As increased media attention pushes worries of a global food shortage, it’s important to remember that food storage and stockpiling are not the same as simply hoarding food. Like all important endeavors, a food preparation plan must be deliberate, maintained, and regularly modified and adjusted for maximum efficiency.
In a recent article, Dr. Joseph Mercola gives his thoughts on maximizing the nutritional value of stored food. He writes:
Many say they feel unsure about how to prepare for food shortages and famine, having no real experience with that sort of thing. Modern life has also in many ways made us overly reliant on technologies that might not be available in an energy shortage situation. Foods that require refrigeration or freezing, for example, might spoil and go to waste if you lose electricity for more than two days.
While the solutions will vary from household to household, depending on your financial situation, location and skill level when it comes to growing and storing food, here’s a list of shelf-stable and nutritious items that can help you get through hard times.
Ideally, you’d be eating these foods on a regular basis anyway. This way, you can easily rotate your supply rather than buying something once and then not touching it for years on end.
Many prepper recommendations fall short in that they primarily focus on large quantities of rice and beans, but unless you’re willing to let your health go to waste, you’d be wise to focus on nutrition rather than carb-rich belly-fillers.
- Animal protein — In my view, animal protein would be one of the most important supplies to stock up on. This would require the meat to be frozen. It would likely make sense to get another freezer to store enough meat for three to six months for your family. The key to making this work is to have a backup power supply, as there is a high likelihood the grid will go down and you will lose your investment.
The most economical way to do this would be to get ground bison, beef or lamb. Avoid pork and chicken due to high linoleic acid content. Ground meat is less expensive, but more importantly, takes up the least amount of space in your freezer
- Canned wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel and sardines — All of these contain healthy fats while being low in toxic water pollutants and heavy metals
- Tallow, ghee and coconut oil — These healthy fats are ideal for cooking and remain stable even without refrigeration
- Organic beef broth and/or collagen powder — Beef broth is an ideal source of collagen, but organic grass fed collagen powder will stay fresh longer. Collagen is the most common and abundant of your body’s proteins, and is required for bone health, tissue integrity and repair
- Whey protein — Whey protein is rich in leucine, which helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis, thereby promoting healthy muscle. Without a regular source of meat, it can be difficult to achieve enough leucine to maintain body protein from diet alone. Fortunately whey can be easily stored and can serve as a resource to preserve your muscle mass
- Rice — Rice is a gluten-free staple that can be stored for long periods of time. Interestingly, white rice (my favorite is basmati) is far preferred over brown rice as the antinutrients in brown rice impair its role as a clean source of carbohydrates. Ideally, place the bag in a food-grade bucket together with an oxygen absorber or two, and make sure the lid is well-sealed
- Honey — In addition to being a natural sweetener, local unadulterated honey also has health benefits. For example, it’s an effective cough medicine and can help combat respiratory infections and bacterial infections, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria
- Macadamia nuts — Nuts are frequently recommended as a good source of fiber, protein and healthy fats that will stay fresh for a long time without refrigeration, provided they’re in a sealed bag or container. However, the reason why this is a terrible idea is that all nuts except for macadamia are loaded with very high levels of the dangerous fat linoleic acid. So, storing any nuts would not at all be helpful as you would only be able to have around five a day
- Canned beef — Look for varieties that use salt as the only preservative. Lehman’s canned beef is one such option12
- Organic freeze-dried fruit, vegetables and meats — For extra-long storage, you can also consider buying organic freeze-dried goods, which typically have a 25-year shelf life
- Essential nutritional supplements such as: Beef organ complex, essential minerals, omega-3, vitamin K2, magnesium, vitamin B complex and astaxanthin
But before you run out to buy chest freezers and a truckload of ground meat, you need to think about the realities of what you need. How many people are you feeding? Say you’re evacuating from a hurricane and your choice is to move all that food quickly or lose your entire investment, could you do it? How long are you planning on surviving on this stored food, and do you plan on supplementing it with other sources or living strictly on what’s in your storage area?
My point is not that you shouldn’t have food stored at the house. You know I’ve got sardines and SPAM enough to last me quite a while. But I want you to think hard about your plan because food is expensive, perishable, hard to move, and sometimes boring (think dehydrated eggs). You need to focus any food prep on foods you will actually want to eat, and will likely eat before they expire in your basement. Maintain a good understanding of when the foods you buy might go bad, and cycle new food in, and old food out. Think about how you would bring along food if you had to evacuate. Do you own enough coolers to move all the food in your chest freezer? Are you capable of lifting a cooler filled with frozen meat? They’re not light.
Action Line: Look, I’m Your Survival Guy, I want you to survive. Definitely store food for the worst of times, but like investing, I want you to have a plan that makes sense. Don’t go hoarding food like you’re buying up tech stocks in a bull run. Be deliberate. If you need help getting prepared, click here to sign up for my monthly Survive & Thrive letter. If you need help building an investment portfolio with a plan, contact me here.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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