10 Tips To Winterize Your Garden

Winterizing your garden for winter is a hot topic these days.  In fact there are a slew of on-line articles coming out right on the subject and it is an important step in making sure you have a healthy, vibrant garden come spring time.  The time and effort spent in the late fall/early winter in preparing your garden for winter will pay huge dividends come spring planting and harvest time.  We’ve already had our first hard frost here at Grumpy Acres, so we may be a little late to the party but like the old adage says, though, “better late than never” and we have a unique take that we call the 10 Tips To Winterize Your Garden:

10 Tips To Winterize Your Garden

1) Prune:  Trim back perennial plants, that’s a plant that lives for 2 or more years, to just above the soil with the pruning shears. Pruning back like this promotes a healthier plant come spring time, and improves the appearance of winter beds. Discard or compost the plant refuse.

2) Harvest:  Harvest remaining frost-sensitive vegetables, before the first frost. Eat and store the edible food, and compost or discard the rest.  Unripe tomatoes can be picked ahead of the frost and put in brown paper bags to ripen.

3 ) Pull Up:  Pull up annual vegetable plants from the soil. Remove the entire plant, including the root system. Put healthy plants, which are free of insect infestation in your compost bin. Throw away any plants that have insects or are diseased.

4) Clean Up:  Rake up leaves as part of general yard clean up. Dead and decaying leaves will smother your grass over the winter. By removing them you’ll end up with a healthier, greener lawn come spring time. Add them to your compost pile for use in the spring by your garden or shred them and use as mulch on your garden beds.

5 ) Mulch:  Mulch any vegetables that are hardy enough to produce during colder temps; such as carrots, beets, parsnips and onions. Cover them with about 8 inches of mulch. These types of vegetables will keep producing well in to the winter if you keep them insulated.

6) Put Perennials To Sleep:  Put perennials to sleep by mulching any perennial vegetables that will go dormant over the winter such as asparagus. Apply 2 to 4 inches of mulch to cover the plant crowns and the surrounding soil.

7) Cultivate:  Cultivate the soil to a depth of about 6 inches. A spade, or rototiller will do the job. Cultivating before winter sets in will help aerate the soil and keep it from becoming too compacted.

8) Fertilize:  Add fertilizer, if you use it to augment your compost. Putting it down in the winter will allow it to soak deep in to the soil, which will allow for better usage by your spring plants.

9) Compost:  Spread a 2-inch layer of compost over the garden by raking it evenly into the soil. This will not only help protect the soil it will also add valuable nutrients to the soil which will feed you plants next spring.

10) Protect:  Put barriers up to protect shrubs or young trees. Heavy snow can damage young trees and shrubs. Barriers that will keep snow from building up on them will help them survive the winter. Barriers and such will also help keep deer and other animals from eating them as they search for food in the winter.

Bonus Tip #11

11) Put Away:  Do a general clean up of your garden, yard or homestead. Tools and equipment that won’t be used over the winter should be put away and moved to a shed or protected area. Finding something when the snow falls and everything is covered can be hard; even dangerous. If you need to find something in winter, move it now.

Top 10 Steps To Food Security On A Suburban Lot

Food security, assuring continuous access to quality food,  is an ongoing or rising concern for many people.  Rising food prices, political instability, and the possibility of widespread disruptions to a fragile supply chain are justifiable causes for this concern.  Since a majority of the people on the planet live in or near large metropolitan areas and the suburbs that surround them how does one approach the problem of assuring their family’s food security on a suburban lot?

Top 10 Steps To Food Security On A Suburban Lot

1: Plant a Garden

One of the easiest and most common way to get started taking control of your family’s food security on your suburban lot is to raise a garden. Gardening is scalable to the size of your lot as well as your abilities. On the small side you can raise edible plants in containers to reduce your food bill. On the larger and more aggressive scale, you can use perma-culture techniques to raise 1,000’s of pounds of food every year in just a quarter acre. Some preppers, gardeners and permaculture enthusiasts have even been able to completely do away with trips to the grocery store for fruits and veggies all together…preparedness is a renewable food supply!

