be reasonably comfortable, with the surface well padded, and your feet should rest on the ground comfortably.  Not too comfortably: you’re there to work out, not lounge.
  5. Steel: Yes, “Fistful of Steel,” to paraphrase Rage Against the Machine…don not settle for some kind of cheap aluminum bench. Steel is necessary to prevent stress from warping or bending it over time – same for your weights.  We do not recommend vinyl.

The same vernacular adage applies, time and again: “Cheap you buy, cheap you get.” You can pick up an Olympus MX WM-100 for about $300, and the attachments run about $50 to $75 per. You can order it or another type of bench for yourself or find one used on e-bay. A good bench will enable your training to progress, and you’ll save yourself the price of a membership at the collective gym and ensure your privacy, as well. JJ out!

 

Why Seedlings Get Leggy And How To Fix It

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 19:48

There is little more satisfying than getting to watch your newly planted seeds begin to emerge from the dirt. After one week goes by, you will begin to notice your seedlings are getting leggy and barely able to hold themselves up, If that happens, this guide will help you understand what went wrong and how to fix it.

Leggy plants tend to be weaker, and they often flop and fall over. They will also produce fewer flowers and create an untidy spindly appearance. There are problems with leggy plants too. For starters, they often can’t stand up as well to natural occurrences such as wind and harsh rain. They will have a more difficult time growing up to be the strong plants we want them to be as well, and they tend to fall over enough that they become prone to diseases and pests that would otherwise not be a concern.

Why Do Plants Get Leggy?

There could be a few reasons, or all of the following combined could be an issue in making your plants too leggy:

  1. Lack of sunshine – Usually, this is the culprit.  The natural reaction is for a plant to grow towards the light.  If there isn’t enough light, the plant will stretch itself toward the light source in order to try to produce the necessary sugars to sustain itself. It accelerates its height in order to survive and as a result, you’ll get some long and floppy seedlings.
  2. Lack of moisture in the soil – Seedlings can also become leggy and grow weak if the soil (seed raising mix) dries out or is of poor quality. Dry soil keeps the seedlings from accessing the nutrients they require to grow strong stems and leaves.  This means they are literally starving.
  3. High Temperatures – High heat can also be a cause of some leggy seedlings.  The heat will cause a rapid growth spurt that will, in turn, cause an unbalanced growth. The stems will grow faster than the leaves in this case and can occur in hot weather indoors too if the temperature in your home is too high.

How To Fix Leggy Seedlings/Plants

Because having leggy plants can affect the production of flowers and perhaps even your food, you’ll want to take action and remedy the situation as soon as you can. Try any or all of the following to help your little plants thrive:

  1. Ensure enough light – The first thing you’ll want to do is make absolutely certain your plants are getting enough sunlight. If you have them indoors, place the seedlings in a south-facing window for maximum sunlight exposure, or you could supplement the light the seedlings are getting from the window with a small fluorescent bulb placed a few inches from the plants.  There are some great tips in the article linked here on how to have an effective and productive indoor winter garden, including suggestions on light sources. If your seedlings are mature enough to be transplanted, try planting them in an outdoor, but protected area, to sun harden them for a few days. This will get them ready for their eventual move to your big outdoor garden!
  2. Trickery – You can also “trick” your little seedlings into growing thicker stems. Try brushing your hands over them a few times a day, or place them near an oscillating fan that will blow gently on them. This will trick your plants into growing thicker stems by simulating a windy environment. In a windy area, plants need a thicker stem to withstand the wind and this will help yours release chemicals in the plant that will help that stem strengthen.
  3. Add some moisture – If your soil lacks quality or moisture, try simply watering more often.  It’s pretty easy to set yourself a reminder on your phone to do a “daily seed moisture check.” Adding small amounts of water to a shallow tray or container can help young plants get the moisture they need from the bottom up. But keep in mind that too much water can be a bad thing too. Be mindful of the amount of water you give your plants.  You don’t want the roots to rot from too much water. Keeping a spray bottle handy and giving the plants a few sprays each day can be beneficial and help keep you from overdoing it!
  4. Add more nutrient-rich organic material – adding more nutrients via organic compounds in the soil can also help ensure your little plants are getting the nutrients they need.  If you have trouble finding high-quality soil, you can easily make your own!

All of these simple fixes can have your leggy seedlings or plants well on their way to a healthy and strong life! Take care of your plants and they will take care of you.

 

 

Read more gardening guides and shop for heirloom seeds over at Ready Gardens!

Why Is Tea So Calming? The Science Behind The “Psychology Of Tea”

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 14:10

If you’re anything like me, and a lot of other more natural people out there, you have probably tasted your fair share of herbal teas. One of my favorites is an aromatic calming tea made with chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm. What I have found is herbal teas tend to calm the mind and soothe our stress away, and there’s a science behind why herbal teas tend to be good for our overall mental health.

I’m a big coffee drinker too, and nothing beats that first sip of steaming hot coffee on a cold winter morning.  But once my pot of joe runs out, I’m heating up water for a custom blend of herbal tea.  It’s relaxing and calming, and there’s some science to back up the boost to our mental state when we drink a warm mug of tea.

WARMTH

Drinking any warm liquid has the ability to calm our nerves, lower our stress levels, and decrease blood pressure as warmth itself is associated with comfort. As warm beverages also beg to be sipped as opposed to chugged quickly, it often means the person consuming the warm drink will be sitting down, calm, possibly reading, or just enjoying the quiet. There are few days I’m not up before 5 am and the days that I am not in a hurry make a great time for me to sit in the dark and quiet with a cup of hot coffee or tea before the kids get up and fill the house with obligatory noise. This can be almost like a meditation for me, and it starts my day on a more positive and relaxed note. And many others tend to agree!

