Mental Health & The Polyvagal Theory


The Polyvagal Theory came about as a result of the work & research carried out by Dr Stephen Porges. It relates to the different levels of activation of the vagus nerve and the physical & mental states that occur as a result.

Poly means “many”, Vagal means/relates to the “Vagus Nerve”.

The theory helps to explain why so many people have issues with digestion and also muscle tension resulting in back pain, neck pain, headaches etc.

The theory also explains how we find safety and how we respond to danger.

The Vagus Nerve is part of our “parasympathetic nervous system” – the section of the nervous system that relaxes us. As opposed to the “sympathetic nervous system” which prepares the body & mind for action.

This really helped explain to me what was going on – I’ve never really had negative thoughts as such, but in the past have had terrible issues with digestion and muscle tension & pain. I was really confused when I was told that there was effectively nothing wrong with me and prescribed anti-depressants…


3 Circuits of the Polyvagal System

The polyvagal system can be divided into 3 circuits or 3 states.

Immobilisation

Freeze, Shut down, heart rate lowers, lowered blood pressure, influences the gut & digestion – part of the ‘dorsal vagas system’.

If you are in this “freeze” state for prolonged periods of time, you may get gut issues such as IBS and allergies.

It can also cause shortness of breath and heart rate variability issues which in turn often leads to panic attacks.

Social Engagement & Connection

Low tone dorsal vagus nerve stimulation. This is the ‘nice’ state to be in – “rest & digest”. This helps support the immune system, digestion and is a state of relaxation. You need to engage with people who make you feel ‘safe’ in an environment that you feel comfortable in.

Social engagement activates the Ventral Vagus Branch of the Parasympathetic Nervous System. It connects directly to the heart and lowers the heart rate. This is stimulated by connection with other people and supports the immune system, digestion and general recovery of the body. Loneliness and isolation are bad for your health in general because they result in less stimulation of the Ventral Vagus Branch

Mobilisation (Fight, Flight)

Fight, flight, but also ‘healthy’ energy to get stuff done and to get out of bed in the morning. This system increases your heart rate, increases oxygen circulation and awareness.


Trauma & The Polyvagal Theory

Trauma can cause us to be stuck in the “Mobilisation” mode or, more commonly the “Immobilisation” or “Freeze” state. This ‘high tone dorsal’ impacts digestion and muscle tension causing pain and issues such as IBS and reflux.

Unresolved trauma can cause us to stay in the Freeze state for years, instead of minutes! I was surprised to read that trauma can occur when you are a baby; before you even have what we would call a ‘memory’. I guess the primal nervous system remembers more than our conscious mind does.

The exercises below can help the body to deal with this trauma. But also take a look at all the research on psychedelics & MDMA for mental health. These seem to bypass the ego and help deal directly with trauma. The experience has to be ‘guided’ however, as people need to deal with and process the trauma which can be very frightening.

More info on the MAPS website here.


Polyvagal Theory Exercises

Peripheral Vision exercise – also known as “The Basic Exercise”

  • Sit down, with a straight back & look forwards
  • Place your hands behind your head with your elbows out towards the sides
  • Look forwards
  • Slowly rotate your head side to side, looking left and then right
  • Look forwards again
  • Face forwards but avert your gaze/line of vision to the right – don’t strain
  • See if you can pick out your right elbow in your peripheral vision
  • Keep gazing to the right, without straining and pick out your elbow in your periphery.
  • Do this for up to 1 minute- you should feel a sense of relaxation, a sigh, or a gulp
  • Repeat on the left hand side
  • When you have finished, slowly rotate your head to the left and right sides again

Breathing Exercises

  • Breathe in through the nose for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breathe for 6 seconds
  • Breathe out – with some force – for 8 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times

Listen to Contemporary Music by Female Singers

Not sure why exactly, but listening to contemparay music can help put you in the ‘rest & digest’ state. Perhaps it’s a mum-thing.

Nutrition & Polyvagal System

If you have GI issues, dietary changes, in my experience, can make a huge difference.

