Posts Tagged With: Food Storage

Resilience: Bloom Where You’re Planted

by Todd Walker

 

hanging bucket tomato plants, five gallon bucket planter

Bloom where you’re planted!

Ever wake up in a homeless shelter on Christmas eve?

I wasn’t a stereotypical homeless guy. I had money in my pocket and bank account. I had family and friends that I could have stayed with. How did a middle class guy with two college degrees wind up spending the holidays in an old warehouse for Christmas? Doesn’t matter. What mattered was that I had a roof over my head, food, and water – and I bounced back.

During my four months of “homeless” living, I came to appreciate the amenities most of us take for granted: Hot showers, warmth, privacy, security, protection, and a place to rest. We humans need shelter. We can’t survive without it. Since we have to have these survival basics, make them as resilient as possible.

I’ve owned many houses in my life. In fact, I use to buy, fix, and sell homes before the housing bubble burst. Just after that disaster, DRG and I decided to sell our personal residence and move to her hometown to help with her aging parents. With a contract on our home and a two weeks to get out, we decided to rent a house 5 minutes from her parents. This would be a temporary arrangement until we found a place to buy. We thought we’d be there for a month of two. This “small” window turned into three years.

Bloom where you’re planted

In our move to this small house, we had to adapt from living in a 2,500 sq. ft. house to a 1,000 sq. ft. We chose this small house because it had a 1,000 sq. ft. shop in the backyard. We stored all our extra stuff there. Besides, it was temporary. Side note: This shop became the best Man Cave ever.

About six months into our temporary living arrangement, we decided not to buy and we needed to start adding value to our little rental. Our landlord basically gave us carte blanch on improving the house. We were the best tenants he ever had. We repainted the interior walls, kitchen cabinets, and I even replaced the galvanized water lines under the house.

Our next priority was a garden. The shop took up most of our available garden space. On this small city lot, we discovered new places to grow our own food. Our main area became a raised bed (12′ x 15′) next to the back deck. We added containers of assorted veggies on the deck since it received full sun. Each year we added more resilience and value: new spots to grow food, a rainwater irrigation system, compost station, and an outdoor kitchen.

Was this our dream homestead? Not hardly. But we made the best of it. I think many people believe they have to wait for the ideal situation to become more prepared and self-reliant. Don’t get caught in that trap. Bloom where you’re planted. Like the Atlanta Rhythm Section song, we added a touch of country to our city. “It ain’t much, but it’s home.” You house and home is a key resource in building resilience.

Rural or Urban?

What should you do if you live in a less than ideal situation? Not everyone can afford to uproot and move to a piece of rural property or farmstead. Many love urban living or choose the lifestyle for jobs. The problem I see with city dwelling is dependence on the big systems: Power grid, food distribution system, municipal water supply, etc. The system is fragile to say the least. You don’t have to look far for examples of how failure in one strand of this interconnected web creates a cascade effect. Panic, havoc, and mayhem results. Then the very people dependent on the big systems scream for someone to come rescue them. Urban dwellers and even suburbanites religiously put their faith in the fragile system. One hiccup can – and often does – bring the whole system to its knees.

What’s the solution?

Go local. Become less dependent on the big system. This lessens the impact of the total fail that is coming. I touched on my plan for building community to deal with the unknown unknowns here. Our most overlooked resource may be watching TV on the sofa next door. Becoming a local producer is our goal.

DRG and I can’t wait to get back to our roots of country living. Until then, our plan is to build resilient resources for our family in the following areas:

Water

If your locale is dependent on water being piped in from hundreds of miles away by electric pumping stations, an extended power outage would cause a big die off in your big city. Water is essential for life. A plan for resilient water resources should include:

  • Rainwater collection. While it’s still ‘legal’, do your due diligence and set up a collection system.
  • Well water. If you have funds available, dig a well. You’ll be in the same boat as those dependent on electricity to pump water unless you have the ability to draw water out of the ground with alternative power. You’ve got a genset to handle the power needs of your pump. Great. Fuel will eventually run out. How about a hand pump? or gravity feed cistern? We have three deep wells on our family property. The bad part is that two of them are dependent on the electrical grid. The other well was abandoned and capped years ago. I’m doing research now to install an alternative pumping method for this abandoned well.
  • Freshwater spring. If you’re in a position to purchase property, look for land with a sustainable spring or well. Creeks, ponds, and lakes come in handy for livestock, fish, irrigation of crops, and emergency water supplies.

Food Freedom

Why is it important to know where you food comes from? We are what we eat. If you don’t want to eat the GMO fruits and vegetables from the Industrial Food Machine, what’s an individual to do. Grow your own – or at least a portion of your own food. Not only will you be eating healthier, you’re one step closer to developing self-reliance and resilience.

My long-term food storage plan only runs for six months (not recommended by the experts). I don’t store what the mainstream experts advise. Food storage is prudent but not sustainable. It runs out because we eat it – duh.

