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How to Practice Physical Self Sufficiency

6167660997_c9494888a5_zAs we work on redefining our mission here at the Frugal Farmer, I spoke earlier on how to practice spiritual (emotional) self sufficiency and how to practice financial self sufficiency.  I also shared some important survival tips for everyday life. Today we’ll talk about the third part of self sufficiency: physical self sufficiency.

The Keys to Physical Self Sufficiency

Physical self sufficiency involves a couple of different aspects of preparedness: the self sufficiency of your actual body, and self sufficiency pertaining to the things you need to care for yourself and survive. Physical self sufficiency is equally as important as the other two elements of self sufficiency (emotional and financial), but encompasses different things.

A Self Sufficient Physical Body

It’s vitally imperative for those interested in preparedness and self sufficiency to work to get their bodies in the best shape possible. There are two reasons for this: First, preparedness and self sufficiency require a lot of physical work and clear thinking. Second, the more physically healthy a person is, the less he/she has to depend on others to get things done.  Some keys to getting your body to a physically self sufficient state include:

    • Regular strength training and cardio exercise. This doesn’t have to cost money. Commit to doing pushups and squats at home, and to walking, running, hiking or biking for improving cardio strength and endurance.  Do it with a friend/family member/group for added motivation. If physical fitness is not your thing, start out slow: 5 squats, 2 pushups, walk around the block. Just start!
    • A clean diet. This is a tough one, especially for us Americans, where we are sold junk food on a regular basis by advertisers. If you’re not used to clean eating, you can either take a slow approach and start with eating one whole foods meal a day or go to healthy eating “bootcamp” and start out with a week long Mean Green Juice fast.  A clean diet will catapult both your physical and emotional health. You’ll think clear, have strength and energy like you’ve never had before.  Here’s the juicer we use. MUCH cheaper than many brands, and it works just fine for us.

For those not used to having a self sufficient physical body, you might find it difficult at first to make these changes, but the results will be well worth the effort. A healthier body will give you the strength you need to ramp up your self-sufficient lifestyle, and can also decrease or eliminate your need for some medications, which may decrease your need to depend on pharmaceutical companies.

A Stockpile Storehouse

Another part of physical self sufficiency is to have a long-term stockpile of things you need to survive. We recommend at least six months. What might you need to have a six month stockpile of? For instance:

      • Food and Water. Think long shelf life food such as rice, beans and certain canned goods, including veggies. Buy stuff you like, though.  You can survive and thrive in your self sufficient life. Don’t forget spices: spices last forever, so stock up on the basics such as salt and pepper, and your other favorite dried spices. Our list includes garlic powder, cumin, chili powder and dill. Buy at the warehouse club to save big bucks and storage space. One container of each spice from the warehouse club should easily last you six months.  Have water storage containers filled and ready to use in case the water supply is tainted or unavailable.
      • Toiletries. Toilet paper, soap, contact solution, dish soap, ingredients for homemade laundry detergent, cotton balls and q-tips, etc. As you go throughout your house, keep note of the toiletry items you use each day or week, and commit to having a six month stockpile of each item.
      • Over-the-counter and other medications and first aid supplies. Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Benadryl and/or an Epipen (for allergic reactions). Bandaids and gauze/first aid tape. Prescription meds that are necessary. Wraps and stabilizers for knees/ankles/wrists/elbows in case of injury. Isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment.   Suture supplies in case you need to stitch up a wound and medical care isn’t available.
      • Animal food/meds/water. When we lost power on our farm a couple of years ago, it hadn’t occurred to me that our electric horse waterer would be unable to supply water to our horses.  The average horse will drink 5 to 10 gallons of water each and every day. A long term power outage could’ve spelled disaster for our animals, and since it was winter, the nearby lake wasn’t an option. Consider having rain barrels or water storage containers filled and ready to hydrate not only yourself but your animals.   Also, keep a good stockpile of food and any necessary medications on hand for your animals.
      • Options for heating your home and having light.  A wood-burning stove or solar power would be great. Battery-powered lanterns (be sure to keep them charged) or flashlights (have an ample supply of batteries) for light at night. Things like heat and light are so easily accessed these days that we forget that one storm can take them away. It’s important to think like a pioneer and ask yourself “How did the pioneers get heat, water, light back in the day?” and plan accordingly for yourselves.
      • A bugout plan.  You may or may not be able to use your auto, but keep the tank at least half full just in case. Determine a bugout location where you might be able to get away from the crisis. Have a list of things ready and waiting in your bugout bag, including snacks, water and important papers such as birth certificates and passports.  Designate a meeting place or plan should your family be in separate places when a crisis hits.

