Check your calendar and make your reservations to attend one or more of these upcoming emergency preparedness training expos. We will be there with lectures and demonstrations using the Sun Oven®. Plan to take one home along with lots of other preparedness ideas.
Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:
The fig is the most talked about fruit in the Bible, referenced 43 times. The fig tree provided the first clothing mentioned and some suspect that the forbidden fruit might have been a fig rather than an apple. As a token of honor, figs were used as a training food by early Olympians, and were presented as laurels to winners like Olympic medals. At one time in Greece, they were regarded with such esteem that laws were established forbidding the export of the best quality figs. Mentioned in many Mediterranean writings, the fig is reported to have been the favorite fruit of Cleopatra, as the asp that ended her life was brought to her in a basket of figs.1 The fig tree is considered a symbol of abundance, fertility and sweetness. In Roman times, figs were considered to be restorative – to increase the strength of young people, to maintain the elderly in better health and to make them look younger with fewer wrinkles.2 Today, most of us think of the Fig Newton® when figs are mentioned. They first appeared commercially in 1891, made by the Kennedy Biscuit Works (later called Nabisco) using a machine that worked like a funnel inside a funnel, pumping out an endless cookie dough filled with fig jam.3
Figs are a highly prized and nourishing fruit that has been used to treat every known disease since ancient times. They can provide phenomenal amounts of energy and vitality to a body as well as aid in the repair and restoration of many bodily systems. As one of the most alkaline fruits available, they are rich in readily assimilative minerals, like calcium and potassium.4 They are a decadent treat when in season and can be dried or processed into jam so the pleasure can last all year.
This year our fig tree yielded enough fruit for us to make 18 pints of jam, provided enough figs to feed at least twenty families in our community and we’re still eating fresh ones every day. We save washed, 18 – egg cartons for storage to minimize mashing. For jam, you can crush figs or cook them whole. Make sure to remove any hard stems. Place 8 quarts of figs in a large pot, add 1 quart of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add a lemon or two thinly sliced and 2 cups of sugar. Simmer, uncovered for up to three hours, or until compote is reduced to half volume and thickened. Return it to a boil and add one large package of raspberry jello, boiling for one minute. Ladle hot jam into sterilized jars, cover with lids and screw on bands. Process 10 minutes, submerged in a boiling water bath. Yields 10 pints.
Billie Nicholson, editor
Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:
Fasting is not a new concept. It was written about in many Holy Scriptures. Fasting is often used to teach self-control and humility and is enhanced with prayer. Fasting does not have to last for 40 days, it can be just a few hours or a few days, performed intermittently.
What is intermittent fasting? It is not a diet, but rather a dieting pattern. It is a conscious decision to reduce the number of meals eaten during a 24 hour period. This means eating the calories during a specific time during the day. Eating three meals a day has not always been the norm. There are several different ways to participate in intermittent fasting. One is to regularly eat during a specific time period, for example, eating during an 8 hour window and not eating for the remaining 16 hours of a day. Another way is to skip two meals one day and wait a full 24-hours before eating again.
Why would you want to do this? When you eat a meal, your body spends a few hours processing that food, using part of it to generate energy. Your body prefers to burn carbohydrates/sugar as energy over any other source. During a fasting state, your body doesn’t have that recently consumed meal to use for energy, and begins to pull from the fat stored in your body or glycogen in your muscles or liver. 1
Both your liver and muscles store sugar in the form of glycogen, which, when needed, can be broken down into glucose (sugar) and burned for energy. During a water only fast, your glycogen stores are depleted within about 24 hours. After this is used, your cells begin burning fatty acids for energy – from your fat reserves. Blood cells and brain cells can not use fatty acids to fuel their energy needs. They need glucose. They go looking for glycerol, another component of your fat tissue and your muscles. Muscle tissue is broken down into amino acids to make glucose. It’s not the best idea to eat up your muscles to meet the energy requirements for your blood cells and brain. To compensate for this, sometime between the second and third day of a water only fast, your liver begins to generate ketones, again using your fat reserves.
The bulk of toxins in your body are stored in fat reserves, so the longer you fast, the more fat you’ll burn and the more toxins you’ll eliminate. Significant detoxification only begins if you fast for more than one day; however, your body will increase its rate of ongoing detoxification with more rest or by eating less food, because the less digestive burden means there is more energy for detoxification and healing.
