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Are you Prepared?

Here’s the Absolute Best Way to Tell If a Wild Plant is Edible March 16, 2017

You have to give a lot of respect to people who practice foraging. It’s definitely one of the most underrated skills in the modern world, and it’s also quite difficult to learn. If you want to eat plants that are found in the wild, you must have an encyclopedic knowledge of wild plants, both where you live and abroad. And not just because there are thousands of plants in the world that are poisonous, but also because many of them look a lot like edible plants.

For most people however, it can be difficult to justify learning this skill. We live in an era that provides an abundance of cheap food (relative to previous eras of course). If you want to learn how to safely forage for food in the wild, you have to spend a lot of time and energy on a skill that may not ever come in handy for you.

But if you want to better your odds of surviving in the wilderness, and you don’t have time to gain such an impressive skill, there is a shortcut you can learn. Like most things in life that take less effort, it’s not as comprehensive or effective, but it’s a lot better than nothing. It’s called the Universal Edibility Test, and it’s a method of safely testing wild plants that you’re not familiar with to see if you can actually eat them. Here’s how it works:

  1. Say you find a tasty looking plant in the wilderness. To see if it’s safe, the first thing you need to do is separate its parts, such as stems, leaves, flowers, buds, and roots. That’s because in many cases, only certain parts of a plant are poisonous.
  2. Next you need to take one of those parts and smell it. Certain plants have evolved to avoid being consumed, and they often have a terrible smell. So if it smells something awful, throw it out.
  3. But if it passes the smell test, the next thing you need to do is rub or place the plant on your skin, preferably on your inner elbow or wrist. Keep it there for a few minutes, then wait eight hours. If that spot starts to feel itchy, numb, or develops a rash, then clearly that plant doesn’t want to be eaten.
  4. If the plant passes that test, then the next thing you need to do is cook it if you can, since that often neutralizes poisons. Then you need to rub it on your lips for about three minutes. If you don’t encounter any kind of burning or tingling sensation after 15 minutes, then you can move on to the next step.
  5. Now you need to put the plant in your mouth. However, don’t swallow just yet. Just let the plant material rest on your tongue for 15 minutes. If the plant tastes bitter, or just gag-worthy in general; or if you experience burning or tingling in your mouth, then it’s probably not safe to eat. If it passes this test, then try swishing it around in your mouth for 15 minutes and look for the same signs. If you do experience any of these negative reactions, then not only should you spit the plant out, but you should also clean your mouth out with water.
  6. Finally, if you don’t receive any negative reactions from that previous step, then you can swallow the plant. Wait till the next day, and don’t eat anything else while you’re waiting. If you’re still feeling alright after that, then you can be reasonably sure that the plant is safe to eat. You can repeat this process for the other parts of the plant.

Now you can try eating a more substantial amount of the plant. If you still feel fine after another eight hours or so, then it’s definitely safe to eat.

Given the time-consuming nature of this test, you’ll want to try this out first on plants that are more abundant in your environment. It’s also important to note that there are certain things that are not worth your time with this test. Most notably, mushrooms usually can’t be tested with this method, so don’t even bother with them unless you’re well versed in spotting edible mushrooms.

Obviously the Universal Edibility Test isn’t perfect, and conducting it in the wild is going to use up a lot of precious time. Nothing beats having actual skills, and genuinely learning how to forage for wild plants. But if you don’t know what is and isn’t edible in your environment and you’re in a survival situation, then this is the absolute best way to find edible food in the wild.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published March 16th, 2017
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How to Avoid This Potentially Dangerous Preservative Found in Dried Fruit March 3, 2017

dried fruitIf you opened up a pantry belonging to any prepper, you’d most likely find a veritable cornucopia of dried foods within. It’s pretty much a staple for preppers. Unfortunately, dried foods of all kinds often come packaged with preservatives that aren’t so healthy. It can be a real challenge to find long-lasting foods that you would want to eat during an emergency, that aren’t also filled with toxic preservatives.

Among those preservatives, there’s one that most people aren’t aware of. It’s called sulfur dioxide, and it’s found in more foods than you probably realize. It can be found in wine, jam, fruit juices, shrimp, instant coffee, pickled foods, processed meats, and powdered potatoes.  And the one food that probably contains the most sulfur dioxide is dried fruit. It’s typically added to all of these foods, not only to prevent bacterial growth, but to preserve the color of the food.

