Everything You Need To Know About Being An Introvert

You May Be an Introvert If…

Not sure if you are an introvert or just shy? The two can go hand in hand, but they don’t have to. Many introverted people aren’t shy – they just enjoy people in smaller doses than extroverts. See how many of these fit your personality. If most of them do, you are probably an introvert.

  1. Introverts revel in time alone – they need lots of time to think and dream. They enjoy creative and solitary pursuits.
  2. Introverts are social – but don’t need to be around people a lot. While other personality types crave the excitement of a party, introverts would rather be talking one-on-one with someone who has interesting ideas.
  3. Introverts tend to listen more than they talk – until someone brings up their favorite topic. Then they will ask questions and excitedly discuss the intricacies of the issue. Until then, they are happy to quietly listen and learn about those around them.
  4. Introverts are keen observers – since they are often quietly listening, they observe a great deal about the people and environment around them. They enjoy this. While their friend is shopping in the mall, they will be people-watching… that is if their friend can drag them to the mall.
  5. Introverts are often very perceptive or intuitive – it may partially be all the observing they do, but they tend to be insightful and good judges of character. They may seem to know the deeper motivations behind other people’s actions or words than others may be comfortable with.
  6. Introverts are excited by ideas – this is why they perk up at the mention of a new interest of theirs. They want to dig deep into the inner workings of everything that fascinates them.
  7. Introverts have rich inner lives – with all the thinking going on, this isn’t surprising. They are more than content to ponder how and why something works, just for the mental stimulation.


  1. Introverts need their own quiet space – yeah, like a man cave. They need a place they can call their own where they can just be and think. They are most contented in that space.
  2. Introverts have a couple of close friends – rather than a lot of acquaintances. They are looking for deep, enriching relationships with people they trust, rather than good-time friends.
  3. Introverts can get cranky if they spend too much time with people – so if their friend does get them to go to the mall, they shouldn’t expect it to be an all-day adventure. Being around people, especially a lot of people for an extended period is draining for introverts.

Ways Introverts Interact With Their Environment

Introverts interact with people and their environments differently than extroverts do. Because their brains are hardwired differently, they don’t feel the same way about people and events, and their behavior demonstrates that. Here’s a list of ways that introverts interact differently with their environment than extroverts do.

Don’t get “high” on their environment – Extroverts experience a release of dopamine, a feel-good hormone when they are in a crowd. They take on the energy that surrounds them and live it up. In other words, they get a “high” from it. Introverts, on the other hand, shut down and hide in a crowded environment.

Think before they speak – Introverts mull things over before deciding on a logical conclusion. While extroverts often think aloud, introverts engage in an internal dialogue before opening their mouths to speak. This fact has encouraged the belief that introverts are shy or antisocial because they don’t just jump right into a conversation as extroverts do.

Live near the exit – When they are in a crowd of people, introverts subconsciously head near the exit to stand. They always want to have a way out if the environment becomes too overstimulating. By standing near an exit, they can escape and take in some solitary time, if needed. This has earned them a reputation for being snobby or standoffish.

Screen calls – Highly focused introverts are more likely to let their voicemail deal with an unexpected call than to answer it. They dislike being interrupted when they are focused on a task, so even if the call coming in is from a friend or family member, they will often call them back rather than risk breaking their concentration.

Prefer texting or emailing – Introverts love some of the newer technology available to them because it gives them a socially-acceptable way to avoid small talk. They much prefer to text or email others because the informal chit-chat is considered unnecessary when communicating in those ways. They can get straight to the point without coming off as rude.

Drawn to solitary, creative work – Understandably, introverts lean towards careers that allow them to focus on detail-oriented tasks that are creative and can be easily done alone. Their mono-focus gives them the ability to perform detailed work and, being able to skip all the office chit-chat, reserves their energy so they can complete highly creative tasks.

Make excellent public speakers – This may seem counter-intuitive based on what you know about introverts, but think about it. If they are on stage, you don’t have to mingle. Mingling means energy drain and small talk to the introvert, but when they are informing people of a topic they are interested in, they are enthusiastic and energetic.

The Reason You’re an Introvert is in Your Brain

Most of us believe our personality is the reason for our introversion. And part of it may be. However, a recent study proves that the brain of an introvert works differently from an extrovert’s. This means no matter who our parents were or what our environment was like growing up, we were born hard-wired as an introvert. Let’s look at the details of the study to learn more.

The study included many different people from all ages, cultures, and walks of life. They were shown images of objects and people’s faces as their brain waves were monitored by an EEG. Scientists found that introvert’s and extrovert’s brains reacted differently to the two different types of pictures.

Specifically, what the scientists were looking for in the brain was the P300 wave, which is caused when we experience a sudden modification in our environment. The researchers discovered that extroverts started P300 brain activity when they saw a picture of a person’s face, while introverts showed this brain activity when they say pictures of objects.

Now, this study does not give extroverts more ammunition to say introverts don’t like people or are snobs. But what it does tell us is that introverts give more emphasis to objects than they do to people. On the other hand, extroverts give more attention to people than to objects. And this makes sense if you think about what drives each of these two different types of people. Introverts are energized by spending time in solitary pursuits, figuring things out, but extroverts are energized by being around people.


