Saturday, October 30, 2010

Update on our Homestead and getting into shape

Welcome to another episode of the Be Prepared Channel. Well it has been a while since we talked about our homestead plan and our progress. Back in June we thought we had found a place that we were going to setup as our homestead. We made an offer on it in July and have been working with the banks ever since to get the loan closed. Well it seems to us that there must be far more issues in the banking system then they are letting on. First attempt to get the farm financed was with a conventional home loan. 90 days passed and the banks report that they cannot finance the home because there is too much land and it violates some formula they have for the loans and that they cannot get the loan underwritten. Next we inquired about using my VA benefits to get the loan since this is underwritten by the US government we felt we should be able to get the loan under this program. Once again we blow through another 90 days only to be informed by the VA that the barns and outbuildings on the property have lead paint and that unless that is fixed they cannot underwrite the loan. Estimates to get those buildings fixed was $30,000! It appears that there is an entire cottage industry that has cropped up to fight this evil lead paint problem. Talk about a complete waste. What this tells me is that the VA is not writing any loans on old farms because there isn't a old barn in this country that hasn't had lead paint on it at some point. Neither the seller or we could come up with that kind of cash to remedy the situation with the lead paint. I did pay a company to come out and test the buildings that were reported to have lead on them and only 2 of the 4 buildings that were identified by the VA as having lead did actually have lead. But that didn't change the situation with the cost too much because there was no way we could come up with the funds to fix it. So there appears there is no way we can get this loan on this old farm house that we were attempting to buy. It really is a terrible shame as it was probably the best compromise we had found that came closest to meeting our basic requirements for our homestead. So we are once again back on the market searching for homes. It is really sad and disheartening to be back searching for a homestead again since we found it was very difficult finding the first place. We spent from Nov 2009 to Jun 2009 just trying to find the first place. So who knows how long this process is going to take to find something that is workable. So the search continues I went looking at properties last weekend and again today. At this point we are keeping the realtor out of the conversation until we do a drive by and find that the land is farmable and the place looks to be in decent shape. Now with the lead paint issue with the VA we need to find something that either doesn't have the old wooden outbuildings or basically has no outbuildings and we have to basically build from scratch. This complicates matters significantly. So we will keep you posted as new things develop.

Being Prepared - getting in shape
Well guys this is a topic I have been reluctant to talk about because frankly I am not in great shape. I am a computer/IT guy that has let myself go over the years. Long hours, odd hours, and sedentary type work is very hard on the body especially if you don't take action to make sure that you squeeze in time to work out, and look for ways to eat better. I have been talking about genetically modified foods, and the garbage that is pushed on us that they call food today in the stores. It really is mind boggling the chemical, genetically modified, processed garbage that we call food in the US. It is frankly quite scarey. We have an FDA that is basically owned by the major agribusinesses and food processors and by the medical/health care industry. The entire food pyramid is built based on these special interests lobbying efforts and self serving interests. We have entire industries that have cropped up around weight loss, diabetes, and the multitude of other illnesses that have sprouted up around this agribusiness/healthcare nightmare that just feeds itself. So if you want to take control of your life and get your health back on track you need to start by looking at your diet. If your food is in a box, or some other fancy packaging it isn't food. So let's start with what you need to look for in your food:

1. Fresh fruit
2. Fresh veggies
3. Fresh meats
4. Naturally occurring fats and oils
5. If you buying something packaged look at the ingredients. You should not see a long list of chemical soup, additives that are GMO or should not be in your food.

You should understand that there are ingredients that are put in our foods that should not be there. Wheat and soy are processed and put in foods everywhere. These ingredients are not healthy contrary to what your told.

The basis for healthy living is to get back to natural foods that are healthy and can be eaten raw with no processing. If the item your trying to eat could not or should not be eaten when raw then I would question if that food should be in your diet. Many foods that people eat today are not safe to eat when raw and must be cooked before eating them. These foods even after processing and cooking still have low levels of toxins in them that have been found to be linked to cancer, MS, diabetes, Lupus, high blood pressure, obesity, arthritis, heart disease, and the list goes on and on. These foods like rice, wheat, potatoes are actually killing us. I would highly encourage you to investigate this yourself. I recently started reading about a diet called the Paleo Diet or Caveman Diet. It frankly makes too much sense and explains a lot of what is going on with people today.

I started this Paleo way of eating a few weeks ago and I am reluctantly going to admit here in front of God and everyone how overweight I have become and my progress in trying to get my own weight back under control. In the process I hope that my bouts with arthritis in my knees, hands, and neck will be addressed as has been reported. I will admit this is a difficult change to eliminate things that I had come to accept as normal and healthy foods from my diet, but I also have to report that in the few weeks I have been doing this I feel pretty good so far and the weight is slowly coming off without any exercise or additional effort at this point. I am planning on correcting that portion of this health quest next by starting an exercise program in my home.

Let's point out what the Paleo Diet says to avoid:
- Grains(wheat, rice, corn, etc)
- Legumes (peas, beans)
- Dairy (milk, cheese, cream etc)

So tracking my progress so far:
My height: 6'2.5"
Starting weight:
257.8 lbs

Weight at my last weigh in on the Oct 28th:
245.4 lbs

I have decided I will try to keep myself off of the scale and only track my weight once a week. My diet is focusing on carbohydrate content and not on calories. I am sure that my weight loss will pick up speed and become even more consistent as I start to focus on doing some basic exercises and get my butt out on my bicycle. I have to admit I am a fan of the TV program called The Biggest Loser, and decided that it was time to get a handle on this issue that has been plaguing me for decades now with my weight. I feel pretty confident now that I understand the roles of foods better and eating those things that only a caveman would have found and eaten raw. Understanding what is truly edible and healthy is the foundation of understanding what foods we should be consuming. Once we understand that it should be possible to maintain a healthy weight while eating a healthy diet by avoiding those "foods" we know are responsible for most of the health issues that we face today.