Unfortunately many municipalities have regulations limiting the size of gardens or where a garden can be located on your lot.  if that’s the case or you’re just interested in something more aesthetically pleasing check out our second tip…Edible Landscaping.

2: Edible Landscaping

Edible landscaping is a permaculture idea that is really taking off. Instead of planting purely decorative plant in flower beds around your home, you can plant edibles. The flowers on many edible plants are just as varied and beautiful as decorative perennials and annuals. The kicker is they produce healthy and nutritious items that go a long way in providing food security on your suburban lot.  Another benefit of edible landscaping is that it’s less noticeable than a traditional garden giving you your own stealth food source.

3: Water Catchment

Food security on your suburban lot does not just entail food. It also includes the water necessary to grow and raise that food. Even in arid climates a moderate rainfall can produce thousands of gallons of water pouring off the typical suburban rooftop. Most homeowners lose this water to the lawn or down the storm sewer. Building a water catchment system will capture that water for your use. Most of it will go on to your garden but in an emergency it can be purified for drinking and hygiene. For around $125 USD, you can build a rain catchment system that will hold well over 200 gallons a precious water.

4: Raise Small Livestock

Many suburban localities are beginning to amend local ordinances to allow people to keep small livestock on their property. Chickens and rabbits are the most common small breeds which are helping more and more people towards food security on a suburban lot but some cultures consider other animals like guinea pigs to be suitable for livestock. They can provide your family with much-needed protein and are a healthier and less expensive alternative to store-bought meat. As an example, a single rabbit buck, and three  doe’s can produce over 190 pounds of meat every year, for just pennies on the pound.

5: Fish Farming

Food security on your suburban lot can also be pursued by rasing fish, also known as aquaculture. Many people stock their fish ponds with edible species, instead of decorative ones but virtually all freshwater fish are edible. Perch, carp and catfish are popular in the more temperate climates. Tilapia is a favorite in more tropical climes but is likely regulated as an ‘invasive species’ so make sure you know the requirements. Think you can’t raise fish because you don’t have a pond…think again, fish can be raised in disused swimming pools, or even drums and tanks.

6: Aquaponics

Aquaponics is the fusion of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (raising plants in a liquid medium). It is a system where the fish waste provides nutrients to the plants. The plants in turn clean waste harmful to the fish out of the water. It is a very symbiotic system. Done properly plants raised this way grow faster and produce more fruit than plants grown traditionally. Start up costs can be expensive but the pay off is well worth it. Aquaponics is another great way to build food security on your suburban lot.  When building your system make sure to build one that isn’t reliant on electric power or develop a backup power source.

Andrew’s Note:  In my own aquaponics experiments I found plant growth within the system to be three times the growth and vegetable output in my control group. 

7: Composting

Even the traditional lawn which most homes still have produces a lot of waste in the form of grass clippings, leaves and branches. Suburbanites generally take this waste, stuff it in bags and set it by the curb for the garbage man. The suburban kitchen, gardening and raising small livestock also produce a great deal of waste. Instead of sending all this waste to the landfill you can compost it. Composting is the process of managed decomposition of organic matter. Compost provides fantastic organic fertilizer for your garden. Additionally, if you have chickens they can pick over the pile for bugs and food scraps, and rabbits love grass clippings and leaves. If you want food security on a suburban lot, composting is one thing you must do.

8: Beekeeping

Beekeeping, also known as apiculture is a very specialized way to move towards food security on your suburban lot. The benefits of apiculture are two-fold. First it will provide your family honey that is not only delicious, but healthy as well. It is a product that will literally last for 1,000s of years. Locally raised honey has also been shown to help people suppress allergies. The other benefit is that as the bees search for food, they will pollinate your garden, making it much more healthy and productive.

9: Food Storage & Preservation

The average American household throws away about 25% of its food. That is prepackaged, processed and store-bought staples, produce and meats. Home grown and home raised foods will spoil quicker because they do not contain all the added preservatives. That is a lot of healthy food going to waste. After you’ve reached a higher level of food security on your suburban lot you must now preserve it for storage. Learn how to can foods, study root cellaring, buy a dehydrator and a vacuum seal system for even longer term storage options. Organize your pantry with a can rotator. You can also learn how to smoke and preserve your own meats. There are so many food preservation and storage options available to help you keep the fruits of your labor edible longer. Try to learn, and practice them all.