Growing our own food has been a challenge in our neighborhood. Our backyard has one tiny spot that gets about 4 to 5 hours of good sun. This past year I moved most of our garden to our full-sun front yard. I know. I run the risk of upsetting our manicured lawn neighbors. Luckily we’ve had no complaints with our foodscape near the house. Julie Bass was not as fortunate in her Michigan neighborhood.

WARNING: The Food Police are bored. What will they come up with next to make our life hell for their own amusement. (I shamelessly adapted Norseman’s fine quote from a video referring to Mother Nature’s fury: “The mountain is bored. What’s it going to do to make my life hell for its own amusement?”)

DRG and I are planning to expand into the weed infested front yard even more this year. We’ll keep some of the weeds growing for medicinal uses. We figure the beautification committee won’t mess with us if we do a gradual take over of the yard – as long it has ‘curb appeal’. It can only add value to our home since the housing bubble deflated. Wait ’til we start raising resilient backyard chickens as a science experiment for my science class.

There’s a 80 year-old man down the street that has a killer garden every year on the corner of a main intersection. He built the corner up with raised beds and packs the plants into a small garden. He sells his excess produce at his booth at our local farmers market each week. He faces the same problem we do – lack of sun in his backyard. Solution: Bloom where you’re planted.

I don’t have a plan yet for dealing with neighborly snitches. I’ll keep y’all posted on the progress and any resistance we face in our foodscaping project. Maybe I can bribe pesky snitches with fresh tomatoes.

Here’s an ambitious couple’s resilient garden. The pictures (before and after) below are an example of creative resilience over at Resilient Communities. These neighbors to our north (Canada) bloomed where they were planted 🙂

Resilience

Resilience comes from the Latin word resilio which basically means having the ability to “bounce back” from some unknown surprise.

Even if we’re paying attention, surprises happen. If we’re still breathing, we’re resilient to some degree. Our bodies are hardwired to survive. We have to do our part though. Anytime we find ourselves without the basics of survival – food, water, shelter, protection – we’ve crossed over into a survival situation.

It’s not too late. We still have time to build resources that make us more resilient. Every step you make to disconnect from the system’s ball and chain – to start connecting with your family, friends, and community – the more self-reliant, independent, and resilient you and those closest to you become.

Want to start connecting to build resilience? What’s your strategy?

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

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Categories: Doing the Stuff, Gardening, Gear, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Water | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Is It Too Late to Start Prepping?

by Daisy Luther

Author bio: Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

Is It Too Late to Start Prepping?

A lot of new folks are starting to realize that the outlook in North America is every bit as grim as the reality in European countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal and a host of others. When even the mainstream media is making dire predictions, the writing is truly on the wall.

If you’re new at this, you might be dipping your toe in the water, reading some survivalist and prepping websites, trying to figure out how to keep your family safe and well-fed in the difficult days ahead…and you may also read a host of discouraging comments saying that it’s too late to get started.  ”If you aren’t already prepared, there’s no time left,” many experienced preppers are saying dismally. “You’re screwed.”

If you’ve already come upon some difficult times, you may think to yourself, “I’d like to prepare but I barely have enough money to keep a roof over our heads…We’re screwed.”

You might be reading these terrible prophecies, rolling pennies to buy milk at the grocery store, and watching the parade of terrible daily events and be ready to give up before you even get started.  You may agree, “Yep, it’s too late. I’m screwed.”

The thing is, I’m the eternal optimist, and I don’t believe that it really IS too late.  I don’t believe that you are screwed, even if tomorrow is the date of your first stockpile shopping trip!  If the stores are open, there’s still time.

While I agree that the situation is dire and that economic doom is getting closer every day, if you’re reading this site and others like it, you’ve taken the first step to preparedness already – just like a 12-Step program for addiction, you have recognized and admitted the problem.  This, in and of itself, puts you in the company of an estimated 3 million preppers who are aware that life as we know it today could change in the blink of an eye!

This recognition of the need to prepare puts you ahead of “the herd”.

  • This means that you will look at current events differently.
  • This means that you will think critically when presented with information via the media.
  • This means that you will truly weigh the pros and cons of fiat currency that you intend to spend.
  • This means that when you shop, you aren’t just looking to feed your family until the next grocery trip.

Even if you just have a little inkling in the back of your mind that things are not as they ought to be, you have crossed a thresh-hold and you can choose whether you want to step in to awareness or slam the door on that uneasy feeling and go about your life, doing things the way you have always done them.

If you’re still reading, then you may have decided to come on in and join the ranks of the prepared!

While it’s late in the game we aren’t in the last inning just yet – so let’s get started!

The wake-up call for many of us is a downturn in finances.  While it’s ideal to begin stocking up while your income is still good, don’t be discouraged if you’ve taken a financial hit. You won’t be able to buy a year’s supply in one marathon shopping trip but you can empower yourself by getting started.

Getting Started

The first step is to take inventory of what you have – you may be surprised to realize that you already have a week or a month of supplies in your pantry.  Read “If You Don’t Know What You Have, You Don’t Know What You Need!” for more detailed information on inventorying the items that you already have. (Note: the 52 Weeks to Preparedness section of the website Ready Nutrition contains a wealth of information for the beginning prepper. It’s a budget-friendly approach to getting prepared!)

