A review by Kevin Doyle, author of The Final Prepper Trilogy
They say every illness in the world can be cured with an ounce of prevention – the meek may inherit the Earth, but it’s the tool-wielding prepper who will prevail when everything crumbles.
The reader may be inclined to frown upon our prep-preaching approach. Perhaps even accusing us of turning something utilitarian in nature such as disaster prepping into a paranoia-fueled enactment, a modus vivendi devoted to the inevitable finale. Being ready\prepared for what lies ahead has as much in common with nightmarish scenarios like nuclear wastelands or foreign occupation like a walnut has to a dog.
And, as the saying goes, the devil’s in the details – stashing a multi-tool inside your glove compartment does not make you eligible for then tinfoil brigade; it makes you ready to deal with car-related problems. How many of us had to pull over and ask for help because of not having the right tools for the job? Albeit slightly confusing and off-putting,
La Guardia’s take on survivalism and the fine art of prepping does exactly that – trying, and succeeding, of course, to debunk a way of thinking so wrongfully associated with fear, paranoia, anxiety, and isolationism.
Riddle me this – what happens when you mix prepping and a doctor with several medical degrees, prepper at the core, and with the panache of storyteller? The answer is “The Doomsday Book of Medicine,” a scintillating compendium of survival techniques, old-world medical remedies, and a wonderful approach to human anatomy and physiology.
Comprehensibility being the true mark of the authorship, La Guardia’s book aims to retell the tongue-in-cheek story of preparedness and does so in his own way – by combining common sense facts with medical knowledge and surefire survival tricks passed down from one generation to another.
Do not allow this book to catch you off-guard – there’s no doomsdayism in here. In fact, the subtitle sums it up in a very eloquent manner: “What will you do when there are no doctors or medicine?” In the wake of a cataclysm, be it natural or human-made, the first service that takes the proverbial beating is the emergency one.
Regrettably, time and time again we have been faced with the fact that even the most organized, steadfast emergency medical system can be overwhelmed during a disaster – EMTs unable to reach patients stranded in remote or extremely hazardous locations, not enough medicine to treat all cases, lack of manpower, loss of electricity. These are very real situations that must be addressed in the interim of a disaster.
As the author points out, quite brilliantly actually, we have too many doctors relying on modern technology to pin a diagnosis and set up a treatment scheme. Think about it – we have a machine that analyzes blood samples, several others that see inside the human body. And let us not forget those that keep the patient alive during surgery or in the emergency room.
What happens when all those machines fail or if there’s no doctor in sight?
The answer to that question is a 41-chapter expose addressed to several types of audiences – doctors who wish to step up their game and learn that there’s beauty in alternative medicine), prepping enthusiasts searching for ways to hone their survival skills or readers who just want to curl up with a good book.
Even most bemusing is the fact that La Guardia’s take on prepping and survivalism emphasis the medical part instead of your usual skills such as hunting, fishing, camping, making a fire or preparing a home emergency kit. One could say it’s highly unusual to discover a survival book that not even makes a reference to the basics. This type of storytelling approach is not exactly wrong since the opus addressed mostly to readers who have a good grasp of the basics.
What’s indeed fascinating is that, at first glance, La Guardia’s approach on survivalism has a cold, and often incomprehensible demeanor of a medical presentation, riddled with big words such as “Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus”,” “fulvic acids”, “essential amino acids”, or “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors”.
The reader probably asking himself right about now about why he should bother reading a 900+ pages book on med stuff, when there are plenty of YouTube videos, and not to mention that fact that even the most ‘modest’ prepping the book has at least one section on how to deal with medical emergencies on the go.
Trouble is that, as far as this type of literature’s concerned, up till he happened to cross upon La Guardia’s book, we have yet to encounter one that:
- Ditches run-of-the-mill prepping concepts in favor of all-out expose on how to substitute common meds and, of course
- Teaches and empowers you how to tackle emergency medical situations when there’s no doctor in sight nor technology to speed up the diagnosis process.
But “Doomsday Medicine” is far more than an emergency medical manual. As the author pointed out in the introduction, beyond meds and treatments and procedures, there’s a thing called “healthy nutrition,” a dying practice as La Guardia pointed out.
Although we don’t usually approve of the biographical method, it would seem that the author’s life-long quest of searching for alternatives remedies, has led him to delve into other domains such as gardening or the art of growing good and nutritious food.
It may be indeed somewhat baffling for a doctor to tell you stuff about fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, and how to build a compost bin, but, as you will come to understand by braving each chapter, the key to leading a healthy and disease-free life, as well as building the so-called “survival body” starts by growing your own food and taking care of the soil.
On that note, according to La Guardia, agriculture has registered a steady decline after the Second World War. The author points out that with the advent of factory farming, which is basically industrialization of everything related to agriculture, food began losing all nutritional content. It may look like a tomato, smell like one, and even have the same taste, but has hardly anything in common with the legumes, vegetables, and fruits harvested before the arrival of factory farming.
La Guardia explains that the problem resides in the soil; to keep up with the ever-increasing offer, farm owner switched from natural fertilizers, fungicides, and herbicides to chemical-based ones. This doesn’t only “poison” the soil but also produced crops that have the same nutritional values of fast food.
Even the numbers seem to be backing up the good doc’s claims. In the book’s very first chapter, La Guardia mentions a 2011 WHO (World Health Organization) study which pointed up the steep decline in nutrients from 1975 to 1995. According to this study, twelve of the most used green veggies contain 27 percent less calcium, 21 percent less Vitamin A, and 30 percent less Vitamin C.
Not even wheat is what it used to be, as the study indicates that wheat lost nearly half of its nutrients over the past century.
Still thinking you can get a vitamin C booster from on orange smoothie? Well, according to La Guardia, today’s GMO oranges have nothing in common with the stuff our grandparents ate or drink. In fact, we would probably need to eat around 8 or 9 oranges just to get the same vitamin C content. The same goes for broccoli or other green veggies that fill our fridges and, supposedly, our bellies.
We know for a fact that every prepping book talks more or less about the importance of immune boosters. But what are they really? This is where the “Hall of Fame of Immune System Boosters” comes into play. Superfoods may be everything nowadays, but there are plenty of foods out there besides capable of giving your immune system the boost it needs.
To name a few of them, we have:
- Astaxanthin (a carotene found in carrots and some fish species such as salmon or krill)
- Colostrum (also called the first milk, it’s actually milk produced by mammals during the late stages of pregnancy; packed with protein and antibodies, colostrum helps the immune system wrestle with at least 19 pathogens such as rotavirus, Shigella, salmonella, E. Coli and more).
- Stolle’s milk (a type of milk invented by a businessman during the late 50s, as an alternative to colostrum. The method implied injecting pathogens into the bovine’s bloodstream in order to elicit an immune response).
- “Russian penicillin” (also called the Stinking Rose or, more familiar, garlic, this seleniferous plant has been linked to proven anticancer benefits and antibacterial effects; in certain cultures, garlic-based ointments are being used to treat open wounds),
- Iodine (one of the building blocks of sound nutrition; a rich iodine diet can improve thyroid gland functions, increase the quality of breast milk, and keeps brain cells alive and kicking.
- Green tea (white, black, oolong, and green; great for treating a myriad of conditions such cancer, arthritis, and even some forms of cancer).
- White tea, which is known to prevent the development of certain classes of microbes. In fact, the antibacterial effects of white tea make it a great candidate for personal hygiene items such as soap and toothpaste.
He wraps up his chapter on immune system boosters with a couple of well-chosen words on mushrooms, essentials oils such as lemongrass, lemon myrtle, mountains savory, oregano, thyme, tea tree, and, of course, lavender.
Interestingly enough, if we were to take a closer look at the chapter’s timeline, one would discover that prior to immune system boosters and hydrogen peroxide, the wonder-cure for treating infections, La Guardia, very much like Hippocrates, the father of medicine, believes that a healthy life begins with healthy choices.
Perhaps the reader might find this a bit redundant, but, according to the doctor, many diseases stem from poor and unhealthy routines. Getting enough sleep, remembering to take care of your teeth, washing your hands, making sure you drink plenty of fluids – these aren’t only sound health advice, but what every prepper needs to do to get into survival shape.
But wait, because there’s a little more to this. Apart from good food and healthy lifestyle choices, we, the preppers vs. the rest of the world, should also make sure we get enough healthy carbohydrates, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and, of course, plenty of vitamins.
Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Regrettably, nothing’s easy when it comes to eating healthy, and there’s this dirty little secret someone or, perhaps, something does not want you to find out: soil.
La Guardia explains that growing your own veggies is JUST FOOLING AROUND WITH YOUR HEALTH if you aim for headache-free solutions like artificial fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, and whatnots.
Furthermore, he goes on to explain that most food labeled “GMO-free,” “home-grown,” or “100 percent natural” have nothing in common with the veggies or meats our grandparents ate.
We wouldn’t call them “poisonous,” but most of these foods tend to have the same nutritional value as a cardboard box. You should also treat fruits and veggies bought from farmer’s market with a grain of salt as these foods are, more or less, grown in the same manner as those found in the supermarket. They may look good and garden-grown, but the chances are that you’ll probably end eating something that doesn’t support your body’s vital functions.
Since we’ve talked about the role of soil in healthy nutrition, La Guardia’s book has an entire chapter dedicated to time-honored agricultural practices. What’s even more striking is that the author’s strong belief in nutrition being as important as preventing in disease management, explains in great detail the ABC of cultivating a “healthy” soil. And no, that’s not a figure of speech, since, the soil’s very much alive and teeming with microorganisms, bacteria, earthworms, and fungi.
In fact, there’s a strong connection between how we interact with soil and the harvest it yields.
We found this chapter to be the proverbial breath of fresh air, as many prepping and doomsday survival books don’t often go into depth when it comes to agriculture. Of course, horticulture is a thorny subject, and, as chance has it, not many preppers or survivalist do not have extensive knowledge on the topic.
Learning the ins and outs of healthy plant growing and management takes time, effort, and, the distinct possibility that despite your best intentions, training, documentation, and materials, the results may not be to your liking.
La Guardia points out at the beginning of this chapter that there’s no recipe for healthy soil cultivation. Of course, there are numbers, studies, books, but it all boils down to the good old intuition; knowing what to plant, when to plant, how to treat the soil, and when to harvest.
Everything starts with keeping things organic and ditching anything remotely artificial. In the author’s own words:
First of all, the entire process by necessity needs to be organic, meaning
- no artificial fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides of any type.
- No man-made chemicals are to be added to the soil at any time, recognizing that these are poisons that kill the extensive web of life contained in the soil.
- A soil devoid of life is worthless for nutritional purposes. In lifeless soils, it is impossible to grow healthy plants.
So, what exactly are good horticulture practices?
According to La Guardia, creating fertile soil is very much like a Tower of Hanoi game – you need a good based to build sometimes lasting. Otherwise it will crumble. The journey begins with knowing a little bit about the soil’s ‘ecosystem.’
First of all, we have bacteria and fungi that help convert inorganic minerals into organic minerals for the plants. The author explains that humans and animals cannot absorb inorganic minerals, save for bacteria that inhabit our intestines. Removing even one of these transformative organisms renders the soil useless.
Still, there’s more to the soil than ‘babysitting’ bacteria and fungi. La Guardia points out that these microscopic critters need organic content to stay alive. Usually, this implies decomposing organic matter such as plants and even animals. However, even the most fertile soil needs a helping hand from time to time. We can make sure that the little guys are properly fed by giving the organic fertilizers or compost.
And there are plenty of solutions to that: grounded coffee remains, fish remains, crushed oyster shells, veggies gone bad, ashes, grounded bones, dried manure, peat moss, dead leaves, and even crushes rocks. Another great choice would be Biochar. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Biochar is a charcoal-like fertilizer made of bones, leaves, manure, or wood. Not something new under the sun since it has been used by Native Americans for centuries to increase the soil’s fertility.
Macroscopic organisms such as earthworms also play a key role in the soil’s health. Although most people tend to dismiss the benefits of having earthworms in the garden, in truth, they are far better gardeners than humans! Apart from their “castings” or fecal matter which provides the soil with the organic matter it needs to thrive, studies have shown that their digging aerates the soil, bringing nutrients from the upper layer to the lower ones.
Earthworms also excel when it comes to irrigation. In fact, half a million earthworms can provide the same drainage and irrigation as 2,000 feet of pipe. Worms have become so appreciated by organic farmers, that there’s actually a nascent branch of agriculture called vermiculture. It means exactly that – growing earthworms for the purpose of increasing the soil’s fertility.
La Guardia explains that preppers should definitely consider vermiculture în addition to using compost as earthworms have this amazing capacity of keeping the soil aerated and well fed.
Of course, the presentation about soil health could not have been complete without a couple of well-chosen words about hummus and mycorrhizal fungi. The author explains that hummus should be regarded as the lifeblood of the soil since it is capable of retaining over 90 percent of moisture in the soils. The microorganisms that makeup humus are actually responsible for supplying your plants with the nutrients, proteins, and minerals they need in order to thrive.
Equally important to plant health is the presence of the so-called mycorrhizal fungi. To make a long story short, these fungi, which have been around for the past 400 million years, attach themselves to plant roots. This symbiotic relationship helps the fungi survive while allowing the plants to extend the reach of their roots. Interestingly enough, even a single plant has a vast ‘network’ of fungi. Called fungal tendons or hyphae, they help plants draw minerals, trace elements, and organic acids from the surrounding area far better than on their own.
Word of advice when perusing the chapter on organic gardening; use the glossary to figure out what some of the terms mean. Do bear in mind that La Guardia’s book is dedicated, in equal measure, to doctors and people who haven’t had any contact with the medical sciences.
Other aspects that will certainly capture your attention in this chapter:
- Minerals and trace elements – what are they?
- What’s their relationship to the soil?
- How to supplement the soil’s minerals and trace elements?
- Direct mineralization of your body – whereupon the author explains how our evolution dictates the manner in which absorb minerals from the environment.
- Rene Quinton’s theory of the seven vortices of life, the relationship between human blood plasma, extracellular fluid, and the sea.
- The 10 essential amino acids and where to find them (arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine). Do bear in mind that while the human body can produce its own amino acids, we don’t have the necessary enzymes to synthesize the above-mentioned ones.
- The almost symbiotic relationship between squash, maize, and climbing beans. La Guardia names them “The Three Sisters” and goes further to describe the crop’s role în shaping the environment.
- Of fats and fatty acids – there are two types of healthy fatty acids: the alpha-Linoleic acid (belongs to the omega-3 fatty acid family) and the Linoleic acid, which belongs to the omega-6 fatty acid group.
- Even more on vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. Here you can find out about vitamin D, which can only be obtained by exposing your skin to sunlight, and phytonutrients.
- The building blocks of life: water, fresh air, exercise, and enzymes yet again. Here you’ll learn more about preparing raw food, how various enzymes interact with cells, and how a poor diet can lead to chronic disease.
- One also cannot dismiss the amazing benefits of the so-called fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, soya sauce, kefir, and pickled food.
- Of course, not even the healthiest diet cannot be complete without exercise. Thus, La Guardia wraps everything up by stressing out the importance of physical training, from both a medical and prepping perspective.
The second chapter of the doctor’s Doomsday Book of Medicine ends with a rather optimistic call-to-action to showcase how a real leader is born: A leader needs to either be chosen by some agreed-upon method or emerge natural, but whoever that leader is, he or she must maintain hope and encourage the group, and most of all, be realistically optimistic for the benefit of all. He has to be an AMERI-CAN not and AMERI-CAN’T.
Might be an overzealous statement, but, as reality dictates, in many life-threatening situations, people tend to lose track of what’s important. For instance, many prepping works mention stuff like “don’t go back inside a sinking car for your laptop or other personal items.” May sound like a no-brainer, however many people have lost their lives in this manner.
Moving on to the next part of the presentation, the humble writer of this critique has to admit that the author definitely managed to make stuff like vitamins, nutrients, enzymes, and amino acids extremely broachable.
More than that, the book’s uniqueness comes from the topics associated with preparedness. There’s a common misconception about what prepping means. Some would be inclined to only the doomsdays aspect of it – the world is on the blink of extinction, and we must do everything in our power to prepare against the inevitable.
Goya, the Spanish painter, and printmaker once said that the “sleep of ration produces monsters.” Only that, in this case, it produces cult-like congregations all set on preparing for the Apocalypse. You’ve probably heard about groups like The Doomsday Preppers. There are plenty more out there, all affixed on the same idea. This mindset push people to see danger everywhere and seek refuge in a consolidated and remote location even when the wind blows in a different manner.
On the other hand, there are a people who regard prepping as a common-sense thing to do. For instance, you aren’t considered paranoid if you attend a first-aid course or carry an extra roll of duct tape in your car. Maybe the apocalypse will come. Maybe not. Nobody really knows the answer to that. However, being prepared makes you able to deal with all types of scenario, no matter if it’s a flat tire or taking shelter during a natural disaster.
Of course, giving the book’s title and subtitle, one would be inclined to say that it’s addressed to people belonging to the first category rather than the later. Sure, La Guardia has some slips of his own but does so in order to reveal how he got into the whole prepping business.
For instance, in the intro, he mentions that, as a child, he witnessed the entire Cuban Missile Crisis unfold on television. He recounts that the incident led to a mortal dread akin to paranoia that all students were obligated to participate in school-organized nuclear fallout drills. Still not even his journey through some of the tense moments of the Cold War did not turn the author into a doomsday prepper, but rather a smart one.
The book itself raises a rather interesting question: what happens when there are no meds around and no doctors to take care for you? Prevention, exercising, getting the right amount of vitamins\trace minerals\ amino acids\nutrients are only of a small part of the prepping equations. Sometimes, not even prevention can safeguard you during an emergency.
The author’s expertise in the medical field, as well as his passion for organic crops and the exploration of alternative therapies led to this very book, which, on the one hand, provides an in-depth view on the inner workings of human physiology, while providing the reader with valuable information regarding what to do during an emergency situation.
The first four chapters of the book exhibits the same air as a presentation on nutrition but without making things boring. It’s important for the reader to understand that the books must be read in order, from first to the last page. Skipping a chapter, even one considered “insignificant” or “small,” will make the rest of the book seem like it was written in medical gibberish. Each medical term used by the author is explained as much as humanly possible în the appropriate context. And, for ease of use, La Guardia even saw fit to place a glossary at the end of the book.
So, throughout the following chapters, the reader will be introduced to the following topics:
Fat and water-soluble vitamins, whereupon you’ll get familiar with milk, lactose intolerance, vitamins B and C, which are water-soluble, fat-soluble vitamins A,D,E, and K, the alpha lipoic acid, gene expression which roughly refers to your genes’ ability to ‘communicate’ with other cells in your body, humic and fulvic acids, the relationship between vitamins and minerals, azomite and the supreme fulvic (Quinton’s Marine Plasma), enzymes, and why our diet is SAD (Standard American Diet).
Seed oils – hem, black seed, flaxseed, olive, walnut, walnut, and amaranth. Each type of oil is accompanied by an in-depth description, daily intake info, side-effects, types and subtypes, a little bit of history, and how to get the right dosage. You may want to pay extra attention to the subchapter on squalene, a natural organic compound obtained from shark liver oil and amaranth.
- Squalene is held in high regards among preppers since it protects the skin against the ravages of radiation.
- Did you know that squalene can also be used to balance other physiological functions like hormones?
- Studies have revealed that squalene acts like a “nursery” for cholesterol, estrogen, testosterone, vitamin D, and progesterone.
- Docs also employ it to reduce inflammation, improve respiratory function in patients with asthma, chronic bronchitis or tuberculosis.
Pickling or the art of making fermented goods and foods.
Pickles are not only delicious, but also healthy, nutritious, and, at times, your last line of defense against hunger when your food supplies run dry. Entire books have been written on the topic and for a good reason; pickling a great way to preserve virtually any kind of food.
However, La Guardia’s chapter on fermentation and fermented goods is not limited strictly to making great pickles. It goes far beyond that. Beginning with a historical overview of fermentation (archaeological studies pinpointed that ever since Neolithic times people have been using fermentation to create alcohol and to preserve food), the author goes on to present other prepping-related uses of fermentation – the leavening of bread.
The reader may want to go once or twice through the “Sprouted grain bread, anti-nutrients, and wheatgrass” subsection in order to understand the finer points of the fermentation process and how to increase the nutritional value of some food.
For instance, the author explains that both Chinese and Japanese would use a special cooking technique to improve the taste and remove anti-nutrients from natto, soy sauce, tofu or miso. This technique involved soaking the soybeans and rinsing them before putting them through the fermentation process. The method itself may be time-consuming, but the result would be edible, nutritious, and delicious.
Of course, after a rather extensive presentation woven with heavy-duty science, the author turns his attention to more mundane things like teaching us how to make sprout seeds at home. He explains that wheatgrass or sprouted wheat seeds or
wheat berries are a great source of vitamins B and C, improves digestion, and not to mention the fact that they get along great with heavier dishes.
As a wrap-up, La Guardia talks about lactic acid bacteria, lacto fermentation, pickling, and how to make fermented foods at home such yogurt and kefir. A real eye-opener this chapter is, especially for those who are interested in making dairy products at home.
Don’t forget to read the part about constructing a root cellar with extra attention. There you will find all you’ll ever need to know about how to build your own ‘pickle factory’ and, of course, more about the pickle-making process.
Thread with care, dear reader, because this last part will most likely take a toll on your knowledge of biology and simple organic chemistry.
Speaking strictly from a prepping standpoint, La Guardia’s book is what we like to call a static take on preparedness. You see, most manuals of prepping have a sort of high-velocity, extremely dynamic motion – get your first-aid kit out, build a tent, make a fire, run, hunt, seek shelter, whereas the doc’s book is more on the “sit down and listen carefully to what I have to say” type.
It’s very interesting to see this type of approach in survivalism. We really need more books capable of making us understand the processes behind various survival techniques, not just reruns.
Again, La Guardia’s “Doomsday Book of Medicine” is not the type of thing you want to rush into. Understanding some of the things relayed here takes times and, in some cases, additional research.
A KNOWLEDGE BONUS
On this note, we want to thank the good doctor for attaching his further reading list at the end of his book. The lectures, albeit most of them on the medical side, are bound to provide the reader with some more insight on topics of interest such as gardening, inorganic chemistry, cider-making, marine oil, home remedies, enzymes, folk medicine, aromatherapy, and more.
Be sure to check out the other books if you have the time or, perhaps, want to broaden your understating of what it means to be prepared.
And because prepping is just another word for improvisation, chapter six of La Guardia’s book proves that with a little bit of imagination and chemistry know-how, you can do just about anything.
Baking soda is perhaps one of the most versatile items found around the house. It’s used for baking, cleaning, getting rid of stubborn stains, and it can even be used to craft personal hygiene items. In his own familiar style, the author begins by saying a couple of less known facts about baking soda and how it works.
For instance, when analyzing the impact of lower pH levels on human metabolism, the author notes that there’s a pattern to diagnosing diseases such as allergies, obesity, bipolar disorder, anxiety, diabetes, pattern that can be traced back to high protein consumption and important substances like magnesium and calcium being leached from the body. La Guardia explains that as the body’s pH becomes more ‘acidic’ as a result of dietary imbalances, we are more prone to various medical conditions.
To push things even further, the author quotes the brilliant study of doctors Pottenger and Weston Price who managed to prove that highly-processed and cooked food are reft of ‘healthy enzymes.’ As La Guardia points out, sodium bicarbonate is frequently used in medicine to treat gastrointestinal conditions such as peptic ulcers or gastritis.
However, as this chapter reveals, baking soda has far more uses than those mentioned earlier.
- Toothpaste, for instance; by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with some water, a smart prepper would have prepared a cleaning and anti-bacterial agent that’s far more efficient than anything available on the market.
- Baking soda can also be used as a mouthwash, especially useful for smokers or people who have bad breath.
- Interestingly enough, sodium bicarbonate can also be employed to treat sunburns or other types of burns. As the ‘doomsday doctor’ reveals, if you don’t have anything on hand to treat burns, mix a couple of teaspoons of baking soda with lukewarm water, pour it on a compress and apply it to the wound.
- Various skin conditions can also be treated by using a magic baking soda mixture – irritations produced by poison ivy and even some insect bites.
- Running out of deodorant? Not a problem if you have some baking soda in your pantry. As Doom Doc explains, given the fact that this house-cleaning item is strongly alkaline, it will effectively destroy fungal infection that causes bad odor. So, if you don’t have any deodorant on hand and time’s pressing you, just mix a tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate with water and apply it to your armpits. It may not smell as nice as commercial deodorants, but it will keep away the bad odors.
- Splinters can become true nightmares. No matter how hard you try to pick them clean, they simply refuse to get out of your skin. Don’t worry, because doc La Guardia has a neat trick for this – simple apply some baking soda to the wound site twice a day and the splinter will come out on its own.
- Rehydration, especially in the case of vomiting, diarrhea or other medical conditions that effectively lead to fluid loss.
- A sore throat. Aspirin mixed with baking soda and water makes one hell of a cure for a sore throat. Gargle it, don’t swallow!
- Treating vaginal and anal infections and irritations. Baking soda’s great for patients with hemorrhoids. Also comes in handy when you run out of Calmoseptine or other types of relief cream.
- Bladder and urinary tract infection. Since most UTIs are caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses, baking soda’s great at wiping off these nasty microscopic critters.
- Cancer. Although the topic’s still stirred controversy among medical specialists, some studies, such as those performed by Dr. Tullio Simoncini, suggest that some cancerous process may be slowed down or stopped using a combination of magnesium and sodium bicarbonate.
- Stimulates the immune system.
- Increases pH factor which, in turn, controls the speed your body produced biochemical reactions.
- Poisoning. Baking soda is very effective in countering overdose effects, exposure to chemicals, poisoning, and even neurotoxins. As an addition, sodium bicarbonate is also employed to minimize the effects of radiation exposure.
- Painkiller. Can treat stuff like headaches, migraines, neck pains, and allergies.
- Q-Tips. A mixture made from water and baking soda’s very effective at cleaning earwax.
- GI Tract. When used in enemas, the substance works wonders on patients suffering from colitis or constipation.
The chapter on DMSO is as fascinating as the one about sodium bicarbonate. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Dimethyl Sulfoxide or DMSO is a by-product of the wood industry widely used to deliver drugs through the skin and into the body.
Basically, DMSO is a method of making sure the medication goes where it’s supposed to go. Not going into details, DMSO is very popular among preppers since it’s easy to obtain (online, shops), cheap, and it can be used to treat any number of medical emergencies.
For instance, used as an ointment, DMSO can help relieve pain associated with muscle soreness and decreases recuperation time in case of a pulled muscle. On the other hand, a mixture made from distilled water and DMSO can be used to treat throbbing headaches and migraines.
Be sure to check the section about how to prepare distilled water before tackling the next chapter on the wonders of Epsom salt, minerals, magnesium, and the alkaline diet.
Speaking of each, many prepping books describe various uses of the Epsom salt: detox agent, a topical mixture for insect bites and poison ivy, an anti-inflammatory agent, constipation treatment. Some even say that Epsom salt can be used to recharge a car battery! However, La Guardia’s presentation is a lot more medical and a lot less “let’s test this and find out if it works.”
Throughout this chapter, you’re going to learn all about the history of Epsom salts, how to use it to treat medical conditions and to employ outside of your body, like in gardening for instance.
The reader would very much like to pay extra attention to the part about the alkaline diet or alkalization. Don’t forget that everything is tightly connected in La Guardia’s book. So, if you feel that something doesn’t make sense, it probably means you’ve skipped a chapter.
The author’s lifelong search for alternative cures can really be witnessed starting with chapter nine which showcases the undeniable health benefits of honey. Not only this chapter contains valuable information about nature’s liquid gold, but it will also teach you how to buy the right type of honey.
Like always, La Guardia begins with a little science class about honey, followed by a dash of history. Did you know that honey has been used since time immemorial to treat skin conditions such as ulcerations and burns?
The author notes that Cleopatra used raw honey masks to keep her skin young and radiant. Not only that, but honey is a great remedy for an upset tummy. The Doom Doc says here that the best treatment for ulcers or gastritis is a bit of raw honey mixed with lemon juice and a dash of ginger.
The reader should go carefully through the rest of the chapter. Especially educative is the part about the types of honey and how to make sure you get the right one. For instance, the author mentions that most of Manuka, monofloral honey produced in Australia and New Zealand, is counterfeited. He explains that this type of honey is produced in a very limited edition and it’s usually very expensive.
Thus, the vast majority of jars available in commerce and labeled as original Manuka probably contains honey harvested from other sources. As a health adjuvant, this type of honey is pure gold since it has the highest viscosity and strong antibacterial effects. Preppers used Manuka honey to prevent infection in open wounds, to treat burns, and for gastrointestinal issues. Studies have revealed that Manuka can also be used to successfully counted the dreaded MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).
Of course, no respectable medical approach to prepping couldn’t have been complete without a minute entr’acte on vinegar and its many applications. Beginning with fermentation, followed by a little historical quiz on how vinegar was used as a field dressing during the First World War, this entire chapter appears to praise vinegar, and for a good reason.
To outline a few benefits of vinegar:
- Great source of nutrients – just a splash of vinegar laced with enzymes, minerals, enzymes, fibers, and pectin.
- Vinegar helps the human body better absorb calcium.
- In diabetes, vinegar-based mixtures are used to keep blood sugar in check. Studies tend to suggest that a vinegar-rich diet can ward off diabetes-related complications such as diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
- Used in diets, vinegar, with its high fiber content, can offer a sensation of fullness pretty fast.
- Vinegar’s packed with antioxidants, especially beta-carotene.
- Vinegar can help your body better break down the minerals and vitamins from the food we eat.
- You can use a 10 percent vinegar solution to clean raw food before cooking it.
- In case of an emergency, vinegar can be used to dress wounds, to soothe a sore throat, and provide relief in case of gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea or gastroenteritis.
- Vinegar can be used as a shampoo, being fiendishly effective at dealing with dandruff and hair loss.
- Provides some measure of relief in skin conditions such as sunburns, eczema, psoriasis, acne.
- Works wonders on insect bites and stings.
Because La Guardia’s a prepper at the core, he couldn’t have possibly ended his digression on the all-out benefits of vinegar without teaching the reader about how to make vinegar at home.
Before you skip ahead to fever – the body’s super-secret and super deadly bacteria WMD, do go through the chapter on activated charcoal, wood ash, lye, and soap.
Activated charcoal is your best bet against accidental poisoning and, of course, everyone should know how to make soap at home.
In the world of prepping, much has been written about fever: “watch out for increased body temperature!”, “there’s definitely an infection here,” “fever will kill you if you don’t know how to tackle it.” Interestingly enough, La Guardia’s counts among the few preppers who state that fever’s not only a bad thing. In fact, the book’s thirteenth chapter has quite an unusual motto: “Fever is your friend.” And, for the greater part of the deal, that’s entirely true.
As you probably know, our body’s first line of defense against pathogens is raising the internal temperature. One can say that the body wants to cook up some bugs before the T and B cells march in to mop up any stragglers.
As La Guardia explains, everything’s that’s slightly above the normal body temperature (37 degrees Celsius) is considered a fever and not that big of a deal. However, the problem arises when the temperature spikes to 38 degrees Celsius or higher.
In our dealings with fever, we often have the tendency to treat low-grade fevers (anything between 37 and 38 degrees Celsius). The author points out that anti-thermic treatment should never be attempted when dealing with low-grade fever – it’s a natural response to invasive pathogens and our body’s way of getting rid of them. Medicating ourselves during this time only prolongs the disease.
The chapter on fever for preppers or the prepping fever, pun intended, includes a brief, yet highly comprehensive description of the physiological mechanism backing it up, followed up by several well-chosen words on the interaction between fever and critical body systems (metabolism, heart, brain).
On that note, did you know that every increment in body temperature is accompanied by an increment in heart rate? That’s the reason why you sometimes feel like your heart’s ready to burst out of your chest when you have a fever.
Because this is, in fact, a prepping manual and not a med book, the author emphasized the part about natural and homemade fever remedies. So, apart from the usual anti-thermal meds such as the ever-popular Tylenol or Motrin or Aleve or any type of NSAIDS for that matter, La Guardia proposes a more natural approach consisting of mixtures prepared from things like white willow, meadowsweet, echinacea, garlic, ginger, black elderberry, yarrow, linden tree flowers, Roman chamomile or eucalyptus.
We were really impressed by how the author managed to mix medical facts with great storytelling and the part about natural fever remedies stands witness to that. Whoever thought that reading about how to make a cold cure from boiled Linden tree flowers can transport the reader to the history-laden streets of Padua, Italy or a simple paragraph on how to treat wounds with yarrow can evoke mythological figures like Achilles?
Without a doubt, the Doomsday Doc really knows his stuff when it comes to telling a great story even though he sometimes goes to great lengths to somehow diminish his importance.
Of course, the best treatment in the world being prevention, the author ends the chapter with some ingenious ways to boost our immune systems. One of the most valuable advice offered here includes vitamization (especially A, C, E, and selenium).
From this point on, “The Doomsday Book of Medicine” takes on a different kind of mantle. Borrowing the demeanor of an emergency manual, La Guardia proceeds to pin down every possible outcome of an emergency. And what better way to do so than by giving the reader a serious lecture on head trauma, strokes, concussions, and seizures?
As La Guardia explains, in the aftermath of a natural or human-made disaster, head injuries tend to be more common than the common cold. Some may be mild, like a simple concussion to the head that leaves the victim confused for several minutes while others can have lasting effects.
In this chapter, the reader will be introduced to brain anatomy and how trauma can severely disrupt brain functions. Apart from concussions, the author talks about cerebral hemorrhage, subdural hematomas, traumatic brain injuries (classification and treatment), cerebrovascular vascular accidents (strokes), seizures, the difference between strokes and seizures, how to identify strokes and seizures, venues of treatment, and alternative medication for patients with seizures.
The author ends the chapter by providing some sound advice for treating patients with seizures or who have suffered other types of brain injuries:
- Keep blood sugar under control. Patients with epilepsy should constantly monitor their blood sugar. Clinical studies have revealed that low glucose levels can act as triggers for epileptic seizures.
- Avoid concentrated sugars. These include candy, fizzy drinks like Sprite, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, cakes, and deserts. Concentrated sugars force the body to produce more insulin than usual. More insulin means less blood sugar.
- Dietary tweaks. Although the process itself remains somewhat of a mystery, clinicians have discovered that patients embracing a ketogenic or medium chain triglycerides diet have experienced fewer epileptic seizures.
- Herbs for epilepsy. Alternative treatments to reducing the intensity and number of seizures include herbal mixtures from plants such as valerian root, Kava Kava, chamomile, lemon balm, passion flower, mugwort, the tree of heaven, lily of the valley, burning bush, and even marijuana.
- Vitamins, good fats, and magnesium. La Guardia points out that he has been able to help his patients using vitamin complexes, B, to be more accurate, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium. Vitamin C has also been used with limited results for treating some of the symptoms associated with epilepsy.
Since the brain is such a complex organ, the books steer into another realm of medical conditions associated with this organ: fainting, passing out, loss of consciousness, and heart attack. Of course, at this point, the reader’s ready to argue that nearly every title conceived for the purpose of survival has a chapter dedicated to fainting. The reader would be entirely correct, with one small mention: not even one of those books describe how and why fainting occurs.
Just to give you a little taste of what lies ahead, La Guardia begins his presentation by talking a little bit about fainting, after why he moves on to describe the major causes, in relation to the anatomical regions responsible for this type of brain disruption. It is here where you will learn about
- why blood pressure is called that way
- what’s the vasovagal response
- the anatomy of the vagus nerve
- postural hypotension
- heart rhythm disturbances, such as syncope and arrhythmias
- what is a myocardial infarction and how to deal with it in the field
- how to check a patient’s pulse using the carotid method.
- other causes of fainting such as pregnancy, intoxication from alcohol or drugs, severe anemia, dehydration, bleeding, and low blood sugar.
The reader would agree that headaches are annoying – they can strike at any time, leaving you with a head throbbing that could last for hours on end. What’s even worse, is that nothing you do seems to make any difference.
As a prepper, knowing how to deal with to deal with headaches and migraines should be important. La Guardia’s chapter on headaches is just the thing you need to get started. In his own, old-school doctoring style, the author begins by summarizing the major causes of headaches and migraines.
According to the “Doomsday Book of Medicine,” the major triggers are:
- Dehydration. Can easily be counted by drinking water, not coffee or alcohol or soft drinks. Statistically speaking, it would appear that dehydration accounts for 60 percent of headaches.
- Hunger. If you’re feeling like your head’s about to explode, grab a bite to eat and sit tight.
- Low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia is also tied to headaches. Try eating some honey or hard candy and see how you feel afterward.
- Infections. When your immune system’s weak, infections are bound to appear. Sinus infection, bronchitis or any type of respiratory infection can cause headaches.
- Hypertension. Elevated blood pressure can cause headaches, especially in the temporal area.
- Eye strain. Headaches are sure to ensue after spending too much time in front of the TV or computer screen. Prescription glasses can help you get rid of headaches, while protecting your eyes from blue radiation.
Although the chapter is called “headaches,” the author has taken it upon himself to teach us the differences between the various types of aches that can be felt in the head area – headaches, migraines, rebound headaches, tension headaches, cluster headaches, menstrual headaches, and sinus headaches.
The treatment part of this chapter includes both traditional approaches to headaches like ibuprofen, Tylenol, Benadryl, or Tylenol Sinus, and alternative, herbal-based medication.
According to La Guardia, migraines and headaches can be successfully treated using things like:
- Vitamins, like B2 and B complex.
- An herbal mixture consisting of feverfew, butterbur, and white willow bark.
- A glassful of sodium bicarbonate.
- Essential fatty acids to stimulate brain blood flow.
- Melatonin. It may put your lights out, but you will have wakened up feeling refreshed, rested, and headache-free.
- Calcium and magnesium.
- Essential oils like those extracted from rosemary, peppermint, and lavender.
- Herbal teas. Try chamomile, peppermint, skull cap, lemon balm or valerian.
If the book ever gave the impression that it wasn’t a medical lecture, starting with chapter seventeen, you are going to have to remember everything you’ve learned about the human body in high school.
The first presentation is called simply “The Eye,” and it contains precious information about this fascinating organ that allows us to see. La Guardia starts slowly by talking a little bit about the anatomy of the eye (there’s even a small chart attached to the text), followed by a rather long list about the most common eye problems.
Every good prepper should know how to deal with the following eye conditions:
- Pink eye or conjunctivitis. When there’s no doctor in sight, you can always use old world remedies such as cucumber, honey, sodium bicarbonate, chamomile tea, boric acid, calendula, homemade saline solution or five percent Betadine solution.
- Blunt trauma to the eye, orbit or eye socket. Though this is one of those situations that calls for a trip to the emergency room, sometimes this is not an option. Doc Doomsday includes a short guide here on how to deal with blunt trauma to the eye and how to search and extract foreign bodies that may get lodged there.
- Corneal abrasion or eyes getting scratched (and not by a scorned lady).
- Chemicals and other irritants.
- Allergies and other inflammatory processes.
- White pupil. Unfortunately, this is one medical condition that cannot be treated at home or in the field. As the author points out, the pupil becoming white usually indicates the presence of a tumor or cataract. In some cases, this may be the tell-tale sign of a detached retina. Go see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
- Sty or a pimple on the eyelid. It can be treated at home using a solution made of 50 percent baby shampoo and 50 percent mild soap.
- Eye strain.
- Black eye.
- Swollen eyelid.
Eye problems aside, the good doc moves on to the ear. Here, the reader will discover all about the anatomy of the human ear, complete with pictures and diagrams. Since the accent falls on prepping, La Guardia will showcase the most common ear problems, ranging from ear infections to ear obstructions and ear pains and, of course, ingenious ways to treat them at home.
So, as part of doc’s prepping course, you will learn how to address the following medical conditions:
- Swimmer’s ear or otitis externa. Treatment usually includes heat, onion, hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, and garlic oil.
- Middle ear infections or otitis media. This usually calls for some heavy-duty doctoring and meds such as antibiotics, a good dose of antioxidants, but herbal-based remedies can also be used. La Guardia notes that middle ear infection can be treated with garlic, raw honey, and fermented cod liver.
- Ear obstructions (earwax or foreign bodies). Treatment includes the use of mineral oil, olive oil, baby oil or glycerin to soften up the earwax. Alternatively, the patient could try out salt or mustard oil.
- Ear pain. Non-med treatment of ear pain incorporates heat, pressure, and a dash of Saint John’s wort oil.
It doesn’t matter if you’re outside playing football or running for your life during a disaster. Nosebleeds are always going to happen. And since most people, including seasoned preppers, believe that epistaxis can be treated by holding up the hand opposite to the bleeding nostril, the Doomsday Doc has prepared an entire chapter dedicated to this medical condition. Here, you will learn the mechanism behind epistaxis, types of nosebleeds, and common causes (cold, sinus infection, allergies, hypertension, some types of meds such as Warfarin).
Of course, the list couldn’t have been completed without a couple of uncommon nosebleed causes. These include nasal decongestant sprays, nasal polyps, tumors of the nose, smoking and first-hand exposure to cigarette smoke and trauma (broken nasal bone).
Like in the previous chapters, La Guardia takes full advantage of both traditional and alternative treatments. So, nosebleeds can be treated with pressure, cold compresses, ice packs, cotton balls dipped în petroleum jelly, and, believe it or not, a squirt of Epinephrine from an EpiPen. Short, sweet, concise, and highly edifying.
During the intro, the author said that oral hygiene is very important and that many preppers tend to dismiss this aspect until it’s too late. Although his specialty does not include dentistry, the chapter on oral health is as complete and well-written as the others.
Here, the reader will learn all about the anatomy of the mouth, what is oral hygiene, how to make a toothbrush and toothpaste at home.
Moving on, we have several well-written paragraphs on cavities, toothaches, canker sores, sore throats, throat infection, and tonsillitis.
The chapter comes to an end with a small presentation on how to boost your immune system in order to keep at bay anything that may jeopardize the health of your gums and throat.
Skin problems – nearly everyone has had to deal with one or more skin-related problems during a his\her lifetime. Carbuncles, abscesses, jock itch, athlete’s foot, candida yeast infections, ringworm, cellulitis; these are all conditions of the skin that can appear anywhere and anytime.
Sometimes, we won’t have the luxury of waltzing in an emergency room to have the problem taken care of by a medical professional. This chapter will teach you quick and painless treatments that can be tried out virtually anywhere.
Hikers should pay extra attention to the twenty-second chapter of the book which revolves around bites: animal, insect, snake, scorpion, and even human ones! The author starts by explaining what happens when you’re being bitten. Of great importance is to keep on checking the bite site for signs of infection. Another distinct possibility is developing an allergic reaction that can range from mild (area becoming inflamed) to severe (anaphylactic shock).
Furthermore, as the author points out, the treatment protocol is different for each case; you can’t treat a snake bite the same way a wasp sting’s treated. Although most of us dismiss human bites, they too are also a distinct possibility. Not only that, but they can be as dangerous as venomous snake bite (think about hepatitis, HIV or other diseases that can be transmitted through saliva).
The lecture may be a bit on the heavy side, laden with botanical and medical terms, but very informative if the reader’s interested in finding out about how to tackle various emergencies that involve snakes, scorpions, insects or biting two-legged friends.
You may want to pay extra attention to the parts where La Guardia describes modern medical protocols for insect stings and snake bites. Remember that everything you read here may very well save your life one day.
Another interesting read is the chapter on burns. Starting with a run-down of the skin, the author proceeds to present some clinical aspects related to various types of burns. Because sunscreen should be a prepper’s best friend, there’s a small section halfway across the chapter that teaches the reader how to prepare a magical UV protection mixture at home that has the same efficiency as a commercial sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 20. May not be much, but at least it will keep your skin protected during an emergency.
One thing we’re observed here: La Guardia’s studies into essential oils and alternative, plant-based ingredients really paid off. Nearly every treatment presented here relies heavily on one or more types of oil and\or plants.
Before you leave, don’t forget to check out the subsection on radiation. There are little chances of becoming exposed to harmful radiation, but it’s still better to know what to do than not knowing at all.
Since the author describes himself as an accomplished gardener, the very next chapter is about how to identify and treat various skin conditions brought on by contact with various poisonous plants. Remember that poison ivy or poison oak poisoning is not something to be trifled with. Apart from the itching, some patients can even develop life-threatening allergic reactions.
Equally important to treating stings, bites or plant rashes is knowing how to address wounds. This is where the book’s twenty-fifth chapter comes into play. When medical help’s far away, the only way to survive is to tackle the wound yourself. However, this must be done with the utmost precision and care, lest you invite infection.
In this chapter, you will learn about various types of wounds, how to dress wounds, how to keep the site clean, how to control pain when you don’t have any painkillers, and how to prevent complications such as sepsis.
As much as the author of this modest work would like to take apart and present each aspect of Dr. La Guardia’s book, there is such a thing about being much too revealing. In pop culture, there’s a saying: “nobody likes a spoiler.” And, we fear, that we’ve spoiled a great deal of the books. We will allow the reader to discover the remaining topics tackled by the Doomsday Doctor.
The book itself is a rather peculiar collection of medical facts, old-world prepping tricks, and lost pages from farming almanacs. To say that La Guardia’s variation on the survival them is different would be a severe understatement. We’re accustomed to finding a certain type of storytelling in survival and prepping manuals – the world’s not going to end, but what if it is? What will you do when disaster strikes? Let’s turn you into a real-life MacGyver. These tropes do nothing more than to discredit most of the works that turn up on the market and the Internet.
What is even more saddening is the fact that people who haven’t been bitten by the prepping germ dismiss these works on the account that much of them appear to have that doomsday air hanging above them.
This is not the case of La Guardia’s book. When placed into context, even the title of the book seems to be a clever joke, probably pointed at the same people that made prepping some manner of psychosis, preceding paranoia.
There is no way to measure the contribution La Guardia brought to preparedness. Nor do we seek to find such a method. It’s crystal-clear that the author intended to write more than a book on how to survive and this aspect becomes obvious from the very beginning.
As a prepping manual, “The Doomsday Book of Medicine” is as comprehensive as they come. The author left no stone unturned and no medical condition unaddressed. Still, this one book you do not want to rush into. There are no quick and easy answers here. You can’t just skip to page X or paragraph Y to find the answer you were looking for. This is one type of work that must be read from first to the last page. Otherwise the stuff explained will get increasingly confusing.
Although the book paints a complete picture of prepping, the reader’s encouraged to tackle one or more of the works presented in the bibliography. However, don’t expect the same tone, writing style or step-by-step explanations of medical terms.
To surmise, “The Doomsday Book of Medicine” is riveting, new, out-of-washer fresh, captivating, and very informative. Don’t let the size fool you. Once you start reading it, it’s nearly impossible to let go of it.