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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Food to avoid during stress

I have been doing a research paper on storing food and water to prepare for a disaster and came across these facts that I found extremely interesting. I remember reading on this forum that some people have packed away Olive Oil since it is high in calories, and someone else recommended Coconut Oil which is on the list of thing to avoid during stress.

I thought this would be a different way to look at things and I might add a section in my paper specifically on how stress affects the body and how to prepare your food to minimize its effects. Anyways keep up the great work on this forum, I have found it and everyone insight priceless.

Food Items to be Avoided
Food items which aggravate the signs and symptoms are to be avoided. These include
Tea, coffee, cocoa
Junk foods and fast foods
Egg yolks
Butter, cheese , shrimps and meat
Coconut oil
Cashews almonds and other nuts
Beverages including soda, chocolate drinks and soft drinks.


Your Survival Readiness Level--A True Self Assessment, by Gina W.

By definition survival preparedness means attaining the state of having been made ready to outlive another person, thing, or event. Years pass by reminding us that life is short and meant to be enjoyed. People concentrate on material items but often overlook factors involved in determining the comfort level of a new living situation. A true self assessment now will determine whether life is barely survivable or comfortable.

People forget how the mind body element affects lifestyle changes. It is important to assess your actions before a situation takes away your ability to feed the habits that control you. Reflect on the past week of your life. How much of your day do you sit? If you add up the time spent watching television, typing on a computer, reading, driving a vehicle, and sleeping, you will see that a lack of movement outweighs your time spent participating in physical activities.

Now imagine how long you would spend sitting in a survival situation? Could we chop enough wood to heat a house? When was the last time we walked several miles to reach our destination? Do we produce gardens without a motorized tiller, or tend to the weeds on a daily basis without experiencing back pain? Would working our muscles on a daily basis result in overstrained and dehydrated bodies? What about the other people we are sharing our lives with? Could they carry their weight in a survival situation or would we have to find a way to carry the weight for them?

Today should be the day that we start training our muscles for additional activity that our bodies may encounter in the future. Changing our sedentary lifestyle and keeping our bodies hydrated plays an important role in body performance and repair. The ability to perform tasks and awaken the next day feeling refreshed will increase our quality of life whether our living situation changes or stays the same.

Another fact that should encourage us to start moving deals with the medicines we put into our bodies. Diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol affect our health. Many times obesity and being unfit initiate the disease which invades our systems. In this day we depend on medicines to fix our broken parts. I have been fortunate to control my diabetes through diet and exercise, but I must consider the facts that medicines may not be as easily available in the future. Becoming physically fit now will help to ward off or slow down illnesses that require medication as treatment. We must realize that some medicines may not be available or may be too expensive to purchase in the days ahead.

Upon waking do you automatically reach for a cup of coffee, cigarette, or cup of tea? Throughout the day how many times do chocolate bars or sodas pass by your lips? An addiction to caffeinated items or nicotine wreaks havoc on the mind and body when abruptly cut from the system. Withdrawal symptoms cause even the strongest person to feel like they are losing their sanity if not ready to battle the changes attacking their body.

I encountered the physical, psychological, and mental pains when we moved to a remote island in Alaska. Living 30 minutes from town by plane or three hours by boat meant groceries arrived once in a two week period. I decided that this would be the time to quit smoking. I flew in feeling confident. Bite the bullet, go cold turkey, dispose of a habit I hated but never conquered. In this situation failure would not be an option. How could I smoke if there were no cigarettes and no way to purchase a pack?

Less than 24 hours passed before the withdrawal effects began choking the confidence from me. Chest pains, headaches, dizziness attacked my body. Unfortunately for my family this was the least painful part of my experiment. The moodiness, irritability, and depression arrived. I turned from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. No one was safe from my wrath. I hid in the house, flipping from a rabid dog to a tearful mess. I could not think, or focus on anything. I had become irrational over giving up a habit I hated because of the control it had on my body.

You may not smoke cigarettes, but it is time to assess the caffeine and other chemicals you put in your body on a daily basis. Try going one day without any exposure to your habit or addiction. Then take a good look at how it affects you physically, psychologically, and emotionally. If it were erased from your life without any warning could you live with yourself? Could other people live with you?

When it comes to entertainment how much of the digital age controls your pleasure? In survival, quality of life must be rediscovered. We must relearn to use our bodies and minds in ways that we either have not used in a long time, or as in our children’s cases, never had to use. If a family chose to turn off the television, computers, and radio for one week, they could learn a lot about themselves and the people they live with.

We must find ways to be entertained by low tech ways. Reading books, playing cards board games, or talking to each other can become alternate choices for entertainment. Our first month living in remote Alaska taught us that without television, evening hours seemed to increase. We found ourselves going to bed several hours earlier when there was no computer or television to occupy our minds. Spending those evenings without using technology we learned to entertain ourselves, and it revealed how much time we had to communicate with each other. We no longer whined about not having any time to talk; now we found ourselves sitting in silence searching for things to talk about.

