Posts Tagged With: The Paleo Doc

Live Like a Prepper but You Don’t Have to Be a Prepper: A Tale of Two Cities

[Todd’s note: Follower’s of this blog know that I am a lover of unconventional wisdom when it comes to health, nutrition, and fitness… which I consider your most important prep. I discovered Dr. Dan Stickler (Paleo Doc) in his post at SurvivalBlog a few years ago. His advice confirmed my Primal prepping lifestyle. He graciously agreed to write this article for Survival Sherpa readers. Thanks, Dan! Enjoy! To connect with Dr. Stickler, see his bio below.]

Live Like a Prepper but You Don't Have to Be a Prepper: A Tale of Two Cities

by Dr. Daniel Stickler

I live half of each week in Asheville, NC and the other half of the week in Charleston, WV, these cities are of similar size but the mindset of each group is very different.  Asheville would be a wonderful place to be if there were an “event” that took society back a century or two.  The population of Asheville has the mindset that makes them a great prepper society.  Many people raise their own chickens, have permaculture yards, have gardens, and there are many small farmers.  You have people with bees, people making butter, old-fashioned soap makers, and even people making clothes.  These are just some of the things you can find at any of the five or so farmers markets that are going on around town on various days of the week.  People here are also very environmentally conscious and active in promoting it.

Charleston, WV is very different, it has the potential to be like Asheville, but it is not and I am not sure why, especially with its recent history.  In July of 2012, Charleston was one of the hardest cities hit by the derecho.  Power was out over most of the state, the shortest power outage in our area was five days and these days were in the upper 90’s.  Gas stations could not pump gas, stores were closed but it did not matter because they had no drinks after day 2 and we had a boil water advisory.  People were panicking….no food, no water, no gas to get anywhere, and no air conditioning.  This was the first wake up call, some heeded this warning and did some stocking up but many sat back and blamed the government for their failures.  Round two occurred just two weeks ago; a toxic organic chemical used to process coal leaked around 10,000 gallons into the river a mile upstream from the water processing plant that supplied water for over 300,000 residents.  Not sure who allowed this chemical to be stored upstream in the first place but the tanks had not even been inspected for 23 years.  The EPA was not even familiar with the risks of the chemical.  Residents are told do not use the water for bathing, washing clothes, and certainly not for drinking.  All restaurants are shut down, stores are out of water and drinks within 24 hours.  The chemical is finally low enough after five days of this to allow some residents to flush their pipes, three days later we are told a new reading shows the level too high again.  People leave town because they have no water and cannot clean, cook, or stay hydrated.  You would think that most of these people would have been prepared.  Unfortunately, most did not learn their lesson the first time and now complained again about the government failing to take care of them.  Now, Charleston is the chemical valley, there are major chemical plants all up and down the rivers.  Coal and the chemical industry is the life-blood of this region and the reality is; this was going to happen at some point.

I tell this story to first illustrate the point that few people are prepared for these short term emergencies and live in a world where, in their opinion, the government will be there to help.  This demonstrates two emergency situations in a short time frame in one town.  Secondly, I bring this up because it is a real test of preparation.  I had water and food and at no point did panic set in.  I also had a back-up, Berkey water filters, and so I did not concern myself about the water running out.  The black carbon filters along with the PF-2 chemical filters can pretty much make any water potable.  I do not keep a huge stockpile of dehydrated and canned food (3 months for 7 people) and you will see my reasoning in the next part of this article.

Why Prep?

Let’s start by asking: what are you prepping for?

Financial collapse of society?

EMP, solar flare, computer attack that shuts down the grid?

Super volcano or major environmental shift?

Massive pandemic?

It’s really not possible to adequately prep for all of these so you are really taking a gamble if you select one to be your focus.  Also, lets face the fact that in some of these scenarios – does it really matter?

