Friday, April 19, 2019

Eating Healthy, Food Storage, and the Type 2 Diabetic

As long-time readers of my website may know, I am a Type 2 diabetic. Having been diagnosed with diabetes in 2015 with a A1C level of 10.1 (extremely high), I have worked hard to get my diabetes under control through diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. My most recent A1C was 5.7, achieved and maintained without the use of insulin or other drugs. That's right, I am not on insulin, metformin or any other prescription medication. 

However, that doesn't mean I'm cured. I'm not. If I ever return to my old ways of eating and doing things, my blood sugar will quickly spike up to dangerous levels once again. The fact is I cannot eat a lot of carbs, particularly those with a high glycemic load, or GL, (a measure of how fast and efficiently carbs are turned into sugar in the body). I simply cannot eat things like white potatoes (in all its many forms - baked, mashed, chips, fries, tots, etc.), bread, ceral, pasta, white rice, corn & other grains, even whole grains. I cannot eat anything made with sugar, wheat flour, or cornmeal.  Beans I can eat in small amounts without blowing up my blood sugar, but they cannot be the bulk of my meal. 

Now, go back and read that list of what I call my no-no foods. Notice how many of them are on the typical prepper "foods to stockpile" lists. I'm a prepper who cannot eat rice, corn, or other grains. I cannot eat dried pasta or instant potatoes. Ramean noodles are out of the question. I cannot eat breads or anything else made from wheat and other grains. I can't even eat oatmeal (I've tested oatmeal several times, and my blood sugar spikes too high even from this healthy grain often recommended to diabetics). I even cannot eat large amounts of beans, only small portions. So, what is a prepper to do?

The fact is, my diabetes forces me to eat a diet different from the typical diet, therefore my food storage as a prepper is different from that of a typical prepper. Here is how I eat (its similar to the Atkin's diet or the Keto diet, but not exactly the same): 

Fatty foods make up the biggest portion of my daily diet. This includes eggs and fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, herring, mackerel, and shrimp, among others), as well as avocados, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, milk, cheese, butter, and most types of nuts and seeds (I love pumpkin seeds, which are also especially good for men in terms of prostate health and sexual function). 

Many preppers and homesteaaders already have chickens, so have a great source of fresh eggs. Canned fish is readily available for food storage. I dislike sardines, but have stocked up on cans of salmon, mackerel, herring, and tuna. I also have been adding cans of shrimp to my food storage, which are great to add to salads or stir-fry dishes. Canned fish should be safe to consume as long as the can remains completely sealed and there is no swelling or bulging of the can. I have eaten canned fish that was more than four years old without any ill effects. 

Side Note: I eat a lot of eggs, typically 15 - 20 a week. They are a staple of my new diet. I've been eating this way for over three years now.  Despite this, both my blood pressure and cholesterol levels are well within the normal range. Worries over the cholesterol in eggs is based on old science from the 1970s and before. Modern medical studies have shown that cholesterol levels are primarily determined by a combination of genetics, physical activity, sleep habits, weight, and overall diet, rather than by the cholesterol content of individual foods. 

Protein makes up a moderate amount of my diet. Chicken, turkey, beef, sheep, goat, pork, game, and lean fish (such as bass, catfish, cod, perch, flounder, and bluefish among others) are examples of protein. In my food storage, you will find lots of canned chicken and SPAM, as well as canned hams. 

Beans can be considered a protein, although one that also has a lot of carbs. I can eat beans in moderation, so I limit myself to one normal size serving when I have them. Glycemic load varies according to variety, so I try to stick with those with a smaller GL. Lentils are excellent, as are green peas, green beans, chick peas (hummus is excellent, too), black beans and red beans, all of which you'll find in my food storage, both canned and dried.

