Category Archives for Articles – Week 6

* 3 Types of Herbal First Aid Kits

Herbal first aid is a great skill to have in your preparedness tool kit, and although I’m going to go over some of the contents of 3 types of herbal first aid kits with you in this article, it’s important to remember that herbal first aid is also a set of skills. You need to learn the correct doses, how to prepare herbs into usable form, plus all of the regular first aid (and wilderness first aid) skills to go with them.

Being an herbalist in general is a pretty good background for survival skills- you already know many herbs and the basics of how the body works- but I’ve taken classes with The Human Path, led by a former Green Beret medic and herbalist, Sam Coffman, to up my survival herbalism game. You can read an article Sam wrote for Survival Mom about the benefits of learning herbalism for disaster preparedness here.

Based on what I’ve been learning, I now have three types of herbal first aid kits. My everyday carry kit is small — I can fit it in a purse or tuck it into a backpack with no problem. I’ve even heard of people making their EDC (EveryDay Carry) herbal kits small enough to fit into a cargo pants pocket for times when they want to take it to a sporting event or other venue that doesn’t allow bags. My home first aid kit is much larger, with a wider variety and larger quantities of things for everyday comfort. The field kit/evacuation kit covers the herbs I would want to have on hand during a natural disaster or pandemic, but works equally well for rounding out my home first aid kit or as an organized bug-in supply.

Here’s a little more about each type and what I’ve included.

Herbal First Aid Kits: Everyday Carry

For everyday carry, small and durable is good. The idea is to keep a few things on hand that help make your life easier until you can get home. For example, use 1 ounce nalgene bottles, or make single serving packets out of drinking straws (I like this tutorial.) You can use a fanny pack, the kind of travel pouches used to organize a carry on or suitcase, or a makeup bag to hold your herbal EDC. A ziploc bag that goes in and out of different bags also works well. Don’t leave your herbal EDC in the car, though, because herbs and tinctures are heat sensitive and lose potency quickly in a hot car.

Some things that I’ve included in mine:

  • Meadowsweet extract — This herb can be useful for indigestion and pain.
  • Rose/Hawthorn/Albizzia extract (equal parts each) — An uplifting nervine, tis is my go-to for clearer thinking and feeling calmer after an emotional shock to the system.
  • Cayenne — Cayenne has several first aid uses. Dr. John Christopher spoke highly of it for hemorrhaging and for heart attacks, as it appears to equalize the circulation. It’s also very handy during cold and flu season for clearing the sinuses. A little cayenne is also my secret ingredient for sore throats, along with honey and lemon. In a pinch, you can get a wedge of lemon, a cup of hot water and a packet of honey at a restaurant. Mix the honey into the water and squeeze the lemon into the cup. Add a little cayenne and sip slowly.  
  • Black Cohosh/Jamaican Dogwood/ Cramp Bark extract (equal parts) — I learned about this blend from Dr. Aviva Romm’s website, and love it. This is a really potent blend. Helps provide comfort when dealing with pretty much any kind of pain — headaches, injuries, menstrual cramps, etc.
  • Plantain salve — My favorite salve blend is bright green and has plantain, chaparral, goldenseal, and bloodroot, among other things, but use whatever herbal salve you like the best.
  • Witch hazel extract — This is handy when cleaning up cuts and scrapes. I like to keep a travel size bottle in my EDC

Home First Aid

Personally, I have a full fledged home apothecary, but then again I’m a die hard herbalist, and constantly work with new recipes and other personal experiments. If you like, you can take a peek at my apothecary. Maintaining a home apothecary is a skill all of its own — things need to be rotated in and out, records kept, resources managed. I find it highly rewarding, but if you want a smaller home first aid kit (completely understandable), I talk about some of my must-have herbs in An Herbalist’s First Aid Kit: What I Use and Why. It covers 12 versatile herbs you might want to consider, and some ideas for preparations like eyewash, liniment, and an herbal spray for sore throat.

Important herbal categories for the home first aid kit can also include:

  • Digestive wellness: Include herbs that soothe the digestive tract like marshmallow root and meadowsweet; or astringents like blackberry root and sumac that are traditionally used to dry up bouts of diarrhea.
  • Herbal comfort for aches and pains: Black cohosh, jamaican dogwood, corydalis, valerian, passionflower, cramp bark, and willow can make good choices here.
  • Immunity and lymphatic support: Herbs that help the body during a viral or bacterial challenge like cleavers, violet leaves, and red clover for the lymphatic system; herbs that support the immune system more directly like elderberry and eleuthero.