10: Sell, Barter, or Give Away Your Excess

If you have done any, or all of the first 9 suggestions for food security on your suburban lot and you have been diligent, chances are you’ll have more than you can eat. Use that excess to your advantage. You can sell it at a farmers market, making a bit of cash to offset your expenses. You can barter with others to get food items you can’t raise or items you may need or you can give it away. You may gain absolute nothing materially from this last act but in the long run you’ll be building family and community ties that may come in handy in the future.

State Hunting & Fishing License & Regulation Information

Hunting and FishingFall has me thinking of hunting and even the government regulations covering hunting are getting so complex that they are confusing… so today we added another resource to Prepography‘s Online Preparedness Tools & Resources Page covering U.S. State Hunting & Fishing License & Regulation Information.

Hope this helps you keep your hunting & fishing safe, legal and sane!

Aquaponics Infographic

Last summer I ran my own aquaponics system for the first time.  I found that the vegetables within the system grew three times faster than the vegetables from the same seed packs grown outside the system as a control group.  While I didn’t put my system into operation this year because of our move I’m still fascinated by this agricultural growing method and intend on employing aquaponic principals at The Hermitage in future growing seasons…maybe even within an earthship inspired greenhouse.  I came across this great Aquaponics Infographic at Open Source Aquaponics.

This infographic does a great job explaining how aquaponics works.  The system I built used an IBC Tote that had previously held soybean oil and featured a growbed that also served as the flood tank.

Aquaponics Infographic

What The Heck Is Hugelkulture – Infographic

irrigating garden that I can harvest without crawling around on the ground..in a word, Hugelkulture.

If you haven’t seen Sepp Holzer’s book, Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening and website make sure to check them out.

Hugelkulture Infographic

SHTF Gun: The Under-appreciated Rossi Trifecta

The Rossi Trifecta: Introduction

Looking for a SHTF gun?  Recently, I read a very good article that was been re-posted around the web entitled “Building A Survival Arsenal On A Budget“. It gave some very practical advice on which SHTF gun, pistols, rifles and shotguns, would fit in to a survival plan on a budget. Common features on many a low priced SHTF gun is a break action and single shot capability.  To fill the niche for a rim fire SHTF gun they featured the Chiappa Little Badger; a neat little break action .22LR rim fire which comes in around the $170 price range. I couldn’t help but think that for $100 more I could fill the niche of a rim fire .22 in my SHTF gun arsenal, as well as a shotgun and a center-fire hunting rifle with one package. That package is the Rossi Trifecta Youth Combo.

The Rossi Trifecta: Description

The Rossi Trifecta is an extremely versatile shooting system that lends itself for use as a SHTF gun.  It combines a black synthetic stock with three calibers of interchangeable barrels.  They are a .22LR rim fire, with adjustable fiber optic sights.  A shotgun, with bead front sight.  Lastly, a center fire rifle, with adjustable fiber optic sights.   The barrels change with one screw and no tools.  You can get the Rossi Trifecta in several different flavors:shtf gun rossi_trifecta bag

  • 22LR/ 243 Winchester/410 shotgun (available with a green stock)
  • 22LR/ 44 Mag/ 20-gauge
  • 22LR/ 7mm-08 Remington/ 20-gauge
  • 22LR/ 243 Winchester/ 20-gauge (this is the one my family has)

The set also includes a scope mount base, hammer extension and removable cheek piece allowing adjustments for proper fit with each barrel. The Rossi Trifecta sets also include a custom carry case to hold the gun and barrels in take-down condition.

The Rossi Trifecta: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The good: The Rossi Trifecta can fill three niches ias a SHTF gun, in one package. That package is reasonably priced. In a SHTF scenario, it gives you the ability to to take small game, fowl, and larger game. The gun system weights about 6.5 pounds when taken down and packed, so it is extremely portable. It is a break action gun, with simplicity at its heart. It will fit inside a Ruck-sack, or just as easily strap on to the outside of one, as well. You can customize it as the rifle barrels will take a scope rail.

