Tag Archives: Healthy Living

Survival Basics: 16 Ways to Conserve Water in Your Home

With the recent proliferation of water shortages caused by wonky weather patterns, finding ways to maximize the water we do have has become a focus of preppers near and far.  That said, in addition to knowing how to find, harvest, purify, and store water, it is important to develop a lifelong habit of conserving water.

The bottom line is that careful water conservation methods will allow you to make the most of limited supplies not only following a disruptive event but also day to day as you learn to make do with what you have during a drought.

Today I share 16 ways to conserve water in in your home.  We’ll begin in the bathroom since interestingly enough, that is where 75% of all household water is used.

16 Tips to Help You Conserve Water

1.  Do not keep the bathroom faucet running.

The faucet at the bathroom sink does not need to be running continuously while you brush your teeth, wash your face, or shave.  You will save between three and five gallons of water each minute your faucet is turned off.  That is a lot of water! Instead, use the stopper on the sink and drain the basin when you are done.

2.  Only flush when needed.

The toilet is not a wastepaper basket for tissues, cotton balls, or other bits of trash.  Even better, flush the solids every single time but alternate flushing the liquids.

The prepper’s motto is ‘yellow, let it mellow’, ‘brown, flush it down’.

3.  Flush using less water.

Most toilets installed before 1980 use 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush. Toilets installed between 1980 and 1993 use 3.5 gallons per flush. Toilets installed since 1994 use 1.6 gallons.

If you happen to have an older toilet, consider filling a used soda bottle or jar with water and small pebbles or marbles and place it upright in the tank.  This will cut down on the amount of water that flows through the tank with each flush.  Just be careful not to place the bottle where it will jam the flushing mechanism.  Also, make sure you don’t displace so much water that you have to double-flush.

Double flushing wastes more water than you would save.

4.  Check for leaky faucets and toilets.

It is easy to replace worn washers and since a small leak can waste many gallons of water a day, it is well worth the effort to test for leaks now.

The way to test for toilet leaks is to put a few drops of food coloring in the tank to see if the colored water appears in the bowl.  This takes about 10 minutes.  If the water color changes, you have a leak.  Not to worry, though.  Most leaks can be repaired with a kit that you can pick up at your local hardware store or on Amazon.

You can find a lot of information on toilets and toilet repairs at the Toiletology 101 website, including a free course on toilet repairs.

Keep in mind that little leaks can add up quickly.  A faucet drip or invisible toilet leak that totals only two tablespoons a minute comes to 15 gallons a day. That’s 105 gallons a week or 5,460 wasted gallons of water a year.

Are you wondering how long the parts in your toilet tank should last?  The answer is: it depends.  Replaceable parts such as flappers and washers or seals inside the refill valve may last several years. However factors such as water treatment processes, toilet bowl cleaners, and high water pressure can cause parts to disintegrate much sooner. If you touch the flapper and get black “goo” on your hands, the flapper needs to be replaced.

5.  Check for hidden water leaks.

Check for hidden water leaks elsewhere in your home by reading your water meter.  What you do is read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.

Read more here…

This article was written by Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

This article was written by Gaye Levy and can be viewed here:



Four Ways to Increase your Survival Endurance

News of the recent Ebola case in Texas has a lot of people on edge. You may have felt the urgency yourself as you read the news and monitor the progress being made, or not made in controlling this virus. Events like this are what preppers for years have been planning for and if you are new to prepping you may fear that you are behind the eight ball at a crucial time.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think anyone should be panicked about the events in West Africa or Texas, but I do think they are something to pay attention to. On the other hand, I don’t recommend doing nothing if you have serious holes in your preps. Events like the Ebola outbreak do two things. The first is that they motivate preppers again and they bring new people into our sphere of influence as more people try to learn all they can, search for prepping checklists, or research how to find the right bug out bag and so much more. The second thing that something like this latest Ebola news does is remind us that there are real threats out there in the world. Ebola is a virus that kills people. Viruses can spread to other people so it stands to reason more people can die or will die from Ebola. This isn’t science fiction or conspiracy, it’s just a fact that the people in Africa at least are living on a daily basis.