Once you’ve figured out where you are as far as supplies are concerned, you must figure out a way to finance your prepping endeavors.  Your budget may be so tight that you can barely keep the lights on but there is still hope.  When you change the way you shop, you’ll soon find that some of the budgetary stress is relieved.  But first things first, you have to free up enough money to get started.

You might think that the week after Christmas is a terrible time to get started on something that costs money, but in actuality, you will probably never be in a better position to do so.  If your house is anything like mine, you probably have a whole refrigerator full of holiday leftovers – resist the urge to do your normal weekly shopping trip and feed your family leftovers combined with the goods you have in your pantry.  Use that money that you would normally spend for groceries and let’s get started!  No matter how small your budget is, you can begin building security for your family.  I am basing these prices on my teeny tiny small-town grocery store, this week. You may be able to get more, based on what’s on sale in your area.

$20 List

  • 2 pound bag of rice
  • 2 pound bag of beans
  • 4 cans of spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cans of peaches in water
  • 1 jar of peanut butter
  • 1 jug of white vinegar
  • 5 gallon jug of water

$50 List

everything in the $20 list and

  • 4 boxes of saltine crackers
  • 4 jars of unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 pounds of sugar
  • 5 pounds of flour
  • 1 liter of olive oil
  • 3 cans of green beans
  • 2 boxes of baking soda

$100 List

everything on the $20 list and the $50 list and

  • 1 canister of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 canister of baking powder
  • 10 pound bag of potatoes
  • 5 pound bag of onions
  • 5 pound bag of carrots
  • 2 pounds of powdered milk
  • 6 pounds of pasta
  • 5 bags of dried spices of choice
  • small assortment of treats (candy, chocolate chips, etc – you have $5 to spend on things that make life more pleasant!)

If you’ve read my other articles, you may think these lists are in conflict with the “organic” theme.  While I’d certainly love to see everyone give Monsanto the cold shoulder by buying local and organic, it’s just not always feasible, especially when you are just getting started. I’d rather see people begin to take control by having a supply like the one listed here – something that when combined with the foods in the cupboards might see you through a month of hard times.

What’s more, when you have this little bit of security – this one-month food investment, you can begin to build on this with healthier and more nutritious options.  You can start learning how to be more self-sufficient by growing what you can, by learning to preserve food and by buying in bulk.

It’s Not Over – There’s Time

That little voice whispering warnings is telling you something very important – it’s saying that things just aren’t right.   Call it instinct, the voice of God, or a premonition – but listen and get prepared. Start right now.   Even if you only have 2 weeks’ worth of food and water, that is two weeks that your family will not be hungry or thirsty. After Superstorm Sandy people were complaining that they hadn’t eaten after only two days.

None of us knows how long the dollar will last.  We, in North America, will be going the way of Greece – not if, but when.  Natural disasters occur, interrupting the flow of commerce and the availability of goods. Jobs are lost, illnesses occur, and storms blow in.  If you listen to that little voice telling you to get ready, you will not be standing in line with all of the rowdy crowds waiting for FEMA to dole out benevolence.

Take the time we have left and make the most of it.  Ignore the naysayers with their discouraging pronouncements that there isn’t enough time.  Every single meal you put aside, every book of matches, every candle and every alternative cooking method you invest in, increases the security of your family.

Focus on what you can do – and block out the static of those who say the word “can’t”.

If you are an experienced prepper, what budget-friendly suggestions do you have for the newcomer?  Post them here in the comments!

[Sherpa Note: Check out the comment section at the Organic Prepper to add your thoughts and read other suggestions to this list.]

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Economic Collapse, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Many Pills Until Pharmageddon?

https://i1.wp.com/www.freakingnews.com/pictures/25000/Prozac-Santa-Claus-25108.jpg

by Todd Walker

Expert preppers recommend at least a years worth of the 3 B’s: food (beans), guns and ammo (bullets), and first aid supplies (band aids). I addressed this issue in a previous post about becoming a producer. All this stuff is consumable. What then?

A question I don’t see addressed by many experts is: What happens when the psychotropic drugs run out? How many Adam Lanza-types, armed and drugged, do we work with, live beside, or are married to?

The other day a fellow teacher told me that one of my students in his class must be off his meds. “What happened,” I asked.

“He was flopping on the floor like a fish and making strange sounds and had crazy eyes,” my friend said.

Most times, teachers just send out of control behavior to me to handle. I’ll ask if they took their medicine. The usual reply is negative.

The link between school shootings/violence and legal pharmaceuticals is disturbing to say the least. Here’s a sobering read on the effects of all the mind-altering pills swimming in public schools (Hat Tip to Caroline Cooper – a regular Sherpa commentista). What a disastrous mix: Big Pharma, Medical/Psychiatric Establishment, Industrial Food Complex, and Gun-Free Zone Government Schools. Our appetite for quick fixes, coupled with pharmaceutical profits, places America on top of other pill-popping nations consuming 60% of all psychotropic pills manufactured.