Consult your Doctor before making changes to your diet

  • Dairy

    Dairy protein – casein and dairy carbohydrate – lactose – are relatively hard to digest. If you have IBS try cutting down or even cutting out dairy for a few days. If you also have sinus problems, this can be a game changer and helps a lot with ‘brain fog’.

  • Gluten

    Only a small percentage of the population are allergic to gluten but many people have problems digesting it. This is possibly a combination of people being stressed and in “freeze” state, but also different growing techniques which make crops more robust but harder to digest. Try cutting down for a few days and see if you have any improvement.

  • FODMAPs

    A healthy diet, typically consists of lots of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately the carbohydrates can be relatively hard to digest. Foods containing FODMAPs include onions, garlic and apples. FODMAPs are the carbohydrates that the foods contain, including lactose and frutose. They can pull water into the large intestine and cause gas and bloating. Low FODMAP diets are not supposed to be long term.

  • Magnesium & Glycine

    If you have problems with muscle tension, I’ve personally found Magnesium Glycinate and glycine to help a great deal, especially with sleep. The form of magnesium really makes a difference, magnesium oxide does nothing to help.

  • Acidic Foods

    Finally if you have acid reflux issues, consider cutting out citrus fruits and tomatoes. Activated charcoal & fibre supplements can help with reflux. More info in my previous blog post here.

  • Curcumin & Turmeric

    There’s a strong link between mental health issues and inflammation. There’s also a strong link between gut health issues and inflammation. Turmeric (take with black pepper) can health with both inflammation and gut issues. I use Longvida Curcumin along with around 5g of turmeric per day. Curcumin is the most potent ‘active ingredient’ in turmeric, but it is expensive. Make sure your turmeric is tested for heavy metal/lead content.
    More info on inflammation & mental health here on the psychiatric times

I think the theory, and the part about social engagement, might help explain why COVID-19 lockdown has been so hard for many.

If you have mental health problems, get help, eat well, try and avoid drinking too much and addictive drugs as this is a downhill spiral to say the least and do your best not to project your feelings on people. The new treatments on the horizon, do look extremely promising, so if conventional treatment doesn’t help, don’t give up hope!

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Supplements for GERD Acid Reflux


Some effective supplements for GERD include – psyillium husk, activated charcoal, baking soda, digestive enzymes (without any HCL) and specific strains of cannabis. Foods that help include ginger, tempeh and miso soup. Fermented foods such as kefir may also provide some benefit.

It’s worth noting that baking soda can increase the amount of acid your stomach produces if used several times per day, for prolonged periods of time. It is a great pre-workout however and there is some research to suggest that it has benefits in regards to kidney function (reference) and possibly (POSSIBLY) have some level of anti-cancer properties as shown by its ability to enhance the effect of chemotherapy (reference 1, reference 2). Baking soda can also give you an upset stomach if you take too much – start by sipping a small amount in a glass of water (make sure the baking soda is food grade).

Ultimately what works for you, will depend on what is causing the GERD. If it’s not enough stomach acid – then betaine HCL and apple cider vinegar may help.

Acid reflux is a bit of a nightmare.

It is not only very painful and uncomfortable but it can also cause:

  • Anxiety and shortness of breath
  • Headaches and nosebleeds
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty eating

My GERD was causing me to wake up with nose bleeds recently, when I started taking lots of vitamin C due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’d never linked GERD with my sinus ‘issues’ previously, but after a bit of research I found out GERD, can in fact cause problems with the sinuses. It is not uncommon for the acid from GERD to enter the nose and sinuses at night, whilst a person is lying down on their back. This causes the inflammation and nose bleeds that some people suffer from.


Diet and GERD

Under the guidance of a professional, consider the following dietary changes:

  • No Citrus fruits
  • No tomatoes
  • Nothing after 8pm to eat
  • No acidic or carbonated sodas or fruit juices etc.
  • Lots of fibre – chia seeds soaked for 1 hour+ are great

Not eating citrus or tomatoes has had a huge positive impact on my GERD, as has adding more fibre to my diet. I have overnight oats with chia seeds and a fibre drink 3 times per day. Incredibly boring but worth it.