The main benefit of a one day a week fast, is to allow your body an opportunity to rest from food digestion and focus on health-promoting work. The fast does not have to be water only, you can also spend the day eating all raw fruits and vegetables or drinking their freshly pressed juices. 2
Fasting has also been used to lose weight. There are a number of fasting plans available. One of the most successful ones I’ve seen is the Fast-5 Life diet. This intermittent fasting plan includes a five hour window for eating and the remaining time with no food, but plenty of water. The major concept here is to eat when you’re hungry. There are no dietary restrictions. Eat what you want. The Fast-5 way of eating works because it restores appetite to an appropriate level for the amount of stored energy (fat) you have and the amount of energy you expend in a day. By taking in less food, your body burns more fat, about a pound a week. Many participants notice a loss of inches before pounds and they are reporting diminished symptoms of inflammation.
How does this work? Our bodies react to energy consumption with insulin production. The more sensitive your body is to insulin, the more likely your body will consume what you eat more efficiently. Fewer meals, means less food is needed and less time spent preparing meals.3 In an emergency situation, this procedure may make even more sense.
Billie Nicholson, Editor
Other articles in the August 2014 Newsletter include:
The American Red Cross has been teaching children and adults to swim and to become life guards for the past 100 years. This year, as a part of their centennial celebration, they established a program to teach 50,000 people from 50 cities across 19 states how to swim. How about you and your family? Are you water competent? A new national survey, conducted by Red Cross, found that only 56% of self-described swimmers could perform all five basic swimming skills that might save their life. The water safety skills include:
- Step or jump into water that’s over your head.
- Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute.
- Turn around in a full circle in the water looking for an exit.
- Swim 25 yards to the exit.
- Exit from the water. If you’re in a pool, can you exit without using the ladder?
How to Prevent Drowning
The Survival Doctor includes these six suggestions to prevent someone (including yourself) from drowning.
- Take a class and learn to swim well. Same for your children.
- If you’re in a boat, wear a life preserver. 88% of people who drown aren’t wearing one. All youth under age 13 are required by law to wear one.
- Don’t drink alcohol if you’re swimming or driving a boat. Seventy percent who drown were drinking.
- Never swim alone.
- Never depend on toy flotation devices for safety.
- Make sure your children know this. Always supervise children. Even then, many who drown have only been out of their parents’ sight for a few minutes.
If you see a child drowning and can swim, go pull them out. If you see a conscious adult struggling in the water, call for help. If you’re alone, get a pole, stick, oar, or rope. Throw it and urge them to grab on. Don’t let them grab you. You will both go down.
Billie Nicholson, editor
Other articles included in the August 2014 Newsletter are:
Are you the proud owner of a SUN OVEN®? We hope you are prepared for emergencies when the power to your cooking appliances is interrupted. There are many situations when we may need an alternative to our ovens and cooktops. The SUN OVEN® is an efficient option in disaster situations and in everyday use, too.
So, having purchased one, have you opened the box to examine and prepare it for use? The All American Sun Oven® ships with a
set of pot and pans that are lightweight graniteware that heat up quickly. The baking pans are non-stick. What did you get? Have you washed them and started using them? They can be used on a conventional stove or campfire as well. When you first open the package, set it up outside and preheat some soapy water. Steaming this inside the oven will prepare it for use. Once you’ve prepped the oven, why not go ahead and cook something? Our website is jammed with recipes to use. The three drying racks make wonderful supports with parchment paper to hold cookies while they bake.
Are you planning a trip this summer? Will you be cooking? Take your SUN OVEN® with you. It can be used to keep food cool until you’re ready to cook and works great if you’re camping in a no burn area, where campfires are prohibited because of drought.
Look at using your SUN OVEN® as a challenge. How many times can you use it in a week? Take the time to listen to the videos on our website and become familiar with it’s set up and use. Remember familiarity will save you hours of guesswork during stressful times. With the longer sunlight hours of summer and lots of fresh foods available to cook, save some electricity in your home by cooking with solar energy. SUN OVENS® are not just for emergencies. They can be used every day. What is the most unusual thing you’ve cooked in your oven? Send your week’s list to email@example.com. We look forward to reading your mail.