A study conducted in 2014 says that warm drinks can help us see the best in other people.  An experiment conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder and published in the journal Science found that “participants who briefly held a cup of hot (versus iced) coffee judged a target person as having a ‘warmer’ personality (generous, caring).”  The subjects of the study were asked to hold a hot coffee or an iced coffee belonging to another person before being introduced to them. (They had no idea that holding the drink was even part of the test.) The researchers found that based on a body of research into the significance of the insula (the part of the brain in which judgments about others are formed), and also where we process warmth, go hand in hand when judging others. So drinking warm beverages can help us all be a little “warmer” towards others.

AROMA

The scent of your favorite herbal tea can be intoxicating, and aroma plays a huge role in the human brain and the power of association. Aromatherapy, or using scents for their effects on the body and mind, has been around in different forms for thousands of years.  Herbal teas often contain hundreds of active ingredients that all have scents! The herbs themselves consist of concentrated oils and when you brew a cup of tea, some of those oils drift upward in the steam creating an aroma. As you breathe in the wonderful aroma of the steam, individual scent molecules enter receptors in the cells throughout your body. This triggers many changes in your mental state. Those changes are most often distressing, soothing, calming, and relaxing.

A study from the Mie University School of Medicine found that patients with depression needed smaller doses of antidepressant medications after citrus fragrance treatment. Another study from the University of Vienna demonstrated that when the scent of orange oil was used in dental clinics, female patients exhibited decreased anxiety.  The aroma of tea can be very beneficial if you’re having a bad day.  Brew your favorite herbal tea and just relax as you breathe in the scent and feel your stress melt away. This is indeed, important because stress has been linked to chronic health issues such as coronary heart disease.

An extremely soothing tea with a pleasant aroma is this one:

The fast-acting natural sedatives like lemon balm, chamomile, lavender, catnip, and passionflower promote a deep, restful night’s sleep, but are also highly effective at reducing stress and creating a soothing aroma to help some of the most overworked relax after a long hard day.

Your Favorite Mug

If you drink warm beverages on a regular occasion, you’ve probably got that one mug that you just always reach for.  I know I do! It’s a slightly larger than average and heavier mug with my favorite sports team’s logo slightly raised on each side.  We become used to and attached to that mug; it’s weight, appearance, the feel of it as we sip from it, and the comforting way it looks sitting next to you with the steam rolling out of it. We become emotionally attached to our favorite mug and that, in and of itself, helps the relaxing effects of herbal teas take a firm hold on us as we sip our favorite warm beverages.

According to Psychology Today, part of the pull is the simple sense of personal ownership. Several studies of the endowment effect (the tendency for people to overvalue their own possessions) actually looked at people’s valuations of their coffee mugs. Researchers found that people ascribed greater value to a mug when they owned it.  However, people are more likely to be obsessed with a favorite mug than a favorite fork, for example. One reason is that mugs are common gifts or souvenirs or keepsakes, so we often associate them with a beloved person, place, or time. And then once we start using them to put our warm and aromatic beverage in, we form attachments to the soothing way the combination of the tea and the mug make us feel.

There are many reasons to drink tea, and the calming and warmth they impart are just a small piece of the “why” behind the psychology of tea. I personally have many favorites when it comes to herbal teas, but the one I’ve been reaching for the most lately is accurately named Holiday Cheer.  Holiday Cheer is a slightly spicy and warm smelling tea perfect for those winter days and nights snowed in by the fire.  It completely embodies its name, and is perfect for those snowy days!

So why not try a new herbal tea today and feel your stress melt away?

 

 

 

The Hidden (and Deadly) Dangers of Snow on Your Roof

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 13:18

There are many potential dangers associated with winter weather, but there’s one you might not have given much thought to snow and ice on your home’s roof.

It is unclear how many deaths per year are caused by snow accumulations on roofs, but nearly every winter, there are reports of such deaths that appear in the news.

Roof collapse is a possible risk when snow accumulates on your roof, but it isn’t the only danger. In 2018, a chunk of snow about the size of a trailer fell from a roof and killed a mother and her 7-year-old son in Northern California. And, snow removal in itself carries the risk of injury and even death.

Here’s how to assess how much snow your roof can handle, how to determine if you need to remove snow, how to remove it safely, and the unique dangers that thawing ice and snow pose.

How much snow can your roof handle?

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), unless your roof is damaged or decayed, it should be able to support 20 lb per square foot of snow before it becomes stressed.

These guidelines from IBHS can help you estimate how much snow is on your roof:

Fresh snow: 10–12 inches of new snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 lb per square foot of roof space, so you could have up to 4 feet of new snow before the roof will become stressed.

Packed snow: 3–5 inches of old snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 lb per square foot of roof space, so anything more than 2 feet of old snow could be too much for your roof to handle.

Total accumulated weight: 2 feet of old snow and 2 feet of new snow could weigh as much as 60 lb per square foot of roof space, which is beyond the typical snow load capacity of most roofs.

Ice: 1 inch of ice equals 1 foot of of fresh snow.

Here’s a quick method from Berlet Roofing you can use to estimate how much the snow on your roof weighs:

To check the snow load on your home, cut a 1-foot by 1-foot square the full depth of the snow from your roof into a plastic bag and weigh the bag. If there is any ice in your square foot, be sure to included it. The weight of the bag with the snow in it will tell you the weight of snow load per square foot on your roof.

Here’s a snow load calculation from Berlet Roofing:

(S x 1.25lbs)+(I x 5.2lbs) = P

S = inches of snow on the roof (depth)
1.25lbs= Approx weight of snow for each 1-inch of depth per sq ft
I = Inches of Ice Buildup on the roof (depth)
5.2lbs= Approx weight of ice for 1-inch of depth per sq foot
P =pounds per square foot (lbs/sq ft)

Example: If the snow on my roof is 20-inches deep with .5 inches of ice, what would that equate to?

(20-inch roof snow depth x 1.25 lbs/sq ft ) + (.5-inch roof ice depth x 5.1lbs/sqft)= 27.1 lbs per sq ft of roof snow load.

If you are in the “danger zone” based on the thickness of the various types of snow and ice (if they exceed 20–25 pounds per square foot), you should consider removing snow from your roof.