Supplements and GERD (use at own risk – some people may have side effects)

  • Activated charcoal – 5g before bed or when reflux is bad
  • Digestive Enzymes – without HCL – no betaine HCL for example. Try 1/4 of a tab first
  • Psyllium husk – take 2 or 3 times a day with water
  • Probiotics – fermented foods are better but are often quite acidic
  • CBD – specific strains of cannabis can help a lot with GERD, others may aggravate it. Smoking and vaping can sometimes make inflammation in the throat worse however, so proceed with caution. Lavender (hybrid) is good for getting rid of the general feeling of nausea.

Honestly, eating for reflux and GERD is more of a lifestyle than a diet. It is very difficult – but it’s worth it.

If you have IBS as well as acid reflux, my big recommendation is to cut out dairy for 3 days and so if you feel any better. This is especially true if you have any sinus problems! This was a life changer for me.

Cutting out gluten also helped me a lot. I’m not gluten intolerant but too much definitely has a negative impact on my gut health.

The FODMAP diet is also worth looking at. FODMAP stands for “Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols”. These are carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine.

FODMAPs are generally found in fruits and vegetables. So unfortunately that ‘healthy diet’ you’ve been following, may well be causing you problems. My way around this is to have oats 2 times per day with flaxseed powder and pumpkin seeds, for a healthy, relatively easy to digest source of calories, 2 meals and spirulina powder with MSM, 3 times a day.


GERD & Mental Health

GERD can be caused by mental health problems. Basically, if your mind feels threatened or hypervigilant, then digestion takes a much lower priority and can get partially ‘switched off’ – meaning anything remotely difficult to digest (like lactose in milk) will cause GI discomfort, IBS symptoms and reflux.

For more information about GERD and other digestive issues (also muscle tension and headaches) – and their link with mental health, please read about the polyvagal theory here on counseling.org.


Always Find the Positive

Although reflux and stomach problems are not nice, they do very much help me to control my diet and my body weight. I’m also very knowledgeable and have experience of most diets now! There’s nothing like physical pain and/or discomfort to motivate a person to learn and to try things out.

“What’s your secret to staying in shape?” “Anxiety & GERD”

Apologies for the picture – but I always get inquiries about nutrition & training after posting a photo with favourable light.

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Yoga For Men – Back & Neck Pain – 10 Mins a Day (.pdf)


A combination of yoga, stretching and trigger point therapy is best for bad backs and next. Avoid sitting for long periods if possible. The Paleo squat is a good alternative to sitting. The World’s Greatest Stretch is an excellent whole body stretch that can be done each morning and evening for a good foundation of flexibility and mobility.

I’m not able to do my current yoga routine – well I probably could but don’t want to leave little JC in front of the TV for too long.

This is the routine that I’m currently doing to stop my neck and back from hurting too much. Its possibly the worst Youtube video ever but fairly entertaining thanks to Jc.


  • Paleo Squat x 30 secs
Paleo Squat
  • Paleo Squat Narrow stance x 30 secs

This is the same as the picture above but feet & knees are touching/together & still pointing forwards

  • Worlds greatest stretch x 20
worlds greatest stretch
World’s Greatest Stretch. Right Foot in front, Left Knee on the floor. Left Hand Down, Right hand reaches back
  • Glute Stretch x 2 x 30 secs
Glute Stretch
  • Side angle pose x 4 (2 each side) x 30 secs
Side Angle Pose
  • Triangle Pose x 2 x 30 secs
Triangle Pose
  • Supine Twist x 2 x 30 secs
Supine Twist

This is the same routine in a table:

Yoga Workout 
Exercise Sets Hold Time 
Paleo Squat Hold 30 secs 
Narrow Stance Paleo Squat 1 min 
Worlds Greatest Stretch 10 each side 
Glute Stretch 2 – 1 each side 1 minute hold 
Side Angle Pose 2 – 1 each side 30 seconds 
Triangle Pose 2 – 1 each side 30 seconds 
Supine Twist 2 – 1 each side 1 min 

Download as a pdf

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Home Chest Workout – No Equipment -10 Minutes (.pdf)


Training your chest at home is pretty easy to do. Beginners can do press ups from their knees, 2 or 3 sets of maximum repetitions, intermediate level would involve 3 sets of normal press ups. To make thing even harder you can do press ups with your feet elevated on a sofa or couch.

