IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan

Applying the 7 Characteristics of Living Things to Your Survival Plan

by Todd Walker

 

Change is inevitable. Survival is optional.

One of the most liberating days in your life is when you come to realize you are responsible for your own success. No more excuses. No more blame game. You’ve entered the no-victim zone.

The concept of survival distills down to pain management and increasing pleasure. Bingo! You start planning. You spent long hours studying, reading, buying, and mining data to build the perfect system. You attend preparedness expos, interact on discussion forums, devour books, and maybe even start a blog.

Congrats! Your hard work has finally paid off.

Just as you finalize your sacred plan, even before the laminating film cools, some world event or local elected thug makes it a non-perfect plan. An unexpected health issue, job loss, or simply ignoring that nagging gut feeling about your family’s future can blow your plan to nothingness.

The beauty of pressure and time is its ability expose weaknesses. Ignoring science and history, you find yourself driving down the road to your fatal dead-mans curve clinging to your laminated preparedness plan.

I apologize up front to anyone reading this who happens to be “set in their ways” or downright rigid. You’re not going to enjoy what follows.

Adaptability and agility are two key elements you must develop to increase your chance of staying alive. Unplug your laminating machine, grab a pencil, paper, and several erasers because creating a living Individual Preparedness Plan gets messy.

First, let’s go back to your middle school (junior high in my case) science class for a refresher course on the 7 Characteristics of Living Things. And please, no spit-wads hurled at the teacher.

Learning Goal: The student (you) will identify and apply the characteristics of living things to your Individual Preparedness Plan for survival and resilient living.

1. Living things are highly organized, from the smallest part to the largest.

  • Cells are organized into tissue (muscle)
  • Tissue into organs (liver)
  • Organs come together to form organ systems (nervous system)
  • Organ systems work together to form an individual living thing
  • More than one living thing makes a population of these particular things (the population of wild turkeys on your back 40)
  • The population becomes part of a community composed of different kinds of living things (species). It’s were living things live, work, play, etc.
  • An ecosystem is then formed when all the living things, non-living things, environment, and energy come together in their happy place

2. Living things have the ability to get and use energy.

  • Without a constant supply of energy (food) living things die and become food (energy) for much smaller living things
  • For humans, we use energy (food and fuel) to maintain the our core body temperature around 98.6 degrees F – our happy place

3. Living things have the ability to respond (movement) to their environment.

  • Sensitive to changes and responds (movement) to the stimuli in the environment
  • For example, the ability to move your hand off a hot stove (pain), or marry a hot wife (pleasure)

4. Living things have the ability to remove waste

  • Living things use different methods to excrete waste
  • For humans, the simple act of breathing removes waste
  • If a living thing is unable to excrete waste, it quickly becomes an organism formerly known as a living thing

5. Living things grow

  • Living cells grow to a certain size and then divide
  • A living thing turns stuff unlike itself into more stuff like itself – eat kale (plant) and it chemically turns into more of the eater (human)

6. Living things have the ability to reproduce and pass on genetic information to baby living things

  • Reproduction is essential for the survival of the species 
  • All living things reproduce by either asexual or sexual reproduction

7. All living things have the ability to adapt to their environment

  • Adaptation is a trait that helps living things survive in its environment
  • Living things that are better at adaptation increase their survival and reproduction rates, thus strengthening their species
  • Important note: only individual living things have the ability to adapt – species do not adapt, they evolve
  • Variations of individual living things makes the species stronger (individualism)

Now, let’s discuss the application of this mini-lesson to your Individual Preparedness Plan.

When evaluating your IPP to determine if it is living or non-living, all 7 of these characteristics must be present.

If your plan follows just a few on the list, it’s a non-living IPP. To stay in the living category, your plan must show all 7 characteristics. Granted, we are all individuals at different stages of development. Our progress in certain areas may be strong while other areas need immediate attention. A humble analysis will be required, as will ongoing monitoring to ensure you and your IPP maintain living thing status.

1.a. Applying “Living things are highly organized” requires, um, organization. Lists are popular with most preppers. Simply having a list of lists doesn’t mean your organized. Lists will get you pointed in the right direction, but energy and focus are required to fill the list. SurvivalBlog offers the best lists I’ve seen to help organize, acquire skills, and stay on the living things list. You can find the “List of Lists” link on the left side bar near the top of his blog.

Organization applies to more than just stuff. Your living IPP should include finding other prepper populations and building community. Lone-wolf living organisms rarely survive.

Now, if I could only remember where I put my list?

2.a. What’s your plan for “Living things have the ability to get and use energy”? To avoid becoming room-temperature, pay close attention to these basics: food and water. Plan now to secure the knowledge and skills for sustainable food and water – to be converted into energy for your body. We all need energy to push, pull, and move.

Also, since we don’t hibernate, alternative, sustainable methods of energy production keeps us in our happy place, warm and dry. Consider passive solar, geothermal, hydroelectricity, and wood heating. There’s more. Any suggestions?

3.a. Think movement when applying “Living things have the ability to respond to their environment.” Your IPP should include a plan for Getting Out Of Dodge if you sense or see that your present environment will soon be hosting a bunch of non-living things. Keeping a 72-hour emergency kit ready is for smart living things. Or, if you know your environment will be full of non-livers, avoid the rush, make the necessary sacrifices, and move already.

Physical movement takes energy (see 2.a.). Natural selection favors those living things that are able to move efficiently. Stop neglecting your fitness. Nuff said.

4.a. “Living things have the ability to remove waste” must be applied if you plan on being a living thing. Applied to your physical body, elimination is essential. For the purpose of your IPP, the same holds true. Apply the Sherpa Simple philosophy to your stuff. Cleaning out that colon you call a storage closet brightens your day and makes room for useful stuff. Today’s society of consumers collect shiny stuff that, unless eliminated, turns toxic. Eliminate and flush.