Watch for signs that your roof is over-stressed.

Over-stressed roofs typically display some warning signs. Wood and steel structures may show noticeable signs of excessive ceiling or roof sagging before collapsing.

FEMA recommends watching for these signs:

  • Sagging ceiling tiles or boards, ceiling boards falling out of the ceiling grid, and/or sagging sprinkler lines and heads
  • Sprinkler heads deflecting below suspended ceilings
  • Popping, cracking, and creaking noises
  • Sagging roof members, including metal decking or plywood sheathing
  • Bowing truss bottom chords or web members
  • Doors and/or windows that can no longer be opened or closed
  • Cracked or split wood members
  • Cracks in walls or masonry
  • Severe roof leaks
  • Excessive accumulation of water at non-drainage locations on low slope roofs
Here’s how to safely remove snow from your roof.

Experts say you should never attempt to remove snow from your roof by yourself. Dangers associated with roof snow and ice removal include sliding off the roof, falling off a ladder, overexertion, and injury from sliding snow.

For safe removal that won’t endanger you or damage your roof, use a snow rake with a long extension arm that will allow you to remove the snow while standing on the ground. Climbing onto your roof to remove snow is generally not advised, as falls are a serious risk, and so is damage to the roof.

If you feel you cannot safely remove the snow yourself, consider hiring a snow removal professional.

Here are a few snow removal tips from FEMA:

  • Removing snow completely from a roof surface can result in serious damage to the roof covering and possibly lead to leaks and additional damage. At least a couple of inches of snow should be left on the roof.
  • Do not use mechanical snow removal equipment.
  • The risk of damaging the roof membrane or other rooftop items outweighs the advantage of speed.
  • Do not use sharp tools, such as picks, to remove snow. Use plastic rather than metal shovels.
  • When using a non-metallic snow rake, be aware that roof snow can slide at any moment. Keep a safe distance away from the eave to remain outside of the sliding range

Be sure no one is standing or walking in the areas where falling snow and/or ice may land.

Watch for icicles and be sure they won’t fall on anyone – an icicle falling from a low height can still cause injury.

Watch for ice dams.

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause major damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas. Significant snow accumulations and extended periods of below-freezing temperatures increase the risk of ice dams developing.

“Melted snow runs down the roof under the snow cover and refreezes along overhangs where the roof surface temperature is lower. The water from the melting snow becomes trapped behind the dam of ice and can back up under shingles and infiltrate the underlayment, leading to leaks in the home,” the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) explains.

Here’s a longer explanation of how ice dams form, from the University of Minnesota Extension:

There is a complex interaction among the amount of heat loss from a house, snow cover and outside temperatures that leads to ice dam formation. For ice dams to form there must be snow on the roof, and, at the same time, higher portions of the roof’s outside surface must be above 32 degrees F while lower surfaces are below 32. For a portion of the roof to be below 32, outside temperatures must also be below 32. When we say temperatures above or below 32, we are talking about average temperature over sustained periods of time.

The snow on a roof surface that is above 32 will melt. As water flows down the roof it reaches the portion of the roof that is below 32 and freezes. Voila! – an ice dam.

The dam grows as it is fed by the melting snow above it, but it will limit itself to the portions of the roof that are on the average below 32. So the water above backs up behind the ice dam and remains a liquid. This water finds cracks and openings in the exterior roof covering and flows into the attic space. From the attic it could flow into exterior walls or through the ceiling insulation and stain the ceiling finish.

There are roof and gutter de-icing kits you can buy that may help make the job a bit easier.

When the snow melts, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of danger.

When the end of winter approaches, the NRCA recommends checking your roof, gutters, downspouts, and drains for debris to ensure water from melting snow and ice and spring rain will properly drain from your roof:

Homeowners also should look to determine that the winter’s snow and ice has not damaged roof shingles or flashings or loosened sheet-metal openings. In addition, homeowners should check for signs of leakage around roof hatches, skylights and vents. Shingles around gutters should also be checked for damage from melting ice dams. If a roof has leakage due to ice damming, the damage should be inspected by an NRCA member contractor.

If you cannot safely evaluate your roof, experts advise hiring a roofing professional to do it for you.

 

CBD Oil Is More Than Just A Fad: Holistic Vets Effectively Use It On Dogs

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 14:22

CBD oil (cannabidiol oil) is proving itself as more than just a fad. It seems like everyone, from athletes to everyday busy moms, and even veterinarians are using it as a natural and safe holistic treatment for a variety of ailments.

Many deeply entrenched in the realm of “Big Pharma” are going to say CBD oil (cannabidiol oil) is just a fad and it won’t ever gain real popularity like their drugs. But trusting Big Pharma has proven deadly for so many, and now some are choosing a more natural path to healing for themselves and their beloved pets.

Big Pharma’s Dangerous Drugs Are Now Killing More People Than Guns or Automobile Accidents

Dogs Naturally Magazine reported on a holistic veterinarian that has had success with natural CBD oil. Australian veterinarian Edward Bassingthwaighte discovered how CBD oil could be a necessity in his holistic veterinary practice. “I simply can’t explain the improved heart murmur,” says Bassingthwaite. “They normally don’t get better,” he added, speaking of a Jack Russel terrier’s improved heart murmur. The ailment improved to the point of the dog wanting to go on long walks outside.

As more people seek natural remedies for health problems, interest in cannabidiol (commonly known as “CBD”) is growing, as it is safe and effective when used not just on yourself, but on your beloved dog. CBD oil is a fascinating substance that has tremendous therapeutic value. As Ready Nutrition previous reported, it is just one of over 100 compounds found in cannabis plants (including hemp!) that belong to a class of naturally occurring, biologically active chemical constituents called cannabinoids. CBD is non-intoxicating and unlike THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, CBD is a phytochemical that won’t get you or your dog “high.”

