The Survival Mom » Staying Healthy http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Sat, 27 Jun 2015 07:17:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 How to Make Herbal Tinctures http://thesurvivalmom.com/make-herbal-tinctures/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/make-herbal-tinctures/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 21:04:23 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23242 Making Tinctures for Herbal Preparedness Herbal extracts, also called tinctures, are one of the best ways to include herbal remedies in your emergency preparedness preps. Tinctures are concentrated and have a long shelf life- much longer than dried herbs or capsules. Like other preparations, though, extracts will need to be protected from extreme temperatures and […]

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how to make an herbal tinctureMaking Tinctures for Herbal Preparedness

Herbal extracts, also called tinctures, are one of the best ways to include herbal remedies in your emergency preparedness preps. Tinctures are concentrated and have a long shelf life- much longer than dried herbs or capsules. Like other preparations, though, extracts will need to be protected from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight, otherwise they will degrade and become less potent.

Most herbal tinctures are made using alcohol. Everclear, vodka, and brandy are the most popular choices. Rubbing alcohol should never be used for a tincture that you plan to use internally. It’s toxic!

A ratio of 50/50 alcohol and water will make the strongest, longest lasting extracts, so 100 proof vodka is often a good choice for preppers concerned about shelf life. Vodka is also easier to obtain than Everclear, and there’s no need to worry about adjusting the proof.

The Simple Way to Make a Tincture

There are two ways to make a tincture. The first way is an easy, general guide that’s safe for most plants and useful if there is no convenient way to measure out exact amounts. We’ll look at that method here, because it’s great for beginners. There’s no tricky math to figure out ratios or trying to deal with grams of dry weight vs fluid ounces of the alcohol. This method is the traditional, or “folk” method of making tinctures, and is what I use the majority of the time.

For this method, place dried or fresh herbs into a glass canning jar and add brandy or vodka to cover the herbs by one inch. Place the lid on the jar, and leave it in a cool, dark place for two weeks so that the herbs can fully extract into the alcohol. During the two weeks, check on the tincture once a day. Add more alcohol if needed, as the herbs may absorb some of it over time, and shake the jar gently each time you check on it.

After two weeks, use a mesh sieve or small colander lined with muslin or cheesecloth to strain the extract into a clean jar. The herbs left over from the tincture are called the marc. Twist the top of the cloth together to form a small bundle with the marc inside, and press as much liquid out of the marc as you can for your tincture. The mostly-dry marc can be added to a compost pile, if you like.

Storing Your Herbal Tinctures

It’s best to keep your finished tinctures in blue or amber glass to help reduce exposure to light. Opaque screw top nalgene plastic bottles can be used as well for a more durable option. Be sure to label your extracts clearly with the name of the herb, alcohol used, and the date it was pressed.

Herbal tinctures kept in a cool environment and out of direct sunlight can be expected to last anywhere from three to five years, or even longer. Signs of spoilage to look for include mold (most likely to happen in a tincture made from fresh herbs, because they have a higher water content which dilutes the alcohol), a change in consistency, or changes in color. Tinctures will evaporate over time, so be sure to use a tight fitting lid and store the jars standing upright in a position where they are less likely to leak.

One other quirk of homemade tinctures to be aware of is the tendency for the extract to form a layer of sediment in the bottom of the jar. To lessen this, the tincture can be dripped through a few layers of coffee filters to clear it from the dust-sized particles of herbs that the cheesecloth didn’t trap earlier. It’s always a good idea to store glass dropper lids separately and seal your homemade tinctures with a regular screw cap. The same sediment that can form in the bottom of the jar can also clog up a dropper pipette and be difficult to clean out.

Using Tinctures Safely

Making your own herbal tinctures is a very cost effective way to add to your herbal preps, and a very good preparedness skill to have. Most importantly, though, you need to learn how to safely use the herbal tinctures you make.

Be sure to research each herb individually so that you understand potential safety issues, drug interactions, and the traditional dosages of each herb. Most herbs will have a range of between 15 and 30 drops per serving. If an herb is traditionally used in smaller or even single drop doses, it should be used by experienced herbalists only and should not be made using the “folk” method- more precise measurements are required for low-dose herbs.

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Off-Grid Living: Take Care of Personal Hygiene  http://thesurvivalmom.com/off-grid-personal-hygiene/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/off-grid-personal-hygiene/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 07:00:17 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23469 The vast majority of people want to be clean and hygienic. Daily showers or baths (sometimes more than one!), multiple hand washings, and brushing teeth a couple times per day is the norm. If the grid goes down, we will still want to be clean, but it may get a little more difficult to do […]

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off grid Personal HygieneThe vast majority of people want to be clean and hygienic. Daily showers or baths (sometimes more than one!), multiple hand washings, and brushing teeth a couple times per day is the norm. If the grid goes down, we will still want to be clean, but it may get a little more difficult to do so. Here are a few things to remember about off-grid personal hygiene.

Proper Hand Washing

Many people wash their hands ineffectively. It is critical in an off-grid situation to do a thorough job to prevent illness and disease in yourself and those around you. This should be the #1 priority in personal hygiene. If you do nothing else, keep your hands clean!

The CDC instructs that this is the proper way to wash your hands:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Antibacterial Gels

There’s some controversy about the use of antibacterial gels. Water, soap, and friction is just as, or more, effective as the gels in removing germs from hands. But when water is at a premium, or completely unavailable, using an antibacterial gel to clean your hands after using the restroom, before touching food, before eating, and before caring for the sick or injured can be an excellent option. The use of these products is about prevention of illness and disease rather than the removal of dirt and odor but ideally, your hands are free of dirt and debris before using the gel. This is a very simple, off grid personal hygiene option that only requires a supply of hand sanitizer.

  • Your anti-bac should contain at least 60% alcohol. The higher the better, but less than 60% is ineffective.
  • You should use enough of the product to cover all surfaces of the hands.
  • For a germ or virus to be killed it must come in contact with the gel. Be sure to get the backs of the hands, in between the fingers, under the nails, and around jewelry.
  • You should rub the gel on your hands until completely dry. Wiping them on a paper towel (or your pants) counteracts the effectiveness of the gel.

Another reason to keep antibacterial gel on hand? It’s a good fire-starter.

Bathing

If you have water to spare for showers, consider using an outdoor heatable bag shower. The Coleman 5 Gallon Solar Shower can be filled and hung from a sturdy tree (it weighs 40 pounds when full!) where it will use solar energy to heat the water. The shower hose has an on-off valve so you can control the flow. The water pressure is fairly low, but it gets the job done. Beware however… left out in the sun long enough and the water gets HOT! Carefully check the temperature before using. (This product can also be used to heat water for washing dishes and clothing without using consumable resources to create heat.)

If you do use water for showering, consider standing in a kiddie pool to catch the water for reuse in your garden. Even with soap and shampoos, the level of chemicals is too low to affect plants negatively.  Other ways to reuse bathwater include toilet flushing and, if you weren’t too dirty, to wash your clothes. If you wash your body without shampoos or soap, or when using some “green” products, you can potentially reuse this water for drinking or cooking after boiling to kill germs.