A positive attitude and a curious nature can ease the shock if technology is removed from one’s lifestyle. Is your glass half full or half empty? Finding something good in negative or stressful situations can bring about some peace to help get you through. A curious nature can open up the world in unexpected ways. Learning something new can encourage you to want to learn more.
As a parent when my child would refuse to try something new I would ask them how they knew they disliked it if they had never tried it. As adults we need to remember that also. Sometimes stuck in a rut we forget that trying something we have never done may give us joys we never dreamed of experiencing.

The next time you look at a flower, or a butterfly, or ladybug; stop. Observe the movements, or colors, or the small parts that make up this living item. If we are lucky it will bring back the child-like side in us where our mouths drop open in awe at the beauty in front of us. Letting ourselves experience life through the eyes or our hidden child can make life a bit easier to handle. We have to remember to ask ourselves one question when stuck in a bad situation. If I died tomorrow would this have been worth getting upset over? If the answer is no then take a deep breath and move on.

Beauty brought out by our curious nature and positive attitude does bring us around to one more point that is important in keeping a strong mental outlook on lifestyle changes.

Practicing and studying your faith now will increase the level of comfort in a survival situation. Having a belief in a higher power can give people strength when all seems lost and will provide the hope needed to make life feel safe and secure.

These are the things we should force ourselves to look at when preparing for a survival situation. Could you survive days of physical labor, cooking from scratch, gardening for your food, chopping wood, carrying water, lack of entertainment from televisions, computers, and radios or walking for miles to get to your destination? Are you physically and psychologically strong enough to survive without being stopped by cramping muscles, irritable mood swings, or boredom and depression? Are you prepared to keep a positive outlook alive to survive in a world where most people of today would find it unbearable, and be strong enough to repeat the process tomorrow? These are some items we need to focus on and realize that accomplishing them are as much of a necessity as having enough food, water and protective shelter so that we not only stay alive but are able to live our lives. Making the most of each day whether in today’s world or tomorrows depends on us deciding the level of comfort we want to experience and how determined we are to change now for a comfortable quality of life in the future.

The three conventional survival necessities are water, food, and shelter. Preparing yourself mentally, physically and emotionally will allow you to use these three basics to give you a life worthy of living. I challenge everyone to take a true self assessment and add your own well being as a necessity in preparation.

Episode-399- A New Look at Attracting “Wildlife” to Your Property

From the urban homesteader to the person with 100 acres in the sticks most of us value wildlife for many reasons.  They are of course a source of protein either as “game” or during an emergency by what ever works yet they do a lot more to improve the quality of our homesteads. When most folks [...]

The Palm Stick for Self-Defense, by Kent

The palm stick, sometimes called a Yawara stick, or Kubotan, is an excellent and highly effective tool for self-defense. The tactical folding knife and the concealed pistol typically dominate the self-defense culture, especially when weapons are discussed. However, the palm stick has several advantages and applications that firearms and knives cannot match.

Typically a palm stick measure around six inches in length, and about a half inch in diameter. Six inches is a good length, in my opinion. This combines concealment with a length that is still practical for offensive moves. A half inch may be a tad skinny, but too much thicker and one starts to get into concealment issues again, as well as weight and gripping ability. On the whole, I have found that the commercial off-the-shelf palm stick to be sufficient for the average citizen.

Since most of our palm sticks are going to be key chains, it pays to be aware of everything else that is in your pocket, and not to keep your keys in a place that is not readily accessible. One of the things I do is typically grab onto the kubotan and hold onto it loosely if I think there may be any sort of confrontation. It’s important to practice pulling the stick from its place of concealment, and practice with a purpose.

By "practice with a purpose", I mean simply bring the palm stick out and strike a target, real or imaginary. Do it with speed. One of the things I do, with a palm stick or folding knife, is bring it out and thrust it straight towards the chin area of an imagined opponent. This is good in either provoking a flinch, or hitting a target that can cause a great deal of pain, allowing for a successful escape.

Once you have practiced drawing the palm stick, it’s time to practice swinging it, stick part first. Obviously, its length precludes one from swinging the palm stick like a baton. However, there are a great variety of other techniques that are surprisingly effective.

For starters, grip the stick in the center, with a closed fist wrapped all the way around, making sure that there is a sufficient striking surface sticking out of both sides of the fist. One can grip off-center, and use the palm stick in a similar fashion as a knife, but that is not a technique I would recommend for beginners.

