Saturday, August 23, 2014

Stay Healthy For Preparedness With Your Weight

It occurred to me that readers might not be aware that calculators are available on the internet to help you know if your weight is right for your height and age. I just checked my own and I liked the one on the Center for Disease Control (CDC). They tell you whether you are in the normal, overweight or obese weight range and what your BMI or Body Mass Index is. Your BMI is an estimate of the ratio of fat to muscle in your body.

You can not be well prepared for a disaster unless you do your best to maintain good health. If you are sick, you will not be able to cope as well with a disaster situation, as you would if you are in good condition.

It is not possible to even know what your physical condition is for weight, unless you know if you are normal or weigh too much. Nice online calculators are a tool to help you figure out how you are doing in the weight area. 

There is a great deal of variation in what online calculators tell you about your weight. Several of them informed me that I am underweight, which is pretty funny, since I just managed to lose enough weight to get to the top of  my normal range, according to the CDC calculator. I think that one seems to be closer to accuracy than most of the others for me. 

Part of the way that you can tell which online calculator to believe is what your eyes tell you when you look in the mirror. Do you have a roll or several of them around your middle? Even if an online calculator tells you that your weight is normal or below, having too much fat around your middle, means that you are at greater risk for having health problems like heart attacks.

The CDC BMI calculator is linked below. It will give you an idea of how you are doing with your weight.

If you put "weight chart age height" into a search engine you should get plenty of other sites to help you check your weight in relation to your age and height. Some of them will probably tell you how to calculate your BMI as well, but I prefer to have the site calculate it for me. 

Other sites wanted me to do arcane math contortions to figure it out myself. The CDC is not only closer to what I think is actually happening with my weight, they are nice enough to set up their site to calculate my BMI for me and for readers who might like to have it do the same for them.

Please check on how you are doing in the weight area so that you will know what to do to keep yourself healthy. If you find that you, like many others around the world, need to lose weight and eat better, then you can use my blog to help you with that. Use Google search engine to look up which of my blog posts are about healthy diets and nutrition. 

I now use to find healthy recipes. The site will give you recipes for special diets, or to use a certain ingredient, or several ingredients. I like the idea that you can look in your fridge and see what you have, then look at allrecipes, to see what you can make with your fridge contents.

May you stay healthy and happy, and therefore ready for any emergencies that may come into your life.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Crock Pot Dangers

Readers who are familiar with this blog know that I think preparedness is not very useful, unless you do your best to be healthy enough to survive, before any particular disaster strikes.

This post is part of my ongoing effort to help readers stay healthy enough to survive disasters. The specific subject is dangers to your health from crock pots.

Some crock pots contain lead in their glazes and it leaches out into the food that you cook in your crock pot. Eating lead is definitely bad for your health. Even very small doses of lead is bad for your health, because it builds up in your body over time and it is very hard to get out.

I became aware of this problem from reading a review on crock pots on the Amazon site. I like to use this site to do research even on things I don't want to buy from them, because the reviews and comments are so often very helpful.

The reviewer that I read, on Amazon, is a chemical engineer and he tested his own crock pot and threw it out after he got the dreadful results. I am very glad I read his helpful review before I bought a crock pot. 

I hope you will be able to use the information I got from him and others to help you make a choice of crock pot that will help you and your family stay healthy.

Some crock pots cite FDA guidelines as to safe amounts of lead to have leaching out of their crock pots into your food. I don't think ANY lead amount is safe to have leaching into my food. I have therefore decided to include crock pots here that are not supposed to have lead in their glazes, in their liners, or the crock pots without liners.

Bear in mind that no matter how lead-free the glaze on your liner is, it can still leach lead into your food if it becomes damaged. You need to get rid of your crock pot or liner, if you see chips, tiny cracks, or a hazy look to the glaze that probably indicates that the glaze has become dangerously thin for some reason. The hazy look may mean that your crock pot is now leaching lead into your food, even without any cracks.

Essenergy (VitaClay) brand does not leach any lead, but comments made me fear that it is a fire risk, so I don't want one of those.
Procter Silex does not have lead in their glaze.
Kitchen Aid does not have lead in their crock pot glazes.
Miriams Earthen Cookware (liners and cookware only) is lead free.
West Bend has lead free glazes on their crock pots.
Hamilton Beach also does not have lead in their crock pot or liner glazes. 
Cuisine Art was also mentioned as safe and one or more of their pots even has a probe that can be placed in meat to maintain or reach a specific temperature. This sounds extra safe for meat eaters, to me.