Bathing in lakes and streams is a great option. Even without soap you can often get “clean enough.” Beware of getting the water in your nose or mouth. If it’s water you would normally heat or chemically treat to make it safe to consume, you don’t want to drink any while bathing.

If water becomes a precious commodity during your situation, you will want to have ways of “dry” bathing. My first choice is adult hygiene wipes. These are made specifically to use on bed bound patients or people who cannot get into a shower or tub due to injury or infirmary. In my experience, four wipes are sufficient for basic cleaning: One to hygienically clean the “important parts,”  one for your face and hands, and a couple for your body. Of course if you have layers of dirt, it may require more wipes. You can buy a “club sized” package with 240 wipes, which should be sufficient for 50-60 washings. These wipes are excellent for cleaning the body but will not clean the hair well.

To clean your hair, use a waterless shampoo. Simply work the liquid or foam into the hair for effective cleansing with no need to rinse. Most were formulated for camping or for bed bound patients and would work great in an off-grid emergency situation. Waterless body washes are also available.

Off Grid Personal Hygiene: Dental Care

We all know the “rules” for clean teeth: Brush at least twice a day (preferably after each meal), floss every day, and don’t forget to clean the tongue. But in an emergency off-grid situation, this basic hygiene step becomes critical. Many dental problems are preventable with good hygiene practices, and when that fails, disaster could strike. If you’ve ever had a toothache you know who debilitating it can be. Now imagine having no access to a dentist to help fix it. In addition, poor tooth care can lead to more than just cavities and abscesses. Gum disease and gingivitis has been linked with heart and lung disease and stroke, as well as low birth weight babies.

Replace your tooth brush every three months and keep a good stock on hand to supply for at least one year per family member. If you believe your tooth brush has become contaminated, it can be boiled to kill germs. Typically, this only needs to be done after illness, if you know it was somehow contaminated, or if you are sharing a toothbrush with someone else. (Sharing toothbrushes is NOT recommended, but if there’s only one, do it. The risks of “sharing germs” are lower than not brushing and having to deal with rotting teeth, especially if you are able to boil the toothbrush.)

The next time you open a new tube of toothpaste, write the date on it. See how long it lasts with normal use and then adjust your back stock accordingly to have a year (or more) of toothpaste for your family. Buy it on sale and with coupons and then rotate new toothpaste in as you finish a tube.  There is a printed “expiration date” on toothpaste. That is the time when the manufacturer says the fluoride may no longer be potent. It is not dangerous to use toothpaste after it’s printed expiration date, but it may not be as effective as it once was.

Don’t forget to floss! Flossing is an important and often neglected part of dental hygiene during good times. In bad times, when receiving professional dental care is difficult to impossible, flossing becomes even more important. Floss is cheap to buy and easy to store in bulk. Use it now and continue to use it daily.

If you’re out of toothpaste, you can use straight baking soda or a mix of baking soda and a couple drops of hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. If you have no toothpaste, brushing without it, flossing and rinsing, though not ideal, is better than skipping it altogether.

There may come a time when you will have no access to a dentist. Would you know how to pull an infected tooth? How to repair a filling? What dental tools you should have on hand? You can now download for free the entire “Where There Is No Dentist” guide for your prepping library.

Proper dental hygiene now, in the good times, is essential. See your dentist for regular cleanings, get treatment and repairs completed as soon possible, and be diligent in good dental hygiene for you and your family every day.

Women’s Issues

Ladies, for the majority of us, monthly menstruation is a fact of life that isn’t going to go away if the grid goes down. We are going to have to deal with it, so it’s best to be prepared.

A NOTE FOR THE MEN: Initially, I was going to encourage my male readers to “hide their eyes” for a few paragraphs. But then decided that they too would benefit from understanding these options in preparedness planning, especially if they have a non-prepping wife or girlfriend. Menstrual supplies have many other uses besides the intended and can be used for bartering… and you are guaranteed to be the much adored knight-in-shining armor for one or more ladies when you can meet this need when they cannot! You can anonymously buy these items online if you don’t want to put them in your real life shopping cart. If you won’t take my word for the need to to have tampons in your preps, head over to The Art of Manliness website and read their article, “Yes, That’s a Tampon in My Mouth: The Swiss Army Survival Tampon — 10 Survival Uses”

Tampons and Pads – Determine what a monthly supply looks like for you, multiply that for the number of months you need to be prepared – I recommend 12 – and stock your home accordingly. Pros – No-brainer, easy to purchase and store, has other uses besides dealing with menstruation. Cons – Consumable, storage takes up more space than other options, and you will have to find a way to dispose of the used products.

Diva Cups – Diva Cups are reusable cups that are worn internally to catch rather than absorb the menstrual flow. They can be cleaned with regular soap and water or with a special cleanser. Lifespan can be a year or more. Pros – Very small storage space, stores easily in a Bug Out Bag, reusable, nothing to dispose of after use. Cons – Becomes ineffective if damaged, requires water to clean, more expensive initially, but cheaper in the long run than a year’s worth of pads and tampons. You can read a Survival Mom review of Diva Cups here.

Reusable Pads – Many women use washable, reusable pads. They can be purchased or you can make your own. Pros – Fewer supplies are needed to achieve a one-year supply, no trash to dispose of. Cons – Requires washing which consumes time and water.

The best option may be to invest in all three courses of action to extend the time you will be covered during an off-grid situation.

NOTE: If you have young girls living in your home, consider their future needs as well as you stock up on the product(s) of your choice.

Remember: A Little Dirt Doesn’t Hurt!

You don’t *have* to bathe every day. Cleaning the “critical parts” is all that’s needed to help stave off illness and infection. A layer of regular dirt and set on the rest of your body isn’t going to cause harm, except maybe to the sense of smell of those around you. However, don’t underestimate the psychological value of personal cleanliness. When you’re dirty and gross, there’s nothing better than a nice shower, clean hair, and freshly brushed teeth.

OPSEC Warning: One thing to consider in an emergency grid-down situation is that too much personal cleanliness could be a bad thing. Being too clean and smelling too nice might send an unintended message to those around you. It says you have resources. Not long into a grid-down world, smells that were once considered offensive to the nose will mostly “disappear” and we won’t notice them anymore. If someone walks in with minty fresh breath and smelling of Dial soap, they will be noticed. A layer of dirt and some halitosis can be a benefit in some situations.

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Fishing for the Truth: Is Tuna a Viable Addition to Your Food Storage Pantry? http://thesurvivalmom.com/fishing-for-the-truth-is-tuna-a-viable-addition-to-your-food-storage-pantry/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/fishing-for-the-truth-is-tuna-a-viable-addition-to-your-food-storage-pantry/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 07:00:24 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23515 When I first began stocking up on food specifically for food storage, adding cans of tuna to my stash was a budget-friendly move. My family enjoyed occasional tuna sandwiches, and I grew up loving a good, old-fashioned tuna casserole. However, over the years, tuna began getting one black eye after another. First, reports of mercury […]

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tuna safety for food storageWhen I first began stocking up on food specifically for food storage, adding cans of tuna to my stash was a budget-friendly move. My family enjoyed occasional tuna sandwiches, and I grew up loving a good, old-fashioned tuna casserole.