But regardless of whether you are just now getting into prepping or you have been prepping for years, there is more to survival than having a stocked pantry, bountiful garden, or a well with a hand water pump on your property. Simply having supplies isn’t the true yardstick you need to be comparing yourself to if you realistically want to know how prepared you are for this or any other crisis that may happen. Supplies can be taken away, they can be flung across the county or washed down the river. What matters most of all is your mental capacity to see you through difficulty. Your will to live and survive no matter what the odds will do more for you than any survival knife. Your determination and confidence that you will succeed will be more valuable than a box of MRE’s or freeze dried food.

Without being trained in survival though, how can the average person get this type of mindset? Do you need to have survived through a big earthquake or tsunami in order to have what it takes? Should you sign up for intensive wilderness immersion courses that teach you the things you need to know? Possibly and I am not discounting any training like that, but the average person can increase their survival endurance skills by much simpler means. Some people are born with the will to survive and other people need some practice.

Pull the plug

Have you ever imagined what your day would be like without electricity? If you have lived through any power disruption you know. Out of habit, I will flip on light switches and nothing happens. I will press buttons, open doors to use appliances and it takes a second to realize that nothing is working in each instance. I still go to the wrong silverware drawer in our kitchen even though my wife changed that years ago so maybe its just me. Dealing without power or electronic devices is a huge hurdle for some people to overcome. In a life or death situation, the absence of power is disorientating so what can you do now to develop experience in living without the convenience we are all so used to?

You could go a weekend without power and this is frequently recommended. Simply flip the main breaker on Friday night and put all of the cell phones, tablets and e-readers in the closet. Bonus points for shutting off the water also.

This exercise will allow you to adapt to living without electricity as you see how to light your way, possibly use stored water or perhaps go and get water to live on, cook and bathe for the weekend. For a lot of people this is a huge eye opener that can highlight holes in their preparedness plan.

Practice makes perfect

Is your plan to bug out to the woods if Ebola breaks out or some other form of societal collapse? Have you meticulously gathered the contents of your Bug Out Bag and have it ready to go in the back of your car? Have you ever put it on and walked 20 miles through the woods or even down the road with it on your back? Have you tried to live for 72 hours off the supplies in your Bug Out bag to see if you have the right equipment and more importantly the experience with what works and what doesn’t. Another aspect of prepping is the knowledge and experience of what to do with these supplies you have stored. You don’t want your first experience building and lighting a fire with your Swedish fire steel to be when it is raining, dark and you are scared. Your ability to safely collect and filter water will give you confidence. The ability to navigate without the benefit of roads or GPS possibly will also give you invaluable exposure to the aspects of your plan that could fail.

Activities like backpacking are the perfect test scenario for bugging out. You strap that behemoth you have been building for months with all of the gear you have read about on bug out bag checklists and see what it’s like living in the woods for 3 days. There will be so much you learn about both your physical ability, the weight and utility of your bug out bag as well as whether or not the items you have worked or were necessary in the first place. After my first backpacking adventure with my family, I knew that I needed to drop at least 20 pounds from my pack if I had any hope of running through the night away from disaster in it.

Challenge yourself in small but important ways.

Develop a can-do attitude

One of the main elements of survival is the belief that you will make it through; that you can overcome whatever obstacles you face. This is not something that comes naturally to everyone so it helps to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and see how you fare. Just take something as relatively simple as being too hot or too cold. When winter comes do you run inside the second you get cold? This is probably because you aren’t dressed for the weather. What if you couldn’t go inside? Would you sit there, shivering and complaining?