The bad: Rossi Trifecta is a youth gun, and is scaled as such. Due to the shorter barrel lengths accuracy suffers, especially on the shotgun and larger caliber rifle barrels. Addition of a scope does alleviate this problem a bit. It is still there, though. Another issue associated with the length is, well…the length of the gun. The barrel lengths are 18.5″ for the .22LR, and 22″ for the rifle and shotgun barrels. The stock is 15″ in length, giving respective overall lengths of 33.5″/37″/37″. The gun fits children, young adults and most women perfectly. For a full sized man, it can be a bit of an effort to hold the gun properly. It can be done, though. In shotgun and center-fire configuration there is a bit of a kick, as well; due to the barrel length and weight.

The ugly: I am not going to lie, the reviews you’ll read of the Rossi Trifecta are mixed, at best. For every 4 or 5 star review, there are several 1, 2, or 3 ones. A majority of the bad ones have to deal with the accuracy, as well as a bevy of complaints about mis-fires on the early models.

The Rossi Trifecta: My Personal Experience and Thoughts

Here’s the point where I will attempt to tie the good, the bad and the ugly of the Rossi Trifecta up in to one nice bundle for you. Hopefully, I can give you a little perspective and help you decide if it is a SHTF gun for you. My son received the Rossi Trifecta youth combo for Christmas around age 12 or 13; he is now 21. He lost interest in it, so it was handed down to my daughter. She used it to learn to shoot, as well. She still uses it from time to time, even though she has graduated to more adult guns. Now, the gun is considered to be my gun, because I am the only one that still shoots it on a (semi)regular basis. Over the years my children had the gun, I used it at various times. I’ve taken squirrels with the .22LR, shot skeet with the 20-guage, and even took my first doe with the .243.  [Andrew’s Note:  My oldest’s first gun was a Rossi rifle/shotgun system as well]

shtf gun rossi_trifecta scoped

Rossi Trifecta with mounted scopes

I’ve attached cheap rails and Bushnell scopes to the rim fire and center fire barrels. As long as I don’t bang the case around too much, they hold a zero reasonably well. This is true even with the movement of the break action when reloading. I can accurately hit a 2″ target with the .22LR at 25yds all day long. The .243, with its flat trajectory, is laser straight at 50yds and I can hit a pie plate sized target at 150yds more often than not. That type of accuracy may not be competition worthy. When looking for a SHTF gun it  isn’t as big a consideration.  If you are looking to drop a deer or other larger game in a survival situation it works perfectly fine, especially at short ranges.

With that said, the concerns about the accuracy of the Rossi Trifecta are valid. Over iron sights, it is difficult, but not impossible, to hold decent groups. Out past about 20-25yds the pattern on the 20-gauge isn’t the greatest, either.  My take on the matter is this. There are sacrifices that must be made in a gun system like this. For the price of some accuracy, you gain versatility and portability. A gun like this will never perform as well as a single purpose gun, unless you want to drop large sums of cash.  That kind of defeats the whole purpose of the exercise of finding a low budget SHTF gun.

The concerns about the misfires may have been valid at one point. In my experience Rossi has since fixed any design flaws (if there were any) that may have caused this issue. The only time the gun has misfired for me is when it is extremely dirty. Carbon builds up on the face of the receiver and the firing pin won’t strike properly. Another problem caused by a dirty gun is that shotgun shells will get stuck in the chamber. They easily come out with a bore punch. Both issues are remedied by a quick cleaning of the gun. It should go without saying that thorough cleaning between uses also helps keep stoppages due to fouling to a minimum.  Any SHTF gun you choose will need regular cleaning to function properly.

As a SHTF gun, the Rossi Trifecta could be easily carried and used. The ammo for all three configurations could end up weighing more than the taken down gun itself. I am a big guy, so that doesn’t really concern me. I can pack a lot of weight. For a smaller guy/gal it could pose a problem.  Distributing ammo among your group would fix that issue. As a SHTF gun it is not optimal as a defensive weapon. Still, in a pinch, I’d rather have this than nothing. Hopefully, if things have gone South, you won’t find yourself in a situation where this would be the only SHTF gun available for defense. If need be, it would give you the ability to accurately engage a target well beyond pistol range with a round that will stop a man.