You will want to keep your home first aid kit in an area that is easily accessible, but also out of direct sunlight and away from dampness. The basement and the bathroom are probably not good choices, because the higher humidity in these areas can take a toll on your supplies. A hallway closet or spare kitchen cabinet are good locations.

Herbal Field Kit/Evacuation Kit

A field kit or evacuation kit is probably going to be the most technical type of herbal first aid kit that you put together. For durability, use nalgene bottles. My field and evacuation kit focuses mainly on worst case scenarios — the kind of scenario where higher medical care is unavailable for short or long term. It’s heavy on the herbs I would want to have during a natural disaster or pandemic. It’s a much better idea to focus on a selection of formulas for this kit, rather than single herbs. That level of detail is a little beyond what I can cover in this post, so I’ve added a brief list of some of my favorite herbs that can be used for each category below, as a place for you to start with your own research.

  • Wound care/physical trauma — angelica, albizzia, St. John’s wort, arnica, yarrow
  • Lung support in case of smoke or dust, respiratory problems — lobelia, elecampane, horehound, licorice, marshmallow
  • Digestive tract — sumac, black walnut, marshmallow, blackberry root, Oregon grape, digestive bitters
  • Herbal antibiotics and antivirals — bidens, sida, artemisia, isatis (You will notice there’s not a lot on this list. Read The Truth About Herbal Antibiotics to find out why.)
  • Lymphatic herbs that support the immune system — cleavers and red root
  • Adaptogens that maximize overall resiliency and wellness– eleuthero, rhodiola
  • Nervines that offer strong support during shock, trauma, grief, and depression– angelica, calamus, albizia, valerian, holy basil

It’s also a good idea to tuck in a few herbal and first aid references.

Of course, this is just a glimpse at the botanical portions of my first aid kits. You will also need other basic to advanced first aid supplies like bandages and sutures (and the skills to use them).  Remember to review the contents of your herbal kits frequently, at least once a month, to check for leaks and to stay familiar with the way your kit is packed. Like all of your prep kits, it’s really helpful to pack your kit the same way every time, so that you can easily find what you need, when you need it. Feel free to use the herbs I’ve suggested as a guideline. Chances are, you will begin to develop your own tastes and preferences the more you work with herbs, and that’s a good thing! I wish you the best of health as you work on your herbal preps!

By Agatha Noveille, herbalist

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Gluten-Free Prepping on a Budget

In nearly every preparedness book you look at, one of the primary staples in every stockpile is wheat. Buckets of wheat berries, flours for bread, baking, and prepared items like pasta, crackers, and packaged cookies are frequently the backbone of a prepper’s stockpile. So prevalent is the dependency on wheat products that some guides recommend a whopping 300 pounds of wheat per person, per year.

However, that style of pantry won’t work for everyone who wishes to get prepared. There is an almost epidemic hierarchy of wheat-related ailments in America today, ranging from mild discomfort to severe debilitating illness to chronic disease.

Because of this, many folks are looking for ways to build a pantry without those products. Gluten-free prepping doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. The following suggestions will help you build a pantry without wheat, even if you’re on a strict budget.

Why are so many people going gluten-free?

The symptoms suffered by those who cannot consume gluten have a wide range. From an intolerance that causes gastrointestinal discomfort to a debilitating disease, the number of people who do not consume wheat is multiplying exponentially.

At the pinnacle of this is Celiac disease. Sufferers are highly sensitive to gluten in any form. The Celiac Disease Foundation defines this:

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.  It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.  Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.

When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.

The disorder can cause serious long-term health effects and those with celiac disease should never consume gluten, even in moderation.

Not quite as severe, but still highly uncomfortable, is gluten intolerance. People with gluten intolerance can have anywhere from mild to severe reactions to the consumption of gluten.  Issues can include digestive upset, bloating, aching joints, skin problems, and a host of other symptoms.

Kristen Michaelis explains this intolerance very clearly on the website Food Renegade:

First, let’s be clear about what gluten intolerance is. It isn’t a food allergy. It’s a physical condition in your gut. Basically, undigested gluten proteins (prevalent in wheat and other grains) hang out in your intestines and are treated by your body like a foreign invader, irritating your gut and flattening the microvilli along the small intestine wall. Without those microvilli, you have considerably less surface area with which to absorb the nutrients from your food. This leads sufferers to experience symptoms of malabsorption, including chronic fatigue, neurological disorders, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, nausea, skin rashes, depression, and more.