While you can use CBD oil on yourself, as it has been known to help regulate to regulate basic bodily functions, including mood, temperature, digestion, sleep, pain, appetite, and many more in humans, veterinarians are also finding it essential in their practice.  Those who live a more naturally healthy and holistic lifestyle seem to be onto something with CBD oil.

CBD oil can aid a dog who has separation anxiety. We all know the type of dog; the one that can’t stand to be away from his family.  But CDB has already been extensively studied on anxiety in humans, and it has been found to reduce anxiety caused by public speaking, reduce anxiety in both healthy people and people with anxiety disorders, and be effective for diminishing panic disorders and post-traumatic stress disorders

CBD oil and other substances found in hemp and cannabis have been found to have an anti-tumor effect on both humans and dogs. Dr. Bassingthwaighte experienced this first hand when he used CBD oil on senior Staffordshire Terrier had a 6cm mammary tumor. That tumor disappeared in 3 months and didn’t come backCBD has even been shown to stop cancer cells from growing and increased tumor cell death.

Further animal studies show that CBD can help prevent colitis (IBD) and restore normal gut motility in inflammatory bowel disease. CBD also has antibiotic properties, including Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).

CBD oil is perhaps used the most for pain, as its likely the most common and broad ailment.  The cannabinoids in CBD work so well for pain that scientists are considering it as a new class of drug for the treatment of chronic pain. Studies show CBD to be very effective for decreasing pain (including neuropathy and nerve-related pain) and decreasing the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress (which causes degeneration and premature aging). CBD oil also has been shown to decrease inflammation in acute pancreatitis and reduce inflammation, including intestinal inflammation which is associated with irritable bowel disease.  And it works just as well on your beloved dog as it does on you!

CBD use on dogs is safe and legal too. With so many studies showing the health benefits of CBD, the most encouraging result is that CBD appears to be safe, even when taken in high doses (more than recommended) and over extended periods of time. It can decrease the activity of liver enzymes used to metabolize many prescription drugs, so if your dog is on medication, you might want to check with your holistic veterinarian before using CBD.

When looking for a CBD oil for your dog (or yourself for that matter) you’ll want to choose a high-quality organic oil. It’s also important that you don’t “cheap out.” A cheap CBD oil may cost you less, but you also won’t get the full holistic benefits if you try to save.  This is one area where frugality is not necessarily your best friend. The CBD oil that has linked below is our favorite and highly recommended:

https://www.organicanaturals.com

This oil by Organica Naturals is not only organic, but it also comes in three specially formulated versions for pets of all sizes; even horses! And if you have any questions, you can get them answered online on the website quickly.

 

*This article is for informational purposes only.  It is not meant to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease, illness, or any other ailment.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published February 4th, 2019

6 Reasons to Bundle Up and Get Outside During Winter

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 05:32

Brrrr! Winter is here, and if it is chilly in your neck of the woods, you might be tempted to hunker down and stay indoors until Spring arrives.

Winter can really take a toll on our moods, making even the warmest personalities turn as chilly as the air outside. It’s getting dark at 5 pm now, and you might find yourself making excuses to stay inside, bundled up in cozy blankets in front of the fire.

However, staying indoors during the colder months won’t do anything to improve your mood or your health – in fact, research suggests the opposite is true.

You don’t have to spend hours outside to reap the benefits. Just a few minutes a day has been proven to improve mood and physical health.

So, bundle up and get out there!

Here are six reasons to get outside during winter. Sunlight helps your body produce Vitamin D.

On sunny days, go outside and soak up some of the “Sunshine Vitamin” – Vitamin D. It is unique in that it is a vitamin AND a hormone your body can make with help from the sun. Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D are associated with mood disorders and depression.

Vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon. Because we spend more time indoors during winter, it can be hard to get enough – which is why getting some sunlight is so important during the colder months.

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

Time outdoors boosts your immune system.

Being outside improves our immune systems. This is especially important for children, as it helps them build up their natural resistance to various germs. When children come into contact with dirt, bacteria, and animals during outside play, they are helping to reduce the risk of developing allergies and autoimmune diseases in the future.

As for being concerned that the cold makes us more susceptible to illness, as we explained in Immune System-Boosting Nutrients You May Need During Fall and Winter, the truth is more complicated:

Being cold doesn’t directly cause us to get sick, but cold air may contribute to conditions that lead to illness, according to a report by Healthline. Factors related to colder weather may actually be the culprits. Some viruses prefer the chillier weather, including rhinoviruses (they cause the common cold and replicate better at cooler temperatures) and influenza viruses (they peak in winter). The dry air outside and in homes with central heating may make it easier for viruses to infect dry nasal passages. Low indoor humidity and poor ventilation may also play a role. And, because we tend to spend more time inside with other people during the colder months, we are more likely to share germs.

Fresh air is good for you.

Getting outside helps your body get a break from indoor pollution. It is important to get fresh air because all of the bacteria and germs that you bring into the house get recycled over and over again through your home’s heating and venting system. The more time you spend inside, the more you are exposed.

Studies have shown that walking outside can improve brain function, mental focus, and creativity.

Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather. Try layering your clothing and be sure to wear proper footwear, especially if you will be walking on snow or ice.

It will help you reduce stress.

Research has shown that the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku (“taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing”) is an excellent stress-reducer. Because stress plays a role in so many ailments (it can adversely affect the immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and central nervous systems) including heart disease, weight gain, insomnia, pain, gastrointestinal disorders, and even cancer, getting outside can provide wide-ranging health benefits.

Being outside can boost your mood.

Natural light boosts serotonin, one of your body’s feel-good chemicals. “Physiologically, we know serotonin levels in the brain are lowest in winter. Going outside can increase positive mood and alleviate depression,” Kathryn A. Roecklein, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, told NBC News:

Roecklien conducted a study revealing how light therapy can help those with seasonal mood disorders. “We know that inside light levels are lower than outside light levels. And we know winter light levels are lower than summer light levels. So being inside for a majority of the winter may be a double strike in terms of getting the light we need for energy levels, alertness, mood and cognitive functioning,” she explains.

