A comment on a prepping forum said: “I’ve always been overweight. … That being said if a project needs doing, it gets done. We may be sore at the end of the day but we can accomplish just short of anything. I don’t consider being physically fit a prepping necessity, more of a nice to have.”
I’m afraid I have to disagree with this writer. If you are overweight by definition you have inflammation or you wouldn’t be overweight. If you are overweight you have a chronic medical condition. This goes for me as much as for anyone else, so I’m not picking on the writer. It’s just a fact. If a person has generalized inflammation leading to fat deposits where its not healthy to have them then they will also have other inflammatory processes going on such as pre-diabetes, inflammation in the heart arteries, auto immune disease and/or pre-cancerous changes to cells.
As a prepper I don’t think it is sufficient to think its OK just because I can get a project done if it needs doing. If we are not improving our health we are in the process of degeneration. If we cannot get a task done now without being sore we are going to be a problem to those we share our lives with and also to ourselves when things get really difficult.
Imagine that we are in a severe financial crisis and you can’t afford to both run a vehicle and feed yourself so you have to walk – a lot… or… you are stranded somewhere, there is chaos all around and home is at least an eight hour brisk walk away in good walking shoes… or… you are in pain because you have had an accident trying to do something you had to try because there was no-one else to do it.
Now add deteriorating health to this. Your obesity and inflammation has progressed because it was only nice to have, not a prepping necessity. Now you have one of those scenarios alongside the health problems of having bad knees needing a replacement/ gut problems with severe diarrhea which means you need to stay within a few minutes of a toilet at all times/ you have cancer or heart disease which leaves you very fatigued.
Now being physically fit can go hand in hand with any one of those diagnoses, but it is less likely to have gone down that route than if you are obese and unfit. If we are fit and exercise we cut our chances of some cancers (eg breast) by 50% and though I’m not sure what the figures are for heart disease I know that physical fitness will reduce the chances of having a heart attack enormously.
So a nice to have but not essential? Or an essential if we are to be self responsible and a contributor or are we to be a drain on our support network? For me it is essential.
“But… but… I can’t exercise much, because it makes me even sicker than I am at the moment. If I do too much I will get a flare up of my medical condition.” That might be so, but that is a different issue. Just don’t try to pretend that you don’t need to be fit in order to better cope when the SHTF. Fitness, flexibility and mobility, in my book, are primary personal responsibilities for a prepper.
There are some very simple things one can do to reduce or even eliminate “inflammation” – the most important being, what you drink and what you eat. Drink lots of water every day – not citified (municipal) tap water with all the chemical neurotoxins, including fluoride (which is added and you pay for, by the way) and other peoples’ drugs, E. coli, etc., but clean, clear water – filter it yourself or buy bottled spring water (which can also contain many contaminants, so, be careful!). But drink more CLEAN water – flush out those vital organs, every day. Stay properly hydrated – every day.
Many health issues today are the result of dehydration, believe it, or not!
If nothing else, keep a “LifeStraw” on you, so you always drink clean water, wherever you may be. Don’t worry about looking silly, worry about being sick (or, avoiding it, in this case).
Get a good filter system; it doesn’t have to be expensive; a ceramic filter works well, but it’s very slow. Don’t think you’ll filter by the minute with one of these. A Big Berkey is expensive, and you’ll have to keep replacing the filters. A Sawyer might be a good choice. Those cheap things that attach to your faucet or have a pitcher? Don’t waste your money or your time.
Then get all of the artificial sweeteners (brain cell killers!) and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) out of your diet. Good luck with that last one (read labels).
Use Stevia in the Raw (green box) if you need a sugar sub; or grow your own Stevia (it’s a plant), dry the leaves, and use it to sweeten whatever. Don’t use TruVia or PurVia – they’re both Stevia, but processed with ethanol!
My personal favorite sweetener is locally-produced RAW honey, which helps build immunities (pollens from your locale), and never goes bad. If it crystallizes, just heat it up and use it. It’s also an excellent medicinal, but, I’ll leave you to research this on your own. Again, RAW (unfiltered) honey. It’s dark amber – not “golden”. That’s how you know. Look for a beekeeper in your area who sells it; an internet search (www.duckduckgo.com) should do it.
This means eliminating “ready to eat” foods, for the most part, particularly “off the shelf’. Watch foods out of the freezers, too; better still, don’t buy them and don’t eat them. Cook simple meals for yourself at home, even if you can only cook once or twice a week to eat from all week. Or eat raw fruits and veggies, if you can’t take the time to cook (once in a while).
Freeze your own meals – make not one casserole, but two; eat one for dinner; freeze the other. Mark and date it; “fast food” for a future meal.
Learn to can your own foods and know what goes in them – “fast food” you can live with! Pop a jar, heat it up, yum! I make large batches of soups, stews, beans, meats, veggies, etc., and can them up so I always have home-cooked “fast food” at the ready. If you work full-time outside the home, set aside one Saturday a month just for “food prep day’. Then go to worship on Sunday and thank our Heavenly Father for providing the food so that you would have something to prep! (Just throwing that in for good measure!) :)
Start washing all fresh fruits and veggies before eating, including “organic” and getting the chemicals off; buy only organic citrus, if possible, because you can’t remove the toxins from these skins. Better still, grow your own; citrus will grow just about anywhere if it gets enough light and warmth, especially in a greenhouse or climate-controlled home (for colder climates); they make beautiful “house plants”.
