Article submitted by Brian S. Kiefat @ The Ready Center
In this series of articles we are covering “The 4 Basic Prepping Categories” which focus on your primary needs if you would ever have to endure an emergency or hardship. These 4 basic categories are water, food, shelter, and security. In our first article we covered the basic planning involved to cover the water needs of you and your loved ones. If you haven’t read that article yet, click here. In part 2 of this series, we are going to go over the second category covered in the 4 basic prepping categories, food.
Food – There are many well documented cases of people surviving long bouts without food. (examples: Mahatma Gandhi – 21 days, Mitsutaka Uchikoshi- 24 days, Jesus Christ – 40 days, James Scott – 43 days, David Blaine – 44 days, etc) Medically speaking, most doctors agree that it is possible for a person to survive up to 8 weeks if the person is 1) an adult 2) of good health 3) is able to stay fully hydrated and 4) is in a temperate environment optimal to sustaining life. Also worth noting, a 1997 editorial in the British Medical Journal stated that as a generalization, it appears as though humans can survive without any food for up to 30-40 days when able to stay hydrated and that even with maximum hydration, death occurred at 45 to 61 days. So yes, it is possible to survive for weeks without food, but I say: Who would want to?! Not me, and if I was a betting man, I’d guess not you either.
When it comes to food preparation there are a number of ways you can be prepared. It can be as simple as purchasing a few extra canned goods every time you’re in the grocery store and setting them apart from your other groceries when you get home (preferably the same place you store the rest of your survival/emergency gear). The upside of this is that you’re generally going to choose things that you’re already used to eating, which is nice. The downside is not only the chemical preservatives, but the surprisingly short shelf life of canned goods which is usually only a year or so. Inevitably, you’ll forget about your survival stash until you need it, and then when it’s too late, you’ll be stuck with expired food. That being said, this is still a MUCH better option than not being prepared at all.
Dehydrating, canning, and jarring are also fantastic options when it comes to food preparedness and much ink has been spilled explaining the workings of each. The upside of using these methods for preparedness are many. Once all the necessary equipment is acquired, the cost effectiveness of dehydrating, canning, and jarring is substantial. Not only that, but if you dehydrate, can, or jar what you grow out of your garden, the savings can be downright amazing. The cost effectiveness, feeling of being “self-sufficient”, and the lack of chemical preservatives have made these methods very popular among those in the preparedness scene. Not to be forgotten, the downsides to these methods include the cost of initially acquiring the necessary equipment, the precious time and labor involved in the processing of the food items, as well as the learning curve involved in acquiring these skill sets. My advice is this: even if you don’t know how to use any of these methods now, take the time to learn. It will most definitely pay itself off in the long run.
Another great option is purchasing prepackaged long term food supplies such as those made by Wise Company, who is the official sponsor of National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers. The gourmet emergency food produced by Wise Company has been personally recommended by many professionals including former special forces operator and survival expert Mykel Hawke, radio host and author Laura Ingraham, financial guru and renowned world speaker Dave Ramsey, and many more. These types of food often have a shelf life of up to 25 years and can be used in survival situations as well as weekend camping trips. The upsides are plenty. These long term food supplies can be placed with your emergency supplies without having to worry about them spoiling. The preparation time for each meal involves only adding water and waiting for 12-15 minutes. If you punch the numbers, the average cost of works out to less than $2 per meal, which is commendable. Surprisingly, these meals taste pretty dang good and some are down right delicious. So much so that many people keep some on hand for use in their everyday meal plans. The down side is like everything else: initial costs (still not terrible at around $2 per serving). Other than that, it’s a great option
MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) could be included in the prepackaged long term food supplies, but they are kind of their own beast as well. As the main operational food ration for the United States Military, they have become very well known and popular among some in the preparedness community. An MRE is a package containing an entire meal; main course, a side or two, desert, flavored beverage powder for your water, and a dessert of some sort. The upside is the fact that it is an entire meal within one simple package. Also, each package includes “extras” that other emergency food rations don’t, such as a meal heater, napkin and spoon, a book of matches, pack of gum, and enough toilet paper to make you wish they had given you more toilet paper. The downside is the cost and varying shelf life. Each MRE meal cost around $8 to $10. As for the varying shelf life, if kept cool they can last up to 5 years. If left in a very heated area, shelf life can be reduced to 1 month. All in all, if you can afford them, they are handy.
Raising livestock, gardening, hunting, and gathering wild edibles are also viable options, but due to the complex nature of each, separate articles will have to be written for each of them in the future. So keep an eye open for them! Just know that each requires plenty of skill, plenty of time, and plenty of sweat. So if this is the approach you choose for you and your loved ones, be prepared.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what preparedness options are available for you and your loved ones. Now get to work on ‘em and we’ll see you in part 3 of “Starting with the Basics”.
The Ready Center