5.a. Applying “Living things grow” to your plan. Your paradigm of preparedness should grow exponentially. Your IPP should include specific skills that need to be developed for you to be a well-rounded living thing. This is not meant to be applied to your waist line. What you thought you knew was the best today, changes tomorrow. Stay informed on practical ways to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Remember, to grow, we need energy.

6.a. Applying “Living things have the ability to reproduce and pass on genetic information to baby living things” to your IPP. Is your plan reproducible? Could your neighbor, neighborhood, or community reproduce what you, the individual living thing, are doing? The genetic information of preparedness and building resilience needs to spread to audiences outside the present prepper population. When each newbie living thing begins taking personal responsibility, the community and entire “ecosystem” becomes stronger.

7.a. How you apply “Living things adapt to their environment” is the cornerstone to all living Individual Preparedness Plans. When living things are involved, expect monkey wrenching. Mother Nature keeps a tool box full of monkeys and wrenches. Bouncing back is easier if you have flexibility and redundancy built into your systems. A rigid tree won’t last long in the coming storms.

The problem with life is it changes. Well, it’s not a problem, it’s just reality. As a matter of fact, change is what keeps us out of that state of atrophy. Avoid pain and increase pleasure by applying these middle school science lessons to your Individualized Preparedness Plan.

Change is inevitable. Survival is optional.

If you found this helpful, maybe you could help get the word out by sharing it with your social network, family, and friends. We certainly appreciate all the support we get from you!

 

Also, please follow me on Twitter for updates on our journey: @SurvivalSherpa

 

 

 

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Unconventional Functional Fitness: Sticks and Stones Interval Workout

It is not that our life is so short, it is that we waste so much of them. – Seneca

In my Individual Preparedness Plan series, I thought it necessary to talk about priorities in preparing. Today’s topic: Functional fitness.

I read something the other day about the popular Doomsday Preppers show. It seems that the producers of the show interview potential want-to-be-on-TV preppers and make them choose one doomsday scenario to highlight during their episode. I’ve never seen a full show, maybe one or two 5 minute segments, so I’m in no position to critique or criticize. I’m sure that those folks are preparing for more than that one potential catastrophe, right?

We all have our own reasons for preparing. Some are concerned about possible job loss and not getting that coveted gold watch after 30 years. Others worry about economic collapse, EMP attack, peak oil, government tyranny, zombie bikers, the golden hoard, natural disasters, and all manner of boogie man-isms like alien invasions. No matter the flavor of the brown stuff hitting the fan, being physically, mentally, and spiritually able to deal with chaos only increases your chances of survival. Let’s cover physical fitness priorities first.

I’m still amazed at the total lack of emphasis on being physically fit to handle the extra stress in survival situations. Claire Wolfe posted a letter of thanks from “just waiting” to her Commentariat related to clean up from Hurricane Sandy. Imagine the physical stamina needed for any common desk jockey to have to rip up storm soaked carpet and pad, soggy furniture, and mold infested drywall to the curb. Overwhelming. Preparing our bodies to handle the added stress in these situations should be done in advance. I’ve yet to come up with a workout tailored for alien invasions. Any suggestions? Until an invasion of green beings is imminent, we should focus on the practical benefits of being strong so we can be useful.

With Dirt Road Girl waging war on her cancer, I’ve been very cyclical in my approach to “working out.” Time to get my sweat on. I wedged this phrase in quotation marks for a reason. “Working out” is the path to fitness according to buff experts. Three to four times a week of weight training, squeezed in between a couple of cronic-cardio routines, a yoga class or two, and monotonous hours of sweating to Richard Simmons’ videos is not my idea fun. That goes for P90X and CrossFit. I have great admiration for practitioners of these way-intense fitness programs. It’s just not for me. Number one: My routine has to fit my primal lifestyle. Number two: I refuse to spend money on gym memberships, gadgets, and other shiny stuff to stay fit. About a month after the giving frenzy of Christmas, millions of shiny fitness objects will be laid to rest in the basement corner or closet.

There’s a better way. If you give me a moment, I’ll show how to develop fitness that is both functional and useful in the real world, and possibly in a post TEOTWAWKI world. I say possibly because I’ve never experienced the end of the world.

Obviously, a certain level of fitness is needed to perform basic functions in our modern world. Much less than our ancestors however. Today’s machines and technology have made our post industrial revolution lives more comfortable, convenient, and cozy. Cozy is code for complacent. I’m thankful for modern stuff. I plan on using my car, electric appliances, and time-saving machines like my leaf blower instead of a rake. This gives me more time to do the things I really want to do like hang out with my wife and our son while he’s in town. Plus, we’ve got a primal workout scheduled before we start herding leaves at my in-law’s down the street.

So what is functional fitness? Here’s my simple definition: The ability to do real work in real life situations.

What if our lives depended on functional fitness?

Could you fireman carry your friend or a stranger out of harms way? Split firewood without a hydraulics? Lift your body weight or even your child’s weight? Walk the 20 miles per day on your planned bug out route with 30 extra pounds strapped to your back? Rip 1,000 square feet of soaked carpet and pad from your floor? What if’s are endless. But…could you do it? I tell myself I could. I work towards that end. But quite honestly, I don’t know.

Anyone that has read my story knows that I follow a primal lifestyle. I’ve praised the benefits to the point of exhaustion. Guilty of the workout-so-I-could-burn-all-those-carbs cycle for many years, I discovered that eating, exercising, and weight loss is easy when we follow our true nature. Genetically speaking, we are not meant to eat the Standard American Diet. Humans are built to burn fat for fuel.  And we don’t have live in the gym to be fit. Below is the blueprint I follow.

