By M. P. in Ohio
Instead of teasing you by giving you the answer in the 3rd paragraph, here it is…good health. So before you think you’ve already read similar articles, please read on. I think you’ll find this different. Your health during SHTF scenarios is more important than:
- All your training
- All your stored goods
- Your bug out location
I understand we can’t all be in perfect health, but you owe it to yourself to be as healthy as possible. I’m not only talking about getting in better shape but included with your preps, you should include certain foods, herbs & spices that I will list here to help keep you healthy and to cure many ailments when you get sick.
If you think staying healthy is difficult now, imagine how hard it will be to do so after SHTF. There will be no doctors, no hospitals, and no pharmacies to run to when you need them. Without good health, all your preps may likely go to someone else who comes along and takes it. I can’t tell you the number of acquaintances I know who have spent years and lots of money stockpiling but don’t do squat (no pun intended) to stay healthy. How they think they’ll survive is beyond me.
The good news is most of the items I’m referring to are either cheap or can be grown in most areas of the U-S. They are lightweight in the event that you must bug out and can be preserved for many years without losing much of its potency. Of course, one method to preserving is keeping spices/herbs in air-proof containers. I put much of mine in plastic Food Saver bags and shrink wrap them. They can also be preserved in Mylar bags that are placed in 5-gallon buckets and removing all the oxygen from the bucket. There are many videos you can research on how to do this.
Call it a coincidence if you must, but by including a certain regiment of foods, herbs, and spices in my diet on a daily basis, I have not had a sick day from work in over 10 years. I’m no spring chicken either…I’m a baby boomer. I’ll list items to grow and store, followed by my daily regimen. I will also include linked sources within and at the end of this article to back up the information.
Herbs That Really Make a Difference
Tumeric– This is one of the most important to have on hand. This powerful herb contains curcumin which is an anti-inflammatory. It helps reduce pain and swelling which is needed by many boomers such as me due to minor arthritis. Some studies indicate it may also help prevent colon cancer and Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, turmeric can be easily grown in most U-S climates.
Cinnamon– A recent German study shows it’s helpful for those with Type II diabetes as it reduces blood sugar by 10%. It’s also shown to help reduce cholesterol. Mind you it’s possible to take too much of this spice and can be dangerous. Cinnamon is not grown in the U-S so you must buy and store it.
Garlic– I know many who avoid eating garlic merely because they’re afraid how others might react to the odor from their breath. After Armageddon, who gives a damn? I’m sure some will respond to this by saying the odor may give yourself away if you’re on patrol while in a survival camp but in my humble opinion, the benefits outweigh the smell. I’m also not suggesting that you eat it every day. I too have certain work related appointments where garlic breath wouldn’t be preferred.
Garlic has many benefits including, lowering cancer risk, improving your cardiovascular health, reduces high blood pressure, helps prevents strokes by slowing arterial blockages and reduces cholesterol. It’s also one of the few plants in existence that is all three…anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antifungal. Besides being easy to grow, garlic can also be dehydrated. There are many books available from Amazon that will include all its benefits.
Rosemary– We may end up having to fry or grill meats after TSHTF so including rosemary will help prevent the risk of potent carcinogens that are often in meat that are cooked at high temperatures. Rosemary contains two antioxidants that reduce carcinogens. This is easy to grow inside your home or outside in your garden. And if you don’t grow it, it’s inexpensive to buy and stores for long periods.
Flax seed– Many have a false belief that all fats are unhealthy but nothing can be further from the truth. Our bodies need a certain amount of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) because, without it, we die. Many of you have heard the term “rabbit starvation.” Simply put, if for example, someone were to rely on rabbit as their sole source of protein, the lack of fat in the meat will put one’s health at risk.
One source of EFA’s are oils such as olive, canola, peanut, and vegetable oil and many others you are now using at home. The problem comes from the fact that you won’t have access to many oils because they don’t have a long shelf life and can go rancid. Even if you stock up on oils, they will run out. Olives can only grow in certain climates and those of us in areas outside of the Southwest cannot grow it. However, two seeds that can grow in most areas of the U-S are sunflower seeds and flax seeds that contain EFA. Flax can be grown in your garden in abundance. Flax can be consumed as a seed or the oil can be extracted.
Now unless you have a seed press (a good one is pricey), It can be difficult to extract the oil. Flax seed can be heated on the stove for a short time which will draw the oil out that will float to the top of the water. Then you merely pour off the oil and store it in a cool place. It’s not as beneficial as the first cold press extraction method because heating it up will cause some of the health benefits to dissipate. But hey…beggars can’t be choosers. The oil will also have a shelf life of 1-2 weeks using this method, even if refrigerated so it’s important to use the heating process on a routine basis and only process a small amount at a time.
