Proverbial Flying Shit

On Sunday, I drove past a church and paused when I saw a long line in front of the door. Upon closer inspection I saw the sign on the door “Mass at Capacity”. The people standing outside in the cold were waiting for their opportunity to go to mass, as in our current lockdown stage, churches are operating at limited to no capacity.

Back in the summer, when the powers that be said it would be all right if we met with small bubbles or cohorts, I was walking in the park and I saw an older woman approach a younger woman on the pathway. The younger woman started to put a mask on, asking “Mom, can I give you a hug? I’ll keep my mask on.”

Today, leaving the same park, I saw a woman take two steps towards another woman in the parking lot – pause and look around. Once she was satisfied no one was watching, she quickly hugged the other woman, then backed away quickly, eyes darting around to make sure that no one was going to cause a fuss.

Is that the kind of world we are living in right now? A world where touching another human being is illegal?

When we first became low-key preppers, started learning how to turn tomatoes into salsa, how to grow our own food and build fires (survival stuff, you know)… we really thought we were preparing for a dystopian future that would include food shortages, grid failures and burning cities.

While it’s true that those difficulties are possible (if not already happening to some) we never thought we would be living in a dystopian world where the simple act of hugging your friends and family would be enough to get bylaw services on the phone. A world where shopping at Walmart is legal but leaving your isolation to hug your mom at a park is not. A world where gathering in long lines at Costco is safe, but grieving a recent loss with immediate family is dangerous and prohibited. A world where ‘mass is at capacity’ for the safety of the many, but flying to Hawaii on a plane stuffed with strangers is a reasonable risk.

How do you prep for a SHTF scenario that isn’t the grid going down, but instead the proverbial flying shit is the banning of connection with your fellow human beings?

I’m still working on the answer to that question.

What kind of message are we giving our children?


Something has been on my mind a lot lately – what are we teaching our children about their wellbeing, about their health in this global pandemic? What are we telling them about their own capacity for healing and thinking?

As we outsource all personal responsibility for our wellbeing to talking heads and experts who’ve never met us, what are we teaching children about themselves?

What are we teaching them as we cross the street to avoid other humans?

It seems to me the messages we are sending them are fear based. Fear other people. Fear germs. Fear that your body will fail you. Fear your community. Fear playgrounds and other children.

What if we sent them a different message?

What if we told them their bodies are impressive, holistic systems that can protect them from all sorts of germs, particularly when supported by a healthy lifestyle.

What if we taught them that what we put in our bodies matters, food is medicine. Our bodies transform nutrients into energy that keep the brain, the heart, the lungs, the immune system functioning well. It’s not simply a matter of avoiding exposure – our bodies are complex systems that relay on emotional health, mental health, a vibrant microbiome to function effectively (WELL and TRULY proven by great bodies of research).

What if instead of walking around teaching children little rhymes about wearing masks and not touching our faces, our children walked around singing rhymes about probiotics, vitamin D – that’s what you need to stay healthy…!

If public wellbeing truly matters, why are we not looking at this from a holistic perspective? Humans do not thrive in isolation. Humans are loving beings that thrive in connection. Humans have microbiomes that need exposure to the world around us and we need nutrient dense foods.

When I think about the kind of world I want to live in, I have to think about the kind of world I want my children to live in. I don’t want them to live in a bubble wrapped world of fear. I don’t want them to be afraid of spending time with other humans.

I want them to understand that their bodies are beautiful and strong. And if we look after them right they will look after us. Take care of your cells and your cells take care of you. Just as Earth provides and sustains us if we look after our Earth, she will continue to nurture sustain and provide for us. Our bodies, if we care for them, can be strong – they are also the home of our souls (or consciousness if you like). However you view the human spirit our bodies are the home of our consciousness, our identities. If we care for our bodies, our bodies will continue to sustain us until the time that nature reaches the part of the cycle where we move on.

I want my children to grow up in a world of love, not fear. I want to live in this world too. This has been a tough year across the world for so many people. My concern (and why I’m sharing this post) is that we have forgotten our own power, our own capacity for vibrancy and sufficiency. We have forgotten that children are people and they do not have the same freedoms that we do (simply because they are children) and adults make choices for them. What is happening to their social and emotional development right now? We treat our elderly as poorly – we remove both our elderly and our children from the decision making processes as if their opinions and feelings about their own lives do not matter. Why are we leaving the most vulnerable out of the decision making process? Why do we deny them (and ourselves) the dignity of making their own decisions about their lives?

We have outsourced our survival to experts in an unsustainable system. We have outsourced our emotional and physical wellbeing. We have given up our own moral responsibility to care for those around us to a fear filled and ugly system of living that may even change our own biology.

What I learned when I started preserving food at home

I grew up growing food at home. My very first job was in a greenhouse, growing a variety of edible and decorative plants. I spent my summers in our families extra large vegetable garden, growing our own produce. Carrots and squash fresh from the garden were common sights through the summer and fall.

It wasn’t until I became an adult that I tried my hand at preserving some of this summer bounty. The first thing I learned is that it’s not actually that hard. For some reason they’re always been this sort of mystery around making your own jams and jellies. Some kind of wisdom that you had to have passed down from generation to generation to actually implement.

But then one summer we ended up with a bumper crop of tomatoes – more tomatoes than I have ever seen in one small raised bed garden in my life. There was simply no way to eat them before they spoiled, and the neighbors already had their hands full of tomatoes. Luckily we live in a world where the knowledge of the world is at your fingertips and usually in your pocket. It was a simple search to find a few processes that didn’t seem too daunting, and the idea of being just that much more self sufficient was very exciting. Turns out that once you get some practice in, preserving herbs, veggies and fruit for future use is simple and not that mysterious.