You’ll burn more calories.

If you exercise outside in the cold, your body actually burns more calories to regulate your core temperature. Some winter-specific outdoor activities, like skiing and ice skating, burn a lot of calories and are fun for the whole family.

Studies also have shown that exercising in cold weather can transform white fat (specifically belly and thigh fat) into “brown fat”. Brown fat is often referred to as “good” fat because it helps to burn rather than store calories – its purpose is to use calories to generate heat.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed people have more genetic markers for brown fat in the winter than during the warmer months.

And, research conducted at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands found that exercising in the cold burns fat quicker than exercising in comfortable temperatures. This is because deposits of brown fat are activated as the body learns to warm up faster.

Dr. Adam Tenforde, an assistant professor of sports medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, told Harvard Health that in some ways, winter can offer benefits you don’t get during warmer months. Cold weather may improve endurance, he explains:

“In colder temperatures your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, you sweat less, and expend less energy, all of which means you can exercise more efficiently.”

So there you have it! Are you finding ways to spend time outside this winter? If so, please tell us about it in the comments.

Be well!

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 30th, 2019

Minutes a Day: How Stretching Improves Your Physical Wellness

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 05:00

Stretching in an instinctive movement and one we see in not only our physical behaviors but in the observation of animals. Looking more closely at our domesticated pets, we see this as a biological response that is ingrained in animals. As a result, they are more agile predators, with better balance and better muscular coordination.

Why is this movement ingrained in animal’s natures?

Stretching is a form of gentle massage for your major muscle groups and important to do before you exercise for the same reasons. It oxygenates the muscles you’re going to use, and at the same time prepares those muscles prior to doing work with them. This will prevent tearing or injuries. That in itself is worth the effort! You stretch before your workout, and after the workout is completed. Stretching will help with your flexibility and will also aid you in offsetting any muscular soreness post-workout.

Don’t become confused: stretching is not the same as warming up or cooling down, but you can combine elements of stretching with both of those to obtain good results. The flexibility portion is very important as well. There are two types of stretching you should be aware of.

  • Static stretches involve flexing or extending the body part and enabling the stretch to occur gradually and carefully.
  • Dynamic stretching is more akin to what we talked about with waking up in the morning…a combination of stretching, extension, and massage.

You will find that it can help you if you have high physical activity in your workday and if you’re on your feet all day long. For the latter, some deep knee bends and then take a seat to massage the thighs and calves, and some calf-raises can help to get the circulation going and delay fatigue.

How To Effectively Stretch

Start with your legs and arms. Stretch them out fully, and slowly. You don’t want “jerky” motions, but instead, it should be just akin to a pot of boiling water that does not go from cold immediately to hot…it warms up first. Same thing for your muscles. While you’re lying there (supine, preferably – that’s on your back), also massage and knead your thighs vertically with your palms. As you’re stretching the legs, also massage your calf muscles.

Flex and extend your feet…up and down. Stretch out your arms, and massage the bicep and tricep for about a minute with the opposite hand. Interlock the fingers of your hands and stretch out those arms, breathing deeply (Note: the more deeply you breathe, the more oxygen you get to the muscle groups), Massage the neck muscles with your hands. Then rise up and get out of bed. For a higher intense stretch, consider using an elastic band to further stretch the muscles.

What you have just accomplished: you’ve warmed up and limbered up your muscles, as well as increasing the blood flow to your extremities, helping the circulation to your periphery (that’s the outermost areas of your limbs, and so forth). You are oxygenating those muscles by breathing in deeply. You are physically giving yourself an edge even before you get out of bed. Takes a few minutes, and its worth it in the long run. You can even do this while sitting at your desk at work!

A perfect example of healthy stretching can be found in Yin yoga, a form of yoga that involves variations of seated and supine poses typically held for 3 to 5 minutes, accessing deeper layers of fascia. This is a more gentle type of practice that awakens dormant energy, helps to strengthen the body and, ultimately, gives you a better range of mobility.

For more strenuous fields such as heavy construction and the building trades, a full-blown warm up and stretching are essential, along with taking in enough fluids and electrolytes prior to going into action. Refer to one of my past articles that details turning your job into a physical training session for some more info in this department. Bottom line: it is a basic, non-invasive pursuit that will yield results for you. In short: it works. Watch a cat.  He will stretch out before running in hot pursuit to the hunt. Animals have it right in this area. Learn from them and stay in that good fight.  JJ out!

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 28th, 2019

Nature’s Multivitamin: The Ultimate Guide to Sprouting

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 07:25

While many of us are awakening to the dangers (ahem chemicals) that are in our food sources, not enough awareness is being made about some of the dangers that lie in over-the-counter vitamins. That’s right, some of your vitamins could be doing more harm than good.

Finding the right supplements can be a tricky endeavor. But, what if I told you it’s really not? In fact, you could easily grow your own vitamins naturally from the convenience of your kitchen window. What am I talking about? I’m talking about sprouts.

Sprouts are Power Packed

Sprouts are nature’s multivitamin and provide the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes of any of food per unit of calorie. They are commonly referred to as a complete food because they are packed with high levels of complete proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and extraordinary amounts of protein.

How Do Spouts Benefit the Body?
  • Assists in healing the body
  • Cleanse the body
  • Prevents diseases
  • Enhances the general functioning of bodily organs
  • Aids in digestion
  • Removes gas from the stomach

Some of our favorites are:

How To Get Started

You’re going to love this – almost anything can be made into a sprout (except for nightshade varieties like tomatoes and eggplants). The most common types of seeds to sprout include alfalfa, grains, peas, lentils, radish, broccoli, cabbage, mustard seed, garbanzos, quinoa, nuts, and red clover. Sprouts can be grown every week for continuous staggered batches. In fact, there are sprout kits available to help you expand your sprouting palate.