In a disaster, expect things to be uncomfortable. Expect to suffer a little bit and try this out when you are perfectly safe. Stay outside in inclement weather all day and do physical things. You will learn that you won’t die and that you can make it through situations where you’d rather be back indoors. Spend the night out in the woods by yourself, set up your tent, build a fire and think big things. You learn that you aren’t helpless and that you can do things for yourself. Even if you already have a healthy dose of this experiences like this build your endurance. They mentally reinforce you will the knowledge that you can do things on your own.

Train to build up your body strength

Nobody ever said survival was easy. You could expect to be hungry, tired and to work more than you do on any normal day. To have the best chance at survival you need to be in excellent physical shape. Does that mean you need to be carved up like one of the models on the fitness magazines? Not at all, but you do need to be able to carry yourself around all day without pain or discomfort regardless of your age. Can you walk around all day, possibly with a pack or do you have a hundred pounds or so to lose? Can you pick yourself off the ground when you fall? If not, how do you expect to survive out in the wilderness with that bug out bag that’s too heavy on your back? Some people want to give up rather than put the effort into survival but even if you have every prepping supply in the world, you have to be in shape.

Get in shape now or suffer later.

Everyone who doesn’t have a physical handicap can get in better shape for $0. If you are overweight, start off walking. Walking is a great exercise that is free, doesn’t require a membership and you don’t need fancy clothes or equipment for it. Start off slow and build your way up. Maybe you could even begin running one day. Personally I think everyone who is seriously considering any bug out on foot scenario should be able to run 2 miles without stopping. Can you run at all? Can you run with your bug out bag?

Mastering your own body strength is something that anyone can do with time and will give you a huge amount of endurance. If you can walk all day without stopping, run a few miles three times a week, knock out a few dozen push ups and sit-ups daily you will be in so much better shape than the person who watches TV for 4 hours or sits in front of that computer all day. Strength will keep you healthy, it will prevent injuries and will help you last longer, go the extra mile when you might need to in order to save your life.

I wrote recently about the will to live and I believe that is at the heart of every prepper out there. I know it is my goal and I want to take as many people along with me as possible. Do you have what it takes to endure?

This article was written by Pat Henry at The Prepper Journal.  The original article can be viewed here.  Like them on Facebook while you are there!

Prepper Preparedness: Personal Fitness and Health

Hiking-for-Survival_thumbThe older I get, the more I value the importance of good health and good physical fitness as it relates to long term survival.  After huffing and puffing during a recent hike up 800 feet, I realized that the time had come to reassess my personal health and fitness goals and to bone up on personal medical preparedness.

It is not that I am in bad shape, mind you, but that there is room for improvement.  What I am talking about here is not only the replacement of toxic pharmaceuticals with natural remedies, but with an overall physical assessment to include mobility and stamina as well as diet, exercise and heart health.

Somewhat egging me along is the realization that this is one area of survival prepping that tends to fall to the bottom of almost everyone’s priority list.  Think about it. You might have six months of food, six months of water, a sustainable food garden, a fully stocked first aid kit, and tools, supplies and generators that would allow you to live off the grid if the SHTF.

But what if you had to flee? What if you had to grab your boots, bags and backpacks and really get the heck out of dodge? Could you make it? How far could you walk in dangerous weather conditions or uncertain terrain? And the stress. Could you cope?

The Personal Fitness Inventory

These are all important questions that might be answered by taking a personal health and fitness inventory by asking the following questions:

Health:  What the state of your general health?  Do you take a lot of prescription drugs?  Is your weight in proportion to your height?  Do you check your blood pressure regularly and do you see a dentist at least once a year for a general checkup and cleaning?

Fitness:  Do you exercise regularly?  How far can you walk briskly without getting winded?

Mental Balance:  Are you happy?  Can you cope with the stresses of daily life?  Do you consider yourself mentally “balanced”?

It is my belief that these three survival tools (health, fitness and mental balance) work together so that improvement in one area synergistically helps with the other two.  Want some recommendations?