Ginger– Eating the wrongs foods or foods that have spoiled during SHTF periods could become more common. Ginger helps prevent nausea whether it’s from upset stomach, pregnancy or motion sickness. In one study, ginger was shown to be more effective than Dramamine for subjects who suffer from motion sickness. Ginger grows in most climates and can be dehydrated.
Onions– I could fill up a book on the benefits of onions but with so many varieties available and the ability to grow them in most any climate, onions are among the healthiest of foods. I know many individuals that find onions difficult to digest making it impossible for them to eat. But the majority of us have no such issues. Without including all the benefits here, see the link at the end of the article for additional details. Onions can also be chopped up and dehydrated for long storage life.
Horseradish root– Another food item that grows in most climates, horseradish is a powerful plant that is connected to many health benefits, including its ability to reduce weight loss, lower blood pressure, alleviate respiratory conditions, build strong bones, improve immune system health, stimulate healthy digestion, and promotes heart health.
Cayenne peppers– One of the best books I’ve read is by John Heinerman entitled The Health Benefits of Cayenne. It’s only 48 pages long and you’ll read it in an hour or so but no one I know explains the benefits of hot peppers like Heinerman. There are many varieties of hot peppers that grow in most climates but the key ingredient capsicum seems to be most prevalent in cayenne peppers. Its key benefits will help reduce the severity of colds, improves circulatory and digestive issues, infections, and respiratory ills. Like most items listed above, cayenne can be crushed and dehydrated.
Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar– Again, I could fill up volumes explaining the health benefits of vinegar so I’ll spare you with those details. You can search for many articles and purchase books online with the many uses of apple cider vinegar including other benefits that don’t include ingesting it.
Using Herbs for Good Health
Now here is how I use some of the items on a regular basis for good health. One of the healthiest drinks you will ever taste is called Master Tonic. I have a link below with a YouTube video where I first learned how to make it. It’s made up of garlic, the hottest onion you can find (White or Spanish), hot peppers (I use cayenne and/or jalapeño), ginger root, horseradish root and raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
The secret to its benefits is the mixing of the ingredients. Even though any of the six ingredients are beneficial on their own, their combining enhances its benefits. One reason many prescriptions and O-T-C liquid medications include alcohol is that the alcohol enhances the other ingredients. So by mixing all six items here, it’s as if it each ingredient is on steroids. I’ll be the first to admit, you won’t find it pleasant tasting. I can’t take more than a sip or two without making an awful face. In the video link I included here, you will see the gentleman drink 2 oz of it while holding a straight face. I’ve been taking this for years and still make a face. Don’t drink it for the enjoyment (you won’t) but drink it for its benefit.
Another tonic I drink every morning is called Apple Cider Vinegar Detox. Read link below for additional information. One of the ingredients you see here (lemons) won’t be available in most areas of the world after TSHTF but you can at least drink it now while available. It may also be beneficial to stock up on bottled lemon juice to use in place of freshly squeezed. Besides being a detox, studies show this drink will help you lose weight without doing any other changes in your diet and lifestyle.
Includes 8-12 oz of warm water and the following:
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbs honey
- 1 Tsp cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a blender for a few seconds and drink up. Certainly better tasting than the Master Tonic mentioned above.
The last tonic I will mention here utilizes turmeric. There are a variety of ways to use it but I include:
- Black pepper
- Lemon juice
The link for this tonic includes carrot juice. I have also done it using olive oil instead of lemon juice.
One Last Food Item for Good Health
Here’s a food item that is delicious and its health benefits are like medicine…sauerkraut.
Growing cabbage is easy and can be done in all areas of the U-S. By fermenting cabbage into sauerkraut, it’s not only healthy…but has a long shelf life. Canning sauerkraut is also easy. I have a link below that shows a simple way to make it in only a few days from your kitchen counter. Some don’t like the flavor of sauerkraut. However, I have found those people have often purchased it in a grocery store from a tin can. Ugh! No wonder they didn’t like it. In an SHTF scenario, you won’t be buying it in a can so making it is much more pleasant to eat and will include a higher level of Probiotics than you’ll find in the canned variety. Most people know that food purchased in tin cans has lost most, if not all of its nutritional value due to the high level of heat required to seal the can.
Now About Exercise
As a baby boomer, I have various aches and pains that I have been dealing with for years. I’m not always cognizant of them because I can block some of them out of my mind…not always, but many times. Many of the ingredients mentioned in this article have helped alleviate some of those aches and pains. I also don’t have the upper body strength I had 30 years ago. But I improve my body, strength, and flexibility by doing simple exercises that don’t take up a lot of time and don’t require me to join a gym.
An article earlier this year from Men’s Journal describes 8 exercises they recommend that will get and keep you in shape. In the link provided, the article demonstrates each movement. If you can’t find the time to do these 2-3 times per week, you’re simply lazy. And that’s something you can’t afford to do now and after TSHTF.
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