To do an advanced home chest workout with no equipment, Hindu Press Ups are fantastic, as well as plyometric chest exercises such as ‘clap press ups’. For triceps, downward dog presses are fantastic.

I made a quick video about training at home without any equipment. Sometimes you just have to find 5 minutes to maintain some level of strength & fitness!

A quick disclaimer – some of these chest exercises do place a lot of strain on the elbows and shoulders, and back hyperextension can aggrevate or even cause disc problems, so exercise at your own risk. Having said that however, this workout is pretty good for strength & flexibility. I would highly recommend raising your body temperature with a good warm up before starting.

Chest Workout Warm Up

Ideally get a bit of a sweat on. I’d normally go for a walk carrying my son/baby but didn’t get chance today, so I did some bodyweight squats and shoulder exercises to warm up.

  • Press Ups from Knees x 1 set
  • Press Ups – Normal Form – keep elbows tucked in x 2 sets of 10-20 reps

Working Exercises/Sets

  • Hindu Press Ups x 2 sets of 8-12 reps
hindu press up
  • Downward Facing Dog Tricep Press x 2 sets of max reps
tricep exercise with no equipment
  • Plyometric Clap Press Ups x 2 sets of 6 reps
  • Bridge Pose x 1 set of max hold

Here it is, in a nice table

Chest Workout 
Exercise Sets Reps 
Press Ups from Knees 10 
Press Ups 15 
Hindu Press Ups 8-12 
Down Dog Presses 8-12 
Clap Plyo Press Ups 
Bridge Pose Hold max time 

Download as a pdf here:

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Living Off Grid – Checklist .pdf (2020)


Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, people have come to realise just how fragile the fabric of modern society is. When youre no longer able to Buy With One Click on Amazon, people start panic buying and we come to realise how dependent on technology we have become.

North Wales, UK

We have become dependent for a reason. The only way to feed 7 billion people is with mass agriculture, GMO and basically, mass produced low quality food. In an age when both parentd normally work full time and look after the family too, the easier it is to get food, the better. We only have so much energy and mental bandwidth. If we worry about a pandemic and the end of civilisation via a solar flare, we probably won’t be thinking about or first world problems at work – which are actually important – as work is how we provide.

There is another harder, more rewarding, less superficial yet potentially more lonely way! Living off grid somewhere.

Sheep and solar Panel

The thing is though – you’ll be free! With many people depresses and miserable living the moder way, it may well be worth the effort.

Living Off Grid – a Checklist

Start off with some kind of a sketched out plan. For example:

  • Budget – how much money do you need to buy the land, property etc?
  • Find out about the laws regarding what you can and can’t do in your area
  • Consider how you might need to make money
  • Will you need to learn any new skills?

Okay – ready, next step – make a list of all the stuff you need…

  1. Shelter – House, cabin, Caravan or Camper

A good place to start, is to think about what type of ‘shelter’ you and your family would be happy to live in.

If you’re an ex special forces guy, or survival expert, without a family then your off grid needs and wants might be very different to that off a middle class family who currently enjoy the comforts of suburbia.

House

The most common form of accommodation because it’s the most comfortable and suitable for families. Although I have known a family live in a bus.

Cabin

A popular choice as talented and skillful builders can do most of it themselves, there is also a few loopholes in some countries in regards to planning permission (you would need to check up on rules for specific state or country).

Caravan

A lot of people ask:

Can you live in a caravan?

In the UK the simple answer is no, not legally. It has to be a second residence that you only live in 10 months a year max. More info here

I do know someone who lives most of the year in a farmer’s field but he says it gets too cold in December. Unless you are Wim Hof, heating and warmth is likely to be an issue.


Land

once you have decided what type of abode to live in, narrow down the possible location(s) and what type of land you will need to buy.

Think about the local weather, land availability, proximity to more urban areas and friends & family, taxes, building code requirements, etc.

Location is an important factor when estimating the cost of moving off grid – somewhere in south England is likely to cost a lot more than somewhere in a random par of Scotland or North Wales. If you are going to work whilst you live off-grid, how far are you willing to travel each day? AirBNB might be a good way to make money if you have land for camping or an out-house of some sort.

