The Survival Mom » Preparedness http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Wed, 28 Jan 2015 08:00:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Be a Lean, Mean Survival Mom Machine http://thesurvivalmom.com/be-a-lean-mean-survival-machine/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/be-a-lean-mean-survival-machine/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 08:00:44 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=1857 Picture this.  You’re with your kids or grand-kids in a COSTCO or Wal-Mart, when you hear gunshots and screams coming from across the store.  From the terrifying sounds you know you only have a few seconds to get to safety, Read More

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Do you need a list of reasons to become fit and in better shape? How about survival fitness? | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comPicture this.  You’re with your kids or grand-kids in a COSTCO or Wal-Mart, when you hear gunshots and screams coming from across the store.  From the terrifying sounds you know you only have a few seconds to get to safety, and an EXIT door is about thirty yards away.

Do you have the physical conditioning, stamina, otherwise known as survival fitness, to grab the kids, pick them up if necessary, and run fast enough to escape with your lives?  Or, would those extra pounds and flabby muscles slow you down to make a quick escape impossible? Are you a lean, mean Survival Mom machine?

I’m the first to admit that a quick sprint across the store would be pretty difficult for me.  I could do it, but it sure wouldn’t be impressive in terms of speed or style.  I’ve missed way too many work-outs at the gym and have enjoyed far too many meals at the drive-through lately.  I’m typical of millions of Americans, yet as someone who has preparedness as a top goal, I know that someday my survival may depend on being physically fit.

The necessity of getting shape and building up my physical strength has been a big pill for me to swallow.  I can’t tell you how much I hate exercising and every minute on the treadmill is torment.  Even so, I’ve been working on improving my physical fitness.  I’m not a runner, far from it, but I’ve been making a point of walking or bicyling as many days of the week as I can and doing a series of strength-building calisthenics (floor exercises).

Simple lean, mean Survival Mom machine tips!

When I feel like turning on the TV or plopping down with the latest Daniel Silva book, here’s what I tell myself.

  • Upper body strength will help improve my target shooting.
  • I’m setting a good example for the kids.  They love physical activity, and I want them to keep that attitude.
  • Stronger leg muscles are more attractive and much better for running from a dangerous situation.  And also for kicking bad guys in the groin.
  • As I build up my cardio-vascular system, my overall health improves, hopefully keeping me healthy for many, many years to come.  Who knows what our health care system will look like in a few years, and I’d just as soon stay healthy and limit my dependence on the medical system.
  • I am so vain it’s embarrassing.  Heck, I just want to look cuter in my jeans!

How about you?  Could you depend on your fitness level to run fast and far if your life, and the lives of your children, depended on it?  Building up our bodies to be as strong as possible and losing some of the pounds that slow us down is a survival and preparedness must.  No, it’s not an easy step, and there are hundreds of excuses to procrastinate, most of them printed on restaurant menus!  However, there’s a very powerful reason for Survival Moms to start today:  our children.

[bctt tweet=”Someday your survival may depend on being physically fit.”]

If you’re already in shape, let us know how you do it.  If you’re on the journey toward physical fitness and being a lean, mean survival machine, hey, we’re on it together!  I’d love to hear about  your plans for becoming the leanest and strongest Survival Mom you possibly can be!

Join the Facebook group, Skinny Survival Moms here!

Listen to this Related Podcast

The Survival Mom interviews David Zulberg, author of The 5 Skinny Habits.

This post was updated from the original posting on November 6, 2009.

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Stock Your Pantry from Scratch: Enchilada Sauce http://thesurvivalmom.com/stock-pantry-scratch-enchilada-sauce/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/stock-pantry-scratch-enchilada-sauce/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 08:00:58 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20864 I love to make up my own convenience foods! I know what is in them so they are much healthier. They are simple to just grab off my shelf (instead of going to a store for a specialty can of Read More

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Are you trying to eat healthier? Make more things from scratch? Try this enchilada sauce recipe, and the taco seasoning to go with it. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

I love to make up my own convenience foods! I know what is in them so they are much healthier. They are simple to just grab off my shelf (instead of going to a store for a specialty can of ‘whatever’) and to have on hand when there is no ‘run to the store’ option. And they are super easy to make up!

Enchilada Sauce is one of those insanely SIMPLE ones I can whip up and have canned up a batch in under an hour!  Excellent for stocking the pantry with staples for easy meals. Easy meals are a blessing for busy days, true, but when the SHTF they will help cut stress while still providing great meals!

So, pull out a nice big 7 quart or larger pot (or 2, I like to double this one!) and a wooden spoon. Prep all your canning equipment so it is ready to go (canner, rings, jars, lids, jar lifter, etc.) and then gather up the ingredients you’ll need for this ever so easy recipe!