There are Alternative Grains to Wheat
In an effort to have a more healthy diet, many people have incorporated whole grains into their meals. Whole grains consists of three parts:1. Bran, containing a small amount of protein, three major B vitamins, trace minerals and insoluble dietary fiber. 2. Germ, the baby plant, contains a large share of B vitamins, some high quality protein, trace minerals and some fat. The germ is often separated from the flour in milling to extend it’s shelf life. 3. Endosperm, the source of white flour, makes up the largest share of protein, carbohydrates, iron and B vitamins. It is also a source of soluble fiber. This whole food keeps you feeling full longer, keeps your blood pressure under control, balances blood sugar, and stores well.
There are more varieties of whole grains than just wheat. When you shop in the bulk section of your grocer, you will find many choices. Don’t be overwhelmed by the variety, it’s a good thing to have choices. Whole grains pick up flavors from whatever they’re cooked with and are easy to cook, many within 20 minutes. Those that take longer, can be cooked ahead and refrigerated for up to five days, or frozen and reheated. Pre-soaking them over night will also shorten cooking times. This primer will help you understand their features.
Amaranth - has been cultivated for 8,000 years by Aztecs. It must be cooked to be digested and can also be popped like popcorn. Amaranth has 13-14% protein and contains the amino acid lysine. To cook bring 2 cups liquid to boil, add 1 cup grain, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Yields 2 1/2 cups. Season it with olive oil and herbs or serve it as a cooked breakfast cereal like oatmeal. Grind two tablespoons and add to basic bread flour or pancake batter for added nutrition.
Buckwheat - is not a grain cereal but rather related to rhubarb, so it is considered a fruit seed. It is gluten-free for those who are sensitive to wheat or other grains. The component rutin strengthens capillary walls. Nutrients in buckwheat may help control blood sugar and manage diabetes. It is a good source of magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow. To cook boil 2 cups of liquid, add 1 cup of buckwheat kernels and simmer for 20 minutes until tender, Yields 4 cups. Its nutty flavor goes well with hearty vegetables like mushrooms or carrots. It works well as a filling for stuffed peppers, also.
Millet - not just for birds, this tiny gluten-free grain is a food staple in India, Africa and China. It is high in magnesium and aids in nerve and muscle function. Tastes like a cross between quinoa and corn., cooks in about 30 minutes, and requires no pre-soaking. Toast it in a skillet for 4 minutes to enhance its nutty flavor. To cook boil 2 1/2 cups liquid, add 1 cup millet, cover, simmer for 18 minutes and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluffing it with a fork gives individual grains. Cook it with more water and stir frequently to make a creamy, porridge type dish. It can be added to cornbread or muffin mixes or served like mashed potatoes.
Quinoa - Domesticated for human consumption 3,000 – 4,000 years ago, this ancient South American crop is high in protein. Available in three varieties, red, black and white, this seed has an earthy taste. Related to the beet and spinach family, it lacks gluten and can grow in dry soil. To cook boil 2 cups of liquid, add 1 cup quinoa, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Yields 3 cups. Serve as a side dish instead of rice or toss it in a vegetable salad containing sauteed cherry tomatoes, olive oil, basil and Parmesan cheese. Freezes and reheats easily.
Barley - a versatile grain, comes in both hulled and pearled varieties. Hulled, has had the outermost hull removed. Pearled has had the hull and the bran removed. It has a nutlike flavor and is chewy, like pasta in consistency. When fermented, barley is used as an ingredient in beer and other alcoholic beverages. Hulled barley takes about an hour to cook. This time can be shortened by pre-soaking overnight. To cook add one cup of barley to three or four cups of water (like cooking pasta). One cup will yield 3 cups. It is starchy and soaks up liquid like a sponge. Add it to a big pot of simmering soup. Barley’s fiber helps with regularity and intestinal health. Presoaking overnight with a tablespoon of yogurt in the liquid allows lactobacillus bacteria time to begin fermenting barley’s insoluble fiber. This fiber is food for these friendly bacteria residing in your intestine. Friendly bacteria populations keep your intestine healthy.
Teff - the smallest grain in the world, this nutritional powerhouse has been a staple of Ethiopian cooking for thousands of years. Teff has a mild nutty flavor and contains lots of calcium, protein and fiber. It is added to porridge, stews, pilaf or baked goods. It is gluten-free as well. To cook bring 3 cups liquid to a boil, add 1 cup teff, cover, and simmer 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Yields 2 1/2 cups. It can be eaten as a breakfast cereal or added to pancake batter.