Eat foods as close to “natural” as possible.
Eliminate all sodas. Maybe later you can have one on a rare occasion as a special treat, but it should be very rarely. (Side note: I actually had a stomach ulcer heal up when I stopped consuming my favorite drink, “Coca-Cola”!). The same Coca-Cola I use to soak and degrease and derust my cast iron when it needs it!
Reduce or eliminate refined sugar from the diet, a common cause of inflammation in the body, especially the joints.
If you make these simple changes to your diet, you’ll soon feel better, and probably feel like “moving” more! Now you’re ready. Go get some exercise – take a nice walk, even a short one; tomorrow, it will be longer, and the next day…and so on.
Yes, we ALL need exercise, if we don’t want to turn into a bowl of gelatinous muck, one that couldn’t whip it’s way out of a soggy paper bag. Can you say, “easy target”?
Baby steps. But get started today!
Well, Harriet, fitness, flexibility and mobility are primary personal responsibilities for a prepper in my book, too. But then I guess it depends on what the prepper is preparing for. If people think buying extra of everything they use will get them through until the government puts the world back just as it was, they don’t and won’t need to do anything different than what they are doing right now. This seems selfish, to me, and, as you implied, they won’t mind being a drain on their support network.
Our current lifestyle is more self-sufficient than most and as a “homesteader”, a level of fitness is a necessity. I have always been opposed to exercise for the sake of exercise. There are plenty of jobs to be done that require that same set of muscles and I have something to show for it when I’m done. HOWEVER, those jobs are mostly done during warm months – outside. As the years have passed, I find that the winter months, the “hibernation” months have not served me particularly well. I normally gain 10 pounds with Christmas goodies and the only regular exercise I get is bringing in firewood for the cookstove to bake them in. Come March, I’m sluggish, tired, wearing uncomfortable clothes, craving lettuce and sore after a few hours of spring clean-up. Dropping that 10 pounds in a few weeks has always been easy but after decades of this ill-behavior, I’m finding that muscles atrophy and the first place the weight leaves is in the face.
This winter is different, not that there has been a decrease in baked goods but there has been an increase in deliberate motion. Example, strapping 2 lb. weights on your ankles doesn’t change what you do or how you do it but requires a little more muscle/energy. Now combine that with an extra trip up the stairs or out to the mailbox… As long as you are moving that cast iron skillet off the stove, extend your arms several times in different directions. Anytime you need to pick something up off the floor, stand back a foot or two so you force a stretch. Stand a foot or two back with your hands on the wall or counter, lean in and then push back – a gentler pushup. Squat to pet the dog instead of sitting down. I truly understand having health issues that make working out impossible but I don’t understand refusing to do anything to maintain one’s strength and mobility. Many inflammatory muscular/skeletal conditions are treated with some form of rehabilitative physical therapy exercise and when done properly, it improves sleep as well.
The key to the fitness issue, regardless of other prepping activities, is attitude and you have the right one.
Pam, I wonder how much of the lack of fitness problem is due to not working out or whether it is due to eating to many high glycemic foods in winter. We are conditioned to think that we “need” good fillers in winter, with flour products being high on the list. If we think of our forebears, way, way back. They wouldn’t, or rather they couldn’t fill up on carbohydrates in winter – it just wasn’t there. We’ve only had 10,000 years of eating a carb based winter diet, since the rise of farming. Before that we had 1,000,000 years of eating a sparse carb diet in winter. Perhaps if you trialled a sparse carb diet, heavy in fish and animal fats from now you might find that it fuelled the body, keeping your muscles primed for more of the same in spring. It took at least three months of growing season in spring to bring in the carbs. Just a thought.
Harriet, you are no doubt correct. I know that if I didn’t eat the increased carbs the weight gain wouldn’t be an issue. But the muscle loss is still a problem. Use it or lose it, someone said. As time goes on, I find this to be even more true. And it’s harder to get back into ‘work’ shape when even a little bit leaves you aching.
Servantheart, what a helpful list of things people can do to reduce inflammation. I have been going slowly in relation to addressing these as I don’t want to put people off. It takes time for them to accept that what we put in our mouths will make a difference to our health especially when so many in medicine deny this fact. I once remarked to my professor (Primary Care) that food made a huge difference. He gave a stiff smile and said “I very much doubt it.” I went away and within a few minutes had printed out a range of peer reviewed papers which proved what I said. He again smiled stiffly and turned away before changing the subject. I never could get him to discuss actual findings.
To your extensive list I would have to add that seeds such as wheat and legumes also have lectins that a large proportion of people cannot tolerate and which contribute to ill health – not just the coeliacs but many with a range of gut and other health problems. This is a particular problem for preppers – especially for their mindset as they don’t know how they can prep without large amounts of wheat in storage.