Every year it seems, we hear of another manufactured illness. Ever heard of ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)? Here’s how the Mayo Clinic defines ODD: [NOTE: I added emphasis in bold, a helpful layman’s interpretation for those not familiar with psychobabble, and alternative solutions to pills in brackets]

if your child or teen has a persistent pattern of tantrums [take Jane or Johnny to the woodshed], arguing, and angry or disruptive behavior [see Founding Fathers] toward you and other authority figures [Police State, the collective, Leviathan –  they know what’s best for their subjects citizens] he or she may have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

As a parent, you don’t have to go it alone in trying to manage [not raise] a child with oppositional defiant disorder. Doctors, counselors and child development experts [BEWARE of ALL ‘experts’] can help.

Treatment of ODD involves therapy, training to help build positive family interactions, and possibly medications to treat related mental health conditions (follow the money equation: more patients = more money).

A “problem” child often gets labeled with a mental disorder by refusing to submit and obey the oppressive rules, constant spying, and authoritarian rule in public schools. A school counselor pointed out to me that one of my students (we’ll call him John) must have this dreaded ODD mental order. He would often refuse to sit down and shut up. His mom made the decision to take him off the prescription drugs the previous year. He was making great strides in my math class. Unfortunately, the target was already painted on his back. And he knew it. I responded to the genuinely concerned counselor by saying that I think I must have caught the ODD too. This young man and I had a great year together. I ran interference for him as much as possible to give him a chance to learn. You see, once a child gets labeled, the collective memory of staff and teachers can’t be erased. Finally, his mom moved him to another school.

Zombie Factories

Image credit

Government schools are the perfect Petri dishes for profitable pharmaceutical companies. Anti-psychotic drugs, once only prescribed to adults, are readily available to school aged children. Unruly children are drugged for social compliance more than for the mental health of the individual. I call it the zombiefication process. Mix a mind-numbing cocktail of strong anti-psychotic drugs and the invisible straightjacket turns any student into a compliant zombie. Even after John’s mom took him off the drugs, I believe his young, developing brain was badly affected.

Parents and teachers embrace and encourage the pill-popping culture in Zombie Factories. In this fantasy world of rainbows and flying unicorns, we can alter behavior with a prescription pill. We are no longer responsible. Big Psychiatry will “save the children” – some doctor, bought by Big Pharma, will make everything okay with a pill. Like I tell my students repeatedly, school is not the real world. The real world is not fair. Everyone doesn’t “win” and get a trophy. It’s even more cruel when living as mind-controlled zombies drugged on legally addictive pills.

Big Pharma’s Best Kept Secret

Can prescription drugs cause you to kill someone? “Absolutely”, says Dr. David Healy, author of Phamageddon. “Violence and other potentially criminal behavior caused by prescription drugs are medicine’s best kept secret,” he adds. Want to find out if the drugs you or a loved one are taking might cause violent behavior? Enter the name of the drug over at the Violence Zone. Even if it’s “just” a pill to help you quit smoking, side effects can be deadly. Don’t expect to hear about this on major media outlets. Pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in keeping journalists inline.

Dr. Mercola reports on a disturbing top-ten list below.

Antidepressants Top List of Most Violence-Inducing Drugs

It’s certainly worth paying heed to drug interactions such as violence and homicidal leanings, both as a patient and as a concerned parent, family member or friend. According to a 2010 study published in the journal PLoS One, half of the top 10 drugs disproportionately linked with violent behavior are antidepressants:

  1. Varenicline (Chantix): The number one violence-inducing drug on the list, this anti-smoking medication is 18 times more likely to be linked with violence when compared to other drugs

  2. Fluoxetine (Prozac): This drug was the first well-known SSRI antidepressant

  3. Paroxetine (Paxil): Another SSRI antidepressant, Paxil is also linked with severe withdrawal symptoms and a risk of birth defects

  4. Amphetamines: (Various): Used to treat ADHD

  5. Mefoquine (Lariam): A treatment for malaria which is often linked with reports of strange behavior

  6. Atomoxetine (Strattera): An ADHD drug that affects the neurotransmitter noradrenaline

  7. Triazolam (Halcion): This potentially addictive drug is used to treat insomnia

  8. Fluvoxamine (Luvox): Another SSRI antidepressant

  9. Venlafaxine (Effexor): An antidepressant also used to treat anxiety disorders

  10. Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq): An antidepressant which affects both serotonin and noradrenaline

The big lie laid on our pill-for-everything culture destroys self-reliance and individual responsibility. The food I eat makes a huge difference in my overall health. The S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) served in government school lunchrooms won’t create physical specimens of students, much less mental health. Could our stomachs be connected to our mental health? I think so. I’m not alone. Below you can check out a few resources to put you on the road to enlightenment and self-healing.