If you have family, consider your country’s location in relation to schools, hospitals, shopping and kid’s entertainment. If you are married, you should consider your spouse’s family as well as yours – probably!

In the US – you can use http://www.city-data.com/ to look at climate information. This is essential for deciding on what crops to grow, animals to keep and how to power your home/cabin/caravan.


Water

Water – you need it for drinking, for washing and you may also be able to use it for energy. Hydroelectric.

Depending on where you are planning to live when moving out of the network, you may have to deal with water delivery, either drilling, pumping, or transporting a body of water. Look at the cost, labor, and practicality of each.

If you have water on the property, e.g. a stream or river running through it, you may have to look into the ‘water rights’.

If you do have access to running water – how will you purify it?

Will you use a sediment filter and/or a UV filter. Rock mineralisation is also popular, using volcanic ash high in negative ions and also chalk and limestone to up the alkalinity.


Food

Grow, catch and collect. Well, you could presumably just make a monthly trip tp the supermarket but that pretty much defeats the objective of living off grid – you want to be self sufficient.

You need to eat everyday – or most days. However, while setting up your off grid lifestyle you might be able to forage some bits of food, or hunt – but you’ll need a go-to backup of dried food etc.

Remember, it takes time to grow food. If successful (and it’s possible you may not be!) the fastest crops will grow in a few weeks – depending on the season and weather – so be sure to have some basics as backup like oats, rice, and peanut butter.

Consider the ‘staples’ that you will need – e.g. potatoes, corn, beans.

Think about whether or not you’ll have livestock – chickens, goats, sheep etc.

Will you use a greenhouse? If so – budget this in and research what and how to grow tomatoes and other plants. A raised bed polytunnel is also a good greenhouse alternative

Friend sent me this pic – will happily refernce with url
Tunnels are more effective at lower temp climates

How will you keep the crop eating pests away too? Pesticides, garlic pellets, a slug electric fence? (electric fence instructable tutorial here).

Aquaponics is also an amazing way to grow plants and keep fish.

Aquaponics (/ˈækwəˈpɒnɪks/) refers to any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fishcrayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrifying bacteria initially into nitrites and subsequently into nitrates that are utilized by the plants as nutrients. Then, the water is recirculated back to the aquaculture system.” (source)

Image Attribution – https://www.flickr.com/people/32488866@N00

In the above aquaponics system (which would set you back a fair few thousand) – An electric pump moves nutrient-rich water from the fish tank at the bottom – through a custom made filter to remove any specific particles the plants above cannot utilise. The water has many remaining nutrients, which can then be used by the plants and is cleansed before returning to the fish tank below. A cyclical system keeping the fish and the plants alive.


Energy

Such a good picture, I used it twice

Off Grid energy – how much will you need and how will you generate it?

If you generate enough, you could even make money by selling it back to the grid* (UK info here)

*I don’t think you can be completely off grid to sell it back to the grid though – how would they get it from you? Please comment below if I’m wrong.

*you can – you just need to be able to switch off and on grid.

So pointed at 1 it’s mains pointed at 2 it’s off grid … on 0 it’s off

Solar Energy

Solar power tends to be the go-to energy source but may also depend on the local climate

Wind turbines are also popular, be sure to check out city-data.com for wind profiles of the area.

When it comes to choosing turbine – you’ll need a decent-sized one if it is going to be your primary source of energy. A 400-watt wind turbine, will produce enough power to accommodate a few devices and it uses more than a four-foot diameter rotor; A 900-Watt turbine uses a seven-foot turbine; A 10,000-watt (10KW) turbine, should be enough to generate the power necessary for most or all of a home, uses a 23-foot turbine and is mounted on a tower often cutting over 100 feet.

Hydro Energy

Hydroelectric is also a popular choice for an offgrid power system.

You can buy a microhydro system like a turgo or build it from scratch yourself.