The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid

For functional, diverse athletic ability, and a lean, proportioned physique

fitness pyramid flat 2012

Sticks and Stones Interval Workout

Bored with your workout routine? Get out of the gym and get spontaneous. Cliche alert: Variety is the spice of life. Here’s a sampling of my functional fitness workout that cost no money (sweat equity required) and pays health dividends now and in our uncertain future. Dirt Road Girl, our son, and I jogged over to our local park a few blocks from our house. The temperature was in the mid 40′s so I wimped out and wore my five finger shoes. On warmer days I do it barefoot. Barefooting is optional.

WARNING: Here’s the caution about starting any fitness program in our happy-lawyer-society. Consult your physician before starting any exercise regiment. This info is for entertainment purposes only. Use your common sense before attempting any of these exercises. If you drop a rock on your head, it will hurt, and maybe even kill you. Don’t blame me. You’ve been warned.

Dead fall squats

A.) Dead Fall Squats: Grab a log you can manage, stand it on end and balance it on your shoulder. I’m not getting into the basics of form and how to. Search “Proper Squat Form” on your search engine to learn proper form and prevent injury. I usually do about 2 sets of 10 reps, alternating the log to each shoulder between reps. This helps strengthen your largest muscle groups in your legs, hips and gluts.

B.) Plyometrics: I do a set of ten box jumps on the stone bench in front of my squat station. I perform these in between each squat set. Find an elevated, stable platform and jump up and back down. It can be a tree stump, steps, homemade box, or whatever. Be sure to choose something that is sturdy and will not move when you stick your landing.

Plyometrics

C.) Front Squats: I like to mix it up with my squats. Rest the log on your chest and squat. Wear clothing you don’t mind getting dirty. Another note: During the warmer months, be aware of insects and poison plants on your workout equipment. Tics or poison ivy will ruin your day.

Variation on squats

D.) Overhead Press: Get creative. I’ve got a longer log that I use for this exercise. It’s about 15 feet long. I grab it at the heavy end, lifting with my legs not my back, and perform 2 sets of 10 presses over my head. The law of gravity and Newton’s Laws of Motion are still in effect, so get out of the way when you’re done and have to drop the log.

Overhead press

E.) Rock and Roll: You probably won’t find an old tractor tire lying around your park you can flip. Here’s Mother Nature’s answer to heavy tires. I have no way of knowing how much this rock weighs. My son said 300 lbs. maybe. He’s smarter and better at estimating. I roll the rock several times. It’s quite a chore and will enlist all of your muscles to perform this primal rock flip. NOTE: Use gloves to protect your hands.

Rock and roll

F.) Sprints: I usually do these about once every 7 to 10 days on our street before going to work. I run between five to six 50 plus yard sprints on days dedicated to sprinting. Sprint days don’t take long, but keeps me young. How many 50-year-old men do you see sprinting down your street with nothing chasing them? Whether you’re biking, swimming, or cycling, all out effort is what you’re going for here. We only did two sprints on this interval training day.

My son out running me

G.) Pullups: Wake up call. I could only squeak out one at the end of this interval session. Our son showed out on the bar. I’ve neglected my separate pull up routine for the last few months. I’ll remedy that oversight. Even if you’ve you never been able to get your chin over the bar, do modified pull ups. That was my goal three years ago. Maybe I’ll write about my goal of doing one stinking pull up in a future post. Oh, you don’t need an official pull up bar. Find a tree limb or piece of playground equipment that you can hack.

Pull ups

H.) Stones Throw: On our way out of the park, we did a few stone throws. DRG and I collected two stones and placed them at the base of a bird house last summer. They’re still there. We throw these like you might throw a medicine ball in the gym. Don’t lug rocks to the gym. You’ll be thrown out. Throw the rock as far as possible. Fetch it and throw it again from the other side of your body. Make about 4 tosses or more if you’re up for it. Then push the rock up over a head-high object (bush or fallen tree) a couple of times like you’re passing a basketball. Do this for as many reps as you can. When you’re done, put the rock back for your next workout.

Stones throw

That’s it. A simple, cheap, and challenging workout. Remember that 80% of your body composition is determined by diet. No amount of working out will overcome a crappy SAD diet.

I haven’t been as disciplined about the fitness aspect of preparedness since DRG’s diagnosis. That has changed. I’ll be posting more follow ups to my progress in later posts.  Whether you are in perfect physical shape or just starting your journey, I’d really like to hear your thoughts, comments, fears, and insights on this subject. I’m no expert. Just a middle-aged guy trying to stay young.

Doing the stuff,

Todd

Categories: IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Neighboring Matters: Preparing For Unknown Unknowns

by Todd Walker

Are you prepare for all the unknown unknowns?

No matter how meticulous you might be at creating your list of lists, how much stuff you’ve squirreled away, or how sharply you’ve honed your survival skills, you can’t fully prepare for the unknown unknowns. That’s why neighboring matters.

If you get 10 survivalists in a room, you’ll get eleven different opinions on how to build community. In this installment of my Individual Preparedness Plan series, we’ll discuss what should be on top of every person’s preparedness priority list: Neighboring.

In the wake of Sandy’s unwelcome and devastating visit, I’ve noticed a pungent smell of superiority online from some (thankfully not all) “preppers”: “When will sheeple learn” and “We don’t look so crazy now, do we.” The back-patting party was furious in some cases. This kind of attitude and behavior only reinforces the negative stereotypical view of preppers being lunatics with guns and a superiority complex.

This got me wondering what our motives are in the preparedness community. We’re all in it for ourselves to some degree. Rugged individualism, self-reliance, independence, preparedness, back-to-basics, and sustainability are all noble pursuits. But what about those closest to us – geographically, not on social media sites? That nameless neighbor I wave to when checking my mail. He’s only two doors down. The older couple that I politely say hello to as they walk past while I’m on a run. I don’t know their names or situations, just that they live in my neighborhood.