I can say I thought it would be a really hard adjustment to quit eating grains, potatoes, dairy, legumes, and any food that wouldn't have been considered caveman friendly. So far I can say it seems overwhelming at first, but it hasn't been that hard once I started focusing on what I am allowed to eat instead of what I am not allowed to eat. As a byproduct of this diet change one of the first things I noticed was my acid reflux and heart burn was gone! I have suffered for years with this and cannot tell you what a relief it is that I am no longer up a good portion of the night battling a volcano in my stomach. This has been amazing and such a welcome relief. I can only hope that any damage to my esophagus can recover from all the acid reflux I have been battling. Two of my tools for battling my acid reflux has been calcium supplements and a glass of milk. This sorta gave me temporary relief, but it appears now that I may have been doing just as much harm as good. So by eliminating grains, legumes, potatoes, dairy, sugar my acid reflux is gone. So try it for yourself. you might be surprised at what you find out for yourself.

So as I add an exercise program to my weight loss project I will keep you posted for those interested in my weight loss and how this diet and exercise program has helped. If your thinking about being prepared but sound like me huffing and puffing after a short trip up the stairs or a brisk walk then maybe it is time we all start working on this one together. This is not something that can wait until TSHTF for you to get in shape and be ready to handle the tasks that we may be force to tackle. Your health is important and is all part of the sustainable lifestyle that we as preppers are working for. The way we eat and live is crucial to understanding what we need to do and be prepared for.

Now some of you might be thinking to yourself. BUT a lot of my prepper supplies are all the things that you just eliminated from your diet!!!! Your right and I am struggling with how to best handle this situation. I think I will follow up in another post about how this shifts my storage foods and food plan. In a critical emergency any foods will be difficult to come by so we may be forced to eat what we have available to us. However knowing that these foods are not part of a normal healthy diet should play part in our food rotation plan and how we address keeping this food storage viable. Normally we would follow the advise of eat what you store, but in this case that might not be great advise. Most of the foods I have just described as healthy are not the types of foods that will store well and are best eaten fresh. So this is going to mean a shift for my own personal food storage plan and how we rotate our supplies. I will keep you posted as I sort this out and think through the implications of health and healthy eating as part of our food storage.

Well I hope I haven't bored you to tears. Here is some reference materials that I have been reading as part of this Paleo diet. I already had materials on the Atkins diet that I pulled out and have been reviewing with this to see where there is synergy.

The Paleo Diet by Dr Cordain (note he has an updated version of this book coming out in Dec that you might want to get instead of this one).

The Paleo Solution Diet by Robb Wolfe
Robb's easy to read writing style is very informative as he explains anti-nutrients found in grains, lugumes, dairy, and many other foods. It is a pretty good read. I found some of the recipies in the book to be conflicting with some of the foods we should be avoiding so pay close attention to these.

Well that is it for this installment. I hope I haven't bored you to tears. If you have any questions about the various diet plans I have mentioned briefly here or what I am eating myself feel free to ask. So far it seems counter intuitive because of bad information we have been force fed about our food over the years, but I am eating foods that people say you should avoid and are not healthy for you and I have never felt better. So what does that say about what the so called experts know? Question everything, assume nothing, and always ask why...

God Bless,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Foreclosure nightmare, and currency wars

Welcome to another installment of the Be Prepared Channel blog. Well this past couple of weeks has been interesting. We see the major banks getting called on the carpet on foreclosures. It appears that they don't have a clear title to many of these loans. They were in such a hurry to create these securitized products for the derivatives orgy that they didn't consider the idea that they wouldn't be able to produce or show a clear title or even a real legal claim. Some states are trying to stop the foreclosures on a technicality regarding reading the paperwork before filing the paperwork to foreclose. So the plot thickens. Banks are still bellying up to the 0% interest money and investing it in treasuries, and stocks pushing the markets higher. Now we hear that the Federal Reserve wants to turn on the pumps to dump more money into circulation.

Some are saying that this puts the banks right back in a bigger mess than what we started with 2 years ago. I frankly don't know if the rumors are true, but it would appear that if the banks were required to buy back these mortgages they wouldn't have the cash and they will be bankrupt once again and we will once again be told we have to bail them out... I say we man the pitch forks, tar, and feathers just in case this happens.

Currency War
Well folks it appears a full fledged currency war is under way with everyone fighting on a race to the bottom. Everyone trying to make sure their currency is weaker than the other nations. China says they plant to revalue the Yuan, but they want it done slow and gradually. Well of course they do! They are milking everyone else and are in the top dog position. So it appears we have the makings of a full fledged currency crisis globally. Our dollar is falling in value fast, and if the Chinese are force to make changes faster than they want you can expect everything you buy to go up in price dramatically. Commodities such as food and energy are already on the climb. I suggest that if you don't already have your food storage plan in full swing and have a fair amount of food stored you may want to think about it. Costs are only going up from here. This is going to be a long slow emergency. We used to say our kids and our kids kids will have to face the messes that have been made, but it looks like we were wrong. It looks it we will get to pay the piper.

Prepping basics:
Just remember that being prepared starts with the basics. You should have the following in your basic plan and build from there:
1. 90 days emergency cash on hand and in your possession.
2. 90 days food storage
3. 1 week of water storage

Once you get to that point then you can start to worry about the other stuff that is important. There are a million things that need to be done, but start by keeping it simple. Once you have the basics in place the rest will fall into place as you start looking at other pressing issues. These are the minimums we should have in place. We can then shift to things like precious metals, energy security, and disaster planning. If you don't have the basics in place then it is time to get busy! Our time is running out to get these things done.

God Bless,