Hybrid Systems

Hybrid systems and primary / backup systems are a good idea, in case the primary source breaks somehow

Methane Biodigester Energy

This basically uses rotting food to produce methane gas, which powers your home. Although the best fuel for the biodigester is cow manure. It may be possible to get this cheap if your off grid location is near a farm (quite a few of the UK off grid locations are near farms in my limited experience).

You can find a commercial biogas system here – https://www.homebiogas.com/ – which costs about $700

Working from Home? WFH

if yo are working from home, then you will need to sort the internet out.

a mobile phone, with a booster or a satellite internet system are popular choices.

Sewage and Sanitation

You shouldn’t shit on your own doorstep for a variety of reasons. With this in mind you will probably want to invest in some kind of sanitation system for poos, wees, waste food, water and rubbish from packaging etc.

Septic tanks
Septic tanks are the most common form of sewage treatment and consist of an underground tank generally built of GRP or Polyethylene. The most popular septic tank is the “Onion Shape”, but there are now also “Shallow Dig” versions that are used where it is difficult to dig up deep excavations such as rocky ground. The septic tank works by entering the tank waste, the solids sink to the bottom and the naturally occurring bacteria begin to break down the solids in sludge and drain the liquid on top into drainage field. The tank must be emptied / desludged annually by a recognized contractor. Septic tanks are not allowed to discharge into a watercourse.

A sewage treatment plant system
A sewage treatment plant, or packaging treatment plant, is a miniaturized treatment plant. IT products that are fully treated, that can be discharged directly into a watercourse, such as a river or stream, or to be ground through a drainage field, depending on EA regulations.

A complete sewage treatment plant system is by far the easiest way to get approval from the Environmental Agency to process your own off-grid waste. Some systems are pre-approved for discharge to a watercourse at certain volumes.

The entire system takes up a small amount of above-ground space and is low maintenance. Different systems can have different requirements. Some require annual and frequent deceptive services where others are much more hands-off.

There are now systems that can run without an electric input, making the system as green as possible.

References and more info link:

https://www.tanksforeverything.co.uk/blog/septic%20tanks

General Tips for Going Off Grid

  • Join a community group on Facebook and/or Reddit
  • Trial a small turbine or solar panel system in your ‘normal’ house
  • Try growing your own fruit and veg

pdf below:

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Preppers Checklist (2020) .pdf included


Nobody saw COVID-19 coming. Well, Bill Gates did in a Ted Talk, and perhaps the Chinese authorities did – who knows?

The majority of us didn’t see it coming however. Now many of us are taking other threats seriously too; like global disasters or a breakdown of civilisation resulting in looting and the like.

It’s good to be prepared, so my Scout leader told me before I got kicked out for laughing during prayers.

This emergency preparedness checklist should give you a good starting point. When you’re done, you’re ready to handle most of what comes your way.

A preparer supply list that not only tells you what to store for future emergencies, but also why.

If an end of the world scenario really unfolds, there is much more you can do to prepare for yourself and your family.

Preparation is not a one-time event, but it will continue especially if you are looking to acquire certain skills or training.

It is highly recommended to have a 4-week supply of food / water and basic essentials.

Things everyone needs to survive (like food and water), but they also cover some lesser-known items.

Some Basic Tips for Prepping

  • Build a rainy day fund in terms of personal finance – have a few K in the bank
  • Prepare your home for two weeks of self-sufficiency
  • Pack some ‘basics-bags’ – so you can get out of your home with just a moment’s notice

Basic Preppers List

Food


When stuff goes west, you will need food and shelter. So we may as well start with the essential food items:

  1. 2 Weeks Backup of Food. Ideally 4 weeks
    food should have a minimum of two weeks of food available for emergencies. This should basically consist of your normal foods – those that you eat daily. Minus the processed rubbish if possible.
  2. Tinned and Canned Long-term food in addition to your regular meals, you should consider your long-term needs. If social disruption is widespread, you may need to have food on hand to live for months
    Tinned food should include:
    Canned fish
    Canned soup
    Canned Fruit
    Canned Coconut Milk
    Evaporated Milk
  3. Salt – a great preservative. Great for hydration in small amounts. 
  4. Honey – has a very long shelf life. Raw honey is also an antibiotic
  5. Garlic – have some form of garlic on hand if possible. It is also a powerful antibiotic
  6. Rice. – cheap, high calorie and with a long shelf life
  7. Beans – high in protein. 
  8. Oats – cheap, high in protein, high in energy, high in fibre. 
  9. Pasta – high in energy.
  10. Powdered foods – milk and cheese.
  11. Nut Butter – peanut butter, is very high in energy, protein and is very nutritious
  12. Beer – just because

Water

In terms of importance, it can easily be number 1. It is not only necessary for safety, but can also be used for many tasks.

