Could Baking Soda Be Used to Treat Autoimmune Disease? Study Suggests it is Possible

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It’s a household item that is commonly used in baking and for cleaning and deodorizing.

Odds are, you have a box sitting in your pantry or refrigerator right now.

This inexpensive, versatile, and safe product can be used for so many things, including brushing your teeth, treating insect bites and stings, soothing sunburn, as an underarm deodorant, cleaning wounds and preventing infections, and heartburn relief.

Now, yet another possible purpose for baking soda has been discovered, and it is quite incredible.

Scientists have found evidence that a daily dose of baking soda may help reduce the destructive inflammation of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can encourage the spleen to promote an anti-inflammatory environment that could be therapeutic in the face of inflammatory disease, Medical College of Georgia scientists report in The Journal of Immunology.

The research found that when rats or healthy people drink a solution of baking soda and water, it becomes a trigger for the stomach to make more acid to digest the next meal and for mesothelial cells sitting on the spleen to tell the organ that there’s no need to launch a protective immune response.

Mesothelial cells are found in your blood and kidneys, and baking soda is already used in the treatment of chronic kidney disease. It was this that led the researchers to explore the mechanisms by which baking soda benefits renal function, slowing the progression of kidney disease. During this investigation, the scientists noticed that baking soda shifted the balance of immune cells in the kidneys, boosting anti-inflammatory immune cells while simultaneously decreasing inflammatory cells.

The scientists believe that drinking the baking soda-water solution tells the spleen  – which is part of the immune system and acts like a big blood filter and is where some white blood cells, like macrophages, are stored – to go easy on the immune response.

In a press release, Dr. Paul O’Connor, a renal physiologist in the MCG Department of Physiology at Augusta University and the study’s corresponding author, said: “Certainly drinking bicarbonate affects the spleen and we think it’s through the mesothelial cells.”

“The shift from inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory profile is happening everywhere,” O’Connor says. “We saw it in the kidneys, we saw it in the spleen, now we see it in the peripheral blood.”

Here’s more detail, from the press release:

In the spleen, as well as the blood and kidneys, they found after drinking water with baking soda for two weeks, the population of immune cells called macrophages, shifted from primarily those that promote inflammation, called M1, to those that reduce it, called M2. Macrophages, perhaps best known for their ability to consume garbage in the body like debris from injured or dead cells, are early arrivers to a call for an immune response.

O’Connor said the shifting landscape is likely due to increased conversion of some of the proinflammatory cells to anti-inflammatory ones coupled with actual production of more anti-inflammatory macrophages.

The researchers also saw a shift in other immune cell types, like more regulatory T cells, which generally drive down the immune response and help keep the immune system from attacking our own tissues. That anti-inflammatory shift was sustained for at least four hours in humans and three days in rats.

Before you run to your pantry to grab the baking soda, a word of caution: O’Connor warns that the baking soda solution has only been tested on rodents and people without inflammation, reports Mother Nature Network:

“It could have potential, but there’s no data behind it,” he says. “Whether or not it can have a significant effect we don’t know. There’s still more testing to come.” There’s no advantage to trying it in the meantime, he says. Baking soda has high levels of sodium, which is linked to heart, kidney and other issues.

“You certainly shouldn’t go start drinking baking soda and water without consulting a physician. I certainly wouldn’t advise people trying this at home,” he says.

However, O’Connor believes the research is promising because, if it works, it could offer a safe alternative to medication:

“You are not really turning anything off or on, you are just pushing it toward one side by giving an anti-inflammatory stimulus,” he says, in this case, away from harmful inflammation. “It’s potentially a really safe way to treat inflammatory disease.”

Using baking soda on the body and for cleaning items around the home are generally considered safe. However, it is possible to consume too much, so be careful not to exceed the recommended dose. Too much baking soda can upset the body’s acid-base balance leading to nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare cases, baking soda overdose can lead to seizures, coma, and death. It is very high in sodium and can raise blood pressure and cause swelling.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The Rise Of Superbugs And ‘Nightmare Bacteria’ And How You Can Stay Healthy

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“Nightmare bacteria” with unusual resistance to antibiotics of last resort were found more than 200 times in the United States last year in a first-of-its-kind hunt to see how much of a threat these rare cases have become. It’s also important to realize that there are steps that can be taken to help stem the evolution of these superbugs and remain healthy.

The pipes of hospitals carrying away the infections of the sick are bound to be quite disturbing places, however, scientists dared to snoop around in them anyway and found that they can fuel superbugs: antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control even announced that they found 200 types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria lurking around – and hospitals seem to be the perfect breeding grounds.

The genetic building blocks for antibiotic resistance intermingle freely in the pipes connected to the hospital rooms of those who are sick with viruses and bacterial infections, according to a study published in the journal mBio. That DNA can give superbugs the power to defeat modern medicines and threaten the lives of other patients.

In a new study, published by The American Society for Microbiologyscientists determined that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are bred in the plumbing of hospitals. The study, titled Genomic Analysis of Hospital Plumbing Reveals Diverse Reservoir of Bacterial Plasmids Conferring Carbapenem Resistance found that even when hospitals themselves are impeccably clean of infectious bacteria and viruses, the pipes that carry away those micro-organisms are not.

Last year, public health labs around the United States were asked to watch for and quickly respond to cases of advanced antibiotic resistance, especially to some last-resort antibiotics called carbapenems. Carbapenemase-producing organisms (CPOs) are a global concern because of the morbidity and mortality associated with these resistant Gram-negative bacteria.

“Pseudomonas aeruginosa” bacteria, one of the germs that can evolve to resist antibiotics.

In the first nine months of the year, more than 5,770 samples were tested for these “nightmare bacteria,” as the CDC so lovingly calls them, and about 25% were found to have genes that make them hard to treat and easy to share their resistance with other types of bacteria. Of these, 221 had unusual genes that conferred resistance. The cases were scattered throughout 27 states.

“Essentially, we found nightmare bacteria in your backyard,” said the CDC’s Anne Schuchat. “These verge on untreatable infections,” she added, where the only option may be supportive care such as intravenous fluids and machines to maintain life to give the patient a chance to recover. About 2 million Americans get infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year and of those, 23,000 die, Schuchat said.

It is inevitable that each drug will lose its ability to kill disease-causing bacteria over time, says Marc Sprenger, the Director of the World Health Organization’s secretariat for antimicrobial resistance. This is because bacteria, through natural selection and genetic adaptation, become resistant to antibiotics. Essentially, bacteria, like most living things, evolve for survival.

The best way to prepare for any superbug (a bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics) is to prevent the human body from contracting an infection and from rejecting antibiotic medications.

The one thing most can do is pretty simple: don’t take an antibiotic for a viral infection, such as the cold or the flu. Humans are speeding up the process of transforming all bacteria into drug-resistant superbugs by overusing antibiotics. Today, it is estimated that in half of all cases, antibiotics are prescribed for conditions caused by viruses, where they do no good. You can also do more to prevent infections in the first place by ensuring your hands, instruments, and environment are clean, Sprenger said.

If you are prescribed an antibiotic, don’t feel stressed about asking your doctor if the medication is necessary. Remember, often antibiotics are prescribed for viral infections, which leads to resistance. Also, make sure to completely finish the antibiotics and take them as directed if you have a confirmed bacterial infection. Not finishing the medication can lead to the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria.

Humans are also in the bad habit of overusing antibiotics in the agricultural sector. Misuse of antibiotics in livestock, aquaculture, and crops is a key factor contributing to antibiotic resistance and its spread into the environment, the food chain, and human beings. Clean and uncrowded living conditions for the animals can reduce the need to use antibiotics. Not only are clean conditions ideal for healthy livestock, those health benefits will transfer to humans upon consumption.

The overall theme is to maintain a clean environment for yourself and your animals, wash your hands often, only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary, and if antibiotics are necessary, finish the medication and take as directed by your doctor.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

5 Ways To Avoid Approaching Attackers

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I know this has been covered before by everyone, but I’m compelled to state it again: what is in his hands? Hands empty? And he’s about to attack you? Go through him, do damage, and leave. As an unwanted side effect of deep training in self-defense, too many people wait for the attack…”

Comment by Miro, a Ready Nutrition Reader

Excellent comment by Miro, substantiating a point I made in a letter to Readers about how important the comments sections can be.  Read them and learn about others’ points of view, as well as picking up some tips and good information you can use.  Good job, Miro.  I suggest everyone go to the article Immediate Actions You Must Take If You’re About to be Attacked,” and read the rest of what Miro wrote.  We’re going to get into those actions in Part 2.

It is especially important because it characterizes vital points about threat assessment, the critical component in your actions.  What you must do is often characterized by what threat you face.  In this light, observe the actions of the individual or people approaching you.  What are they carrying?  Do they have any weapons, and is it obvious that they are going to be a threat?  Facial expressions, gestures, speed of movement, and stance (approaching you, trying to cut you off, etc.) all need to be considered to determine threat level.

Staying Safe and Escaping a Dangerous Situation is Your Main Priority

In the article previously mentioned, the three factors are Equalize, Distance, and Escape.

  1. Equalize – this means to use whatever you have on hand to make the situation more manageable for you. An assailant comes at you with a knife, and you have an umbrella…you can use the umbrella to interdict between the knife and yourself (if it’s opened) or as a striking tool if it’s closed.  A pocketbook can be used as a “Morningstar/mace” against an attacker with a club or knife.  A jacket carried in-hand can be slung upon the attacker’s face or weapon.  Here are seven improvised objects that can be used for self-defense.  These actions take you to the next step:
  2. Distance – this means to place as much distance as possible between you and the attacker. This can also include getting into a car or vehicle and locking the door behind you.  Your objective with this step is to separate yourself from your attacker and his weapon.  “Distance is your best friend,” as they used to say in the Army.  It is your best friend.  By using that “friend,” you can progress to step number 3.
  3. Escape – Yes, get out of that uncontrolled situation. What you do afterward is your business, but the first rule is to survive and succeed.  Suppose there’s a dozen of these guys, right out of the movie “The Warriors?”  What then?  There’s no use getting into semantics.  Just GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) while the getting is good!  Escape, call the police and deal with them if you must ON YOUR TERMS, not on theirs.

5 Ways to Avoid an Approaching Attacker

Emphasis should be placed on “escape” here, because you’re dealing with 2 scenarios: 1. The everyday/now, and 2. A SHTF/disaster-stoked scenario.  In the scope of this article, we will deal with the first scenario…and this is where threat assessment is more critical.

The reason: the law.  Laws more often protect the criminal more than the victim.  If you are going to engage one of the morons who is attacking you and you must do it alone, use some of these tools to your advantage, and keep some points in mind:

  1. In this CCTV/omnipresent camera age, try to maneuver into an area where there is some sort of security camera. This can dispel doubt and give credence to your case of self-defense and provide evidence that you were defending yourself
  2. Make it loud and summon others. You’d be surprised how loud a small air horn (they make them not much larger than a tube/vial of pepper spray these days) can be.  Attract attention!  Most of these hoodlums do not want to be seen.
  3. If you must engage, fight to win. Be as effective as possible and use “Fabian Tactics,” in other words, “hit and run.”  Inflict the maximum amount of damage with the minimum amount of effort and get out of there.  We have covered the vital areas to strike for, as well as improvised weapons in previous articles.  It would behoove you to refresh on these.
  4. “Any Old Port in a Storm” – be smart: duck into a business or make a break for an area where there are plenty of people. The probability is high that the pursuer(s) will break contact and discontinue the chase.
  5. When it’s done, it’s not done – Yeah, that sounds contradictory, but you cannot let it go and think if you’ve escaped them that it’s all over. Best thing to do: file that police report and get them involved.  You pay for the “system,” so make it work for you.

Take note of the attacker(s) after you have concluded that an attack is occurring.  How are you being approached?  “Blocking” is the key word here…placing something in between you and them.  A line of cars, a narrow alleyway where they cannot come at you except in a single file, a busy street full of traffic.  Put something between you and them.  Part of avoiding them from channeling you into an area they can deal with you is your preparations.