Ingredients:

  • making enchilada sauce#10 can of tomato sauce from Costco (or 7 quart of home canned sauce)
  • a little olive oil (TB or so)
  • 1  large onion chopped finely (or a handful or 2 of freeze dried onions- no mess – no tears– LOVE these!)
  • 1 cup of organic corn flour,
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of taco seasoning mix (see my recipe for this below)
  • a little sea salt and pepper to taste, if you’d like

enchilada sauce in potPour your olive oil into your pot, bring to medium heat and toss in your onions. Saute until translucent. Toss in the remainder of your ingredients, stir, let simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes or so while you get the rest of your canning prep together, get your water heating, etc.

Once you’ve got everything ready and your sauce is nice and hot, ladle it into pint or quart jars. I do quarts at 20 minutes in my water bath canner.

enchilada sauce in cannerThat’s all folks. Simple. Makes making homemade enchiladas quick and easy, not to mention it makes a great soup base, too! I set my hot canned jars on a towel, let them cool and listen for that familiar *PING* of the lids sealing. After I leave them undisturbed for about 24 hours, they are ready for the pantry shelves![bctt tweet=”Recipes for enchilada sauce & taco seasoning! Ole! “]

canned enchilada sauceHomemade Taco Seasoning

If you want to make up  your own homemade taco seasoning, here is that recipe I promised:

Ingredients:

taco seasoning mixGet out a Quart Canning Jar, a clean used lid and ring; along with a funnel and add in:

If you’re really adventurous you could add in a teaspoon (or more!) of Cayenne! :D

Put your lid on, shake it up, and it’s ready! This is so much cheaper and healthier than those packets you can buy in the store! Not to mention it makes another great pantry staple to have on hand!

2 TB =  1 store packet

Stocking your pantry from scratch is simple…and a labor of love.

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A New Family Hobby: The air rifle http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-a-new-family-hobby-the-air-rifle/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/instant-survival-tip-a-new-family-hobby-the-air-rifle/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 08:00:18 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=476 If your kids get bored easily and you’d love to get them involved in a fun activity that will teach them practical, lifelong skills, consider the air rifle.  Also called air guns, this inexpensive hobby teaches both adults and kids (boys Read More

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The air rifle can provide a fun family hobby and help kids develop shooting skills.  www.TheSurvivalMom.comIf your kids get bored easily and you’d love to get them involved in a fun activity that will teach them practical, lifelong skills, consider the air rifle.  Also called air guns, this inexpensive hobby teaches both adults and kids (boys and girls!) valuable target shooting skills.

The NRA has an excellent summary of the sport here.  Not only will this sport be fun for the whole family, but target shooting is an Olympic sport with many organizations offering college scholarships to sharpshooters!

By the way, mom, if you’ve never fired a gun in your life, an air rifle is a good place to start.  If you have a daughter, it’s even more important for her to see that shooting isn’t just a guy thing.  Every woman should know the basics of firearm safety and shooting.  Still need a little convincing?  Check out my favorite blog for women who love to shoot, Cornered Cat.

To learn more about air rifle clubs and activities in your area, contact your local shooting range.  Your state’s Game & Fish Department may also have details.

This post has been updated from the original version posted June 24, 2009.

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Evacuation Time? Don’t Forget Your Pets! http://thesurvivalmom.com/evacuation-time-dont-forget-your-pets/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/evacuation-time-dont-forget-your-pets/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 08:00:25 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=308 What plans have you made and put into place for your animals should an emergency of some type strike your area?

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Make plans now to evacuate your pets and their supplies in an emergency. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comMy heart just about broke when I saw all of the abandoned pets in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  How could someone just leave behind a beloved pet?  Not only were the abandoned animals in jeopardy, but as days and weeks went by, they added to the already insurmountable problems faced by workers trying to clean up and restore the city.

Preparation for Pet Evacuation

What plans have you made and put into place for your animals should an emergency of some type strike your area?

First, make sure your pets are up to date with their vaccines and that you have copies of the vaccine records.  If you have no other choice but to hand your dog or cat over to a shelter, these records will become invaluable, and it will bring peace of mind to know that your beloved animal is in a safe, temporary environment.

Cats and dogs should be microchipped. A tag on their collars from the microchip company will facilitate their return to you, and be sure that your contact information with that company is up to date. You can usually do that on the company’s website.

Next, consider how you will contain your pet, if necessary.  Our two aggressive turtles can’t be in the same enclosure, unless we want to rename one of them, “Ole Two-Toes,” so we’ve looked at small, portable enclosures for each.  If you will be using a dog or cat kennel, place small food and water dishes inside them now, along with a leash, muzzle, maybe a harness.  With these already pre-positioned, you’ll only need to grab your pets and be on your way!

Transportation and Feeding

Transporting a cat? Unless your cat goes into a carrier willingly, believe me, it’s worth the time, trouble, and scratches to help her get accustomed to being contained before it becomes a matter of life and death.  Portable litter boxes can make travel easier, but, really, a collapsed cardboard box and a small bag of litter will help your feline feel almost at home. We used disposable litter boxes for the 2 weeks we spent in a hotel with our four cats. They worked out beautifully.