  1. First, you need something to let your seeds sprout in. If you have a large mason jar, that would work. We like adding a sprouting lid like this one to the top of our Mason Jar Sprouts to help with easy rinsing. If you plan on sprouting different varieties of sprouts, you may want to invest in a low-cost 4 tray sprouting kit like this one. For large seeds, like beans and legumes, consider adding them to a large wide-mouth jar. When beans begin to sprout, they will quickly take up a lot of room. For smaller seeds, using a quart-sized jar or the sprouting tray would work well.
  2. Next, you need to right kind of seeds. For optimum nutrition, I prefer to purchase sprouting seeds that are non-GMO and organic varieties.
  3. Now that you have your vessel and seeds picked out, it’s time to start sprouting. Simply add a tablespoon or two of seeds in a jar and fill it about ¾ full with cool water. Swish the seeds around and allow the water to drain from the jar or sprouting tray. Once the water has drained, cover with a mesh lid or cloth, secured with a rubber band, to allow air flow. Sprouting Tip: For larger beans like garbanzo or mung beans, allow them to soak overnight and then drain the water in the morning. Repeat the rinsing step twice a day for 3-4 days.
  4. Set sprouts in an area in the kitchen where it receives indirect sunlight. Ideally, sprouts prefer a temperature of about 65-80ºF. If the temperature is warmer with increased humidity, rinse sprouts more frequently.
  5. When sprouts are ready and have grown to the desired size, do a final rinse and drain them completely. They can be eaten immediately or transferred to a glass or plastic container and stored in the refrigerator for a few days. As a precaution, make sure the sprouts have drained completely before storing.
Sprout Safety

One of the biggest drawbacks to sprouting is their very short shelf life. Unlike other fresh produce, seeds and beans need warm and humid conditions to sprout and grow. These conditions are also ideal for the growth of bacteria, including Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli. Not to cause concern, but since 1996, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli and occurred at growing facilities. The bacterias are usually present in or on the seed, and the bacteria can grow to high levels during sprouting, even under sanitary conditions at home.

To prevent this health issue, you can follow these safety steps:

  • Wash all sprouts thoroughly with filtered water before eating them.
  • If you’ve purchased sprouts at the grocery store, look for the International Sprout Growers Association seal on the package or if you are buying bulk, ask your grocer if the sprouts are ISGA-approved.
  • If the sprouts are pre-packaged, only purchase if the sell-by date is current or even a few days ahead.
  • Examine the sprouts to make sure the roots are clean. If the stem color is not white or creamy, do not purchase them. Do not purchase sprouts if the buds are no longer attached if they are dark in color or have a musty smell.
  • Smell the sprouts to be sure that they have a clean, fresh odor.
  • Keep the sprouts refrigerated.
  • After 2 days, compost them rather than consuming them yourself.
  • If you’re buying in bulk, ask your grocer about the sell-by date.
  • If you are sprouting seeds at home, follow the same guidelines described above. Learn about the source of your seeds, their ISGA-certification, and either have your grocer confirm high-quality standards for seed production or obtain contact information for the seed source and contact that company yourself.
  • Follow the above guidelines regardless of the type of seeds you are sprouting, i.e., apply the guidelines to mung, alfalfa, radish, broccoli, lentil, sunflower and all other types of sprouts.

Since the shelf life is around 2 days before the sprouts begin to break down, take advantage of having them and add them to salads, sandwiches, soups, and even bread for added nutrition.

It’s that easy, folks! Sprouts are what Mother Nature intended for us in terms of additional nutrition. They are low cost, easy to grow and can give you ample dietary nutrition on a daily basis.

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 26th, 2019

The Dirtiest Surfaces In Your Home & How To Clean For This Year’s Flu

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 07:06

Until we ourselves get sick or we have to nurse a loved one back to health from the flu, we never think about those germs living on surfaces in our homes. In fact, some of the household items you touch every day are 1,000 times dirtier than your toilet!

When we come down with a sickness, it often runs through our minds that we may not have as clean of a house as we imagine we do, but there’s a few simple tips and tricks you can employ to make sure you’re killing the flu virus before it can sicken you or your children!

On average, flu viruses are capable of being transferred to hands and causing an infection that can survive on hard surfaces for 24 hours; and that includes those tightly packed spaces such as airplanes. But the flu can be waiting for you at the terminal too before you even board the aircraft.  According to the Los Angeles Times, a new study has confirmed once again that various surfaces in the cabin of a commercial plane have many times the number of bacteria than an average kitchen counter. But the latest study found that surfaces in airport terminals can have even higher germ counts than those in the planes. The highest number of colony-forming units of bacteria per square inch were found on those increasingly popular self-serve ticketing kiosks that are popping up in terminals around the country, including Los Angeles International Airport.

According to Medical Xpress, those plastic trays used at airport security checkpoints have been found to harbor the highest levels of viruses at airports, in a new scientific investigation by pandemic experts. The investigation into infectious viruses at airports was published in BMC Infectious Diseases, concludes that hand washing and careful coughing hygiene are crucial to the control of contagious infections in public areas with high volumes of people passing through.

The good news is that cold and flu germs can only live about 15 minutes on a used tissue and they survive even shorter periods on your hands. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to make a dent in all of those nasty germs stuck on surfaces at the airport, except encourage your children to wash their hands frequently and well while you travel and keep those hands away from their little faces.  But at home, there are some natural and more effective ways you can clean your home that could help you kill many more of those icky flu viruses. Once you begin to feel those first signs of a cold or the flu and you realize your home is probably infested with those same germs, it’s time to start cleaning with a focus on ridding your home of those viruses.

Some experts suggest a quarantine in one room of the sickened person, but as a mother, I find this difficult when my child is sick. But I do wrap them with their favorite blanket, make them some warm tea, and prop them up in the corner of our sectional couch where they can watch movies. The flu spreads when the sick person coughs, sneezes, or even talks, affecting people as far as 6 feet away, but we moms tend to take our chances when our kids get sick. Children need to feel loved and attended to when they are sick and it’s a personal choice of mine to not “quarantine” them; I’d rather take my chances. But flu germs are also spread by touching a surface that has flu viruses on it. And once you’ve got a sick person settled in for a while, it’s time to start focusing on cleaning.