Start Actively Practicing Situational Awareness

What this means is simple: don’t park in an area that has “blind spots,” or areas where a goon can hide.  Don’t enable said goon by being complacent in your activities.  Part of prevention is observation: you need to see who is lurking around, potentially following you, watching you, and planning something.  When several people are in an area where you park, and they look at you and begin talking to themselves and continue to look at you…the odds are not in your favor with this.

Avoidance is not being a coward.  Avoidance is gaming the situation correctly and assessing it for what it is.  Even if you beat the daylights out of them if they attack, what is to be gained from it?  Better yet, what can you lose?  When they say they were the victim and then bring criminal and civil charges against you.  All for something you could have avoided.

Sun Tzu: The apex of a general’s skill is when he wins a battle without fighting fight.

Sage advice.  Avoid at all costs, and break contact to continue the mission.  The mission is to survive and to keep yourself, your family, and your home intact.  Assessing the threat at the level that it is and meeting that threat head on only when there is no alternative will give you better odds at staying out of problems from being hurt, being sued, or having the law on top of you.  In Part 2, we will cover what to do when there is no way to avoid the attackers, and go a little more “in-depth” than the basic article mentioned previously.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Survival Uses for Pine Tree Resin You Haven’t Thought Of

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There are many uses for the resin that can be collected from pine trees.  Just what is the resin and how does the pine tree use it?  Well, it’s a substance that helps protect the tree from funguses and disease, as it is antimicrobial in nature.  Resin (commonly referred to as “sap”) also enables the tree to hold in water and protect it in times of drought.  It is used by the tree as a sort of natural “self-patching” kit to help it close a wound within it, such as a deep gouge in the bark.

People have been using resin for a long time.  It can be used to make wood stain and varnish.  Yeah, I know, that’s really exciting.  So, let’s cut to the chase and list what it can do.

  1. First Aid: The sap is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.  A hardened piece can be softened with heat and applied to a wound to help stop bleeding.  If you chew it (softer pieces), it can treat sore throats and help with a cold.
  2. For fire and light: the resin burns, and can be used to make torches, fire starters, and makeshift candles. Read more on how to acquire a supply of fat wood for lighting fires in a snap.
  3. Glue: for patching holes and tears…also in skin, akin to super-glue on a cut (double use as first-aid there). You can mount heads on blowgun-darts, spears, and arrows with it.

There’s plenty to go around.  You can gather it in the woods both hardened and soft.  Be sure and use a container, preferably glass and not plastic to carry your resin.  People harvest it by cutting v-shaped notches into the bark in rows parallel to one another.  The resin then collects in the lowest one…a bucket or vessel is needed to catch it.  Don’t go out and destroy or hurt live trees unless it’s a genuine survival situation.  If it kills you to think about it, know that those who harvest it do so for 20 years or more with no overall ill effects on the tree.

Fossilized resin is known as amber and has been fashioned into jewelry.  Many times, the amber trapped animals in it when it was still soft resin, such as bees, ants, and spiders…and they ended up being perfectly preserved…of great historical and scientific value.  Pine tar, pitch, rosin, and turpentine can be made from pine tree resin, and although they are beyond the scope of this article, they are worth mentioning for your further research.

I’ve written articles on pine pollen and pine needle tea in the past.  As you can see, the pine trees have many uses besides just building cabins and as fuel for fires that don’t immediately jump out at you.  Learn to find and gather the resin and try to practice using it in the ways we covered here.  This is good for your ongoing survival training and further sustaining yourself when the going gets tough and the only resources you have are what information you carry in your head and the skills to make it happen.  JJ out!

 

Additional Reading:

Top 13 Uses for Pine Trees in Woodcraft and Self-Reliance

Did you know pine trees can be used as food, medicine and survival equipment?

16 Uses of Sticky Pine Sap for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Your Best Self: How To Find Time To Transform With Workout, Meditation, and Study

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Well, the Winter is almost over.  Hopefully, you have continued through the Winter months with your physical training and exercise, along with continuous development through study and preparation.  It is truly an ongoing effort, requiring the allocation of time and the discipline to employ that time (i.e., use it wisely).  If you have not been maintaining a “ready posture” through the Winter, well, now is the time to get back into the groove.  Break down this “restart” with a method I call “WMS,” that translates into Workout, Meditate, and Study.  Let’s jump into it!

Transform Into Your Better Self

Workout: your physical training is imperative to your survival and optimal performance when the “lights go out all over the world,” and also in day to day business at hand.  I have written other articles on the importance of a training calendar to keep track of your time and budget it wisely.  I also stressed that your workouts should not last longer than an hour.  Your workout is for you, tailored by you, whether you’re into aerobics training or strength training.  The exercise is important for the health benefits, and also (when you’ve expended the energy), your body becomes more relaxed.  As we’ve covered exercise in plenty of articles, now let’s jump to the next step.

Meditate: After you’ve taken your supplements and your high-protein shake (no more than 20-30 minutes post workout!), limber up and prepare to meditate.  That’s right!  Meditation will relax your body and mind.  Meditation and working out also has a synergistic effect on the mind. It is proven to develop junctions in the synaptic nerve endings and reinforce connections between nerve centers of your brain.  Deep breathing exercises, while sitting in a comfortable position and listening to instrumental music, as you focus on relaxation and clearing your mind: this is what it’s all about.  You want to use music or tones (such as sounds of nature, as the ocean waves, or the songs of birds) without any words.  The words throw off your concentration upon relaxation…the words stimulate the mind to think of images or situations.  That’s not what you want.  You want to develop Alpha brain waves, and “de-stress” after your workout.  Wind down from the physical and bring your body back to a good state.  The time can be of your choosing…15 minutes to 30 minutes is fine for just starting out.  Now, step 3!

Study: Yes, study!  You pick the subject.  Have a nice cup of tea or coffee with your studies and give it about 15 to 30 minutes of effort.  After a good workout and a thorough meditation, along with a good cup of coffee (it is proven to help with concentration and mental alertness), you can feel refreshed.  It is also a good time to get the creative juices flowing in the brain…and improve yourself before starting out your day with work or whatever is in it.  Learning new things (such as a language) is very good to stimulate development (physically) of the human brain.

The key to the whole endeavor is to be disciplined.  This means you must make a plan and then follow through with that plan in action.  All of these three steps should run you under 2 hours.  It’s hard: juggling the treadmill for the week, the kids, and all of the “trappings” our constantly busy society offers.  Guess what?  You have to make time for yourself.  Do those three things, and you will find that the other things will become easier, and not harder.  Perseverance, persistence, and determination are needed to establish this as a new routine.  Make it a permanent one!  Don’t stop after a few days.  You’re investing in something for the long haul.  You will emerge from your three-part training program ready for a good breakfast, a refreshing shower, and then you can face the world both healthier and clearer.  The key is to face it on your terms and win each day, for yourself and your family.  JJ out!

 

 

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Ambidextrous Shooting: How to Train Your Weaker Hand for a Gunfight

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Image result for ready nutrition shooting gunReadyNutrition Readers, you are all well-aware of charity…where your left hand should not know what your right does.  In survival, it is the opposite: you need to train yourself bilaterally…that is, to be ambidextrous to a certain degree.  In the manner that you lift weights and exercise, should you train in survival skills. When you do bicep curls, do you perform them with only your dominant hand?  No, of course not.  You train with both hands and both arms and develop yourself symmetrically and equally.

Active Shooter Body Armor – Serious Stopping Power

How about things that require you to perform to survive?  Firing a rifle or pistol, for one.  If you’re right-handed and (God forbid) you are wounded in the hand, or suffer from a broken finger, then what?  Then you must follow after Gunny Highway’s advice (Clint Eastwood’s Marine Gunnery Sergeant in the movie “Heartbreak Ridge”).

Training for Ambidextrous Shooting Abilities

We’re going to talk through it for a right-handed firer (since most people are right-handed).  Lefties, just do the same thing as I’m instructing here with the opposite hand.  Pistol first.  You are going to fire your pistol with the left hand, as your right hand is badly broken.  With a revolver, this is simpler, but with a semiautomatic handgun?  Well, your spent brass ejects from the right.  Therefore, your point of aim has to be the same…from your right eye…but you’re firing with your left hand.

This is going to take some practice for you.  You’re going to be firing the semiautomatic pistol with your left hand, but “crossing over” to use your right eye…and fire from your right-hand side.  Your sight picture is the same as it would be if you were firing with your right hand…but it will feel a bit different, as it is with your left, now, and your arm still needs to be outstretched and straight.

Aiming at Your Target

Your target needs to be in alignment with the muzzle of your weapon, and your arm needs to be straight out, and aligned with your firing eye (in this case, the right eye).  This is going to take some practice on your part, and practice makes perfect.  It has to be such that you can shift at a second’s notice and fire just as true with your left hand as your right.

Now to develop your other eye: use the revolver.  Yes, you can practice a good sight picture and proper aim with your left eye with a revolver, as you don’t have to worry about a hot piece of brass in your face.  You must train to be ambidextrous.  With many years of practice, you should be able to take on a target with both eyes, and both hands.

The rifle is a bit different.  Remember a long time ago how I said that all rifles should have a bipod?  Well, you’ve just been injured with a broken right wrist, and you’re a right-handed firer.  Now what?  Well, with the bipod…you have support.  Then it’s just a matter of positioning yourself behind the weapon.  You can seat the weapon on your right shoulder and fire with the left hand.  This, too, takes practice.  Same thing as before.  Semiautomatic rifles will kick brass in your face if you fire with the left shoulder.  You can pick up a brass deflector for an AR-15 that will help in this department.

Bolt-actions and lever-actions are good-to-go in this regard.  Practice firing with the left hand with these, so as not to distract your progress with brass flying in your face.  Same thing here.  Your point of aim must be developed on the left-hand side.  This will take time, practice, and patience, with emphasis on that third factor.  You aren’t going to master it overnight.  You can start out with an air rifle.  The air rifle fundamentals of marksmanship…Aiming, Breathing, and Trigger-Squeeze…are the same as with a firearm.  It is less costly, however, and easier to manage in a home-indoor range.  You can develop the skills with air rifle or air pistol to become an “ambidextrous” firer.

Practice this concept for all things…the use of hand tools, the use of cooking utensils and implements, and other weapons, such as the bow and arrow and the knife.  It is a form of preparation that will improve you overall.  Don’t be limited by an injury.  Don’t allow an injury to keep you from defending yourself or performing a task necessary to stay alive or save life and limb.  It is all part of your training, and let the training never stop!  Stay in that fight!  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Stay in Shape: How to Winterize Your Home Gym

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We have covered a host of different articles on everything from protein intake to the use of supplements and vitamins.  One of the problems that occur with the advent of the cold weather is that John Q. Citizen slows his activities down during the winter and stays inside his home, becoming sedentary.  After the winter is thawed out, John is gone, to re-emerge from his house as the Michelin Man.

I have friends of mine that ask me all the time after the winter ends.  “JJ, I just don’t understand it…how did I get so heavy during the winter!”

It is not a mystery.

First thing you do, put down the fork.  Secondly, you have to exercise and train.  Nobody wants to in the wintertime, especially in their cold basement or if they have weights out on the back porch or in a shed.  The wintertime comes, and you have to keep up the exercise.  My gym is self-contained on the porch of my cabin.  I’ve lifted outside when it is -10 degrees F, straight up temperature.  There are a few things I do to lower the cold and its effects.  You can do these things, too, in your gym at home.

Take the bite out of cold outdoor winter workouts

If you have a basement gym or a porch gym, the first thing you do is close the gaps.  My front porch is wood, and I close up the gaps by laying down a rubberized mat…almost akin to a carpet.  It covers the floor/porch boards and prevents both moisture and cold from entering the porch.  I also have it closed off and weatherized for the winter.  I take a space heater and place it on a large piece of ceramic tile and heat it up for about 15 minutes prior to my workout.

I use weightlifting gloves, but when it goes below 32 F I need to use gloves that cover the entire hand.  I prefer mittens with leather-like palms.  Next thing, I place a blanket over the entrance to the porch and leave it just open a little on the sides to allow air to circulate.  I pre-prep all of my water bottles with warm water…and this way keep it from being bone-chillingly cold when I drink.

