In the last couple articles we’ve been discussing getting started in food storage and developing it. One of the main points of any food storage is that you eat what you store. If you buy food specifically for preparedness without the purpose of also eating it, you will be eventually wasting food when it exceeds its life span. If you are doing this you are simply throwing money away and since many people value money more than that, they also eat what they store. This makes complete economic sense, but what if the food you are storing is not good for you?
Science and medical professionals are coming around to understanding that many of the processed foods that we eat are not that good for us. They are realizing that they are attributing to the obesity issue in the US, the increase in diabetes, and an increase in heart issues. Unfortunately many of these processed foods also happen to be foods that have a long shelf life, therefore ideal for the Prepper food pantry.
Many foods and especially canned foods are high in sodium and while the human body needs sodium, it can have too much. Too much sodium can lead to the chronic issue of High Blood Pressure, which can lead to possible Heart Attacks or Strokes. Another favorite is Granola/Protein/Energy Bars. They are small, individually wrapped and perfect for throwing in a GHB or BOB in the event those are needed. Again like sodium our bodies need grain which is the primary reason these items are viewed as healthy and good for you, but one thing grains are loaded with are carbohydrates, also referred to as carbs. While we get energy from carbs, too many carbs can lead to fat. Our bodies are made to utilize fat for energy, and when we get to many carbs, a kind of sugar, it stores it away for later. For thousands of years human diet was feast or famine, so our bodies were made to handle it. Increased fat and obesity as mentioned can lead to a whole host of problems from heart disease and diabetes to bad joints.
The question then becomes how do you prepare your food storage in a healthy manner? One of the easiest ways is to watch what you buy and buy healthy. When you go to the grocery store and buy cans of vegetables, buy the low sodium variety. At this point there are some people screaming, they need their salt. There are people in my family that reach for the salt shaker before they even try the food on their plate so I hear you. If the SHTF moment arrives though, and you start all of the strenuous work that will be involved and die of a heart attack has it done you any good to prepare?
One of the best alternatives to buying the sodium high canned food is to can it yourself. Since canning is all within your control you can add as much or as little salt as you want. For many, the vegetables that are being canned will come from their garden, but if you are not able to have a garden for many fruits and vegetables you can also buy them from a farmers market and can them. You are still spending money on the vegetables, but depending how you chose to can them they will be better for you.
As for the grains, one of the best ways to reduce the effect the excess carbohydrates has on you is to exercise. Of course most will not be working as hard now as they will if the SHTF, but an increase in physical labor will help reduce the impact of carbs on your body. The easiest way is to lower your intake of carbs. Of course easiest is relative since that means giving up or greatly reducing many foods and drinks people consider staples. Another way is to reduce the amount of processed grains and replace them with whole grains. Homemade granola bars with various grains and dried fruit is a good supplement. There are many recipes for homemade granola bars on the web, in crunchy and chewy varieties.
This brings us back around to your food storage and what to store. Home canned items will last a long time, and some reports indicate years more than store bought canned items. If you can’t or won’t can then buy the low sodium option so you are not overloading your system. Carbohydrates are the harder issue to tackle. If we cut back or cut out grains you may have 5 lbs. of wheat or oats that will not get eaten fast enough. If you can’t eat it in time and it’s still sealed donate it. One good thing about whole grains though is that if properly stored they can last some time. In order to use what you buy though you will have to store them in smaller containers since you won’t be using them as fast.
We want to be prepared for a terrible situation, but we also need to keep our bodies as healthy as possible to better handle the terrible situation. As always, store what you eat, but maybe be more mindful of what you store to eat.
Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.