If you remove gluten from the diet, the gut heals and the myriad of symptoms disappears.  (source)

Gluten intolerance is written off as a fad by many, especially since lots of people pass the test for the anti-gliadin antibodies and are told the issue is all on their heads. However, some recent information has exposed the fact that the issue for many may not be the gluten in the wheat, but the harvesting process. According to the USDA,  99% of durum wheat, 97% of spring wheat, and 61% of winter wheat is drenched in the herbicide glyphosate before it’s harvested. This process, called desiccation, causes the wheat to release more of its seed as it dies, which results in a greater yield for the farmer and a contaminated product for the consumer. (You can learn more about the shocking process in the article, Maybe You Aren’t Gluten Intolerant, Maybe You’re Poison Intolerant.)

Many people are cutting back on wheat in sheer disgust about how it is harvested.  If you do choose to continue eating wheat, knowing about the process above makes it even more vital to stick strictly with organic varieties.

Gluten-free eating doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive.

Over the years, most food storage guides have recommended the storage of hundreds of pounds of wheat and flour, and these guidelines have left some gluten-free families flummoxed. Many of us who build large pantries do so for two reasons:

1) The economic savings from buying products in bulk

2) To be better prepared for a wide variety of emergencies or personal economic downturn

Whatever your reason for building a whole-food pantry, it’s obviously vital to have supplies that won’t leave you feeling ill and bloated.

If your family has a member with adverse reactions to gluten or you want to cut out wheat because of your personal preference not to eat herbicide, it might be time to focus your purchasing dollars on grains that are gluten free. like rice, organic corn, quinoa, and oats.  Depending on the level of sensitivity (for example, if a family member suffers from Celiac disease or has an intense reaction to trace amounts of gluten), you may need to purchase these from a gluten-free processing facility.

The problem is, gluten-free food is a billion dollar industry, and at the prices Big Food is charging for these specialty items, it’s easy to see how fast the bills can rack up.

You only need to stroll over to the gluten-free section of your grocery store to see that the cost of eating a diet free of wheat is absolutely outrageous.  A loaf of Udi’s bread at my local market is $6.  And it’s a tiny loaf – with little bitty pieces of bread and a lot fewer slices than a conventional loaf. The Udi’s white and whole grain loaves contain 14 slices.  So, if you have 2 kids and 2 adults and all four of you eat a sandwich for lunch every weekday, you’re looking at a cost of nearly $20 – and that is just for the bread, assuming no one is super-hungry and wants 2 of the mini-sized sandwiches. This also assumes no one wants toast for breakfast or garlic bread with dinner.

And speaking of dinner – have you priced out quinoa pasta lately?  Enough gluten-free pasta for one spaghetti dinner will run you about $4, vs traditional pasta, which would be closer to $1.

Big Food is cashing in on the gluten-free trend, as more and more people discover that wheat is causing health problems and attempt to go gluten free. In 2012, the Huffington Post reported on the billions of dollars being made off those who wanted to omit wheat from their diets.

The gluten-free foods market is expected to hit $4.2 billion this year, according to a new report by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

And at the rate it’s going, by 2017, gluten-free sales could grow to more than $6.6 billion, the report said. (source)

That is simply astronomical, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

The issue is, everyone wants to eat the same diet they’ve always eaten, just without the wheat. And that won’t work, at least not healthfully.

First of all, the gluten-free products are highly processed. In order to give people the familiar textures, lots of additives are necessary to simulate the airiness that results when wheat gluten is combined with a leavening agent. Here’s an ingredients list from a common gluten-free white bread.

TAPIOCA & POTATO STARCH, BROWN RICE FLOUR, MODIFIED TAPIOCA STARCH, WATER, NON-GMO VEGETABLE OIL (CANOLA OR SUNFLOWER OR SAFFLOWER), EGG WHITES, TAPIOCA MALTODEXTRIN, EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, TAPIOCA SYRUP, YEAST, XANTHAN GUM, SALT, BAKING POWDER (SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, SODIUM BICARBONATE, CORN STARCH, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), CULTURED CORN SYRUP SOLIDS (NATURAL MOLD INHIBITOR), ENZYMES.

While this list of ingredients isn’t as bad as the ingredients in a lot of conventional breads, you end up with a highly processed, low nutrition food item.

If you make it yourself, it is cheaper, but the list of ingredients that you need to make a loaf of homemade bread sans the wheat is lengthy, daunting, and still somewhat expensive. Here are the ingredients for one recipe that I found:

  • white rice flour
  • tapioca starch
  • sweet sorghum flour
  •  buckwheat flour
  • brown rice flour
  • dry active yeast
  • cane sugar
  • salt
  • guar gum
  • xanthan gum
  • ground ginger (adds flavor and acts as a natural preservative)
  • apple fiber (a dry nutritional supplement, available at health food stores)
  • egg whites, room temperature
  • light olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar
  • lukewarm water

This is more nutritious, but it’s certainly far from “simple”. And life is complicated enough without complicated food.