Wild Rice - is a grass, the only native grain in North America, originally harvested by Native Americans in canoes. Wild rice contains the bran, endosperm and germ so it takes longer to cook than white rice. It remains chewy after cooking with a distinct nutty flavor. Cook like pasta in lots of boiling liquid, cover, and simmer 45 minutes to one hour, Yields 2 1/2 cups. Mix with brown rice, use in stuffing or serve with sauteed mushroom. This is a great addition to soups or salads with nuts and fruits.
Any of these alternative grains can be prepared in the SUN OVEN®.
Cook 1.5 – 2 hours until grains are soft. Be sure to add salt when cooking, it brings out the flavor. Resist the urge to stir the grains, just fluff with a fork when moisture is absorbed.
Billie Nicholson, Editor
If you are warned of an approaching wildfire, get your family together, then:
- Evacuate your pets and anyone with medical or physical limitations and young children immediately.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Remove any flammable materials like trash, lawn furniture and vehicles from around the house.
- Shut off any natural gas, propane or fuel oil supplies at the source. Check garden hoses and be ready to soak roofs, shrubs and trees with water within 15 feet of buildings.
- Close all windows and doors, and remove all flammable window coverings. Open fireplace damper and close the screen. Close outside attic, eaves, and basement vents. Close all shutters, blinds or heavy non-combustible window coverings to reduce radiant heat. Turn on outside lights and a light in every room for visibility in heavy smoke and distribute flashlights to all family members.
- Fill pools, hot tubs, garbage cans and any other large containers with water.
- Place a ladder against the house in clear view.
- Back your car into the driveway and close all windows.
- Disconnect automatic garage door openers so you can open the door without power, if necessary. Close the doors.
- Monitor news reports so you know the danger you’re facing. Prepare bug-out bags for evacuation and be sure to include your important papers and anything you “can’t live without”. Pack these items into the car.
- If you are told to evacuate, follow routes directed by local officials. Leave doors and windows closed but not locked. It may be necessary for firefighters to gain quick entry to fight fire in your home. The area will be patrolled by sheriff’s deputies or policemen. Fires can change directions quickly, be prepared to change your route if blocked.
- If you’re in a car, roll up the windows and close air vents. Drive slowly with headlights on. Watch for other vehicles and pedestrians. Do not drive through heavy smoke.
- If you have to stop, turn the engine off, but keep headlights on for visibility. Keep windows and air vents closed. Get on floor of auto and cover yourself with a blanket. Call 911.
- If you’re caught in the open, go to a clearing. If you’re close to a road, lie down in a ditch and cover yourself with anything that can protect you from the heat.
- If you evacuated, don’t go home after a wildfire until you’re told it’s safe to do so.
- Hopefully your home is unharmed. Be sure to check roofs and attics for hot spots and sparks and extinguish them immediately. Check every few hours for a day.
- Use caution when entering a building and avoid standing water. There may be an electrical charge.
- Check all utilities and consult a professional if damage has been done.
Billie Nicholson, Editor
Due to continued drought, the possibility of wildfire continues throughout the western states. When fires burn through areas, some homes are spared and others are not. Is there a way to make your property more fire resistant?
One way to help protect your home is to create a defensible space around it. What does this mean? It’s a buffer you create between buildings on your property and the trees, grass, shrubs or any wildland that surrounds it. This space will slow or stop the spread of wildfire and protect your home from catching fire. Defensible space will also provide protection for firefighters defending your property. To create a 100 foot space, divide it into two zones.
Zone one is 30 feet around your house or any other structure associated with it. In this area work on a major clean up removing all dead plants, grass and weeds from your lawn. Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters. Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees and from your house. Remove any dead branches that hang over your roof. Move any wood piles out of this perimeter. Remove any vegetation that could ignite and spread to decks or patio furniture.
Zone 2 includes the next 70 feet outside Zone 1 to make a total of a 100 feet perimeter. Cut or mow annual grass to a maximum of 4 inches. Create horizontal and vertical spacing between shrubs and trees. Remove all tree branches at least six feet from the ground. Lack of vertical space will allow fire to move from the ground to the brush and then to trees. Remove fallen leaves, needles, bark, cones and small branches that accumulate to a depth greater than 3 inches. When you landscape, consider planting fire-resistant plants and place them strategically to resist the spread of fire to your home. Have multiple garden hoses that are long enough to reach around property.
