Saturday, June 8, 2019

Tips to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

As I've revealed in the past, I am a Type II Diabetic and suffer some vision impairment due to diabetic retinopathy. Needless to say health issues are important to me, especially those related to diabetes.  I've previously posted on the warning signs and risk factors for type 2 diabetes (click here to read it). In this article, I want to give some tips to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Tips to Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
  • Eat healthy -This means limiting junk food, fast food, and sweets. Instead eat more veggies, particularly those with a low glycemic load, which is a measure of food's effect on blood sugar. Examples include leafy greens (turnip, mustard, collards, kale, spinach, etc.) and other cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, etc.). Some other good choices include squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and various types of lettuces.
  • Be careful of the so-called "white foods."  Replace white flour and white bread with whole grains. Replace white rice with brown rice or wild rice. Replace white potatoes with sweet potatoes. Replace refined white sugar with natural sweetness from fruit or honey. Even with these substitutions, be careful of eating too much. Control your portion sizes.
  • Don't drink sodas or sweet teas. Drink water or unsweet teas instead. Be careful with fruit juices since they are extremely high in sugar. Again, control your portion size.
  • Be mindful of the hidden sugar in many products. Many condiments and salad dressings have surprisingly high amounts of sugar and calories in relatively small serving sizes. Also, I have found many frozen dinners labelled "healthy" actually have more sugar than the average candy bar. Read labels carefully.
  • Be physically active. Walk more, sit less. Strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day (enough to increase your heart rate and make you sweat lightly). Good ideas for exercise include walking, jogging, hiking, biking, swimming, and gardening. Park at the back of the lot so you have to walk farther. At work or the mall, take the stairs instead of an elevator. If you cut grass, use a push mower. If you golf, walk and carry your own clubs. Consider taking up tennis, as many local parks have courts you can use for free.
  • If you’re overweight, take the necessary steps to lose the extra weight. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is very important.
  • Quit smoking and abusing drugs and alcohol.
  • Get plenty of sleep - a minimum of seven hours of sound sleep a night, and eight hours would be even better. Several studies have revealed a link between not getting enough sleep and a variety of chronic health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers. 
  • Early detection of diabetes or prediabetes is essential. See your doctor for regular checkups. Also see your eye doctor for regular checkups since diabetes can often be caught by an eye exam very early on.
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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 traditional and alternative medicine. What I appreciate about Pollock's approach is that it is based on solid science, even the "alternative" aspects, and is not some hippy-dippy book that rejects medical science (avoid those). Also, I found his ideas easy to follow.


Friday, June 7, 2019

More Anti-Christian Violence in Egypt

The following is an unedited press release from International Christian Concern (ICC), a Christian human rights organization.   You can visit the ICC website at https://www.persecution.org/ for more on Christian persecution around the world.
 

 Isamic Celebration Spirals into Anti-Christian Violence in Egypt

Christians Targeted in Upper Egyptian Village Following Conversion Case 

06/06/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on June 5, 2019, anti-Christian mob violence sparked in the Upper Egyptian village of Shosha, located in Minya Governorate. The predominantly Muslim village is home to approximately 50 Christian families, that are currently confined to their homes as the authorities attempt to regain control of the situation.

No injuries are reported, although Christians have noted that some of their homes were stoned. An estimated 40 Muslim men initially gathered in the streets to celebrate the return of Fransa Abdel Sayeed, a Christian woman who disappeared in April. It was later discovered that she had converted to Islam, married a Muslim man, and was pregnant. Her Christian family immediately began facing harassment and intimidation from their new Muslim in-laws, who live across the street.

Initially, police refused Fransa’s petition to return home to the village, citing concerns that it would incite sectarian tension. However, during the celebration of Eid, police allowed Fransa and her husband to return. A group of Muslims gathered to welcome her, and the situation quickly escalated into anti-Christian violence.

Fransa’s Christian brother, Elisa Yusuf, shared with local press his family’s belief that the police manipulated us. Now, the police encourage and support the Muslim extremists… We live in a state of terror now and the village has become chaotic as a result of the celebration of Fransa.”

He continued, “Copts have not been able to leave their homes. Despite the great presence of security forces in the village, this has not prevented chaos, and (at) the house of my uncle… stones have been thrown and the Copts are crying. The extremists are provoking the Copts so it’s possible to blow up [violent] actions between the Christians and the Muslims of the village.”

A local church leader familiar with the situation further explained to ICC, “At the dawn of Wednesday, the governor of Minya commanded that Fransa must return to the village and there would be a great presence of security forces. He was smart to choose this time. It is a time when all the people are celebrating (Eid).” 

