Thursday, February 26, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Run And Not Be Weary, Walk And Not Fall Flat On Your Face

It can be SO confusing trying to sift through the deep forest jungles of nutrition information. There's the Atkins Diet, the Paleo Diet, the South Beach Diet, and the list can go on and on! I recently just heard about the Ram An Onion Up Your Nose Diet (ok, not really, but some of these can really get out of hand). All of these diets are encouraged for quick weight loss and are supposed to bring "health" to the body. We appreciate living in the "Information Age", but TMI (too much information) can leave us overwhelmed and confused. Even though we may reside in the overgrown jungle of nutrition confusion and misinformation, I am going to hand you a machete and we'll sift through this together. 

So, why do we want to eat right? 

One of the reasons we want to eat right is because we want to feel good. When we feel good physically, we then have the energy and stamina to be able to help and serve others. When we are sick all the time, we can't even help ourselves. Some of the greatest temple blessings we can receive are those of health...but, like anything else, faith without works is dead. In Doctrine and Covenants 89 we received the Word of Wisdom. In the word of wisdom we learn that wholesome grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts are for us to eat. Meat can be eaten, but is to be eaten sparingly. Not just because too much animal protein produces too much mucus for our bodies which can cause various ailments, but also to "spare" the animal. 

In the book "Original Fast Foods" by James Simmons ( Heber J. Grant is quoted as saying this: 

"I think that another reason I have very splendid strength for an old man is that during the years we have had a cafeteria ( at the temple)....I have not, with the exception of not more than a dozen times, ordered meat of any kind. ... I have endeavored to live the Word of Wisdom and that, in my opinion, is one reason for my good health." (Conference Report, April 1937, p. 15)

I have been to a few classes by Peter Bigfoot, who said he was "vegetarian" for about 20 years, and he said it almost killed him. Sometimes our bodies need it, but sparingly isn't 3 times a day for our entire lives as other guidelines available suggest. 

In "Original Fast Foods" the author suggests 10 percent of what we eat be animal protein. Fair enough.

Dr. John R. Christopher wrote a pamphlet called  "Just What is the Word of Wisdom?" He had some interesting points to consider, so much so that Elder John A. Widtsoe encouraged him to continue to print it so that it would be made available to as many people as possible. Here are a few of his thoughts:
  • Strong drink – “This has generally been accepted as referring to intoxicating liquors, but a strong drink is any drink, hot or cold, which is a habit forming drink.” He goes on to explain that it was many years after this revelation was given before Man and Science understood the phrase “for the washing of your bodies”.   It was discovered that alcohol could be used for the cleansing of wounds and for the killing of germs.
  • Herb to be used with judgment and skill – Dr. Christopher suggests that if tobacco is such a strong and dangerous herb to require a caution for its use even on the outside of the body, “what will it do to the delicate tissues and membranes inside the body?”
  • Hot drinks – “The common conception of hot drinks is tea and coffee . . . Medical Science has discovered  . . . that any hot liquid taken into the body is harmful . . .”  He clarifies that hot chocolate, postum and even soup—if too hot—can be very injurious to the delicate tissues of the body.   (Just What is the Word of Wisdom? By Dr. John R. Christopher, MH, p.5-7) 
What does eating right have to do with self-reliance?
With grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and some meat are to be what the Lord wants for us to eat, we must learn to grow these things for ourselves. It is kind of hard to grow a box of pasta or Oreos. I know this isn't a new idea and I am not trying to re-invent the wheel here. However, if we make our food stores out of things we have grown ourselves, then if store shelves become empty for any number of reasons, we have no need to fear during those times. Think about it, that's a BIGdeal! I think of Daniel and the incredible example he shared with the court in Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom. He had no fear because God's law of health would win, and he KNEW it! Awwwwesome!
In conclusion I would like to share this quote by President Boyd K. Packer:
“The Word of Wisdom was ‘given for a principle with promise’ (see D&C 89:3).  That word principle in the revelation is a very important one.  A principle is an enduring truth, a law, a rule you can adopt to guide you in making decisions.  Generally, principles are not spelled out in detail.   That leaves you free to find your way with an enduring truth, a principle, as your anchor.”  (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1996 p. 17)
So, if you are allergic to some grains or whatever, the principle applies - let it guide your decisions - don't make yourself sick silly pants.
With all of the fad diets and promises of health available for us in this vast age of information, the Lord's law for health surpasses them all. Don't fall for the "fruit only" diet or the "no carbs" diet, the "fat free" diet ...whatever they may be. Balance, moderation and principle is the key. Then, as promised, you "shall run and not be weary, and walk and not faint"...unless you run like me and fall flat on your face, but that has nothing to do with what you are eating. :) 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Balm Of Gilead Did You Borrow?