The Rossi Trifecta: Is it a SHTF gun?

rossi_trifecta1As a SHTF gun, I think the Rossi Trifecta is a perfect fit for the survival hunting role.  This is especially true for those on a budget, or those looking for the most “bang” for their buck. As noted it is extremely portable. From personal experience, I can tell you it is extremely rugged to boot. At around $280 you can get the versatility of three guns that would cost you $350 on a low, low budget and up to $800, or more, on a moderate budget. I think a lot of the bad reviews about the Rossi Trifecta, especially in regards to accuracy and the kick, are more due to unrealistic expectations than anything that is ‘wrong” with the gun. Is it a top performer in any of the 3 niches it fills? No, it isn’t by a long shot… but it does perform in an acceptable manner in all three roles. For what it is, and what it does, I think the good out-weighs the bad, and one would be well served by the Rossi Trifecta as a SHTF gun.

 

DIY Bug Out Stove – Infographic

There are lots of great little stoves for backpacking or putting in your bug out bag but there aren’t many that will be less expensive than this DIY Bug Out Stove that you can learn how to make with this infographic.  The only potential drawback to these stoves after you add a pot holder (they used nails but I like using coat hanger wire) is the liquid fuel but this is still a great, almost free alternative to the Esbit Pocket Stove.

Top 10 Tips For Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables

Top 10 Tips For Dehydrating Frozen Vegetables

  1. Buy Store Brands:  Store brands are less expensive but are often sourced and prepared exactly the same way as their more expensive, name brand alternatives. In normal circumstances, most people won’t be able to tell a difference anyway.  In a survival situation the extra food that you can put away for the same cost could be the difference between life and death.
  2. Shop The Sales:  Different stores have sales at different times, so search around for the best price.  You don’t have to process your veggies on a set time schedule so hold out for the best deals.
  3. Stay Cool:  Place your vegetables in the freezer as soon as you get home. Even if you plan to dehydrate your vegetables the same day, keep them frozen… your finished products will be better if you start with a completely frozen bag of vegetables.
  4. Don’t Refreeze:  Don’t refreeze your vegetables once they thaw as frost will form on vegetables as they refreeze and this will make for a poorer end product.
  5. Use Tray Liners:  Be sure to use your dehydrator’s tray liners. Once your vegetables start dehydrating they will shrink and fall through regular trays.
  6. Just One Layer:  Make sure your vegetables are laid out in just a single layer.  If you pile your vegetables up on one another or put them in your dehydrator in frozen clumps you may have uneven dehydration, and you could end up with un-dried bits.
  7. Airless:  Once they are dehydrated, get them in to an airtight container as quickly as possible.  Air, and the moisture it contains is the enemy of your dehydrated foods.
  8. Seal Them Up:  Glass jars with tight fitting lids which are not suitable for canning may make good containers for your dehydrated vegetables.
  9. Suck it up:  Vacuum Sealed Bags also make a great storage option and make it easy to package meal sized portions for quick and easy preparation.
  10.  Store it Right:  Store you package items in a cool, dry, dark space.  This will increase the shelf life.

BONUS TIP

  • Identify It:  Label everything with a date and contents, so you can rotate your stock as needed, without confusion.

Search the web for more useful tips on how to become more self sufficient by dehydrating food for long term storage. and check out my article on how to Dehydrate Store Brand Frozen Vegetables.

Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

An Introduction To Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

Dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables is a quick and easy way of creating inexpensive long term preps. They are less expensive than freeze dried, or prepared dehydrated vegetables and they are quicker and easier to prepare than fresh vegetables. They also offer more flexibility in your preparation schedule as well as providing a good, uniform quality in the end product.   There are certainly some negatives to using them but the benefits outweigh the negatives by a wide margin.

The Cost Saving Of  Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen VegetablesAnyone on budget or is cost conscience knows that freeze dried or prepared dehydrated foods can be an expensive choice for long term food storage. Recently, an online store had #10 cans of freeze dried sweet corn on sale for $12.95. The suggested 23 servings per can cost $.56 apiece. That is on the low end, as regular prices can be upwards of 50% higher. In comparison, I recently bought all the store brand frozen veggies pictured to the left  for $.89 each, that’s five bags for just $4.45. Each bag contained ten servings, giving me a total of 50 servings. Broken down, that is $.09 a serving. Sometimes, you can even find store brand frozen veggies on sale for as low as $.69 each; driving the cost down even more.

Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables Gives You Flexibility

I think almost everyone would agree that eating preserved home grown vegetables is preferable to eating store bought. The problem is that once most vegetables are picked, you have a very narrow window to preserve them in before they go bad. For someone in a time crunch this could be an issue. You are also limited by the amount of your harvest. If you have small garden, you may not be able to raise the amount of vegetables it took to get the 50 servings in my example above. Store brand frozen vegetables, on the other hand can currently be purchased year round and stored in the freezer until you have time to prepare them. The only limiting factors to getting the best price is the timing of sales at whatever stores you frequent.

Ease Of Preparation When Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

The prep steps for dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables are dead simple.  There is no planting and growing. There is no harvesting. There is no cleaning and prepping consists of just 2 steps . Getting them ready is as simple as opening the bag and spreading them out on your dehydrator trays.

Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables Give You A Quality End Product

From the time the your frozen vegetables hit your kitchen, you have complete control over the quality of your process.  Don’t become complacent because you’re working with mass produced vegetables…keep a clean kitchen and start with quality veggies and you’re likely to have a high quality end product.

The Cons Of Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

Dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables does have some negatives. The biggest drawback is not knowing the source of the veggies used and all the associated concerns. If it came from your garden or a local farmer you can feel safe with the product. If it came from a big industrial farm through a multi-state or multi-country distribution system you don’t have such reassurances. Let’s be honest, for most people buying freeze dried or prepared dehydrated foods this isn’t a primary concern. If it were, they wouldn’t be buying foods from the store to begin with. The other concern about using store brand frozen vegetables is shelf life. Dehydrated foods don’t have the shelf life of freeze dried foods. Still, homemade dehydrated foods when packaged properly, can last 10 to 15 years. If done with exceptional care, they can last almost as long as their expensive freeze dried alternative. Even so, you should still rotate your food stocks to assure that you consume your foods while they still contain most of their nutritional content.

The End Bit On Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

Dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables is not being put forward as a complete replacement for freeze dried or prepared dehydrated foods.  Some items can’t be exposed to the heat used by most dehydrators, while others just aren’t practical. Trying to properly dehydrate something like broccoli, for instance, seems daunting to me. I am not even sure you can do it, let alone do it at home. Even so, when you weigh the positives and the negatives I believe that dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables is an inexpensive, quick, and easy way to bulk up your long term food supplies.

Check back with Prepography later this week for my Top 10 Tips for Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables.

SurvivAMINO Product Review

(Grumpy G’s disclaimer: I am not a doctor; just a cautious consumer. This article is not intended to impart any medical advice. The only recommendation I have that you should listen to 100% is this; before taking this product, or any other nutritional product for that matter, talk to a medical professional. If you do take it, and don’t feel right, chances are something isn’t. Stop taking it and, again, talk to a medical professional. Enjoy my SurvivAMINO Product Review.)

Andrew’s Note: After reading our SurvivAMINO Product Review, use Coupon Code “Prepography” for a 20% discount on Step 2 of Checkout.

What is SurvivAMINO?

SurvivAMINO is described as a “Tactical Protein Replacement for Survival”. VitalitySciences promotes it as being a substitute for heavier, bulkier protein items in your bug out bag, kit, or pack. SurvivAMINO provides this protein in the form of 8 essential amino acids in a small package. Instead of packing along heavier, bulkier food items you can replace each meal’s protein with just five little tablets of SurvivAMINO.

What you get when SurvivAMINO:

Each bottle of SurvivAMINO costs $45 ($39.99 with the Coupon Code Prepography) and contains 100 tablets of dietary supplements that contain essential amino acids as a protein replacement. You can also purchase by the 12 bottle case for $495 ($396 with Coupon Code), which is a little over a 9% discount before using the coupon code. Shipping is free in the continental US. Per the usage instructions, the 100 tablets represent 20 servings, or basically a weeks’ worth of protein replacement. VitalitySciences is very clear on their website that this product is meant to replace protein only, and not whole foods. In other words, you cannot replace all food with SurvivAMINO and expect to stay healthy. Instead, you can carry your protein in a compact, lightweight form. In fact, the supplement comes in a standard vitamin style bottle and weighs just a quarter what a similar amount of protein from pemmican or a 1/20th as much as the same amount of protein from canned meat would weight.