If you can’t pick up a rubberized carpet somewhere, you can take plastic (plastic sheeting or even plastic garbage bags opened up by slitting them at the edges), and lay it down on your surface, then cover this with a blanket.  It helps to keep you from losing heat into the floor and allows the room to be semi-insulated.  I wear full sweats and thermals during the dead of winter, a size too big to allow for a good “pump” when I’m done, and to allow me to move without tearing or shredding my clothing at the seams.

“Part of your survival will depend on your being in good physical shape.”

Remember to incorporate your winter chores into your workout!  I did several pieces on how woodcutting and snow-shoveling are more than just tasks…they are the exercise for you.  They should be factored into your routine for workouts.  The winter is not just a time to sit around and eat all of what you designate as “surplus” to be eaten instead of stored for preps.  Part of your survival will depend on your being in good physical shape.  Don’t stop training just because it is cold outside or that front porch seems so unfriendly to your routine.  Change that environment and make it work for you.  Stay in that good fight, and don’t stop the training!  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Immediate Actions You Must Take If You’re About to be Attacked

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ReadyNutrition Readers, this is a straight-to-the-point segment about some actions and things to keep in mind when you’re attacked by a hoodlum or punk without a firearm.  Most of these “winners” will come at you with a knife, club, pipe, or car antenna.  Actions to be taken if someone pulls a gun on you are different and will not be covered within this article.  This information is meant especially for those without any military or martial-arts training, so Bruce Lee disciples and naysayers, let’s try and keep this concept in mind.

When you’re leaving your place of work or the Happy Family Shopping Mall, you may be taken by surprise by some fool hiding behind a bush or the corner of a dumpster.  In any event, let us cover the main point:

Situational awareness is being aware of where you are at all times, what is happening, and your avenues of escape.

That means all the time, being conscious and cognizant of your surroundings and any “stooges” who wish to throw pies at you, or worse.  By training yourself to be observant, most of the time you can head off a problem at the pass before it materializes.  Now let us take it to the next level: you can’t avoid an encounter with a punk.  Here are some steps to keep in mind:

  1. Equalize
  2. Distance
  3. Extraction/Escape

These steps will help you to reach safety.  Your ultimate objective as an untrained individual is to disengage and escape.  If you wish to continue to fight or to “get one up” on your assailants, that is on you.  Without the proper training and preparation, I advise against it.  I also state that withdrawing from a situation, not of your own choosing is the best option.  It is better to fight only when you have no other choice.  Let’s go over those steps:

  1. Equalize – this means to use whatever you have on hand to make the situation more manageable for you. An assailant comes at you with a knife, and you have an umbrella…you can use the umbrella to interdict between the knife and yourself (if it’s opened) or as a striking tool if it’s closed.  A pocketbook can be used as a “Morningstar/mace” against an attacker with a club or knife.  A jacket carried in-hand can be slung upon the attacker’s face or weapon.  Here are seven improvised objects that can be used for self-defense.  These actions take you to the next step:
  2. Distance – this means to place as much distance as possible between you and the attacker. This can also include getting into a car or vehicle and locking the door behind you.  Your objective with this step is to separate yourself from your attacker and his weapon.  “Distance is your best friend,” as they used to say in the Army.  It is your best friend.  By using that “friend,” you can progress to step number 3.
  3. Escape – Yes, get out of that uncontrolled situation. What you do afterward is your business, but the first rule is to survive and succeed.  Suppose there’s a dozen of these guys, right out of the movie “The Warriors?”  What then?  There’s no use getting into semantics.  Just GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) while the getting is good!  Escape, call the police and deal with them if you must ON YOUR TERMS, not on theirs.

You should find yourself a veteran or a good martial arts instructor and take some classes or instruction on the finer points of these maneuvers.  We have presented several articles on field-expedient weapons from everyday/common items.  I strongly suggest that you review them.  Practice makes perfect, and there is no substitute for good training that is realistic in scope and conducted with serious intent.  You can use those steps to avoid an attacker.

As Kenny Rogers put it, know when to hold ‘em, fold ‘em, walk away, and run.  Fight that good fight, and fight it smart.  You don’t have to be the smartest guy or gal in the world: just be smarter than the goof that wants to attack you, and remember that discretion is the better part of valor.  Keep calm, stay focused, and if you must fight, then fight to win.  JJ out!

 

Recommended Reading:

Hard Core Chicks: Eight Self Defense Tactics Every Women Should Know

Fight, or Flight? Basic Self-Defense Tips

Blending In: The Secret to Keeping The Target Off Your Back

Fight Like Jason Bourne: 7 Key Points to Surviving a Serious Fight

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Long-Term Disaster Training: A Primer on Prepping Your Body

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All the readers at ReadyNutrition know how much emphasis and importance I have placed on physical conditioning and training as part of your preps.  You need to take care of your body and mind.  Exercise and nutrition are critical for you.  I believe that I have emphasized this repeatedly and that they both go together.  So, what’s this?  What is new about this article?  I’m going to mention some areas of the body, and present some technical terms to stimulate your further research.  Let’s go in order.

The Brain

Exercise helps to increase the circulation in the brain by 30%.  That’s an impressive figure.  This helps with the way the brain synthesizes glucose and utilizes oxygen.  A strong, healthy brain is very important for your mental and physical functions.  The brain has many chemicals that are important.  Some it produces on its own, and others it synthesizes from nutrients taken in.

  1. Endorphins: a natural pain-killer produced by the brain, especially in times of stress or physical exertion. Laughter also releases endorphins.  This substance is more powerful than morphine.
  2. Serotonin: has effects that change the mood. Lower levels can lead to depression.
  3. Cholecystokinin: is a hormone that governs appetite. Deficiency in this hormone can lead to insatiable feelings and overeating.

A well-balanced diet with plenty of iron and B vitamins are key to maintaining good brain health.

The Body

You need to look at yourself as an athlete in training.  What are you training for?  You are training to survive…in a “marathon” of when the grid goes down and the SHTF.  When it happens, don’t kid yourself…the society as you know it is not coming back anytime soon, if even within your lifetime.  Now is the time to prepare your body.  Let’s review some substances we have talked about before that are crucial to your athletic and physical performance.

  1. Glycogen: is a form of glucose (your body’s fuel) that is stored in both the muscles and the liver. It is released in the form of glucose in times of high energy activity and when your body needs it.  Exercise is one of those times.  Glycogen is especially used at times when the energy exerted is short to medium term needing high amounts of strength.
  2. Oxidative Systems: this is for long-term and endurance challenges. This is where oxygen works upon the protein, glucose, and fatty acid chains in a process known as oxidation.  These substances then generate energy.  Oxygen intake is the key factor in this phase.
  3. Amino Acids: the “building blocks” for all your protein and tissue repair. We covered these extensively in previous articles.  Protein intake of high-quality meats, poultry, seafood, and protein powder is a must for success in this department.

Protein consumption needs to be high in either of the two phases of exercise (short-term, or long-term/endurance activities).  What is needed is a balanced nutritional intake of protein and carbohydrates, as lean as possible to enable efficient recovery and tissue repair without gaining unnecessary weight from the fat.

This is where your planning comes into play, depending on what type of discipline you follow.  I lift weights and follow power training in all of my endeavors.  Many of you are distance runners.  You must gear your meals and intake to correspond with these accordingly.  Do not forget what I mentioned in other articles about anabolism and catabolism.  These two phases are muscle growth and muscle breakdown, respectively.

In order to effectively prevent “cannibalism,” that is the conversion by your depleted body of muscle protein into glycogen…you must consume protein and carbohydrates within 20 to 30 minutes after your workout.

I also told you that (barring introduction of supplements with protein and carbs at mid-workout) you should keep your workouts between 45 minutes to 1-hour maximum.

Do not forget winter chores “count” as workout time if they involve strenuous physical activity!  That wood-chopping and snow-shoveling are just as good as a workout…and in some instances more difficult and/or better!  The reason I’m writing these articles now is a good one:

The winter hasn’t begun: you need to be into a routine to avoid the complacency normally striking during the winter, and the added “distraction” of the holidays, a “crippler” for the midsection.

I receive dozens of e-mails in the spring, asking “JJ, what kind of program should I start with to get rid of all my excess weight?”  I do feel for these people; however, the best type of medicine is the medicine taken preventatively….to keep that condition from occurring.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – Ben Franklin

He was right.  You can prevent what would normally occur by staying on top of things and getting into your exercise program.  There are a ton of articles for you to start with that I’ve written…to get you started.  Get into a routine now and stick with it.  Learn about the body and how it functions.  It is your tool/temple/first line of defense.  You may need to rely on your strength and endurance at a critical moment and if you fail, it may mean dire consequences for your family.  Win the battle before it starts.  This is part of preparing.  In the long run, you’ll be the winner, and you may be what wins the battle for your family, as well.  JJ out!

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

These Simple Training Techniques Will Prepare You For Emergency Hand-to-Hand Combat

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So, Guys and Gals out there in ReadyNutrition Land, why not another primer on a tool you can use to develop the combat skills?  Yes, I’m referring to the heavy bag, that large, cylindrical/tubular “punching” bag with a slew of different uses.  As the name suggests, it should be heavy.  Such weight provides resistance for the training you will follow after, and it also gives a better chance for the longevity and durability of your bag.

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Here’s What You’ll Need to Start Training

A good heavy bag, like this one, can be made out of leather or canvas.  Avoid vinyl/plastic if you can.  The reason for this is manifold: plastic is subjected to changes in temperature that do not affect the leather and canvas bags, as well as a tendency to split/develop a hole more readily.  The leather and canvas ones can develop a hole, but it’s a lot harder.  That leather lasts a long time, and the canvas is durable.  The main thing is to keep both leather or canvas clean and free of molds that can eat through them if left untreated.  Wipe them down after training, and clean up the sweat and moisture.

Secondly, invest in a good pair of bag gloves and a good pair of kicking pads for the instep of your feet.  These can be found readily in your secondhand and thrift stores.  For gloves, I prefer the ones with the small iron/metal bar sewn in around the first joint of the fingers beyond the knuckle.  If you wrap the wrists (and you should), you tuck into the bag glove and go to work.  The leather gloves (again) are the more durable.  Wraps can be purchased (Everlast is a brand), or made from strips of cotton or linen sheets about 1 ½” wide and about three to four feet long.

These wraps come with a loop for the middle finger if commercial, and ties on the other end, to wrap the knuckles and wrist, protecting from broken knuckles or fractures of the wrist by giving support.  A good bag workout should be broken down into “rounds,” such as (for starters) 1-minute rounds with 30 seconds’ rest in between.  Three of these for starters, and if you’ve never done it before, it will “smoke” you.  With time, increase the number of “rounds,” and eventually increase the time of the round.

Training for Hand-to-Hand Combat

With the bag, you can concentrate on the body dimensions of a human.  Another way to improve this is to take either plastic/electric tape (1/2” wide) and “outline” a human head on the bag, and the torso, as well.  You can use masking tape, but this will wear out faster.  Then you practice boxing your heavy-bag man.  Kicking is the same.  The pads will protect both your feet and the bag.  You don’t want to strike the bag either with your unprotected fist or foot.

Watch These Videos

Beginner Shadow Boxing

Heavy Bag for Beginners

Adavnced Heavy Bag Training

A good bag will weigh between 40-50 lbs. on average, and can be obtained for heavier.  It is also possible to “load” your bag with other materials, such as sawdust, lead, or concrete dust.  Make sure your swivel is well-attached and sturdy.  Don’t hang a swivel on the doorframe of a non-bearing partition wall.  Use an outdoor area, such as a porch or balcony, or the inside of a barn or shed.  You must mount the swivel securely and then attach that bad boy preferably with a chain/chains.  This will prevent the bag from striking back.

You can also practice your knife-fighting skills with the bag.  If you do, don’t use a real blade.  Either purchase a “rubber” training knife, or make one of your own from a piece of rubber or plastic, and wrap it up with duct tape.  You want to protect your bag at all times.  Using that edged tanto will just butcher your bag and take the smile off of the would-be samurai’s face.  Perfect your motions for improvised weapons by using the bag as a simulator.  The more realistic you make it, the more effective you’ll be in the field.