However, over the years, tuna began getting one black eye after another. First, reports of mercury contamination in tuna and issues with dolphins caught in the nets of tuna fishermen worried tuna lovers. More recently, concerns about radiation contamination from Fukushima affecting tuna in the Pacific Ocean have made eating tuna feel risky. This has left moms like me wondering: Is tuna safe for my family?

On the other hand, even in the midst of all this tuna drama, there’s been a rise in popularity of sushi restaurants, and they certainly serve tuna. Raw, no less! Upscale restaurants regularly offer seared tuna, ahi tuna, and other tuna dishes. How can a tuna fish sandwich made by Mom have “Death!” written all over it, but a Spicy Tuna Roll is perfectly acceptable?

Tuna is a healthy addition to your food storage pantry

Since my original plan to have a few dozen cans of tuna in my pantry for long-term storage was at stake, I’ve done some research to find out more about tuna. Ultimately, that led me to learn that at least one company is making a significant effort to deliver fresh-tasting tuna, with mercury levels near zero — Safe Catch.

But first, here are a few reasons why I’ve stubbornly insisted that tuna is a  healthy addition to everyday meals as well as your food storage pantry:

  • Tuna contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve both depression and cognitive decline. One group of researchers discovered that it only takes 9 servings of canned albacore tuna a month to provide an average daily dose of 500 mg of essential omega-3 acids.
  • Tuna contains a form of selenium, selenoneine, that protects the red blood cells of tuna from free radical damage. In the body of the fish, selenoneine also binds with mercury compounds and protects the fish from mercury-related problems! That’s amazing!
    In the human body, it’s very possible that we, too, receive similar protection from antioxidants when we eat tuna.
  • Tuna is an excellent source of vitamin B3, B6, and B12. It also contains a good amount of vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and choline, along with various minerals and a very healthy dose of protein.
  • Canned tuna is a super-easy and convenient food to have on the shelf for quick meals and snacks. The pop-top feature on most cans makes it an excellent addition to any emergency kit.
  • Tuna is typically budget-friendly and is a versatile form of protein to add to a wide variety of recipes.

Still, there are a few concerns and some surprising answers

Although canned tuna, usually albacore and skipjack, is recommended because of its high levels of omega-3s, attention still needs to be paid to the level of mercury that may be consumed. Safe Catch tuna is the only brand that tests every single fish for mercury levels. They’ve developed the very first technology capable of screening each fish for purity and the levels that Safe Catch has set for safety are stricter than those set by the Environmental Working Group and Consumer Report’s “Low Mercury” limits.

Even as I was sampling some cans of Safe Catch, thoughtfully provided for me by the company, I knew that radiation was going to be a concern, so I asked about it. Here is what I learned, first hand:

Safe Catch just received their radiation testing. Their Safe Catch Wild Elite Tuna tested for zero levels of radiation. The Safe Catch Wild Albacore Tuna tested for 0.46 Bq/kg which is 232 times less radiation than what the average banana contains. The testing was done by a third party lab.

As I was researching everything-I-ever-wanted-to-know about tuna, I learned that most tuna is pre-cooked before being canned. This allows the very best nutrients, including omega-3s, to drain away during the processing. Then, the tuna is rehydrated with phosphates, GMO vegetable broth, soy, water or other fillers. Safe Catch has none of those added, so it’s no wonder that it tasted and smelled fresher than any canned tuna I’ve ever tried. Instead, Safe Catch tuna is raw packed and then cooked. It’s free of additives, is non-GMO, BPA-free and isn’t packed in either oil or water.

So how does Safe Catch taste?

The Safe Catch tuna that I sampled was fresh tasting, without a fishy smell. In fact, I had some leftover tuna mixture, stored it in the fridge, and promptly forgot about it. Typical. About a week later I saw a blue and white container in the back of the fridge and braced myself.  Whatever was inside couldn’t possibly still be good.

I was amazed to find out that the container held what was left of my tuna fish salad, and it smelled as fresh as the day I opened the can. Pretty impressive.

Safe Catch tuna comes in 3 different varieties: Wild Skipjack, Wild Albacore, and Wild Albacore with no salt added. It retails for about $3-5 per can. It’s found in stores nationwide (store locator) and can be purchased online.

If you’ve held off buying canned tuna because of the well-publicized issues the tuna industry has had, Safe Catch might be the best way to re-introduce tuna into your everyday meals and food storage pantry.

Resources:

Is Tuna Safe to Eat Post Fukushima?

Tuna from The World’s Healthiest Foods

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5 Creative Hay Fever Remedies http://thesurvivalmom.com/hay-fever-remedies/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/hay-fever-remedies/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 07:00:37 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23311 My seasonal allergies have been killing me! As I told my friends, I’ve blown my nose so often this past month that I feel like I’m going to blow out my brains! It’s horticultural homicide! My younger son has them as well, just far milder symptoms. At this point, I am willing to try just about […]

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creative hay fever remediesMy seasonal allergies have been killing me! As I told my friends, I’ve blown my nose so often this past month that I feel like I’m going to blow out my brains! It’s horticultural homicide! My younger son has them as well, just far milder symptoms.

At this point, I am willing to try just about anything, and I really would prefer some herbal hay fever remedies. There are more possibilities out there, but these are the ones I have tried.

Raw, local honey

In past years, I have eaten crackers with brie and raw, local honey to help with seasonal allergies. The general idea is that the pollen enters your system through the honey and your body is better able to deal with it. that means that if the pollens you are allergic to are ones bees don’t visit much, honey won’t help much.

It also means that non-local honey won’t help because the pollens will be different. The general guidelines I’ve heard is that the honey needs to be from within 50 miles of where you live, but closer is definitely better. Treated honey has lost many of its healing properties, so stick with raw honey.

This definitely seems to help me, but I know other people who see no improvement with it. This is one remedy that needs taken in advance to head off a problem. Once the pollen is out, it’s seems like it too late because the honey takes time to work.

In the interest of full disclosure, at least one study shows that local honey does not help allergies. Since studies can be wrong, and at least one unpublished study shows benefits, I will continue to use it.

Neti pot

Friends and family have recommended neti pots, but I never tried them before this year. Basically, you pour water in one nostril and it flows through your sinuses and out the other side, cleaning them out in the process. Undeniably weird, this traditional technique has helped me.

Not sharing neti pots is recommended. Sharing them also just seems gross, especially since they really aren’t expensive or hard to find. They range from very light-weight plastic models to sturdier ceramic versions. I think the plastic ones are easier for little ones to use because they are so light.