SurvivAMINO Website:

VitalitySciences provides a handy website where the consumer can purchase and learn more about SurvivAMINO. The website includes:

  • Testimonials from various athletes and preppers
  • FAQ Section
  • Amino Acid Facts: A quick and dirty rundown on what amino acids are, and why they are important.
  • Blog: Features nutrition articles and interviews/profiles of athletes from multiple disciplines.

All in all, the website is well put together, and easy to use.

Why Protein and Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) are Important:

At this point, I’m going to change gears are talk about proteins and EAAs. Protein is an essential nutrient which helps form the structural component of body tissues and is used within many biological processes. For example, protein is used to make enzymes, antibodies to help us fight infection as well as DNA. It is also needed to make up muscle tissue, which in turn helps to keep our bodies active, strong, and healthy. Most protein is stored in the body as muscle, generally accounting for around 40-45% of our body’s total mass. If you increase activity, perhaps to improve health, fitness, or body composition, you will need more protein to function. The same can be said about elevated activity during and emergency situations, or bug out and get home situations. Protein in your diet will also help alleviate feelings of hunger. The body cannot use protein taken from food until it is broken down into amino acids. There are 20 to 21 amino acids (depending on what you read) which can be arranged in a myriad of ways to create the proteins the body needs to survive. Essential amino acids are “essential” not because they are more important for protein than the others, but because the body cannot synthesize them. They must be supplied by an outside source. The symptoms of essential amino acid deficiencies manifest themselves as nervousness, exhaustion and dizziness.

The SurvivAMINO Plan:

VitalitySciences intends for their product to be a replacement for protein in one’s preparations. Again, their website is very clear that this is not meant to be a replacement for all food; rather it is meant to replace just the protein containing foods one would normally consume. The website points out that SurvivAMINO is good choice for emergency kits; which I take to mean bug out or 72 hour bags even though there is a weeks’ worth of nutrition in each bottle. Amino acid absorption is a little beyond the scope of this article but the manufacturer claims that their superior sourcing enables the amino acids in SurvivAMINO to be better absorbed which will provide performance.

Testing Methodology:

I am not a dietician, nor am I a high level athlete. However, through past military and sports training I do know how my body reacts and how I feel when my diet is out of whack. I used SurvivAMINO as a replacement for protein in my diet twice a day for 5 days. That’s half a bottle for anyone not paying attention. Honestly, I was not looking forward to the testing process as I do like my proteins, especially when they are grilled or smoked. This was actually a prime time for me to test the product, as I am currently on a Weight Watchers plan. I diligently log my food intake daily and my weight several times a week. I am much, more in tune with my body’s nutrition than I have been in years. I also have access to professional clinical nutritional dietitians through work, and I planned on taking the product to them to get their feedback. In addition to the dietitians, I wanted to speak to some Boy Scout leader friends who have extensive experience long distant backpacking to get their thoughts on it, as well. Finally, SurvivAMINO tries to set itself apart with the claim that it is superior in grade than their competitors, so I asked VitalitySciences; via the “Contact Us” feature on its website, if it had any independent verification of that claim.

Results and Conclusions:

I took SurvivAMINO as directed; taking 5 tablets for lunch and dinner, each, while cutting out as much other protein as I could. During the testing, my daily intake of protein, beforeSurvivAMINO was only about 10 grams daily. The recommended daily protein intake for an adult meal is around 56 grams. At the end of the week, I felt none the worse. The first day I did have a stomach ache after taking the tablets. Realistically, that can be attributed to an empty stomach (more on that later) and not the tablets. I thought I would feel the effects from lack of protein intake, but I didn’t. For the last 4-5 weeks my weight loss had been averaging .285 Lbs per day on Weight Watchers. I lost a total of 4 Lbs during the testing period for an average of .8 Lbs per day. The weight loss was not unexpected; I was surprised at how much it was, though. I did not decrease any other food intake during the test period, except the protein. I did replace the lost fats in the meat with olive oil.  It makes me wonder how much weight you would lose in a real life emergency over the same period, with increased stress, increased activity and reduced rations.