Let’s first eliminate super-volcano and major environmental shift, not only would survival be near impossible but life would be pretty miserable for those that did.  Now pretty much all other scenarios will involve a significant culling of the population but the time frame for this culling is what will dictate the adequacy of the preparations.  If a massive pandemic quickly eliminates 80-90% of the world population then the mindset of most preppers will be justified.  By this, I mean having a retreat or homestead with plenty of stockpiles would be beneficial.  However, the other scenarios where the culling is gradual then this type of mindset could get you killed.

If the grid goes down, people will get desperate and the more hungry they become the more desperate they become.  Desperate people will not reason with morality in mind.  Violence will undoubtedly run ramped and gangs will form up knowing the power in numbers.  The cities will quickly empty and these gangs will head for the countryside’s.  You say you have guns but so do they and they will significantly outnumber you.  Unless you are prepared to spend a few years in a nuclear missile silo then you will lose your preps.  No matter how fortified and well armed you are, you will eventually be overrun.

What about food?  You cannot sustain yourself on years of dehydrated and canned foods.  The slightly unbalanced nutritional mix will eventually catch up with you.  Some have said they could hunt for their food.  Think again, based on the deer population and the number of hunters, the deer herd will be completely wiped out in a few weeks and besides a gunshot in the woods will be like a dinner bell for everyone else out there with a gun.

What about the heirloom seeds you plan to plant to get your garden going?  Again, those marauding hordes will enjoy feasting on that garden when they come.

So what is my recommendation?

We need to get back to basics and learn to live like humans did for hundreds of thousands of years – like hunter-gatherers (HG’S).  Those that are successful at this will be the ones that will go on to build the next generation after an apocalyptic event.

Start Here

Where to begin?

Something that I have spoken about many times before is your health and fitness level.  So many preppers focus on their “preps” but that will be a limited resource.  If you are truly anticipating some major apocalypse then you need to focus on your own health and fitness.  HG’s generally do not survive long if they do not possess a certain degree of fitness.  First, you need to get any excess weight under control and work on resolving any health issues.  Those that are relying on medications to survive will likely not last too long.  Exercise, I am not talking about treadmills and nautilus machines.  I am talking about functional fitness.  Train like you will live.  Strengthen the movements that will be required for daily function.  Basic movements can consist of push-ups, squats, and pull-ups.  Add some long hikes with a pack and also throw some sprints in there.  When I say sprints I mean short bursts of running at your top speed.  Climb things.  Jump around.  Parkour training is an excellent option.

Water: This is life or death.  Learn to identify safe sources of water.  For several months you may be fine using portable filtration devices but these will eventually become depleted.  Learn how to derive water from sources in nature and how to use items in our natural environment to filter the water.

Nutrition: As I said, dehydrated foods will only get you so far and that assumes that you are able to keep your cache.  We must learn to forage off the land.  In most post-apocalyptic scenarios, we are going to need to be mobile at least for the short-term (a few years).  Our forests are full of life-sustaining nutrients and we need to learn how to obtain them.  Buying a book on edible plants and thinking that you will use it when needed is a recipe for disaster.  Many people will look at plants and identify them incorrectly in their field guide and end up poisoning themselves.  There are many available weekend courses on foraging.  Getting a good understanding of plants can also help with being able to identify medicinal species.  You will also need a source of meat.  One of the most successful hunting techniques is trapping.  These small animals are abundant and few of the surviving population will understand the techniques to obtaining them.  This also does not require a gunshot.

As things begin to settle down then you should also consider settling down but not as a mountain man hermit type.  Successful living will require community support.  Once the gangs have dwindled and died out, survivors will begin to gather together in communities to rebuild society.  It is helpful to possess a skill that can contribute to these groups; farming, making clothes from hides, medical care, bee keeping, and other more basic crafts.