The typical food storage recommendations by prepper experts are loaded with foods that destroy the brain-gut-axis. I wrote about my Primal Pantry here. My Down and Dirty Sauerkraut is loaded with gut-healing probiotics. Maybe it’s time to rethink food storage methods.

How many pills?

So, this brings me back to the original question: How many pills? What happens when your personal stock of antidepressants run out? The drug-altered fantasia will disappear when the pain of withdrawal grips the one in ten Americans dependent on psychotropic pills just to get through the day – when times were normal. Times won’t be “normal” when the sh*t hits the fan.

Images of maniacs shooting up innocent victims could pale in comparison once the prescription pill machine grinds to a halt. Adding insult to injury, all the  stuff needed to combat depression are the exact things that will be hard to come by in a prolonged SHTF situation. For instance, proper amounts of sleep, vitamins like B12 and D, omega-3 fats, and exercise all have been proven to help with mental well-being.

Educating yourself, then taking action, could save you and yours lots of future pain. A few small steps now could help you prepare for the coming Pharmageddon.

 

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Economic Collapse, Natural Health, Preparedness, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

What Does It Mean to “Prepare for the Economic Collapse”?

Two days before Christmas y’all! Our 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil was delivered yesterday. Thankfully the Mayans were wrong 🙂

Tropical Traditions

Tropical Traditions

I deal with the denial Daisy describes in her article below everyday I walk into my school. Entitlement, dependency, and even violence when their world view is challenged. If you’re able, pay Daisy a visit and lend a word of support.

Still doing the stuff,

Todd

______________________________

December 22, 2012

Last week I wrote an article in response to the media’s vilification of preppers in the aftermath of the horrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.  The article was quoted in an article on Yahoo.com, to my great astonishment, and that is when I saw how little most people understand about prepping.  You can see in most of the 4492 comments the article received that many folks just don’t “get it”.

My inbox was filled with a barrage of  hate mail and a number of people felt compelled to leave angry (and rather ignorant) comments on my website. I got messages from people that called me “batsh*t crazy”, messages from gun control advocates, messages from people who directly blamed me and all other preppers for the massacre, and even one particularly hate-filled email from a person who said “I hope that your kids are killed at the next school shooting.”

All of this leads me to reconfirm my belief that people sincerely do not understand why we do what we do, and that ignorance leads to fear.

People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer. ~ Andrew Smith

If you go back through history, the “visionaries” or “wise ones” were always mocked at best and feared at worst.  They were  cast out of society to live alone at the edge of the village; children would sneak onto their property to show their bravery; they were burned at the stake as witches and heretics.  Anything the larger percentage of people does not understand is treated as something evil and frightening.

Am I saying that preppers are all visionaries and sages?  Not in a mystical “Joan of Arc” sense – but I am saying that preppers are willing to see the writing on the wall and search for a deeper understanding.

Many preppers are preparing for an economic collapse and the subsequent social collapse that will be close behind.

If you don’t think this is realistic, then you aren’t paying attention to the world around you.

People have this image of hunger – they see it as the skeletal dark-skinned children in some third world country, bellies protruding as malnutrition sets in.

But the face of hunger and poverty today is as close as your next door neighbor. Millions of North Americans can barely afford to put their next meal on the table. They are living in their cars, if they’re lucky, and without shelter if they are not so lucky.

For many people the economic collapse has arrived. Their “end of the world” event has already occurred in the form of a job loss, the foreclosure of the family home, or an illness that has caused such massive personal debt that there is truly no way out of it.  Less than 60% of Americans who are of age to be in the work force have a full time job.  When you tally that, it means that more than 100 million people are out of work.    More than 100 million people in the United States have no jobs.  For more than 100 million people, the economic collapse has arrived in full force.

Read the rest here

Author bio: Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

Categories: Economic Collapse, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Coconut Oil: A Prepper’s Panacea

I just ordered a 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil. I’ve posted before about the greatness of this humble, healthy oil. Below, Daisy Luther gives even more reasons to add it to your kitchen pantry, bathroom, and food storage larder. Check out her bio and updated site for healthy prepping tips. I’ve added her link to our Blogroll and Resources page.

Still doing the stuff,

Todd

Reprinted with permission from the author

_______________________

Author bio: Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

Coconut Oil: A Prepper’s Panacea

December 7, 2012

What shelf stable item can be used (nutritiously) in place of butter, shortening, and cooking oil, and then pressed into duty as a health and beauty aid?

Coconut oil!

One of my favorite pantry items is my big jar of organic virgin coconut oil, and the crazy thing is, I don’t even like coconuts.  If you slip me a cookie that has those nasty little flakes of coconut in them, I’ll probably spit it out – I really, emphatically don’t like coconut!  I am stressing this point because coconut oil has a place in the kitchen of even the most die-hard coconut hater (like me!).
Sometimes people who are seeking a healthier lifestyle make the mistake of avoiding all fats.  Sure, eating a bag of Doritoes covered in cheese is terrible for you (in more ways than just the fat content!) – but certain fats can be a healthy, and very necessary,  part of your diet.  In fact, these “healthy fats” can actually aid in weight loss, if that is your goal.  Some examples of these healthy fats would be those from nuts, avocados, seeds, certain fish, and coconut oil. Consumption of these fats will improve your hair, your skin, your immune system, and your organ function when consumed in moderate quantities. As well, certain nutrients are fat soluble and can only be properly used by your body in the presence of fat.  For example, Vitamins A, D, E, and K should be taken when you eat a small amount of fat.