Read more here…

This article was written by Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

5 Free Fitness Apps to Get You in Shape Fast

FitnessAppsIt is May now and we are fast approaching swim suit season. Are you dreading going to the pool and exposing yourself to friends and family? Even worse, do you simply no longer care at all? Most of us aren’t in the shape we want to be in and if this doesn’t apply to you, don’t worry about it. If like most of us, you have some things you want to improve and are struggling with motivation or keep coming up with excuses then this post is for you.

I am not a spring chicken anymore but I am nowhere near over the hill. I have a lot of life left in me and I want to make the most of it. I have known for some time that I needed to exercise more and truthfully, I am not a couch potato; don’t really watch TV at all. I am fairly sedentary with my work though so I need to exercise as much as possible to offset the hours of sitting and staring at a computer. I eat relatively well, lots of fresh foods and not too much junk, but I do like my desserts. That combined with my inactivity had given me a little extra weight I needed to get rid of and if you have any thoughts about being in the best shape to run or fight or perform a lot of manual work like we could expect in a SHTF scenario you don’t want to be unprepared. Isn’t that what we are always talking about on the Prepper Journal?

It isn’t the weight so much as strength. In my life I have always struggled a little with weight although I have never obsessed to the point of actually being the weight I wanted to be. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a six pack. Well, on my stomach that is… In more times than I can imagine I have dieted and gone to the gym and had periods where I slimmed down and others where I bulked up. Not with muscle so much either, unless you are talking table muscle. Each time I would find some motivation and I would get back at it and make decent progress for a while, but that perfect body in my mind never matched what was in the mirror. Genetics and laziness had it in for me.

Recently, I decided to get back on the horse again for two reasons. The first is that I seriously wanted to be in shape. The second is my daughter wanted to run the Warrior Dash with me. I accepted and that was all the motivation I needed to start working out again. Running a 5K isn’t too bad at all but you add some obstacles in there and things get interesting. There are no shortage of people who aren’t in the best shape that get out there too, but I wanted to push myself to be better and stronger than I was last time.

Before I started my workout this time though I tried to set different goals for myself. Instead of imagining myself with a trimmed, cut physique you see in magazines, I imagined myself as simply being strong. I decided that I could really live with 10 extra pounds as long as I could physically lift more or have longer stamina for the tasks I needed to do. Instead of looking in the mirror and taking selfies like so many people I was just going to focus on getting stronger. I would leave the skinny and obsession about appearances for someone else.

The Goals

My goals were simpler in my opinion. I wanted to be able to run 3 miles easily, do 100 push ups , 200 sit-ups and 10 pull-ups each day. If I could do that I reasoned I would be in pretty darn good shape considering everything else. Why did I pick these and not something like being able to  bench-press 400lbs? Well, one of the prerequisites of this goal was that I didn’t want to have to rely on the gym or anyone else for my fitness. I have had several gym memberships and for me I think they were a waste. If you can’t lift your own weight, why go to the gym and get on a machine? I can run on the streets where I live for free. Pushups, sit-ups and pull-ups are all free too, I just needed a pull-up bar which I already had.

Even though I didn’t want to go to the gym, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have some help. I wanted to see what free fitness apps were available that could help me with my workout program and I found and use the following:

5KRunnerRunning is something that I used to do fairly regularly. Actually, this is my 3rd 5K which I know is no Boston Marathon, but it’s enough for me to be able to get out and run 3 miles easily. I don’t need to do any more than that. When I first started running again I had been inactive for a pretty good while except the daily walks I mentioned so I wanted an app that would ramp me back up to a 5K. I found the 5K Runner program and really loved it. You start out very slow and each day, the program will guide you to run a little more until you are finally running a 5K. You can play your own playlists or listen to music while you run and the 5K runner will tell you exactly when to run and when to slow down and walk. All you need to provide is the place to run and to get your butt out there and do it.