Small bags of dog and cat food can easily be tucked into a back corner in the trunk of your vehicle. Protect the food from moisture and pests by storing it in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. It will be a good idea to feed your pet a little less than they are used to.  In an evacuation situation, they will probably not be getting as much exercise, and less food means less poop.

Many reptiles eat fresh vegetables and fruit.  You could keep them fed and happy for weeks just by feeding them veggies from your Big Mac or fast food salad.

Transporting fish?  Not quite so easy because you’ll need a container that is spill-proof.  I’ve seen suggestions of large Tupperware containers to coolers with air holes drilled in the lids.  Fish don’t need to eat as much or as often as your dogs and cats, so that’s a bonus.

Advance Planning is Critical to Success

If you have livestock and other large animals, probably the best solution is to make prior arrangements with the owner of a nearby farm or other rural property for emergency boarding.   Plan on transporting large animals out of harm’s way long before the situation becomes perilous.  I found some great tips for evacuating horses here, and many of the tips are relevant to other large animals.

You know your pets and their temperaments better than anyone.  Take steps now to get them accustomed to car travel, spending time in a kennel, or whatever might be foreign to them in an emergency situation.

Remember, that often terrified animals will run away.  More than anything, they will need you to be calm.  (Our animals are such sensitive babies!)  With just a little pre-planning and preparation, evacuating your animals will be the least of your worries.

This post was updated from the original posting on June 16, 2009.

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Survival Creativity: An Important Facet of the Survival Mindset http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-creativity/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-creativity/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 08:11:15 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20525 As you go along in your disaster readiness journey, you’ll no doubt pick up many wonderful and useful skills. You’ll also likely purchase any number of tools, gadgets, and doodads that will (hopefully) be useful in an emergency. However, above Read More

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It takes more than supplies and classes to be able to survive in an emergency. Can you fix something broken? Not without survival creativity! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comAs you go along in your disaster readiness journey, you’ll no doubt pick up many wonderful and useful skills. You’ll also likely purchase any number of tools, gadgets, and doodads that will (hopefully) be useful in an emergency. However, above all else, you should strive to develop a survival mindset. Creativity is one important facet of this mindset.

Having the ability to think outside the box and develop creative solutions to problems is critical in emergencies. Sure, given a set of well written instructions and all the requisite tools and parts, most people could probably build a bookcase or even assemble a small engine. But, what if you’re missing one of the tools? In many situations, given some thought and creativity, you can improvise a solution. It might not be perfect and it might not look pretty but as long as it works, who cares?

The Instant Challenge

CreativityYou can practice out of the box thinking and creativity in many different ways. One that I highly recommend is to do a search for “Destination Imagination Instant Challenge.” Destination Imagination (DI) is a program found in many school systems around the world. Basically, the focus is on encouraging students to be creative thinkers.

One facet of the program is called Instant Challenge. At DI tournaments, teams will be taken into a classroom and presented with a handful of supplies and a written challenge. For example, they are given a few paper cups, some string, two straws, and a ping pong ball and they have five minutes to build a contraption that will sling the ping pong ball a minimum of ten feet. There are no right or wrong answers to these challenges. Having coached a few DI teams over the years, I can tell you the solutions can get quite interesting.

There are hundreds of Instant Challenges available for free online. While they are typically intended for use as practice for DI teams, you can do them at home by yourself or with your family. Even better, once you’ve done a few of them, you may find yourself coming up with your own Instant Challenges. They can actually be quite fun and are a great way to spend a rainy afternoon with the family.[bctt tweet=”It takes more than supplies and classes to be able to survive in an emergency.”]

A key component to creative thinking is keeping an open mind. Don’t negate any possible solution without just cause. When presented with a problem, brainstorm as many solutions as possible, then whittle down the list until you reach the one that fits perfectly, or at least as best as possible.

Thinking outside the box can often lead to unorthodox solutions, too. That’s almost never a bad thing. Those off-the-wall suggestions can inspire you to explore new avenues, possibly leading to even better solutions for other issues down the road.

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Try it Today! Build Your Own DIY Fire Kit http://thesurvivalmom.com/try-today-build-diy-fire-kit/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/try-today-build-diy-fire-kit/#comments Sun, 18 Jan 2015 08:00:44 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20527 When you get right down to it, survival essentially means maintaining a safe core temperature for your body. Everything we do is geared toward that end goal. We eat food to provide calories to keep our bodies running. We hydrate Read More

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Build your own DIY Fire Kit with just a few supplies. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comWhen you get right down to it, survival essentially means maintaining a safe core temperature for your body. Everything we do is geared toward that end goal. We eat food to provide calories to keep our bodies running. We hydrate so we don’t get overheated. We seek shelter from the elements so we don’t get too warm or too cold.

The ability to reliably start a fire is a critical survival skill. The job is made much easier if you have the foresight to assemble a small fire kit to keep in your pack. It doesn’t need to be huge and, in fact, the smaller the better. Remember, ounces lead to pounds and pounds lead to aching backs.