  1. Have a litre of bottled water to hand – ideally more

2. Tablets for purifying water — if you do not have pure water (or not), the tablets can remove chemicals and even viruses.

3. Portable water filter – I bought mine off Aliexpress but there are plenty of ‘survival water filters’ on eBay and Amazon.

4. Hydration Pack: This can be a complement to most backpacks and is very convenient when you are on the go.

5. Drinking Containers: If your water is not bottled, you will need a separate container for drinking water.

6. Thermal Bottle: Ideal because it is portable and allows cold and hot temperatures.


Self defense / Home defense


Learn what you will use to protect your family if a looter & his mates ‘knocks’ on the door.

Obviously firearms would work well in this situation and may also help with hunting. But then you need to weigh-up the chances of someone stealing the gun or one of your kids getting hold of it during normal day to day life. A happy medium could be a pump action BB rifle. It is very hard to use without adult-strength and would deter one or two introuders without killing anyone.

  1. Door security-EZ armor door security kit
    2. Sandbags: Ideal to protect yourself from water and bullets.
    3. Barbed-wire wire
    4. Camouflage clothing: this can have several advantages
    5. Body armour with soft or hard panels
    6. Heavy duty knife
    7. Ultra bright flashlight


Clothing


Make sure you have the right clothes for the harsh weather outside. Fashion stops when you have to live out with elements. This applies to children as well.
Layers are key in the winter and absorb clothing in the summer. If you have a lot of camping equipment, you should be prepared.

  • Waterproof coat and trousers
  • Heavy work boots
  • Heavy duty socks: wool blends like Merino are my winter favorites.
  • Heavy duty gloves
  • Heavy duty hats

Shelter

Obviously a tent would be a good shout. Even a pop up tent would be better than nothing.

  • Tent
  • Plywood
  • Material repair as needed
  • Plastic sheets are good for darkening the light or creating a barrier against infection.
  • DUCTAPE!
  • screwdriver
  • nails and hammer
  • Bivvy Bags
  • String and rope

Heat & Fire

  • Propane Heater
  • Flint fire starter or Magnesium Fire Starter
  • Kindling
  • Waterproof lighter
  • Waterproof matches
  • Wood burning stove

First Aid Kit

Never finish a first aid kit – keep updating and replacing bits of it. Even in good times, we should have access to first aid kits to help us withstand some of the emergencies. But in catastrophic situations, even small emergency conditions can be a serious health hazard. In fact, a small cut can be fatal when infected.

You should have a good first aid kit available wherever you are. This means they need to be in the bag to get home, in the wrong bag, in the car and at home.

  • Plasters
  • Antiseptic
  • sterile dressings
  • Triangular bandages
  • Safety Pins
  • Tweezers
  • Adhesive tape.
  • Antiseptic wipes

Click the link below to download the list as a pdf.

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New Philosophy on Life


Combing the Teachings of Aristotle & Rocky

Sorry – my posts are very short at the moment as I’m working from home and juggling looking after the kids – one who’s just started walking

Decide on Your Virtues

Every tribe has a code, every religion, every civilization, traditionally – has had a written or unwritten code.

Each individual should have a code – from somewhere, using Aristotle’s is a decent starting point:

Strive each day to stick to your virtues – a virtuous day, is a day well spent.

Take the Hits

Living by specific ‘good’ virtues, does not guarantee anything. Choose your path and stick to it.

Do not bemoan your lack of success by choosing a path, or way of virtue.

Don’t expect people to be nice, or people not to take advantage.