So is sulfur dioxide something that you need to worry about? That really depends on who you ask. The FDA has deemed it safe for most people. I say “most people” because some folks are more sensitive to it than others. About 1 in 100 people have some degree of sensitivity to sulfur dioxide, and people who are asthmatic are 5-10 times more likely to have a sensitivity.

When these individuals consume this preservative, they may face nausea, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and sometimes full-blown asthma attacks. Occasionally this leads to death. And just because you’ve never had any harmful symptoms from eating these foods, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re out of the woods. You can develop a sensitivity to sulfur dioxide at any point in life. It’s also important to note that even if you never have this kind of reaction, sulfur dioxide might still hurt you. A study conducted in 2004 found that sulfur dioxide, when fed to mice, would damage their DNA and cause cancer.

With that said, it may be a good idea to avoid this preservative entirely. If you avoid processed foods, then you’re already on the right track. You can also avoid sulfur dioxide by buying organic products. At the very least you should be checking the labels on anything you buy. Any food item that contains this preservative in more than 10 parts per million is required to be labelled as such to protect people who are sensitive to it.

And if you really love dried fruit and want to make it a staple in your emergency food supply, you can also make it yourself in your oven. You can dry fruit in the sun. And if you’re a real fanatic for dried fruit, you can buy a food dehydrator.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published March 3rd, 2017
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Better Than Botox: Study Backs Up Benefits of Niacin for Better Skin February 7, 2017


Skincare products make up a staggering $20 billion dollar a year industry in America alone. It seems that there is always some new miracle lotion or cream on the market that promises drastic results. Scientists and doctors devote huge amounts of time to developing these products because they are so lucrative. Every so often an ingredient really does have an amazing effect on skin. Niacin and niacinamide (a form of the vitamin B3) is one such ingredient, with plenty of studies and research to back up the benefits.

What is Niacin?

You’ve probably heard of niacin before, but perhaps in a nutritional context. Niacin is found in milk, eggs, green leafy vegetables, beans, cereals, yeast, and in some types of fish. It’s required by the body in order to properly metabolize fats and sugars and in the maintenance of cells and a lack of niacin can lead to indigestion, fatigue, depression, and a serious deficiency called Pellagra. Though niacin is found in food, research has shown that to achieve increased benefits for the skin, it takes more than what we typically receive in our diets.

Benefits of Niacin on the Skin

For skincare, niacin is best used topically. When used in creams, lotions, or sprays directly on the skin, it leads to increased cell turnover, wrinkle reduction, boosts moisture, protects against certain forms of skin cancer, and treats a wide variety of other skin issues including:

  • Rosacea
  • Acne
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Flaking
  • Peeling
  • Inflammation

Risks or Side Effects

One thing to be aware of is the “Niacin Flush” when using products containing niacin. Tingling and redness is very common immediately upon application to the skin, often resulting in a deep red flush and warmth on the cheeks of some individuals who use it. Niacin is a vasodilator (it expands the vessels to bring blood and nutrients to the surface of the skin) so the flush is actually one indication that the vitamin is working its magic on you. The redness and tingling typically only last for a few minutes, but for this reason, many people may choose to apply niacin-based skincare products at night. Being sufficiently hydrated can also prevent or lessen the niacin flush. For many people, the tingling sensation and redness will lessen over extended weeks of use. Some individuals may find they never get the flush at all.

Where to Find Niacin

Because it is water-soluble and stable in the presence of heat and light, niacin works well for topical use in a variety of different types of skincare products. It is now being formulated in a variety of serums, creams, sprays and lotions, but unfortunately, like most products, a majority of the cost to the consumer is not for the ingredients themselves but for the marketing and packaging. Instead of spending a lot of money on pre-formulated products, niacin can be purchased in bulk online or from your local vitamin shop.

There are several DIY products you can make on your own to save quite a lot of money. See the video below for information about how to make a naicinamide face spray for incorporation into your beauty routine.

Pamela Bofferding is a native Texan who now lives with her husband and sons in New York City. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and playing with her dogs.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published February 7th, 2017
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