More importantly, be sure to use water that has been boiled if it isn’t already bottled or distilled. There are things that stomach acids can kill off with ease that will grow and multiply happily in your sinus cavities.

Licorice tea

When I start coughing, it gets extremely bad, extremely quickly due to past problems. I keep prescription cough syrup on hand at all times to head this off, but that doesn’t mean I like taking it.

In researching herbal remedies, I read about licorice for coughing. When the post-nasal drip gave me a wicked cough, I decided to give it a try. Licorice tea is smooth and mild, but if you hate black licorice, this might take some getting used to.

I steep a tea ball with anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of licorice root in eight ounces of water for five minutes. The tea ball can be used for two cups of tea, in my experience. With a “snap” tea ball similar to the one in the link, I simply fill it with licorice root without measuring at all.

Aromatherapy for congestion

I have been using the “Breathe” blend from Eden’s Garden, but most essential oil companies should have their own similar blend.

My son and I put it behind our ears and at the base of our neck. Some people put it in a diffuser and prefer that method.

Aromatherapy for hay fever

In my search, I found this article. It recommends Roman chamomile with lemon, eucalyptus, or lavender. I left my son choose, and he went with eucalyptus. Last night, I used put this all around and on his nose and cheeks. This morning, for the first time in weeks, he woke up and did not have a streaming nose and accompanying cough!! When I asked if he preferred essential oils or OTC medicine this morning, he chose the EOs. Yeah!

The article above has a lot more specific information, including a longer list of oils to blend, but I simply blended five drops of each of the two oils I chose into a 30 ml fragrance free hotel moisturizer. It was fast, easy, and seems to have helped.

Importance of several hay fever remedies

After my efforts and talking to my doctor, who is very supportive of alternative medicine, it seems that multiple methods of attack are needed for hay fever. Personally, I’m using several OTC medicines combined with several herbal remedies.

Next year, I’m eating my brie with honey and feeding my youngest toast with honey and cinnamon for breakfast during the winter months in an attempt to blunt the severity of hay fever. I don’t want to go through this again!

If you have any other home remedies, please add them in the comments!!

creative hay fever remedies

 

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Surprising Facts About Corn, Popcorn, and Malnutrition http://thesurvivalmom.com/corn-popcorn-and-malnutrition/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/corn-popcorn-and-malnutrition/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 07:00:53 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22542 This is the first in a two-part series addressing the practice of making homemade cornmeal out of popcorn. In this first part I will address the dietetic science that shows why this is a bad idea and some surprising facts about corn, popcorn and malnutrition. The second part will address other things that can be […]

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corn, popcorn, and malnutritionThis is the first in a two-part series addressing the practice of making homemade cornmeal out of popcorn. In this first part I will address the dietetic science that shows why this is a bad idea and some surprising facts about corn, popcorn and malnutrition. The second part will address other things that can be done with corn that are much better for you than grinding it into cornmeal.

All about corn, popcorn, and malnutrition

Regular pre-ground cornmeal has a relatively short shelf-life. Five years is the usual rule of thumb. Unpopped popcorn, however, can be stored for decades under the right conditions. Someone put two and two together and figured that grinding popcorn into cornmeal as needed would be a decent solution to this problem. I’ve heard people insist that it is more nutritious than cornmeal from the store, “…which has the bran removed,” and that it tastes better.

I must admit that I have not tried it myself, so I can’t say that I can speak with authority about the taste, but I will tell you that it is not nutritious. In fact, if you made ground popcorn your primary staple you will put yourself at risk for contracting a lovely little disease called pellagra. Pellagra and its relationship with corn is one of those things that intersects food, history, and science.

Popped popcorn, when it is not smothered in fake butter and preservatives, is very good for you. It is high in niacin and fiber, and low in calories. Corn tortillas made from cornmeal, have undergone processing of their own and are similarly nutritious. The peoples of Pre-Columbian America built their empires on corn.

If a corn tortilla is good for you, corn muffins from ground popcorn must be just as good, right? Wrong.

Prior to processing, the nutrients found in corn, niacin, in particular, are inaccessible to the human body. In order for our bodies to absorb all the good stuff, corn must be either cooked with an alkali to form nixtamal (pronounced “neesh-tamal”), or popped. Eating corn meal from unnixtamalized field corn or unpopped popcorn is nutritionally equivalent to eating a cardboard box.

When corn was first brought back to Europe from the New World, Europeans really liked the idea of eating corn. Unfortunately, they didn’t understand the value of nixtamalization. To them, it was an unnecessary step. In places where corn became the primary staple, people started getting this “strange disease” that caused skin lesions, neurological problems, and death. This disease was pellagra. In the Southern United States alone, pellagra accounted for more than 100,000 deaths. Pellagra was also widespread in Spain, France, and Italy. Only in the early 20th Century did scientists figure out that pellagra was caused not by a toxin found in corn, as previously thought, but a niacin deficiency.

This is the reason why food companies fortify our breakfast cereals. If you grab a box of cornflakes, in particular, or regular store bought cornmeal, you’ll find niacin and folic acid on the list of ingredients. This does not constitute the native vitamins already found in corn, but synthetics that are sprayed on. Those spray-on vitamins are both a good and a bad thing. Good because when the FDA began to require niacin fortification in cornmeal, pellagra all but disappeared in the United States. Bad because there is some concern that synthetic vitamins do not behave the same way inside the human body.

Additionally, many nutritionists caution against eating highly processed foods that have more than 5-10 ingredients on the label, which leads some to actively search out unfortified corn products. Thrive Life Cornmeal, for example, lists only one ingredient on its cans of cornmeal: Ground Yellow Dent Corn.

This is not a step towards better health

Grinding popcorn for cornmeal is not going to be any better for you than grinding dent corn. In fact, it would be worse because the structure of a popcorn kernel is different from a dent corn kernel. Popcorn has a much thicker pericarp – that’s the bit that gets stuck in your teeth – and a much smaller amount of starch per kernel.

If you have a reasonably well-balanced diet, it’s unlikely that you or anyone you know will actually develop pellagra and die from the odd batch of cornmeal made from unfortified corn. But don’t kid yourself: cornmeal, and especially popcorn cornmeal, is empty calories. That’s a luxury that will come at too high a price in a survival situation, where you must make every calorie count towards optimal nutrition.

Cornmeal in your food storage pantry isn’t a bad thing, but add other foods rich in Vitamin B3 and, in fact, B3 nutritional supplements as well. Food to consider are:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Coffee
  • Kidney beans
  • Meat, chicken, and tuna
  • Mushrooms
  • Peanuts
  • Peas
  • Sunflower Seeds

This is not to say that you should not store popcorn at all. When properly stored, popcorn can have a shelf-life of 15-20 years. Be sure to also store a small amount of (regularly rotated!) cooking oil or other fat along with it, so that you can pop it.

Stay tuned for my Part Two popcorn article, in which I will talk a little more about what you can (and should!) do with corn that will keep you well-fed and healthy: nixtamalization, masa, and tortillas.

