This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Last night as I was perusing our grocery store mailers, one in particular was advertising a 10 pound bag of potatoes for one dollar. I was pretty tickled about that price. Why? Because that means I can have ONE HUNDRED POUNDS of potatoes for only 1 dollar. How? Because it’s easy to convert 10 pounds of potatoes into 100 pounds of potatoes, even if you don’t have any more space than a deck or a small patio.

You can even grow potatoes in the middle of an old tire! Photo c/o Hip Chick Digs

You can even grow potatoes in the middle of an old tire! Photo c/o Hip Chick Digs

It’s all about layered potato growing. Cut your potatoes into quarters. Make sure each quarter has a couple of eyes in it in about 4 inches of dirt. Be sure you don’t pat the dirt down – you want it nice and light. (As an alternative, you can use peat moss instead if you like.) You can do this at the bottom of a 55 gallon drum that has no lid, an old wooden barrel, in the middle of an old tire, or you can simply nail four 4-inch boards together forming a square. Tend to the potato plant like you would any other with sun and occasional watering. Be sure you don’t keep the soil too wet though or you will have blight.

Sprouting potatoes photo c/o Sustainable Eats

Sprouting potatoes photo c/o Sustainable Eats

Wait until the potato “vine” protrudes from the soil about 5-6 inches from the ground. Once it’s grown to that length, add another layer of soil, covering the growth. This will force the seedling to send out shoots underground where your potatoes actually grow. When you add another layer of dirt you can add another layer of tires or boards if you’re building it as you go. (Personally, I think using the 55 gallon dark-colored barrel is the better way to go, because it then also acts as a sort of a root cellar for the potatoes. Yes, drill a few holes at the bottom for drainage.) Continue this repeated process through your growing season. By the end of the season, you’ll have 100 pounds of potatoes in very little space. The potatoes at the bottom of your barrel will be the largest, but the ones at the top are great as well. And better yet, you know what chemicals were (or were NOT) put on the plants while they grew!

This process can be started with seed potatoes instead of the regular ones that you buy in the store, so long as you’re sure they haven’t been treated with chemicals. Keep in mind if the potatoes have been treated with chemicals, they won’t germinate. With the seed potatoes (which can be acquired from your local greenhouse), you will have a more bounteous harvest. The potatoes will grow as tall as you let them. Isn’t that just one more cool thing that we have to be grateful for?

You can leave the covered potatoes in the container during the winter until needed. Be sure to keep them covered though as the sun will aid them in becoming green and toxic. You can also “steal” some potatoes along the way as well – no need to wait until the end of the year to get some yummy potatoes! Just be sure to cover the rest of them back up once you’re done “digging” for potatoes.

New Potatoes. Photo c/o about.com

New Potatoes. Photo c/o about.com

My favorites are New Potatoes or any of the fingerling kinds as well as the Edsel Blue variety.

While potatoes are obviously a great source of starch, they are also a good source of vitamin C and B6, as well as potassium, manganese, tryptophan, and a few other trace minerals such as copper. Contrary to their bad rap among “low carb conscience dieters” the phenolic content of New Potatoes rivals that of broccoli, spinach, and Brussels sprouts. They are also a good fiber source, depending on how you cook them. In my opinion they taste better and are more flavorful if steamed, not boiled. When I’m making mashed potatoes, I love cooking them for just a few minutes in my pressure cooker (obviously!) and then running them through a potato ricer. YUM-MEE. They are so fluffy that way, not waxy.

Well, guess it seems pretty easy now for you to have a year’s worth of spuds!

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Freeze Dried Blueberries. Photo c/o thereadystore.com

Freeze Dried Blueberries. Photo c/o thereadystore.com

While I am able to obtain produce periodically, I have to say the majority of the fruits and vegetables in my food storage are of the freeze-dried variety? Why? Cost and convenience.

Consider this. I can purchase a flat of fresh blueberries for $30-$35 at a farmers market. Undoubtedly there will be some waste, bruising, and I may or may not be able to use them all before they spoil. I will also need to wash them and dry them off prior to using (depending on what I’m making with them). However, if I purchase a #10 can of freeze-dried blueberries, I still get 90-95% of the ORIGINAL fresh produce nutrition, without any bruising or waste. Plus there’s no need to wash and dry them, or to sort through them and clean off any stems. The freeze-dried produce is picked at their prime and I get them without any pesticides or any other “yucky” ingredients. In addition, the shelf life of the brand I prefer (I haven’t checked on ALL of the brands) is 20 years. Not only that, but the Blue Chip brand (a.k.a. Morning Moos) also guarantees that AFTER you’ve opened that big #10 can, it’s guaranteed for its taste, texture, and nutrition for a full 18 months! So there’s no need to be overwhelmed at the thought of opening the can.

