Kefir — Wonder Food

It's true. Kefir is a wonder food.

"I wonder what kefir is!"

"I wonder why in the heck someone would actually drink that!"

"I wonder what good it will do my body today?"

When I first heard about kefir, I was adamantly opposed to it. My understanding was that it was along the lines of curdled milk. Seriously?

Who in their right mind would drink curdled milk? Makes me throw up a little in my mouth just thinking about it. Ugh.

Last summer, however, I did a complete 180. I got educated about it, and my family's been drinking it for nearly nine months now. And.it.rocks.

I must give credit where credit's due. Dear Lydia N. came over one evening to bring dinner to my Daddy (How sweet!). She didn't know that we'd moved to town and were living with him, so it was a pleasant surprise to get to visit with her. I've known her (from a distance) since I was a pre-teen. Lydia was one of the "older" girls (maybe 5 years…not so much now!) that every younger girl hoped would take notice. She was so very sweet, gentle and kind. A Jesus-loving, hippie-cool kind of girl. The esteem I held her in then has obviously carried over to today.   smiley

Anyway, in the course of our visit, kefir came up. I could not believe that she had her family drinking it! She, very graciously & gently, explained how it had umpteen jillion probiotics (Yes, I exaggerate. Just ask my Daddy about that one.) – several times that of yogurt (our homemade yogurt has 5-7 probiotics); how it can have probiotics that deal with yeast infections and also staph infections among others.

I was impressed, to say the least, but not necessarily ready to run out to get some kefir grains to start my own culture at home. Not, that is, until Little Miss got a rash around her mouth that appeared to be a yeast infection gone wild. (The girl sucks on two fingers a good portion of the time. We're trying to break her of that, but not successfully as of yet.) She had been eating yogurt, but that hadn't taken care of it. It got worse. I remembered Lydia saying that kefir would help take care of a yeast infection.

I made a late night call to see if she had any grains. Bless her heart, she and her husband were heading out of the country the next day, but she took the time to make some calls, locate some grains, and even deliver them to my house. What a sweet lady!

SoLittle Mr. & His Kefir Moustache…we tried some bottled kefir from the store while the grains were getting acclimated after being frozen. It was yummy. No, really. Yummy.

I was sold on the bottled kefir (particularly since it was on sale!), but it only had 10-12 probiotics. It would have more if I cultured it myself. So that's what I did. :-) That whole experience will be the next post in this Kefir series. (I can't believe I just typed that — series — feels a little presumptuous!)

Here's Little Mr. sporting his kefir moustache. I would say he agrees! :-)

I do want to let you know, that this stuff is worth it.  Beneficial things that have happened since we started consuming kefir:

  • The rash around Little Miss's mouth cleared up!
  • My intestines are much happier with me now.
  • My Daddy has a "dermatological issue" that the dermatologist said he would have to deal with for the rest of his life with medication. It had just flared up before we started the kefir. He hadn't put his meds on it yet, and it cleared up after the first kefir smoothie…with no medication applied!
  • I shared some grains with a friend, and her husband has been a longtime Nexium user that couldn't go more than two days without taking it. After drinking kefir for a couple of days, he stopped taking it and didn't need it for five days.  Now he only needs it twice a week as opposed to daily.

I'm looking forward to sharing how easy it is to culture kefir and enjoy it daily!

Posted in Food, Healthy, Life, Regardless | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Prepare as a Christian

In my wanderings of the web, I have seen that most people are seemingly preparing so that they may surviveIT” to start over or some such thing. I challenge every Christian to prepare so that they may have life, regardless and serve through “IT.” With that shift in mindset, God will use you to bless others that are hurting.

The world is seemingly getting more and more removed from God. Historically, when this has happened, God has worked to get humanity’s attention by the least severe means that will bring the most people to Him. Sometimes that “least severe means” has been pretty severe, unfortunately.