What I recommend you have in your fire kit is a minimum of three different forms of ignition and three different types of tinder. I often say that prepping is all about giving yourself options and that holds true with a fire kit as well as any other aspect of survival.

Ignition Tools

Let’s start with ignition tools. Your primary source of ignition will likely be a butane lighter. Why? Because they are incredibly cheap and very reliable. I would caution you, though, to spend the extra dollar or two and pick up brand name lighters, such as Bic. The ultra cheap ones you’ll find sold three for a buck at gas stations tend to leak and won’t last very long.

Next on my own preference list is a ferrocerium rod and striker. A ferro rod will light thousands of fires and is very simple to use. Hold the ferro rod in one hand and the scraper in the other. Draw the scraper down the rod firmly and direct the resultant sparks to your tinder. Alternatively, you can hold the scraper steady and pull the rod back towards you. A ferro rod will work in all weather conditions, which is a nice bonus.

Old fashioned flint and steel work very well, but the sparks aren’t usually nearly as large and hot as you’ll get from a ferro rod. Mankind has been using flint and steel for hundreds of years, though, for a reason – it works.

Strike anywhere matches, in my opinion, should only be considered as a back up to a butane lighter and a ferro rod. You can only carry a finite number of matches and, at best, you can light one fire with each match. Plus, while there are water-resistant types, even ones that will light in a monsoon, it can still be rather difficult to get a fire going with a single match when the weather isn’t cooperating with you. Once you get the match lit, you can’t reuse it.

In my own fire kits, I carry one or more butane lighters, a ferro rod with striker, and a waterproof container of strike anywhere matches.

Tinder

Now, on to tinder. It is important to include a supply of ready-to-use tinder in your fire kits as you never know what the conditions might be should the time come you need to get a fire going NOW. If it has been raining all day long, it could prove difficult to find dry plant fluff and such. So, carry a few different packages of tinder in your kit.

Cotton balls soaked with petroleum jelly is an old standby. They are popular because they work very well. Dryer lint is another common tinder, whether soaked with petroleum jelly or left dry. Some people have noted a bad or acrid smell when using dryer lint, due to the presence of human or animal hair and different types of clothing fibers. Personally, if my life is at stake, I’ll put up with a bad smell for a couple of minutes if it means I can get a fire going.

Charcloth is very easy to make, you can find an endless list of videos and articles detailing the process online. Just about everyone has a few old cotton T-shirts they could cut up to use as charcloth.

Jute twine is a dual purpose item. Any good cordage is always welcome in any survival kit. Plus, if you unravel a piece of jute twine and fluff it up, it makes for excellent tinder. It burns rather quickly, though.

Magnesium shavings burn very hot. A very common piece of kit is a block of magnesium with a small ferro rod attached to the side. The idea is you scrape off some magnesium, aiming for a pile about the size of a nickel or so, then light it with sparks from the ferro rod. What I’ve seen more and more people doing is scraping the magnesium ahead of time, filling small plastic pouches with the shavings. Not a bad idea, really.

My own preference is to use dryer lint and/or cotton balls, supplemented with jute twine and magnesium.

Creating a Fire Kit

What I also recommend is stashing a few small ziploc plastic bags in your kit. As you make your way through the bush, you’ll likely come across things like birch bark, dry moss, dry lichen, and other fluffy plant material. Gathering some of it and using it when you need a fire will help preserve your other tinder for times when such natural materials aren’t available.

The next time you are shopping at a thrift store, take a look at old camera cases. They make excellent pouches for storing your fire kit. At my local Goodwill store, these cases are typically priced at a dollar or less. The idea here is to put together a small kit containing what you’ll need to get a fire going when you need it the most, saving you time from searching through your pack for everything.

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Review: The Rule of Three by Eric Walter http://thesurvivalmom.com/review-rule-three-eric-walter/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/review-rule-three-eric-walter/#comments Sat, 17 Jan 2015 08:00:31 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20522 Like many preppers, I’ve long been a fan of disaster (dystopian) novels. Any book detailing the end of the world gets my attention. Lately, there have been quite a number of great disaster novels coming out of the Young Adult Read More

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"Rule of Three" is a YA Novel by Eric Walters. Don't let the YA (Young Adult) designation fool you - it's not just for teenagers! - The Survival Mom

Like many preppers, I’ve long been a fan of disaster (dystopian) novels. Any book detailing the end of the world gets my attention. Lately, there have been quite a number of great disaster novels coming out of the Young Adult (YA) market, like The Hunger Games.

For those not familiar, YA books are typically geared for the teen crowd. As such, graphic violence is not usually present, nor explicit sex. That’s not to say, though, that today’s YA books are full of Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys wannabes. Often, in my experience at least, YA novels have just as much drama and realistic character portrayals as those novels marketed for older readers, they just have younger protagonists.