Take care to not spread the germs instead of wiping them away. First, disinfect surfaces that the sick person has touched, paying special attention to the sick person’s bedroom and bathroom. Use an antibacterial cleaner on key spots such as tabletops, countertops, remote controls, computer keyboards, doorknobs, sinks, light switches, faucet handles, sinks, countertop, tub, and toilet (including the entire seat and the toilet handle). Once you’ve cleaned an area, you’ll want to make sure you sanitize your rag or mop with 1/2 cup bleach in one gallon of water before moving onto the next area to make sure you’re not just spreading the virus around your home. While the flu is in your home, consider using disposable paper towels or germ-grabbing microfiber cloths for cleaning. Just remember to wash microfiber cloths daily and after every use.

A sick person’s towels, bedding, and clothes (and the clothes of the caregiver) are full of the germs that got them sick, so don’t “hug” dirty clothes as you take them to the washer. This could spread the germs onto you. Instead, transport dirty clothes in a laundry basket and wash your hands after loading them into the washer.  Wash clothing with color safe bleach and be sure you clean your washing machine with bleach to kill any lingering viruses after you’ve washed all the clothes.

If bleach just doesn’t work for you, there are more natural options that can be just as effective. The Maid Brigade put together three recipes that are effective and lean a lot more natural:

  • Natural Disinfectant For Cleaning: use this on floors, countertops, bathtubs, toilets, walls, and baseboards. Fill a bucket with 1/2 gallon hot water and 1/4 cup Borax.  Mix and clean well.
  • Natural Disinfectant Spray: add 4 to 8 drops of essential oil to 1 cup distilled water in a spray bottle.  Shake and spray!  Examples of oils with anti-fungal properties are eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, and tea tree oil.
  • Natural Disinfectant For Bathroom: combine 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 cups hot water, 1 teaspoon washing soda, and 10 drops tea tree oil.  Pour into a spray bottle, mix, and start spraying!

Hopefully, these easy tips will help you prevent the spread of the flu in the unfortunate circumstance that you or a family member comes down with the dreaded sickness.

 

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 25th, 2019

Dispelling the Myths: Baby Boomers Still Aren’t Sure About This New CBD Craze

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 06:55

ou have probably heard a lot of talk about something called “CBD” in recent years – especially in the last few months. Many people aren’t really sure what CBD is, and might be wondering why it seems to be everywhere all of a sudden. Some know that CBD products are made from hemp, which is a plant that is in the same family as marijuana. However, there are important differences between hemp and marijuana. Even though both plants are in the cannabis family, they have different properties.

Perhaps the most important difference is that unlike marijuana, hemp does NOT produce a “high”. This is because hemp plants contain very little of a compound called tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC, often referred to as “the high causer”). THC has psychoactive properties – that is what causes the “high” feeling the plant can produce.

THC has medicinal properties too, but most CBD products made from hemp contain barely a trace of the compound – many contain less than 0.3% THC.

Some CBD products (typically called isolates) do not contain any THC at all.

Hemp is high in CBD, which does not produce a high and has incredible healing properties.

In this article, we will explore what CBD is, the health benefits of CBD oil, and why there is still a stigma attached to the plant.

What is CBD?

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

Our bodies have a biochemical communication system called an endocannabinoid system (ECS).  All humans – and many animals – have this system.

Endo refers to endogenous, which means originating within the body. Cannabinoid refers to the group of compounds that activate the ECS.

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

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

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

CBD influences a wide range of receptor systems in the brain and body – not just cannabinoid receptors, but many others. It indirectly influences the body’s two classical cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) by signaling through those receptors. CBD appears to direct the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.

CBD also can increase levels of the body’s own naturally-produced cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) by inhibiting the enzymes that break them down.

What is CBD used for?

CBD has remarkable therapeutic potential.

Scientific research has shown CBD has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, anti-tumoral, and neuroprotective qualities.

It is used for conditions including anxiety, arthritis, bipolar disorder, fibromyalgia, digestive disorders, pain relief, muscle dystonia, seizures, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorders, and schizophrenia. It has also been used to help people quit smoking and shows promise in helping people with opioid addiction.

CBD is safe, non-intoxicating, and non-addictive. It is usually well-tolerated, but it can interfere with certain medications. Please consult with your healthcare provider if you are taking prescription drugs and would like to take CBD.

Why are we hearing so much about CBD now? What is going on?

Industrial hemp is now legal to grow in the United States. Prior to President Trump signing the 2018 Farm Bill into law recently, it was legal to buy products made from hemp, but it was not legal to grow hemp in this country.

The United States has long been the largest consumer of hemp products, but until the new bill passed, it was the only industrialized nation that prohibited industrial hemp cultivation. Prior to the bill passing, every industrial product in the US made from hemp was legal, but the plant itself was illegal. The US was even exporting products made from imported hemp. Some states legalized growing hemp for industrial purposes, but it remained illegal at the federal level until late 2018.

As explained in 5 Incredible Ways You Can Use Hemp, the legalization of industrial hemp cultivation is great news because the plant is incredibly versatile:

If there is such a thing as a wonder plant, hemp is it.

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

The new law means that hemp will now be treated as an agricultural commodity instead of a “controlled substance” like marijuana.

One of the most promising benefits hemp has to offer is CBD.

Unfortunately, because hemp is a plant in the same family as marijuana, there is a stigma associated with it.

Despite the fact that no one has ever died of a cannabis overdose (hemp or marijuana – even the US Drug Enforcement Administration admits this), negative connotations and fears still surround the plants.

Why was growing hemp illegal in the US for so long?

Hemp was swept up in the War on Drugs because federal law did not differentiate it from other cannabis plants, all of which were effectively made illegal in 1937 under the Marihuana Tax Act and formally made illegal in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act (this banned cannabis plants of any kind).