All coconut oils are not created equally. There are a few basic types of coconut oil, and it’s important to get the “right” kind for your needs in order to reap the full benefits of your purchase.

Refined or Unrefined?

First, you’ll need to decide between refined and unrefined.  This relates to the process of extracting the oil.

A refined coconut oil is separated by heat.  Refined coconut oil is more heat-stable and can be used in cooking methods like frying.  Many people opt for refined coconut oil because it is flavorless and odorless. The shelf life of a refined coconut oil, according to the expiration dates is 18 months to 2 years.  A refined coconut oil loses some nutritional benefits but how much really depends upon the refining process that is used.

  • Expeller Pressed:  This is the traditional method of extracting coconut oil.  No chemicals are used in this method – the oil is extracted by a machine which physically presses out the oil, then is deodorized by distilling it with steam.  If you opt for a refined oil, look for “expeller pressed” on the label.
  • RBD:  The RBD (refining bleaching deodorizing) process often uses chemical solvents like hexane to extract the oil. (Hexane is a toxic chemical that can be used to dissolve adhesive, cement and glue.)  This process is generally performed on previously dried coconut kernel called copra, which is often made from lower quality or old coconuts.

An unrefined coconut oil is also called virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil.  This oil has the light scent and flavor of coconut, which disappears somewhat when used in cooking. This type of coconut oil has the most nutritional benefits and the shelf life has been documented as anywhere from 2-5 years, to “indefinite”.

Health Benefits

The number one health benefit of coconut oil is that about 50% of it is lauric acid, an essential fatty acid that is only otherwise found naturally in such high levels in human breast milk. The human body turns lauric acid into monolaurin, which contains antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties, so basically, it boosts your immunity in every possible way.

Read the rest here

Author bio: Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

Categories: Food Storage, Natural Health, Preparedness, Real Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Pastured Poultry Butchering

Kids say the darndest things. The topic of where our food comes from was raised in my new Science classroom a few year back. I’m still in shock at Tony’s ‘enlightened’ response on the origin of meat. “From the ground,” he said. I probed. I never pass up these entertainment opportunities.

“So, it’s kinda like planting corn,” I asked.

“Yep. You plant some meat in the ground and it grows,” he said with confidence. That, my friend, is called job security.

Tony, if you’re reading this, you can stop wondering where pastured chickens come from. Matronofhusbandry over at Throwback at Trapper Creek gave me permission to share this with you and the Sherpa crowd. I love their site. It chronicles the similarities and differences of homesteading on a 1881 farm and in present day.  Located in the Pacific Northwest, their goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible. Our kind of folk. Take some time to read their musings and practical articles.

Now for the featured article. HEED the WARNING for the squeamish, vegans, and/or vegetarians.

Not for the squeamish…

June 28, 2008

WARNING – LOTS OF BLOOD AND BODY PARTS WILL BE SHOWN AFTER THE SERENE VIDEO and the first 5 pictures.

Last supper – really it is last lunch.

[Click here to view their short Pastured Poultry video]

Here is what those adorable chicks I showed you 8 weeks ago, turned into.  Grass and grain eating and pooping fertilizing fools.   I’ve just moved them to fresh grass, and am watering them, you can see them grazing and doing the contented chicken leg and wing stretch.  They have had an enjoyable eight weeks.  I always think if I was a dog, I would want to be one of my dogs, and if I was a chicken, I would want to be one of my chickens… .

We withhold the feed the afternoon before processing the chickens.  They receive water and fresh grass, but no grain.  This allows the crop  and the rest of the digestive system to clear out.  This step is important,  a clean crop and a flushed out intestinal tract make life a little more pleasant during this task.

We loaded them into our crates during the dark, they stay calm and settle right down in their crates.  They were going to get to travel and see other chickens in the nearby state of Washington at our friends farm, who let us come over and butcher when they do.  On the slate for the day:  4 adults and an assortment of kids from age 9 – 16 were going to  butcher 500 chickens and be cleaned up by lunchtime. This is in addition to doing chores as usual, on three farms They had 365, their friend from church had 70, and we were bringing 71.  We were home by noon.

As an aside to people who might be bothered by this post – I worked today alongside a nine year girl teaching her how to butcher a chicken.  Her biggest concern?  Her apron was a little too big, and the straps kept slipping off of her arms.  She was a trooper.  She stuck with it and like a good trail horse, she was bombproof, even getting playful and making a dead chicken fart, by bouncing it on the table.  I don’t think she wonders where her food comes from.