I am not telling people to abandon their current ways of prepping but rather to think about contingencies.  Prioritize the process.  No matter what the scenario, your health and fitness level will be paramount so if you have neglected this area so far then make it a higher priority.  Spend some money on a personal trainer or nutrition coach instead of another gun to add to your stockpile.  Take a course on foraging instead of adding another 3 months of dehydrated food to your stores.  Lastly, organize around a group of people who have complimentary skill sets.

I will add that I am not someone who expects this societal collapse to happen but these types of events can be highly unpredictable so it is always good to be prepared as I have learned from experience.

Author bio:

Live Like a Prepper but You Don't Have to Be a Prepper: A Tale of Two Cities

Dr. Stickler trained in allopathic medicine and held board certification in General Surgery for more than ten years; performing general and vascular surgery as well as over 3,000 gastric bypass weight loss procedures. He had a thriving surgical practice and was a specialist in weight loss, treating over 10,000 clients in both the surgical practice and at the wellness institute. The busier he became the more he began to realize that true health is not a result of pharmaceuticals and stainless steel. He discovered that the clients at the wellness institute were making remarkable progress through nutrition, fitness and lifestyle counseling and hormone optimization.  Not only were they resolving disease, they were optimizing health, regaining vitality, improving neuro-cognitive status and creating lasting changes.

This realization led him to the understanding that he could leave the old methods behind and fully embrace the new paradigm of health optimization. He retired from surgery and now knows that each individual has within them the ability to achieve optimal health and live a life full of vitality. He works closely with each client to develop individualized treatment regimens and provides extensive guidance throughout the year to assist the client in achieving their goals.

Dr. Stickler is an avid outdoor enthusiast who thrives on rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking and world adventure travel.  He is a member of the Wilderness Medicine Society, Age Management Medicine Group and is CrossFit Level 1 certified and trained in Mountain Athlete. He and Mickra have five active teenage boys who live for adventure.

Website: Synchronicity Wellness

Blog: PaleoDoc

Facebook: Paleo Doc

Categories: Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Primal Prepping: Reprogram Your Genes and Health

Reading my daily dose of SurvivalBlog.com, I found what I’ve been looking for since 2010. I discovered SurvivalBlog.com in ’07 and read it daily pretty much. Three years ago I discovered primal/paleo lifestyle through an article on LewRockwell.com by Karen De Coster. After reading Mark Sisson’s book “The Primal Blueprint“, I changed my lifestyle and lost 50 pounds, improved my health, and looked good naked again🙂

That may not be your “stated” goal, but it can happen.

My dilemma in my preps started after going primal. The prepping community promotes grain-based diet and food storage. While I don’t disagree that they’ll get you through emergency situations, we’re not designed to live on grains. Then I read Dr. Dan Stickler’s post today over at SurvivalBlog.com and got happy. It’s unconventional wisdom that really worked for me. I recommend this lifestyle highly!

Dr. Stickler, The Paleo Doc, can be found here.

Full article from SurvivalBlog.com:

I first began prepping about two years ago so I am fairly new to this.  In those two years I have been fairly aggressive with my education and training on the topic with much of my real world education coming from reading blogs.  I have found an area where there is a great deal of misinformation and limited preparedness so it has prompted me to address this topic since it is the one area where I possess a skill set that I can share.  The topic is healthcare after the SHTF.  I think it is difficult for any of us, especially in America, to understand how so many aspects of our health we may be taking for granted.  I can honestly say that I was in the same boat which is a sad statement considering the fact that I am a physician.

To give a little background as a lead in; I worked as a general and vascular surgeon for about 10 years after I finished residency.  A little over two years ago I walked away from that to focus on nutrition, fitness, and wellness counseling.  There were many reasons for this change, lifestyle being a big one but more importantly I came to understand that we were no longer practicing medicine but rather pharmacology and surgery.  I found that training people to modify lifestyle was the best defense and prevention strategy and this certainly applies to prepping.