Finally, as I’ve stressed before, keep regular and accurate records of your training, so as to vary it in the future and also to chart progress.  Think as a professional and you’ll perform as one.  The heavy bag is not just a bag filled with junk: it is a valuable training tool that will give you the opportunity to learn new skills and reinforce old ones in your repertoire.  It will give you a full workout if you will approach it in this manner.  Stay in that good fight.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Post-Disaster Wellness: Why Drinking Alcohol in High Stress Environments Should Be Avoided

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Hey there, ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals!  We are going to discuss how alcohol affects your physical training, and what physiological effects you must take into consideration.  Please understand: I am not “demonizing” alcohol or alcoholic beverages, and am not scoffing or scorning anyone who partakes in them in a normal, healthy manner.  Indeed, the scope of this article is not “moralistic,” nor am I a spokesperson for abstinence.  The intent is to explain how alcohol diminishes your recovery time and performance regarding your physical training.

You, the readers are a very demographically-diverse group from all walks of life and all ages, some with special health care needs.  I implore all of you to analyze your status and with your doctor come up with an exercise program for yourself.


Physical training and exercise are your best tools for preparation, along with proper study, diet, and rest.


Why You Should Avoid Drinking Alcohol in High Stress Environments

That being said, why am I writing about alcohol affecting training?  I do so because the proverbial “two drinks,” as well as the “after dinner drink,” and the “after work drink” are pervasive in our society and culture.  The Super Bowl just finished up, with hardly anything in the ads for your physical training, but a barrage from Budweiser to drink beer.  Consider me a quiet voice on the sideline, little more than a whisper in your ear recommending the physical training.

Alcohol deposits fat in your midsection, and also has a wasting effect on the thigh and gluteal muscles.  There was a study in 2000 done published in the Journal of Applied Physiology that found cortisol (a hormone we discussed in previous articles) rose 61% when alcohol was consumed after strenuous physical activity.  The reason for this significance: many people have physically-demanding jobs and wish to “wind down” with a beer or two, or a shot after work.

The cortisol (usually produced with stress) has an adverse effect on muscle maintenance and muscle growth.  See, alcohol has an effect that has gravitated man toward it throughout history: it holds similar effects to the drug Valium (or Diazepam, if you prefer) with calming, anxiety-relieving effects.  It also releases dopamine and endorphins within the first 20 minutes of consumption, substances that enhance pleasure when released by the brain…and in this effect, alcohol is almost akin to opium.

With low doses, alcohol increases stimulation in certain brain areas and the central nervous system, leading to feelings of euphoria.  So, with all of this, you may be thinking…shouldn’t I be taking an occasional drink of alcohol in conjunction with training?  The answer is an unequivocal “No!” on all counts.

Alcohol has the ability to severely depress brain function by interfering with the ion channels needed to fire neurons…that is, allow your brain to communicate to and with other important parts of your body…such as respiration, heart, motor control, and so forth.  Far from being a “sleep aid,” it can rob you of REM.  No, not the band from the late 80’s to early 90’s…but Rapid-Eye Movement sleep.  Alcohol can hurt your sleeping habits.  To say nothing of your love life.

Chronic consumption of alcohol is a libido-killer in both men and women.  It seriously lowers testosterone levels in men, and causes the testicles to shrink, as well as promoting impotence.  If you read the article I recently wrote for men on the importance of maintaining healthy levels of testosterone with weight and physical training, you’ll understand just how negative these alcohol-induced reductions are.

Alcohol increases the amount of recovery time that you need to heal and restore your muscles after hard physical labor or exercise.  Your liver works hard to excrete the alcohol and the toxins associated with it.  A substantial amount of energy is also needed to break down the molecules and process them.  If you work out for an hour in the gym and then go and have a beer or a glass of wine, you have just ruined or severely cramped the gains you may have experienced.

Tissue repair and the uptake of amino acids are also severely hampered by alcohol consumption.  Studies in the past have shown that a glass of wine will lower the triglycerides in the bloodstream and help prevent blood clotting.  This is true, but guess what?  So will a regular exercise program!  You can lower those triglycerides and build yourself up!  Alcohol also tends to reduce the uptake of essential vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin C and calcium with long-term consumption.

Will it kill you or cripple you to have a drink every now and then, such as once a month?  Consult with your doctor first, but it probably will not harm you.  I still stand by the fact that you don’t really need it, and it can cause your training and physical fitness regimen to suffer.  I haven’t even mentioned the other negative effects that heavy drinking can cause, but you can figure them out if you haven’t experienced them yourself.

To summarize, alcohol has its uses and is not a “villain,” and neither are people who consume it responsibly villains.  Just keep in mind that this piece is not designed to “excoriate” alcohol, but to keep you informed of the negative effects it can have on your physical fitness training when it is consumed.  Feel stressed?  Put on the bag gloves and beat up the heavy bag for ten or fifteen minutes.  If you still feel that you need a drink, well, then down a big shake full of amino acids…that’ll serve you better!  Stay healthy, make gains, and keep in that good fight!  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Full Spectrum Health Gadget Gives Whole Picture of Your Well Being

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spireNearly 40 million people used wearable devices to track their fitness and movement this year. Devices like the fitbit make it easy to determine calories expended and help you maintain or reach your fitness goals. If you are one of those people who does not find the idea of tracking your every move paranoia inducing (and storing it in the cloud, no less!), you might want to consider Spire, a new product meant to address the mental side of your health.

The makers of Spire believe fitness is comprised of both mind and body and that being healthy is about more than exercising and eating well. True health, according to those at Spire, means having clarity, control, and inner peace.

What is Spire?

Spire is a wearable device (it clips onto your pants or bra) that offers the same movement features as other activity trackers on the market but with the addition of sensors that monitor how you react to stress. Our bodies are constantly giving physical cues that indicate our mental state, such as increased or shallow breathing, rapid heart rate, and perspiration. Spire picks up on these cues and alerts you in real time so that you can adjust your behavior and reduce the effects of stress.

For example, if you are in a meeting with your boss and things are not going well, you might feel a little vibration from your Spire. A notification on your phone (which synchs to Spire) will indicate that your heart rate is increasing and that you need to breathe deeply. It sounds almost too simple, but researchers say correcting the physical effects of stress allows us to better tackle the mental effects, even in the heat of the moment.

And this goes for situations that you don’t even know are stressful, like driving on highways or talking with certain people. The creators of Spire hope that by becoming aware of how our bodies are reacting at any given moment, we can create a positive feedback loop and get relief from stress. Breathing is literally the only automatic function in our bodies that we also have control over. How you breathe sets up how you feel, and vice versa.

How does it relieve stress?

The main way that Spire works, like other fitness wearables, is by tracking and accumulating information that we are too busy or unable to track ourselves. Sensors detect your breathing and respiratory movement, including the depth of each individual breath. Advanced algorithms allow the device to make sense of your breathing patterns based on multiple laboratory studies that show links between respiration patterns and emotional states. In addition, Spire is customizable and able to tweak and reinterpret the data it receives over time (“stressed” for you is different than “stressed” for someone else).

Because Spire is always tuned in to your behavior, it also serves as a monitor during times of calm and focus. Looking at your data and recalling moments of peace, contentment, and clarity can allow you to reproduce these results at a later time.

How much is it?

I was very surprised to see that Spire costs just $99, considerably less than many other wearable fitness trackers. Considering the fact that Spire still tracks steps and calories expended in addition to the other respiration tracking capabilities, it seems that people in the market for this type of device might benefit from having a look at Spire. It may not be an overnight cure-all for stress, but those interested in “body hacking” may find it’s a welcome tool for providing a more complete picture of the whole self.

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How A “Drop-Everything” Day Can Revolutionize Your Productivity

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 We live in a heavily connected world and most of us are skilled multi-taskers. The advent of the smart phone means I’ve ordered groceries while waiting in line at the DMV and I’ve made a voice memo while driving a car full of kids to little league. Most of us do more than one thing at a time, so the idea of doing nothing at all seems downright lazy. But some of the most productive and creative thinkers of our generation have one thing in common: they regularly drop everything to do nothing at all.

Stress is on the Rise

According to the American Institute of Stress, absences from work due to burnout are rising, with large corporations losing as much as $3.5 million per year due to this. From Steve Jobs to Albert Einstein to Marie Curie, scheduling solitary “do-nothing” days has proven to be exceedingly beneficial. Not only is dropping everything good for business, there is a wealth of medical and emotional advantages to this type of relaxation. It sounds crazy, but having a “drop-everything” day once a month or so can make a huge difference in your quality of life and your productivity.

How to Drop Everything

This isn’t about scheduling a trip to Tahiti or a yoga class. If you’ve ever felt stressed or overworked, it can be tempting to make your “me-time” a drink, a television show, or a formal vacation. But dropping everything means exactly what it sounds like. It’s a day where you do absolutely nothing. It sounds counterintuitive to “plan” for nothing, but here’s how you do it:

Step 1

Put it in the calendar: It’s much harder to be protective of your time when you’re dropping everything, but you need to make this activity known as an event—to yourself, and to others around you. If an entire “drop-everything” day isn’t possible for you, try setting aside at least 4 hours.

Step 2

Disconnect: No phones, no friends, no computer, no television, no work, no play, no sleeping. This day is about reflecting, thinking, hoping, and planning (but no to-do lists!). It’s amazing how removing your go-to distractions can change the way your mind works.

Step 3

Pay attention: You might choose to wander around somewhere outside. You might sit in a comfortable chair. Wherever you end up, make it a point to observe and notice your environment. We spend so much time rushing from one thing to the next we often forget to truly see the world around us.

Step 4

Note your desires: Once you’ve quieted the noise of your commitments and obligations, see where your thoughts go. Often, breakthroughs and new insights occur when we have solitude. See what themes keep cropping up and follow the trails of thought. This phase can be extremely uncomfortable for some people who are not used to being alone with their thoughts, but clearing the mind is like working out a muscle—it gets easier over time.

Step 5

Don’t rush it: You might think you’ve had enough nothing at an hour or two and you might start to feel guilty. Fight this! The biggest revelations often occur long after we’ve grown tired of “practicing” nothing.

Of course, the thing about doing nothing is that it eventually turns into something very meaningful. Some might call the above exercise “mindfulness” or meditation, but it helps me to think about simply clearing my mind. Successful people everywhere have engaged in these types of habits for years, so why not give it a try? You literally have nothing to lose!

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

4 Ways to Cut the Duration of Your Cold

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cold-and-fluAt our house, back to school means back to kids bringing home germs. When the leaves start turning, I start reaching for my cough drops, feeling that all too familiar tickle in my throat. If I can, I try to drink tons of water, wash my hands like crazy, and keep the bug from taking hold. But once I know I’m past the point of no return, the following things can help cut the duration of my cold and get me back to my busy life.

Do you know how to tell the difference between a cold and a flu virus?

Sleep Helps You Heal

You probably know this already: one of you body’s first ways of signaling that all is not right internally is to make you very tired and sluggish. Don’t fight this feeling! Take a day or two off of work, if need be. Sleeping early and often during a cold can significantly cut the duration and intensity of a common cold. Sleeping allows your body to rest and recuperate—taking 10 hours of rest now could save you days down the line. Chances are you’ll pass out right away, but if you have trouble getting good sleep (particularly if your cold symptoms include coughing and congestion) put yourself in a dark, cool room with a white noise machine and a high-quality humidifier.

Avoid catchall cold medications that are high in alcohol. Even though these drugs might seem like they’re helping you pass out, what you need is good quality, REM sleep. Alcohol can disrupt your natural, restorative sleep patterns and leave you feeling groggy. If you’re certain you need some assistance with sleeping, some people swear by melatonin as a natural sleep aid.

Exercise (Even If You Don’t Feel Like It)

So, you’ve succumbed to a cold, you’ve slept a solid 8 hours and you’re still feeling under the weather. You should definitely skip your workout today, right? Wrong! Even though the LAST thing you probably feel like doing is slogging through your exercise routine, you don’t want to flake out altogether. Movement and respiration actually speed up the healing process (doctors believe working out causes immune cells to respond to and attack viruses at a faster rate). But instead of doing your normal intensity workout, try doing light cardio such as walking or even speed walking. Listen to your body—if it feels like you can do more, push yourself a little. If you fell like you want to die, dial it back. And of course, it’s not polite to spread germs at the gym, so taking a walk outdoors or at least avoiding a community treadmill is much appreciated.