I have found this to be true for me in my life. Whenever I have wandered from listening to Him and seeking Him out, the longer I run, the more I have hardships. Don’t get me wrong — I certainly do not mean that life is easy when I am closest to Him. Jesus did promise, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b) I do still have difficult things happen to me, but I am able to weather these events in my life so much better because I am “sheltered in the shadow of His wing.”

I pray that you are able to serve the Lord and give Him the Glory in all seasons of your life.

I encourage everyone to prepare as much as they can, through God’s leading, so that the times of lean that come will be less lean in your life than they could have been…so that we all will be better equipped to serve in this life, regardless.

Posted in Church Preparedness, Crisis Preparedness, Life, Regardless, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Cents are Not Created Equal

Here’s a tip for people who are

  • concerned about long term disruptions of service,
  • do not have a lot of resources to invest
  • do have a little bit of time.

Let’s check out your coinage.  Who doesn’t have a jar or heap of coins sitting around, rolling around the floorboard of the car, or even some down in the couch cushions?  Surprisingly enough, those coins can be worth more than you think!  The easiest ones to work with are the pennies and nickels. 

I’ll wait just a moment while you grab a handful….

OK.  Let’s check them out.  Run through your coins to see if you have any 1982 and earlier pennies and/or 2011 and earlier nickels.  When the time comes, these will be some good barter tender.

“Why in the world would pennies and nickels be good for bartering???” you may ask.  It’s an honest question, given the limited value we place on them now. 

First and foremost, most people are familiar with them and they have a quantified value.   They are also a couple of small items that you can keep on hand and spend now or later as you need to.   As for storage, you can put them together into an ammo box and tuck it away or into a glass container for an “artsy” look.

Here’s the best part, though –

  • 1946-2011 nickels are 75% copper
    • Currently a nickels melt value is $0.055.  That’s 110% of its face value!
  • 1909-1982 pennies are 95% copper
    • A penny’s melt value is $0.025.  That’s 250% of its face value!

What a return on an investment!  I sure wish my retirement account performed so well.  smiley

Someday, those “worthless” pennies and nickels may be able to get your family that loaf of bread you need to make it through the next day.

 

Source for melt value of coins http://www.coinflation.com/

Posted in Barter, Crisis Preparedness | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food for Thought

I like food. 

Truth…Bottom line…Unequivocally so…Period. 

I am not one of those "eat to live" kind of people.  Not that I "live to eat," but good food is just that — good…and I definitely believe it is a gift from God.    :-)

I try not to become obsessive about it.  Really.  But a girl's gotta eat…as do Mr. Big, Little Mr., Little Miss, Little Bit and my Daddy…and they like three squares a day..and a snack or two in between!  Therefore, food's on my mind quite a bit. 

People who prep are on the self-reliant side.  They're not going to be the ones in the handout lines when times are tough.  Being self-reliant, in my mind, also indicates that we're not relying on boxed, pre-packaged, pre-mixed whatever.  No condemnation if you are, but it's a whole lot healthier if you're not. 

How have I changed our eating?  I'm steering us away from foods containing high fructose corn syrup, MSG, white flour, and a multitude of things I can't pronounce.  I still use white sugar, but in decreasing amounts.  (Granulated honey has been a great replacement.)  With all of that in mind, I'll be sharing foods (surprising and healthy) and favorite recipes — all yummy & pretty easy.  Trust me, I'm not one to eat cardboard.  Like I said, "I like food."  It's been a journey into healthier food for us, and there are so very many things I'm excited to share. 

Use some.

Use it all.

Share your own journey. 

Let's go! 

Posted in Food, Healthy, Life, Regardless, Philosophy | 2 Comments

How NOT to Look Like the Neighborhood Nutcase as You Prepare

“How do you NOT look like the neighborhood nut case and still get ready for a crisis in your life?”   

I was asked this question earlier this week. The short answer I give for this question is you can get prepared without looking any different than the Jones’…unless you’re not trying to keep up with the Jones’ which, in this case, would just mean you don’t look like the crazies on the block, lane, dirt road, etc. 