Homes located up to a mile from wildland fires can be destroyed by flying embers. Here are some things you can do to harden your home to make it more fire resistant.
- Roof – the most vulnerable part of your home. Wood or shingle roofs are very flammable. Use composition, metal or tile. Block any spaces between decking and covering to prevent embers from catching fire.
- Vents - create openings for flying embers. Cover them with 1/8” to 1/4” metal mesh. Don’t use fiberglass or plastic because they can melt and burn.
- Eaves and Soffits - should be protected with non-combustible materials.
- Windows - can break from wildfire heat before the house catches fire. This allows embers to get into and ignite fires inside. Install dual-paned windows with one pane of tempered glass to reduce the chance of breaking during a fire.
- Walls - Wooden products on the outside of houses as siding materials are combustible and not recommended for fire-prone areas. Use ignition resistant building materials like stucco or other approved materials. Extend them from the foundation to the roof.
- Decks - should be made of ignition resistant materials. Keep combustible materials removed from beneath your deck. Use the same materials for patio coverings also.
- Rain Gutters - should be screened or have gutter guards installed to prevent gutters from accumulating plant debris. Keep them clean of dried leaves and pine needles.
- Garage - Have a fire extinguisher and fire emergency tools available. Install weather stripping around and under door to block embers.
Billie Nicholson, Editor
Are you growing your own vegetables and fruit or do you need to purchase them from grocery stores? The U. S. Department of Agriculture tests produce every year. Do you know that 65% of produce samples in recent tests contained pesticide residue?
After analyzing the data from USDA and FDA tests, the Environmental Working Group has produced a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ containing test results from 48 popular fruits and vegetables. This report classifies those with the most pesticides as the “Dirty Dozen PLUS™”. The most contaminated fruits are Peaches, Apples, Nectarines, Strawberries and Grapes.The vegetables include Sweet Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Spinach, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Snap Peas, Potatoes, Celery and Kale/Collard Greens.
Of note, all the nectarines and 99% of the apples tested positive for at least one form of pesticide; and a single sample of grapes tested positive for fifteen pesticides. The average potato sample tested more positive for pesticides by weight than any other food. If these are favorites on your list, consider buying organically grown. Kale/Collard Greens and Hot Peppers tested positive for pesticides that are toxic to the human nervous system.
The report also includes a list of produce with the least pesticide concentration, they are referred to as the “Clean Fifteen™”. The least contaminated fruit are Avocados, Pineapples, Mangoes, Kiwi, Papayas, Watermelon, Grapefruit and Cantaloupe. The veggies include Onions, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Sweet Peas, Cabbage, Eggplant and Sweet Potatoes. Avocados were the cleanest and over 80% of pineapples, kiwi, papayas and mango had no pesticide residue.
Use this report to shop smarter as you enjoy healthy fruit and vegetables in your diet. Remember to peel or wash them well before eating.
We are often asked for suggestions about preparedness cooking on overcast days and would like to introduce you to the Cloudy Day Cube Stove, a simple, low-cost-solution. The Cloudy Day Cube Stove can cook your food with a wide variety of different fuels and weighs less than one pound.
Sun Ovens International has made a bulk purchase of the last of the American made Cube Stoves. They are now available at a reduced cost as a backup for your SUN OVEN®.
On days when rain or overcast weather hide the sun, the Cloudy Day Cube Stove is a great solution. The stove is designed for quick, convenient setup and use, and in addition to preparedness cooking, is ideal for camping or hiking. It has been engineered to maximize burning an assortment of different fuels including twigs sticks or wood, charcoal briquettes, Sterno cans, alcohol, solid fuel tablets or QuickStove Fuel Disks.
The Cloudy Day Cube Stove is made of durable aluminized steel. It can be used in 7 different positions to accommodate different needs, such as cooking fast or slow, or cooking in a large pot or small cup.
A Cloudy Day Cube Stove can be used in conjunction with your SUN OVEN®. A meal can be started on the Cube Stove and when it is half way through cooking, put into your SUN OVEN® to complete the cooking process as it would in a Wonder Box or retained heat cooker.
For a limited time, while supplies last, you can purchase a Cloudy Day Cube Stove Kit with two QuickStove Fuel Disks for less than $30.