Monday, January 25, 2010

Raw Honey 101

Raw Honey.......More than just a sweetener.
Raw Honey
First off, honey is a wonderful sweetener.  I especially enjoy Raw, Crystallized Desert Blossom Honey.  Since it is crystallized, you have to use a spoon or a knife to extract it from the container.  It doesn't pour out of the container like processed honey.  It is lower in moisture content than the processed or regular honey that you buy in the stores, which helps to concentrate the natural flavor and sweetness.  Raw honey doesn't go through the same processing as commercial honey and it readily crystallizes, which explains the  deep golden color of raw honey.  (Incidentally, you can warm up crystallized honey and it will become more viscous and you can pour it, but you run the risk of losing out on the beneficial enzymes.)
Raw Honey II
Growing up, I really enjoyed sports.  I had one soccer coach who used honey to help rejuvenate tired athletes after games.  He would provide different honey foods and snacks after games to help with muscle fatigue and provide a natural boost to tired bodies.  As a missionary in Argentina, a simple yet effective tonic for many illnesses, including soar throats, was warm lemon water and honey.  The natural antioxidants of lemons and honey, coupled with the other health benefits of the two often produced great results in a relatively short amount of time.  Most nutritionists seem to agree that while white sugar and other processed sugars weaken the bodies immune system, honey can help in healing.
We use raw honey as a wonderful spread on toast.  Instead of grabbing a so-called energy drink, toast some bread, add a little butter and spread with raw honey.  This will provide a bit of an immediate pick-up, while helping to sustain energy.  One of our favorite uses of raw honey is to add a bit of sweetener to breakfast smoothies.  We also use it for homemade barbecue sauce recipes.   It is especially great for sweetening hot breakfast cereals like oatmeal, corn meal mush, farina (creamy wheat) and cracked wheat.
I am not a nutritionist, but from past personal experience and from research I have conducted, I feel like there are wonderful benefits of honey, especially raw honey.  Raw honey has nutural enzymes that assist in digestion and assimilation.   Honey has natural antioxidants that help with our immune systems and assist the body's natural defenses.  Honey, when collected from local sources, is also considered to assist in helping individuals with allergies.  This comes from the fact that the bees are harvesting local pollens for their hives.
Raw honey can be difficult on infants because of the natural enzymes and other factors.  Also, many folks store honey but don't regularly use it.  If you go from white sugar and white flour to honey and whole wheat, your body is going to be in for a shock.  So, the best advice is to incorporate these into your diets now on a regular basis.  This is not only to help you from a transition standpoint, but to provide your body with more nutrition.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chia Seed Via Troy

Chia Seeds are a nutritional power house that we have been missing out on for a number of years!
Chia Turtle

For years, most of us associated Chia Seeds (Salvia Hispanica) with the cute little pets that children loved to grow through sprouting.  Little did we know that the cute little sprouting seeds we were using were really an ancient super food utilized by the Aztec people.  At first glance, Chia Seeds look like a dark or black seed.  However, on closer examination one will find that the seed is a beautiful mottled seed of black, grey, brown and white.

Many nutritionists point out that Chia Seeds are a super food.  Chia Seeds are often compared to the nutritional value of Flax Seeds.  Chia Seeds are high in essential fatty acids and Omega 3's,  and represent a soluble fiber.   Some of the advantages that Chia Seeds have over Flax Seeds is that they do not need to be cracked or ground.  Chia Seeds can be used raw, soaked or sprouted.  Chia Seeds have natural antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help aid in nutrition, digestion and absorption.  Chia Seeds help aid the body in its digestion of other foods and help maximize the nutritional value of other foods, and is thus seen as a great dietary support.

Chia Seeds are highly hydrophilic, which means that they are able to soak up relativly large amounts of water.  The seeds will soak up about 9-10 times their own weight in water.  After soaking for about an hour, the seeds become a nutritious gel.  An easy way to do this is place 1 Tablespoon of Chia Seeds in 1/4 Cup water and allow to soak overnight.  Then you are ready to  add them in to a delicious smoothie, soups, casseroles or other meals.

Chia Seeds store well as they do not have oils or other agents that cause them to go rancid.  They store will in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight in glass jars or PETE Containers.

We typically add raw chia seeds into our smoothies in the morning.  Immediately the seeds go to work soaking up liquid and becoming gelatinous.   For a great Breakfast Smoothie try mixing the following in a VitaMix or other blender:

Super-Charged Breakfast Smoothie with Chia Seeds

2-3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds

Handful of greens (Spinach or Kale or Beet Greens)

2 or 3 fruit servings (Bananas, Pineapple, Strawberries, other berries, etc.)