Of course, he asked the big question, “HOW?”

Basically, you’re operating off of the KISS principle – Keep It Super Simple.

  • Buy a little extra of what you use on a daily basis for food when you go shopping.
  • Order your camping (emergency preparedness) gear during the appropriate season or, if you’re like, me after season when it goes on clearance.
  • Buy things on Amazon, and they will come to your front door.  Not even the delivery man knows what’s inside all those packages.  (Of course, this one doesn't work so well if you're wanting to keep your purchases off the grid.) 

Another guy then asked, “How do I store all of those things in the house without my wife flipping out about living in a warehouse?”

This is a valid question.  I told them that I wanted my wife to be on board, involved, and not just along for the ride.  This way, she knows what we have, where things are stored and hopefully how to use it all.  So, Men, get your wife’s input on what to get, where to store it and how to organize it!

  • You can store most non-food items in the garage on some shelves or even in the man cave.  (Storing food items where the temperature fluctuates a lot will quickly and significantly reduce the nutritional value.)
  • I know a guy who had a “movie room” and he built a platform for stadium seating.  He stored all of his camping gear in the raised platform. 
  • Another guy I know stored a lot of his gear under the bed.
  • Even do something as simple as taking a hallway closet and making it into a pantry works.
  • If you’re fortunate enough to have a basement, section off part of it for storage.  (You can even just use sheets as curtains to separate the space.)
  • And the list can go on and on….

My point being that, you can buy and store items in a way that, unless you show them off to people when you give someone a tour of your house, most people will not know that you have things stored up.

I would love to hear from those of you that have come up with some other creative solutions.  We’re all looking for new ideas.  No one wants to re-invent the wheel!  Please comment and share how you have solved storage problems in your home. 

 

Posted in Crisis Preparedness, Storage | 4 Comments

Getting Your Strategy on — THE Three BIG Questions

Really.  Do you need a strategy for preparing for a disaster? Fifty pounds each of beans and rice should do the trick, right? 

     Ha!  

If this is your answer, we really need to talk.

It may seem trite, but Ben Franklin hit it on the head when he said,

“By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.”

So, we agree that we need to prepare so that we don’t set ourselves up for failure. 

What your strategy will look like, however, truly depends on how God leads you to answer THE Three BIG Questions –

  • “Who am I preparing for?”
  • “How long am I preparing for?
  • “What standard of living do I want to maintain?”

Let’s break this down, because there are several things that need to be considered under each of these questions.

“Who am I preparing for?”

Make a list.  If you have a desire to minister and serve through the crisis, think about who you’ll be able to reach during whatever crisis may come to your area.

Will you be helping your neighbors? 

Will you be taking in friends in the area? 

Once you’ve established your list, you need to break it down into some specific categories. 

What is the age range of those you’re preparing to help?  Children, teens, adults, elderly – there’s quite a range there on dietary needs and energy level. 

How can you divvy out the chores of everyday life? 

Is everyone able to work?  If you have more children than adults, that’s going to put more stress on the adults in day to day life.  (Yes, children should be helping with day to day life, but there are some things that I would train a teenager to do that my four year old is not going to touch, thank you very much.  Keep those things in mind.) 

Another thing to consider is if any of those individuals have special needs. 

Infants will need a backup plan for feeding should they be formula fed or if Mom’s milk dries up due to stress or whatever.  (Anyone have a goat?) 

Does anyone who is going to be helped by you have a chronic illness where special supplies will need to be on hand?  (Diabetes comes to mind, but there are so many more.)

Finally, in answering this question, you need to look the expectations of those who are coming and will be helped by you.  I know.  They should be grateful and pitch in, working “as working for the Lord, not for men.”  (Colossians 3:23b)  Unfortunately, not everyone operates that way.  Granted, I think Paul had it right when he said, “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”  (2Thessalonians 3:10b)  There are extenuating circumstances…like my 11 month old daughter, but even my wheelchair bound Mima can snap beans or fold small laundry.  So, Paul’s statement sounds like decent motivation for those who might be otherwise inclined. 