So what if, instead of buying all of these expensive products, you just switched to real foods that are gluten-free naturally?

Instead thinking that you must have either wheat products or pretend wheat products, forget about those foods you’ve been eating. For starters, what are your favorite meals that don’t contain wheat products? What about a stir-fry over rice? Or a delicious salad? Or a steak with a baked potato? Why not hit the farmer’s market and get some delicious in-season produce while supporting local agriculture? (You can find a local farm or market HERE.)

By changing your meal plan around and omitting these products altogether, you can eat nutritiously on a tight budget. We no longer consume wheat and have shifted our long-term food supply to reflect that.

If you can’t find it, grind it.

That doesn’t just apply to poorly driving a vehicle with a manual transmission.

Gluten-free specialty products are pricey, but they don’t have to be.By purchasing grains that are not yet ground, you get several benefits. First, the shelf-life is often longer. Secondly, you can save a fortune from the cost of the specialty flours by grinding them yourself.  I have both an electric grinder and an off-grid, manual grinder.

By purchasing grains that are not yet ground, you get several benefits. First, the shelf-life is often longer. Secondly, you can save a fortune from the cost of the specialty flours by grinding them yourself.  I have both an electric grinder and an off-grid, manual grinder.  If you are committed to gluten-free eating, you’ll recoup your grinder investment fairly quickly.  Don’t skimp on quality – grinding grains is tough work. The WonderMill is a good choice because it comes with a lifetime warranty.

It doesn’t save you money if you must continuously replace flimsy grinders. On that same note, from someone who learned the hard way: don’t try to use your blender or food processer for this unless it is specifically rated to grind grains, like this attachment for your Kitchen-Aid Mixer.

Buy it here:

Electric Grain Mill

Manual Grain Mill

Use these staples for gluten-free prepping

A full pantry isn’t just for preppers. Buying in bulk quantities will get you the best bang for your buck, which is very important when going gluten-free. Below, you can find some reasonably priced options for building a gluten-free pantry.  The products linked to are NOT from gluten-free facilities unless specifically noted, so these may not be the best options for people who are highly sensitive:

Rice

More than 3 billion people across the world eat rice every day. Rice has long been at the top of the hierarchy in the prepper’s pantry.  It’s inexpensive, a source of energy-boosting carbohydrates and can extend one humble serving of meat to turn it into a meal for an entire hungry family.

Conventionally grown rice has a very high pesticide load. PANNA (Pesticide Action Network of North America) identified more than 40 different pesticides on rice grown in California, with 15 of those pesticides on their “bad actors” list – which means that the pesticides have been proven in multiple studies to have negative effects on human beings and/or groundwater systems.

The website “What’s On My Food?” noted that the pesticides included those which were known to be carcinogenic, bee toxins, human reproductive and developmental toxins, neurotoxins and suspected hormone disruptors.

Rice that has been grown organically is not soaked in pesticides and fungicides from seed to package, like conventional rice.  This is a vast improvement for the purity and nutritional value of a bulk rice purchase.  White rice, when stored properly, has a far longer shelf life than brown rice, which is far more nutritious (and many find it much tastier as well).

Unfortunately, though, even organic rice is not the best thing to serve on a regular basis.  Recent studies have shown that all rice, organic and conventional, has a high level of naturally occurring arsenic.

Arsenic is a metallic element that is toxic to multi-cellular life forms. There are two types of arsenic: inorganic and organic. Inorganic arsenic has not bonded with carbon, and is a known carcinogen.  Organic arsenic is found in seafood and is generally considered to be non-toxic.  It is excreted through urine within about 48 hours of consumption.

Arsenic is taken into the rice from the soil, through the roots of the plant.  Arsenic can get into the soil in many different ways, including the use of arsenic-containing pesticides.  These pesticides can remain in the soil for up to 45 years after they were sprayed. Another source of arsenic in the soil is fertilizer made from chicken droppings – commercial chicken feed has been found to have high levels of the toxin. When rice fields are deliberately flooded, the water soluble arsenic in the soil is delivered to the roots of the plants.

Brown rice contains more arsenic than white rice – the arsenic accumulates in the hull, which is stripped during processing.  The hull, however, contains most of the nutrients in the rice.

