Food – You can last a few weeks without food. Last is a good word because your time won’t be very enjoyable. Without food for your body to convert into energy both your mental and physical well being will suffer. Decision making and physical activity will get exponentially tougher as the time goes by. If you have kids, I think it will break your heart to watch them go hungry…but the above scenario does not have to come to fruition with a little planning.
There are several types of survival foods on the market, most of which I would not recommend. The reasons for not getting my seal of approval are simple: they are expensive for the most part and secondly they are so far removed from your regular diet your body may go through some tough times trying to adjust to the change.
Freeze Dried Food – a.k.a. Mountain House, etc. This food is really expensive and taste is questionable. I have eaten some of this stuff on hiking trips and anyone who tells you they enjoy this stuff is kidding themselves.
MRE’s – They are expensive as well, especially with the Iraq war going on. The military is buying these things up by the truckload. I have eaten MRE’s and they aren’t that bad but once again not exactly my first choice. I have 3 cases (36 meals/12 per case) of these I obtained from a friend in the Military that I SUPPLEMENT my food storage preparations with. I would not rely solely on these either.
Crazy Survivalist Recommendations – This is the famous five gallons of wheat, dried beans, rice, powdered milk, etc. all the “real” survivalists tout as all you need to survive. Give the average American a bucket of wheat and I guarantee you they will say “What the fuck am I supposed to do with this?” Not everyone, in fact, most everyone would have no idea how to make a meal out of this crap.
Well folks all is not lost…the easiest things to store for a rainy day are the things you eat everyday! Next trip to Wally World (Wal-Mart) try something for me: Instead of buying one can of corn, buy two. One can for that night’s dinner and the other can to put into storage. When tuna (solid white albacore, not that chunk light crap) is available for a buck, instead of buying 3, buy six! Wow, see how easy this is? When you add new stuff to storage make sure to rotate the old stuff forward and use that first. Some common stuff my wife and I have in storage:
Tuna, sardines and canned salmon SPAM – I love this stuff…apparently so does the whole of Hawaii.
Dried pasta Macaroni and cheese
Canned corn, green beans, peas, tomato sauce, beans (Kidney and baked)
Canned peaches and pineapples
Cooking oil (Canola – I have high cholesterol)
Salt (never goes bad if stored correctly)
Honey (never goes bad if stored correctly)
Coffee Powered creamer (for the coffee)
Beef Jerky (Jack Links makes some of the best)
This is not an exhaustive list but you get the idea. I have supplemented this with the three cases of MRE’s I mentioned above. We buy extra every time we go to the store and rotate as needed. If you do this every week you will slowly but surely have some items to fall back on should procuring food become an issue. We could easily survive for three months on just what we have in our pantry.
The idea is to accumulate things you eat on a everyday basis, this will make sure you enjoy what you have stored and more importantly during a time of stress (any disaster is stressful), you won’t have the added stress of adapting to a new diet. A great book on the subject I would recommend reading is Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Family Safe in a Crisisby Peggy Layton.
One other thing we do is we have a garden in our backyard. Our garden is not huge, probably 10 tomato plants, 2 grape tomato plants, 4 cucumber plants, some green beans and watermelon. If don’t have a backyard use planting pots and place them in a sunny area of your house. It is a great way to supplement your stores with some fresh produce. Whatever you don’t eat either freeze or can. Go to Wally World pick up some Ball quart jars and a Presto pressure canner (total investment less than $50) and learn how to use it. It may save your life!
...that is all.
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