There may be other brands that are safe. I don't care to list the ones that are definitely not safe. The above were good enough for me to do further looking. 

Before you rush out and buy one of the aforementioned brands of cookware, I think you might want to go to the company site and look at their materials and the mandatory statements they have about them. Things can change very fast and you need to keep checking to stay safe.

I wish to make my own herbal supplements, etc. in a crock pot, so I not only want a lead-free crock pot, I need one that will not scorch precious herbs with long cooking times at low temperatures. That was what I was looking for when I found the alarming news that many crock pots are leaching lead into our food that we cook in them. 

I am off to find the elusive safe crock pot that will not burn the herbal stuff I want to cook in it. Best wishes for your own good health.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Update On Water-efficient Food Growing

This summer has taken a lot of my time for food growing. I have spent most of it on a self watering system. This is because I hate wasting water even though I live in a place that has plenty of water and does not seem in danger of having water shortages soon.

It is distressing to see water problems getting worse in so much of the world. Places that already had difficulties with enough clean water to keep people healthy, are getting worse due to climate change. Places that never had water problems are now getting them due to climate change. It is obvious that these water problems will only worsen as climate change becomes worse.

My neighborhood is taking some steps to prevent future water problems. I am very proud that my neighborhood has people in it who are so aware and interested in taking care of our future and that of people who will live here after us.

One of these steps to prevent future water problems is the planning and installation of a system to melt snow and return it to our groundwater. 

The normal method of handling snow is to scoop it up with heavy machinery, load it into lots of big trucks and haul it outside the city and dump it there. 

A big advantage of the new snow melting in place system is that it will help to prevent saltwater intrusion into fresh water aquafers beneath us. We are very close to the ocean, so this could easily become a problem some day.

Not only does the snow melting system prevent saltwater intrusion into our fresh water, but it also saves a great deal on fuel for all of the snow hauling that now takes place.

They plan to dig a large hole under our recreation center parking lot and install a heater there. This system was planned by students at our local college. They did it free of charge. This is good for us because we get a system that we can more easily afford and it is good for the students, because they are gaining valuable experience that will give them jobs in the future. I expect they will get the first of those jobs designing more of these systems for the rest of the city. 

My small contribution to water efficiency with my self-watering garden is not nearly as impressive as the snow melting. I hope that more people will learn a little bit from mine and increase the good effect, however.

The self-watering system that I used outside uses rain gutters to hold water with a float valve to control the amount of water that goes to the plants.

A man from the eastern part of the USA, named Larry Hall is the one who invented this rain gutter watering system. Thousands of people are already using his system and they are very generous in sharing their experiences and the modifications and improvements they make as well. He is on facebook and on youtube as well. Here are links to get you started with his system:

The bottom one is for his channel on youtube. He has links to lots of videos about his system to show what he and others have done with it.

There is nothing like letting plants take whatever water they need, as they need it to make them healthy and beautiful. They make you the same when you eat them. YUM!

A local hydroponics store gave me a free system that I plan to keep inside. They told me that it is a $500.00 system. That is certainly a lot more than I planned to spend right off. I have not used it yet, but it is high on my list. I have to do a bit more with the Larry Hall rain gutter system first. It will be winter all too soon, so that will stop what I can do outside for a while, so I have to make use of outdoor growing while I still can for this year.

I also have plans to make several hydroponics tower systems. I have most of the supplies for some of those, but not the pumps. Those are the most expensive part of that system. Those have free plans and materials lists to make them. I already posted links for those, but will do it again, to make it easier for others to make those as well. Here is a link to that:

This last one is a link to the plans to make your own rain tower hydroponics system. He even includes templates for cutting out parts for it.

The original inventor of those used a 5 gallon bucket as the base for his towers. This means that it will not take much more room in your home than a potted plant. You can get as many as 28 plants in one tower. You replace the plants as you use them, so this will make a big dent in your food budget. You will be much healthier as well, when you eat the food that you grow in your Rain Tower hydroponics system.

The knowledge that you are making the world a better place in many ways, should make you feel even better than the personal benefits to you, when you use your Rain Tower hydroponics system.

I hope that you will go make a rain gutter self watering system or a Rain Tower hydroponics system and benefit yourself and the world by doing so.