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The Best Drinks to Stay Hydrated and Healthy

Water is a necessity while embarking on a journey. While it does its job, there are other beverages with extra benefits.

You are about 60% water. Going more than two days without it can prove to be fatal. With pressure from different companies trying to claim their drink is superior, terms like “electrolytes” and “probiotics” are commonly brought up.

There are many different ways to stay hydrated while on the go. It’s easy to slip a water bottle or Gatorade into your bag before you head out. But do these sports drinks or other types of beverages provide a significant advantage over the former? Let’s dive deeper.

Introduction to Beverage Lingo

Many companies try and persuade you to buy their products with terms like “electrolytes” and “probiotics”, but what does this lingo actually mean? Time to elaborate.

Electrolytes are chemical compounds and minerals that create ions in bodily fluids. This is important for keeping adequate hydration as they keep your body running smoothly. A lack of electrolytes can lead to muscle fatigue and soreness. So electrolytes are always a good thing. Especially for vigorous exercise.

Probiotics are living bacteria that increase efficiency within the body. With digestive improvements and healing within the gut, probiotics are definitely good to have.

Antioxidants are particles that protect your body against free radicals, particles that emit radiation. These can prevent cell damage or even cancer from mutations caused by these free radicals. Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants. These can prevent damage caused by being around radioactive materials, which can be produced naturally.

Caffeine is a stimulant that reacts with the central nervous system that increases mental alertness. It can be useful in situations but is not too great for your body with excessive use because of a raised blood pressure and heart rate. Addiction can prevent your body from functioning properly without sufficient levels of caffeine including symptoms like nausea.

Sugar is also something to look out for. They are carbohydrates which provide your body with energy. In excess, they build up in fat.

Here are some of the best drinks for your body;

Gatorade

Gatorade is a sports drink that is efficient at replacing lost electrolytes. It has a relatively high amount of sugar but is still refreshing for long workout sessions. It also has no nutritional value other than a small amount of vitamin C and some electrolytes like potassium and sodium.

Propel

Similar to Gatorade and Powerade, Propel is electrolyte-infused flavored water. It also has copious amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin C and sodium. Propel is an exceptional beverage for exercise and virtually anything else as it contains no calories, but is somewhat high in sodium.

Bai

Bai is a tea infused with antioxidants from the coffee fruit. This also means that it contains caffeine, but not a large amount. The tea also contains a fair amount of vitamin C with almost no sugar. All around Bai is a healthy substitute to water with no real consequences.

Kombucha

Kombucha is a tea rich in antioxidants, like Bai, but is fermented to contain tons of probiotics. As a side effect of the fermentation process, there is a little bit of alcohol. This drink is good for improving health in the gut, but not so much during physical activity.

LIFEWTR

Literally just water. With calcium. The focus of this is on the artwork and creativity behind the bottle. But hey, water is good for you.

Green Tea

Green tea is one of the best things you can put in your body. On multiple occasions, green tea has been proven to increase brain function, reduced risk of cancer, and many many other benefits. Green tea is also extremely accessible as it can be found in a powder for ease of brewing. Pour it in and stir.

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Introduction to MRE’s and Freeze-dried Food

As the main source of nourishment from astronauts to military personnel, MRE’s and freeze-dried food are easy to eat and convenient in extreme situations.

MRE, or Meal Ready to Eat, is a form of food that is sealed in a way where it can be preserved for up to 3 and a half years at 81°F. They are used in combat and for astronauts as they can still be safe over long journeys for extended periods of time. Ever since 1981 starting with the MRE I, they have been used as the primary ration of deployed US troops.

MRE’s come in many different types, such as main courses, sides, and even desserts. There are also certain vegetarian entrées. Most of these contain napkins, utensils, and other types of condiments to spice up the not-so-good-looking meals. Here are some types of MRE’s.

Regular Meals

Usually, within the MRE, there are multiple different packages inside because the meals are tailored for a full work day in combat. An MRE contains a main course, side dishes, dessert, and a flameless heater with utensils. Sometimes there can be condiments and drink mixes in tandem to the base materials.

Types of Main Dishes and Sides

An appetizing slab of chicken tetrazzini.

Main dishes can come in a variety of different types. These are frequently the most nutritious part of the MRE and are not usually as good as they appear coining the name “Meals Rejected by Everyone”. Currently, there are rations such as vegetarian taco pasta, chicken with noodles, beef stew, chicken, meatballs and marinara sauce, shredded bbq beef, chili, fettuccine sauce, macaroni, spaghetti and meat sauce, beef tacos, and much much more.

Desserts and Condiments

An ambrosial selection of MRE apples.

MRE’s can also contain snacks and certain types of sauces, toppings, and even desserts. There is gum, cakes, brownies cookies, drink mixes, peanut butter, jam, mints, coffee, oatmeal, tortillas, and the list goes on.

Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze-Dried Ice Cream

Freeze-drying is another preservation method by low-temperature dehydration. These foods can have a shelf life of more than 20 years and can be rehydrated fully by stirring with water depending on the quality of the product. Freeze drying is not as common because of the high cost of the procedure, although it is still used today. Common foods that are freeze-dried contain water such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, and coffee. These meals are usually consumed by our space wanderers.

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Best Running Shoes Under $150

Your closest companion when you’re out is the shoes on your feet.

You know the drill, putting on your worn out shoes that barely fit and are falling apart at the seams. It’s time for a new pair. Why not up your game and get some that are comfortable and fit all of your duties? Welcome to the world of running shoes.

Running is also one of the easiest ways to get a good workout. The hardest part is not knowing which shoes to aid you in your journey. After a while, your feet tend to hurt and getting a good pair of shoes is key to maintaining your endurance and not putting a premature end to your venture. Here is a list of the best shoes money can buy for under $150.

Asics GEL-Cumulus 19: $59.99-$69.99

The Cumulus series is a favorite among runners for the outstanding cushioning and long term comfort. The shoe is designed so the foot has an even distribution point upon landing, and also has a quality mesh body for ventilation. The previous generation from Asics is on sale as the 20 series are out, providing an amazing pair of shoes for half the price. They come in a wide variety of colors which should suit just about everyone and their mother (you should get her a pair too).

Reebok Floatride Run: $54.97-$150

Reebok’s philosophy is to make the lightest possible shoe to make your feet feel responsive. What makes this shoe different? Well, the heel is 3D printed, claiming to support up to half-marathon distances. The responsive feel is from the Floatride foam, making the shoe lightweight yet soft. There are also a few different color schemes that might match your style.

But wait, there’s more! If you want to get a completely 3D printed variant of the shoe, Reebok is offering their Liquid Floatride Run for $180 which is 20% lighter than the original. They also changed the laces a bit to make them slip on with a comfortable firm fit.

Saucony Azura: $85

“Just one seriously awesome sneaker”. Saucony focuses on the inside of the shoe to produce a comfortable long lasting shoe built for the foot. It’s a retro shoe brought back from 1988 with the same color scheme, the orange and white. Made with micro-suede and the original rigidity bar, this is a serious bargain for $85.

New Balance 1500v5: $109.99

The 1500v5’s offer superior lightweight construction. New Balance claims their REVLite foam is 30% lighter compared to other foams with the same durability. Classified as racing flats, they took inspiration from their spike line-up in terms of a new aesthetic with two beautiful styles. With a sturdy outsole and superior lightweight mesh upper, these shoes will suffice from going on a walk to Walmart to a full marathon.

adidas Pureboost Go LTD:  $120

These shoes were designed to be springy; you can push off and get more of a bounce from the BOOST midsoles aimed for faster-oriented runs and corners as opposed to long training sessions. Built around the city, the boost offers a true foot mold that provides easy movement for the Achilles. As opposed to the mesh upper, the Pureboost Go LTD has a knitted breathable fabric with a few colors to choose from.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 Shield: $130

Have you ever wanted to go for a run in the rain? These are an exceptional pair of shoes for the moderate to extreme weather. For everyday runs or races, the Air Zoom Pegasus has a grippy sole even when the ground is wet. There is a new lacing system too. It’s a small adjustable piece on the lace that gives you a good fit during any season.

Did we mention that you can even customize it to your liking? On Nike’s website, the possibilities are endless. Although these custom shoes go for $155, they aren’t a bad deal especially when you can make them look however you please.

Under Armour HOVR Sonic 2: $100

Under Armour is a staple in the athletic department. Not only do they make pretty much everything under the sun, but their HOVR Sonic 2’s are also phenomenal for the price. The HOVR technology makes the runner fell weightless allowing for increased endurance. The rubber soles have abrasive to increase traction on the ground and provide counterweights for an even step.

These neutral running shoes also give runners an option to connect their smartphones wirelessly to track all of your running statistics and has the ability to aid your performance by telling you what you can improve on.

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31st Annual George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest Winners Announced

FAIRFAX, Va. – The National Rifle Association is pleased to announce the winners of its 31st annual George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest.

Held in November at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va., the 2018 contest featured 350 entries submitted by young artists from all over the country. Begun in 1987, the Youth Wildlife Art Contest challenges students to create exceptional works of art depicting North American wildlife and offers $7,000 in cash prizes.

The contest is open to any student in grades 1 through 12, including home-schooled children. NRA membership is not required to participate. Entries can depict any North American game bird or animal that may be legally hunted or trapped. Endangered species and non-game animals, such as eagles and snakes, are not eligible subjects.

The contest is divided into four categories based on grade level: Category I (1st – 3rd), Category II (4th – 6th), Category III (7th – 9th), Category IV (10th – 12th). Judges select first, second and third place entries in each category, which receive prizes of $750, $500 and $250 respectively. A Best In Show award, selected from among all entries across all categories, receives a $1,000 prize.

“The George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest offers young artists interested in hunting and wildlife an outlet to use their creative talent, practice artistic techniques and refine wildlife identification skills,” said NRA Recreational Programs & Ranges Managing Director Elizabeth Bush. “It makes us proud that the contest’s message has resonated with young artists, who carefully study an animal and hone their techniques to not just accurately depict a species, but to give their entry life. And their efforts also help reinforce the positive effects of hunting and wildlife conservation with the public at large.”

A complete list of winners and those who earned honorable mention status follows. To view the winning artwork online, go to artcontest.nra.org/award-winners/.

BEST IN SHOW
Emma Vande Vort (Grade 10) Lynden WA

CATEGORY I (Grades 1-3)
First Place: Jayden Cheuk, Chandler, AZ
Second Place: Chandana Muhlian, Parsippany, NJ (Shown Below)
Third Place: Sophia Zhao, Chandler, AZ

CATEGORY II (Grades 4-6)
First Place: Cynthia Liu, Chandler, AZ (Shown Below)
Second Place: Morgan Feng, Sugar Land, TX
Third Place: Ada Lau, Houston, TX

CATEGORY III (Grades 7-9)
First Place: Anna Yao, Chandler, AZ (Shown Below)
Second Place: Leyi Gao, Sugarland, TX
Third Place: Minjeong Kim, Coppell, TX

CATEGORY IV (Grades 10-12)
First Place: Christina Zhang, Richmond, TX (Shown Below)
Second Place: Anna Yu, Gilbert, AZ
Third Place: Ethan Pro, Canyon Country, CA

HONORABLE MENTIONS (in alphabetical order)
Yunbeen Bae (Grade 11) Frisco, TX
Yiteng Cai (Grade 6) Toronto, Ontario
Haejin Chong (Grade 10) Carrollton, TX
Fiona Gao (Grade 7) Chandler, AZ
Fay Fay He (Grade 3) Chandler, AZ
Devyn Jin (Grade 2) San Jose, CA
Christina Lee (Grade 6) Dallas, TX
Elaine Lin (Grade 2) Chandler, AZ
Sophia Lin (Grade 6) Scottsdale, AZ
Jayda Ma (Grade 7) Sugarland, TX
Victoria Ursol (Grade 6) Fair Oaks, CA
Cathering Wang (Grade 9) Fremont, CA
Amanda Wong (Grade 10) Chandler, AZ (Shown Below)
Jessica Xu (Grade 7) Coppell, TX
Lucas Yan (Grade 2) Chandler, AZ
Meiuen Yang (Grade 11) Phoenix, AZ

For more information about the George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest, visit artcontest.nra.org/.

About the National Rifle Association

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. 5.5 million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and is the leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military. Visit http://www.nra.org.

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Wilderness Survival: Take Care of Your Feet

The most overlooked outdoor survival strategy is right under your nose—well, five or six feet under your nose.

Your backcountry comfort – not to mention survival – starts from the ground up. | Image courtesy of MaxPixel.com

Ask any infantryman, and they’ll tell you that taking good care of your feet is one of the best things you can do to stay off the injured list. If you’re planning on doing some real hiking out in the backcountry, especially if you plan to be out for multiple days, now is the time to make sure you don’t wind up on the side of a mountain with two “flat tires”—feet that just can’t move you any further. Here’s how to keep that from happening.

Before the Hike

It can often be daunting to buy a new pair of boots, but this is a decision that can make or break your trip. Get out there and try the boots on. | Image courtesy of Armchair

First, you need to get those boots squared away. Your footwear is absolutely critical, because “a few blisters” can absolutely develop into a real emergency in the backwoods. Not only can they make it exquisitely painful to walk, they open an avenue for infection to set in. If you have any circulation problems, that’s doubly dangerous. So what you want to do is make sure that your boots not only fit you properly, but they’re completely broken in.

This is a time when you’re better off shopping in person at a brick-and-mortar store, so you can compare boot fit in real time. Secondly, you should hit that store at the end of the day, preferably after you’ve been on your feet for a while. (This will help replicate the swollen feet everyone gets after using them for any significant time.) You should wear socks as similar as possible to the ones you’ll be wearing in the backcountry.

Third, you’ll want to break those bad boys in. This goes way beyond wearing them around the house for a few hours. Fill a pack up with about the amount of weight it’ll have when you get out there for real, put it on, and then walk. Outside, on varying terrain, if at all possible. When you get back home, check your feet. Are there any “hot spots” where blisters might be gearing up to make an unwelcome appearance, like my ex-girlfriend at a family picnic? If so, you may want to either try using a boot stretcher to give yourself a little more wiggle room, or you may choose to apply moleskin to those spots before you start hiking.

In the Backcountry

Clean and bandage your feet as soon as possible, and give your feet a thorough rest at the end of a long day.

Once you’re out in the backcountry, make a habit of giving your feet a good once-over every time you remove your boots. (If you’re like me, your friends will scatter like pigeons when they see the shoes coming off, so you’ll have plenty of privacy.) Clean, disinfect, and bandage any blisters, but don’t try lancing them if you can avoid it. Antibiotic ointment—particularly the type that has a little Lidocaine in it—is your friend. Change your socks regularly for clean, dry ones. In fact, if you’re going to make room in your pack for anything “extra,” let that extra be fresh socks…more than you think you’ll need.

Remember, take care of your feet—and they’ll take care of you!