Give Zinc a Chance

Zinc, which helps boost the immune system, can shorten the duration of the common cold by nearly 50 percent. Studies have not been able to show exactly how Zinc fights the common cold, but research shows that it does work. Zinc has antiviral properties and provides relief from some common cold symptoms such as sore throat. Zinc in lozenge form is the most convenient to use while you have a cold, and it’s available online or at most drugstores.

Studies show that Zinc supplements could also help keep your immune system strong while you’re healthy, potentially staving off more colds. You might think about incorporating these supplements into your everyday vitamin routine.

Remember, Time Heals All

Though it can sometimes feel like your cold will last forever, remember that even if none of the above seems to be helping, your cold will eventually go away. If your symptoms persist for more than 10 days or seem to be intensifying, you should visit your doctor to get a professional assessment.

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

FDA Approves Mutant Mosquitos for the Suppression of the Zika Virus

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Recently, federal officials approved a plan to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys with the hopes of suppressing Zika-carrying mosquitos.

As you’ve probably heard by now, Zika fever (also known as Zika virus disease and simply Zika) is an infectious disease caused by the Zika virus. Many people will not present symptoms, but some will develop a rash, fever, bone and joint pain, and severe headaches upon exposure. Infection during pregnancy is particularly dangerous because the Zika Virus has been linked to microcephaly and other brain damages in babies. The virus is passed through the blood, via mosquito bites as well as sexual contact.

There are more than 45 different species of mosquitoes living in the humid Florida Keys area and with recent transmissions of the virus in the US, the pressure is on to contain the spread of Zika immediately. The company Oxitec has been genetically modifying mosquitoes in a lab for many years now. These mutant mosquitos contain a protein that kills their young before they can emerge from larvae as adults and transmit Zika or other diseases. When wild female mosquitoes meet with the sterile males, the population dies off rapidly.

The idea for genetically modified mosquitoes came in 2009 as a means to counteract Dengue fever. The Food and Drug Association chose to do a trial in a suburb of Key West because this area is contained and results could be easily monitored. Oxitex has already released millions of these modified mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama, and the Cayman Islands. The results in these places have been positive and they have reduced some local mosquito populations by more than 90%.

But not everyone is thrilled about this trial. Community members are nervous about what genetically modified mosquitoes will mean for the ecosystem. Though there is no known evidence of any risk to being stung by a genetically modified mosquito, the idea of coexisting with these creatures is understandably upsetting for some people. This plan has caused a rift between mosquito researchers and many Key West residents. Besides that, since Zika is also sexually transmitted, there is no guarantee that reducing the mosquito population will be able to undo the damage now that Zika is on US soil.

What do you think about genetically modified mosquitos? Are the benefits worth the risk?

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

5 Common Medications That May be Disturbing Your Sleep

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We all know how critical sleep is in our lives and we’ve all suffered from the occasional restless night. You’re probably aware that caffeine and alcohol can affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep, but there are also several other medications you might not be aware of that can lead to sleep disturbances. When it comes to fitful sleep and bad dreams, the monster may be in your medicine cabinet!

5 Common Medicines That Cause Sleeplessness

  • Cipro: This commonly prescribed antibiotic (full name ciprofloxacin) belongs to the category of fluoroquinolones, which are used to treat urinary tract infections and gastroenteritis. Cipro is extremely effective as an antibiotic, but it has also been linked to vivid, violent dreams in adults and agitated sleep walking in young children.
  • Smoking-cessation drugs (Chantix, nicotine patches, Zyban): Many people are not aware that medications meant to help them quit smoking can cause disturbances in sleep. Stressful, seemingly endless dreams as well as frequent waking has been reported by those using these medications.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These are highly regarded dietary supplements used for relieving pain in the joints, as well as improving joint function and lessening inflammation. Both components are found naturally in the human body and have been proven to be beneficial for those suffering from arthritis; however, people who take this supplement at night often note difficulty falling and staying asleep. Other complaints include muscle cramps and sleep talking.
  • ACE Inhibitors: are used to treat high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and other conditions. ACE inhibitors relax blood vessels and keep blood pressure low. Some people who take these drugs develop a dry, hacking cough that can disrupt sleep. These medications can also cause potassium to build up in the body, which leads to muscle cramps and diarrhea—two things that may have you up out of bed frequently.
  • High Doses of B Vitamins: B vitamins such as niacin (aka B3) are often used to help you sleep; however, when taken in large quantities (daily doses higher than 5,000 mg) the opposite can occur. People taking higher doses reported insomnia, vivid, disturbing dreams, and frequent waking overnight.

Natural Remedies Could be the Answer

Prolonged bouts of sleeplessness can have an impact on your health. Sleep deprivation carries numerous health and safety implications, and some are serious:

  • Poor work performance
  • Car accidents
  • Relationship problems
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Mood problems like anger and depression
  • Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, hypertension, cancer, and increased mortality

Any sudden and persistent disruption in your sleep should be discussed with your doctor, but a little analyzing of your medicine chest can arm you with more information before your visit. Alternatively, consider some natural ways to improve your quality of sleep. For instance, natural herbs and essential oils have proven to have a positive effect on restfulness. As well, banana tea have been making the headlines lately as a popular way to catch some zzz’s. If you plan on using these natural remedies, check with your healthcare provider to ensure these natural remedies are safe to take with your medications.

It’s easy to forget that the supplements and medications we take, even infrequently, can impact our sleep cycles. In some cases your doctor may be able to provide an alternative medication or supplement, or they may be able to tweak the dosage or time of day when the medication is administered to give you benefits without disrupting your sleep.

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Is Minimalism the True Secret to Happiness?

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 A few years ago my family of four packed up our household and moved across the country. We made the drive in our car while our belongings were hauled in a moving truck. We arrived to our new house with little more than some clothes in our suitcases, the kids’ favorite toys, and whatever necessities (some dishes, our coffee maker) we could fit in the trunk. Soon we found out that our moving truck was running late. A few days turned into what was ultimately more than 4 weeks as our belongings toured the country in a bizarre series of missteps on the part of the moving company. You might think this sounds extremely inconvenient, and of course in many ways it was; however, as a family we quickly became accustomed to having less. Now, when I think back about that month without our things, I think of it fondly, almost longingly.

What Brings Joy?

Marie Kondo has built an empire out of minimalism—her primary rule is to only keep material things that “spark joy” in the owner. I can tell you that after a week or so in our near-empty new house, it was difficult to even remember what we’d packed in that truck. I sometimes felt a pang for a particular book or record but the moment would pass. And suddenly life was about noticing moments, something I never seemed to do in our house full of things. So many things! Did we really need any of it?

Kondo believes that material things produce a kind of noise in a space, that having too much clutter creates stress in our lives. I tend to agree. Like most American families, we used to buy something almost every day (from clothes to toys to small kitchen appliances). It seems that we sometimes bought things simply out of boredom or on impulse at the grocery store. I’d been aware of this for some time, but it wasn’t until we were without our possessions that I began to realize how much “noise” those things created in our day-to-day life.

A Month Without Stuff

Without our truck full of things, there was less clothing to put away, fewer dishes to wash, fewer toys to clean up. No television to watch, no computer to fight over. My sons immediately got creative. They pretended their soccer ball was a pet dog and they spent days and days using a few pieces of colored chalk to decorate our patio floor in an intricate mural. There was no couch to sit on, so we spent more time outside or built blanket forts together. I did very little housework and I didn’t get too worried about the kids breaking things (there was nothing to break!) or messing up the floors because cleaning up was so much simpler without clutter. We eventually bought a few folding chairs and a neighbor let us borrow a card table so we could eat dinner together. That was when I realized it: we were happier than we’d been in months. We were better off this way, with just the bare minimum.

I’m not saying everyone should live out of a suitcase in an empty house, but I believe there is a happy medium. Once your house is comfortably furnished with necessities, why keep adding to it? Why not only buy the things we really need or things that “spark joy”? Why not keep furniture and knick-knacks and toys to a minimum? Or see how long you can go without buying anything at all?

Don’t get me wrong, I was excited when I saw our moving truck pull up, but the lesson stayed with me. When I was unpacking, I left maybe 40% of the items in their boxes. I put those boxes on a shelf in the garage. After a few months of disuse, I donated the contents: mainly toys and games we didn’t play, books I had meant to read for years, clothes we didn’t need. My grandma used to say no matter how much you think you want some material thing, one day you’ll be begging somebody to take it off your hands. Minimalism, she insisted, is the key to a peaceful life. I never really understood what she meant until the moving truck incident, but now I think she had the right idea.

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The Synergistic Effects of Meditation + Exercise on Depression

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meditateYou’ve definitely heard of endorphins, the feel-good hormones that are released during physical activity. And you’ve probably heard about the head-clearing benefits of meditation, how being mindful can help to combat stress and anxiety. But what you may not have heard about is how combining these two activities (exercise + meditation) has an effect greater than the sum of each part. A new study shows that MAP training (mental and physical training combined) allows for increased results from both types of activities. These findings could drastically improve the quality of life for people with mild to moderate depression. Some even say the results are so good that certain individuals may find MAP training as beneficial as drug therapy.

Sitting Before You Sweat

Professional athletes have long known that meditation can improve performance. Sports rely heavily on mindfulness, the moment-by-moment awareness of a person’s feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations. Legendary Bulls coach Phil Jackson told Oprah in a 2013 interview, “As much as we pump iron and we run to build our strength up, we build our mental strength up so we can focus … and so we can be in concert with one another in times of need.” It turns out that even the most casual exerciser can experience improved performance after meditation.

Depression and anxiety are often fraught with ruminating thoughts—feelings of worry or anxiety that a person can’t see to get out from under. Both meditation and exercise can help with breaking these thought patterns, but when used in conjunction, the results are magnified.

In the aforementioned study, subjects (half with depression and half without) were taught a form of meditation called focused attention. This is a simple, entry-level form that involves counting your breaths up to 10 and then counting backwards. Participants engaged in this for 20 minutes and then moved on to a walking type of meditation for 10 minutes. After the 30 minutes of meditation, they participated in the aerobic exercise of their choice for 30 minutes. Not only did participants find that they could keep doing their aerobic activity for linger than they thought, they found the exercises easier to complete and felt positive about the process.

Synergistic Results

Subjects completed this hour-long routine twice a week for 8 weeks and were tested at various points along the way. The mental health results were significant: of those with depression, a 40 percent reduction in anxiety was reported. Those subjects said they felt free from anxious thoughts and felt more positive about their lives in general. These benefits peaked immediately following the exercise, but the gains were measurable even on the days when the MAP training was not done. The non-depressed subjects also noted a significant increase in their mood, concentration and attention.

No Reason Not to Try MAP

This study focused only on the mental health and well being of the subjects, but we of course know that exercise provides numerous physical health benefits as well (from endurance, improved heart rates, to the burning of calories). At only a 2-hour a week commitment, there’s really no reason NOT to try a MAP program, whether you want to improve your symptoms of depression or just improve your outlook (and your body).

Have you incorporated meditation into your workout? Comment and let us know!

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Ancient Secrets to Relieving Back Pain

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backBack pain is a big deal. It will affect almost every American over the course of their lifetime, and in many cases, it goes on to become chronic and untreatable. Back pain drives up the dependency of painkillers, it causes loss of sleep, loss of work, and it leads to a sedentary lifestyle (which can in turn lead to obesity, heart attack, or even death).

But acupuncturist and author Esther Gokhale turned to an unlikely source to investigate back pain in her bestselling new book: 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back. Gokhale spent an immense amount of time investigating indigenous populations (from those in Portugal to Ecuador to West Africa and elsewhere). This is because, in these populations, the instance of back pain is extremely rare and is often even unheard of, despite the fact that these people use their backs for hard labor every single day. So how do they avoid back pain? Gokhale says it all comes down to spine shape.

J versus S

Most Americans have a spine that is shaped like the letter S. It curves at the top, goes inward at mid-back, and curves out again at the base. In indigenous populations however, the spine is shaped like the letter J. It is mainly flat from the top downward, until it curves out at the base (where the back meets the buttocks). This is also the spine shape of young children. Gokhale, herself a long-time sufferer of back pain, wondered if the shape of the spine had anything to do with pain. Over the course of her studies, she determined that getting back to a J-shaped spine could prove to be extremely beneficial to everyone, especially those already dealing with pain.

