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6 Things You Need To Make Your Home Self-Sufficient

6 Things You Need To Make Your Home Self-Sufficient

The drive to get off the grid and reach full or partial self-sufficiency is getting stronger and stronger every year. What has once been a prerogative of crazy-prepared survivalists is now a viable solution for everyday life, cutting your expenses and allowing you to get complete control over your life. In this article, we’ve gathered 5 things that can help you reach this ideal – or at least get a bit closer to it!

1. Solar Panels

The popularity of solar panels has been on the rise over the last decade due to their growing availability to average users. They are not as expensive as they used to be, and if your location has good enough conditions for capturing the necessary amount of sunlight, solar panels can become a viable solution as the only energy source for your entire household. Panels can be either be located on a rooftop or standalone, depending on your particular conditions. Just make sure to consult a professional before you even try arranging something of this kind – solar panels are quite a finicky device and won’t work properly unless ideally placed and configured.

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2. Tesla Powerwall

While they are not yet present on the market, this article would be incomplete without mentioning Tesla Powerwall. They won’t be mass produced until 2017, but when they appear, they have a potential of drastically altering the world energy consumption patterns. In short, it is a rechargeable lithium battery powerful enough to store and provide energy for an entire household for extended periods of time. In conjunction with solar panels or other alternative energy sources, it can completely eliminate your need for buying electricity.

3. Chicken Coop

Your own chicken coop not only allows you to get fresh meat and eggs all year round at a much lower price than you will find in any store, its main attraction is that you always know what you’ve been feeding your chickens – which is something you can never say when you buy them. Poultry meat bought in stores and supermarkets is filled to the brim with hormones and antibiotics to make them grow larger and faster – if you don’t want that, you have no other way but to grow your own chickens.

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4. Alternative Water Sources

Getting your hands on an alternative water source is one of the most difficult tasks for those aspiring to get off the grid, because there are not so many solutions to this problem. Drilling a well may seem like an obvious choice, but it is a much less available solution than it may seem – not all locales have sufficient groundwater aquifers. Probably the only other way out is to collect rainwater in barrels and water storage tanks. Unfortunately, no matter how much effort you put into purifying it, rainwater isn’t safe for drinking and cooking – yet it can still be used for other purposes, decreasing your dependence on the municipal water supply.

5. Vertical Hydroponic Garden

Just like it is with meat, there is just no comparison between the agricultural produce you’ve grown with your own hands and something bought in a supermarket. Having a vertical hydroponic garden allows you to enjoy all the benefits of such a lifestyle – and in addition to being highly efficient, this approach can be used even in urban environments. You may either buy a ready-made aeroponic gardening kit or build your own system if you believe in your abilities – either way, there is nothing overly complicated about it.

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6. Geothermal Energy Systems

If you strive to be completely self-sufficient, a geothermal energy system can serve both for heating your home in winter and cooling it in summer. The ground temperature remains stable all year round by passing air through ductwork and over water coils will bring its temperature up or down depending on the season. The only problem is that these systems are quite expensive – don’t expect them to pay off in less than 10-15 years.

As you may see, through both the modern technology and your own ingenuity, you can either considerably reduce your dependence on the grid or cut it completely – at least in certain areas. Use these tips, and enjoy your new-found freedom!

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More by this author

Melissa Burns

Entrepreneur

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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