“How long am I preparing for?”

As short and sweet as your answer may be to this question, this is going to determine so very much for the structure of how you prepare.  Storage for FEMA’s recommended five days looks so very, very different than storage for three months.  

Finally, “What standard of living do I want to maintain?”

How many meals do you expect to eat a day? 

What kind of protein do you expect to have and how often? 

How often are you going to use flashlights?  (Do you have enough batteries?  Using them for hours at a time, which you very well could if you don't have another source for light at night, will eat through batteries. Consider some solar charging lights and hand crank flashlights.)

Do you have a way to maintain running water, if you need it? 

How about electricity? 

How can you set up things for sanitation? 

The details that need to be considered under this are beyond numerous.  And, perhaps, you would want to answer this question before the other two.  Make a list of things you use moment by moment.  How can you live without those or make adjustments so that you can have those in a crisis situation?

Let’s just say that after living off-grid in third world conditions for nine weeks with three kids 3 and under (with our menu out of our hands), we learned that:

  • the same food, day after day wore on our psyches, and we chose not to eat instead of having mutton stew for the 10th, 13th, 15thtime in a row.  Not the healthiest choice, but we just couldn’t face it again.
  • spices and hot sauce make all the difference!
  • we craved protein like we couldn’t have imagined.
  • only having flashlights after dark really strained our eyes,…especially for reading.
  • headlamps are a lifesaver! (Ones with common batteries are better, as well as ones that you can change or replace the lamps.)
  • one small piece of dark chocolate a day gave a bit of normalacy to me, and I was able to soldier on, even when it was really hard.

Please ask God to guide you through these questions as you discuss this with the other people that you will be preparing with. Once you know who you will be aiming to help, then you will be able to know how you need to start planning, what you’ll need to gather, as well as the essential skills you will need to cultivate. 

We're here to help you walk through your preparation.  It’s an adventure.  Let’s get going!

 

Posted in Crisis Preparedness, Philosophy | 2 Comments

Why be Prepared?

“Why be prepared?”

I get asked that one a lot by friends and strangers alike. There are many ways to answer that question.

Time permitting, I tell them that I see it as plain.old.common.sense.  What makes more sense than to increase your knowledge and to have materials that you have put into storage to help you through an accident, a lost job, or some type of disaster?

I then ask them a rather personal question.

“How much do you spend on health insurance or put into a retirement account?”   

If you’re spending all that on “just in case” and the future, why aren’t you taking care of business “just in case” for one of the above situations?

I also share how the Bible makes it very clear that you are to take what you have available now to help you through the lean times that will come later. Specifically I refer to the stories of Joseph and Moses and how they prepared for something that was to come.  They were to do it during the “good times” so the “lean times” would not destroy them.  Bottom line, I do not want these lean times to come.  However, Scripture says they will come, regardless, and so we should prepare for them now.

I believe whole heartedly that during these times it is even more important to

         “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27 NLT)

I strive to be prepared to do what I can to help the man on the side of the road now and in the future.

 

Posted in Crisis Preparedness, Philosophy | Leave a comment

Life, Regardless.

Who are we???

We are Jesus-followers, spouses, lovers, partners, friends, parents, children, siblings, educators, individuals…. 

We live a little sideways compared to most of American culture.  We are debt-free, self-reliant, ministering, and mold-breakers

If you were to look at us, you might not recognize us as “preppers.”  That’s partly because we’re about more than just preparing, more than just survival or "hunker in the bunker" when TEOTWAWKI happens.  Our heart is to be prepared and to help prepare others so that when crisis comes (because it will come), we are able to continue serving and ministering.  Life continues…regardless of natural disasters, economic crisis, loss of a job or a loved one.  We want to help you and others get your “house in order,” so that you, too, can move on with life, regardless.

Posted in Life, Regardless | Leave a comment