Next, practice a hammerfist technique, with the outside portion of your fist, or the part made up by the pinky finger. This is quite possibly one of the simplest strikes to learn and practice. Practice an overhead strike, a backhand hammerfist, a low hammerfist, and a palm-up hammer fist. Try striking in a variety of angles, with the hand in different positions. The length and hardness of the palm stick will turn this simple technique into one that becomes devastating when applied to nearly any part of the body. Imagine slipping this hammerfist into someone’s ribs, head, cheek, neck, hand, forearm, and you begin to see my point. It is a simple way to cause pain and damage to an attacker.

The next thing to do is practice with the inside of the fist, the part along the thumb. This strike may take a little more practice and finesse, but it also can be quicker, and just as painful. Practice strikes from top, bottom, left and right. Aim high, low, face, stomach, ribs, anywhere you can think of to strike. Later on, I will list some of my favorite targets. The forward portion of the fist also requires a little bit of coordination. If you find yourself having trouble, try to imagine a hook punch or a haymaker punch. In essence, this is what you are throwing, only not with the knuckles of the fist. Also, do not neglect a palm up strike.

Now, you already have formed a fist. Might as well take advantage of the fist and the natural inclination to punch someone, and practice a few jabs and crosses, with the palm stick. Punching with the palm stick has many advantages over having an empty hand. For starters, there is a little added weight to the hand, making a punch have more impact. Secondly, if the punch itself misses, the palm stick may graze the person, or the keys that may be attached to the stick. Last, and probably most important, the palm stick provides a measure of support and reinforcement for the knuckles and finger bones in the fist. Many people can easily break their own bones by punching someone in the head, which is an instinctive place to punch. A palm stick is one method of reinforcing these fragile bones and preventing serious injury.

Once again, a boxer’s delivery will help the most for punching. If you have no prior experience, simply try to remember a couple things. Always keep your hands up, bring your hands right back to your guard, and don’t rear back for the punch. Most likely if you have internet access, you can find a couple videos that can get you started on learning how to punch properly. At the end of this article I will provide a list of references for more information on punching and weapons for self-defense.
Now, in the case of a key-chain palm stick, the keys themselves have tremendous advantage over just a palm stick without keys. Keys are sharp, somewhat heavy, and can be swung by that palm stick with a decent amount of force. Practice swinging the keys in an X-pattern, known as ikis in Kali. Swing diagonally from upper right, then from upper left. The goal is to not only hit the person, but also convince them that you mean business so that they may run off and find easier prey. If they decide to rush in, imagine the consequence of taking a set of keys to the face. The psychological impact alone of having sharp metal objects swung at one’s face cannot be overlooked. If the attacker puts their hands up in attempt to ward off an attack, then any low-line targets such as the thigh, knee, or groin are open for some other attack.

A couple of years ago, a friend introduced the idea of holding the keys and swinging the palm stick. This is not my favorite method, but that does not mean it should not be trained. The advantages of this are that the palm stick typically has more solid mass than the keys, and can be swing a little harder due to leverage. I think that the keys are a bit trickier to get a grip on, but that may be my personal opinion. In any event, swinging the palm stick can be used just like swinging the keys. Describe an X pattern in the air in front of you. Ideally, this X should start at about the enemy’s collar bone, and cross about the solar plexus.

Care must be taking to balance striking power with control. Take care not to over-swing, and over-commit. W. Hock Hocheim describes the “window of combat”, a rectangle loosely bordered by mid thigh, to about shoulder height, no wider than the shoulders. If your swings start getting outside of this window, you are over-swinging, and opening yourself up to an enemy being able to defeat your defenses.

The palm stick can also be applied to a variety of pain points. The middle of the back of the hand, the notch at the bottom of the throat, under the nose, under the mouth, and behind the ear are some of the ones that come to mind immediately. A quick strike to the carotid artery, no matter how lightly, can have literally stunning results on an opponent. A strike to the temple can be potentially fatal, as can a strike to the trachea.

Using a palm stick, it can be possibly to break an attacker’s collarbone with a hammerfist attack. If you are grabbed, in addition to a releasing technique, a quick strike to either the offending limb or the person’s solar plexus will loosen their grip, making it easier to get away.

If you double the person over, a hammerfist to the back of the neck can have potentially fatal consequences, and will at least leave the attacker stunned and lying on the ground, unable to continue the attack. The palm stick can be thrust into either the groin or the solar plexus, with devastatingly painful results. [JWR Adds: In many law enforcement circles, baton strikes to the neck or head are considered potentially lethal, and reserved only for life-threatening situations that are comparable to firing a gun.] If the groin seems protected, the inside of the leg can be struck, as this can strike or come close to striking the femoral artery, a painful and potentially stunning blow. If the hands are high, aim for the ribs with either the inside or outside edge of the hammerfist. Ribs are always a good target for causing maximum pain and damage.

