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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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Off-Grid Refrigeration: Creating an Icehouse in Winter February 21, 2017

icehouse
Those who plan to create ways for off-grid refrigeration usually plan to build when the snow thaws, but I’m doing something a little different – I’m planning on building one now.  The main problem for me right now is that I have four feet of snow on the ground, and it’s a little hard to do a layout or any kind of excavating for it.  But what of it?  That doesn’t mean I can’t plan now, nor undertake it before the winter months disappear.

Off-Grid Refrigeration

Icehouses were used extensively in the U.S., especially in “pioneer days,” where they would be the main way of keeping meats and vegetables cool and “refrigerated” in a manner to not require canning, smoking, or drying them.  These icehouses were combined with root cellars/canning cellars to be structures heavily-insulated with earth to keep everything cool and from spoiling in the spring and summer months.  I also mentioned an “icebox,” meaning a refrigerator that was not dependent upon electricity, but had a large block of ice inside of an insulated “box” that kept the food inside cool and from spoiling prematurely.

For those without enough property or in an urban/suburban area, an icebox might be a good thing to have, at least as a backup for the refrigerator.  If you have a little bit of ground, then you may be able to build an icehouse.  I plan on beginning mine about the end of March to the beginning of April.  See, living in Montana, where there are no building codes in rural areas, I’m not hindered by the need for permits or the usual parade of bloodsuckers from local or state governments or neighborhood (incarceration-hood, is more appropriate) associations.  Thus, the benefit of living in a remote state, I can build whatever I want and nobody can say anything to me.

Use This Easy Method to Make Large Blocks of Ice

If you don’t have this, then you’ll have to negotiate around whatever “primates” are blocking your path and secure whatever permits you believe necessary if you want it done.  I’m going to wait until the time I mentioned and then clear out the ground and the snow, use a “C” to dig (a miniature backhoe) the icehouse out, and then build it during the winter months.  The reason is that I will make about a dozen and a half “molds” to fill with water for my ice-blocks, using large bins.  When the water freezes and huge blocks of ice are made, I will then place them inside of my icehouse and cover them up with lots and lots of sawdust.  Each block will have about 20 gallons of water, and this will be (at 7.6 lbs. per gallon) about 150 lbs. apiece.  A lot easier to let the winter freeze up those blocks!

Building an Icehouse

I plan on placing in a drain into the floor (PVC drain tile) with a small slope, and then tamping the earth back into place.  Then I’ll separate the main chamber for the canned goodies from the ice chamber in the rear and slightly lower than the main room.  Stacking the blocks up and then covering them all with sawdust, it will adhere to the time-honored principle of the frontier days…it will keep all spring and summer, and have to be replaced in the fall (it’s below freezing here in September…we only have about 3 to 4 months without ice and snow).

I’m going to use the earth and rocks excavated and then mound it up, as most of the efficient designs I have seen are with rounded or semi-rounded forms/tops.  The only true modern “accoutrements” I plan on having are a good door and door-frame that is sturdy, and I’m considering some kind of interior flooring system.  Any suggestions or personal experiences?  We’d love to hear them, and perhaps you’ll be able to float me some information I can use.  I have a few not-so-near neighbors that are diabetics and use insulin…what could be better than being able to preserve their insulin for them in my icehouse if the SHTF and they lose electricity?

An icehouse or icebox for you and your family may be a good thing to do to enable that your refrigeration lasts…beyond the lifetime of the power plants and power stations…. if the SHTF.  Bottom line: do what you can with what you have.  Better to get into the batter’s box and take a swing then not to take a chance.  Keep fighting that good fight!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published February 21st, 2017
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Emergency Wound Care: When All You Have is in Your Pantry February 14, 2017

Without access to hospitals and emergency medical care during off-grid emergencies, a simply infection from wounds can become life-threatening. Having knowledge of alternative medical treatments using natural wound therapies could save a life.