Another such book is The Rule of Three by Eric Walter. It is the first in a planned trilogy. The main character is 16 year old Adam Daley. As the story begins, he is at school, helping a friend with a project when all the lights go out. He, his fellow students, and the school staff quickly realize this is no ordinary power outage: All their cell phones and most of the vehicles in the parking lot are inoperable. Savvy readers will immediately recognize the nature of this crisis – electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

Adam’s car is old enough that it still works. He picks up his siblings from school and heads for home. Their mother is a captain in the local police department and their father is a commercial pilot who is out of town at the time of the crisis. Their next door neighbor, Herb, is a nice old gent who turns out to be quite a valuable asset.

It doesn’t take long before polite society begins to break down. There are riots at the grocery stores and such. Some of this behavior is quelled by Herb’s use of excellent conflict resolution skills. I found this approach to be quite refreshing as in many similar stories it would have been a case of violence meeting violence.

As time goes on, Adam’s neighborhood becomes his entire world, for all intents and purposes. Walls are built, patrols are set up, and the community comes together for their own protection. An interesting facet to this story is Adam’s ultralight: a small homemade plane Adam and his father built in their garage. Adam’s knowledge and skill with piloting the craft gives the community an edge over the competition.

Being a YA novel, there is naturally a bit of romance present. It comes in the form of Adam’s crush, Lori. While it doesn’t detract from the story at all, I did find this subplot a little too convenient compared to the rest of the story.

I will warn you that The Rule of Three ends with more than a couple of plot threads left unraveled. But I can assure you the next book picks up right where this one leaves off.

The Rule of Three is, hands down, one of my favorite fiction reads in the last year or two. Very well written, it is quite a page-turner.

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Sea Salt – An Indispensable Commodity for Uncertain Times http://thesurvivalmom.com/sea-salt-an-indispensable-commodity-for-uncertain-times/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/sea-salt-an-indispensable-commodity-for-uncertain-times/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 08:00:31 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=4150 When we think about setting aside emergency supplies, most of us would agree that preserved food and purified water are the essentials and everything else is secondary to these. Some might even choose to incorporate things like a manual grain Read More

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You have food and water, but did you know you might be missing a critical supply? Sea salt is far more than just a flavoring when you cook. I via The Survival MomWhen we think about setting aside emergency supplies, most of us would agree that preserved food and purified water are the essentials and everything else is secondary to these. Some might even choose to incorporate things like a manual grain mill, a water purifier, a food dehydrator, a solar cook stove and so on.

But who would ever consider something as simple and humble as salt as an indispensable necessity and commodity in the tumultuous days ahead? I would even go so far as to say if sea salt is not a part of your survival provisions, it’s time to tuck away this invaluable, hidden treasure.

In fact, salt was once valued as a form of currency – it was that scarce, and considered a luxury of few. The ancient Greeks used salt to trade for slaves and Roman soldiers were paid in “salt money” or “salarium argentum” where we derive the English word, “salary”. Homer called it “Divine”. Jesus calls His followers (which I’m honored to say I am) the “salt of the earth”.

Wars have been fought and whole settlements turned into cities and nations over the pursuit of salt. Just as gold and silver have once again gained ground in this present economic meltdown, so also will sea salt be a valuable and tradable commodity, literally “worth its weight in gold.” It will be a supreme bartering tool.

Preserving Food with Sea Salt

Sea salt has a unique ability of drawing out the flavor in food like no other seasoning, but this is secondary to yet another one of its amazing values. Salt has long been known for its ability to preserve foods. In the event of societal and economic collapse, refrigeration may be a thing of the past. Unless you plan to consume what you pick immediately, depend on your air dehydrator or live off your food storage, you will need salt for preserving food.

During harvest time, there should be plenty of fresh food (assuming you thought ahead to plant a garden), but the long harsh winters will inevitably come and preserving food will be a crucial issue. Even hunting for game, chances are you will not be able to consume it all in one sitting – salt preservation will be key. And without power, your pressure canner or electric dehydrator will not get you very far, so salt can be the perfect alternate route.

Health Benefits

With salt’s same ability to retard spoilage, “mineral dense sea salt” also aids in disinfecting and healing wounds. A simple salt paste or soaking a wound in a salt/water solution several times a day should achieve positive results. Sea salt also rejuvenates the skin keeping a more youthful appearance while aiding in the healing of acne, psoriasis, eczema and other skin related problems.

Ever wonder why your skin felt so tight, free and clear of irritation or blemishes after spending a day at the beach? Sea salt has miracle healing properties that are often overlooked. In fact, the Blue Lagoon in Iceland is world renown for its hot salt springs that people flock to with skin conditions. Dead Sea salts are another sought after skin commodity.

Which kind of sea salt?

But might I be quick to add that not just any salt will suffice when it comes to you and your loved ones, especially typical table salt (sodium chloride) and in some cases, certain brands of sea salt. Salt that is processed for vast human consumption – while meeting the public’s demand for a product that is cheap and convenient – sacrifices a lot of health benefits.