PushupsPushups for me were a nightly routine that I would do more or less each night unless I forgot or was tired. My routine was anything but and I wanted something that could coach me to more push ups. I would crank out 20 or 30 and call it quits, but I found Pushups 0-100. This app is great and similar to the 5K Runner app, it starts you out slow and daily builds the number of push ups you are doing. Each day you perform 5 sets. The middle set has the most push ups and the last set is hard to complete. You get badges when you reach different levels, but one cool thing is that not only does it tell you how many push ups you do each day, but it keeps a running count of all your push ups to date. Its pretty cool when you see the total go over 1000 push ups. The whole program takes just 10 weeks and at the end you will be doing 5 sets of 20 for 100 push ups.

SitupsSitups was the next app and wouldn’t you know the makers of the Pushup app had a free app for sit-ups too! Situps 0-200 follows the exact same principle as the push ups where you start out gradually through 6 sets of varying reps until you finish week 10 by doing 8 sets of 25 sit-ups for a grand total of 200 sit-up’s. You get badges along the way to motivate you and the app keeps track of how many sit-ups you have done and lets you know automatically how much time to rest and prompts you when it is time to do another set. I just lay this in the floor next to me, crank out my sit-ups and press “did it” when I have finished. Sit-ups will let me know how long to rest and then ping when it is time to crank out some more. Even if you have another app open, the timer still works and you are alerted.

30daysAnother app I use to strengthen my core is one called 30 days. This app has a little different approach to progressing you through work-outs and offers a lot of additional exercises in one app. I got this primarily to work on Planks. For those that don’t know Planks are reported by some to be better than sit-ups at strengthening a larger set of muscles and it looks easier. What you don’t realize at first is how hard it can be holding a plank position for a minute or two or over three. 30 Days lets you select your exercise and you can add multiples to your plan. Once selected, 30 Days gets you to do as many of that exercise as possible. For me and the Plank it was to hold the plank position for as long as I could. 30 days times you and when you are finished, 30 Days takes your time and figures out a workout plan for you based upon that time.

SquatsLastly for the legs I have another app for squats made by the same people who brought you push ups and sit-ups above. Same concept and same execution. Squats 0-100 gives you a set number of reps and sets and builds on that until you are stronger. And there are others out there if you want to bump your workouts to the next level. There are push ups and sit-ups extreme versions that cost $1.99 each but increase the reps and intensity. Why squats? This is another exercise that uses your own body weight and will strengthen you without machines. This plus running and even the planks will increase strength and stamina.

No Magic Pill

No, these apps are not magic and you could do all these exercises without any app at all I know. You have to motivate yourself to get up and push yourself to not only exercise, but complete each of these plans. What will that give you? It will give you more energy and strength. Will it make you look like Kim Kardashian? Nope, but it will get you in shape. Being in shape, able to lift your own body weight and last all day through grueling work is what is important. Selfies from the gym aren’t.

Do you have any favorite apps or exercises you use?

This information has been made available by The Prepper Journal

This article was written by Pat Henry at The Prepper Journal.  The original article can be viewed here.  Like them on Facebook while you are there!

Healing Power of Lemons

lemons_flickr-Abhijit-Tembhekar--600x300There used to be a time when I would look at a lemon, and the only thing I thought about was “lemonade.” I didn’t get people who drank lemon in their water, squeezed it on their fish, or put it in their tea. I mean, who wants all that sour taste, right?

In recent years, I’ve grown to love lemons. I’ll even have a little in my tea from time to time… but did you know lemons have some pretty amazing health benefits? Let’s look into the healing power of lemons.

Headaches – Lemon juice with a few teaspoons of hot tea added is a treatment discovered by a sophisticated New York bartender, for those who suffer with hangover headaches. It was eventually learned that it helped headaches due to many other causes, as well.

High Blood Pressure – Lemon contains potassium which controls high blood pressure and reduces the effect of nausea and dizziness.

Mental Health – Lemon water can pep up your mood and relieve you from depression and stress.

Respiratory Problems – Lemon water can reduce phlegm; and can also help you breathe properly and aids a person suffering with asthma.

Continue reading and view the article here.

This article was written by Patrick from Survival At Home