Lifestyle

We know that as children our spines have that J shape. So what happens over time to cause the S curve? It’s largely because of lifestyle choices. Americans spend massive amounts of time hunched over computer screens. Unlike indigenous populations, we often sit in chairs for 8+ hours a day and we almost never squat or sit on the floor while working. Our core muscles are likely not as strong as they could be, leading to sagging bellies and sloping spines. Besides this, Americans are much more likely to be overweigh than indigenous populations, and this weight leads to stress and curvature of the spine.

How to Get Back to J

So how do we get back to that ideal J spine shape? Gokhale says there are a series of exercises and postures in her book that can help people reform their spines. These exercises aren’t unlike those found in yoga and pilates programs, but Gokhale says they are specifically targeted to restructure the spine. Core muscle strength, lifestyle choices, and weight are all factors in her program, but the benefits of having a healthy back are not to be understated, and the results (spine shape that you can see evolving over time) are less abstract than a diet or exercise program alone. Even those of us with no back trouble at all should shoot for the J spine—and prevention may prove to be critical as we age over time. Better to stave off pain entirely than to have to go through the work of rehabilitation.

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Are Bat Houses the Solution to Controlling the Spread of Zika?

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 Where I live in New York, aid against mosquitos is coming from an unlikely source: bats. This isn’t only because mosquitos are annoying–we now know these pests are spreading the Zika virus, along with West Nile, and who knows what additional blood-borne diseases may come to light in the future. But dousing large areas with pesticides is potentially damaging to humans and plant life, so the Long Island town of North Hempstead is turning to their local bat friends to help control the mosquitos.  By building bat houses that offer safety and shelter, Long Island residents are encouraging growth in bat populations while naturally limiting the spread of diseases.

Bats have gotten a bad rep, but of the nine species based in New York State, none of those are blood drinkers. Less than half of one percent of them have rabies and they are shy animals who avoid contact with humans whenever possible. Bats are more effective than even the most potent pesticide—a single bat can eat more than 1,000 mosquitos per hour, and many species hunt for 6-8 hours per day. North Hempstead has been building bat houses since 2007, but with West Nile and now Zika, they have redoubled their efforts recently.

Make Your Own Bat House

Learn about the bats of your region by doing some research. If bats live in your area, you can support your bat population by building or buying a simple bat house or bat box to offer shelter to these helpful creatures. This kit or this pre-built model will come in handy if you want something effortless. A bat house is simply a wooden box with an entrance mounted somewhere high up, away from predators. Bats like the dark, so you’ll want to stain both the inside and outside of the box. They like heat as well, so make sure your box is in direct sunlight for at least 8 hours of the day. Mounting on a building or a high pole is ideal, since bats tend to avoid trees (too many predators hang out in trees, there’s too much shade, and bent branches disrupt the bat’s flight patterns upon exiting). Make sure there is a nearby water source. You can attract bats to your property with bat scent.

An Outdoor Bat is a Happy Bat

Bats can get hurt or even killed if they end up indoors. Keep them from accidentally getting into your house by ensuring that window screens are not ripped or torn (some bats can fit through even a tiny tear in a screen) and that doors stay closed when not in use.

If a bat does get inside your house, don’t panic. Remember that they are gentle creatures that are afraid of humans.  Place a soft cloth in a shoebox and gently scoop the bat into the box (you might want to wear an oven mitt to avoid touching the bat with your bare hand—this protects you from bat germs and the bat from your germs as well). The bat will cling to the cloth and you can place then place it into the bat house (or at the base of the bat house if it is hung too high to reach) and the bat will crawl off and up into the house (bats can’t take flight directly from the ground but they are good climbers).

If you think your bat population is growing too rapidly, you can get in touch with the humane society in your area and they can help relocate some of the bats. You can also reach out to friends or family who may be dealing with mosquito issues and spread some bat love their direction!

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Plan B: What To Do When Your Survival Shelter Has Been Compromised

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marauderReady Nutrition Readers, this is a simple “food for thought” article to stimulate the “planning juices” in the brain cells of you guys and gals. It’s no secret how important a good home defense plan is especially during a long-term event. The scenario of the Twilight Zone episode “The Shelter” is the rule of thumb rather than the exception.  So what will you do when the marauding hordes come knocking on your door…with a battering ram?  It is wise to consider such options now, before they occur, so that you are armed with a plan and a course of action to pursue.

 Essential Equipment for Plan B During a SHTF Event

Detection

Firstly, what do you have in terms of detection equipment?  Do you have motion sensors and a camera?  Do you have a large dog that knows how to guard his family?  Do you have a means to detect Mr. and Mrs. Marauder?  Finally, if you’re wired with cameras, IR, and motion sensors to the max, are they hardened in the event of an EMP or will they become paperweights along with your ungrounded Jag and Hummer?  Then what do you have to help you detect the threats?

I strongly advise as much of the high-tech stuff as your budget will allow.  A camera (especially one with IR capability) is worth its weight in gold to actually see Snidely Whiplash as he creeps across your lawn.  You want an array of cameras to localize the bad guy or multiple bad guys.  What good is one camera in the front that gets Boris if Natasha is sneaking around the back with a Molotov?

Speaking of such, are your windows screened?  And I’m not asking about the screens that stop flies and mosquitoes…I’m talking about sturdy-gauge wire.  Sure, doesn’t look pretty, perhaps, but all the better to stop a stone by some would-be Tiny Tim trying to tiptoe through the window.  Worse: Tiny Tim with a Molotov is a very frightening picture indeed.

Discretion

Next part we’ll cover involves discretion.  Obey all of the little laws and ordinances of your happy home state…the ones that require you to lock up all of the weapons, and string a device into the chamber to keep it from firing, and all of that.  At ReadyNutrition we’re not advocating or advising you to break or disobey any laws of your wonderful local, state, or federal governments or to rail against the direction of your happy policeman, Officer Friendly.

In that light, if you can legally do it…it is advisable to have a weapon ready to go in every room of the house.  You also need to monitor what area of the house is broken into and have a family plan to move the family into the opposite and protected area of the house.  This takes time, planning, and coordination.  You need to establish “safe” areas of the house that you can barricade yourself in and make a stand.  These safe areas also need to have an exit portal/hole in the event the big bad wolves want to huff and puff and burn your house to the ground.

Depending on how many family members you have, you must consider splitting your family in two: one group to remain inside, and another group to go outside and take care of Mr. Big B. Wolf and company.  If you are the lone person in the house, you need to take a page out of the movie “Death Hunt,” with Charles Bronson…how he pre-prepped his cabin and supplies before the jerks came to bother him.  It is JJ’s firm belief that no house/home is an impregnable fortress, but at the bare minimum your preparations can buy you some time.

Be Prepared

Let’s not leave out what I’ve been saying for some time: you must have supplies, food, and other important, life-sustaining items ready just in case you have to surrender the homestead and go running off into the night.  Remember: you can replace anything except one another.  Make your lists and your plans, and game them all the way out until each member of the family knows what to do if the house is compromised.

A final word on detection: use low-tech tools to help you keep tabs on things.  Yes, tripwires with aluminum cans and bolts/nuts/pebbles in them, strung across areas of approach and entrance points to the house.  Tie tripwires off to large piles of noisy cans/metal debris.  True, they are Uncle Caveman primitive, but they are effective.  These are the types of things that will still work regardless of an EMP or loss of electrical power.  Use your imagination.  But plan your work and work your plan, and get it all in order with your family while there is time to practice it.  Be safe, and watch out for one another in all you do.  JJ out!

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Vaccine Maker Admits On FDA Website That DTaP Vaccine Causes Autism

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baby-84626_960_720By Catherine J Frompovich

A HUGE hat tip and shout out goes to Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, for finding pharmacological admittance and written proof that at least one vaccine causes autism as an adverse reaction.

According to the U.S. FDA’s online Biologics Blood Vaccines publication, Sanofi Pasteur’s Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine Adsorbed (DTaP) package insert information under the section for Adverse Reactions, which runs from page 6 to page 11, we find the following declared admission that DTaPcaused autism “during post-approval use of Tripedia vaccine.” See the copy and paste information below. So, why all the denials that a vaccine hasn’t or can’t cause autism?

Parents, here’s your proof!

Diphtheria and Tetanus Toxoids and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine Adsorbed

Tripedia

Additional Adverse Reactions

Adverse events reported during post-approval use of Tripedia vaccine include idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, SIDS, anaphylactic reaction, cellulitis, autism, convulsion/grand mal convulsion, encephalopathy, hypotonia, neuropathy, somnolence and apnea. Events were included in this list because of the seriousness or frequency of reporting. Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequencies or to establish a causal relationship to components of Tripedia vaccine.[2,1]

The reference 2 above refers to Sanofi Pasteur Inc., Data on File – 072503. Personally, I’d love to examine that Data on File 072503! [2]

It should be noted that

Acellular Pertussis Vaccine Concentrates (For Further Manufacturing Use) are produced by The Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University (BIKEN), Osaka, Japan, under United States (US) license, and are combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur Inc. Tripedia vaccine is filled, labeled, packaged, and released by Sanofi Pasteur Inc.[3]

What’s in Tripedia that probably can interfere with brain chemistry and neurology? According to the Tripedia’s package insert, some ingredients include: Bovine extract, formaldehyde used to inactivate microorganisms a couple of times, ammonium sulfate, aluminum potassium sulfate, 2 growth mediums: modified Mueller and Miller is one; the other is Stainer-Scholte medium.

Mueller and Miller medium, according to the information I found, contains:

glucose, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate dibasic, monopotassium, phosphate, magnesium sulfate hydrate, ferrous sulfate heptaphydrate, cystine hydrochloride, tyrosine hydrochloride, urasil hydrochloride, Ca-pantothenate in ethanol, thiamine in ethanol, pyridoxin-hydrochloride in ethanol, riboflavin in ethanol, biotin in ethanol, sodium hydroxide, beef heart infusion (de- fatted beef heart and distilled water), casein [milk protein] solution[4]

basically a mixture of sugar, salt, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals

While Stainer-Scholte medium has the following ingredients:

tris hydrochloride, tris base, glutamate (monosodium salt) [MSG], proline, salt, monopotassium phosphate, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, ferrous sulfate, asorbic acid, niacin, glutathione [5]

The vaccine is formulated without preservatives, but contains a trace amount of thimerosal [(mercury derivative), (≤0.3 μg mercury/dose)] from the manufacturing process. Each 0.5 mL dose also contains, by assay, not more than 0.170 mg of aluminum and not more than 100 μg (0.02%) of residual formaldehyde. The vaccine contains gelatin and polysorbate 80 (Tween-80), which are used in the production of the pertussis concentrate[6]. [CJF emphasis added]

“Probable cause” ingredients for adverse reactions—especially neurological, in my opinion, include: casein[7], to which some children are allergic; MSG—an excitotoxin[8]; thimerosal-ethylmercury[9]; aluminum[10]; formaldehyde[11]; gelatin[12]; and polysorbate 80[13].

You can’t handle the truth about vaccines (Ad)

Now that we have at least one vaccine manufacturer leveling with the medical profession, why aren’t pediatricians, nurses, and all medical personnel, plus the media, not telling parents and guardians that the DTaP vaccine has caused autism and also telling parents ALL the adverse effects that appear in vaccine package inserts?

To take the vaccine debacle further, most of the mandated vaccines for infants and children, contain many of the above ingredients, which must be stopped from being injected into infants, toddlers, teens and even adults!

It’s time for Congress to rescind the “Get out of Jail Free” card for vaccine makers and stop the aggressive onslaught of the Autism Spectrum Disorder [1 in 45 kids (2015)[14]] that is depriving children of a fulfilling life and ruining families emotionally, financially, and physically to the point of parents divorcing because of the stresses of ASD in a family.

To really understand the vaccine “conundrum,” plus crimes of fraudulent science, data, and skullduggery, readers should know that the new motion picture documentary VAXXED is being released April 1st, 2016. For information on how you can get your local movie theater to show it, here’s the link for the movie on how to get it distributed to theaters.