I will be focusing on four topics:

  • Optimizing your health
    • Nutrition
    • Fitness
  • Healthcare skill sets
  • Water and hygiene
  • Healthcare supplies

Optimizing your Health

Health should be viewed as a spectrum with chronic disease at one end, disease-free in the middle, and optimized health at the other end.  Think about where you would want to be and whom you would want in your survival group should the SHTF.

In reading through the various prepper and survival blogs, I see so many people that are unhealthy and they do not hesitate to talk about it.  I would be worried if I were in this situation or if I had to rely on this person as an essential link in my support group.  Stocking up on medications may help but what happens when they run out or expire?   Will you live to take advantage of all your amazing preparations or will they be taken from you?  The solution is to get out of the chronic disease end of the spectrum and get as close to optimal health as possible.  I treat and resolve chronic disease every day by basically changing one thing: lifestyle.  This means nutrition and fitness.  You just have to understand that chronic diseases such as Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and most high cholesterol are actually just symptoms of a poor lifestyle, you fix that, and you fix the problem without medication.

Nutrition is the key to good health; the problem is there is way too much misinformation out there as to what constitutes good nutrition.  What I am about to say will make most prepper gasp, but let me explain.  Get rid of all grains from the diet!  Now, that said, I do store grains but I do not currently eat them, they are reserved as emergency foods only.  You may now be asking, “where does this insanity come from?”  Well the answer is biochemistry and anthropology.  We are and always have been physiologically hunter/gatherers and grains were not a part of our natural diet.  Our bodies function best and experience the most positive effects from a hunter/gatherer style diet.  I am not asking you to immediately take my word for it just because I have a few initials at the end of my name, but I do ask that you try this challenge – give up all grain, bread, pasta, rice, crackers, chips, pretzels, popcorn, sweets, etc., for one month and see how you feel.  You will eat only meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and nuts during this time and eat all you want.  You will experience amazing results.  Since I do have limited space here to go into all the details, I have provided a link to a video on Vimeo to help explain my approach to this diet: Functional Nutrition.

Other good sources of information are the books The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf and The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.  Sisson also has a great web site at MarksDailyApple.com.  Good nutrition is 80% of a healthy lifestyle, it is the base of the pyramid of health and without it you cannot develop optimal health.  I am not promoting some agenda here or trying to sell some magic snake oil, all I can tell you is that I have been utilizing this diet in my clinical practice for years and the health transformations and the disease resolutions I have witnessed are amazing.

Another aspect of optimal health is fitness.  It is a necessity in survival and should be an integral part of any preparation regimen.  Everyone seems to prep for food, medical and self defense but another aspect of preparation is your body.  I would like to see the 3 Bs change to the 4 Bs: Beans, Bullets, Band-Aids, and Body.  Your level of fitness will be directly proportional to your chances of survival so you need to train the right way.  Bottom line – lift heavy stuff and run fast.  What I recommend is functional fitness and you do not need a gym for this.  Functional fitness means training the body to be able to do the necessary things in life well and remember, life will be substantially different if society fails.  If you have weights available, then lift heavy – squats, cleans, military press, rows.  Add push-ups and pull-ups.  Chop and carry wood, dig ditches, and run sprints. The book The Primal Blueprint that I mentioned has some good functional training advice and workouts.

Healthcare Skillsets

The practice of medical care could change dramatically in this scenario.  Physicians and nurses currently practice with the aid of technology, sterile environments, a slew of available instruments and specialist referrals.  EMTs and paramedics are trained in stabilization and transport.  Despite my surgical training and experience, my experience in a level 4 trauma center and having been an Advanced Trauma Life Support instructor, I would have little skills to care for people in a post-apocalyptic scenario.  That was until I began studying wilderness medicine.  Wilderness medicine training is available for health care providers (EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and physicians) and what makes this different is that you have to diagnose and more importantly TREAT in the field without the benefit of technology and transport.  In TEOTWAWKI scenario things like minor wounds, burns, blisters, and fractures become potentially life-threatening emergencies. I never realized all this until I took a Wilderness First Responder course offered by NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and I feel that this is an absolute necessity for someone in your group.  We should all know how to properly clean and care for wounds, close lacerations, treat a burn, splint and reduce fractures and dislocations in situations where we do not have the luxury of modern technology.  Now this course will not make you the Dr. House of the TEOTWAWKI but it will give you the basis to build from and a level of comfort in dealing with many of the issues you may encounter.  You should still have access to someone with advanced medical training.

