By December 10, 2012 Read More →

Putting My Food Storage to the Test; Avoiding Food Fatigue

[intro2]Food Fatigue is when a person is forced to eat the same thing over and over again.[/intro2]

They become so sick of eating the same things that they would literally rather starve to death than eat it again.  While this may be a worst case scenario, it can still be a real problem on a smaller scale.

CaptureMy husband and I have been building our food storage for the past 10 years, and slowly we’ve been buying extra food here and there.  Over the past year, we have really put in a lot of research and time into prepping.  We recently moved from Utah to Tennessee to a small 3 bedroom apartment with our 4 children and we brought all of our food storage with us cross country.  We have a large black storage cabinet in our dining room that we store small cans, bottles of sauces, spices, baking supplies, soap, and shampoo, etc. We have #10 cans full of wheat, rice, beans, oats, powdered milk, freeze-dried fruit and veggies, and soup and various mixes.  We keep them stored under my twin sons’ beds.

We have 5 gallon buckets stacked in the corners of our coat closet and master bedroom closet behind and under the hanging clothes.  Sometimes I feel like everywhere I turn I’m running into more food! To some this may seem like a good variety of food. But, how long will it really last us?  Do we have enough variety to keep us satisfied for long enough?  Perhaps you have wondered the same about your food supply.

Well, here’s a good way to assess your situation, at least on the short-term:  Put it to the test! Pick a day when you open the fridge and you notice the food is getting a little low and it’s almost time to go to the store.  That’s the perfect time to do this challenge.

“Why is that?” you ask?

Because, chances are, when a disaster strikes, it will be the day before you were planning to run to the store.

Capture2That is precisely what my husband and I did a couple of weeks ago.  We were driving around in our minivan with our 4 kids one day and the idea popped into my head:  “Why don’t we see if we can just live off of what we have in the house?”  Now, the only reason I would suggest such a thing is because I was feeling very confident about what we have.

“We have so much food I bet we could seriously live off of our food storage for 30 days,” I said half-jokingly to my husband.

“Uhh…that’s a bit of a stretch,” he replied.  “But, we could maybe do two weeks.”

I could hear the excitement building in his voice.  He liked this idea!

“Well, let’s commit to one week and see how it goes,” I said.

I knew that a week would be a good gauge to see where we were… not to mention that it was a more realistic goal.  I was right.

After two days, the milk was pretty much gone.  I mixed up some powdered milk, added in some evaporated milk to have some fat for the baby, cleaned my old milk jug out, and refilled it.  The kids couldn’t tell a difference at first but towards the end of the week they starting complaining.
Capture 3

We made oatmeal with our food storage oats for breakfast, adding honey and cinnamon for flavoring.  For snacking, I made homemade humus from the dried chickpeas from our dried beans food storage.  We also made this homemade bread that tasted delicious and was considerably better than any store-bought or bakery bread I’ve ever had.  One downside to having extra yummy bread around is that it’s irresistible and it gets eaten really fast around here. The other downside to making bread is that it is HARD WORK!   I’ve been researching different methods to figure out the easiest method while still having it taste good.

By day 4 or 5, I started having cravings for more fresh produce.  I certainly wish I could provide my own!  It’s my dream to one day own a cute little farm-house situated on a few acres of land where I could have my own orchard, berry bushes, vegetable garden, fishing pond, goats for milk, and a few chickens running around.  While it would be amazing to be so self-sufficient, the reality is: we live in an apartment and have no access to a garden.  Since we just moved here a month ago, from the other side of the country, we don’t even have any potted herbs or tomatoes on our porch.  We definitely need to figure something out because if there were a disaster situation, I would be stuck trying to forage in the empty wooded lot next door if I wanted to find anything fresh and green to eat.

I know!  Maybe we could put an aquaponics setup in my son’s closet.  I’m only kidding!  I’m sure the apartment complex manager wouldn’t appreciate it!

My husband’s main complaint was the lack of meat.  (Of course!)  We plan to shop around until we find a really great sale on meat and then can it ourselves.  We considered hauling our large freezer out of storage, but seeing as how our apartment is already cramped, I’m leaning towards the option that takes up less space and electricity.

After our first week of food storage eating was up, I decided to go to the grocery store to restock on produce.  In addition, my husband and I decided to allow only grocery shopping that could be considered food storage for the next few weeks and see how long we can last.  So that means no chips, cookies, etc.  In addition to the much desired produce, we came home from our shopping trip with nuts, dried fruit, Parmesan cheese, pasta, cans of condensed soup, a giant bag of baking soda…you get the idea.  Where we noticed a gap, we went and bought more. For the next few weeks, if we want chips, crackers, cookies, or granola bars we will be eating them freshly homemade!