Know Thy Neighbor

I often wonder how these nameless faces would respond to a natural disaster or extended SHTF scenario. What makes my middle class neighborhood different from those affected by Hurricane Sandy? Not a thing. Human nature is the same in New Jersey as it is in Georgia. We all need food, water, shelter, and neighbors… unless you live in an isolated cabin or cave in the hinter-boonies with wild animals as companionship. Then disregard this. For everyone else, your neighbors may unknowingly be your most valuable asset.

Got milk? No. Borrow it from your neighbor across the street. Uh, folks just don’t do that anymore. How about when a tornado rips through your town? Or an ice storm cripples the grid power? In these events, you realize a name goes with that passing face you wave to who now revs a chainsaw to saw through your driveway of fallen trees. When things go sideways, it’s what most (not all) humans do. Failure to build real relationships with real people will hamstring even those ‘super‘ preppers.

Intentional Neighboring

Isolation is intentional. So is neighboring. Which means more than pressing the “Like”, “Follow”, or “Friend” button for virtual friends thousands of miles from your computer. They won’t be able to pull your broken body from the rubble. They know you as an avatar on their screen. Real neighbors talk to you over your fence or share a drink around the backyard fire pit.

Our best hope of surviving catastrophe on a personal, local level is friends and neighbors. Daniel Aldrich, a political scientist living in New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina hit, tells his story and study of response to natural disasters.

He had just moved to New Orleans. Late one August night, there was a knock on the door.

“It was a neighbor who knew that we had no idea of the realities of the Gulf Coast life,” said Aldrich, who is now a political scientist at Purdue University in Indiana. He “knocked on our door very late at night, around midnight on Saturday night, and said, ‘Look, you’ve got small kids — you should really leave.’ “

The knock on the door was to prove prophetic. It changed the course of Aldrich’s research and, in turn, is changing the way many experts now think about disaster preparedness.

Officials in New Orleans that Saturday night had not yet ordered an evacuation, but Aldrich trusted the neighbor who knocked on his door. He bundled his family into a car and drove to Houston.

“Without that information we never would’ve left,” Aldrich said. I think we would’ve been trapped.”

“Really, at the end of the day, the people who will save you, and the people who will help you,” he added, “they’re usually neighbors.”

The Best First Responders

Family, friends, and neighbors help rebuild and restore order better than large organizations, government or otherwise. The more value-adding neighbors you have, (and not all wear the label “preppers”) the more hands, legs, minds, and overall resources become available. I sold my pickup truck this year to cover shortages in our family income when Dirt Road Girl could no longer work due to cancer. My across-the-street neighbor gave a standing offer to use his spare truck for any hauling duty that might come up. He and his wife have been so supportive to our family in our personal SHTF scenario. From meals, prayers, dog sitting, and just plain old neighborly stuff, they’re not just neighbors, they’re true friends now.

How Many?

Jesus maintained an intimate circle of twelve friends and only three in his inner circle. This number of face-to-face, close friends is about all mere humans can really manage. Any higher and we begin to spread ourselves thin. Keep in mind that this group is your real, trusted friends.

What about those outside this inner core? Dunbar’s Number sheds more info on manageable social group sizing. Dunbar theorizes that 150 is the mean group size for people. Of course, physical proximity to each other would either raise or lower that number. A lot of social grooming is required for this size group to stay intact. I can only count on one hand the number of intimate friendships I have. I think that’s healthy. From there my circle expands to close friends, friends, and acquaintances.

OpSec Concerns

What about OpSec (Operational Security)? I don’t divulge the full scope of our preparedness plans with every person on the street. That would be inviting trouble. DRG and I do have a small group of trusted friends that would run to our aid in the event of an extended event. They know we’d do the same for them. This type of friend is one  that knows you, likes you, and loves you – warts and all. They know our plans because they’re part of our plan.

Building relationships with physical neighbors is mutually beneficial. The neighborhood preparedness quotient and survivability increases. A lone wolf can’t prepare for all the unknown unknowns.

Practical Stuff

Here are a few not-so-pushy ways to do this stuff. I guess you could canvas door to door. But you don’t want to come across as annoying. If you have an agenda other than being a good neighbor, folks will see through you. Keep it simple neighbor.

  • Give: You’ve got carpentry, plumbing, electrical, or computer skills. Offer to help a neighbor. This opens a door for mutual and reciprocal giving.
  • Get involved: Local farmers markets, festivals, concerts, school meetings are all attended by neighbors and friends.
  • Yard sales: Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with people. As an added bonus, you’ll likely find useful stuff for your preps. Two weeks ago I scored a box of candles and mason jars from an older lady two streets down. I let her know where I live when I introduced myself. The transaction went very smoothly and I made a new friend.
  • Share your Stuff: DRG makes killer sausage balls. She prepares a few plates every Christmas and delivers trays to neighbors. I share smoked Boston butt with a few as well. One of my neighbors samples my home-brewed beer.
  • Ask for help – without being needy: That’s the only ice breaker needed to move from acquaintance to friend sometimes.
  • Be a connector: Refer people needing stuff to people with the right stuff or skills.
  • Trade stuff: One year I had a bumper crop of tomatoes while my next door neighbor produced more peppers than he could eat or cared to store. We traded throughout the summer.
  • Barter stuff: If there’s a local barter network already established in your town, get involved and add value.
  • Local clubs: Hunting, fishing, golf, knitting, or canning. Ask a neighbor to go learn a new skill together.

Hopefully these tips will motivate us to get out of the house, network, and meet your neighbors. Do you know your neighbors? They may be the missing link to the unknown unknowns.