Carbs make up the smallest portion of calories in my diet. The best, both in terms of nutrition and glycemic load, are salad greens and leafy greens, including cabbage. as well as other cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower. I eat a lot of slaws and salads (be careful of the sugars in most salad dressings - some have as much as a candy bar). The good news for preppers and diabetics is that these can easily be grown in gardens. Spinach, mustard, turnip, and other greens can also readily be found in cans, although some brands have added sugar, so read the labels. Sauerkraut (made of cabbage) is another great canned food that I've added to my food storage. Again, read the labels as some brands add sugar.  These things are so low in calories and on the GL scale, that it would be very difficult to eat enough to cause a serious spike in my blood sugar, so I basically can eat as much as I want.

Squash, zucchini, onions, peppers, garlic, and cucumbers are also good carbs with a lower blood sugar impact. All are excellent crops for the garden, and are easily pickled or canned. When buying them canned, beware of the added sugars of some brands.

Tomatoes and carrots have more natural sugars and a higher GL than the foods I've already mentioned, but I can still eat both in moderation. Both are excellent garden vegetables. When buying them canned, I look for brands without added sugar. Beets,

Fruit is healthy, but high in sugars and have a high impact on blood sugar. Be careful to eat fruit in moderation if you are diabetic. Many brands of canned fruits also have added sugars on top of their natural sugars, making them little more than fruit flavored candies. I eat very little fruit, and when I do, its either a small serving of berries, or a small apple, pear, or citrus fruit.

Carbs I don't eat include white potatoes in any form, flour, sugar, bread, cereal, pasta, corn, rice, and other grains, so there is no need to stock up on those for myself. However, other members of my family can eat those things, so I do include some of those items in my food storage. 

Some good news: Today, many brands now have low-sugar, no-sugar, or no added-sugar varieties. I've found these options in ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings, and even tomato sauces. Del Monte also has a line of low-sugar canned fruits. Go to the grocery store, do some hunting through their stock, red labels, and find low-sugar and low carb products.  The effort is worth it to your health.

Diabetes, Carbs, and Sugar: Please remember that sugar is a carbohydrate, and one that acts fairly fast on your blood glucose levels. I include this reminder because I've run into a few folks who seem to mistakenly take the advice that diabetics need to watch their carbs to mean that they no longer have to be concerned about sugar. This is a false understanding. Diabetics need to be aware of all carbohydrates that they consume, including sugars.

The Bottom Line: If you are diabetic, you'll have to adjust your food storage to fit what is and isn't a healthy diet for you. The first step is to figure out for yourself what, and how much, you can eat, and what you can't eat. Then adjust your food storage accordingly. Read labels, and be aware of the added sugars and hidden carbs in many brands. It isn't easy, especially if you don't like change, but you can adjust your diet and your food storage for healthy eating.
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Have diabetes or pre-diabetes? 

http://amzn.to/20Ss5eE
Of all the books on diabetes I've read, the best and most useful is 60 Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar by Dennis Pollock. Pollock's book is an aggressive plan to control your blood sugar by bringing together the best of both traditional and alternative medicine. I found his ideas easy to follow, and have implemented many of them in my life.





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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Egypt: Coptic Orthodox Christians Without Church for Easter Following Muslim Mob Attack


Coptic Orthodox Christians continue to be under severe persecution in Egypt. This incident is just the latest in their ongoing harassment, at times deadly, at the hands of Muslims, often with the tacit approval of the government. The following is an unedited press release from International Christian Concern. Visit their website at https://www.persecution.org/ for more on Christian persecution and genocide around the world.  -- Tim Gamble

Children Traumatized and Three Injured in Attack on Egyptian Church

04/16/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on April 12, 2019, a mob of extremists attacked the Church of Society of Anba Karassof in Khalaf Allah Jaber village, located in Egypt’s Sohag Governorate. As a result, the church was damaged, three people were injured, Christian children attending Sunday School were traumatized, and the church was closed to avoid further violence.

The mob, armed with knives and sticks, attacked the church at 4:00 p.m. on April 12 as Christian children were attending Sunday School classes. According to local reports, a large iron gate delayed the mob in their assault which allowed local police to arrive and disperse the crowd.

However, the mob was still able to inflict damage on the church and injure several Christians, including two priests, Father Basil and Father Pachomius, and one Coptic man, Asaad Bakhit Rizk Allah. Following the attack, local police closed down the church in order to avoid further violence.