Table salt has been stripped of all but two of its 84 trace minerals through a chemical process, dried at extreme temperatures, and oftentimes – for the sake of appearance – anti-caking, free-flowing, or conditioning agents are added along with iodine. But buyer beware of even some brands of so-called sea salt: It may be mechanically harvested from dirt or concrete basins and piped through metal conduits; artificially processed; heated to extreme temperatures to break the molecular structure; stripped of its essential minerals and further adulterated by chemical additives.[i] In essence, many highly acclaimed “sea salts” are no different than plain ole table salt.

So where do you find pure, unadulterated salt? This graph shows some of the best brands compared with some of the more popular (and less expensive) brands.

Dense with vital trace minerals along with its light grey hue from the pure clay sole it’s harvested from, Celtic Sea Salt® is unmistakable in old world flavor and nutritious. (And taste may mean everything with a bland diet of survival foods!)

Extracted from the natural evaporation of the sea and wind alone, the ocean brine is channeled from the sea to the pristine shallow clay ponds, surrounded by vegetation. It provides a natural habitat for the salt while the salt farmer gathers the dazzling white crystals with a long, shovel-like tool, then collects it daily by hand.[ii]

Other Benefits

Celtic Sea Salt can be a simple addition to any food storage plan that just makes sense. It not only stores indefinitely, it provides so many hidden health benefits to mention in this article, but here are just a few:

Supplying well over 80 (24 of which are essential to life) minerals needed for proper metabolic functions and the assimilation of necessary nutrients in the body, natural sea salt is also an excellent immune booster and helps keep the body alkaline.

It works synergistically with vitamins and other minerals for their bioavailability to the body. (Bioavailability: the extent to which a nutrient or medication can be used by the body.) For instance, we know that calcium needs both magnesium and Vitamin D3 to be absorbed; sodium and potassium need each other in the proper proportions to help maintain normal blood pressure and water distribution.

Since natural sea salt contains a balance of minerals including sodium and potassium, the body is able to safely eliminate any excess sodium without the complications of typical table salt. This is a huge benefit for those who have to monitor their salt intake.

“Sea water contains minerals such as ionized sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and selenium, plus many trace elements such as copper, iron, zinc, manganese, and chromium. The human body uses the minerals & trace elements in sea salt to create electrolytes, maintaining the “internal ocean” which is vital to the proper functioning of every system in the body.”

In an age of degenerative diseases and in the difficult times that may lie ahead, no doubt sea salt is and will be worth its weight in gold, in more ways than one. Not only essential for health and vitality, sea salt clearly carries a vast array of benefits.

A Final Note

The familiar round grocery store container of salt is always ground the same. That’s not true of the many varieties of sea salt. It can be anywhere from chunks the size of landscaping rocks to finely ground, which is what most Americans are used to seeing. The website Sea Salt has a lot more specific information on types, coarseness, history, etc. of sea salt.


[i] De Langre, Jacques, Seasalt’s Hidden Powers, Asheville: Happiness Press 1994, page 3

[ii] De Langre, Jacques, Seasalt’s Hidden Powers, Asheville: Happiness Press 1994, page 1

Copyrighted © 2010

Guest Post By Roxanne Griswold, Ready Made Resources

This article has been updated from the original posted on May 26, 2010.

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Survival of the Fittest: Herbs for Peak Fitness http://thesurvivalmom.com/adaptogens/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/adaptogens/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 08:10:21 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20495 There is a whole category of plants that can increase the human body’s ability to adapt and respond positively to stress. These botanicals are called adaptogens, and deserve a place in herbal preparedness plans and gardens for their ability to Read More

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The use of adaptogens, a category of herbs, may help increase your endurance, improve memory, and boost immunity. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comThere is a whole category of plants that can increase the human body’s ability to adapt and respond positively to stress. These botanicals are called adaptogens, and deserve a place in herbal preparedness plans and gardens for their ability to promote healthy immunity and help your body excel during times of mental and physical challenges.

Benefits of Adaptogens

Although the reality of these plants often falls far short of their fad status and the overblown advertising campaigns of companies that tout them as wonder pills and panaceas, they definitely have much to offer. Studies featuring adaptogen herbs point to an increase in endurance (such as through increased oxygen uptake or utilization); better memory and mental acuity; and shorter duration of or incidences of illnesses such as colds.

In Medical Herbalism, David Hoffman FNIMH, AHG, states that adaptogens “increase general capacity to withstand stressful situations, and hence guard against disease caused by overstress”. He explains that by moderating the stress response in terms of how the body regulates glucose, adaptogens help the body respond more quickly but less drastically; allow blood glucose to stay elevated longer to allow a more sustained peak; and allow the body to back off from the peak more gradually. This has the effect of smoothing out how our bodies respond to stress. Adaptogens also seem to act on key endocrine and immune functions within the body, which relate to stress hormones and our ability to ward off illness.

Four Herbal Adaptogens

Many herbs fall into the category of adaptogens, but rhodiola, eleuthero, ginseng, and ashwaghanda are four of the most readily available and well known.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola rosea

This Russian herb is considered by many to be excellent for stamina, stress, and mental acuity. A favorite of athletes, it can also be used to better adapt to altitude changes and when recovering from head injuries. Several studies have been done on this herb and how it can benefit mood disorders.