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

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Categories: Barter, Doing the Stuff, IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Individual Preparedness Program: My Primal Preparedness Pantry

“Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.” - Michel de Montaigne

We’re advised to store what we eat and eat what we store by survival gurus. My problem with following this sage advice is that I no longer eat a Standard American Diet (SAD). Most of what is sold by long-term food storage companies goes against the grain (pun intended) with my eating habits and primal/paleo lifestyle. GMO wheat produced from the Industrialized Food Complex is the number one offender to my system. Sugar is my number two nasty. That just sounded awful.

I’ll try to avoid turning this into an infomercial for Primal/Paleo living. I follow the 80/20 rule promoted by Mark Sisson in his Primal Blueprint. I do have cheat days where I eat a pizza and draft beer with DRG and friends – without guilt. My primal lifestyle isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle of taking my health into my own hands – making the connection between what I eat and how I live to how I function. If our hunter-gatherer ancestors survived and thrived without SAD meals, we can too. A little reprogramming is required.

In any emergency situation, being in optimal health gives you a fighting chance to survive. In my Individual Preparedness Plan (IPP), my paradigm favors quality food over quantity. The more nutrients food contains, the less you have to eat. If you’re hungry 30 minutes after eating items from your cupboard, the cause may be that your conventional long-term food storage follows the USDA food pyramid. More and more people are waking up to this recommended eating disaster labeled “healthy” by our benevolent government. I personally eat the exact opposite of what the government tells me is good for my plate.

With that out of the way, what do I add to my food storage pantry?

I aim for a six months supply of food that’s fresh and high in nutritional value. Only 6 months? Yes. This reduces my need for storage space by eliminating all those buckets of GMO wheat, #10 cans of plastic cheese, Crisco that is one molecule away from said plastic, and sugar-filled drink mixes. I must admit, I bought a can of Crisco last week. Not for cooking, but to make an emergency candle. For cooking, I use tallow I render myself, coconut oil, butter and ghee, bacon grease, or lard. We’ll cover fats in a moment.

It’s difficult finding foods that store well, are nutrient-dense, and primal/paleo approved. James, over at Survival Punk, posted a Top Ten List of paleo foods he stores. I plan on expanding his list with a few of my own. Remember, we’re individuals. This is my IPP. YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). Even if you eat a SAD diet, try supplementing your larder with these items. It can’t hurt.

Primal Pantry items

Chia – not the pottery pet

I first heard of this tiny seed when I read the story of Tarahumara Indian ultra-marathon runners in “Born To Run” by Christopher McDougall. The ancient Aztecs called this seed “running food” due to increased endurance on long runs from a handful of chia. Spanish explores wrote that this ancient civilization valued this food more than gold.

I use chia seeds primarily on salads. They are a great pick-me-up so I keep some in my stand-up desk drawer at school as well. The uses are many and very beneficial. I don’t eat them by the handful. But they do offer a boast of omega-3′s in my eating plan. Even if you’re not a marathon runner, here are some reasons I stock this “running food.”

  • They pack the highest concentration of essential fatty acids – four times the concentration of other grains. Natural News
  • Chia is also touted as having the highest omega-3 content of any plant-based source, containing 64 percent alpha linolenic acid (ALA). Natural News
  • Hydration: Chia consumption contributes to maintaining balanced hydration and electrolyte levels within the body, steadying water intake, assimilation, and absorption.
  • Superior in protein quality to wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, amaranth and soy, chia also offers a disease-fighting arsenal of antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetinand flavonols. Red Orbit

Fat

Now this item is right in my wheelhouse. For any sugar-burners still brainwashed into believing saturated fats are the cause of heart disease and obesity, put down your computer/tablet/fancy phone and walk away – NOW! What is about to follow will only enrage you and make you grab a can of high fructose corn syrup to ease your pain. I don’t want to contribute to your suffering.

The unavoidable truth is that we humans prefer (physiologically) fat over carbs to fuel our bodies. Our genes came from fat burners. The obesity epidemic we face today comes from all the glucose released from the high carb wheat and sugar of the SAD. Eating good quality fat will hit the reset button on your genes. So what do I store to make my larder fat?

  • Pemmican. Here’s my recipe. Prepared and stored correctly, it’ll last for years. My recipe included dried blueberries. For a better recipe, click this link. Again, this is for educational purposes only. Do your research and eat at your own risk.
  • Coconut Oil. Excellent shelf life of several years. I eat it, cook with it, and “beautify” with it. Here are 160 more uses for this amazing fat. I use it on my skin after shaving my head and face. I’m using less in Novembeard.
  • Olive Oil
  • Ghee. Choose products that are made from quality butter. Making your own is cheaper. Butter contains 16% water and milk fat solids that cause it to spoil if not refrigerated. Ghee is almost pure fat and will last a couple of years in a dark, cool pantry.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods have sustained humans for thousands of years. When it comes to our gut flora, exposure to bacteria is a good thing. Fermented foods offer the sterile gut a healthy dose of probiotics to help balance our intestinal flora. In a prolonged emergency or TEOTWAWKI event, the skill of fermentation will become very useful – even life saving.

  • Sauerkraut. Easy to make at home and full of probiotics. All you need is cabbage, salt, and storage containers. Here’s how I make homemade sauerkraut.
  • Yogurt and Kefir. No, it doesn’t store well. So, find a local source for raw milk before TSHTF. With this milk, you can make your own kefir and yogurt. I buy raw milk for my “pets” at my local farmers market from time to time. Milk from a cow, goat, or sheep can be used. If you can’t get by the milk police, the “safe” homogenized variety will work. Coconut milk is another alternative. Acquire a kefir culture and you’re in business.
  • Kombucha. From Mark’s Daily Apple: “Kombucha is a fermented beverage (fermented tea, to be exact), which means it can introduce beneficial bacteria into your body.” Action Note: On my list to make.