For further reading, I recommend, Red Madness by Gail Jarrow, about Pellagra in the deep South and “Pellagra: Curse of the Unprepared“, an article by Liz Bennett.

corn, popcorn, and malnutrition

 

 

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7 Ways Blueberries Pack a Powerful, Nutritional Punch to Your Food Storage Pantry http://thesurvivalmom.com/health-benefits-blueberries/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/health-benefits-blueberries/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 21:23:39 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23282 When I was growing up, my parents would buy blueberries in bulk. We would freeze them in little sandwich bags. Whenever we wanted a treat, my siblings and I would fill a small cup with the frozen berries and eat them one at a time until our fingers and mouths were purple and sticky. We […]

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Blueberries pack powerful nutritional punch via The Survival Mom

When I was growing up, my parents would buy blueberries in bulk. We would freeze them in little sandwich bags. Whenever we wanted a treat, my siblings and I would fill a small cup with the frozen berries and eat them one at a time until our fingers and mouths were purple and sticky. We also found that frozen blueberries were excellent bribes for our dog, though our mom was not pleased to discover we had been wasting berries in such a fashion.

We knew the blueberries were “healthy,” whatever that means when you’re ten years old, because our mom would go so far as to actually buy them for us. Fruit roll-ups and Froot Loops were not exactly welcome at our house because these were “mostly sugar.” The health benefits of blueberries were unknown to us, nor did we much care.

Fun fact: Blueberries are from the genus, “Cyanococcus,” which is literal Greek for “blue round things.”

Now that it’s been a few years and I have become a grown-up with kids and a mortgage and everything, it turns out that blueberries really are good for you! Most discussion on the health benefits of blueberries veers toward the technical side, tossing around mysterious words like “flavonols” and “anthocyanins,” and “antioxidants.” What does this mean in plain, non-organic chemistry English?

The health benefits of blueberries are numerous!

Simply put, foods with naturally-occurring blue and purple pigments (anthocyanins) are known to reduce the risk of developing certain kinds of cancers. This is the “antioxidant” property of blueberries at work. Blueberries are also high in manganese, copper, and zinc; elements important for maintaining heart health and bone structure. Manganese deficiency, in particular, is relatively common but difficult to diagnose. Feeling under the weather? Try some blueberries!

That’s just scratching the surface. It seems that there is no part of the body that does not benefit from ingestion of blueberries. Blueberries have been known to lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, and to improve short term memory. The fiber content is good for your digestive system, and they can help lower blood pressure Their low glycemic index makes them an excellent food for diabetics. Doctors suggest eating raw blueberries as a treatment for urinary tract infections.

Antioxidant compounds are a little finicky and can break down easily, so most nutritionists recommend eating raw blueberries instead of cooked in desserts. Even though the antioxidants may break down a little in cooking doesn’t mean that all of the blueberries’ goodness is destroyed if you put them in a batch of muffins. Blueberries are extremely versatile and taste amazing in a wide variety of baked goods, while retaining a good portion of their health benefits.

You can store blueberries by freezing them and dehydrating them at home. They can be safely frozen for long periods of time (at least 3-6 months in clinical studies) without any detriment to the antioxidants. In general, dehydration is not as efficient as freeze-drying in this respect. However, if you have a lot of blueberries on hand and want another way to preserve them, dehydrating is still a good way to store them over a longer period of time.

If blueberry smoothies or frozen blueberries in a cup aren’t your thing, don’t despair.

Freeze-dried blueberries in your food storage pantry

Including blueberries in your diet shouldn’t have to end at the door of your refrigerator. Freeze-dried blueberries are readily available, for example, these from Emergency Essentials. The freeze-drying process retains nearly all of the fruit’s original nutrients but because the berries contain zero moisture, they have a very, very long shelf life.

I add a small handful of freeze-dried blueberries to smoothies, along with a small scoop of Greek yogurt, some almond milk, and sometimes, a tablespoon of cocoa powder!

These two recipes from Emergency Essentials are perfect for using freeze-dried blueberries. The ingredients in each recipe can easily be stored long-term, making it possible to whip up a batch of muffins and bars any time!

Blueberry Granola Bars Recipe

½ cup honey

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 ½ Tbsp ground cinnamon

1 ½ cup instant rolled oats

2 cup freeze-dried blueberries

Instructions

  1. Reconstitute the blueberries; Drain excess water.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 9″ square baking pan.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine honey, brown sugar, oil, and cinnamon. Bring to boil and continue to boil for 2 minutes without stirring.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats and blueberry.
  5. Stir in honey mixture until thoroughly blended.
  6. Spread into pan, gently pressing mixture flat.
  7. Bake until lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
  8. Cut into 3″ x 1 1/2″ bars.

Blueberry Drop Muffins Recipe

1 cup flour

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp butter

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ cup dehydrated fat-free milk

½ cup freeze-dried blueberries

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. Work in butter with fork or pastry blender.
  3. Add milk, stirring in just moisten. Carefully fold in blueberries
  4. Drop by tablespoon on greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 375°F for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

Blueberries pack powerful nutritional punch via The Survival Mom

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Prepping with Type 1 Diabetes: 2.0 http://thesurvivalmom.com/prepping-with-diabetes/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/prepping-with-diabetes/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 19:15:49 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22972 Our recent article on prepping with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) was well-received, so here’s some more food for thought (totally carb-free!) as you prepare for an insulin-dependent loved one. If you missed the initial article, you can read it here. If T1D is not part of your daily life, scroll to the end for some diet-friendly […]

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prepping with diabetesOur recent article on prepping with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) was well-received, so here’s some more food for thought (totally carb-free!) as you prepare for an insulin-dependent loved one.

If you missed the initial article, you can read it here.

If T1D is not part of your daily life, scroll to the end for some diet-friendly recipes that could help you reach your fitness goals.

Again, I do not claim to be a doctor or expert—just a T1D momma passing what I’ve learned online and through experience. Prepping with diabetes as become a part of my family’s life. Do with this information as you see fit.

Insulin information

Originally, I assumed that vial or pen insulin is not vulnerable to EMP because it doesn’t rely on the electronic components that a pump uses. However, I stumbled across this government study indicating that exposure to EMP renders insulin in any form less effective. Should that change how we store insulin? Yes and no.

I’ve spoken to an electronics expert who believes that since insulin is stored in a refrigerator, that barrier is pretty good protection. But he also said it couldn’t hurt to keep pens in their original cardboard box and wrap that box in aluminum foil just in case. I’ve decided that any insulin I carry for daily use may have to be discarded if exposed to EMP, as none of the carrying cases on the market are made from Faraday-like materials. If you’re concerned, consider making your own EMP-resistant pouch for everyday insulin carry.

Some helpful readers suggested purchasing the cheaper animal insulin with no prescription from Wal-Mart.  This over-the-counter insulin is called Nph, but it has not been approved for children under 12.

When you’re prepping with diabetes and kids, it is important to understand the way FDA approval works. First, a product must be approved for adults. Once that occurs, trials can begin for approval for kids, but that can take upwards of 5 years. None of the insulin pumps recommended by our children’s hospital have been approved for patients under 16, but the diabetes team recommends them even for toddlers, who fare very well.  Only you can decide if less-than-perfect is better than nothing at all if cost renders those your only two insulin choices. Personally, I’m much more comfortable considering an approved option for children.

Humulin R has been approved for children and is supposedly available without a prescription. I have not attempted to purchase this insulin over-the-counter.  Even at retailers like CVS the drug is marked “over-the-counter” but you can’t add it to your online basket unless you “refill a prescription.” I’d be interested to hear whether any readers have been able to successfully purchase it. Keep in mind that this particular brand has a 1-year shelf life at room temperature and seems like a pretty good option in an SHTF situation.

Under normal circumstances doctors discourage changing insulin brands without their approval and monitoring. But again, if stocking up depends solely on which type you can afford, only you can decide whether off-brand insulin is better than nothing. Perhaps now is the time to talk with your healthcare provider about switching to a less expensive brand so you can make the change under medical supervision.

I investigated Humulin heavily because I ran across an article about Freezing insulin—something most manufacturers warn against. While this article isn’t the same as a clinical study, it’s something to think about if you want to stockpile more insulin than can be used in a single year. Maybe check with your doctor to see if he or she would be willing to help you experiment with frozen insulin. Again, these are very personal decisions and risks—ones I’m not personally willing to take with my child. But as an adult in charge of my own body, I might contemplate it as one more measure for prepping with diabetes.

Prepping with diabetes and getting some help from nature

The National Library of Medicine contains a complete list of plants that either mimic insulin or stimulate beta cells to produce insulin. Though I don’t know many of them, I do already keep aloe and stevia plants.

Dr. Bones over at Doom and Bloom published a list of natural substances that are supposed to lower glucose.  It’s an interesting compilation, but it does not include links to clinical studies and mostly references experimentation with Type 2 patients.  If you’re interested, it’s worth further investigation.

Fig leaves also look promising in reducing the amount of insulin needed at mealtime, as do walnut leaves.

Food storage for preppers with diabetes

Include flax! Clinical studies indicate that flaxseed can reduce blood glucose levels by delaying sugar absorption and stimulating beta cells to produce insulin.  We use flax meal in homemade granola and baked goods to help temper the effects of higher-carb foods.  In our case, consuming a breakfast of homemade granola with flax meal resulted in lower post-meal blood sugars than a breakfast with exactly the same number of carbs requiring exactly the same insulin dose. I’ve started adding it to pancakes and cookies fwith similar results—adding flax meal keeps my kiddo’s blood sugar from skyrocketing after some of her favorite meals. (Scroll down to see our favorite diabetic-friendly recipes.)

The Survival Mom posted this article about including yummy junk food in your storage, and my little T1D cupcake has some she recommends:

  • Blue Bunny Brand’s CarbSmart ice cream
  • Soy Slender chocolate milk (shelf stable, and 5 carbs per cup!)
  • Sugar-free Jell-o Brand jello and pudding (also shelf stable)
  • Blue Diamond flavored almonds (They taste just like dessert!)
  • Blue Diamond Nut Thins (low carb, gluten-free crackers)
  • Libby’s Skinny Fruit in cans or single servings (Canning peaches with Splenda is doable for me; mandarin oranges and pineapples, not so much.)
  • Sugar-free pancake syrup (Try it on the pancake recipe below.)
  • Crystal light, Mio, or Powerade Zero water enhancers
  • Homemade beef jerky. Lots and LOTS of beef jerky.
  • Ditto on homemade dill pickles
  • Sensible Portions Veggie Straws.
  • Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Bread (freezes well, and only 15 carbs per slice)
  • Peanut Butter powder (lots of flavor for very few carbs)
  • Sixlets (One sleeve=6 carbs for a small, sweet treat.)
  • Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips (used in the recipes below)

Diabetic-friendly recipes

I loved this guide to replacing store-bought items with homemade versions, so I wanted to encourage T1D caregivers to try it, too! Diabetic-kid tested; A1C-approved.

Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Granola

1 cup each flax meal and unsweetened coconut

½ cup each sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pecans, walnuts, and Splenda

½ cup each water and oil (coconut oil works well)

2 T cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

1 pkg Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips

Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the wet ingredients together and add to the dry. Layer in a baking sheet and bake at 325˚ for 20 minutes or until dry. Cool and store in an airtight container. Makes 7 cups; 8 carbs per ½ cup serving. We like to eat it like cereal with Soy Slender chocolate milk. (As a variation, you can substitute 1 cup coco nibs for chocolate chips—6 carbs per ½ cup.)

 

Low-Carb Chocolate Chip Pancakes

1 package Bob’s Red Mill low-carb baking mix

2 T flax meal

8 eggs

3 cups whole milk

15 chocolate chips per pancake (Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips)

Mix baking mix and flax meal together. Beat the eggs and milk, then add to the dry mixture. Drop ¼ cup mix on a 300˚ griddle and add 15 chips to the top of each pancake. When bubbles form in the pancake, flip and cook until golden brown. Makes 24 pancakes; 12 carbs each. We like to add peanut butter and sugar-free syrup. (Without chips, 10 carbs per pancake.) They freeze and reheat quite well.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

¾ cup Crisco shortening

1 ¼ cup light brown sugar

2 T whole milk

1 T vanilla

1 egg

1 ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill Low Carb Baking Mix

2 tsp flax meal

1 tsp salt

¾ tsp baking soda

½ cup Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips

Mix shortening, sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Stir in egg. In a separate bowl, combine baking mix, flax meal, salt, and baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture. Add chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.  Bake a 375˚ for 8 minutes. Ours made 2 dozen, approximately 16 carbs each.

prepping with diabetes

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Herb Gardening for Preppers: How to Get Started http://thesurvivalmom.com/herb-gardening-preppers/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/herb-gardening-preppers/#respond Mon, 11 May 2015 16:02:31 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22911 After learning to grow some or all of their own food, many preppers turn their attention to other useful plants like medicinal herbs. Once established, herbs can be relatively low fuss, but deciding what herbs to grow and where to plant them can be a bit overwhelming. Herb gardening for preppers takes some planning but […]

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herb gardening for preppersAfter learning to grow some or all of their own food, many preppers turn their attention to other useful plants like medicinal herbs. Once established, herbs can be relatively low fuss, but deciding what herbs to grow and where to plant them can be a bit overwhelming. Herb gardening for preppers takes some planning but will be very rewarding.

Because gardening depends so much on the local environment, it’s important to take your location into consideration when you are thinking of establishing an herb garden with prepping in mind. Rather than try to highlight a few plants that might grow well in one part of the country but never make it in another garden, let’s take a look at how to determine what will work well in a given situation- even if you don’t have much space or very little gardening experience.

Deciding what herbs to grow

The first step is to decide on what you want to grow. This may take a good deal of research if you are new to herbalism, or you may already have a list in mind. If you aren’t sure what herbs you might want to grow, a basic guide like Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech, my book, The Independent Herbalist, or another resource that gives information about specific herbs and how to use them can be a good place to start. Some of the most versatile and adaptable herbs that you may want to look into for your area include yarrow, peppermint, elder, hawthorn, valerian, and lemon balm, but again- they may or may not be well suited for your area.

Once you have some herbs in mind, identify your garden zone. Most herbs are very hardy and grow across a wide range of temperatures and rainfall zones. Adding drainage in very wet areas can make a garden more successful, and very dry areas can use ideas like drip irrigation to concentrate water use. Knowing your zone and annual rainfall will help you when you begin to research the specific herbs you have in mind.

Another good thing to learn about at this stage is native plants local to your area that are also herbs. Incorporating native plants into your landscaping means you will be working with herbs that are adapted to your local environment. Field guides like Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore and Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America  by Steven Foster and James A. Duke are a good place to start for this type of information.

Deciding where to grow your herbs

Once you have assembled a list of plants that you think will work for your area and determined your garden zone and annual rainfall, it’s time to look at what else the plants on your list will need to survive. Do a little research and make notes on your list about how much sun each herb will need. Some herbs need full sun, but others do better in part shade. Soil type and water requirements are other important things to note.

Once you have that basic information, you can begin matching herbs to areas in your garden. Make a sketch of your garden or yard and make notes about what should work well in the different areas. It’s also a good time to strike through any herbs that are obviously not a match for your garden- a plant that needs sandy soil will not be happy in heavy clay. Although the soil can be changed by adding amendments and conditioning, it can be a daunting process.

Deciding how much of each herb to grow

In The Medicinal Herb Grower, Richo Cech suggests around ten feet of bed space per type of herb, or a minimum of three of a kind for home medicinal use. I’ve found that to be more than enough in most cases.

In my experience, one plant of most species will produce at least enough herbal material for one 4 oz bottle of tincture. That’s a good size for a home apothecary, (most store bought extracts come in a 1 or 2 oz size) so planting beyond that will give you material left over to dry and store for teas or other uses.

It’s important to note that plants in the mint family like lemon balm and peppermint will yield far more than you will ever need from one plant, and that large plants like hawthorn and elder will give a high yield from one plant, too.

Short on space? No worries!

Even though it’s great to have a full sized garden, plenty of herbs grow well in containers. A small patio can supplement an apothecary stocked with dried herbs bought in bulk, and allow you to keep a selection of herbs at the ready if you ever have the opportunity- or the need- to establish a larger garden.

Some kitchen herbs, like basil and oregano, can even be grown indoors in a sunny windowsill. Surprisingly, many kitchen herbs have lots of uses beyond seasonings. So even if you only have room for a few of these versatile herbs you will still be growing some excellent home remedies, too.

Whether you are growing a large herb garden or a small patio container garden, growing herbs as a prepper is all about determining what you want and what will work for your part of the country, but that’s the hard part! Herbs don’t need much care from us, so once they are established they basically look after themselves. Because they have such strong tastes, they are fairly pest resistant; and other than requiring regular weeding and an eye on watering if it gets too dry they don’t need much care. Good luck with your gardening endeavors!

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Should You Consider a Tetanus Shot as Part of Your SHTF Preparedness? http://thesurvivalmom.com/should-you-consider-a-tetanus-shot-as-part-of-your-shtf-preparedness/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/should-you-consider-a-tetanus-shot-as-part-of-your-shtf-preparedness/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 07:00:52 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22923 Have you ever thought of certain vaccines as a way to prepare for an uncertain future? One reader asked if a tetanus shot might be a good choice for such a scenario. I asked Dr. Joe Alton, known to many as Dr. Bones, and here is some information he provided, originally posted on his website […]

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tetanus shotHave you ever thought of certain vaccines as a way to prepare for an uncertain future? One reader asked if a tetanus shot might be a good choice for such a scenario. I asked Dr. Joe Alton, known to many as Dr. Bones, and here is some information he provided, originally posted on his website DoomandBloom.net

Most of us have dutifully gone to get a Tetanus shot when we stepped on a rusty nail, but few have any real concept of what Tetanus is and why it is dangerous.  The role of the survival medic is to maintain the well-being of their family or group in a collapse.  This can be best assured with an understanding of what infectious disease is.  Knowledge of risks, prevention. And treatment will be the armor plate in your medical defense.

What is Tetanus?

Tetanus (from the Greek word tetanos, meaning tight)  is an infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium Tetani.  The bacteria produces spores (inactive bacteria-to-be) that primarily live in the soil or the feces of animals. These spores are capable of living for years and are resistant to extremes in temperature.

Tetanus is relatively rare in the United States, with about 50 reported cases a year.  Worldwide, however, there are more than 500,000 cases a year.  Most are seen in developing countries in Africa and Asia that have poor immunization programs.  Citizens of developed countries may be thrown into third world status in the aftermath of a mega-catastrophe.  Therefore, we can expect many more cases that could be your responsibility as medic to evaluate and treat.

What Causes Tetanus?

Most tetanus infections occur when a person has experienced a break in the skin.  The skin is the most important barrier to infection, and any chink in the armor leaves a person open to infection. The most common cause is some type of puncture wound, such as an insect or animal bite, a splinter, or even that rusty nail.  This is because the bacteria doesn’t like Oxygen, and deep, narrow wounds give less access to it. Any injury that compromises the skin, however, is eligible; burns, crush injuries, and lacerations can also be entryways for Tetanus bacteria.

When a wound becomes contaminated with Tetanus spores, the spore becomes activated as a full-fledged bacterium and reproduces rapidly.  Damage to the victim comes as a result of a strong toxin excreted by the organism known as Tetanospasmin.  This toxin specifically targets nerves that serve muscle tissue.

Tetanospasmin binds to motor nerves, causing “misfires” that lead to involuntary contraction of the affected areas.  This neural damage could be localized or can affect the entire body. You would possibly see the classical symptom of “Lockjaw”, where the jaw muscle is taut; any muscle group, however, is susceptible to the contractions if affected by the toxin.  This includes the respiratory musculature, which can inhibit normal breathing and become life-threatening.

Symptoms and treatment of Tetanus

The most severe cases seem to occur at extremes of age, with newborns and those over 65 most likely to succumb to the disease. Death rates from generalized Tetanus hover around 25-50%, higher in newborns.

You will be on the lookout for the following early symptoms:

  • Sore muscles (especially near the site of injury)
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lockjaw (also called “Trismus”; facial muscles are often the first affected)

Initial symptoms may not present themselves for 1- 2 weeks. As the disease progresses, you may see:

  • Progressively worsening muscle spasms (may start locally and become generalized over time)
  • Involuntary arching of the back (sometimes so strong that bones may break or dislocations may occur!)
  • Fever
  • Respiratory distress
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeats

The first thing that the survival medic should understand is that, although an infectious disease, Tetanus is not contagious. You can feel confident treating a Tetanus victim safely, as long as you wear gloves and observe standard clean technique.  Begin by washing your hands and putting on your gloves.  Then, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water, using an irrigation syringe with 3% hydrogen peroxide to repeatedly flush out any debris.  This will, hopefully, limit growth of the bacteria and, as a result, decrease toxin production.