Though there were limited injuries, one local Christian woman said, “The hardest emotion in that incident is the kids lived the incident in the reality. They saw the extremists attacking the church and how they injured the priests. This incident will hurt them psychologically in the future.

A day prior to the attack, the village mayor confiscated building materials from the church and attempted to close down the church. According to local reports, the mayor became frustrated with the local church because the Coptic Christians were renovating their church building in an attempt to accommodate their growing congregation of nearly 1,300 Christians.

Though the church had applied for legal status in September 2017, it has yet to receive official authorization.

Commenting on the political environment surrounding the attack, one local said, “The motivation of this incident [is] the constitution amendments. Many Christians will accept it, while other Muslim [extremists] hate the continuation of Sisi’s presidency. The Christians are always the victims of this regime.

To date, the Church of Society of Anba Karassof remains closed to avoid additional violence. This is despite the fact that the Coptic congregation is commemorating Holy Week and preparing for Easter. With no other local church in the area, the congregation is likely to be left without a formal worship space this Easter.

ICC’s Regional Manager, Claire Evans, said, “Egypt’s Christians are often singled out during the celebration of Christian holidays, such as Easter. President al-Sisi has taken symbolic steps of support for the Coptic population. Now he must take action to protect the rights of Christians to worship in their churches. More must be done to protect Christians from both discrimination and violence.”
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Friday, April 12, 2019

Tips To Get Ready for the Next Great Recession

Avoid becoming this guy.
Regardless of if you believe the next economic downturn is imminent or not, one thing is certain - at some point, sooner or later, there will be another recession. Now, during a relatively good time economically, is when we need to prepare that that next Great Recession. Here are some ideas to help you prepare:

Realize that unless you own the company, you are not indispensable to it. No matter how great you think you are at your job, no matter how much you think your boss loves you, you can lose your job to downsizing during a recession. No one is immune.

That said, you don't have to make it an easy decision for them to fire you. Make yourself as valuable as possible to your company. Keep your skills up-to-date, and constantly learn new ones, even if they are not directly related to your current job. Downsizing often means that those who remain are expected to do their work AND the work that was being done by those fired. The more you are able to do, the more likely your company will choose to keep you on the job. 

Don't give your employer a reason to fire you. Keep your nose clean. Obey the company rules, spoken and unspoken. Don't cause conflict. Don't bad-mouth your company, bosses, or fellow employees. Don't be that problem employee they'll be eager to get rid of during a downsizing. Check out the Fifteen Commandments of Keeping Your Job.

Despite your best efforts, you may lose your job anyway during a recession. Get ready to look for a new job now, don't wait until you are fired. Keep your resume constantly up-to-date. Make sure you have updated contact info for all your references. Start networking - you will be more likely to find a new job through a friend or colleague than from the classifieds or even employment services. Building a network is essential career advice, good times or bad.

Please realize you may have to find a new job in a different field from your current job. Or you may have to go into business for yourself.  Learn new skills. Take some classes at a local community college. Take a marketing and/or public relations class (surprisingly useful to most jobs/careers). Learn to sell (read the book SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham - considered a business classic). Brush up on your computer skills. Learn coding. Learn bookkeeping & accounting. Learn Spanish for the workplace. Consider learning a trade (electrician, plumber, welder, HVAC repair, etc.) as a back-up to your current career. The more you know, the more employable you will be. 

Prepare financially to the extent you can. This means getting on a budget, living within your means,  paying off debt, and building savings. Not fun, I know, but a whole lot easier to do now than it will be after the next Great Recession hits. Need some ideas? Check out my articles Taming the Family Budget and Quick Financial Tips.

My opinion: The top two financial goals for most folks should be setting aside an emergency fund, while at the same time paying off high-interest debt items such as most credit cards and car loans. Between the two, I would actually prioritize the emergency fund until you have at least $1,500 set aside. Don't stop making your minimum payments, of course, since late fees and penalty interest rates add up astoundingly fast. But put any extra money into the savings for now. Once you got an emergency fund, then tackle the debt with extra payments. 