Protein

To store these long-term (6 months for me), freezing is the best option. Electricity is needed. I’m studying other options of storing meats long-term (salt cured, smoked, etc.). As I mentioned earlier about finding local sources for milk, the same is true for meat and protein (eggs). I’ve got a local source for Water Buffalo 3 miles from my house. He told me he doesn’t raise animals, he raises grass. He’s a grass farmer. His grass-fed protein-on-hoof is just the by-product of his pastures.

  • Eggs. I realize that finding true cage free eggs that are unwashed may be impossible for most. They’re worth the search for storage purposes. A local farm or neighbor’s backyard chicken tractor may be your best option. Be sure the protective, natural coating hasn’t been removed by washing. These eggs will store for several months in a cool space. Just wash them before eating.
  • Protein in a can. I stock sardines and other fish since they have a long shelf life.
  • Jerky. Make your own here.

Canned Goods

We can’t always have fresh veggies at our house. That’s when we dip into the canned stuff.

  • Vegetables. Tomatoes, tomato paste, beets, and other pallet pleasing veggies
  • Pumpkin
  • Coconut milk
  • Maple syrup
  • Bacon. Yep, it comes in a can. For DIY’ers, try this procedure.
  • Garlic
  • Olives

Other Stuff

  • Spices that we actually use
  • Seeds for nutrient rich sprouts. This is a great use of the wheat you’ve got stored.
  • Sea weed. Long storage life for minerals we need for health.
  • Raw, Local Honey. Lasts forever and has so many uses.
  • Salt. I like sea salt for our table and cooking. I buy other salt for different purposes and possible barter items in a collapse situation. Remember any wars being fought over this mineral?
  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s great for what ales you. I drink a mix of this, raw honey, and water a few times a week.
  • Vodka. It makes a great martini and can be used for tinctures.
  • Containers. Don’t forget these. Store a wide variety of mason jars, freezer bags/container, wax paper, etc.
  • Vitamins/Supplements
  • Dried Fruit
  • Teas. I sweeten mine with raw honey.

A few of our spices on the homemade rack mounted on the kitchen pantry door

There is no finish line in preparedness. Our best preps should focus on a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Ditch the latest snake oil diet and try living a lifestyle that reflects our true, primal nature. Optimal health, functional fitness, knowledge, skills, and a Individual Preparedness Plan will go a long way in keeping us alive.

That’s the target, right?

I really appreciate you stopping by. Please share this with anyone who might find this article helpful. If you have any questions or comments, I’d like to hear from you.

The next installment in the IPP series will cover what might be the most important, yet most neglected prep ever.

Still doing the stuff,

Todd

Categories: Food Storage, Frugal Preps, IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, Real Food, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , | 34 Comments

Individual Preparedness Plan: Weak Preps Become Strong

You’ll never be the best, but you can be good enough.

Lay aside your dreams of grandeur for a moment. At one point I wanted to write a book. Dreams of being a bestselling author use to bounce around in my head. Then I woke up. I don’t have what it takes. Maybe I do. I haven’t tried it yet. I’ve been writing this blog for less than a year. What makes me think that I could write stuff that millions of folks would line up to buy? I’d settle for hundreds.

Yep, I’ve come to a place of reality. I no longer have to write my masterpiece. What a relief. My mind bending activity focuses on being good enough now. The same goes for preparedness. My survival is not dependent on my being the best survivalist on the planet.

Is mediocre good enough?

In my Preparedness Wheel analogy, spokes (individually weak) intersect at the hub to strengthen the wheel. I mentioned this concept the other day when I told you about Dirt Road Girl’s radiation treatments. Weak beams of radiation are directed towards the tumor in several directions. One beam is so weak it causes little to no damage (according to our doctor) as it passes through healthy tissue. But when all the beams intersect at the target, the dosage is multiplied many times. It’s like a horrible car crash of radiation beams delivering devastation and destruction. The tumor screams in agony and dies.

Even our weakest attempts to prep for emergencies can add power to our IPP (Individual Preparedness Plan). Instead of causing a pile of twisted metal and mangled bodies, minor preps help us navigate safely through deadly crossroads. Over time, and with proper aim, the little stuff starts to build strength. Preparedness and self-reliance happens at the intersection of ‘weak’ preps.

Your individual needs will determine the nature and scope of the spokes in your Preparedness Wheel. We will all have a different looking wheel. Before you build a fancy wheel with lots of bling, make sure you have the basic spokes. Once your wheel is rolling, customize it to your individual needs.

Here is the first spoke to help you on your journey to preparedness and self-reliance.

Water is life

Our bodies, depending on age, gender, and body type, are made of between 77% to 45% water. We need it to function. We can’t survive without it. When building this spoke, consider your activity level, availability, storage capabilities, and climate.

I’m a Container Freak. How important are they? Whole civilizations have been built around containers. For thousands of years lumps of clay on a potter’s wheel has been turned into bottles, jars, and jugs to store liquids. You don’t have a potter’s wheel? No problem. Simply save used food grade containers. I’ve got empty plastic coffee containers (with handles) hanging from a string under my shop. DRG wonders how I’ll ever use all these. They could be forced into service as water containers. I mostly use them now for odd hardware storage in my shop. But you never know, right. Below are some options for getting your drink on.

  • Used drink containers: Two liter soda containers can be cleaned and re-purposed. I’ve got an unlimited supply of one gallon jugs from my school. The concession stand sells a sugary, frozen slushy type drink to unsuspecting student consumers to wash down the SAD (Standard American Diet) meals from the lunch line. The artificial flavoring comes in 4 – 1 gallon jugs per case. They are HDPE (High Density PolyEthylene) and coded with a #2 inside the recycle symbol on the bottom of the container. I collect these when they’re empty, place them into their handy shipping box, and take them home. I clean them with hot soapy water and refill with tap water. They stack very well in the boxes. The boxes also block light to prevent algae growth in my liquid storage. I’ve tasted water from these jugs with hardly a hint of flavoring. I’m ahead of the curve when it comes to buying expensive “flavored” water WTSHTF.