Orange Juice or Pineapple Juice

6 Cubes of Ice

Blend until smooth and enjoy.  This is a great smoothie packed with vitamins and without the addition of white refined sugar.   We add two additional items to help our children enjoy the smoothie even more.  You can add a slice of beet to make the smoothie come out a nice red color.  You can also add 1-2 Tablespoons of honey to sweeten it even more.
This smoothie makes a great breakfast by itself or a wonderful support to other breakfast items.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Katadyn Combi Water Filtration

It goes without saying......Water is a Vital element of preparedness.

Many of us tend to focus on food storage and year supply, but water is even more important to sustaining life than food.  While there are ways to store a tremendous amount of water, a water filter provides you with a way to access water from various sources in the event your water can't go with you or runs out.

Katadyn is a Swiss Company that has been making water filters for over 80 years!  Katadyn is one of two companies that is listed on the website under water purification guidelines.  The company has a proven track record and makes high quality products.  Our best selling water filter is the Katadyn Combi.  It will filter an amazing amount of water..........up to 13,000 gallons to be exact.  That is a lot of water.  In fact, rarely do folks even request a replacement filter because it is hard to conceive even filtering 13,000 gallons!  While these units are not cheap in price ($160), they are a great value when considering that the next step down is the Katadyn Mini, which filters 2,000 gallons, costs $100.  So, for $60 more you get an additional 11,000 gallons.  The one advantage that the mini has is that it is very small and extremely lightweight.  The Combi is larger and heavier, but is still a perfect size and weight for a 72 hour kit, emergency kit or survival kit.

These amazing filters remove all of the floaties in your water, plus filter out the bacteria and protozoa that make you sick!  The Combi filters down to 0.2 microns to keep your water clean and safe.  You can drop the hose into a stream, lake, pond, pool of stagnant water, canal, natural spring and even a cow trough and pump out potable water!  Water is a priority and the Katadyn Combi provides a way to access thousands of gallons of water.

Please enjoy the video below to view product information and a demonstration of the Katadyn Combi filter:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ultra Gel

Ultra Gel - The Ultimate Thickener

Ultra Gel is really the ultimate thickener.  While most thickeners work fairly well with heat, they really tend to clump up when added to cold items.  However, Ultra Gel is amazing in that it can be added hot or cold!  Ultra Gel is a food starch made from waxy maize and is great for a myriad of applications. 

Here is how easy it is to thicken gravy:

Add in a few tablespoons of Ultra Gel

Stir in with a wisk, and shortly thereafter you have picture perfect gravy.

When you make sauces with Ultra Gel, they don't separate like when you use traditional corn starch.  Ultra Gel helps to stabilize low-fat products such as salad dressings, add body to low sugar foods, such as jams, and allow other sweeteners to be used in a wide variety of foods.  Even if you do have some lumping, you can usually stir out the lumps.  If not, add a bit more liquid and keep stirring.  As with most products, you do have to add in slowly for the most part, but to enjoy lump free sauces and gravies, there really is only one choice:  Ultra Gel.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Herbal Scorpion Sting Remedy

At Preparing Wisely, we carry a line of Reevis Mountain herbal healing products made by Peter Bigfoot.  Peter is a wonderful man and a person who is truly in tune with nature.  Through his intuition, personal experience and countless "encounters" with desert critters and plants of all varieties, he has developed some truly remarkable healing products.  At our home, we love Bigfoot's Magic Stuff and Bigfoot's Awesome Antiseptic.  Both of these products stay in regular use at our home.  Bigfoot's Magic Stuff is great for all sorts of ailments, ie flu, colds, fevers, cold sores, etc.  The Awesome Antiseptic works well on cuts and abrasions, and as you can imagine, with 4 children, we have frequent little accidents throughout the week.  While both of these products are wonderful, our most popular item at the store is the Scorpion Sting Remedy.  We have numerous fans, some long-time fans, of this effective remedy.  Fortunately, we have not had to use this product in our home as of yet!  However, we have received numerous testimonials as to the strength and effectiveness of this remedy.  Folks just can't find anything that really works like it.
Scorpion Sting Remedy

A couple of weeks ago, Teana, the store manager of Preparing Wisely, woke up with pain and discomfort in her hand and fingers only to find that she had been stung by a scorpion!  Living in the desert, this eventuality faces all of us as there is an abundance of scorpions here in Arizona.  Most likely, she was stung by a bark scorpion, which can cause serious problems to the extremeties of our body if stung.  So, she moistened a cotton ball with Scorpion Sting Remedy and applied it to her hand.  Within minutes, the pain, discomfort and numbness started to subside.  She kept it on most of the day.  Whenever she tried to take it off, the pain and discomfort would return quickly!

Herbal remedies are not reviewed by the FDA, and so we only state our experiences and opinions relating to this product.  However, we feel confident in the herbal remedies from Reevis Mountain and we believe in the healing power that can be found in nature.