It’s about time vaccines are publicly acknowledged by the feds and the media for all the health damages they have caused. Just check out the CDC’s VAERS reports and the vaccine damage payouts by the HHS/HRSA; see pages 5 and 9. A grand total of $3,325,248,027.02 – that’s Billions! – have been paid for vaccine adverse reactions and deaths from 1989 to 2016 so far.

Truly, vaccines are a crime against humanity, in my opinion.

Footnotes:

  1. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM101580.pdPg. 11,
  2. Ibid. Pg. 12
  3. Ibid. Pg. 1
  4. http://mommysknowledge.com/2014/07/31/vaccines-and-their-ingredients-what-are-we-putting-into-our-children/
  5. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM101580.pdPg. 1
  6. Ibid.
  7. http://stovelesscuisine.com/toxic-casein-protein/
  8. http://www.jpands.org/hacienda/article27.html  Food Additive Excitotoxins and Degenerative Brain Disorders, Russel L Blaylock, MD
  9. http://www.amazon.com/Thimerosal-Supporting-Immediate-Mercury-Neurotoxin/dp/1632206013
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19568732
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10729924
  12. Flu Vaccine Reactions From The Same Gelatin in Gummy Bears
  13.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21348312  Polysorbate-80 modified neurotoxin nanoparticle with its transport and cytotoxicity against blood-brain barrier
  14. https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/new-government-survey-pegs-autism-prevalence-1-45

This article (Vaccine Maker Admits on FDA Website That DTaP Vaccine Causes Autism) can be republished  under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Catherine J. Frompovich and Natural Blaze.com and Activist Post, keeping all links intact.

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s NEW book Eat To Beat Disease, Foods Medicinal Qualities©2016 Catherine J Frompovich coming in Summer 2016

Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.

Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick(2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008)

The Natural Blaze team is dedicated to the path of natural health and wellness. But we’re not just believers, we’ve experienced the healing properties of natural remedies first hand. That is why we are so deeply passionate to report natural health news, share wellness tips, and provide proven natural products to you.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

4 Daily Strengthening Exercises That Will Push You to the Limit

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FITNESSReadyNutrition Readers, hopefully the icicles on the edge of the roof are melted down and the snowfall has stopped wherever you live.  It’s time: emerge from the cavern of winter hibernation!  Come forth, my fellow patriots and survivalists…come forth!  Emerge from that winter slumber, for spring is about here, and it is time to lose all those lipids from the long winter’s rest!  Yawn, stretch, and put on those sweats and t-shirts!  Time to get back into shape!

See How You Stack Up Against The WW2 Fitness Test

The Many Benefits Exercise Has on the Body and Mind

On a serious note, exercise is one of the most important things that you can do.  You don’t have to be a world-class, Olympic athlete…just think as if you’re one, and use those positive thoughts to push yourself to make gains.  Many guys and gals out there have some physical problems that may limit you; therefore, you’ll have to tailor-make your individual program to accommodate your needs and limitations.  Consult with your doctor prior to undertaking any fitness regimen and see if it meets with his/her approval.

Incidentally, the doctor can be a big help if you have a condition such as hypoglycemia or diabetes…they can find out just what your blood sugar levels are, and give sound guidelines to your limits.  The goal of an exercise regimen is to “train and don’t strain,” so first and foremost do not exacerbate your condition.  Check with them to see what is the best course of action.

That being said, the benefits of good exercise are manifold.  Working out lowers the triglyceride levels of your bloodstream.  Exercise strengthens your muscles and your heart (which is a muscle), as well as improving your circulation.  Losing weight and getting in tone will give you many physical and psychological advantages for when the SHTF and also just in the normal course of your day.

Weights are great.  I lift hard and regularly, and my program pushes me to my limits.  Weights are not the sole thing you can use to get in shape, by any means.  Calisthenics are simple, effective, and they aren’t expensive.  Let’s cover some of them that you can use for starters.

Four Daily Strengthening Exercises You Can Do At Home

Push-ups

They strengthen the arms and the pectoralis muscle group.  They are a winner.  Women in the service do them using the knees as the base of their triangle, as they have less volume of pectoralis muscles there, as well as the breasts to contend with.  This is just fine, and you gals do not fret it: you’ll see the results in a short time.  The key is a good, straight, rigid body position, and extend fully on both the upward and downward motion, going “all the way to the ground” with the latter.  These push up bars are great for freestyle. Variations include incline push-ups (where your feet are resting elevated slightly), wide-armed push-ups, and the diamond push up.  These latter three develop the pectoralis in-depth and breadth, the shoulders, and the triceps (respectively).  Start at your own pace…3 sets of 10, for example, and work your way up.

Sit-ups

These are for the abdominal muscles and the hip-flexor muscle group of the thighs.  You may need to hook the instep of your feet beneath something first.  There are plenty of contraptions out there that enable it to be done with the contraption hooked to the bottom of a door frame.  Ensure you interlace your fingers and place your hands behind your head.  Start from a sitting position, and go smoothly to the ground as one unit, and then return to the sitting position.  Again, start out with 3 sets of 10 and increase your sets and reps gradually.

Flutter kicks

Lay flat upon your back with your palms facing downward and the backs of your hands underneath of your buttocks.  Start with both feet (the heels) about 3-4 inches from the ground.  Then lift your legs alternating left then right, lifting to about a 45-degree angle and then returning it to hold about 3-4 inches from the ground.  This exercise is great for your abdominal muscle and your quadriceps (thighs).  Figure your own pace…start with 3 sets of 30 seconds and a minute to rest in between.

Dips

You can use two good, sturdy chairs for this one.  Place one chair in front of you.  You’ll have to measure accordingly.  Using the other chair, take a firm grip with both hands on the corners of the chair.  Then place your heels up on the other chair.  Be careful the first time you do this!  You want to make sure that when you raise yourself up by the arms, you are balanced and your heels are on the chair in front of you (the seat) firmly and securely.  Then raise yourself up for one repetition, and when you go down, the middle of your back should “dip” below the edge of the chair where your hands are braced.  This is excellent for the triceps muscles, as well as the rotator cuff of your shoulders.  The other variance (version) is to have a “U” shaped bar and do it from the front, while supporting your body’s weight entirely by your arms.  Again, start off small…3 sets of 10 will be more than enough if you’ve never done them.

These exercises will be able to be supplemented with a good jump rope, and also a heavy or speed bag and some bag gloves to practice with.  The reason I mentioned these calisthenics is that when I was in the Service, we used to do them even when we were in the field.  This prevented our muscles from any atrophy, as well as the aforementioned health reasons.  They can be done simply and effectively.  I strongly recommend a notebook to jot down what you are actually doing to help you monitor your progress and to make improvements.

Exercise is very important to keep in good physical shape, as well as mentally toughen you.  Innumerable studies have proven that those who are in good physical shape are able to withstand disasters, sicknesses, and the trials of daily life much better mentally than those who are not in good shape.  You must view your body as a piece of the puzzle for your readiness and preparation.  Good diet (high proteins and low fats) is essential, as well as getting the proper amount of rest and recovery time.  In the end, you will be the winner when you develop a winning program that enables you to excel.  You guys and gals are winners now: get in good shape, train hard, smart, and safe, and keep up that good fight!

JJ

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

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

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

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

5 Tips That Will Turn You Into an Amazing Runner

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runningHuman beings are born to run. Compared to every other species on this planet, we are unparalleled. While there are countless animals that can run faster than us, none can run for nearly as long, nor can they run for such incredibly vast distances. Aside from our big brains, this is one of the few traits that makes us unique among every other species on the planet.

But for such a quintessentially human ability, many of us are quite bad at it, and I’m not just talking about how physically unfit many of us have become in the modern world. There are some very basic techniques that you can apply to vastly improve your ability to run, and most people are never taught them. Here’s what you need to know:

Run on the Ball of Your Foot

There’s a native tribe in Mexico that in recent years, has gained a reputation for producing excellent long distance runners. Many of them routinely outclass Olympic marathon runners, and even their elderly keep on running into their twilight years. While there are several reasons why members of the Tarahumara Tribe are such fantastic runners, one of the most significant reasons is that they don’t run like most Westerners.

When most of us run, we instinctively land on our heels first, before rolling our feet along the pavement until we spring up from our toes. The Tarahumara on the other hand, never land on their heels. They typically have a shorter, faster stride, and they always land on the balls of their feet. This is much more efficient for long distance running, and it doesn’t put so much stress on your knees or shins.

Just remember that if you’ve never done this before, it’s going to leave you incredibly sore after the first time you do it. Running on the balls of your feet activates a few muscles that you don’t typically use so strenuously. Start out by only jogging short distances like this, and work your way up until you can do it for longer distances.

Fix Your Posture

There are two major posture problems that you’ll see with inexperienced runners. They’ll either be hunched over like they’re sitting in front of a computer, or they’ll be leaning really far back with their chest in front of them. Neither of these are conducive to efficient running or breathing.

Ideally your torso should be straight, and only leaning a little bit forward. You should be perfectly aligned from your lower spine to the back of your head, and you should be looking straight ahead at the horizon, like so.

Breathe Through Your Nose

This doesn’t just apply to running. No matter what exercise you do, it’s important to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, or alternatively, breathe in and out with both orifices together. Breathing exclusively through your mouth won’t do you any favors, even when you’re not exercising. Of course, it’s easy to forget that when you’re huffing and puffing at the end of a long run, but breathing through your mouth will actually burn you out faster.

Your nose isn’t just for smelling. The moisture in your nasal passages filters out particles and pollutants, and warms the air before it reaches your lungs. This not only reduces the irritation and dryness in your throat, but it helps your lungs take in oxygen more efficiently. Breathing through your mouth may put more air in your body, but it doesn’t necessarily put in more oxygen.

Breathing Deeper

Another habit you’ll see with exhausted runners, is their tendency to give short rapid breaths. When you’re running hard it feels natural to try and breathe as fast as you can, but when you do this you’re actually making shallow breaths that fail to expel CO2.  You need to take longer deeper breaths, even when you’re feeling exhausted. And the best way to do that is…

Breathe With Your Belly

I’m willing to bet that right now, as you’re breathing, your chest is moving in and out. In reality, that is not the optimal way to breathe, regardless of whether you’re running up a mountain or sitting on the couch. Most people never think about this because it’s hard to believe that there is a right and wrong way to breathe. The truth is, you should be breathing with your diaphragm rather than your chest. It should feel like your belly is being filled with air while your chest hardly moves at all.

Try it right now. Extend your belly as you breathe in and relax your diaphragm to let it all out. You’ll find that this is far easier than chest breathing, which is normally restricted by the weight of your chest and shoulders. You’ll also find that your lungs can take in a higher capacity of air. Belly breathing puts more oxygen in your body, and pushes out more CO2.

It’ll feel weird the first time you try it out on a run, but after a while it’ll start to feel natural. And doing this alongside the previous tips will make your running experience easier and more enjoyable. In a sense, they won’t make you a stronger runner. You’ll simply be removing the handicaps that have been slowing you down this whole time.

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

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How to Prevent and Cure a Pinworm Infestation

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pinworm eggs wikimediaPinworms exist among many subjects that most people would rather not talk about. And who could blame them? In case you don’t know, pinworms are an intestinal parasite that anyone can be infected with if they happen to ingest their microscopic eggs. They live in your bowels for several weeks before emerging from your rectum at night to lay eggs, which leads to unbearable itching. That itching gets the eggs under your fingernails and bed sheets, which helps the parasite spread to new hosts.

I can already sense some of you moving your cursor to click away from this dreadful topic, but before you do, consider this: At any given time, between 10% and 15% of the population is infected with pinworms, most of them children. This isn’t some exotic parasite you pick up after visiting a developing nation. You can get them anywhere, and although children between the ages of 5 and 10 are the most susceptible (on account of their poor hygiene) anyone can get infested with pinworms. Statistically speaking, it will happen to you at some point if it hasn’t already.

So how do you get rid of these nasty critters? There are several options, the most common being over the counter medicines. Pyrantel and mebendazole are the most common treatments, and you take them the same way. You ingest one dose, which will kill the worms but not the eggs. Then you take another dose two weeks later to kill the new pinworms as they hatch. Both of these drugs have a high cure rate, and can be found in most drug stores.