4 gallon jugs per case

  • Emergency water:Don’t forget that your hot water heater contains 40 gallons (depending on the size) of potable water. In an emergency, simply shut off the power source (gas shut off or electrical). Electrical should be labeled in the breaker box. If not, identify the correct breaker and label with a permanent marker. Even if the power is out at your house, it’s wise to take this step. If the power is restored to your empty water heater, you’ll be replacing the heating elements. Next, attach a garden hose to the bottom valve. Open the pressure relief valve on top of the water heater and fill those used drink containers you’ve been hoarding. Don’t forget these sources below either…
    • Toilet tank water. A typical tank (NOT the bowl) will hold will hold over 3 gallons of water. Even the government regulated 1.6 gallon/flush toilets hold that much. To keep from stirring up the sediment in the tank by scooping the water out when needed, disconnect the fill-line from the bottom of the tank. Unless the connector nut is really tight, you should be able to use your super-human strength to loosen it. If not, use a pair of pliers. Sit a container under the outlet and collect the water. Yes, it’s potable – unless you put bowl cleaning chemical cakes in the tank. If in doubt. Don’t drink from the toilet tank. Reconnect the fill line so you can still use the toilet to flush waste with a bucket of water you scooped from the tub or other source. With a bucket/container, refill the tank with water. Now you’ve still got the convenience of flushing with the handle. The ladies will appreciate the extra effort.
    • Bath Tub. Plug your tub and fill it with water if you have an early warning of possible disasters bearing down on you. This water can be used, as mentioned above, to flush toilet, personal hygiene, and even drinking. If you have to resort to drinking from the tub, you’ll want to disinfect the water by boiling and chemical treatment. You do have an alternative method of cooking, right? Don’t want to drink from the container (tub) after all those dirty showers? Try this…
    • Water BOB. For $30.00 you can add 100 gallons of potable water to you bath tub. I haven’t tried one of these yet. I’d love to hear feedback for any who has.
    • Drain your pipes. In a two story home, open the tap on the upper floor and collect the water in the pipes from the lowest faucet in your home. On single story homes, find the lowest water spigot (usually an outside garden hose bib) and follow the same advice in the previous line.
    • Mosquito pools. Bird baths, kiddy pools, and other outside containers can be tapped in an absolute emergency. Be sure to filter, boil and disinfect water from these sources before drinking.
  • Make your own potable water. I’ve got a MSR (Mountain Survival Research) brand filter for my hiking/BOB. For the home, it’s wise to have a gravity fed filter in case electricity is lost. Yes, it takes electricity over at the city water works to pump H2O to your tap. Even if you have well water, power is need to pressurize your water lines – unless you have a manual hand pump. Then forget what I just said. Can’t afford the Royal Berkey? Buy the filters and make your own. Or try this one. Also, Prepper Helper has an article comparing common water filtration systems. You can read it here.
  • Lightweight Collapsible Container. Creek Stewart, author of Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag, has a great article on water storage containers on his site Willow Haven Outdoors.
  • Pictured below is my mobile filtration system. I keep these in my BOB (Bug Out Bag). They are lightweight, durable, and functional.

L to R: MSR water filter, G.I. issue canteen with nesting cup, MSR bladder

  • Yard Sale Containers. I picked up these two blue containers at a yard sale for $2.00. The previous owner said she used them one time on a hunting trip and threw them in the corner of her garage. They hold 7 gallons each. Lots of emergency storage solutions can be found at yard/estate sales.

Cleaned with hot soapy water then refilled with tap water

Preparedness and self-reliance, like any other skill, takes time. It’s more of a marathon than a sprint. For those waking up to our fragile world and the need to prepare for uncertain times, information overload is a real threat to your success. Your fears are only heightened by the gap between your new-found knowledge and your needed action steps. The last thing you need is fear mongering and ‘experts’ berating you for not being prepared for TEOTWAWKI. [Sarcasm on] No worries my friend, they’ll sell you an all-you’ll-ever-need-kit to get you through the zombie apocalypse [Sarcasm off]. I’m a huge fan of free-markets. Just beware of who you get your advice from. What we all needed is a healthy dose of sensible, practical, Regular Guy common sense on our journey together. Here are few of my Regular Guy & Gal resources. Check out my Blogroll & Resources tab for more.

Prepper Website

Living Freedom

Ready Nutrition

Backdoor Survival

The Survivalist Blog

Prepography

Alt-Market

The Survival Mom

Perhaps you found this helpful. Next week we’ll continue the Individual Preparedness Plan series by adding another spoke to our Preparedness Wheel: Food Storage – How hard can it be?

If you found this info helpful, I sure would appreciate y’all sharing it with family, friends, and social networks.

Doing the stuff,

Todd

 

Categories: Frugal Preps, IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Potable Water, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival, Water | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Individual Preparedness Plan: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

Finally, part two of my IPP post from the other day.

One of the benefits of writing individual education plans for my students is, err, it’s individualized. Just like my students, preppers and survivalist all have unique strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here are some suggestions to help with your IPP.

A.) Evaluate your strengths. Self-help gurus and a lot of prepper experts have a knack for making us feel inferior. Intentional or not, it happens. My advice is to find out where you’re strong. Weaknesses are easily identified when I write IEP’s. It’s the strengths I sometimes have trouble locating. We’re all strong in some areas. There are no superhero preppers. Only ‘experts’.

If you’re a list person, make a list of all that you do well. There’s bound to be something under the strong side of the ledger. Once you identify your strengths, develop them.