So one day, when you are feeling particularly adventurous and especially confident about your marvelous food storage, whether or not the fridge is full, put it to the test and see what happens!
[guest-author]Cindy Hale

Cindy Hale published her first article when she was 17 in The New Era, a magazine for the youth of the LDS church.  She studied English at Brigham Young University-Idaho.  She has since gotten married and is the proud mother of 4 beautiful children.[/guest-author]

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20 Comments on "Putting My Food Storage to the Test; Avoiding Food Fatigue"

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  1. I was recently put to the test during Hurricane Sandy. I have always been conscientious about the amount of supplies I have (at least 3 weeks of food and water at any given time). The only thing I wasn’t counting on was having no way to heat anything. We had a hot plate and a generator but the damn hot plate died on the first day (it wasn’t old, so it’s probably defective). Since we had no gas or electricity that made it difficult to have warm food. We did grill out a few times, but since we live in a small NYC apartment (Rockaway Beach) that was hard too. Next time around I will make sure I have a backup. 

    As for variety, I give myself a B+. I went without utilities for over 3 weeks and by the end I missed fresh produce a lot. We were lucky in that my husband got the car running. It was kind of miraculous because almost every car in the neighborhood was destroyed. Ours just happened to be in the right spot; it was soggy but not destroyed. This allowed us to get off the peninsula and get supplies. 

  2. How about sprouts! That might help the “fresh produce” cravings? Easy to do yourself and doesn’t take up much space, plus kids usually think sprouts are fun.

  3. Jesse Banke says:

    You’d be amazed how easy it is to grow garlic and also Potatoes. a 5 galon jug will grow a basket full of potatoes in a few months. Put a sprouting potato in 1/2 a 5 gal bucket of dirt, as the sprout grows add more dirt. Garlic, you only need 1 clove put inside of a 2 liter bottle cut 1/4 the bottem, 3/4 the top. turn the top upside down and fill full of dirt with the clove about 2 inches deep and add water. Both dont need much light.

  4. we rarely go for any supplies more than once every two weeks.

  5. Bill Hapner says:

    Cindy, my family also lives in Murfreesboro. We would enjoy meeting your family and learning about your food storage ideas. We have been doing this for about two years.

  6. I read an article that said ‘food fatigue’ is really a myth, particularly when you are in anything resembling a survival situation.

  7. Denise Baker says:

    Everything (except fresh vegts)are the thing s I prep for and eat everyday….its easy….

  8. Karen Fudala says:

    This is why canning comes in really handy !! You know your food is going to be good and you can things that can be used as multiple meal variety. It’s really easy !!

  9. I laughed when I read this article because we did the same thing in our family and found out there were lots of things we needed to store we didn’t have, particularly butter, eggs and vegetables!

    • PS I also agree that having a variety of foods in your food storage keeps one from getting food fatigue.  My kids use to LOVE rice!  However, after living off our food storage for 6 months, (because of my husband’s unemployment) and eating rice at almost every night, it took almost 18 months before they would even attempt to even taste rice again.  Still today, they are resistant to most rice dishes because of that memory.  Variety is KEY!

  10. I told my husband last night that I want to do this and include no electronic entertainment. I’m excited to give it a try.

  11. Simon Simons says:

    difinetly need to think about variety in my food storage. I try to buy from different vendors for sure.

  12. John Davies says:

    I’ve been vacuum sealing pouches of various spices and scattering them in my food storage pails.

  13. Jo says:

    My food are just an extended part of my day-to-day pantry.

  14. Pam Emick says:

    My friend Sherida lived on hers for 6 months. See here:

  15. I am new to your site but I had a question after watching you on the H2 channel last night. I see so many people stocking up on water, whether they are using buckets, the blue water cans (gas can looking) how would you deal with water going flat tasting without using chemicals and stocking up on filters? Any help would be appericated on this question (for my dd project)

  16. Paul Perez says:

    I live in the Caribbean , and ussually i  have  supplies for 1-1.5 months , but during Hurricane season that start on June  and end on september , we increase supplies to 2-3 month  with restocking and inventory movement. Will  be increasing supplies for  6 month  now.

    • Hans says:

      I have a question and since you live in the Caribbean you mkight be the right person to ask, how do we store in cool places, since our climat is different.
      for example we live in Aruba and how would we go about for example to store rice or anything else without the danger of the tropical climate interfering.

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