Arsenic can be toxic in both the short-term and the long-term.  Everyone is familiar with the use of arsenic as a poison. According to the Mayo Clinic:

“Arsenic is perhaps the best known of the metal toxins, having gained notoriety from its extensive use by Renaissance nobility as an antisyphilitic agent…A wide range of signs and symptoms may be seen in acute arsenic poisoning including headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypotension, fever, hemolysis, seizures, and mental status changes. Symptoms of chronic poisoning, also called arseniasis, are mostly insidious and nonspecific. The gastrointestinal tract, skin, and central nervous system are usually involved. Nausea, epigastric pain, colic abdominal pain, diarrhea, and paresthesias of the hands and feet can occur.”

Rice can still be important part of your pantry, but it should not be consumed on a daily basis, lest a build-up of this toxic heavy metal occur in your body.

Please, please don’t buy rice from China.  While it might be dirt cheap, their food standards are very low. You do NOT want your stockpile to be made up of food like that.  If you can’t afford organic or eco-farmed (this means there was no use of chemical pesticides but it isn’t certified organic), please buy American-grown rice.

Oats  

Oats can be used to add extra fiber to baked goods, in place of bread crumbs in meatballs and meatloaf, and as a hot cereal. They are also a staple ingredient in granola, and of course, the much beloved oatmeal cookie!  Oats can be purchased in bulk quantities and then repackaged for long shelf life.

When oats are grown, they look similar to wheat. Little kernels called “groats” are removed from the hulls and then, most of the time, are minimally processed in a mill to ready them for human consumption.

Oats are milled in several different ways:

Whole Groats: These little kernels look similar to rice. They take a very long time to cook, about an hour and a half, so they may not be the best choice for emergency food. They are the least processed of all of the oat varieties and have a slight nutty flavor. Groats can be used in place of rice or pasta, or as a hot cereal.

Steel-cut oats: Steel cut oats are groats chopped into just a few pieces with (big shock) a steel blade. They take about a half an hour to cook, have a chewier texture than more processed oats, and are known for their more complex flavor.

Rolled OatsRolled oats are a bit more processed. Groats are steamed to soften then, then rolled into flakes. This process actually stabilizes the naturally-occurring oils in the oats, which makes them more shelf-stable than steel-cut oats or groats. Rolled oats only take about 5 minutes to cook.

Quick-cooking oats: Quick oats are simply rolled oats, but thinner. Because they are thinner, they cook extremely quickly – they can be ready in about 1 minute. This is a definite perk in a down-grid scenario,  since you won’t have to waste precious fuel during a long cooking time. The downside of quick oats is that they don’t maintain their texture as well as rolled or steel-cut oats.

Quinoa  

This delicious little kernel is the highest protein grain around. Quinoa (pronounced keen’-wah) was held sacred by the Incas, who called it the “mother of all grains.”  This ancient grain has had a recent resurgence in popularity because of its excellent nutritional profile, easy preparation, and versatile nutty taste. Quinoa is more expensive than most other grains, but the high-quality nutrients make it a great investment. Quinoa contains significant amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, niacin, Vitamin E, and folate , as well as minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Quinoa is used as a grain, but is actually a seed that is closely related to beetroot, spinach, and tumbleweeds.

Quinoa is used as a grain, but is actually a seed that is closely related to beetroot, spinach, and tumbleweeds. Weird, huh? It contains complete protein, including amino acids. Make sure the quinoa you purchase for your stockpile has been processed to remove the bitter coating (called saponin). In an emergency situation, you don’t want to have to use your precious water storage to wash your grains. Not only does the saponin taste terrible, it can also cause gastrointestinal distress.

Cornmeal

I strongly recommend seeking organic options for all things “corn” as more than 80% of corn in North America is genetically modified, making it a poor choice for your food storage pantry at a time when you need reliable and non-toxic nutrition.

Cornmeal is finely ground. I purchase very coarsely ground cornmeal, also known as grits or polenta. You can run this through your grinder to make it finer for baking.

Buckwheat

Despite the name, buckwheat is not actually wheat at all, or even a grain. It’s considered biologically to be part of the fruit family and is related to sorrel and rhubarb. The part we consume is the seed, which is dried and ground into a flour substitute. It doesn’t contain gluten, so won’t rise like flour that contains gluten. However, buckwheat makes delightful pancakes that don’t require all sorts of gums and magical ingredients and a chant to give them a nice texture like most gluten-free pancakes. Buckwheat can be served as a substitute for rice or as a hot breakfast cereal.

Buckwheat is sold either roasted or unroasted. The roasted variety is called “kasha” in Eastern Europe, where it is traditionally served over pasta (opt for gluten-free, of course) topped with onions and brown gravy in a dish called Kashe varnishkes. You can find the recipe HERE. I recommend purchasing the whole buckwheat groats and then grinding them as needed into flour or roasting them lightly.