B.) Starve the weaknesses. This one stops so many people waking up to their need to prepare. After reading their first prepper blog, they freak out. A common thought for folks new to preparedness goes like this: “I have a can of tuna, some beans and corn, half a case of water. I’m old and out of shape. How in the name of survival can I carry that 50 pound BOB (Bug Out Bag) that the expert said I need? Where would I bug out to? I’m too broke to buy a retreat that’s self-sustaining.” Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Hands get thrown in the air.

What’s the solution? Personalize your plan. Make it simple. I know we need water to survive. How much depends on the individual, climate, and number of mouths (pets count). Take preparedness step by step. It’s a journey, a slow climb. If I focus on point ‘A’, then I begin to discover opportunities. This loosens the monkey’s grip on my back. When he falls, I see freedom. And feel free.

Do we really need all the ‘shiny’ stuff bloggers and books promote? Set your individual priorities. If you don’t govern your priorities, someone else will. Just say no to the good shiny stuff and focus on what’s really important. You. Your time. Your relationships. Your neighbor. Eliminate the non-essentials. Sculpt your individualized masterpiece. Chisel away at everything in your plan that isn’t your masterpiece. “Keep the main thing, the main thing,” is what a pastor friend of mine told me years ago. Don’t get distracted by all the shiny preps.

Identifying our weaknesses in areas is good. Realize though that we only have x amount of time, energy, and resources. We can only do a certain amount of stuff and skills very well. The rest is mediocre at best. There. I’m mediocre. Repeat that to yourself. Mediocre is enough. Do I really need to master the 47 Essential Skills Needed To Survive The Zombie Apocalypse? Admitting my mediocrity, I can now prioritize my preparedness plan and not feel the need to keep up with the big boys.

Wasn’t Forest mediocre?

Prepare intentionally. Is a comfy sofa on your SHTF list of lists? Probably not. Yet, it was on our list. Dirt Road Girl needed a comfortable sofa to chill on during her chemo/radiation treatments. We bought the nicest we could afford. That was the best ‘prep’ money we’ve spent. With that price tag, we could have bought plenty of beans, bullets, and band aids. But I had to ask, “Would I rather have a huge impact on my family, or a small impact on the “what-if” system of preparedness?” The three B’s are still on our list, but not as important. Our individual priorities should guide our Individual Preparedness Plan.

DRG finished her radiation last week! We’ll get some scans done soon with great results hopefully. I’d like to take this chance to thank all those who have offered up prayers and support for her and our family! Blessings back on you!

C.) Interruptions are opportunities. Focusing on our weaknesses creates tunnel vision. My granddaddy made his mule wear blinders to hide distractions. Jack’s job was to pull the plow down one row at a time. It’s very easy to view preparedness planning as your job. Get that last case of #10 cans packed away and inventoried. I’ve been guilty of wearing prepping blinders in the past. They help limit the distractions and interruptions to my plan. The problem with wearing this gear is it also blinds me to new opportunities.

“We interrupt your regularly scheduled program” is usually followed with an emergency announcement like: Buckwheat has been shot! I’m often standing at my desk (I built a stand-up desk since I never sit down at school except to eat and meet) doing paperwork when a co-worker pokes her head in and interrupts my importance. She just needs to talk. I politely listen. In my mind I’m trying to end the conversation. I’ve got important stuff to do. I don’t have anyway of measuring this, but I’ve missed so many opportunities by not really listening to people in my life. DRG will tell you that I get focused on something and lose all peripheral vision. “Please DO NOT Disturb!” is hanging around my neck.

All the great inventors made life-changing discoveries by being interrupt-able. An observant person will look for and notice opportunities from interruptions.

Cancer barged into our IPP in January. The Earth kept spinning, but our world stopped. Now we deal with doctors and stress and an uncertain future. With our budget blindsided, we’re forced to prepare creatively. Our relationship with our neighbors has grown from a friendly wave to caring friends and meals when needed. Community is building. What use to be ‘important’ has taken a back seat. Interruptions open new opportunities – if I look for them. Plus, I look like my granddaddy’s ass with those blinders on.

D.) What threats are likely? I know there are many natural and man-made disasters that could happen. Economic collapse, solar flare, EMP attack, super volcanoes erupting, and martial law just to name a few. My job is to figure out which ones are most likely to affect me and mine. I quit trying to prep for the massive what-if list. The self-reliant crowd may disagree. When I win the lottery, I’ll consider buying that mountain with the pimped-out underground bunker. Until then, I prep for most-likely disruptions to our quality of life.

For example. I was fortunate to grow up in the middle of nowhere. Our nearest neighbor lived two miles up the dirt road. Every time a dog hiked his leg on a telephone pole our power shut off. Daddy’s welding machine pulled double duty providing electricity more than once. Redundancy anyone? We rarely got snow. So it made no logical sense to buy tire chains for our vehicles. Besides, we had a tractor which was employed in ’73 to haul our family (loaded in the back of a pick up truck) to town after a freakish storm dumped a foot of snow on our farm.

Risk assessment is necessary to increase your chances of survival. Back to my boyhood farm days. Our doors were never locked on our house. I don’t remember anyone even owning a key. Times have changed. A few years ago a petty thief drove down my parents dirt drive past his house and cleaned out my brother-in-laws shop – in broad daylight – with my dad at home. That’s not something that happens often where I grew up.

Today is different. With the economy spiraling, people are getting desperate. Home invasions are increasing. Home defense will differ depending on the threat level. If windows in your neighborhood are covered with bars, home defense would be a primary concern. If you can’t or don’t want to move, develop your plan to address the threats of living (intentionally or not) in a high risk area.

Next week we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of developing your IPP. Thoughts? I love to hear your feedback.

Doing the stuff,

Todd

P.S. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow me @SurvivalSherpa

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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