The professional clinical nutritional dietitians I discussed SurvivAMINO with were dubious about the product when I took it to them.  They weren’t keen on replacing meats, fish, nuts, and other protein rich foods with an amino acid supplement. They said that they would have liked to have seen more detailed nutritional info on it than what was provided, as well. They did say though, that no nutritional harm would come from using the product as directed over a short period; say 2-3 days. In fact, the only thing they said they would change in that instance would be the dosage instructions. They suggested that instead of taking 5 tablets per meal, you should eat the same amount of tablets, but stretch your intake over the course of the day. The reason for this change, they explained, is that they felt the body would do a better job of absorbing and using the amino acids through more frequent and smaller doses. They also suggested incorporating multi-vitamins into the plan as well. This is because as you cut protein containing foods out of your diet you are also losing what vitamins and minerals they contain, as well.

The Scout leaders I talked with had a different take on SurvivAMINO. They liked the idea of being able to drop weight from their packs, and still have the nutritional value the product could provide. However, for holistic reasons, they were hesitant about replacing meals with tablets. They made the point that the act of eating is a huge component of the human psyche, and that eating, especially food high in protein, is very comforting and satisfying. They pointed out that this is especially true after an arduous or stressful experience. They wondered what the effects on moral would be if that experience was reduced through replacement by supplements. Additionally, they pointed out that an empty stomach (remember my stomach aches the first day?) can be more detrimental to one’s moral than the discomfort of carrying around the extra weight in food. They pointed out that at least the weight would decrease as the days pass. They did say that in an emergency situation SurvivAMINO would be better than nothing, but suggested that they would use SurvivAMINO it as a supplement to their more traditional protein intake and not a total replacement. At the time of posting, I am still waiting to hear back from VitalitySciences on my inquiry about independent verification of the higher quality of their product. I haven’t heard anything back, thus far. If I do get a response, I will make sure to update this article.

Conclusions:

  • SurvivAMINO as a product: I have no complaints about the actual product. As far as supplements go, it’s one of the better performing ones I’ve used. The ill effects I expected from not taking in as much protein never manifested, like I thought they would. Also, I really like the fact that it comes in tablet form and not encapsulated or powdered; they are much easier to use.
  • SurvivAMINO‘s price: At $45 ($39.99 if using our Coupon Code) a bottle the price still seems a bit steep to me. There are dozens of competing products in the dietary supplement market that are cheaper. This may be a case of you get what you pay for, though. As noted, this is one of the better supplements I’ve used. Whether the cost is worth it is up to you.
  • SurvivAMINO‘s claims of quality: The dietary supplement market is unregulated by the FDA; hence the FDA statement on SurvivAMINO’s bottle. Manufacturers can make almost any claim they want, and it is up to the consumer to verify them. While they do have quite a few quality endorsements on their website, I am still waiting for independent verification of the higher quality of their product and/or manufacturing process.
  • SurvivAMINO‘s plan: As an emergency or short-term plan, SurvivAMINO does fit the bill as a compact, lightweight protein replacement. All the concerns that were raised by people I talked to were about the idea of completely replacing protein containing foods with a supplement, and using it as such for any longer than 2-3 days.

In the end, I would use SurvivAMINO in real world application. However, I would use it as a supplement, rather than a total protein replacement. I would pack it, along with some form of whole food protein. The extra weight would be negligible and it would be a great way to stretch what heavier protein I carry. Carrying SurvivAMINO would increase the time frame in which I could keep my body fueled, therefore increasing my chances of survival. In fact, I wouldn’t ‘pack’ SurvivAMINO, I would actually carry it on my body along with other essential essentials. That way, if had to dump my gear, I would still have my protein replacement on me.

SurvivAMINO Product Review Coupon Code

Don’t forget that there’s a 20% discount available on SurvivAMINO with the Coupon Code “Prepography“…

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