Amaranth

Amaranth is a high-quality protein that is similar to quinoa, so it serves double duty in the pantry.  The part of the plant consumed is the seeds. It can be served as a pilaf, ground and used as a baking ingredient, or made into a hot breakfast cereal. It’s very gentle on the system and easily digestible, making it a perfect food for someone who is recovering from an illness. Here’s how to cook it, from Dr. Weil.

In Mexico, amaranth seeds are popped like popcorn, and then tossed in honey, chocolate, or molasses. This is sweet treat is called “alegria”.  You can click HERE for a recipe.

Gluten Free Emergency Food

Of course, sometimes there are situations in which convenience is key. Enter, emergency food buckets.

Here’s why every prepper should have some emergency food buckets stashed away:

  1. A lot of calories can be condensed into a very small amount of space.
  2. If you have the capacity to boil water during an emergency, a filling meal can be yours.
  3. They add variety and speed to an emergency food supply.
  4. Calorie for calorie, they’re lightweight and easily portable in the event of a bug-out scenario.
  5. They’re professionally packaged to have a 25-year shelf life, so you can get it, stick it in the back of your closet, and forget about it until you need it.

Now, the downside.

If you’re looking for ready-made meals, none of them are going to be completely without additives. This is impossible, because they’re made to last for 25 years, to take up minimal space,  to cook up quickly and efficiently, and to taste reasonably good.

Some compromises must be made. Yes, emergency food buckets contain processed food, but you don’t have to let go of all of your focus on healthful choices.

After a lot of research, I finally found a product line that I can get behind. NuManna Foods are all non-GMO and contain no horrible ingredients like soy, MSG, aspartame, or high-fructose corn syrup. If you’re looking for a better choice in storable food, they’re the top of the line as far as health is concerned. Best of all, they have gluten-free options for families with wheat intolerances.

The NuManna NO GLUTEN Family Pack contains 116 lunch/dinner servings and 10 breakfast servings:

Pasta Primavera (3 x 6 servings)
Classic Chili (2 x 10 servings)
Enchilada, Beans & Rice (2 x 6 servings)
Sweet Habanero Chili (2 x 6 servings)
Italian Pasta (2 x 6 servings)
Potato Casserole (2 x 6 servings)
Cheesy Broccoli Soup (1 x 10 servings)
Black Bean Soup (1 x 10 servings)
Cheesy Potato Soup (1 x 10 servings)
Oatmeal (1 x 10 servings)
For more information, here are a couple of reviews of NuManna products that I’ve done:

How do you prep gluten free?

Gluten free prepping carries its own set of challenges, but for some of us, it’s vital to our health. If you are building a gluten-free prepper pantry, share your tips in the comments below.

For Canadian readers:

Many of these products won’t be available to be shipped to Canada.  When I lived in Ontario, my favorite resource was this:

Oak Manor Farms

They did not offer free shipping, but the prices were very reasonable and the quality was fantastic.

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* Healthy Emergency Food List for Beginning Preppers

In this day of paychecks that are stretched to the limit, it can be difficult to imagine taking on anything else that will cost money.   Despite that, if you are interested in preparedness, you know that it’s wise to have a food supply on hand that will see you through a basic emergency.

I always recommend that you get started by planning for a two-week emergency.  What kind of emergency, you may be asking?

Well, the best kind of prepping will be so versatile that it will see you through a personal financial issue, an extended power outage, or being confined to your home for a period of time due to a blizzard or civil unrest.  None of these things makes you a “doomsday prepper” of the National Geographic variety. I’m not asking you to filter your pee and drink it. Just have the basics on hand to ride out a variety of situations in comfort.

One of the most frequent requests I get is for specific recommendations, so here’s a healthy emergency food list for beginning preppers.

Shopping Tips

Shopping for an emergency food supply isn’t like regular grocery shopping. Here are a few things to think about when planning your emergency food list.

Buy good quality food. While it’s easy to get sucked into the “something cheap is better than nothing” mentality, that’s not 100% true.  It’s very important that you nourish yourself well during a crisis. This provides you with the energy you need to get through the emergency and it keeps you healthy. What could add more insult to injury than a lowered immune system allowing you to become sick during some sort of crisis?  Focus on getting the best quality of food that you can afford.

Think about how you’ll prepare it.  Some people have numerous off-grid ways to cook. Perhaps their propane kitchen stove works when the power is out. Maybe they plan to use the outdoor grill or the fireplace.  Maybe none of these is an option.  Base your food list on the resources you currently have available, not the ones you hope to have one of these days.  There’s a lot you can do with boiling water, so consider adding a rocket stove to your supply list. (The Kelly Kettle is amazing and worth every penny. Another great option is the Volcano 3 in 1, which will burn just about anything for fuel.)