My husband and I munch on the freeze-dried fruits as snacks quite frequently during the day. And when I watch for the sales, I’m paying LESS than I would have had to pay for fresh produce.

Photo c/o freeze-dried-food.com

Photo c/o freeze-dried-food.com

The benefits of freeze-dried foods deserve restating:

Last 20 years on the shelf
Last 18 months after opening
No yucky ingredients
Taste great
Easy to use
AND COST LESS

Sometimes the “costs less” component of freeze-dried foods is hard to wrap our minds around. We think in terms of paying $1.29 for a small pint of berries, for example. But then when we see the price tag for a #10 can of freeze-dried produce at $25-$30, we choke. Keep in mind you’re getting a LOT of produce that can easily replace a flat of produce you would purchase elsewhere.

As opposed to dehydrated foods, freeze-dried foods reconstitute with much less water and time. In fact, in many instances, I don’t even bother reconstituting a lot of what I use by relying on the moisture in the dish I’m making or the heat from cooking to do the work for me. That way I get a much fresher, powerful burst of flavor. Even better, with freeze-dried products I don’t have to waste freezer space on the items which may or may not taste mushy or get freezer burn.

Even more important, these foods are really nutritious FOODS as opposed to somethings I bring home from the processed foods aisles. Can words ending in “oxins” “ose” “itrates” or ithin” really be considered “food?”

Freeze-dried foods also look prettier and more appetizing in my meals. I recently purchased a muffin mix with “real blueberries” in it. The “blueberries” were just shredded little bits. So the next time I had a hankering for blueberry muffins, I simply put some of my whole freeze-dried fruit in them. My volunteer munchers scarfed them down.

The other day I made jam in a jiffy just by using a little bit of sugar, the freeze-dried raspberries (or strawberries or blueberries) and some water. No cooking or refrigeration was required. And just as important it didn’t require an entire day of canning. I just made up exactly how much I needed/wanted to go with my homemade bread.

Toast and Jam photo c/o Dinner with Julie

Toast and Jam photo c/o Dinner with Julie

Ultra MaxiGel Jam/Syrup

1 cup Morning Moos (Blue Chip) freeze-dried raspberries, strawberries or blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 T. UltraMaxigel
Water (about 1 cup+)

Blend all ingredients well with a high speed mixer or blender. Add enough water to create the consistency you prefer. You may add more water for a syrup consistency as well.

That brings me to another point of using freeze-dried fare everyday. It’s so simple. The recipe I just gave you is easy enough that a 4-year-old could make it. For example, when I’m making meatloaf, I just throw in a handful of freeze-dried spinach flakes and some freeze-dried red and green peppers that are already diced up. Cooking with freeze-dried foods simply couldn’t be easier.

As you may be able to tell, this food isn’t “just” for food storage. In fact, I kind of think of the two words “food storage” as a bit of a nasty connotation in my home given that I use these kinds of ingredients every day. While these types of products may be great FOR food storage, these everyday items are vital ones of convenience in my home. So keep your eyes open for freeze-dried products in your area. And if you have any doubts as to the taste, write to the company and ask for some samples to be sent to you before you spend the money on them. I’m a true convert to this kind of product—especially when it comes to my produce.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Is there a better way to store fruits and vegetables? Are there better kinds or times to purchase them? Is there one preservation process that’s more nutritious than others? The answers to these questions all depends on what you are ultimately more concerned about. Taste, texture, freshness, appearance (familiarity) or nutrition. What I’m going to provide you with today is simply a rule of thumb as to the hierarchy of the condition of the fruits and vegetables to obtain in terms of nutrition and cost. Then you’ll need to decide, as always, which type really fits your family.

Fresh Produce photo c/o Wiedmaier

Fresh Produce photo c/o Wiedmaier

The first choice for most people when obtaining fruits and vegetables is to get them fresh–either they grow their own or they purchase them from the store. However, you should be aware that the nutritional content does vary dramatically dependent on what types of pesticides and other chemicals are used and WHEN the fruits and vegetables are harvested. Obviously, harvesting them at their peak time in an organic setting will be the most enjoyable and nutritious for your family. The downside to fresh produce is that you don’t know if they were harvested at the ideal time. And even if they were, how long did they travel before they got to your store? How much will you end up having to toss as a result of spoilage? These types of mostly unanswerable questions make the top dollar you pay for fresh produce a bit of a gamble. I wonder if fresh really does belong at the top of the produce hierarchy?

Having said that tough, I’m all for making my own FRESH produce by growing my own sprouts. Sprouts have significantly more nutrition in them than just about any produce you can purchase anywhere. Not only that, but they are economical and they contain no nasty chemicals. Remember, you can easily sprout any whole grain, nut, legume, or seed. (Stay away from the flowers on tomatoes and potato sprouts. They are toxic.) I can’t believe I’m saying this, but my husband actually got me hooked on having sprouts on my sandwiches instead of lettuce. In fact, at the end of this article I’ve got a GREAT Orange Marmalade Sprout Salad recipe for you. Yum!

Blue Chip Freeze Dried Products photo c/o utahdealdiva.com

Blue Chip Freeze Dried Products photo c/o utahdealdiva.com

So, if not fresh, then what’s next on the hierarchy? Freeze-dried. Not to be confused with dehydrated. Freeze-dried produce typically contains 90-95 percent of the same nutrition as picked-in-their-prime fresh produce. And there are no contaminants with freeze-dried produce. I’ve not kept it a secret that I’m in love with all of the freeze-dried fruits and vegetables that Blue Chip Foods manufacturers. They truly are my favorite. I can do just about anything with freeze-dried produce as I can with fresh. They take very little, if any, time to reconstitute. The taste packs a punch of REALISM that you wouldn’t expect. The fruit doesn’t taste soggy like frozen, defrosted fruit does and I’ve also discovered that it’s actually quite economical. I don’t end up throwing away ANY freeze-dried produce despite the fact that my hubby isn’t a veggie fan. I find myself eating the strawberries, raspberries, bananas, and peas right out of the #10 cans. Dollar for dollar, the purchase price is the SAME between fresh and freeze-dried when you get the cans at regular price—even better when they go on sale. That’s right. I can pay $35 for about the same amount of raspberries at a farmer’s market right now as I would get freeze-dried in a #10 can. Yet there will inevitably be some waste with the fresh produce. That’s just how Mother Nature works. Whereas the freeze dried product I purchase is guaranteed to maintain its nutrition, taste, and texture for a full 18 months AFTER I’ve opened the can, and for years and years when prior to opening. This is why I use the freeze-dried versions as much as possible, everyday. I use the peas in my tuna casserole, the apple slices in my apple crisp, the strawberries in an easy jam made with clear gelatin and water, etc. etc. etc. I love how I never have to cry over cutting an onion. I just open the can, scoop up the amount I need, sauté it, and I’ve got carmelized onions or whatever the recipe calls for. I never have to slice or dice peppers, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli—well, you get the point. (I AM a bit zealous when it comes to my freeze-dried produce, aren’t I? I sometimes even get goosebumps just telling people about it in my classes. Too bad you aren’t close enough to get a sample of these yummy raspberries right now.) 🙂

Dehydrated fruits and vegetables photo c/o yes-green.com

Dehydrated fruits and vegetables photo c/o yes-green.com

Next in the hierarchy are dehydrated fruits and veggies. This level of nutrition is at approximately 70-75 percent of the same nutrition as fresh produce—even when you dehydrate your own.  You can enjoy dehydrated produce easily as a snack and they make easy additions to slow cooking dishes. Otherwise you need to reconstitute them and that may take a while and a bit of water. (You can also dehydrate meat successfully, but that’s another article.) When you dehydrate produce you don’t have to use your oven to do so. You can simply use the good old sunshine by itself or make use of a great solar oven. Dehydration is quite simple to do yourself, however, most dehydrated foods sold commercially are about the same cost as freeze-dried. If you have the choice, pick the freeze-dried version. Here’s a tip. When you’re rehydrating your foods, instead of using water to do so, use broth, juice, milk, or the water from the cans of other ingredients—whatever is already a part of your recipe. It will give your dish a much greater flavor. When I reconstitute apple chips, I use this yummy “Apple Delight” drink I get from Blue Chip. When reconstituting vegetables, I’ve also been known to use the water from the cans of other veggies I may be using in order to no throw any more nutrients and flavor out than necessary. I’ve also used the pasta water, potato water, etc.

Next, and definitely last in the hierarchy is canned. Canned produce keeps about 40-45 percent of the same nutrition as fresh right off the bat. Even when you do it yourself, you’re not likely to obtain more than 50 percent of the nutritional value as you would a fresh piece of produce. Obviously, the longer you store it, the more of its nutrition you lose. I personally do not can my own fruits and vegetables. Why? Because I can purchase the canned goods for a much better price than what my time and energy are worth—especially with coupons! And considering what all I get in return, in terms of nutrition, I just don’t think it’s worth the money. I’d rather pay more for the other options.

One point I do want to make. When you purchase fresh produce, such as the oversized bags of spinach at Costco, don’t hesitate to freeze it. The frozen produce is great and you don’t need to do anything special with it. Just seal it and throw it in your freezer. (The frozen spinach makes for great healthy smoothies or a lightly blanched spinach salad.) Of course you know that tomatoes, lettuce, and other high water content produce don’t freeze so well. So use your best judgment on that.

Hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two about what produce to select for your family for long and short term storage. While it may be more important that your family see something familiar at mealtime as opposed to something freeze dried, at least you can now make an educated decision.

Orange Marmalade Sprout Salad

Orange marmalade photo c/o notecook.com

Orange marmalade photo c/o notecook.com

Dressing:

Combine the following ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk

2 T. Orange Marmalade

4 T. Olive Oil

1 T. Balsamic Vinegar

1 pinch of red pepper flakes

 Drizzle the dressing over about 4 to 6 cups of fresh sprouts of your choosing. I also like to lightly toast some nuts and put these on the salad as well. This is yummy and something you can easily make with food storage ingredients.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

expiration-date-browniesIf you’ve read my articles in the past, then you know that I usually take issue with folks who are naïve and spread their ill-informed opinions around—usually to the demise or hindrance of other’s preparedness efforts. Well, yesterday I was commenting on a couponing forum to a gal about how her addiction to brownies no longer needed to be hindered by the expiration dates on her mixes if she was properly equipped with a FoodSaver. Unfortunately, a naïve, very ill-informed person got after me and claimed that it was unethical and just plain wrong for me to tell anyone that they could store any food product for that long. She even went so far as to present the grid that FoodSaver publishes which is their official claim in terms of how long food can be preserved with the benefit of a FoodSaver. (Obviously, the claims were nowhere near the time periods I had expressed.) So, today’s article is in honor of those who have been duped into believing that the expiration dates printed on a food product are some kind of a Cardinal rule to live by. And I’m even going to tell you exactly why they are not.

In a previous article I shared with you that “expiration dates are created for one reason and one reason only” and that was to protect the food manufacturers from any legal liability. It’s not liability from food poisoning so much as it is false advertising. For example, if you store your cereal that claims it has 100% of a days worth of Vitamin C, well, that won’t be accurate if you store it forever, right? Eventually the nutritional value will be lost and yet they will still have printed on the box an assertion regarding the Vitamin C content. With this article however, I’m also going to show you a couple of other darker sides in the use of expiration dates.

One of my food storage heroes, Wendy Dewitt

One of my food storage heroes, Wendy Dewitt

First of all, let’s face it. Food doesn’t poison a person. Germs and molds IN the food do. So let’s make sure we’re battling the correct culprit here. If you can store a food in such a way that you inhibit the growth of “critters,” then you will outlast the deadline of any expiration date on the planet. Oxygen, light, and heat are your enemies when it comes to preserving food. If you can control the exposure your food has to those beastly enemies, then you can control the longevity of your foods. One of my personal food storage heroes, Wendy DeWitt, has successfully stored Snickers candy bars for eight years by adhering to this battle plan. (How she refrained from eating it that long is beyond me.) The Snickers tasted just as wonderful as it did the day she bought it. I have successfully stored brown sugar, brown rice, oats, Keebler Fudge-Striped Cookies, nuts, chocolate chips, Peanut M&Ms, pudding mixes, Rice-a-Roni, and other packaged foods (even with hydrogenated oils) successfully in my cool, dry, basement for over 10 years by eliminating oxygen, light, and heat!

Of course there’s no manufacturer on the planet that is going to say “You can store this $2 box of cake mix for 10 years, so stock up when they are on sale and never think about buying them again for 10 years”, right? Think about this for a moment. You can store sugar for years and years. You can store cocoa for years. You can store spices for years. And you can store oils for years. So what makes a package of brownie mix exempt from being stored just as long? Oh. It’s that mean, ole’, ugly, expiration date on there, eh?

Rotting macaroni. Photo c/o wichita.edu

Rotting macaroni. Photo c/o wichita.edu

This leads me to another one of the dirty little secrets of the food manufacturing industry. Another key reason for issuing an expiration date on a particular product (and in some cases their 1st consideration) is for marketing purposes. They don’t want you to take advantage of that special at the grocery store in which you can get a box of brownie mix for only .47 cents, stock up, and not buy their brownie mix again for years. Their strategy, when they work with retailers to create a special sale, as well as print and distribute coupons, is that you will TRY a product that you may not have tried otherwise, and/or to increase their sales by 3-12% in order to keep stockholders happy. But darn it. They can’t combat the savvy couponers out there who will stock up on products when such deals come along and who then buys 10 boxes of brownies, or cereal, or pasta sauce, etc. So what counter measures do they employ in order to force even the coupon crazies to fall in line and buy the product again and again? They convince the consumers that the food will be rotten, disgusting, and just plain scary after the expiration date. This isn’t about rationing food or keeping you safe, folks. This is about selling more product. Tell me you haven’t fallen for it before? Sure the cereal tastes stale after it’s sat in your pantry for too long. But you didn’t repackage it, did you? Sure you’ve had salad dressing that goes rancid after being stored too long. But that doesn’t make the expiration date rule the be all and end all for every food. (Note: I haven’t found a way to make salad dressing last much longer than 6 months outside of refrigeration past the expiration date. So instead I like to also store items that I can successfully MAKE dressings with to use on my sprouts.) 

Also, here’s another little secret to let you in on. When the coloring changes in a food, it does NOT mean that the original nutritional value has been altered yet.

About 8 years ago I read a study that the Army had done to determine the expiration of MREs. (I WISH I had known that I would be writing like this professionally many years later so that I could provide it to you. But even a lengthy look on Google didn’t turn up anything—yet.) While MREs are indeed created to undergo more extreme storage conditions, the key results of the study were interesting. The Army study discovered that despite the intended expiration date of 3 years the meals continued to provide their original nutrition value for 25 years and only then began to have coloration variances.

Just in case some of you are wondering what the heck a FoodSaver has to do with significantly extending the life of your foods, I’ll remind you of one of my well-used tactics.

Foodsaver lid. Photo c/o cabelas.com

Foodsaver lid. Photo c/o cabelas.com

You can stuff a Mason jar with any dry ingredient such as rice, nuts, chocolate chips, granola, etc. Place the lid, no ring, on the jar. Connect the air port from the FoodSaver to your Mason Jar attachment with the hose that comes with the FoodSaver. Place the jar attachment on top of your jar. Turn on your FoodSaver, and bzzzzzz…a moment later you have successfully sucked out the oxygen from your jar. After doing so you should store it away from heat and regular light. As such you will win the battle against expiration dates.

Foodsaver Canister

Foodsaver Canister

Here’s some really good news. As it turns out, if you have the canisters that typically come with the FoodSaver, you don’t need the Mason Jar attachment. All you have to do is put the jar with the lid on it inside the canister and then seal the canister like you would with anything else inside. Doing so actually sucks the air out of your jar. Simply remove the seal to the canister once you’ve done the seal process and then store your jar. Pretty cool, eh? (To be on the extra safe side, I would use the jar sealer though if I had my druthers.) The nice thing is WHEN you do get into that jar of Peanut M&Ms, so long as you don’t ruin the lid trying to dig in feverishly, you can simply reseal the jar again and again. In fact, since your seal is not reliant on the rubber ring getting hot, you can even use old lids that you may have left over from other canning projects. Simply make sure they are nice and clean when you use them.

Just in case any of you are looking for the jar attachments, FoodSaver isn’t offering the regular sized one right now, only the wide-mouth. But a Google search will easily pull up several options for you.

Well, I hope that clears up expiration dates for you. And I hope that you are never duped by them again.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Comfort Food photo c/o sheknows.com

Comfort Food photo c/o sheknows.com

During the course of this month’s Preparedness Pro Food Challenge, we’ve seen several posts and e-mails conveying a very similar message: “I need more comfort foods.” 

I have shared with our readers in the past that such would be the case. Stress and boundaries bring out the cravings in all of us. So I do indeed recommend you take that into consideration in your food storage that you’re creating now. However, I’d like to offer you an alternative solution.

You see, food really is only a form of fuel. Most of us need it for an emotional fuel as well. (I’m not immune to that whatsoever.) But what most people don’t realize is that cravings actually come from a deficiency in the nutritional strength in our bodies. Unfortunately, these cravings are hard to identify sometimes, in terms of what the deficiency is that’s triggering them. For example, when you are deficient in plain water, the craving can often be misconstrued as a craving for sugar. Women who are enduring a menstrual cycle are naturally deficient in iodine. And yet the iodine deficiency is “solved” with chocolate.

So, how can we get rid of the false triggers in our body so that we don’t store any more unnecessary foods than we have to? Give our bodies quality nutrition to improve our diet now. The more food you eat now that truly meets your body’s demand for nutrients, the less you will require. Our bodies will require more of the “junk food” in a time of high stress than we eat now. So, in the interests of optimal survival, and not requiring any more space to store everything, I suggest that you begin improving your diet now by incorporating the quality foods in your diet today. Doing so will actually minimize the types of “false cravings” that you get. Ultimately, you’ll be healthier. Don’t think of this as a diet. Tell yourself you can still have exactly what you want so long as you feed your body what you know you NEED first.

A good start for a healthier focus to improve your diet now would be the following two recommendations:

To improve your health now, drink more water. Photo c/o epa.gov

To improve your health now, drink more water. Photo c/o epa.gov

Water. Your kidneys process the equivalent of hundreds of gallons of water per day. If you’re not giving your body new water, then your kidneys will end up working really, really hard processing sludge instead of water. Water is also the ONLY way that you carry nutrients from one part of your body to the other. The thicker your blood, the less able you are to deliver the vitamins and minerals to the parts of the body which need them. Drinking adequate water is a simple way to improve your diet now.

Fiber. High quality, simple foods such as whole grains give you much more energy for the mass than do simple, processed foods. In other words, you can go a heck of lot longer on a stomach full of oatmeal than you can a stomach full of Lucky Charms. As I’ve shared with you previously, I like the results that eating whole wheat bread and wheat meat give me, as I’m not hungry or craving crazy things afterwards. Remember that sprouts will also satisfy you in this manner as well (and are full of fiber like most vegetables). I like to take a bunch of different sprouts, put a nice salad dressing on them and eat them as a substitute for salad. Grant it, I didn’t think I would enjoy this when I started. But the funny thing was that after I started eating sprouts regularly, my body started craving them. In other words, the more direct you are in satisfying your nutritional needs, the less deceptive your body is in telling you what your real cravings are.

Fiber is a great source of so many of your vitamins and minerals! Sprouts have actually been proven to CURE diseases. When has a Twinkie ever done that? When you combine a high fiber bread with some sprouts and your other sandwich makings, you’ve improved the quality of the meal significantly! I also keep several cans of freeze-dried vegetables. I like to throw those into the casseroles that my husband likes. That way he’s getting the “comfort tastes” that he wants, but he’s also getting the nutrition that his body really craves and thus the meal is much more satisfying. Another great way to improve your diet now.

Freeze dired raspberries photo c/o usaemergencysupply.com

Freeze dried raspberries photo c/o usaemergencysupply.com

What you may not realize is that these minor additions have a much smaller impact on your pocketbook as well. It costs only pennies for a handful of sprouts. While it may take time to make your own bread, the ingredients only cost about a 10th the price that it costs to buy the bread in the store. I’ve found that freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are also much more economical. I can spend $4 on a half gallon of ice cream or eat a handful of freeze-dried raspberries. The sweet tooth is appeased either way, but with the fruit, I’m spending less and giving my body more quality nutrition to work with, and doing so without all of the ingredients that I can’t pronounce. This is just one way in which it literally PAYS to improve your diet now.

To successfully incorporate a smarter and more effective way of eating, I recommend that you simply ADD to what you’re already eating. Fine, go ahead and have your Dr. Pepper. But having a handful of sprouts on your salad or on your sandwich before you indulge will steer your body in the right direction. Go ahead and have your 5-cheese grilled cheese sandwich. But have it on some high quality whole wheat bread instead. Give that milkshake the appetizer of 8 ounces of water first. You’ll find that if you listen to your body now, it will do a better job of preparing you for ultimate survival much better than any blog you can read. 

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

What to store in your food storage?
By Kellene Bishop

There are 3 aspects that you need to concern yourself with when it comes to your food storage.  Nutrition, preparation, and rotation.

Photo c/o crusa-soccer.com/

Create balanced meals. Photo c/o crusa-soccer.com/

The nutrition aspect has to do with WHAT you store.  Be sure it’s not food that will simply enable you to survive, but THRIVE.  Feeding your body quality nutrition in a time of stress is critical.  It’s one thing to try and live off of fast food and such when you lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle.  You may not think of food much now in your every day life.  But having nourishment will be one of your most overriding primary instincts to kick in during a time of survival.  (Yet another reason why to try and get the picky eaters in your family to expand their food repertoire.)  I’ve read messages from some folks that they have a years supply in dry cereal, or Kraft Mac & Cheese, etc.  While these “foods” may give some comfort immediately, they will not provide the nutrition you need and appetite fatigue will surely set in. 

What should be a part of your food storage?  As you plan your meals, go back to creating balanced meals.  You know, fruits, vegetables, protein, and grains.  Each meal you plan for your long term food storage should provide at least one serving in each of these categories. Keep in mind that you will use and require more carbohydrates in a crisis scenario than you most likely do now. 

Remember, the key is to not get overwhelmed with the food storage.  If I were to tell you that you needed to store 300 pounds of grains (wheat, pasta, flour, etc.) per person over the age of 7, no doubt that would stress you out and overwhelm you.  (Even though that figure is correct.)  This is exactly why I encourage folks to create their food storage based on meals and dishes rather than pounds.  THEN when you feel like you’ve accomplished your goal in that regard, do a little bit of calculating using this food storage calculator link and see if there may be some items to add in various categories such as fats and oils, or legumes, or sugars.

If you store based on “meals” then you don’t have to really concern yourself with “oh yeah, I need 3 pounds of cinnamon for the year” or other seasonings and sauces.  You will essentially have a year’s supply of menus figured out and thus you’ll have all of the seasonings you need for those dishes.  Add the extras after the fact.  Planning this way will also save you LOTS and LOTS of money too.  You’ll be less likely purchasing something just because it looks like a good deal, and only purchase what you know you and your family will use in specific meals. 

Propane Stove

Propane Stove

The next aspect of your food storage is preparation.  Do you have the tools and resources you need to prepare the food?  Do you have the recipes stored with the dishes? While it’s great that you may have recipes memorized, what if you’re ill or otherwise unavailable and aren’t the one preparing the food?  Do you have a hand beater stored since you won’t be able to use an electric one?  Do you know how to use your solar oven, Dutch oven, charcoal, propane stove or wood burning stove?  How are you going to clean up from cooking?  How are you going to ensure sanitized cooking conditions?

The last consideration of what to store in your food storage, is rotation.  If you find a great deal on 30 gallons of cooking oil, great, get it—but ONLY if you already use such an oil and can do so in an appropriate period of time.  Very little of your food storage should be purchased or stored with a “store it and forget it” mentality.  You need to look at just about everything you’ve got from a rotation standpoint.  This is a monumental task if you’re not already using what you store. 

Personally, I think making an excel spreadsheet of one’s food storage or taking time to label each container of food prior to putting it away, is a major pain in the fanny and certainly yet another deterrent to being prepared.  I store my food left to right, front to back, and I use it right to left and back to front.  I don’t put any labels on the food (other than when I bottle or freeze it) and I don’t have a special software accounting system.  As I bring things up from my food storage, I make a note on the grocery list to replace them.  The “system” is as easy as that.  As a result, I keep a pulse on what I have and its condition.  Very little of what I have purchased over the years gets wasted this way. 

As you can see in this series, the key is to make your food storage as underwhelming and second nature as your grocery shopping and meal preparations are today.  Your food storage efforts just need a little tweak in your mental preparedness and you’ll find that you have the time and energy to focus on the other aspects of preparedness that may more appropriately stretch your skills and time.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

How to prepare medically for an EMP attack

By Kellene Bishop 

When any natural disaster hits a region there will always be devastating consequences, particularly to those who are in ill health or who rely on medications and modern technology to get through their day.  Unfortunately, without preparing medically, these individuals will be the first casualties of such a disaster.  I understand that stating such a reality doesn’t make me popular or a preferred guest at your next dinner party, but I do feel compelled to teach you the real consequences of a crisis, while also teaching you to prepare medically so you can avoid being a death statistic.

Photo c/o chip.state.il.us

Photo c/o chip.state.il.us

First get the 10,000 foot view of how an EMP attack or a solar flare will affect your medical preparedness.  ALL electrical gidgets and gadgets will be fried and made useless, regardless of whether or not they are turned on, plugged in, or out of their styro-foam box.  So, if your “plan” is to race to Walgreens once you catch wind of an emergency, you’re in for a rude awakening.  Medical supplies such as prescriptions run on a one day delivery schedule.  That means that the most that pharmacies have on hand is ONE day of supplies for their regular number of customers.  Regular, as in a peaceful, calm, normal day.  If the “fit hits the shan,” you need to understand the mathematical problem in expecting your supplies will be on hand when you need them in a mass emergency situation.  You will have LESS than 30 minutes to get there, get it, and get out.  So you see why that’s not the best plan to prepare medically?  What you should do is to have a frank conversation with your doctor, tell him that you want and need to prepare medically for an emergency, and ask for a 1 to 3 month supply of your medications in addition to what you need to be taking.  So long as your prescription is not a controlled substance, you should be able to make a convincing argument to prepare medically.

If you are dealing with diabetic issues in which you need insulin, get what you can as a supply AND store advanced technology ice packs to prepare medically.  There are kinds of ice packs that look like a pox-marked quilt that stay frozen and distribute the cold for longer periods of time than simple ice.  There are also gel packs that can be heated or frozen.  They hold their temperature a lot longer than ice.  Keep in mind, if you store your insulin in the refrigerator, dramatically limit opening that refrigerator.  You will be able to keep it cool for a 50% longer period of time.  Other preparedness methods that you should explore are solar energy generators sufficient only to run a small refrigerator, a “solar oven” that converts to a refrigerator at night and how to construct an electricity free refrigerator (see Google).  Our forefathers did without electricity and so can we if need be.

Photo c/o ehow.com

Photo c/o ehow.com

Another suggestion to prepare medically is for you to be certain that you are storing nutritious foods.  I hear folks frequently tell me that they will be able to survive off of their food storage simply because of all of the boxes they have of Kraft Mac and Cheese.  I assure you, that is not surviving.  It’s barely even living.  In an emergency situation your body is naturally in a heightened state of stress.  Your body needs MORE nutrition to “survive”, let alone to thrive.  Stress compromises your entire health system—especially your immune system.  Having proper nutrition in a crisis situation is the utmost of importance.  Multi-vitamins, essential oils, quality grains, sprouting supplies, etc. will all be crucial to you surviving not only an existing medical crisis, but one that may occur due to your circumstances as well.  You can not underestimate the power of nutrition for your health—especially in an emergency.

It’s easy for us in this country to become complacent with all that medical technology will do for us that we aren’t willing to do for ourselves.  On New Years Day this year, I looked at my nightstand and was struck by how many prescription bottles I had that I needed to take everyday.  I suddenly became very aware of how those prescriptions would compromise my ability to survive and emergency.  Thus in the name of emergency preparedness I made a vow that I would eliminate the need for all of them this year if it were at all possible.  As of May, I have eliminated all but one of these meds by being more conscientious of what I eat, how active I am physically, and using nutrition as my medicine instead of just as my food.  (Please consult your physician before attempting this.)

Photo c/o flickr.com/photos/troikkonen

Photo c/o flickr.com/photos/troikkonen

For the first 8 years of my marriage, my husband’s breakfast consisted of two handfuls of peanut M&M’s, a Cherry Coke, and a bag of Cheetos (he fondly called it “Vitamin C3”).  Throughout the day he would eat Lindt chocolate and any other kind of sweets that sounded appetizing.  I couldn’t get that man to eat veggies unless it was on a slab of beef.  Healthy, eh?  However, one day it hit him that he didn’t want to be a slave to these kinds of foods in an emergency.  So he went from a sugar addict to a “no sugar guy” overnight.  He’s now 2 years “sober”—all in the name of emergency preparedness.  He also runs up “Y” mountain in Provo, Utah every morning while stopping long enough to do a total of 600 push-ups along the way.  Each day it’s being prepared for an emergency that motivates him. (Please consult a psychologist before attempting this! 🙂 )

While it’s not realistic to arm yourself with a year’s supply of medicine, you can arm yourself with as much health and strength as you can possibly store AND you can also have a year’s high-quality nutritional products on hand.  I’m not talking about diet shakes.  I’m talking about products such as Reliv, Sunrider, Young Living, Xooma’s water sachets, etc.  Worst case scenario, stocking up on some Ensure may save your life if you can’t get the other products.  I don’t recommend nutritional products such as these to make money in an “MLM.”  I recommend products like these to literally save your life.  (Which is exactly why I’m NOT going to provide you with contact information for these products. Please Google them.)  

Increase your knowledge of the use of essential oils, herbs, and alternative medicines. There is an abundance of information freely available.  Even cancer can be appeased with alternative medicine (click here) All of these chemicals we take have their own natural origins.  Go to the source.  Even diabetes can be made less severe with essential oils and herbs (click here).

Lastly, in order to prepare medically you need to keep in mind that in the event of an EMP attack, it’s not likely that you will have any notice.  Unlike a tornado warning, you won’t be able to go underground for safety.  BUT…if you DO have such a warning, then be prepared to flee into or to store vital items immediately in a Faraday cage or like protection.  (More info on that coming up this week.)  If you have a pacemaker or oxygen machine, get yourself as far below ground as possible.

The bottom line is, we do not have to be helpless medically in any event with some concentrated efforts to prepare medically now.  Remember, you won’t be able to rely on hospitals, doctors or emergency services to help amidst a catastrophic event (Think Hurricane Katrina).  But as you prepare medically, you can be self-sufficient with mental and physical preparedness now.

  • EMP 101: Part I–The Likelihood.
  • EMP 101: Part II–The Aftermath.
  • EMP 101: Part III–Prepare Medically.
  • EMP 101: Part IV–Faraday Cages.
  • Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

    Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!