 

Years ago, the Mrs. and I made a major move.  We had a specific timetable to adhere to, and as we were moving ourselves, efficiency was the word that exemplified our overall goals.  About an hour before we were going to batten down the hatches and hit the road, she slipped and slammed her shin on the edge of the moving van’s bumper: a combination of a laceration and abrasion, as well as potential for a broken bone.

What to do on something such as this?  Well, we certainly had enough antibiotics and (if it was broken) the hospital was close by.  She/we decided on some ice, a bandage, and (so as not to go into our antibiotics) herbal aids.  Oregano is one of the best herbs to have on hand for natural medicine and an astringent can  be made from oregano tincture to wipe down the abrasion.


Oregano Tincture

  • Add handfuls of oregano flower and leaves to a pint-size jar and cover them with 80-proof alcohol, such as vodka.
  • Allow the jar to sit for 3-6 weeks out of sunlight.
  • Strain the mixture and transfer to a tincture bottle, or proceed to make a double-strength infusion.

For oral dosage: The standard adult dose is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day, as needed. Children usually get 1/4 to 1/3 of the adult dose.

To make astringent: Add 1 tablespoon oregano tincture to 1 cup of distilled water.

Learn more ways to disinfect wounds using pantry staples


Wound Care Made with Sugar and Honey

Once we applied the astringent to the wound, we made up a sugar formula that was common during the Napoleonic era:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey

Mix sugar and honey together and pack the laceration with it, spreading it liberally upon the abrasion and dressing it.

Monitor and change dressing daily.


Why Sugar and Honey Is Great For Natural Wound Care

We’re talking about plain white sugar, here: the same kind vilified for the diet is actually very beneficial with regard to wound therapy.  The sugar promotes tissue repair, while fostering an antimicrobial, anaerobic environment regarding the wound.  The sugar can be mixed with honey or glycerin (honey is cheaper and easier to get a hold of).  On some kind of laceration, you can pack it with the mixture after cleaning out the laceration with clean water and/or a mild astringent (such as the one I first mentioned).

The dressing needs to be changed once every day, and the packed laceration monitored for signs of swelling and tenderness.  Also, put fresh mixture to cover the overall wound, and then redress it with a fresh dressing and bandage.  The sugar will also reduce the amount of scarring and enable the wound to heal at a faster rate.

Sugar can also be used as an Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS), in combination with table salt.  Take a one-quart bottle (remember how I advised to save those empty Gatorade and Power-Ade bottles, the 32-ouncers?  This is why.), and fill it up with water, leaving a little space.  Put ½ cup of your sugar into it, and about ½ tsp of salt.  Voila!  You have effectively made your own field-expedient “Gatorade,” minus the potassium.  The reason this is good is that the sugar will provide quick sugar to the bloodstream, while the salt will help to replace what you have either lost from sweating or from trauma.

Your sugars and honeys (yes, honey is a form of sugar) can be used to sweeten up a tincture that you might have to take in water.  If you have ever had Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum), it is one of the worst-tasting substances you can imagine.  We adults can grin and bear it, but when you’re administering a tincture to a kid, it is a big help to make it taste not quite so bad.

Honey For Wound Care

Honey is also good for wounds/abrasions/cuts of the mouth, as it is a demulcent that soothes abraded tissues, and it also is a medium that microbes do not live in.  Who doesn’t remember the time-honored honey and lemon mixture for a sore throat?  The thing of it is: it works, and if it works it should be employed.  For the wound-packing mixture I advised above?  Honey is the medium that keeps the sugar from falling out of the wound and congeals it to keep the dressing viable longer.

The reason these should be kept in mind: when the SHTF they are easily found.  You’re much more likely to find either of these two (sugar and/or honey) in a gas station or convenience store out in the middle of nowhere than a Cephalosporin such as Keflex (Cephalexin, if you prefer) for a soft tissue injury.  That’s what this is all about: winning with the weapons you have and tailor-making things you can rely on.  Practice with them sometime for something minor.  You’ll see results and build confidence in what you do.  That’s the way!  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published February 14th, 2017
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