Eleuthero

Eleutherococcus senticosis

Eleuthero may improve overall energy, stamina, and immunity, and is well tolerated by most people. Sometimes called Siberian ginseng, it’s not related to the true ginsengs but has many of the same benefits.

Ginseng

Panax quinquefolius and Panax ginseng

Probably the best well known of the adaptogens, Ginseng is excellent for stress, immunity, blood sugar stability, and healthy blood pressure. It’s important to note that the common name “ginseng” can refer to two herbs. In traditional herbalism, asian ginseng (panax ginseng) has a reputation of being the most stimulating of all the adaptogens, and was typically reserved for use by older men. American ginseng (panax quinquefolius) is less stimulating and tolerated well by a wider age range of both sexes. However, American ginseng is in danger of over-harvesting in the wild, so be sure to purchase this herb from a reputable, sustainable company such as Gaia Herbs, Herbpharm, or Mountain Rose.

Ashwaghanda

Withania somnifera

A calming herb, ashwaghanda is the best choice of the bunch for anyone concerned about the stimulating effects of some adaptogens. Among many other benefits this herb is suited for anxiety, hyper or hypo immunity issues, increasing stamina, encouraging healthy blood sugar and blood pressure, and boosting immunity.

How to Use Adaptogens

Unlike most herbs, adaptogens are usually taken every day, or almost every day, for longer periods of time. Some herbalists favor using them daily for a minimum of three months and then taking a break for a week or two; other herbalists might suggest using them indefinitely for as long as desired while allowing one or two days off per week.

These herbs can be purchased as capsules or alcohol extracts. For these, be sure to follow the suggested directions on the package. For preparedness purposes, though, it’s important to know how to make a tea (technically a decoction) with the roots. Not only is purchasing the roots from a reputable source far cheaper than using prepackaged supplements, but it puts confidently using plants grown in one’s own garden within the realm of possibility for the prepper.

In general, one teaspoon of the dried roots can be prepared in 8 oz of water and taken up to three times a day. Some people may find that these herbs make it difficult to sleep if taken too close to bedtime- in that case, take them in the morning only. They are best taken on an empty stomach, an hour or so before breakfast and in between meals.

To prepare a decoction, bring 1-2 cups of water to boil in a  small covered saucepan. Add the dried roots, and allow them to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to steep, covered, for a minimum of thirty minutes and then strain out the roots before drinking the tea. A small amount of honey can be added as a sweetener (raw, local honey is beneficial for allergies, so why not?).

Consulting with your doctor before beginning to take a new herb is always a good idea. Adaptogens may occasionally raise blood pressure in some individuals, or cause feelings of jitteriness; they may not be tolerated well by individuals with anxiety disorders or people who are manic or bipolar. However, adaptogens are usually very safe and have positive benefits for most people.

Listen to this Related Podcast

The Survival Mom interviews David Zulberg, author of The 5 Skinny Habits.

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How Do You Carry? http://thesurvivalmom.com/concealed-carry/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/concealed-carry/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 08:14:32 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20599 I ran an informal online survey about concealed carry of firearms to gather information for this article. I asked about favorite holstering positions, pros and cons for each position, how often the person carried concealed, and more. After reading the Read More

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How Do You Carry Your Firearm? Choosing the Right Holster for Concealed Carry- The Survival Mom

I ran an informal online survey about concealed carry of firearms to gather information for this article. I asked about favorite holstering positions, pros and cons for each position, how often the person carried concealed, and more. After reading the responses from almost 100 men and women I came to one very obvious conclusion.

There is no general consensus on anything when it comes to carrying concealed.

Everyone has (or will discover) their own “best practices” for what works for them. What one person sees as a pro, someone else sees as a con. What fits one gun doesn’t fit another, especially if it’s been modified at all, including common mods like adding crimson sights. For that matter, your theoretically-preferred carry position may not be available for your preferred firearm. 

So let’s talk just in general about some of the most popular carry positions.

Most Popular Concealed Carry Positions

Image courtesy of Phisesit at FreeDigitalPhotos.netThe majority of people choose to carry at the waist. Not only do you have to choose where at the waist to carry, but also whether your handgun will be inside or outside the waistband.

Inside the Waistband (IWB) – Better conceals the handgun, but can be less comfortable. Some people adjust the size pants they buy in order to accommodate their concealed handgun.

Outside the Waistband (OWB) – Harder to avoid printing, but more comfortable to wear.

Hip – This is the most popular and traditional position to carry a handgun. For men. Hip holsters tend to be “by males, for males” in design. Men are more likely to be able to effectively conceal a weapon in this position. Drawing is quick and natural. You can carry strong side or cross draw.

