Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March Challenge #4 Your Food Supply

After a disaster you can go quite a while without food but who would want to?  If you are preparing for whatever may happen, you need to ensure a pretty steady supply of food in order to keep yourself energized and healthy no matter what is happening in your immediate environment.  Here's how:

  • Always keep a small stash of food in your vehicle, office, BOB, and daypack or briefcase.
  • Always carry food with you when you go out hiking even if you only intend to be gone for a few hours.
  • Keep enough food on hand at home to allow you to bug in for a month or so without having to go to the grocery store.  This food can be bought on sale or as loss leaders in order to save money but remember to rotate it regularly.  With this stash, not only will you be ready for a disaster but you can put together a big party without having to hit the store, you will have plenty to eat if you suddenly lose your income and can't afford food, and you can even use it, in bulk, to make a donation to a local food bank or family in need if necessary.
  • Consider what would happen if you couldn't access factory/factory-farm produced food for a couple of months.  Could you hunt and dress an animal for cooking?  Do you have a garden growing?  Can you fish?  Can for forage for edible and medicinal food in the wild?  Once you have all of this food (or once you get a great deal on a giant box of produce at the grocery store) do you know how to preserve this food for future eating?
  • Learn food storage methods (practice now), food preservation methods (ditto) and, when storing disaster food, aim for storage longevity (canned food, long-term grain storage methods, etc).
  • Keep your food costs as low as possible.  Of course you can buy pallets of MREs or Mountain House backpacker food but those are pretty expensive options (and not very likely to be rotated into your everyday food supply).  
  • On the other hand, you never know if the disaster is going to make you flee your home and thus all of your stored food.  In this instance you would want some MREs or freeze-dried/dehydrated foods for easy carrying but you don't want to leave thousands and thousands of dollars of food behind.
  • Learn how to cook a range of foods.  During a disaster, you may not have access to restaurants and take out food.  All of those dry staples (beans, rice, spices, etc) can turn into a pretty tasty meal if you know your way around a kitchen.
  • Be sure to store enough food that doesn't need a whole lot of prep (canned soups and stews, Pop Tarts and granola bars, etc) since often after a disaster you may not have the time/water/fuel to cook an entire meal and clean up after yourself.  In this sort of scenario, any kind of quick, easy to prepare food is the best option.
  • Be sure to have a range of foods on hand (in order to get enough vitamins and minerals in your diet).  Also make sure that you have a suitable balance between fats, protein, and carbs.
  • Consider augmenting your diet with vitamin supplements since disaster meals often won't provide all of the nutrition you need.
  • Don't forget comfort food.  During a disaster, comfort food can make you happy.  A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a chocolate bar, a bottle of whiskey...all of these items can make a bleak situation look a little better.
Find more info on food preps here, here, and here.

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