You will want to administer antibiotics to kill off the rest of the Tetanus bacteria in the system.  Metronidazole (Fish-Zole or Flagyl) 500mg 4 times a day or Doxycycline (Bird-Biotic) 100 mg twice a day are among some of the drugs known to be effective.  This study compares the use of Metronidazole versus Penicillin G.

Remember, the earlier you begin antibiotic therapy, the less toxin will be produced.  IV rehydration, if you have the ability to administer it, is also helpful. The patient will be more comfortable in an environment with dim lights and reduced noise.

Late stage Tetanus is difficult to treat without modern technology.  Ventilators, Tetanus Antitoxin, and muscle relaxants/sedatives such as Valium are used to treat severe cases but will be unlikely to be available to you in a long term survival situation.  For this reason, it is extraordinarily important for the survival medic to watch anyone who has sustained a wound for the early symptoms listed above.

As medic, you must obtain a detailed medical history from anyone that you might be responsible for in times of trouble.  This includes immunization histories where possible.  Has the injured individual been immunized against Tetanus? Most people born in the U.S. will have gone through a series of immunizations against Diptheria, Tetanus, and Whooping Cough early in their childhood. If not, encourage them to get up to date with their immunizations against this dangerous disease as soon as possible. Booster injections are usually given every 10 years (or if 5 years have passed in a person with a fresh wound, sometimes along with Tetanus Immunoglobulin antitoxin).

Tetanus vaccine is not without its risks, but severe complications such as seizures or brain damage occur is less than one in a million cases.  Milder side effects such as fatigue, fever, nausea and vomiting, headache, and inflammation in the injection site are more common.

Given the life-threatening nature of the disease, this is one vaccine that you should encourage your people to receive, regardless of your feelings about vaccines in general.  If not caught early, there may be little you can do to treat your patient without all the bells and whistles of modern medicine.

tetanus shot

 

Joe and Amy Alton are the authors of the #1 Amazon Bestseller “The Survival Medicine Handbook.  See their articles in Backwoods Home, Survival Quarterly, and other great magazines. For over 600 articles on medical preparedness, go to their website at www.doomandbloom.net.

The opinions voiced by Joe Alton, M.D., and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P.,  aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, are their own and are not meant to take the place of seeking medical help from your healthcare provider.

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Sprouting Seeds – An Essential Part of Your Food Storage Plan http://thesurvivalmom.com/get-started-sprouting-seeds/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/get-started-sprouting-seeds/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 23:26:51 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22571 Do you like sprouts? I had only ever eaten plain, long white mung bean sprouts from the grocery store and didn’t really care for them. Then I discovered home sprouting and the wide variety of seeds, beans, lentils and nuts that could be sprouted. My family now eats them on salads and sandwiches and sometimes […]

The post Sprouting Seeds – An Essential Part of Your Food Storage Plan by Amy VR appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

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Get started sprouting seedsDo you like sprouts? I had only ever eaten plain, long white mung bean sprouts from the grocery store and didn’t really care for them. Then I discovered home sprouting and the wide variety of seeds, beans, lentils and nuts that could be sprouted. My family now eats them on salads and sandwiches and sometimes even just straight from the sprouter!

Beside the fact that sprouts are healthy for everyday eating and should be added to your diet for nutritional reasons, sprouting is an excellent prepping skill to have.

Top 5 Reasons Preppers Should Sprout

1. Nutrition

Certain seed mixes combine not only for great taste, but for high nutrition. Some seeds provide every amino acid, a long list of vitamins and minerals, and many are high in protein. Access to a fresh, non-meat/dairy source of protein during hard times is highly desirable. Broccoli sprouts are one of the most nutritious… eating one ounce of broccoli sprouts gives you as many antioxidants as 3 pounds of mature broccoli! Check out this link for a list of nutritional content for the most popular sprouts.

2. Garden Indoors All Year

If you live in an extreme climates that limit your outside growing months, you can grow a variety of fresh greens year around. No dirt under the nails, no back breaking work, no worries about early frost.

3. Security

If you have a security reason for not gardening outside, you can still have fresh greens by sprouting indoors. In fact, you can hide them even more if needed by putting your spouters inside a cabinet, under a bed, etc. Sprouts do not need any light for growth. Exposure to sunlight at the end of growing will activate the chlorophyll and green up the sprouts, but it is not a requirement for taste or nutrition.

4. Portability

You can sprout on the go by taking your sprouter in the car or even by putting it inside a backpack. In a bug-out situation, you can carry a great deal of food in very little space. (See #5.)

5. Shelf Life and Compact Storage

Sprouting seeds have a shelf life of 1 to 5 years depending on the variety. Refrigerating can double the lifespan while freezing can extend it 4 to 5 times. See a full list here. Most sprouting seeds are very small, but grow exponentially. A single pound of alfalfa sprouting seeds can produce 7 pounds of edible food!

Get started sprouting seedsThe only potential “downside” with sprouting during emergency situations is the amount of water needed. Sprouts need to be initially soaked and then rinsed twice a day. If access to safe water is an issue, it could be difficult to impossible to grow the sprouts. However, sprout water does not need to be discarded. In fact, the water used for the initial soak is full of nutrients that could be consumed as is, used as soup stock, or as needed to reconstitute dehydrated or freeze dried foods.

My Favorite Sprouters

Sprouting is so easy, a child can do it. If you can measure and rinse seeds, you can sprout! All you need is the right sprouter.

Four Tray Sprouter – The trays of this sprouter allow you to either sprout a variety of different seeds and beans in one compact footprint, or enable you to stagger your growth by starting the trays a couple days apart so you have fresh sprouts constantly at the ready. Watch this video to see how this sprouter works.

The Easy Sprout Sprouter – Simple, compact and likely the most popular sprouter of all. This one is a must if you want to sprout on the go. Here’s an instructional video to show you just how easy it is!

Get started sprouting seedsIt’s surprising how quickly sprouts can begin to go bad, so both these sprouters allow you to make relatively small amounts of sprouts so they can be eaten within just a couple of days.

My Favorite Sprouts

There are dozens and dozens of seeds, bean, lentils and nuts you can sprout on their own, but mixing them together for a gourmet treat is what I like best. Here are three of my favorites, but be bold and be sure to try a wide variety to find your own favorites. The best way to do that is to find variety samplers like this one or this one.

French Garden – Put this on your sandwich (if you have any left over after eating it straight from the sprouter!). Healthy, high protein and so good.

Nick’s Hot Sprout Salad Mix – Spicy and fragrant and 35% protein.

Pea Carnival – A mix of different peas. I was surprised at how much I liked this one. Yum!

 

The post Sprouting Seeds – An Essential Part of Your Food Storage Plan by Amy VR appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

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