Need help getting that emergency fund going? Have a yard sale. You can declutter your house and raise money at the same time. Or, brown bag your lunch for awhile, putting the savings into your emergency fund. At five dollars a meal (and you're probably spending more with tax & tip), that's $25 dollars a week, or $650 in just a half-a-year.  

Ready to pay off your debt?  Dave Ramsey's debt snowball plan is easy to understand and implement. You can find it on his website at https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/get-out-of-debt-with-the-debt-snowball-plan/

Food storage and other aspects of preparedness can really help you get through a crisis. I know a guy who was a prepper back before the Financial Crisis of 2008 (he was preparing for peak oil at the time). Then the Great Recession happened, and both he and his wife lost their jobs (with different companies) during the same week, leading to an extended period of unemployment for both. His wife was out of work for over five months and he was unemployed for almost nine months. He has said that the extra food storage (and other supplies), along with many of his other peak oil preps, made it possible for them to survive during that time.

My recommendation: As soon as possible, acquire at least two weeks worth of food & supplies, then work towards building a month's stockpile, then six months, and so forth until you feel comfortable. For more on stockpiling as a preparedness strategy, please read my 2016 article Survival 101: Stockpiling as a Preparedness Strategy.

If you are new to preparedness, You should read my 2015 article A quick, no frills, down & dirty guide to preparing for the End for a good general outline of preparedness.
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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Indonesia: The Growing Persecution Against Christians

Indonesia is the largest (by population) Muslim-majority country in the world. Indonesia is very diverse geographically, made up of over 17,000 islands, and ethnically, with 300 different ethnic groups and over 700 languages. About 87% of the country's 262 million inhabitants are Muslim. Many of these are only marginally so, with a large percentage mixing Islam with traditional folk religions and even Hinduism. Many others have a very secular lifestyle and view of the world, despite claiming Islam as their faith. 

Unfortunately, in recent decades, more extremist Muslim groups have grown both in numbers and in political & social power. Religious courts, practicing Sharia Law, have precedence over civil courts in matters between Muslims regrading marriage, divorce, and other family issues. In the province of Aceh. Sharia Law is now practiced officially and has jurisdiction in all civil and legal matters, including over non-Muslims.  According to journalist Mohshin Habib "Sharia law is spreading throughout all of the provinces of Indonesia; citizens are enacting their own variations of Islamic laws, and applying then to non-Muslims as well."

There is also a significant Christian minority, making up approximately 9.9% of Indonesia's population. In fact, Operation World states that Christianity is the fastest growing religion in Indonesia. These trends are creating increasing friction and conflict between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia. Mohshin Habib sums up the situation: "Indonesia, once a country of diversity, is now becoming a place for one-way Islam.

International Christian Concern, a Christian human rights organization, reports on the latest incident of Muslim intolerance for Christianity in Indonesia: "On April 6, more than 11 wooden crosses were pulled out, damaged and burnt at the Bethesda Christian cemetery in Mrican, Yogyakarta."
 
In recent months, religious intolerance in Yogyakarta, a de facto Islamic sultanate on the island of Java, has risen sharply. One example: In December 2018, more than 19 Christian tombs were vandalized and  crosses desecrated in Purbayan and Magelang.

In another example, just last week, a Catholic painter named Slamet Jumiarto was kicked out from his just-moved-in community with his family (all Catholic) for being “non-Muslim.”

These are just a few recent examples of Muslim intolerance of Christians in a country often widely praised by Western politicians and news media as a great example of a moderate Muslim democracy. 

Sources: 1) Press release from International Christian Concern, dated 4/9/2019; 2) Press release from International Christian Concern, dated 04/04/2019; 3) Article: Sharia Law Swallowing Indonesia, by Mohshin Habib, published on the Gatestone Institute website;  4) Information from the Indonesia entry of Pray for the World, a resource from Operation World; 5) Demographic information from the Indonesia entry of Wikipedia.
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