You have to ‘take the hits’ and keep moving forward and achieve what you can, without falling from the way you have chosen.

rocky - thats how winning is done
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Feel Good Happiness Hack – Lockdown Walk


Not sure what the rules are elsewhere, but in the UK we are allowed out once a day for exercise.

Green/outdoor exercises has been shown in studies to improve feelings of wellbeing (study here)

Saunas have been shown to improve mood in general and have all kinds of health benefits (more info here)

So – combine the two:

  • Brisk uphill walk/run
  • In several layers, including a sauna suit*

*Obvious danger of dehydration, talk a sports drink or make your own. Have someone with you in case you pass out

Not got time to do yoga, but I’ve been using my massage gun, then doing a few basic stretches before having a cold shower.

Saunas are also good for your health – not sure about mad-blokes in sauna-suits specifically:

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/sauna-temperature-cold-hot-cardiovascular-blood-pressure-a8481141.html

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How to be Happy in Middle Age?



Having observed many people aged 30 to 50, the secret seems pretty simple:

  • Don’t be bitter!

This can be broken down somewhat:

  • Don’t blame other people
  • Don’t judge people – judge actions, not people
  • Move on – bad things happen to everyone
  • Find productive ways of dealing with negative emotions
happiness tips

Easier Said than Done

  • Keeping fit and healthy appears to be the foundation
  • Use bitterness as energy and use it productively to improve yourself if you can’t just let go – anxiety and insecurity are the best motivators
  • Logical thinking isn’t always the best way to think. Whatever makes you happy is – this might be related to seeing the good in things, belief in religion or optimisim, logical thinking is not always best..
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Find the good in everything – there’s always something good, even in suffering – suffering is necessary for personal growth

You Are What you Consume

  • Stay away from negative media like the news & the newspapers
  • Stay away from negative people whenever possible
  • Eat well – foods that cause inflammation like sugar, have been shown to cause depression
  • Find a productive way of dealing with negative emotions – exercise, meditation, hiking, working etc. Turn the negative into positive actions
  • If you can’t do any of the above – allow yourself to have a 10 minute rant at an appropriate time each day – “boxing the chimp”*
  • Don’t do the shitty victim thing or retelling or creating an anecdote of how someone mistreated you, skewing or missing out information to ensure you look like the victim and telling anyone who’ll listen
if rudyard kipling

  • *Boxing the chimp – a phrase from the Chimp Paradox book – more info here.

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Foods & Supplements to Help Fight the Coronavirus COVID-19


*Disclaimer – these foods & supplements are not evidence-based, in that – with the possible exception of vitamin C, they haven’t been shown to treat COVID-19.
However, I think it’s misleading in a sense to say there’s no evidence for any supplements to help prevent or treat COVID-19.

In instances like these, where there is very limited amounts of research to call upon (nobody’s going to fund millions to test the potency of cheap vitamin supplements); you should use a different type of reasoning – I think it’s called Bayesian reasoning but a could be wrong – take what you know and see if in all liklihood it could be applied in this situation.

Also look at the risk to reward ratio – what’s the risk of taking a food or supplement Vs what’s the reward. So taking vitamin C at high doses, might at worst, make you feel sick but if it likely helps boost your immune system then brilliant – good trade off. However the Miracle Mineral supplement that is said to contain a bleaching agent – it sounds like that’s not worth the risk!


My Personal “Anti-COVID-19 Stack”

  • Vitamin C – 2,000mg
  • Vitamin D – 2,000 ius
  • Zinc – 20mg
  • Magnesium Glycinate – 1g
  • Spirulina – 10g 3 x a day
  • Mushroom ‘complex’ – 5g a day
  • Cordyceps mushroom
  • NAC – 600mg
  • astragalus extract – 2ml

Also using:

2 drops of iodine whenever Ive been in contact with someone esle (orally)

Spraying hands with collodiol silver after washing hands as a back-up


Vitamin C and the Coronavirus


Andrew W Saul (Phd) – it’s this guy who has recommended 3000mg of vitamin C – read more about him here

Anti- Viral Mushrooms

Learn more about anti-viral mushrooms here.


Please note – this post isn’t finished yet – but I wanted to publish it because I keep getting asked about supplements, herbs and COVID-19

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