Appendix -A popular on body carry position for women. While safety is important in all carry positions, an accidental discharge while holster in this position will result in shooting yourself in an, ahem, vital area. On the plus side, drawing and firing tends to be quicker because you do not have to reach behind your hip line.

Kidney – The second most popular carry position for men. A concern is the tendency to sweep your body as you draw.

Center of Back – Many people like this position for comfort while standing but there are quite a few downsides to carrying this way. Sitting is very uncomfortable. There is also concern about injury to the spine and lack of access to the firearm if you are knocked down on your back.

Under the Arm – Many women like this carry position as pointy hips, shorter torsos, and fashion often get in the way of waist carrying in any position. Cross drawing from a shoulder holster is more technical. This position can be achieved by using a shoulder holster or a shirt with a built in pocket. 

Pocket  – Not compatible with most women’s fashions, even for “pocket pistols.” Most commonly worn by men wearing more loosely fitting pants. One benefit is that you can have your hand on your firearm without those around you knowing, unlike putting your hand on your hip holster.

Bra Holster – Many women swear by a bra holster such as the Flashbang.  (Read a review here.) Properly worn and adjusted, the handgun is completely concealed. There is a steep learning curve to draw and fire from a bra holster, but once you figure it out, it can become a favorite. 

Purse or Bag – Also called “off body carry” this is the way many women carry their handguns. You should look for one with a lock. Men or women can also carry in fanny packs, organizers, or briefcases. The firearm is completely concealed and, with some wardrobe choices, might be the only practical way to have a firearm close by. The downside is that bags can be stolen, forgotten, or left behind, and drawing can be very slow, especially when it is locked.

Thigh – Worn by women in skirts or dresses. (Or by men in kilts, I suppose!) Completely concealed and definitely sexy, but somewhat difficult to access and draw.

Ankle – Usually this is the “back up gun” position and not a place to carry your primary defensive weapon. Can be ideal for someone who is seated most of the time (professional drivers, for instance).  Easier to draw from a kneeling position or if you are knocked on the ground. Difficult to get to when just standing still or in a standing confrontation. It can also affect your gait, or how you walk, making it easier for those “in the know” to guess that you are ankle carrying.

Here is the bottom line about carry positions: Explore a lot of options! Go to a local gun store and ask to try on some of the holsters. Ask friends and family to try on their holsters. As my survey showed, opinions are all over the map, and what works perfectly for one person might be the worst option for another. The only way you’ll know what works for you is to experiment.

Practice, practice, practice

Remember, concealed carrying a firearm is about far more than simply having a weapon on your body. You absolutely MUST practice drawing and firing from your chosen carry position. Practice drawing at home with an unloaded and cleared weapon, or a blue gun.

Basically, a “blue” gun is a detailed blue rubber replica of a real gun. If you tend to go to “gun free zones” like school on a regular basis and are afraid you’ll forget and carry there (felony conviction, anyone?) OR if you have a small child and need to be beyond certain they can’t access it when you carry, this can be a good option to practice the simple act of carrying.

When you are comfortable with your ability to safely and quickly draw the firearm, go to the range and practice both drawing and firing with a loaded weapon. (Be sure to ask the rules at your range. Some ranges do not allow drawing and firing.)

When you practice drawing, you may find that the holster you chose as the most comfortable turns out not to be practicable for you. I prefer, for comfort and lowest printing on my body, to kidney carry. But try as I might, I can’t yet get a smooth and quick draw from that position. While there are times I still choose to carry that way, the better carry position for me is appendix. It is the best mix of smooth draw and low printing, even though it is a bit less comfortable for me overall.

If you want an amazing amount of detailed information on this subject, download a free copy of Gun Digest’s 84-page ebook excerpt “Concealed Carry Methods – Concealed Carry Holsters and Clothing.” It is chock full of detailed information, tips and photos that can help you make the best choice for you.

My Favorite Holsters

Can Can Concealment Classic Hip Hugger Holster – Perfect for appendix or kidney carry, I love this one! (Read my review here!)

Fobus OWB Compact Paddle Holster – This doesn’t conceal my Springfield XD9 on my hip, but does for my husband.

Outbags Holster – I carry my Ruger SR22 on my belt or in my purse with this.

Glossary

Appendix Carry – If your belly button is “12 o’clock” appendix carry for a right-handed person is located at between 1 and 2 o’clock. Left-handed appendix carry is located between 10 and 11 o’clock.

Cross Draw – Carrying your handgun on the opposite side of the body from the drawing hand.

Hip Carry – Traditionally carried at the 3:30 to 4 o’clock position for right handers and 8 o’clock to 8:30 position for left handers.

Kidney Carry – Right-handed kidney concealed carry is located between 4 and 5 o’clock. Left-handed kidney carry is located between 7 and 8 o’clock.

Printing – A handgun is printing when it is visible underneath the clothing being used to conceal it. Check your state regulations, some have laws that prohibit printing.

Strong Side Draw – Carrying your handgun on the same side as your drawing hand.

Muzzle Sweep – Unintentionally pointing your handgun at yourself or someone else.

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