If you know any throws or takedowns, the palm stick can assist. One simple judo throw, o-soto gari, calls for the fist to apply pressure to the collarbone. That same pressure can be applied with the palm stick, to the collarbone or the throat area, making this simple foot sweep even more effective.

Against edged weapons, the palm stick has somewhat less usefulness. As always, the best chance of success against and edged weapon is to catch the weapon bearing limb, preferably after hitting the attacker with a chair, brick, or a car. Once you have caught the weapon bearing limb, you can beat on the wrist, the fragile bones of the hand, the elbow, and the inside of the biceps. All areas are vulnerable to strikes, and have numerous pain receptors. In the case of the inside of the biceps, there is a nerve cluster there that tends to send a shooting pain down the arm, sometimes making it go numb. It is not a strike to count on, but a possible and worthwhile target nevertheless.

A palm stick can be homemade quite easily. One merely has to select a thickness of dowel, preferable at least a half inch thick, measure out enough so that there is a striking surface of at least a quarter inch on each side of the fist, and cut it to fit. Added options include placing a weight in the center of the stick, drilling two holes in the stick and tying a cord [to make it into a Koppo stick], or making one end slightly sharper, or at least more pointed than the other.

At least one martial art that I’ve seen, Goju-Ryu Karate, which is an Okinawan style, has a kata that uses two palm sticks, although they are considerably smaller than what I’ve described here. Many Filipino systems cover the palm stick, if not in precise detail.

Many tactical folding knives can double as a palm stick, if the user is not able to deploy the blade right away. However, some State [and local] laws may prohibit carry of knives [or even palm sticks]. But keep in mind that several tactical flashlights, such as Surefire [and Mini-MagLite], can be used as a palm stick. Surefire and a couple other companies make flashlights with beveled front edges, specifically for this purpose. [JWR Adds: These are generally legal to carry. Ditto for beefy pens that run the gamut from the very inexpensive Cold Steel Pocket Shark to the very expensive Mont Blanc Meisterstuck. If you opt for the Pocket Shark (which, BTW, is what I carry when I fly on commercial airplane flights), then I recommend scraping off all of the pen's exterior markings. Be sure to consult the laws for wherever you will travel!]

There is a great deal of martial arts instructional material available on sites like YouTube if one does a simple search. [JWR Adds: Try doing searches at YouTube that include "palm stick ", "Kubotan", and even the very common misspelling: "Kubaton".] Much of my own instruction has come from W. Hock Hocheim, and guru Marc Halleck. Both individuals have first rate instructional DVDs.

In summary, the palm stick is an overlooked and easily used piece of self-defense equipment. Useful for striking and grappling, it can cause a great deal of pain with a reduced risk to the user. It’s easily concealed, easily employed. Overlooked by the majority of law enforcement officers and civilians alike, it can be hidden in plain sight. You’ll never have to leave it in your house while you go to the bank or a school board meeting. With a little elbow grease one can be custom made for every member of the family. The principles of the palm stick can be taught to children and adults. It is not a tool that depends on the use of the right hand or left hand. It may not have the range of some other more conventional self-defense tools, but it is much more versatile than the average citizen realizes.
About the Author: Kent is an 11-year veteran of the U.S. Army's Infantry Corps, now serving his third tour in Iraq. He has been studying Filipino Martial Arts (Kali, Arnis, and Silat), for about seven years. In addition, he has been training in various military and civilian combatives programs since joining the Army. He has taught combatives and martial arts to his fellow soldiers, and civilians.
JWR Adds: A full line of inexpensive yet very well-made high impact American-made plastic palm sticks is available from Alpha Innovations. They also make "Letter Openers", and other other high density injection-molded goodies. Their "Stylus Kubaton" variant is ideal for anyone that carries a touchscreen PDA or an iPhone. (Consult your local laws before ordering!) OBTW, they also make some amazing custom products and sell training DVDs.

hard candy is a survival food

Jolly Rancher Original Flavors Hard Candy, 7-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)Everyone should think about adding hard candy to their food cache.
It will provide a tasty supplement to beans and rice and wheat berries.
same effect as spices, add some flavor diversity to your meals.

we are in the process of moving into our new BOL (see my posts that start with GA2 for Green Acres 2) and we are 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store and so far mostly what we have on hand is the bulk and long term foods as a part of our long term storage.

It is just not satisfying staring at row upon row of canned foods and bags of rice and beans when you just want a little snack.

having mint and cinnamon hard candy has been great.
let's face it when SHTF there aren't gonna be bags of potato chips around for long.

I recommend the sugared variety because calories will be useful post SHTF.
Walmart carries bags of spearmint, peppermint, and cinnamon for $1 and each candy is individually wrapped.

I also got several other varieties from the Amazon grocery sales category.