It is important not to let fear dictate your actions as you prep for a potential crisis situation, but at the same time, a little preparedness goes a long way in keeping fear at bay. My friend Lance wrote here about how having a good preparedness plan in place helped three of his friends thrive instead of flounder during a time of layoffs in their city.  Knowing that they had six months of food and toiletries stockpiled eased the potential for a financial burden during their layoffs and helped them better be able to focus on getting new jobs.

Choose to implement a plan that includes all three of the elements of self sufficiency, and better prepare you and your family for the things that life throws at you.

Am I missing anything? What is your biggest fear when it comes to NOT being prepared?


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  1. There are lots of good reminders here, Laurie. I’m guilty of letting my supply of things like cat food and contact solution run almost out before replenishing. This is a good reminder to keep more of those and many other items on-hand.

  2. Kalie says:

    I’m curious how you balance low spending with stocking up? I’m always a bit conflicted about this. Do you have a stock-up budget or just stock up when the things you need are on sale?

    I totally agree that staying in shape doesn’t have to cost a lot. We are walking, biking, running, or hiking this summer to stay fit. Also I might teach an unofficial Zumba-style class. My husband splits firewood for a workout–which is a great self-sufficiency stockpile item, at the same time.

    • Laurie says:

      Hi Kalie! That’s a great question! We stock up two ways: first, we buy a little bit each time we shop, usually trying to stick to a $10 or so budget. Second, if there’s a sale (for instance, our fave pasta sauce is on sale this week for $1 a jar) then we’ll be several of that item if need be. Love what you said about hubby’s wood chopping! Me and the kids help Rick with the chopping/stacking and it’s always a huge muscle/cardio builder. 🙂 I haven’t tried Zumba yet, but I’ve heard it’s a great workout!

  3. I have to find a balance between having a good size stock-pile of some of these items and going over-board with my stock-pile of them. I’m such an extremist it’s either one way or the other. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Ugh, I can get caught up in that too, Kayla, so I hear you there! I’m slowly learning to find a balance, though, and in my “unextreme” days will assess my stockpile to see what really needs to be added/gotten rid of. 🙂

  4. I agree that the more you take care of your body now, the better off it will be in the long run. For that reason though I do actually try to avoid canned food myself. I’m sure it’s probably a lot healthier if maybe you’re canning it yourself? I find a lot of canned food has way too much sodium. There are so many low cost or free apps that one can download too, as well as free videos on youtube. Body weight exercises are also free. You don’t necessarily need weights.

    • Laurie says:

      Great point about the canned food. Aside from canned veggies, we don’t buy much in the way of canned food, but we do can some stuff ourselves. Canned veggies w/sodium are better than nothing if the SHTF, I suppose, but we mostly stay away from the canned soups/stews, etc, even for our stockpile. Full of nasty chemicals and unreadable ingredients. Yuck!

  5. Tony @ Inequality Today says:

    I know I’m probably wrong, but I feel like excercise is more important than eating healthy food all the time. Sure, eating healthy is really important, but the occasional intake of delicious unhealthy food (poutine, anyone?) is ok. We gotta live a little and enjoy life!

    • Laurie says:

      Not sure how old you are, Tony, but the older I get (I’m almost 48) the more I realize the powerful impact that diet has on our systems. I’m all for the occasional treat, but occasional is the key word. I’d encourage you to try Mean Green Juice and fresh organic veggies for a week (nothing else) and see how you feel. 🙂

  6. We’ve talked about keeping a bug out bag before. I figure we actually have most of the stuff already…just need to put it in a backpack and have it ready to go.

    Thanks for the reminders to be prepared, Laurie!

  7. This is something I need to work on because while I consider myself self-sufficient in that I own my life and actions, I would not be well-prepared to handle any type of long-term emergency. Part of the problem is sheer laziness on my part (so easy to put off until the next day!) and space. I don’t have a ton of extra space in my apartment but I should still be able to carve out a small space to put some practical supplies because when the earthquake, tidal wave, zombie attack or whatever happens, I want to be prepared! Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, we did a 5 day Mean Green Juice fast in January. We would occasionally eat a carrot or something if we felt really hungry, but it was mostly just the juice. Awesomeness! You should try it. And get the $60 Hamilton Beach juicer. It works just fine.

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