Think about the special needs of your family. Maybe you have a person with a severe peanut allergy – scratch peanut butter off the list. Maybe someone is gluten intolerant or has extremely high blood pressure. Perhaps your children are extremely picky eaters. Whatever the case, try to create a food supply that will be similar to your everyday fare. No one needs added stress in the midst of an emergency.

Plan ahead.  Don’t just run to the store and buy a whole bunch of stuff and consider yourself prepped.  You need to break this down and analyze it. Otherwise you’ll leave out something very important or you’ll blow your budget without getting all you need. Trust me.

Hide your stash.  If your house is anything like mine, your family will hoover up the easy pickings. Since we rarely have any type of prepared food sitting around the house, things like granola bars are novelty items that will be eaten right away, leaving you without emergency food supplies.

The List

Let me preface this list by saying that it’s really more of a guideline. If you are following the suggestions above, you understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to do this.  The list assumes that you have the ability to boil water during an emergency.

  • Crackers
  • Canned fruit
  • Trail mix
  • Dry cereal (repackage for longer shelf life)
  • Dry milk (We prefer dry whole milk to non-fat dry milk)
  • Canned beans
  • Nuts
  • Pudding cups (a nice treat)
  • Jerky
  • Pre-cooked rice
  • Granola bars
  • Dried Fruit
  • Peanut butter
  • Dry pasta (this kind can be prepared by soaking it with boiling water for a few minutes)
  • Canned soup
  • Canned pasta in sauce
  • Instant oatmeal (the kids will probably want some syrup or brown sugar on the plain packets.)
  • Canned chicken
  • Tomato sauce

This list totals about $275 and would feed a family of 3-4 for a couple of weeks, give or take a little. Keep in mind that the items I chose were very high quality. You may be able to duplicate the list at your grocery store.  As well, if you choose non-organic items the emergency list will cost less money.  Adjust the quantities and items based on your budget, your family’s preferences, and the number of people you’ll be feeding.

Another emergency food option is freeze-dried buckets. Choose high-quality products like the ones from Preppers Market.

For the long-term…

Of course, the emergency food list above is the bare minimum you should have on hand for those unexpected emergencies that could happen to anyone.  I really want to see people get started so they can handle those short-term crises with aplomb.

A far more budget friendly way to deal with potential emergencies is to build a pantry stockpile of high-quality food over a period of time. If you’d like to learn more about that, please check out my book, The Pantry Primer.

However you opt to get started, I urge you not to wait. Winter storm season is just around the corner, the economy is shaky, and there’s always the potential for something unexpected. Build a pantry that gives you one less thing to be concerned about.

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How to Prep for Those with Dietary Restrictions

Excerpt from The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget

***

Another important consideration when building your pantry is the restrictions of family members with food-related issues.

There are many people who must eliminate certain foods or suffer the consequence. Allergies and intolerances are a primary issue for the families of sufferers.

Allergies

Prepping for a family member with food allergies can be as easy as stocking alternatives for the person, or as difficult as having to keep the offending ingredient out of the supply altogether.

In the event of a life-threatening allergy, you may want to completely banish the ingredient from your home. Anaphylactic shock requires quick medical intervention, which might not be available or accessible during a disaster. At the very least, be sure to have up-to-date epi-pens, cortisone, and antihistamines on hand.

Dairy Intolerance

Dairy intolerance (also known as lacto-intolerance) is rarely life-threatening but can make sufferers feel terrible.  Many people purchase expensive, highly processed non-dairy milks from the store, but another option is to learn to make your own non-dairy milks from pantry ingredients. If this is your plan, be sure to stock up on supplies like rice or almonds.

Complete directions for making rice milk and almond milk can be found in Section VI

Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease

There is an almost epidemic hierarchy of wheat-related ailments in America today.  At the pinnacle of this is Celiac disease. Sufferers are highly sensitive to gluten in any form.

The Celiac Disease Foundation explains:

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.  It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.  Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.

When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.

The disorder can cause serious long-term health effects and those with celiac disease should never consume gluten, even in moderation.

Not quite as severe, but still highly uncomfortable, is gluten intolerance. People with gluten intolerance can have anywhere from mild to severe reactions to the consumption of gluten.  Issues can include digestive upset, bloating, aching joints, skin problems, and a host of other symptoms.

Many of the food storage guides recommend storing hundreds of pounds of wheat and flour, but if your family has a member with adverse reactions to gluten, it’s wise to focus your purchasing dollars on grains that are gluten free, like rice, organic corn, quinoa, and oats.  Depending on the level of sensitivity, you may need to purchase these from a gluten-free processing facility.