This post will be long on pictures, but I will try to explain each so you can see how we spent our day.  I’m still number crunching – I’m scared to see how much they cost me, but the accountant in me has to know to the penny.

Crossing the Columbia River, looking east towards home.

Yep, this is the place.
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Jerseys and broiler pens.
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Missy, our greeter.

New baby chicks.

*****WARNING***** the party is over!

 

Read the rest here and stop wondering where our food comes from

 

Categories: Food Storage, Homesteading, Lost Skills, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Individual Preparedness Program: My Primal Preparedness Pantry

by Todd Walker

“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.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

Todd

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Categories: Food Storage, Frugal Preps, IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, Real Food, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , , | 38 Comments

Primal/Paleo Top Ten List Of Foods To Store

This article was originally published at Survival Punk and is reprinted with permission from the author. We appreciate it James!

Top Ten Paleo Food for Storage

by James Burnette

I’m sure many of you have seen the lists going around the net of the top ten Long term storage foods. I’ve seen a ton of them and most of them are the same list over and over. On top of that most of the list is things I don’t want to eat now nor in a disaster. I’m not storing wheat and not going to eat it. So I thought about it and did some serious research. I’ve came up with a list of ten foods that are paleo friendly and have storage lives from years to indefinite. My paleo foods list is as follows.

#10

 

Coming in at number ten is maple syrup. While I don’t think you should be guzzling down maple syrup, used very sparingly as a treat . Maple syrup is very calorically  dense. As an occasional morale boost would be awesome. It has no real expiration date. I would not only use it one rare occasions and in small amounts. It would also make a good barter Item. People are always willing to pay more for wants over needs and America has a lot of sweet teeth.

 

#9

Coming in at number nine is Sauerkraut. Kraut is an amazing paleo food and has a ton of health benefits. Contains vitamin C and lactobacili bacteria. Captian James Cook made sure he always took plenty of kraut on his voyages to prevent scurvy. Lactobacili may posses many theraputic benefits, including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities. It Can last many months in it’s fermentation vessel. Unfortunately unless it’s canned it does not last more than a season. Once canned it’s live bacteria dies and you lose the benefits. It it weren’t for that it would easily be number one on the list.

 

#8

Number nine is the often vilified Lard. Lard used to be the go-to fat of choice. It has long been a substitute for butter. I feel lard has got a bad rap though, lard has less saturated fat, more unsaturated fat, and less cholesterol than an equal amount of butter by weight.[2]. Lard unlike the modern franken-oil contains no trans fats. Lard is massively calorically dense, with 115 calories per Tbsp. Lard has a great shelf life. I’ve seen some conflicting numbers on the internet but came across a story where a 64 year old can of Lard was tested and was still safe to eat.

#7

Salami is the number seven item. There are many hard Italian Salamis that claim to have no expiration date. Salami is great combination of Fat/protein. Does not require any refrigeration. In my experience of taking salami’s camping they have a huge satiety effect. It only takes a small amount to feel full and have plenty of energy. Plus they are delicious.

#6

Salt Cured meats is number six. This is a rather all inclusive category. Salt cured and salt packed meats can last a very long time and was the main method before refrigeration. From my research it seems to work for all meat. The time it takes and the complexity of the curing process varies greatly. Some hams can six months just to fully cure. This is one preservation method that should be studied and mastered now while there are resources and hospitals in case of a mistake.

#5

Coming in at the half way point is Salt. Without it you can’t do number six. Salt is a rock from the ground and never goes bad. Salt has been used for various methods of food preservation for thousands of years. It would be a huge benefit in making bland food taste better. Salt historically was a valuable commodity and in a long term disaster I can see it being a big barter item. Salts cheap stock up now.

Read the top 5 here

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Preppers Should Be Concerned About GMO Crops

Today’s post comes from Gaye Levy over at Backdoor Survival. Read her bio at the bottom of this article and visit her site for sensible information on preparedness and self-reliance.

___________________

8137240324 a039472226 o Why Preppers Should Be Concerned About GMO Crops   Backdoor SurvivalWith all of the publicity given to the California ballot initiative on GMO labeling, I have seen little if nothing mentioned about an initiative in my little community that would ban GMO crops within the boundaries of our island county.  And the truth is, while there are few places in the world that could remain effectively GMO-free, the San Juan Islands in Washington State  is one of them.

If passed in November, an initiative measure in our county will prohibit the cultivation of crops, livestock and other organisms that have had genes intentionally modified in a way that did not occur by mating or natural recombination.  We would essentially become a safe zone for non-GMO crops which in turn will preserve our ability to grow and control our food supply for years to come.

So why is this important and why is this being shared on a website that promotes prepping? I will get to that but first, a simplistic and easy to understand primer on GMOs.

A Brief Primer on GMOs

There are a lot of issues surrounding GMOs. Alas, many people recognize that they are “bad” but have not taken the time to learn why.  Or perhaps they have taken the time but have had their eyes glaze over when faced with technical terminology or activist falderal.

Let me make things simple with a very brief explanation of what GMO’s are all about.