“The police members are relatives to the Muslim extremists, so it is hard and impossible for the police to resist or disagree with them,” he added. “The Muslim husband has many relatives and friends in this village. The Muslims want to humiliate the Copts.” 

The issue of conversion remains highly sensitive in Egypt, where Islam is the official religion. Christians, most of whom are Coptic Orthodox, are often placed under intense pressure to convert to Islam. Christian families with a relative who converted to Islam are especially at risk of violence and harassment.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Police have known for several months that tension was approaching a breaking point in Shosha. The manner at which they addressed the problem during Eid was the ignition point that has long been boiling. Police should hold the mob accountable for their indiscriminate attacks against Christians. Pray that tensions will soon cease and that the violence will be resolved according to due process of law.”  

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Saturday, June 1, 2019

History for Preppers: Problems Faced by Late-1800s Backcountry Farms

We, as preppers and survivalists, have much to learn from history. Of course, modern disasters and SHTF events won't be exactly like historical examples, but there are still lessons to be learned. We would be foolish to ignore the past. This article is the second in a series of articles I am writing on History for Preppers (see the bottom of this article for a link to the first article). 

Problems Faced by 1800s Backcountry Farms 

After Congress passed the Homestead Act in 1862, many Easterners moved West, eager for the opportunity to farm their own land. The 160 acres of land for free (if you lived and worked on the land for five years), along with the recently completed transcontinental railroad granting ready access, made their dreams seem easily within their reach. However, they quickly found out that they would face many problems and hardships. 

Economic Hardships

One surprising hardship was money. Despite getting the land for free, there were still costs associated with starting and operating their farms. Large-scale farming in the late 1800s was expensive. Farmers had to buy seed, fertilizer, tools, and even machinery (gang plows & sulky plows appeared in the 1860s, deep well drilling equipment in the 1870s, and horse-drawn combines in the 1880s, just to name a few). They also had to buy their everyday household goods. 

It is a romanticized myth that these farmers were 100% self-sufficient and produced all of their own food, clothing, furniture, cookware, and other goods. They still had to buy many goods elsewhere, most of which were produced back East. The added distance these goods had to be shipped only increased their cost (Amazon didn't offer free shipping back then). Even after mail-order catalog companies came into existence (Montgomery Ward in 1872; Sears and Roebuck in 1893) the costs remained relatively expensive, and the selection relatively limited, compared to the markets back East.  

Many of these new farmers quickly went into debt setting up and operating their free homesteads. This debt became difficult to pay off after the success of the Homestead Act resulted in overproduction of crops causing the prices paid on the food markets to decline sharply under the glut.  

Nature and Isolation

The new farmers also faced problems caused by nature. Many parts of the Great Plains experience very hot, dry summers and extremely harsh winters. Both drought and insect blights were common.  Predators such as bears and wolves, as well as poisonous snakes, only added to the difficulties. Working the land was long, difficult, and tiring, and there was little help available beyond the farmer and his family.

With 160-acres plots, the nearest neighbor was quite a distance away. The isolated nature of the homesteads meant that farm life could be quite lonely and monotonous. Also, the isolation meant you were on your own. There was no way to call for help in an emergency, no 911 services, and no nearby neighbors to quickly rush to your aid when needed. 

Finally, the new farmers, due to their isolation and relative poverty, lacked political power. And politics did affect them, despite their isolation. They were largely ignored by the politicians, and often taken advantage of by the railroads and banks with little or no recourse. 

Conclusion

Rural agrarian lifestyles, represented by the modern homesteading movement, as well as the isolated bug-out retreat, offer many desirable benefits, but also many potential hardships. This article is in no way meant to discourage folks from pursuing their dreams of homesteading or leading self-reliant lives away from the big cities.  On the contrary, I share those dreams. Rather, I intend this article to de-romanticize the idea so that we can make realistic, practical plans with our eyes wide-open.

Researching this article, here are my take-aways:
  • Homesteading/farming might seem like a "simpler life," but there are still expenses and hardships
  • Homesteading/farming, even done off-grid and "on the cheap," is still expensive to get into (even if the land is free, which it isn't in today's world)
  • 100% self-sufficiency is impossible - we will still need other people 
  • Being isolated from others is both safer AND more dangerous at the same time
  • You can never 100% insulate yourself from being affected by politics

Liked this article? You may also be interested in my article 1800s Backcountry Homesteads: Most Important Crop/Food Staple

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If you are interested in preparedness, gardening, homesteading, and country skills, check out The Encyclopedia of Country Living. This large book is a treasure trove of useful information on your journey to a simpler, more natural, more sustainable life of self-reliance.

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