Jar of Balm of Gilead
Can I Borrow That?

I love it when there are physical things that can be associated with spiritual things. It helps me to understand the gospel better. I've learned some things lately that I'd like to share. 

The Physical Balm of Gilead:

Did you know that the common cotton tree that grows locally has a special property? It is part of the Aspen family. The pain-reliever "Aspirin" originated from qualities extracted from the "Aspen". Kinda cool huh. You can harvest the little buds (on cottonwood trees right now) where the leaves will emerge. These little bundles of joy just waiting to burst are loaded with a resin that help humans with soothing pains and coughs. 

Where does the name come from? 

The Bible dictionary says this: 
An aromatic gum or spice used for healing wounds (Gen. 43:11Jer. 8:2246:1151:8). A bush producing the resin from which the balm was made grew so plentifully in Gilead in Old Testament times that the balm came to be known as the “balm of Gilead” (Gen. 37:25Ezek. 27:17).
The Ishmeelites who purchased Joseph (the son of Jacob/Israel) were on their way from Gilead to Egypt to sell/ trade balm, spices and myrrh. I find it interesting that Joseph would end up being the one who would "sooth" the hunger pains of his brothers many years later. 

It was a highly traded item in that area of the world, because it helped with their pain. 

The Spiritual Balm of Gilead:

In verse three of "Did You Think To Pray" it says: 

When sore trials came upon you, did you think to pray?
When your soul was filled with sorrow, Balm of Gilead did you borrow
At the gates of day?

Where do we turn when our souls are in pain? 

This is an AWESOME talk by Elder Boyd K. Packer about how spiritual and physical ailments are sometimes hard to distinguish between because our spirit and body are one. If we are going through something spiritually painful it can manifest physical symptoms. 

We encourage self-reliance spiritually and temporally, but there are many times when what we have to offer just isn't enough and we need to rely on the Lord for strength and pain relief. 

So now we know the definition of both kinds of "Balm of Gilead" here are the instructions on how to make your own - for your temporal needs. 

Silly Gilead Balmy Salve

1 C. Cottonwood buds
1 1/4 C. olive oil or apricot kernel oil 
2 T beeswax
3 Vitamin e oil capsules (used as a preservative)

Warm the buds in the oil over very low heat in a double boiler for 2 to 8 hours. Strain the buds through a wire mesh strainer and then once again through cheese cloth. Melt beeswax in a pan over low heat and add your bud infused oil and stir well. Poke a hole into your vitamin e capsules and squeeze the oil. Pour into containers.  

Rub the salve on sore muscles, to prevent (or for) diaper rash, temporary arthritis relief, and chapped lips and hands.  


Here are the instructions for how to make cough syrup with these little "buddies":

Balm of Gilead Cough Syrup

  • 1 Cup of Cottonwood buds
  • 3 cups honey or vegetable glycerin
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 8 oz warm water

In a 2 qt pan, warm gently buds and honey or glycerin for 8 hours (or even overnight...the longer you warm it, the more resin is steeped into the honey or glycerin). Strain the buds out of the honey/ glycerin. When there is a cough that needs a remedy, warm 8 oz of water, add the lemon juice and 4 T of cough syrup. Bottoms up! 


Today I offer you some Balm of Gilead in whichever way you might need it be is spiritual or physical. May you find soothing relief either way. May you never be sold into Egypt. I picked some buds and plan to make some. If you make some, let me know how your experience went and what you found out!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Please Pass The Dysentery!

May the best Berkey win!

If someone were to ask you at the dinner table, "Would you please pass the dysentery" - you might think them insane! Who wants severe stomach cramps and the constant desire to use the restroom, not to mention severe dehydration? I mean REALLY? But, without the "sanitation" which most people in the United States typically enjoy today, if you use dirty water to clean yourself or your dishes etc - dysentery is exactly what you're asking for. "Oh, pass the salt too...."

The water we drink today is treated, unless you have a well that is. It has several chemicals in it that kill bacteria, viruses and the like. The downside is those chemicals can take a toll on our bodies, but at least we don't have cholera, tuberculosis, dysentery and other similar diseases running rampant because of a simple thing such as "clean" water to wash with and drink. We have learned from other's experiences during Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy that an overabundance of dirty water is a breeding ground for nasty illness. What illnesses do we face with a lack of water? How do we avoid them?