The second thing I learned while turning my tomatoes into sauces was that there’s also a measure of satisfaction in taking something you grew and turning it into something even more edible and delish.

There’s something magical about living in this simple and sustainable mindset where nothing is wasted, everything is prepared slowly and thoughtfully. In a constantly connected and incredibly fast paced world, taking that time to blanch, peel, slice, season and jar those tomatoes was an exercise in mindfulness.

This embracing of a slower and sustainable way of living changed the overall feel of our supper times. A simple practice that levelled up our self sufficiency skills. Knowing just how that food got to your plate is pretty dang neat.

Personal Responsibility and Public Health, a low-key preppers perspective

If you’re a human on planet Earth right now you’ve probably noticed that in the the name of public health, most humans are walking around with face coverings of some sort to keep a potentially deadly virus from spreading among the general population.

You’ve probably also noticed increased instructions to wash your hands and stay home when you’re feeling unwell. earnestly disseminated by your local government (but let’s be real here if you weren’t washing your hands often before, what were you doing?)

Now all this instruction is well and good, when faced with something new and ominous it’s great to know that direction is coming from somewhere. Heaven forbid we try and make our own decisions about our health! It’s so delightfully easy to transfer responsibility for my wellbeing to the ‘experts’ because I simply don’t have the time to devote to my own health, there’s a new season of something I should be watching.

Jesting aside, there is something worth considering here.

There is a reasonable amount of science behind what sugar does to the immune system. One might say there’s as much (or more) research regarding immune function as there is to the efficacy of masks in community settings.

I am sitting here wondering why there is nothing discouraging me from buying a litre of soda and 10 chocolate bars every day since this health crisis arose.

Now please don’t mistake my tone, I am not trying to say we shouldn’t be washing our hands and wearing our masks and staying home if we’re sick, those are all good things to do. If you take nothing else away from this pandemic, it’s stay the f*** home when you are sick, your body needs rest dude.

What I’m questioning is the narrative that claims lockdowns and restrictions are strictly about public health. If the local government can mandate and enforce face coverings, don’t you think they have the ability to encourage and educate people in how to properly maintain an immune system?

Think of it this way – sugar has a coma like effect on your immune system. Studies have shown that when you consume 75 to 100 g of sugar (about the amount of sugar contained in two 12 oz sodas), the sugar actually suppresses the body’s immune response, effects of this are felt up to five hours after consuming the sugar. So if you get exposed to germs in that time frame, there’s a 40% drop in the ability of white blood cells to combat those germs. That’s alot!

Given that a well functioning immune system is fairly critical for survival, particularly in these times, don’t you think the current crises warrants a little extra education on how we can keep that critical system in tip top shape?

Let’s break it down a bit more – links to relevant studies at the end of my little rant, for those fact checkers among us. You know who you are!

Research shows us that we have an active and busy little microbiome in our guts. This vibrantly alive part of our system helps regulate normal immune response. When the mucosal immune system is inflamed, then the immune system doesn’t respond well to intruders, nor does it form the appropriate ‘memory’ needed to fight the intruder the next time we meet it. Sugar and other franken-foods tend to inflame and upset the balance of that microbiome. Given that there is a clear relationship between our diet and our immune response, I tend to think that what I put in my body really matters, more so than ever.

So don’t you think it would behoove our public health experts to dial us into this simple little fact? How difficult would it have been to send out a little flyer that encourages us to eat healthy, to avoid sugar, to get adequate rest?

Better still, consider why the industries that supply us with sugar on tap haven’t been asked to shut down in the name of public health? Why is it that I can walk into any convenience store or fast food restaurant and purchase 80 grams of sugar filled fake food with no difficulty?

It’s just something I’ve been thinking about – what matters more – public health or being able to freely buy, buy, buy in a world that needs all your $5.00 purchases to continue making their way to the pockets of the rich. Maybe it’s something you should think about too. Are you willing to outsource your personal responsibility?

References:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-05649-7

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28465831/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29637999/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723551/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32813065/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31127637/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7284805/

Getting the low down on low key prepping.

Prepping: noun the action or process of preparing something, or preparing for something (that something often being the inevitable SHTF)

Low-key: adjective not elaborate, showy, or intensive; modest or restrained (also not super motivated or emotionally intense)

For us, low key prepping is all about doing what you can with what you have, wherever you are – when you feel like it.

It’s about learning a new skill when you’ve got extra tomatoes that need to be used.

It’s about being aware of your impact and taking little steps to live more intentionally.

It’s about sharing what you know with others so we can all grow stronger.

It’s about living within your means and being aware that one day, somewhere, SWHTF, and it wouldn’t hurt to be low key prepared.

Radical Homemaking

[E]ach of us has a calling or right livelihood that enables us to serve the common good, and in finding this calling, we will be most happy. Few, if any spiritual teachings call us to seek the accumulation of money, stuff, power, or other purely selfish interests.  Further, in a life-serving economy, we individually accept responsibility for creating our own joys and pleasures.  We do not rely upon corporate America to sell us these things.  We take personal and collective responsibility for supplying many of our needs.  In taking these steps, we discover that true economic assets, unlike money, are intangible.” Radical Homemakers author Shannon Hayes

Radical Homemaking – making a meaningful life created by our own efforts. NOT dependent on a cold and corporate ever shifting economy.