“The prohibition of hemp ranks among the most absurd and pointless laws our government passed in the twentieth century,” wrote Chris Calton in the article Ending the War on the Non-Drug Known as Hemp.

Prior to the War on Drugs, the US had a long history of hemp production, Calton explains:

Before governments arrested people for growing hemp, they used to fine farmers for not growing it. In the sixteenth century, King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I fined English farmers who failed to contribute to the country’s hemp industry. In 1673, King Charles II instructed the Royal Governor of Virginia to impose the edict on the Virginia colonists. Hemp was particularly valuable to the Royal Navy, which used it for uniforms, ropes, and sails, among other things.

It is relatively common knowledge that several Founding Fathers of the United States grew hemp.

In the 1930s, Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (the DEA’s predecessor) and America’s first drug czar, began pushing for the criminalization of cannabis plants.

In 1937, Anslinger got what he wanted. A cannabis criminalization law was passed.

Some were concerned – and rightfully so – that the law would be used to shut down the hemp industry:

Anslinger promised that his men would leave industrial hemp alone.

Anslinger lied. When the United States entered World War II at the end of 1941, the hemp industry had been completely wiped out.

The problem now was that the US military needed hemp, and a lot of it. Military and naval technology may have come a long way since Henry VIII issued his compulsory hemp-growing edict to support the Royal Navy of the sixteenth century, but hemp fibers retained a multitude of uses. And going into the biggest military conflict of the twentieth century, the US had no domestic source of hemp, despite a centuries-long tradition of producing it.

It gets even more convoluted:

In response, the same government that empowered Anslinger to completely destroy the hemp industry now approved funding for enormous subsidies to American farmers to restart the hemp industry that had been flourishing without subsidies only five years earlier.

To remind them that hemp-growing was their patriotic duty, the government even commissioned a propaganda film entitled Hemp for Victory.

But after the war, the benefits of hemp production were forgotten, and Anslinger ordered the destruction of the government-subsidized hemp industry.

“At the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars, his crusade to eradicate the evils of marijuana amounted to little more than the destruction of the low-THC outgrowth of industrial hemp,” Calton explains.

Indeed, it is a shame that the influence of one man – a man who either did not understand the differences between hemp and marijuana or simply did not care – deprived people of the incredible benefits of hemp for so many years.

Thankfully, the tides have finally turned, and a growing body of research is revealing the expansive health benefits of hemp.

If you would like to read about my personal experience with CBD for psoriatic arthritis (an autoimmune condition that is similar to rheumatoid arthritis), you can read my story here: I Tried CBD Oil For My Psoriatic Arthritis. Here’s What Happened.

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 23rd, 2019

Stress, Heart Disease, Obesity: Could Magnesium Be the Missing Link In Your Diet?

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 05:32

There are many benefits of magnesium and is a requirement in our diet that is oftentimes neglected.

The amount needed varies among individuals. Adults need about 400 mg per day for women and 420 mg a day for men. When you do not take in enough, it leads to problems such as causing an imbalance in Calcium and Vitamin D in the body. It is also a critical electrolyte that is needed to balance other elements, as well as oxygen transport throughout the body.

The levels of magnesium directly affect inter-cellular transport of potassium and sodium

For verification, the prefix “inter” means “within,” medically. Muscular contractions are enabled by magnesium, and it is a key factor in glycolysis and the way the body breaks down glycogen into glucose. Common things that lower magnesium levels in the body are poor or unbalanced diets, excessive diuretics (such as alcohol or excessive caffeine), sweating, and illness. The electrolytes you most commonly concern yourself with are sodium and potassium, with calcium coming in third (although it is crucial for contractility of the heart). Magnesium is right there as well, and losses can cause everything from cramping to severe fatigue.

Eat a Good Diet

Common sense reminds us that the more processed a food, the more it will lack in terms of nutritional value. Therefore, eat a healthy diet to get natural forms of magnesium intake. Some examples of foods that are high in this essential element are chlorophyll-abundant vegetables (green leafy vegetables), peas, legumes (beans), nuts, seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), and unrefined whole grains in the form of cereal and bread. Unrefined being the key word there.

Supplementation helps, especially when you are lifting or exercising. Magnesium is also a critical component in the production of energy, as when fats and carbohydrates are metabolized to produce energy, magnesium is a key component here: ATP is found “attached” to it. ATP is Adenosine Triphosphate, a protein found in the mitochondria of your cells used to produce energy. ATP is found in the cells in the form of MgATP. Guess what that “Mg” at the beginning stands for? Oh, you smarty, you guessed it! Magnesium.  ATP needs that magnesium to complete its reactions and provide energy from the cell.

Magnesium is also critical in your recovery; one of the facets of training that is either most neglected or overlooked. In order to synthesize DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), and proteins, well, magnesium is critical. Synthesize means to produce a substance (as the ones mentioned) from elements or molecules…in other words, “build.” This is the reason that it is critical in your recovery. In order to build new muscle tissue and repair what has been “shredded” with the training, magnesium is critical in forming proteins and the DNA and RNA.

For balance in your diet, athletic performance, and overall health, magnesium is a much-overlooked element that does far more upon closer examination than most would have believed possible. That powder is pretty good stuff and easy to take. It is in a form that is more readily available for your system to take up (termed “bioavailable,” and it has a bunch of probiotics with it that are beneficial additions to the magnesium supplementation.

To read more about the health benefits of magnesium read The Magnesium Miracle. Updated and revised throughout with the latest research, this amazing guide explains the vital role that magnesium plays in your body and life. Inside the book you will discover:

• new findings of the essential role of magnesium in lowering cholesterol
• improved methods for increasing magnesium intake and absorption rate
• how calcium can increase the risk of heart disease—and how magnesium can lower it
• a magnesium-rich eating plan as delicious as it is healthy
• information on the link between magnesium and obesity
• vitamins and minerals that work with magnesium to treat specific ailments
• why paleo, raw food, and green juice diets can lead to magnesium deficiency

Find out why magnesium truly is miraculous!

 

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 21st, 2019

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