My sons and I have been listening to "A Distant Prayer" by Joseph Banks as we go to and from the temple. It is a humbling story of a B-17 Engineer that was shot down during WWII. After his capture, he was imprisoned for several months before he and 1000 other malnourished and injured American soldiers in his prison camp were forced on a march for three months. While he was in the prison camp they were given one bucket of water for 20 men to wash their mess kits (personal dishes) and hands etc. Because of this mucky water, most of the men had dysentery. Joe remembered something he learned as aBoy Scout. If you take your dishes and clean them with dirt, you avoid the microbes that leave you running...and running...and running to the potty. 

The day after Christmas the Germans were desperate to keep their prisoners. They were the last bargaining chip they had, so they made these poor in body and spirit servicemen march in the snow without sufficient clothing, food or water. Everyone was sick and weak. Joe remembered something else he had learned in Boy Scouts if you do get dysentery, chew on coal from the fire (cooled off of course) and it will ease the pains. He didn't know why, but it helped a lot. We know today that charcoal absorbs toxins and moves them out the back door, which is why it provided some relief. 

Thankfully, we will never have to endure the experience that Joe did. Today we have some amazing products out there to help us have clean water so we can avoid some of these diseases altogether. You may have lots of questions, hopefully we can answer some of them with these videos.

If you are using your 72 hour kit, you can't really carry a Berkey with you, so here is something to consider for your kit:

It is awesome that I came to the same conclusion for my family. We filter all of the water we drink because chlorine in the treated water can also take a toll on the body, especially the heart. However, I will take chlorinated water any day over the alternative because you couldn't pay me to have dysentery, cholera, or tuberculosis. Clean water is that important. Pass the water please.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Go Ahead! Punch My Laundry!

The time has come the walrus said...

To make your own cooking bag (who said poems have to rhyme?)

You've dreamed of it, but you just didn't know how to make it! Today is your day bro...I mean sis... here is a very detailed video on how to make your own 

Thermal Cooking Bag!

You know you want come and get it!


It looks like a plunger, acts like a plunger...but is it a duck?

You know... this world is full of crazy people! Sometimes I'm one of them...sometimes I'm not. It really depends on which personality I choose to wake up with in the morning. Some mornings my kids call me "Volcano Woman". That's funny...I don't even own a volcano dress. But I digress. With all the crazy people in this world the ones that crack me up are the ones who insist you punch them in the stomach. I guess they have to prove how tough they are or something. Maybe they just want to prove something to someone.

There are days I get like that though. I get this crazy idea in my head when it comes to doing things without electricity. At the top of my list is the unhingedy-loony idea of doing LAUNDRY by hand. I've done a few batches here and there in 5 gallon buckets just to practice. But...I've never done it all by hand before!! So, go ahead...punch my laundry I dare ya!

One of the biggest things I've learned is that this 5 gallon bucket thing with 5 kids does not equal efficient. I had to think outside the box...or just outside. We have a 60 gallon water tub much like this one :

  • I filled it about 2/3 with water
  • plopped 3 Tide packets in the water and 
  • added the clothes (and let them soak for a few minutes)

 Some may be thinking, "What is the temperature of the water?" Honey, just cold water. I'm not adding "boiling water" to this to-do list today. I was able to do about 3 loads worth in one shot! That was worth it right there. Then I filled a 5 gallon bucket with rinse water. I had a laundry basket ready for my rinsed and squeezed clothing ready to hang. 

It took me about an hour. The dry time for the laundry would be a lot less if I had stronger squeezers in my arms. I'd like to purchase a hand- wringer like this one from Amazon. 

Here is what the first review says:

When hurricane Sandy hit the NJ area, our power went out for days. As I am writing this review, I still know many people whose power is still out (in 2012). We wand up having to wash our clothes by hand and having to hand wring them. It was an activity that was fun for our young kids and it gave us something constructive to do. When it came to the wringing out the clothes part, the kids fled. Wringing out the clothes was a job and a half and I still didn't do it properly as some towels took many days to dry on the clothes line. In addition, the residual detergent aggravated the skin on my hands. That is why I bought this wringer. When you think of "Made in America", you think of something that costs more but is made with real quality. This wringer exceeded my quality expectations. It is like a Sherman tank. Very solid. It looks and feels like it will still be working for many generations to come.

If you want to be prepared for a prolonged power outage and if you want to make sure you get a wringer that won't break when you need it, this is a great device to have handy. It is expensive but you won't be thinking about the money you spent if you need to use it. When I get backup devices, like this, I want great quality stuff that isn't going to break when I need it.

I have looked for a long time for a wringer that had good reviews that didn't cost a small fortune. This looks like a good one, but I haven't personally used it. 

So, there you have it! It is kind of funny how you can prepare for the future while looking back to the past. I might not be as gently deranged as I thought. If you see me outside plunging my laundry, just be glad I didn't ask you to punch me in the stomach. That would be TOTALLY crazy.