Water and Hygiene

Wilderness medicine gets you thinking about things we take for granted like water or hygiene.  In the wilderness, clean water is your best friend.  Even sparkling clear mountain spring water can be full of protozoa and bacteria so boiling or filtration is essential.  What kills more people worldwide?  Infectious diarrhea.  This is also one of the number one debilitations in the wilderness along with food poisoning related to poor food prep hygiene.  It is also important to remember that filtration will not get rid of viruses, so in the face of a viral outbreak if the water supply gets contaminated, you will need a chemical disinfectant as well.  Iodine and/or chlorine will work well for this added safety.  We need to look at the health care issues faced in the third world countries in order to fully understand what we need to prepare for should the worst case scenario occur.

Healthcare Supplies

First thing to remember here is that it will do you no good to stock up on supplies that you have no skill or knowledge to use.  When I design and stock kits for people, I always find out what abilities they possess first.  You also have to determine what size group you want to prepare for and the environment where the kit will be needed.  I typically see a need for three types of kits and a stock of supplies on top.

Kit #1: Basic field kit.  This kit needs to be compact and lightweight but still be supplied to cover you for a 1-5 day trip away from your Bugout Location (BOL) for 3-4 people.  This should cover everything for stabilizing illness or injury long enough to get you back to your BOL.  This is the kit that I keep in my Bugout Bag (BoB) and I take hiking or camping.
Basic contents:

  • Sterile and non-sterile gloves
  • Facemasks with eye protecting, also antiviral mask
  • Thermometer
  • Ace bandage and scissors
  • Various quantities of different size sterile gauze and gauze rolls
  • Field surgical kit and sutures
  • Variety of medical and athletic tape
  • Moleskin for blisters and second skin for burns
  • Opsite or other occlusive dressing
  • Steristrips and benzoin for wound closure
  • Small vial of povidone iodine or betadine
  • Bacitracin and Cortisone
  • Thermal reflective blanket
  • SAM splint
  • Eye pad
  • Large irrigation syringe
  • Several cravats
  • Quikclot or Celox trauma bandage
  • Pen light
  • Emergency resuscitator pocket facemask
  • Ibuprofen, aspirin, Benadryl, and various antibiotics

Kit #2: Advanced Home Kit. This is an advanced medical kit for the home or BOL.  It contains all the above items from Kit #1 just larger quantities, plus:

  • Stethoscope and BP cuff
  • Fiberglass casting wrap
  • Greater variety of surgical items
  • Lidocaine, needles, and syringes
  • Battery operated cautery device
  • Skin stapler
  • Greater variety of antibiotics and other prescription meds
  • Emergency cricothyrotomy kit

Kit #3: Advanced Trauma Kit.  Now this kit would be mainly for people with advanced medical training or military field medics.  I keep this is a STOMP bag and it weighs about 40 pounds.  It is basically a portable trauma bay with advanced surgical instrumentation, major wound treatments, airway control, etc.

My recommendation is to train each person in your group in the basic medical skills and have each carry a basic kit.  Many prep groups run drills for defense and bug-out but few run through medical scenarios and these are the most likely issues that they would encounter.  Each group or family should have someone in charge of medical and it should be their responsibility to train the others.

So our best course of action is prepare and prevent.  Prepare by optimizing each individuals health, have the training necessary for your environment, and have the appropriate tools and knowledge in order to act.  Prevent by obtaining/maintaining optimal health, recognizing and understanding the risks of your environment, practice good hygiene, and utilize adequately filtered water.

 

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

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