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Food Storage, Store What You Eat
During times of physical and emotional stress, it is important to change your diet as little as possible provided, of course, you are eating properly in the first place. An abrupt change in diet can cause a dramatic shock to your system.
There are numerous falsehoods and myths out there concerning practical food storage. Many people store a lot of dried beans, wheat and other grains but do not eat them in those quantities on a regular basis and expect to switch to a totally foreign diet overnight.
Many people store primarily wheat, which is fine if your system is used to it. However, it is widely acknowledged in the food science community that approximately 40% of the public can expect an allergic reaction to a high wheat diet.
Years ago, my family decided we would go on the Basic 4 diet of wheat, powdered milk, honey and salt for a 2 week trial. We were young and tough and with the best effort we lasted only 6 days. We also went through copious amounts of toilet paper during that period. Don’t believe the nonsense that most people will eat anything when they are in dire straits; even when starving. I taught survival to soldiers and found that many would not eat certain offensive but nutritious foods and suffered physically as a result.
Many Germans died of starvation or the illness brought on from malnutrition after WW II because they would not eat swine food (corn). Can you believe that? These were not stupid people. They just had strong prejudices about what they would not eat. The old and the very young were the first to die.
Ever had monkey’s brains, goat’s eyes or grubs? Ever try to make an 18 month old child eat Brussels sprouts? Good luck! What if that were all you had?
When I was a little boy I would wretch or vomit when made to eat beets. Now I can’t get enough of them and they are very good for me. It’s all in the mind.
Do yourself and your family a favor by experimenting with various kinds of foods. A well-balanced food plan that causes little or no shock to your system is paramount. The other changes occurring during extreme chaos and stress will, in themselves, bring about enough physical and psychological distress without compounding it by a radical change in diet. We all need a proper balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
After over 34 years in the food storage business, I’ve heard and seen some of the most preposterous notions concerning food storage you can imagine. I once met with a church leader at his home where he showed me a bag and a half of wheat and 12 bottles of catsup. “O.K.,” I said, “where’s the rest of it?”
“This is it.” He beamed.
I was dumb-founded. I am not making light of this guy. He was a man of faith, but with faith and a lot of prayer I believe this is still going to be 1-1/2 bags of wheat and 12 bottles of catsup.
Obviously, this guy had not given the situation much thought. I don’t think he really believed he would ever have to rely on his food storage. We must be realistic when considering our food plan.
WHAT TO STORE?
If you are going to change your diet, do it slowly. I’ve had people tell me that in a time of need, they will just become vegetarians. Good luck, better start practicing now. Vegetarians historically don’t do well in the wilderness or during times of shortage. They usually have great difficulty getting enough protein. You need protein to repair cells and build muscle.
Be sure you have plenty of protein in your food supply. Animal protein is the most easily assimilated. I’ve often been told by the experts that protein is protein, regardless of whether it is animal or vegetable, but the fact remains, animal protein satisfies most people better.
I have a good friend in the surplus business who dabbles in food storage. He sold some poor guy a full 1-year supply of MRE’s. I told my buddy, “he’s gonna come back and kill you and he would probably be justified”. I would never recommend more than a 3-month supply of MRE’s for a 1-year food supply, tops! They are intended for use as a field ration and were never intended to be used exclusively over a sustained period of time. Also, be careful where you store them as they are quite temperature sensitive.
For those wanting to live on a diet high in wheat, beans and grains but not doing so at this time, I recommend at a bare minimum, a 3 month supply of food that is as close as possible to what you now eat.
MANAGE YOUR FOOD SUPPLY
By that I mean, keep track of your more perishable foods and rotate them often to insure having the best product when you need it.
Date your cans or cases, especially bulk foods.
Watch for rodent or insect infestation on bulk packed items.
Check for rancidity. I don’t know how many times I have spoken to customers who suspected that some of their food items had expired but were unwilling to open and sample them. When in doubt, open and inspect. I would rather have opened a few items unnecessarily than find they had gone bad when I needed them most.
If you don’t want the hassle of managing your food storage (most people, including me, are too lazy), then buy the best quality Freeze Dried and Dehydrated foods and grains in #10 or #2-1/2 size cans from someone you trust. Be sure the food is canned preferably using a nitrogen back flush, with an oxygen content of less than 2%. The nitrogen back flush is preferable to vacuum packing, which is always trying to equalize and draw in oxygen. An oxygen content of less than 2% was established many years ago by government testing as the level that allowed food to store for decades.
Another method in use is the nitrogen purge, which only removes about 80% of the oxygen. This method works pretty well for grains in bulk but does not remove enough oxygen for most other foods.
Store your food in a cool, dry place. Do not store food in an attic and try not to store it in the garage, especially if you live in a hot area. A basement is best, but you should not store your food on a cement floor or against a cement wall; elevate it an inch or two.
In closing remember; store what you eat because you will be eating what you have stored.