GMOs are organisms that have been created through through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology, allowing DNA from one species to be injected into another species.  By taking the genetic material from one organism and inserting it into the permanent genetic code of another, numerous weird and obscene creations, such as potatoes with bacteria genes, “super” pigs with human growth genes, fish with cattle genes, and tomatoes with flounder genes have been created.

8137211387 28ee1a6937 o Why Preppers Should Be Concerned About GMO Crops   Backdoor SurvivalAnd that is just the tip of the iceberg.

These same creations are often bred with genes that not only allow them to tolerate weed killers but to also generate their own insecticides.  These in turn are released into our environment, affecting our farmlands as well as our food supply.  Did I happen to mention our health and the health of animals as well?

Examples of genetically modified crops, which have been commercially planted since 1996, include soy, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets, alfalfa, papaya, summer squash, potato, tomatoes and sweet peppers.  In addition, a genetically modified grass has recently been approved and the approval of genetically modified apples and salmon are pending.

With their ties to major corporations and the almighty dollar, the USDA, FDA  and EPA are planning to fast track further approvals of GM crops, cutting the approval time down to just 18 months.  GMOs, if you have not figured it out, are big business and a money scam pure and simple and for whatever reason, an alphabet soup of US agencies are in on it.

This is all happening in spite of a growing body of research indicating that GMO food products have adverse effects upon animal and human health.  Scientists as well as whistleblowers within the GMO industry itself have produced evidence that GMOs are more toxic, allergenic and less nutritious than their natural counterparts.  For a real eye-opening experience, take a look at the movie Genetic Roulette (available free online until October 31st and possibly longer).  You will be sickened by what you see.

Why are preppers concerned about GMO crops?

Read the rest here

Bio: Gaye Levy, also known as SurvivalWoman, is the owner of Backdoor Survival and a Contributing Writer to Activist Post, a Guest Writer for Wake Up World and a Reporter on Before Its News. Why Preppers Should Be Concerned With GMO Crops was originally posted on Backdoor Survival and shared here with her permission. Thanks Gaye!
Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Food Storage, Healthcare, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Tyranny | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coconut Oil: A Prepper Powerhouse

Two reasons I’m sharing this post…

1. I love the many uses and benefits of coconut oil

2. I love this guy’s name: The Sherpa

Source: Natural Health Sherpa

Coconut Oil: A Nutrient Powerhouse and Metabolism Booster

Imagine you are walking the beach on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii.  All around you, people are surfing, hiking, jogging, swimming and paddleboarding.

Suddenly it becomes obvious which of your fellow sand dwellers are tourists and which are locals.  Not only do the locals have a glow about their skin and trim figures, but they also seem to be oozing with abundant health and energy to spare!  Plus, there isn’t a sniffle, cough, runny nose or apparent headache in sight.

What on earth can their secret be?  Is it the sun?  The stress-free life?  The salt air?  Those things may play a role, but the real secret lies within the world’s largest seed.

Coconut: A Nutrient Powerhouse…

The Malaysian and Polynesian cultures have revered the coconut for centuries.

Not only has this largest-known seed yielded food and water for hundreds of thousands of people, it also contains nearly all of the essential nutrients your body needs for optimal health.

In addition to a whole host of amino acids, coconut is also a great source of the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese, as well as vitamin C and riboflavin (vitamin B2).

Coconut oil contains all of these nutrients and more.  It also contains 90 percent saturated fat, which puts it right smack in the middle of the great fat debate.

The Saturated Oil Debate…

Coconut oil is extracted from the dried flesh of the coconut.  It is also a source of plant-based saturated fat, the very fat doctors and nutritionists alike have been telling us to avoid like the plague.

While it’s true that coconut oil is 90 percent saturated fat, 45 percent of that fat is lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that converts in your body to monolaurin.

Monolaurin is the actual compound found in breast milk that strengthens a baby’s immune system.  It is also known to promote normal brain development and contribute to healthy bones, as well as protect against viruses and bacteria.3

Despite these purported health benefits, many opponents of coconut oil point to the high concentration of saturated fats as a reason to avoid it.

While there may be an argument to avoid saturated fats coming from animals that have been raised using conventional feedlots and fed an unnatural diet of corn and soy, the fat in coconut oil is actually a medium-chain triglyceride.  These fats are more easily digested than other fats and are quickly metabolized, giving you a great source of energy.

Also, your body uses medium-chain triglycerides differently than other fats.  Most fats are stored in your body’s cells.  But the fat in coconut oil goes directly to your liver, where it is converted into energy.

In layman’s terms, that bacon and cheese omelet you ate most likely sits around in your cells waiting to be burned up or stored as fat for later.  However, coconut oil gets shipped directly to your liver, where it is put to work to help you get up and get going.

Back to Those Benefits…

  • Let’s take a closer look at the supposed health benefits.
  • Coconut appears to be anti-just-about-everything:
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-pyretic (it reduces fever)
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-bacterial

Read the rest here

 

Categories: Food Storage, Preparedness, Real Food | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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