Fact: Most People Lack Adequate Supplies of Food to Survive a Catastrophic Disaster
The good news is this: We still have time to prepare. The bad news: Most people we know and care about are not on the same page as us. Sound familiar?
So, what do you feed yourself and these people you care about on a budget, and for optimal health?
This article covers 10 high calorie survival foods to store in your pantry, and 5 bonus superfoods, foods that pack powerful nutrients and healthy fats. Healthy foods provide optimal fuel for energy and muscle recovery as well as boost immunity to illness and disease. Starting with the 5 bonus survival superfoods....
For Optimal Health ... 5 Bonus Survival Superfoods
1) Coconut cream for porridge or soup or Coconut flour for porridge, soup, or electrolyte drink
There are a lot of coconut products on the market, but several packaged goods contain added ingredients like guar gum (carragean) said to cause intestinal issues in people who sometimes mistake these issues for a gluten allergy. Guar gum and carragean may be the culprits. Organic coconut cream contains the coconut but without the added ingredients.
Compared to coconut oil, organic coconut cream is a lot better for nutrition. It has good, healthy fats and also lots of fiber, protein and minerals. Much of the time you'll have to warm up coconut cream packaging in hot water, as it can form solid blocks during storage. Once warmed, this "concentrated" coconut cream can be mixed with water to produce "coconut water". Just one package could produce a drink packed with vitamins and minerals (including electrolytes) for several people. The listed price is currently $17 for a box of 6. Each box of 6 has 7 servings. So, that's 42 servings for $17.
Coconut flour - As a light, concentrated food for your bug out bag (such as an evacuation of a major city where the only food you have is what you can carry), consider organic coconut flour. Light in weight, a 30 serving bag of coconut flour weighs only 16 ounces. Mix two tablespoons with water and you have instant "coconut water", an energy drink for the road, supplying fiber, vitamins and minerals (including electrolytes). And yes, it doesn't taste great; flour mixed with water doesn't mix well. But again, this is survival we're talking about -- not a picnic in the park with friends.
Note: Coconut flour mixes best with a raw egg(s) or even a raw egg and yogurt or even milk (if you happen to have any yogurt or milk on hand). (Raw, uncooked eggs are usually safe to eat if they come from grain-fed, free-range chickens; look for higher priced eggs at your local grocery store, if you want to take a chance and eat raw eggs (I've never been sick from a raw egg and I've eaten several). On the topic of eggs, part of your survival plan for an extended disaster can include raising chickens; you'll be glad to have an ongoing supply of eggs; eggs will also give you something to barter with.)
2) Avocado Powder for porridge and soup.
Avocados are considered a "superfood" by many in the health industry; they are loaded with vitamins and minerals, including one avocado providing 42% of our recommended daily fiber intake. Adequate fiber reduces cholesterol and helps prevent constipation.
Avocados though are a tropical food; you won't find many growing in North America, north of Mexico. So we need to look at avocado powder, if we want the health benefits of avocados as part of our survival stocks.
Now, why do I suggest powders and flours (coconut flour, for example) to start out this article?
Because the fact is fresh produce is going to become hard to come by in a time of collapse; even in a region of the country known for farming, any produce that comes in is likely to be rationed out to local residents. The keyword is "rationed". Some of you will have access to fresh produce. But a lot of people won't.
Factors Contributing to Rationing
Plus, there's a likelihood that several areas known for farming may experience drought -- if there's no electricity coming to an area, suddenly the hoses, pumps, and sprinklers used to irrigate farmland are going to cease operation.
Finally, much of our nation's farmland calls for regular use of pesticides; a lot of that is carried by small airplanes (crop dusters) and dropped from the sky overhead. An event such as an EMP (electro magnetic pulse attack) would likely bring the use of small airplanes in many places to a halt. Even if a plane works, planes use a lot of fuel. Where is that fuel going to come from?
Several factors exist in a time of collapse that will likely make fresh produce simply hard to come by, at least in the amounts we're accustomed to today.
How much food can a survival garden produce?
Even for the many people going to great lengths currently to build urban gardens and backyard farms, the fact is these gardens and farms will have to produce a lot of food, just to feed one family each month. Many people are likely to ration out fresh produce to their own families; especially when friends and extended family members suddenly show up at their door, hungry and without any food to eat.
So I point back to powders and flours, used by early century men and women to make porridges and soups. Sure, porridge isn't very tasty compared to what we're accustomed to eating in the modern world today, but it's most likely going to become a way of life for many people, in order to survive long term.
Porridges and soups will be made from powders and flours (and grains, mentioned further down) with things like freeze dried meat, dried potatoes, and freeze dried vegetables added for taste and texture, providing a additional calories and nutrients.
3) Dried Cherries for aches, pains, and muscle soreness from physical exertion or Black Cherry Extract (180 capsules, 750mg, $22)
Let's face it: A lot of people live sedentary lives nowadays; in a time of collapse you're likely to spend a great deal more physical energy as a way of life. The first time you have to pick up a shovel or an axe or haul heavy weight any distance you're likely going to feel it for a few days. Muscle soreness is common, especially when we push our muscles to new levels of exertion, at any age. This is where tart cherries come in (or a black cherry extract, which is a supplement sold in health stores). Tart cherries are simply dried cherries that have had their pits removed.
Tart cherries and tart cherry extract contain potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories shown in several studies to reduce muscle soreness (including actual swelling from damaged muscle tissue) in athletes and bodybuilders, improving muscle recovery time, which aids in the development of increased muscle mass and strength. (I can personally attest to their effectiveness).
For people who suffer from gout (high levels of uric acid in the blood causing nerve pain, sometimes severe pain) or even mild gout, think of tart cherries as a medicinal plant, shown to reduce uric acid levels. Tart cherries can reduce or eliminate the pain associated with gout, sometimes within a short period of time, depending on the severity of symptoms. Tart cherries are said to be good for arthritis and fibromyalgia as well.
Finally, tart cherries include many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, folate, potassium, zinc, iron, copper and manganese.
In an air-tight container kept at room temperature, dried cherries will store for up to 12 months. A supplement can store for more than twice that time, 2 - 3 years for example. When choosing a supplement, shop from brands known for product purity; this typically means you get less or no chemical additives and instead more natural health properties.
Why not grow your own black cherries?
DirectGardening.com sells a dwarf cherry tree that grows to 5'. These trees are strong, drought resistant and can make a great hedge for blocking wind. These trees grow as far north as Manitoba, Canada. Pay attention: These trees arrive as saplings, well-rooted and already 1 1/2-3' in height. All you have to do is put them in the ground. So you're not buying seeds, you're buying actual trees that are already growing. The prices for a sapling are ridiculously low, $3.95 for 4, with approximately $10 for shipping; this means you're spending about $14.
You can buy and plant an entire orchard of these dwarf cherry trees at this price, with growing taking place in multiple locations. They're strong, they're drought resistant, they grow in multiple regions. Not a bad investment, considering that the more you plant, the more cherries you and your community can harvest.
4) Protein Powder
Protein powder is an easy and convenient source for high quality protein. In a time of collapse following a widespread disaster, the days of spending hours in front of a computer at work and then your television set later in the evening will be a thing of the past. Just like previous men and women from previous centuries, you'll have to work to earn your keep, literally. That will likely mean a lot more physical work than you're accustomed to today. From working with neighbors to plant and grow food using available land, to cutting down trees for firewood, to securing your home and community, to carrying large quantities of water vast distances, you're going to want a good source of protein to help your body respond well to the vast increase in physical activity. Protein is the essential ingredient to building muscle from intense exercise. With a large supply of protein powder on hand, you'll have something to supplement your daily diet when you start eating a lot less protein-containing foods like beef, chicken, pork, and dairy than what you may be accustomed to today. It's also one more item to add to your list of survival items to barter with.
5) Quinoa for porridge, soup, or cooked cereal.
On the subject of porridge, mentioned in a previous paragraph, porridge fed large numbers of people across Northern Europe and Russia, including the poor, for several centuries, and is still eaten by people today, including athletes in some instances. Porridge is made from grains ranging from oats, wheat, barley, corn and legumes, to even quinoa, a grain once harvested by Native American tribes (including the Incas in Peru). Quinoa is back from the pages of history, growing in popularity today due to it's assortment of vitamins and minerals and that it's an alternative for people who need to eat gluten-free.
Note though that some people can have problems digesting quinoa and have experienced cramping and indigestion. This is from the saponins (natural soap) that coat quinoa; rinsing it thoroughly for a few minutes washes away the saponins, making it much gentler to digest. Boiling quinoa, like boiling rice, makes it even easier to digest. Quinoa is easily sprouted also; sprouts can be planted to grow quinoa but also they can be eaten as sprouts, which contain even more health benefits of un-sprouted quinoa. An entire article can be written about the benefits of sprouting and eating quinoa.
Nutritionists consider quinoa a "nutritional powerhouse", containing 14 grams of protein in a 3.5 ounce serving; that's on top of its wide range of vitamins and minerals and heart-healthy fats.
10 High Calorie Foods for Your Survival Pantry
1) Bulk Nuts and Bulk Seeds (Macadamia Nuts and Sesame Seeds)
Nuts and seeds are an essential food item for disaster planning. Nuts and seeds contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, heart healthy fats and fiber. Several are very high in calories.
Unlike freeze dried foods with a shelf life of several years, nuts and seeds only have a shelf life measured in several months. They can be canned, bottled, or even kept in a freezer, to extend the shelf life.
Nuts highest in calories are pilinuts (719 calories per 100 gram serving) and Macadamia nuts (718 calories). The majority of nuts and seeds come in at around 948 calories per cup, and 200 calories per ounce.
Nuts and seeds often contain vitamins E, F, and G; magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium; add to that Omega 3, linoleic, and linolenic fatty acids. Even if you're not familiar with what these vitamins and minerals do, realize that each one plays an important role in the health of our bodies. Things like muscle weakness, memory loss, brain fog, confusion, heart palpitations, muscle cramps and digestive problems can result from lack of proper nutrition, as well as poor immunity to illness.
Today, your nutrition is important. In a time of disaster, consider it more important. Life will be easier if you can keep yourself and those you love in good health.
2) Peanut Butter
100 grams of peanut butter provides 588 calories. That's 29% of the daily value for calories for the average person. Though a lot of peanut butter brands contain unhealthy fats, additives, and sugar, others like Skippy Natural are much healthier. Of course there are more expensive healthy brands of peanut butter as well. Skippy Natural, at least at the time of this writing, has the best price for the largest containers of natural peanut butter that I can find on Amazon for buying in bulk. Stock up on bulk sizes that are easiest on your budget, of course. In the end, you'll get 1517 calories per cup of peanut butter; 94 calories in every tablespoon.
3) Sesame Butter (Tahini)
Sesame seed butter (also known as Tahini) is a lot like peanut butter in it's presentation. Stock up on Sesame butter by purchasing by the box, rather than single bottles, for the biggest price savings. The butter and oils from sesame seeds are valued for their high nutritional content and even said to prevent and reduce disease. This comes from the variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats (like DHA type omega-3s) contained inside sesame seeds. If you're new to nutrition, know that when certain vitamins and minerals work together with other health properties of specific foods they can result in even more nutritional properties at work in the body, to aid in healing, overall energy and mood, and even cardiovascular health, muscle building, and muscle recovery (speeding up the amount of time needed for your muscles to recover from intense use).
Studies have shown sesame seeds and sesame butter to improve the health of arteries while also decreasing heart disease and the risk of stroke and even helping prevent some types of cancer. It gets even better. Inflammation in the body is reduced as well, helping prevent or reduce arthritis.
4) Candy Bars and Dark Chocolate
Though not as sweet as a brand name chocolate candy bar, dark chocolate can still be a moral booster, and at the same time is also high in calories, with 661 calories in a grated cup, or 145 calories in a 29 gram square. When a dark chocolate product contains 70% or more cacao, it has heart-healthy properties, and a lot less sugars; it is a healthier choice.
Candy bars - Can candy bars like chocolate bars really be considered a survival food? Yes, but only in limited amounts. Sugar is toxic to the human body (even in small amounts, especially over several years) and the older we get, the more toxic are the effects from sugar. There has been a lot of data published on this. But candy bars can be a great boost to moral; especially when it comes to consoling children in a time of disaster. If for yourself, space out the consumption of candy bars and chocolate bars (like Snickers, Twix, Reeses Pieces, Kit Kat and M&Ms). You'll appreciate each one more the longer you space these out and you'll also go easier on your body by limiting your consumption of sugar.
(Ultimately candy bars are cheap, high calorie, and a good moral booster; if candy bars are part of your survival diet plan be sure to take extraordinary care of your teeth, which you should do anyway, considering that a dentist might be hard to come by; with that said, be sure to have plenty of toothpaste stored, dental floss, and mouthwash; on a side note, mouthwash can be watered down, or used in much smaller amounts, to last a lot longer than people are typically accustomed too.)
5) Canned Cheese
Cheese of course is a source of protein and also a good source of calcium. It can be eaten plain or with other foods, such as any wild edibles you pick along the way (for those of you with a knowledge of edible wild plants). Norwegian Brunost or Gejetost has the most calories, coming in at 466 per 100 grams. That equates to 130 calories for every ounce. Canned cheese has a long shelf life in most instances. When it comes to canned cheese, you have a few options to choose from, based on your calorie wants and even preference for taste.
6) Freeze Dried Meat (8 servings to 80 servings)
Dried meat can be a part of a long term plan for survival. Fact is primitive people were eating dried meat long before freeze dried companies came into existence. You can do this yourself, by learning and using modern day or primitive methods to dry meat. Purchase meat fresh and then use a method you've learned to dry each piece of meat correctly; from there, store this meat in #10 cans. Using a secondary method of salting (using healthy sea salt, when possible, rather than traditional table salt), you can help ensure that the meat you're storing has been adequately prepared for long term storage.
You can do all that, or you can purchase meat that has already been freeze dried and packaged from companies that specialize in freeze dried meat -- which can have a much longer shelf life than what our primitive counterparts could expect out of their supplies of dried meat.
I recommend and encourage you to use both methods. Knowing and practicing primitive methods of drying meat is a valuable survival skill; one day be aware you may need to use it if you want to have any chances of getting through a long winter, in a time of collapse, if stores are closed and there's not much wild game in the land and food supplies in your community are running low.
If you have a backyard, you can practice drying meat today, using either a backyard smoker you've purchased, but even better, building your own backyard smoker out of scavenged materials.
With all that said, serious planning for disaster calls for also filling your pantry with freeze dried meat, which you can purchase from several places nowadays. Some companies that sell freeze dried food are friendlier on your wallet and offer incentives for purchasing, such as free shipping, free camp stoves, etc.
Unlike white rice, brown rice (and also wild grain rice) has a number of vitamins and minerals -- add to this complex carbohydrates for energy, making brown rice a great survival food. On top of that, brown rice is light weight and a food where you just need to add water, in order for it to be edible.
On a stove top, brown rice is prepared by boiling for sometimes 30 minutes - 1 hour; in the wilderness, that's a lot of time on a campfire, and a lot more fuel than you might want to burn.
Alternative way to prepare brown rice - There's a second way you can prepare brown rice, though it won't be as soft as it is when cooked on a stove top. And that is to let a serving or more of brown rice soak in a container, away from heat, for 1 - 2 days.
Not only is it now more palatable, aside from cooking, but it's said to even be more healthy, due to the "sprouts" that can emerge. But, pay attention: Brown rice needs to soak for 1 - 2 days in many instances, until the rice has expanded.
If you eat it raw, without soaking it, the rice will expand in your stomach and reports say can kill you or simply cause severe stomach pains.
So let the rice soak in a container of water (and you don't have to soak all your rice at one time; just what you plan on eating in a day or two).
TimelessHealth.com writes: "Japanese scientists have found that soaking brown rice for a day before it is cooked may be an inexpensive and easy way to turbo-charge the nutritional value of this staple food. Dr. Hiroshi Kayahara a professor of bio-science and biotechnology at Shinshuu University in Nagano said in a statement that soaking the rice stimulates the early stages of germination, when a tiny sprout, less than a millimeter tall, grows from the grain..."
"...Rice protein, when compared to that of other grains is considered as one of the highest quality proteins. It has all eight of the essential amino acids, necessary building blocks for strong muscles. Rice is also a good source of other essential nutrients- thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, iron, and potassium."
8) Oats / Oatmeal (50 pound box, $58)
Oat meal is made from oats of course, and is very nutritious, and has a generous calorie count compared to white rice. Why the comparison to white rice? Both are foods that can be purchased in bulk and for a low price. The difference with oatmeal though is that you get a lot more bang for your buck, when it comes to nutrition. Pay attention also to oatmeal's high fiber content (fiber helps relieve and prevent constipation); also note that oats ccontain potassium (adequate levels of potassium help prevent painful muscle cramps known as a "Charlie horse").
Fiber and potassium are two nutritional substances that may be hard to come by in a time of disaster, especially if a portion of your diet ever comes solely from what the land around you can provide. The older people are, typically the more important potassium and fiber (and other key nutrients) are to a person's comfort and living without pain.
Oats, in their natural state, have several uses in food, in addition to being used as a common food to feed livestock like horses and cows. For us, oats can be rolled or crushed into oatmeal, but also ground into fine oat flour. Oatmeal is eaten as a porridge but can be used to make an assortment of other foods, from cold cereals to muelis and granola. As early Native Americans know, oats can also be eaten raw. Today, cookies made from raw oats are becoming a popular health food in nutritional stores and online.
Raw, rolled oats can be soaked for 30 minutes, making them more palatable for those who choose to eat uncooked.
Raisins are a calorie dense fruit. Just a 1/4 cup is equal to 108 calories. Which means a full cup of raisins provides 432 calories. When you're considering survival foods, sure you could skip the raisins and choose to just buy twice as many almonds, pistachios, or another seed or nut, but part of your survival plan should be a diversity of foods -- this will help keep you from becoming bored with your food choices; children of course will often be the first to complain. Raisins will bring to your diet several health properties associated with fruit consumption (antioxidants and fiber, for example). Fruit should be part of every plan for healthy living. Raisins will help you meet your body's need for fruit. Finally, raisins are a non-perishable food that can store for several months in just a Ziploc bag, if that's all you have. If you're allergic to sulfites (a chemical additive used in a lot of packaged foods), choose organic raisins.
10) Dried Potatoes
Well, not your average potato. I'm talking about potatoes that have been dehydrated and chopped into small pieces, and then packaged, with a shelf-life of approximately 2 years. In just a 1/4 cup you get 102 calories; just one 12 ounce package has 16 servings. On the subject of potatoes there's also instant mashed potatoes, seen in most supermarkets; the problem with store bought brands can come down to additives (so choose brands with no additives) and that they also have less nutritional value than dehydrated versions. As a survival food though, instant potatoes will still get you by, just as they did primitive people like the Incas. The Incas of Peru were known for their own version of freeze dried potatoes, where dried potatoes would be ground down to just a powder, and then stored, or used as a light-weight food for traveling.
Avoid the Bland Factor
A diet consisting of just the foods mentioned above is going to seem bland to a lot of people; while it's important to stock food pantries for a time of extended disaster, being able to supplement food supplies with fresh vegetables and fruit, as well as things like fresh eggs and milk will go a long way to making your family's daily diet anything but bland.
With this in mind, cover all your bases. Look to methods in urban farming and urban gardening, which teach ways of using small sections of land and even our own roof tops, balconies, and porches to produce food. It's really not that hard; as proof, consider that many people in third world countries have animals like goats, rabbits, and chickens living inside homes, right alongside family members, often in much smaller houses compared to the average home in the U.S. Think of the shanty towns in places like Thailand, Haiti, Cuba, and Rio De Janeiro, for example.
Though raising animals indoors or in backyards may seem like an extreme step, remember that you have this option in a time of extended disaster. Raising animals in a spare room or basement of your home is doable, while also keeping these animals safe from thieves who may otherwise raid gardens and farms late at night. Raising animals indoors will call for daily maintenance to minimize odors and to also keep your living quarters as clean as possible.
Making Your Food Go Further
Considering that most of us won't be commuting to full time jobs in a time of collapse, communities are likely to have plenty of time on hand to devote to tasks like growing and raising food.
With that in mind, the food you've stocked up on today can now go a lot further than what you may have initially counted on. But do stock up. If you have faith, let God lead you in your preps. If you're not sure what to believe, stock up anyway. America is on unstable ground. Better to be prepared than to look back and regret you didn't take any steps today.