Unfortunately, they’re not suitable in all cases. They’re not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and they may cause problems for people who are taking certain prescription drugs. They’re also known to cause nausea, headaches, vomiting, cramps, and insomnia. And in any case, they don’t work 100% of the time. That’s why you may also want to consider a few of these natural remedies:

  • Consume raw garlic on a daily basis. Unlike the over the counter drugs, this will kill the worms and the eggs.
  • A daily dose of food grade diatomaceous earth can kill the worms. It can also be applied to diapers and bed sheets to keep them from multiplying.
  • The sulfur in onions creates an environment in your digestive system that repels pinworms. Eat raw onions, or soak chopped up onions in water and drink it throughout the day.
  • Eating pumpkin seeds won’t kill the worms, but there are compounds in the seeds that will paralyze them. Rather than clinging to the intestinal walls, they will slip away during bowel movements
  • Wormwood and ground up black walnut shells are often taken together to kill many parasites, including pinworms.
  • Apple cider vinegar doesn’t kill pinworms, but it does lower the pH in your bowels. The worms can’t thrive in that environment, and will die off naturally without multiplying.
  • Cut excess sugar out of your diet. Pinworms love sugary foods, and struggle to survive without them.

Keep in mind that whatever treatment option you choose, it’s important that every member of the household is treated. These critters are highly contagious. Their eggs are light enough to go airborne, and they can stick to anything. If one person in the house has pinworms, it would be best to assume that everyone has them. And unlike the medicines you buy in the drug store, any natural treatment that doesn’t outright kill the worms should be continued for 13 weeks, which is the full lifespan of a pinworm. If you fail to follow any of these procedures, there’s a good chance that you’ll get infested with pinworms over and over again.

As you can imagine, dealing with pinworms is a major pain in the butt, figuratively and literally. Fortunately, there are ways to keep yourself from getting infected in the first place.

Cleanliness of the highest order is key. In all seriousness, if you’re OCD, you’re ahead of the curve in this case. First and foremost, everyone in your house needs to keep their fingernails trimmed at all times, especially if you have any kids. The most common way they spread is from kids scratching their behinds, and getting the eggs burrowed under their nails.

Wash your hands frequently and take a shower every morning, because the eggs are always laid overnight. Clean your bed sheets, towels, and clothes every few days, for at least for the three weeks following any treatment regimen. Dry them on high heat, which should kill the eggs.

Clean your house religiously for several weeks. Every item and surface in your home needs to be cleaned on a regular basis, because the eggs can survive for 2-3 weeks outside of the body. You might want to consider wearing a face mask while you clean to prevent the eggs from being inhaled or swallowed. The eggs typically don’t last long in the sunlight though, so keep the drapes open and let in as much sun as you can.

And finally, you should learn to stop touching your face. It’s an incredibly difficult habit to break, but like everything else listed above, it will go a long way towards keeping pinworms out of your body, and out of your life.

Additional links:

http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com/2013/03/14/how-to-treat-pinworms/

http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15625/1/Home-Remedies-for-Pinworms.html

http://www.findhomeremedy.com/treatment-of-wriggly-pinworms-through-natural-methods/

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

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Scientists Discover New Link Between Sugar And Cancer

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sugar cubes wikimediaIt’s no secret that sugar is incredibly bad for you. The typical American diet, which probably has more added sugar than any national diet in the world, is known to cause obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, tooth decay, nutrient deficiencies, and of course, cancer (and that’s just the short list). Cancer in particular, has been connected to sugar consumption for some time now, by both mainstream and alternative medicine. Plenty of theories have been posited to explain the precise mechanism for how sugar fuels cancer growth, and it seems that modern science has just discovered another compelling link.

A study conducted by Lorenzo Cohen at the University of Texas was recently published in the Cancer Research journal. It found that sugar influences a metabolic pathway called LOX-12, which affects how cancer spreads in the body. This is big news, because as Cohen noted in an interview with NBC, “The majority of cancer patients don’t die of their primary tumor. They die of metastatic disease.” They discovered this link after feeding mice copious amounts of sugar.

Cohen’s team used mice for their study but say they took many steps to make sure the process was as close as possible to what happens in people. They fed sugar to the mice in doses very similar to what Americans eat every day, and they used mice that are genetically predisposed to breast cancer in much the same way that many people are.

They fed mice four different diets that were either heavy in starch or heavy in different types of sugar.

“A human study reported that dietary sucrose/fructose/glucose but not starch is associated with increased risk of breast cancer,” they wrote in their report.

When the mice were six months old, 30 percent of those fed a starch-dominant diet had breast cancer. But half the mice that had been fed extra sucrose had breast tumors. And the more sugar they were fed, the bigger the tumors grew.

While all forms of sugar contributed tumor growth, it was fructose that had the biggest effect. Mice that were fed the most fructose had stronger LOX-12 pathways, and as a result, grew the largest tumors. Considering that there is significantly more high fructose corn syrup (which is 55% fructose) in the American diet today than there was a few decades ago, this may explain why the United States has one of the highest cancer rates in the world.

What the study didn’t address however, is the relationship between naturally occurring sugars and cancer, or if there’s any link there at all. Fructose is of course, commonly found in fruit, and in smaller amounts, certain vegetables. That’s one of the reasons why representatives for the food industry claim that their sugary drinks and candies are relatively safe for human consumption.

Lorenzo Cohen stated that it’s simply a matter of quantity, since our bodies only need sugar in small amounts. “We need glucose. We need sugar. It is an energy source and we need it to live. We refine sugar that’s extracted from its source and consumed in extremely high quantities.”

On the other hand, the way these sugars are delivered to our bodies may be just as important as their quantity. While it’s true that the sugar in a candy bar is made of the same glucose and fructose as the sugar in fruit, it’s also wrapped up in fiber and other nutrients when found naturally in food. This serves to significantly slow down the absorption of sugar in our digestive tract.

So if you only ate sugar from natural sources, not only would you be eating less sugar since those foods usually don’t contain nearly the same amount found in processed foods, but that small dose of sugar would also be delivered to your body at a much slower rate. There’s a good chance that this LOX-12 pathway would be exposed to a negligible amount of sugar, if we stuck to a strictly natural diet.

Though the study doesn’t address the difference between natural and added sugar, it does sound like added sugar is the real culprit here. The recommended amount of added sugar for any diet, is no more 6 teaspoons a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. Even when Cohen fed the mice an equivalent to those small amounts, it still contributed to tumor growth.

So it’s very possible that no amount of refined sugar is safe. The human body is simply not built to digest it in a healthy manner, and cutting it out of your diet should be your highest priority if you want to reduce your cancer risk.

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

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

The Post-Antibiotic Era is Finally Upon Us

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pills wikimediaAntibiotics have rightfully earned their place as one of the most important medical advances of the 20th century. Many of you reading this are alive today because of antibiotics, as are many of your parents and grandparents. It’s a marvel of the modern world that has given us so much life.

Unfortunately, we abused this gift. We used these antibiotics so much that now, many of the infections we used to be able to treat have evolved to resist them. These “superbugs” now threaten to derail decades of medical progress.

Someday soon we may be living in what scientists have dubbed, the “post-antibiotic world.” This is a world where the slightest nick or cut could be a death sentence, and where infections that were once conquered can make a devastating comeback. Unfortunately, the beginning stages of this new era have finally arrived.

The last line of antibiotic defence against some serious infections is under threat, say experts who have identified a gene that enables resistance to spread between bacteria in China.

The gene, called mcr-1, allows a range of common bacteria, including E coli, to become resistant to the last fully functional class of antibiotics, the polymyxins. This gene, they say, is widespread in bugs called Enterobacteriaceae carried by both pigs and people in south China and is likely to spread worldwide.

The gene is easily transferred from one strain of bacteria to another. Enterobacteriaceae are capable of causing a range of diseases, from pneumonia to serious blood infections. Some of the strains of Enterobacteriaceae with the gene have epidemic potential, say experts in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

“These are extremely worrying results,” said Prof Jian-Hua Liu from South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou, author of the report. “Our results reveal the emergence of the first polymyxin resistance gene that is readily passed between common bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, suggesting that the progression from extensive drug resistance to pandrug resistance is inevitable.”

Keep in mind that the only reason why these “polymyxins” were still effective, is that they are an older class of antibiotics that are rarely used, due to their toxicity. It’s a last resort for people infected with bugs that are resistant to everything else. Once this resistance spreads there will be a whole host of superbugs out there, to which there will be no antibiotic treatment options.

The fact that an outdated treatment is the best our hospitals have to offer, just goes to show that modern science isn’t up to the task of creating new antibiotics. This field of research isn’t like computers, where new advances keep arriving every few years with precise regularity. It seems that antibiotic research, at least as we know it today, has finally reached its peak. And even if science could invent a new antibiotic, what’s to stop future pathogens from becoming immune to it as well?

I suspect it wouldn’t take long, because human behavior isn’t going to change any time soon. In a sense, antibiotics fall under the “tragedy of the commons.” Any unregulated resource that is commonly shared by everyone, will eventually be destroyed. We all need to act in our own self-interest to survive and thrive, but when that instinct is applied to a resource that doesn’t belong to anyone, we quickly abuse that resource. Because human beings don’t want to be sick, and because livestock owners want to produce more food, any new antibiotic that is invented will inevitably be abused until it is worthless for everyone.

So it’s time to accept that the post-antibiotic era is unavoidable. We’ll either have to invent an entirely new method of treatment, or go back to some of the treatments we used in the early 20th century. Perhaps we’ll utilize some mixture of the two. In any case, antibiotics are very close to becoming useless, and until alternative solutions are ironed out the world is going to be quite a bit more dangerous than it was before.

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

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Study Reveals Ginger May Be Stronger than Chemo for Fighting Cancer

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ginger root public domainWe all know that ginger is a healthy addition to any meal, and that it can reduce nausea and inflammation in the human body. It’s a food with curative powers that have been highly regarded for centuries, though science is still unlocking its secrets. Coincidentally, three researchers from the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in India may have just stumbled upon one of those secrets, and it will likely have far-reaching implications for the cancer treatment field.

They’ve found that there is a chemical in ginger called 6-shogaol, which has an impressive effect against breast cancer cells. It also targets cancer stem cells in particular, which are largely responsible for spreading cancer throughout the body, as well spurring the growth of tumors that have been previously treated with chemo or surgery. And best of all, it is effective at doses that aren’t harmful to noncancerous cells, unlike chemotherapy.

In fact, the researchers decided to see how 6-shogaol would stack up against a traditional chemotherapy drug known as taxol. While taxol is known to inhibit ordinary cancer cells (and cause a host of awful side effects) it still struggles to eliminate cancer stem cells. The researchers tested the taxol at a concentration that was 10,000 times higher than their 6-shogaol samples, and it still wasn’t as effective at destroying cancer stem cells as the ginger chemical.

As for how 6-shogaol works in the human body, the researchers found 6 different ways that it can inhibit cancer growth.

  • It reduces the expression of CD44/CD24 cancer stem cell surface markers in breast cancer spheroids (3-dimensional cultures of cells modeling stem cell like cancer)
  • It significantly affects the cell cycle, resulting in increased cancer cell death
  • It induces programmed cell death primarily through the induction of autophagy, with apoptosis a secondary inducer
  • It inhibits breast cancer spheroid formation by altering Notch signaling pathway through γ-secretase inhibition.
  • It exhibits cytotoxicity (cell killing properties) against monolayer (1-dimensional cancer model) and spheroid cells (3-dimensional cancer model)

While the study investigated the effects 6-shogaol in the lab, it’s hard to say how well it will proliferate in the human body, if at all. Although previous studies have found that feeding ginger to mice can inhibit cancer, so there’s a good chance that you can receive 6-shogaol by consuming ginger. However, you have to find dried ginger, since it is produced by gingerol chemicals that are dehydrated.

Although the study doesn’t definitively prove how effective ginger would be in the real world, or how useful it would be against other forms of cancer, it certainly is promising. It has provided another perfect example of how mother nature has solutions to health problems that we’ve been struggling to treat with pharmaceuticals for decades. Hopefully, future research will prove that something as simple and affordable as ginger can prevent and treat some of our most devastating diseases.

If you’re interested, you can read the study in its entirety at plosone.org.

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

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition