Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Prepper’s Guide To Nutrition

By Tony

Despite the fact that preppers love to talk about nearly any topic under the sun, nutrition and how it applies to preppers is often a neglected topic. Very few, if any, preppers can honestly explain why it is better to eat fats and proteins than it is to eat carbohydrates.

Even fewer preppers can explain the benefits of vitamins or where calories come from. This guide is written to fill that gap.

To start off with, let’s begin talking about a basic calorie.

Calories And Preppers
Without getting into too deep of an explanation, calories are the tool your body uses to produce energy. No more, no less. With calories, our bodies can run, jump, breathe, swim, fish, and anything else we want to do.

Without calories, we starve. Simple as that.

While popular culture often sends us the message that calories are of the devil, a calorie (and a lot of calories) are a prepper’s best friend.

What most people don’t realize is that all calories come from three sources: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. You will never and can never get a calorie without one of these three things.

Let’s break them down separately.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates (carbs) are four calories per gram. Most carbs reside in fruits, vegetables, grains, and sugars. Even though carbs are usually associated with all things evil in modern culture, carbs are necessary to survive and carry precious vitamins and minerals.

Even though they are necessary for survival, they are not ideal for a prepper’s perfect meal. Carbs carry less calories per gram than fats (discussed below) and are not as useful as proteins when it comes to rebuilding and strengthening muscles.

Carbs also have a fatal flaw when it comes to prepper meals: they burn quickly. This means that even though you may eat high calories while eating carbs (think donuts), your meal will not last as long as a meal that consists of mostly fat or proteins and you will find yourself feeling hungry more quickly.

Proteins: Proteins contain four calories per gram and are the food of choice for competition weightlifters and world class performers. Proteins are useful for rebuilding muscles bigger and stronger.

Proteins burn slowly in the stomach and after eating them, you’ll feel full for a long time. Most proteins are meats, nuts, or legumes. These make for excellent prepper meals.

After spending time outside doing whatever your current prepper projects are, your muscles will be fatigued and worn down. Proteins are the body’s way of rebuilding those muscles where they can do more work and last longer the next time you go out to work.

The best prepper meals are high protein.

Fats: Fats contain nine calories per gram and are our go to foods for prepper meals. Since fats contain a lot of calories per gram, you can eat less and survive longer than others (and it’s easier on your budget!).

This happens because fats have more calories per gram than other foods. In theory and in practice, you can eat half as much fatty food as you do carbohydrate food and survive more than twice as long on your fatty food.

This is also a boon to preppers because fats typically burn slowly, meaning that you will feel full for a longer period of time.

Fats are usually found in meats, oils, dairy products, eggs, and nuts. If you’ll notice, foods that have fat and foods that have proteins are very similar. These are the kinds of foods we want to eat as preppers.

Now that we understand what fuels the body, let’s take a look at the construction materials the body uses.

Vitamins & Minerals: Tools Of The Body
Before we get into vitamins and minerals, I would like to say this: if you find yourself in a survival situation, it is better that you focus on how many calories you are consuming than how many vitamins and minerals you are taking in.

All of humanity until the past 50 years has survived without spending any time wondering how their vitamin intake is. If a situation gets bad, worry about your caloric load and the vitamins will follow.

If you can think of calories like the fuel your body uses to run, vitamins and minerals are like a trusty hammer, drill, and other useful tools.
Vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients because your body doesn’t need a huge amount, but it does need some. Without necessary vitamins, you can develop blindness, scurvy, weak bones, or an assortment of other problems.

Interestingly enough, we are more likely today to have an overdose of a vitamin or mineral than we are to have a deficiency. Because of market competition and government intervention, most of the foods we consume today have plenty of all the necessary minerals.

If you take vitamin and mineral supplements, your body is capable of getting rid of most of the excess, but you may be doing an unnecessary deed or even harming yourself by taking supplements without being told to do so by a medical specialist.

What Makes A Balanced Diet?
As said above, most of the food we consume today has all the necessary tools for our body to survive and thrive.

But what if we don’t have the resources of today?

If disaster strikes, we would almost certainly lose access to supermarkets. So how do we balance our diets then?

If you find yourself without a supermarket, your number one goal should be calorie consumption. The average human burns 2000-3000 calories per day depending on how active they are. Your meals should have plenty of meat (which contains fat and proteins), but also eat as much fruit and vegetables as you are able to get your hands on. Fruit and veggies are high in carbs, but will almost certainly carry most if not all of the vitamins and minerals that you need.

If possible, eat as many nuts, beans, and home grown meals as possible. This should prevent any sort of deficiency in vitamins and minerals while making sure that you have enough calories to survive the day.

Even though nutrition can be a complex subject, when it all comes down to it, just remember to eat as much diverse food as you can while prepping or in the bush.

Hope you’ve enjoyed!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Survival firearms

By: Sebastian Berry

In a departure from my normal survival medical instruction but keeping in line with my recent theme of firearms, this most current installment is a total opinion piece.

The debate has raged on since firearms have been around about calibers, stopping power (don't even get me started), ballistics, and design. I personally am not partial to any one caliber, brand, or style. Friends and neighbors ask me pretty regularly, what firearms should I have to be the best prepared?

My answers are more thought provoking than actual advice for a specific product or device or item. In no specific order I tell people the following things.
  • Have a firearm that you like.
    • You have to like what you have. Even if it's ugly. I own a .45 HiPoint brand pistol, yes that HiPoint. Find it on youtube, you will be thoroughly entertained.
  • Have a firearm that you will use.
    • I know people that own firearms and then never do anything with them. For whatever reason they get something and it never sees the light of day again. You have to use your tools and be familiar with it. When you really need it, you need to know how to use it.
  • Have a firearm you trust.
    • We all have favorites, of everything. A favorite drinking glass, a favorite shirt or pair of shoes, and even a favorite tool. You have to have a firearm that is your go-to. One that you know is a no-fail and will hit your target. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Usually after that question and series of answers and explanations, I get the question repeated. What firearms should I have to be the best prepared? Again, my answers are more thought provoking than pointing to actual products.
  • You need a rifle or shotgun to hunt with.
    • When the time comes, and it will, you need a firearm that can put food on the table. Whether that is a .22 for taking small to small/medium game like squirrels, rabbits, and birds or a 12 gauge with shot or slugs for small to large game from turkeys to deer.
  • You need a rifle or shotgun for family defense.
    • The weapon you hunt with may not be mutually exclusive from the on you use for family defense.
    • I probably would recommend you have two separate weapons for hunting and for family defense.
  • You need a pistol for personal defense.
    • A .22 will kill you dead just a much as a .45. I am a non-believer in stopping power. Can you place shots on target? If you can place more shots on target with a .22 than anything else, then that is what you should use.
Be mindful, in the family survival scenario, firearms and ammunition may be in very short supply. Some of the more designer ammunition may be in even shorter supply. Your firearms and ammunition should be common and widespread. 

Below is the list of top selling ammunition from Federal for 2014:

1. .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO
2. .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO
3. .30-’06 Springfield
4. .30-30 Winchester
5. .270 Winchester
6. .243 Winchester
7. .300 Winchester Magnum
8. 7mm Remington Magnum
9. 7.62x39
10. .300 Winchester Short Magnum
11. .22-250 Remington

I would be remiss if I did not point out that all of these are traditional hunting calibers. There will always be a place for .22LR and 00 buck. 

Keeping arms and ammunition in common calibers and in sufficient quantity will help you keep your family fed and safe when the time comes.

I am always open for comments. Have something to add, let us know!