Introverts, of course, care deeply about their loved ones, but they don’t need to have a steady stream of stimulation by people or events like extroverts do. And introverts can also enjoy being around people, especially around a small group of intimates. However, they don’t need this interaction as frequently as extroverts do. We are all social creatures – introverts just do socialize differently than extroverts.

How does knowing about this study help you? Well, if you are like most introverts, you have at least one extrovert in your life who is always pressuring you to get out of your shell and out of the house. They may tease you about being a shy homebody and incessantly invite you to join the fun at social events. Now you can explain that your brain simply works differently than theirs and that you don’t enjoy the constant stimulation of other people’s company as they do.

Surprising Facts about Introverts

 Super creative – According to scientific tests, the percentage of introverts who are creative is much higher than with extroverts. One speculation for this is that it’s due to the inordinate amount of alone time introverts set aside, much of it for thinking of new ideas. Typically, one needs quiet time to encourage creative ideas to be formed.

Rarely get lonely or bored – With all the alone time introvert schedule for brainstorming, they rarely find themselves bored. There’s always a new thing to try, a new plan to implement or a challenge to overcome. Their worlds are in their minds, so wherever they go, they rarely are lonely or bored.


Reserve trust – Introverts prefer to observe other people’s behavior, body language and words before determining whether or not they are worthy of their trust. Rather than share deeply with others, they reserve their trust for those they are intimate with, and there are usually only a handful of those people.

Prefer writing – When given a choice between communicating in writing or verbally, the introvert will usually take the written route. Writing out their ideas gives them time to fully think through what they want to say and how they want to say it. When communicating verbally, introverts have to think on their feet, which they find uncomfortable.

Quality producer – Introverts are extremely productive people – when left to their own devices. When they can work in a way they like – alone, without distraction, they mono-focus to produce great results. In fact, some find it astounding how many brilliant ideas an introvert can brainstorm, plan and implement. They are not just thinkers – they execute their unique ideas.

Easily distracted – On the other side, introverts can be easily distracted. This occurs typically when they are overstimulated or have too many ideas to implement. When there’s too much to do, or their ideas are coming faster than they can put them to use, they can falter deciding what to tackle first.

 Mysterious – Extroverts find introverted individuals mysterious. Think about it – they stand off to the side and observe everyone’s comings and goings without revealing much of anything about themselves. Extroverts often claim introverts are hard to get a real sense of, which can be either alluring or disheartening.


On a continuum – Introversion is not a one size fits all. We are all unique and run along the lines of a continuum, as with all things in life. You may recognize yourself in some of the above characteristics and not so much with others. Or, you may be more social than other introverts, enjoying a party, as long as you know about it ahead of time.

Communication Struggles That Only Introverts Have

Some of the issues that introverts have when communicating with others are due to the very definition of being an introvert. Extroverts may not understand these things about you because they don’t experience them. By understanding why you should struggle with these types of communication, you can better explain them to those extroverts in your life.

Your conversation must be brilliant – Due to perfectionistic tendencies, introverts frequently don’t speak up, even when they have something to say because they fear it won’t be insightful enough or it will come out all wrong.


Neglect phone calls – You much prefer to text or email because you can skip the small talk and it’s socially acceptable with those forms of communication. But phone calls… shudder! You find yourself procrastinating making important phone calls or returning calls, even to those you love. You have to feel energized enough to be an enthusiastic participant in the conversation, which can cause you to put off making calls, even if they are vital.

Difficulty thinking in groups – Because you need to think before you speak and because you need to have silence while you ponder, you find it challenging to participate in the conversation when there are comments and ideas flying everywhere. You may feel like you can’t gather your thoughts well enough to contribute to the conversation.

Big groups exhaust you – When you have to be around a lot of people, especially if you don’t know them, you feel exhausted fast. One reason for this is because it involves a lot of small-talk, which doesn’t come naturally to introverts. Putting out that much effort wears you out.


Dislike working in groups – Working in groups can be even worse for an introvert than small-talk. When you must rely on others to communicate in ways that aren’t comfortable or understandable to you, it’s a real challenge to complete the project. There’s also the issue of your perfectionism too. Because of your practice of thinking through every possible issue and solution, you are committed to only turning out perfection… but others in the group don’t often care as much about this as completion, or they have a very different perception of what “perfection” is.

Feel lonely surrounded by people – Introverts often feel left out of a rapid conversation, whether it’s at a party or a work conference. This often occurs because, by the time you determine what you want to say and the best way to say it, the group has moved onto a new topic. You can easily feel left out and lonely during these discussions – more so than if you were actually alone.


11 Superfoods To Add To Your Smoothie


Smoothies are a refreshing way to get some really good nutrients, vitamins and minerals into your body. Also, since there is no one true definition for smoothies, you can make them however you like. Some people add milk or other dairy products, while others use ice and water. Sweeteners may or may not be used. Fruits and/or vegetables of all types are in play. Simply put, it is up to you exactly how you make your smoothies.

One thing that almost everyone agrees on is that a smoothie is made for health purposes. People drink a smoothie rather than a soft drink or some other unhealthy beverage to try to impact their health in a positive manner. Herbs and spices, nutritional and herbal supplements, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powder and seeds, nuts, milk and even tea are added to the ingredients of a smoothie with the sole purpose of giving yourself a natural health boost. Following that way of thinking, why not add “superfoods” to your next smoothie?

There are some amazing foods nutritionists and health experts agree dramatically improve your overall mental and physical health and wellness levels. Many times they don’t even change the flavor of your favorite smoothie, or have very little taste impact. The next time you whip up a healthy smoothie, add some of the following 11 super foods to make your refreshing drink as healthy as possible.


Blueberries taste great, they are full of healthy fiber, they add a wonderful blue/purple hue to your smoothies, and they decrease your risk of contracting heart disease. Eating blueberries regularly can lower unhealthy cholesterol levels and has been directly related to lower rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and early death, while promoting healthy, young looking hair and skin.

These yummy little berries deliver phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, manganese and vitamin K, all of which contribute to healthy bones. Additionally, zinc and iron are two minerals many people have insufficient levels of in their bodies, which are important for keeping your joints healthy. Because of the above-mentioned minerals, a regular consumption of blueberries decreases blood pressure naturally, helps diabetes sufferers manage their condition, prevents the development of cancer, improves mental health and promotes healthy digestion. If those are not enough good reasons to add blueberries to your next smoothie, try this one … they taste great! 

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds get healthy levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids into your body. As you probably know, omega-3 is are present in very high levels in fish. Not everyone likes to eat fish. This is a great to ensure you are getting omega-3 into your body if you don’t want to eat fish 3 to 4 times a week.

Chia seeds are also chock full of calcium and dietary fiber. This means they promote bone health and a strong digestive process that promotes healthy body weight maintenance. A tablespoon or two in your smoothie and a little extra time blending can deliver a lot of health benefits. By the way, Chia seeds are almost totally tasteless in a smoothie, so you don’t affect the flavor of your favorite recipe.

3  Goji Berries

You may not find a better immune system booster than Goji berries. Chock full of healthy antioxidants and vitamin C, some studies show that Goji berries support healthy vision and circulation. These are incredibly tasty little berries as well. Delivering more than 20 minerals and vitamins that support head to toe health and well-being, Goji berries have been a mainstay in Asian cultures for centuries, and deserve a place in your next smoothie. Add some natural sweetness to a refreshing beverage with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Goji berries.  

4  Acai

Acai is present in nature as a berry, but you can find Acai berry powder if you look around. As always, it is recommended that you choose natural, organic Acai berries rather than processed powders, unless you ensure your powder doesn’t contain unhealthy ingredients. If you can’t find it in your local area, it is available online through retail outlets like Amazon.

It’s predominant claim to fame in natural health food circles is its dramatic ability to aid in weight loss and a healthy weight maintenance. However, Acai berries also pack plenty of free radical killing antioxidants that promote heart health and fight cancer.

5  Spirulina

Spirulina is a micro algae that grows naturally in fresh, warm water lakes. Actually, it’s blue-green color is what gives some fresh water a greenish tent. It can be purchased in a powder form that works great in smoothies. Rather than reaching for an unhealthy protein powder supplement, why not choose natural spirulina instead? You get protein, amino acids and antioxidants your body craves, you promote the detoxing of dangerous toxins and poisons from your body, and you also benefit from an excellent source of iron. Spirulina is between 55 and 70% protein, a higher level than chicken, beef or soybeans. Add 18 essential and nonessential amino acids and more than a dozen other minerals, vitamins and nutrients, and you see why you should probably start adding spirulina to your next smoothie today. 

6  Hemp Seeds

Choose either hemp seeds or hemp powder and you receive 50% more protein and dramatically higher levels of dietary fiber than if you use a soy-based protein powder. There is some research which shows that soy may not be the best food to put into your body, and hemp protein allows for a healthy substitute.

Athletes constantly eat hemp seeds and use hemp powder in their smoothies and beverages because of its ability to quickly repair muscles. Add 1 to 4 tablespoons of hemp powder for a huge dose of protein, but just remember that the more hemp product you use, the stronger the taste.


7  Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is so unbelievably healthy that it definitely qualifies as a superfood. Adding just 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to your daily diet means stronger, healthier, younger looking skin, hair and nails. When you cook with coconut oil, you enjoy the highest flash point of any healthy oil. This means that unhealthy oxidation does not occur, which is what happens when commonly using other oils to fry, sauté and bake. You can rub coconut oil into your hair for a shiny glow, apply to your skin for multiple health benefits, and coconut oil helps you lose weight by aiding your body in the way it metabolizes fat.

You can also plop some into your next smoothie.

If you are making a 16 to 32 ounce smoothie, a tablespoon or two of coconut oil will go unnoticed. It will not affect the taste of your smoothie, and studies show coconut oil supports healthy mental functions. You also experience an increase in natural energy, while this wonderful oil goes to work killing harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses in your body.

 8  Bone Broth

While bone broth is usually consumed as a warm soup, it makes perfect sense in a smoothie. Especially if you are adding a lot of fiber or more dense vegetables or fruits, this can help add much needed liquid to your drink. The gelatin and collagen in bone broth can fill important holes in your diet. Collagen improves the strength and health of your nails, skin and hair, and gelatin is full of marvelous anti-inflammatory properties that keep your digestive process working properly.

You can notice real benefits to the appearance and health of your skin, hair and nails in as little as 5 to 7 days if you add 1 cup of organic bone broth to your diet daily, and you can easily do this by adding it to your smoothies.

9  Avocados

Along with blueberries, avocados have long been considered a superfood. If you are looking to thicken up a smoothie, a healthy avocado is perfect for the job. You get more than 20 essential vitamins and minerals, healthy fats and protein, and healthier, younger looking skin. Avocado is also good at making you feel full longer, which means you may eat fewer calories throughout the day, leading to weight loss. 

10  Eggs

Eggs are known by many nutritionists as having “perfect” protein. As recently as the 1970s and 1980s, it was thought that eating too many eggs could lead to serious cholesterol problems. We now know this was based on faulty research, and since eggs deliver virtually no carbohydrates and very few calories for all the wonderful nutrients they deliver, they deserve a place in your diet.

However, not everyone likes to eat eggs scrambled, fried or boiled, the traditional means of preparing eggs. A simple solution is to add 1 or 2 eggs to your smoothie, because they are such a good healthy-protein source. This means you don’t have to turn to protein powder that may have negative side-effects and unhealthy processed chemicals and other materials that are not good for you.

11  Apples

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. This could be because apples are full of healthy dietary fiber and natural sweetness that keeps you from snacking on unhealthy sugar-filled snacks and sweets. Apples are also packed full of healthy antioxidants that fight free radicals, chemicals that lead to increased risk of contracting cancer. There are a lot of good reasons to add some apple (peeled) to your next smoothie recipe. 

Bonus Smoothie Health Tip

Whether you make your own smoothies or buy them at the retail level, remember this. Too many fruits can cause an overabundance of sugar, which leads to health concerns. You also want to ask a lot of questions if you are not preparing your own smoothies. There could be unhealthy protein powders, sugar, syrup, dairy products or nutritional supplements involved in making your smoothie that don’t agree with you, or could lead to health problems.

When you make your own smoothies at home, you control every step of the process. That means you can use only the healthiest ingredients, including the 11 superfoods above that guarantee a natural health boost that improves your wellness from head to toe.

15 Foods To Eat Before & After Workouts

15 foods to eat before and after workouts


Do you actively think about what you should be eating before and after a workout? If you are like most people, you do not and that is a mistake. Why? Your body needs a certain kind of nutrition in each stage of an exercise workout. In this article, we discuss in detail about what to eat both before and after a workout and why those types of foods are best at both ends of an exercise session. 

Before Working Out

As part of your routine of preparing for a workout, your food should mainly consist of both simple and complex carbohydrates in addition to lean protein, healthy fats and fluids. As far as carbs, the simple ones which consist mainly of sugars, digest quicker to give you the quick energy you need at the beginning of your workout. The complex variety, along with fats and proteins, digest slower and provide a more stable blood sugar level to give you enough energy to carry you though to the end of your workout. Recommended foods eaten before a workout to give you the energy you need in the beginning include:


Make your own from yogurt or a milk either dairy or plant-based, such as almond or soy. Add in some fresh fruit and either oatmeal or granola to increase the consistency if you want. Otherwise thicken it up by adding ice cubes before blending.

Greek yogurt and trail mix

Much like a smoothie, the dried fruit in the trail mix provides the energy you need at the beginning while the nuts and seeds help toward the end of your workout.

Whole wheat toast topped with peanut butter and sliced bananas

The fruit in this pre-workout combo gives you the quick energy you need while the toast and peanut butter digest more slowly. For a little kick, add a dash or two of cinnamon. Not only does it add flavor, but it is proven to stabilize blood sugar, so you don’t get the “sugar crash”. 

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread

It is hard to go wrong with a PBJ sandwich. The peanut butter has the protein, the bread the complex carbs and the jelly the quick-digesting simple carbs. If you are prone to cramping, throw on a sliced banana on top of the jelly to boost the potassium. And it doesn’t need refrigeration!

Oatmeal with fresh fruit and walnuts

Oatmeal and walnuts take longer to digest while the fruit gives you almost instant energy. The walnuts also have Omega-3 which is a protein so your muscles can get a jump on repair and rebuilding as soon as you are finished exercising. If you don’t have fresh fruit, drizzle a little honey on it instead for some natural sweetness and a quick boost of energy.

Apple wedges and almond butter

Here again, the fresh fruit gives you the boost you need in the beginning, while the almond butter carries the load until the end.

Fruit salad on quinoa with sliced avocado

The sugar in the fresh fruit provides the quick energy while the quinoa helps level out the blood sugar to prevent spiking. The avocado provides the healthy fat and helps prevent inflammation in the muscles. 

Multi-grain crackers with hummus

Spread about 3 tablespoons of hummus on 10 crackers for a great on-the-go snack. You can even make little sandwiches out of them by using two crackers and some filling. As an alternate to hummus, you can use guacamole.

Which is right for you?

One school of thought suggests you should exercise on an empty stomach because you burn more calories and hence more fat. However, studies have proven that you’ll burn about the same number of calories regardless if you eat beforehand or not. The difference is if you don’t have enough spare calories to burn in your kidneys and liver, as is the case if you exercise right away in the morning, your body could end up taking it from your muscles causing a loss of muscle mass which is never good.

After Working Out

Once finished with your workout, your focus should be eating complex carbohydrates, protein and a little healthy fat – the unsaturated kind within the “window of opportunity” 30 minutes to an hour after exercising. Why is the window of opportunity important? Because after an hour post-workout, the body’s ability to replenish the glycogen in the muscles decreases by 50%. Not only does this delay the repairing and rebuilding of the damage done to your muscles from exercising, but you will not have the energy necessary to keep your metabolism burning at it high level for hours afterward – called afterburn. The complex carbs help replenish the glycogen that was used up during the workout while the protein helps the muscles start healing the micro tears that happened and help grow them larger. Don’t go overboard on the protein; 10 to 20 grams is enough. The healthy fat helps break down the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, that are chocked full of antioxidants. Foods that work well post-workout include:

Protein shake

One banana, a scoop of protein powder and some almond milk makes a great post-workout snack. Add in a few ice cubes to thicken and get it cold.

Grilled chicken and mix vegetables

Spread some heart-friendly olive oil on the chicken and veggies before grilling to add in some flavor and color to the meat.

Veggie omelet with avocado

Eggs are one of the best natural sources of protein for your muscles. The avocado of course is your source of unsaturated fat. 

Grilled salmon with sweet potato

In this case, the fish provides the much-needed unsaturated fat and the complex carbs comes from the sweet potato.

Tuna fish on whole wheat toast

Whole grain provides the complex carbs while the tuna is a good source of complex carbs and healthy fat. Instead of using mayo on the bread, spread a thin layer of hummus and a few leaves of spinach. Be sure to buy the canned tuna packed in water instead of oil. That way you won’t lose the omega-3s as they are an oil and will not mix (and get thrown out) with the water as they would if packed in oil.


No, not take-out, delivery or even one you buy in the store. This one is made at home on a whole wheat crust with a little buffalo wing sauce, topped with fresh vegetables and a chopped up grilled chicken breast. The beauty of it is it only takes 15 minutes from start to finish and gives you around 55 grams of protein along with 10 grams of fiber.

Burrito and Beans

If you like Hispanic cuisine, try a burrito filled with a ½ cup of black beans, ½ cup of brown rice and 2 tablespoons of guacamole, rolled and topped with a little salsa. Fiber, complex carbs and a healthy fat all rolled into one! 

Chocolate milk

This drink hit the newer post-workout crowd by storm (or should we say again, as the older body-builders have used this trick for a long time). In the past, water or a sports drink was the liquid of choice after a workout, but where else can you replace the carbs, calcium, sodium, sugar and water lost during your workout in one glass, along with the getting the protein your muscles need in recovery. Chocolate milk is perhaps the perfect post-workout drink. It falls in line with the research results from Central Washington University that found at carb-to-protein ratio of 4:1 as being the perfect combination for post-workout muscle recovery. 

During a Workout

So far, we have covered in great detail how to eat before and after a workout, but what should you be doing during a workout? If you are working out over 60 minutes, you can lose up to 2% of your bodyweight in fluids which affects your performance. To prevent this, drink 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes during your workout. For endurance workouts lasting over 90 minutes, consume some simple carbs along the way, like a sports gel pack, banana or one ounce of dried fruit along with alternating between water and a sports drink to keep your fluid levels up. These are only a small number of the food combinations you can make and eat both before and after a workout. With a little creativeness, you can create your own delicious and nutritious pre- and post-workout meals.

Stay hydrated

In most cases for exercise workouts lasting less than an hour, the best hydration is just plain water. Make sure you start your exercise program hydrated by drinking at least two 8-ounce glasses of water about two hours before starting your exercise workout. Keep drinking enough water to replace what you lost about every 15 minutes. Rehydrate with another two glasses or so after your workout. If you work out for over an hour, or in hot humid conditions, then you might benefit from a sports drink as it can help replenish lost electrolytes and fluid. A good one should have around 14 to 15 grams of carbohydrate in 8 ounces. Sodium should be around 110 milligrams with potassium at 30 milligrams. The sodium and potassium get these two electrolyte level back up where they belong and prevent muscle cramping. 

Eating right before and after a workout not only improves your performance, but also help you recover faster. Carbs (both simple and complex), protein and healthy fats all play a role in not only getting you ready for a workout, but refueling you afterwards and starting the recovery process. Eating the right foods “does a body good.”

How To Prepare For Shortages

How to Prepare for an Electricity Shortage

Electricity is an essential part of our lives today. So much so, that when we are left without it we can have a very hard time getting by. And yet electricity shortages happen all the time. During extreme weather events power lines can be affected, or areas will shut off electricity to try and keep everyone safe. Sometimes our energy provider will shut off our electricity due to changing wires, unpaid bills, or even a simple mix-up. From time to time we may actively go somewhere without electricity, such as going camping, too. Sometimes we will get fair warning that our electricity is going to be shut off, but most of the time? Most of the time there is no warning at all. So what can we do to make sure we are ready for an electricity shortage, no matter what the reason? There are a few essential measures we can take to prepare for a shortage.

Have alternative light sources

The very first thing we will notice during an electricity shortage is that the lights don’t work, possibly just at home, but possibly anywhere. It is hard to understand how much we rely on electrical lighting until we aren’t able to use it. So make sure to be prepared. Candles are a good conventional source of light, but wear down fast and carry the risk of fire. Make sure you have some, just in case, but prioritize some high quality, battery-powered LED torches. LED torches last a very long time, just don’t store them with batteries still inside them, and keep your batteries in their original packaging, in a Tupperware box, to avoid discharge and damp damage.

Keeping tech charged

Make sure your tech stays charged, especially your phones, as they can be a life saver, especially if the phone and internet signal is still going strong. Invest in a good power bank to keep your phone charged in case of an emergency. Keep your power bank topped up by charging it every three months or so. You may also wish to consider getting a spare, low-energy phone, like a non-smartphone, or a very low end smartphone, and keeping it on PAYG with a tenner of credit and all important numbers saved on it.

Keeping food from spoiling

During a brief electrical shortage, it may be that your fridge or freezer will recover power in time to protect your food. But if you want to maximize your changes, make sure to keep things as cold as possible. Make sure your freezer is mostly full, and if it isn’t full enough, add two liter bottles, half full of water, to bulk it out. The more compressed your freezer is, the less heat leaves it. And during an electrical outage, put fridge items in a cooler bag with 1-4 of these two liter bottles, to keep it cool and fresh.

Keep your car fueled

During an electrical shortage, two things happen which will affect your ability to fuel your car. Firstly, most gas pumps are electric, so nothing can be got from them. And secondly, even at older pumps that may still be active, there will be high demand from people seeking fuel to get them to see loved ones, to power generators, etc. So, hedge your bets and keep your car fueled, and maybe a spare tank of fuel, at all times.

Getting a generator

Speaking of generators, they are an amazing idea if you are very reliant on electricity. If, for example, you have a machine which is keeping you alive, then you absolutely need a generator. However, in less extreme situations, such as having to deliver work during a local power outage, a generator will still come in useful.

Finding a source

When we’re looking at a large-scale shortage, such as during a natural disaster, there will often be a supply of electricity provided by the government. Find out where your electric hotspots are and keep a record of them. When in doubt, use your charged PAYG phone to call emergency services and ask for advice.

How to Prepare for a Fuel Shortage

In the case of a fuel shortage, many of us are woefully unprepared. This is because although electrical outages are common parts of our lives which we have learned to adapt to, and food and water shortages are common enough that we have at least considered them, most of us have never had to consider the risk of a fuel shortage.

However, fuel shortages are very much possible, and are indeed common in other parts of the world. Things that can cause a fuel shortage include:

Disputes between fuel providers and their suppliers or employees

A long term, large scale electrical shortage causing the shutdown of gas stations.

The slow reduction in fossil fuels creating physical, financial, or legal restrictions which will stop us using fuel.

In these situations, there are no ways of acting suddenly, so it is vital to be prepared well in advance. Here are some things we can do to prepare for a fuel shortage.

Use less fuel

If the shortage looks like it will affect you for more than a few days, work out how to use less fuel. For example, if you live far out consider buying in a month or more of groceries and focusing on frozen, freezable, or tinned good, to minimize shopping trips. If you live in an urban setting, walk to the shops and shop little and often. Consider working from home if at all possible, or condensing your work days so you have to travel less. Carpooling and public transport are also great ways of splitting fuel costs.

Have a low-fuel or fuel-free transport alternative

If you really need to get around but your regular vehicle uses a lot of fuel, consider keeping an alternative which uses less fuel. What your alternative is will depend on where you live. If you live in the city and are close to the places you need to get, a bicycle is a good choice. But if you live far out in the country and need to cover greater distances, a low-fuel motorbike or scooter could be a life-changer. Some people who live rurally will also benefit from using horses or cattle for travel. If you don’t have your own livestock, make arrangements with someone who does in case you need fuel-free transport urgently.

Keep a stockpile of fuel

This is a very clever idea, but many people get it wrong. The common mistake is to buy a pile of jerry cans, fill them, and stash them away long term. Petrol or diesel in a jerry can in your garage only has a healthy life of three to six months before it becomes useless. If you intend on keeping a stockpile, fill up jerry cans with 4 month’s worth of regular fuel use and cycle them. That means keeping a date sticker on them, when your fuel is low topping up from the oldest can, and filling a new one. This cannot be done as effectively with more sensitive engines, though, as it can wear them down.

Always keep your tanks full

A simple way to make sure you are ready for a brief fuel shortage is just to keep your vehicle/s topped up. Again, you rarely get much warning when a fuel shortage hits, it is generally well into it that most people find out, and by then it is too late to fuel up. By never letting your tank drop below half full you can make sure you have enough to keep you moving if there is a brief fuel shortage. This could make the difference between getting things done and not getting things done in a fuel shortage, or between running out of fuel fast and having enough fuel to get you to an area where the gas pumps work again.

Have wood burning and coal burning heating options

Finally, if your home uses gas, petrol, or diesel to run your heating, then you will need to have a few alternative options. A simple metal stove which burns wood or coal, has a chute to direct smoke out the window, and warms up the room quickly, could be a literal life saver if you need fuel to heat your home.

How to Prepare for a Food Shortage

Food shortages can happen to any of us, for whatever reason. It is easy to think that a food shortage will only happen to other people, but the fact of the matter is that natural disasters, losing a job or our homes, or even running out of food at the wrong time can affect any of us without warning. For this reason, we need to be prepared in case a food shortage hits us and we don’t know what to do.

Keep a stockpile

The first and easiest step is to keep a stockpile at home. It is estimated that most houses have 3-30 days worth of food at all times, so we need to make sure our food allocation is closer to the 25-90 day area. If you have enough space, try and keep it all at home, somewhere hidden in case of looters. If you do not have much space of your own, talk to neighbors about starting a collective stockpile for a few of you, or even for your street. This would be kept somewhere secure, nearby, that you all have access to, but which is out of sight from the street.

Important stockpile goods are all things with a long life. This means we want to avoid anything fresh, or poorly sealed goods such as part-baked breads. A minimum 2-3 year shelf life is required. Good ideas include:

  • tinned goods
  • jarred goods
  • dry pulses
  • dry fruit and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • pasta
  • flour
  • dried, sealed meat and hard cheese

And don’t throw tins or jars out just because of their best-before date! This date means nothing regarding how edible the food is, it just refers to taste, consistency, etc. Any food that can be safely stored in a can or jar for over two years can be stored pretty much indefinitely so long as the container is not damaged.

Be wary of damp as well. Any food which is in a metallic container must be elevated away from the ground and stored away from water leaks. Food in paper containers is completely useless and must not be stored. Unwrapped foods are also useless, especially if you can’t check on them regularly. Make sure as much food as possible is in water-tight containers, such as plastic bags.

Picking the right type of food

Make sure you have a wide variety of foods. Tinned and jarred meats, tinned and dry fruit and vegetables, grains and pulses in plastic bags, are all excellent for nutrition, and if you can keep some shelf-stable supplements this is very important too. But don’t forget that you will need plenty of pure and simple calories too, so don’t skip chips, sweets, and chocolates. They have a long shelf life, come wrapped tightly in plastic, and are loaded with calories whilst taking up very little space, making them great emergency foods.

Finally, typical bulk buying strategies of getting large containers are not a good idea. Why? Because once they’ve been opened these containers are useless, cause vermin, fungi, and damp can get into a container once it is opened. So unless you plan on eating 25lbs of lentils, or 1lb of ravioli, or 5kg of sugar all in one go, try and keep your stockpile in small containers which cover one or two meals for your family at the most.

Grow your own and know where food grows

Fresh food can be very hard to get by during times of crisis, so it is important to have access to your own fresh food wherever you are. Growing some food in your garden or an allotment are great ideas. But if you can’t grow your own, consider finding out about community gardens, ornamental edible plants people grow, and local wild edibles. Don’t go for anything that is questionable, but crab apples and blackberries are safe bets.

Learn where collection zones are

Finally, it is highly important to remember that in the event of a crisis, personal or widespread, there are NGOs and government official schemes designed to deliver food to people who need it. If you find yourself suddenly without food, find out where your nearest food bank is and see if they have anything to help you out.

How to Prepare for a Water Shortage

Lack of water is not something we think of as affecting first world nations, but developed countries can and do suffer water shortages in many situations. During natural disasters water may be very scarce, or at least clean, fresh, healthy water may be. Often whole cities are supplied by a single reservoir too. Should there be a problem with this water supply, such as drying up or contamination, then you will need to find water elsewhere. And finally, during droughts it is not rare for local governments to enforce restrictions on how and when water is used, to help it go further.

So what can everyday people like you or I do to ensure that we have enough water to last us during a shortage? There are several ways of prepping for such an event:

Do not overuse the water you have

It should go without saying, but if you are short on water, you need to use it carefully and cleverly. We all know the basics: don’t wash your car, don’t water your lawn, etc. However, there are other ways of using water efficiently. For example, when washing the dishes fill two small tubs that fit in the sink, one with soapy and one with clean water. Use the soapy water for washing and dip in clean water to rinse. Or when cooking vegetables or pasta, save and refrigerate the water and reuse it for up to 48h, at which point finish by making a stew. Having a very shallow bath rather than a shower can help too. You won’t be immersed, but just sat in the water and you can use a jug to pour it over yourself.

Keep a rainwater collector

Just because the water reservoir has dried up doesn’t always mean it will have stopped raining. So set up a large rainwater collector to grab as much water as humanly possible. If you have methods for purifying water, then there is another trick you can use. The bigger the surface of the collector, the more water it collects per minute. So your house is a huge rainwater collector. Keep your gutters clean and place barrels underneath them to gather water. At the very least, you will have some water for cleaning outside, watering plants, or giving to pets. But, if you can purify it, you will have washing water, or even drinking water, for free.

Keep water filters

Whether you plan on collecting your own water or not, make sure to make use of a water filter, or store them in case you need them. Home water filters are an amazing tool, and very advanced in this day and age. So much so that you can get systems which will all but completely eliminate toxins, bacteria, and parasites. Shop around and find yourself a very good one. Water filter systems mean that you can safely drink rainwater, or purify contaminated water which is coming out of your tap, or even recover water which has been left in a jug and gone a bit stale.

Stockpile sugary drinks and mild alcoholic beverages

It is ordinarily very bad advice to drink sugary drinks and alcoholic drinks instead of water, as they will slow down how quickly you hydrate. But when we are facing a long term water shortage, slow hydration is better than no hydration. Fresh or bottled water has a nasty habit of going stale very quickly, and can grow bacteria of all kinds. Sugar and alcohol will help keep bacteria at bay if you really have no other options.

Buy and eat watery fruits and vegetables

Finally, often when there is a water shortage the rest of life carries on as normal. But what do you buy when the supermarket is all out of drinks? Simple: watery plants. Many plants have a high fluid and mineral content which makes them excellent for hydration. So buy up cucumbers, oranges, tomatoes, radishes, pineapple, coconut, all kinds of melon, etc., and try and use them to stay as hydrated as possible until water is available again.

6 Reasons Why Walking is Great for Women

10 benefits of cardio

Walking is often overlooked as a cardio activity because it is something we do every day. So much emphasis is placed on hard workouts like CrossFit and running, that most women forget that walking is one of the best forms of cardio out there.

While it cannot be denied that the results that you get from walking will come much more slowly than what you’d get with high-intensity training, the fact of the matter is that you will get results. If your diet is clean and you’re at a caloric deficit, walking can be a very effective form of cardio.

The points below will state why women who have led sedentary lives or prefer less strenuous workouts should adopt walking as a form of cardio training.

1.. Easier & Low Impact

Walking is easier to do and you’ll not be panting and gasping for air like you would with running or other strenuous forms of exercise. If you’ve not exercised in a long time, walking will be a great way to start getting active. If you’re overweight, it will also be easier on your joints.

You’ll be less likely to develop joint pain or delayed onset muscle soreness. Ideally, your walks should be brisk and purposeful. This will get your heart pumping and boost your metabolic rate.

2.. Strengthens Your Joints and Bones

Walking prevents or delays the onset of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis by strengthening the bones. Women with these problems have noticed an improvement in their condition when they started walking three to five times a week.

3.. Makes Exercise a Habit

One reason so many women give up on their weight loss and fitness journey is because they start skipping workouts. Once they do that, they feel guilty that they’ve let themselves down and they end up quitting. The truth of the matter is that they often dread the hard workouts.

While high intensity interval training and weight training are very useful for getting fit and healthy, they are strenuous and require determination. Women who do these forms of exercise have usually inculcated the habit of regular exercise. That’s how they stick to the program. Habit is what keeps you going when motivation starts to wane.

However, women who do not have that habit will throw in the towel because it just seems too torturous to train so hard. Walking, however, is an easy form of exercise. 30 minutes of walking is nowhere near as intimidating as a 30-minute high intensity interval training session.

So, women who fear tough workouts can still adopt walking and benefit from exercise. Even moderate exercise is better than no exercise. Once you develop the habit of walking regularly, you may try short runs and so on. But when you’re starting off, walking is much easier to adopt.

4.. Helps Relieve Stress

Stress causes a plethora of health problems. Walking helps to relieve stress. It gets better if you walk somewhere scenic where you can appreciate your surroundings. It’s a wonderful and natural form of stress relief.

5.. Promotes Better Sleep

It’s also a great way to overcome sleep disorders. Studies have shown that people who walked 3 to 4 times a week for 4 months were able to sleep faster and for longer periods. The goal is to walk early in the day so that your body is calm by bedtime.

6.. Burns Calories and Fat

Walking burns calories too. It may not burn as many calories as other types of training but it does burn calories and that’s what matters. As mentioned earlier, some exercise is better than none.

If you’re at a caloric deficit daily, you’ll still lose weight. It may take longer but you’ll get there. The price to pay for speed is exertion and tough workouts. If you’re willing to be patient, walking will help you shed all the excess pounds and get you to your ideal weight in time.

These 6 benefits should convince you that walking is a wonderful form of exercise. Even for women who engage in high-intensity activities, replacing a workout with a walk every now and then will give your nervous system a break from the continuous stress placed upon it by hard training. If you’re inactive, do start walking today. Your body will thank you for it in future.