High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, and Heart Disease

For those with high blood pressure, heart disease, or high cholesterol, it is important to stock food that is less processed.  Many processed foods contain high levels of sodium and saturated fats, both of which can be a cause for concern if you have a family member with these health issues. Sodium can send the blood pressure skyrocketing.

Keep in mind that during a time when you are reliant on your pantry, a prescription that keeps the person’s reactions to these foods under control may not be readily available. It’s imperative that their diet not exacerbate the issue.

Avoid or limit the following foods when stockpiling for a family member with one of these conditions:

  • Hydrogenated oils (these are usually found in highly processed foods)
  • High sodium foods (better to add salt as needed)
  • Sugar/Carbohydrates (Sugar and refined carbohydrates have been proven to elevate triglyceride levels. This can result in cardiac issues or fatty liver disease)

Stock up on storage foods in the purest form possible for a family member with any of these conditions. Focus on lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Diabetes

Who can forget the powerful storyline in the eye-opening book One Second After about the girl who was an insulin dependent diabetic? Particularly in the event of a longer-term emergency, prepping carefully for a family member with diabetes can be a life-or-death matter.

As this book is about food pantries and I’m not a medical professional, I can’t advise you about the specific medical concerns for diabetics.  I can recommend an excellent series on the topic that is available online from Joe Alton, MD (Dr. Bones).  You can find the articles at the following web addresses:

As far as your pantry is concerned, it’s important to understand how a diabetic processes food. Carbohydrates are processed in about the same way as pure sugar, and can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels.  This means that a large stockpile of grains will usable for the diabetic family member.

The following recommendations are for surviving a crisis and are not necessarily recommendations for everyday life when supplies are easy to acquire.

  • The ideal diet for a Type 1 diabetic during a crisis situation in which the availability of insulin is in question would be focused on proteins and fats, with as few carbohydrates as possible. Keep the caloric intake fairly low, and spread the food across 6 small meals throughout the day.
  • For a Type 2 diabetic, the ideal diet during a crisis is a bit different. Plan for small frequent meals that are high in fiber, low in fat, and low in carbohydrates. Be sure that the diabetic person remains active.

Both of these suggested diets mean that your stockpile should have additional focus on high-quality protein for the diabetic family member, as well as options that are low in carbohydrates.  The grain-filled pantry could be a death sentence for a diabetic family member.

Vegan/Vegetarian

A vegetarian does not eat the flesh of animals, but may consume dairy products or eggs. A vegan does not consume any products that have come from animals, including honey.

If you have a family member who is vegan or vegetarian, be sure to accommodate them with protein sources that do not contain meat, such as beans, grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. A variety of plant proteins are needed in order to provide the amino acids necessary for good nutrition.  Quinoa, in particular, is an excellent non-meat source of protein and amino acids.  The bonus of quinoa is that it stores beautifully, making it a perfect addition to any pantry.

Religious Restrictions

Some faiths have food restrictions, and often those restrictions involve meat. Take into consideration the need for kosher or halal food, as well as restrictions against pork, some game, and certain types of seafood.

***

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Survival Fitness: Walk the Walk

One oft-overlooked factor in survival is fitness.  How many preppers do you know who rest on laurels of athletic prowess back in their 20s?  Whose idea of exercise is getting up to go to the refrigerator, lobbing a crumpled can to the garbage can?  Who talk the talk, but never walk the walk, especially if it consists of walking that walk in inclement weather?

In many different survival situations, your personal fitness level can mean the difference between life and death. While maintaining and achieving a healthy body weight are very important, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re fit.

A prepper’s forte is playing “what if” so let’s play that game right now and look at some examples where being able to move quickly for a long time, possibly in adverse conditions, would be vital.

  • Bug out. Perhaps martial law  has been instituted, house-to-house searches are occurring, and vehicle checkpoints are everywhere, so you and your family have no choice but to set out on foot, through the backcountry.  With a 40-pound bug out bag strapped to your back.  Carrying a toddler.  Over mountains.
  • Car crash. Maybe you are returning home after a visit with family.  You are, of course, on the most isolated road known to man, in the middle of the night, when your vehicle goes into a skid, takes out the railing and tumbles down a mountain.  Miraculously, you survive, but then you realize that no one can see your car.  You have no choice but to wiggle out through the window, climb that darned mountain, and walk for help.
  • Kidnapped. Somehow, you’ve been kidnapped and taken to a cabin someplace deep in the forest.  Through a stroke of luck, you escape the cabin, and begin to hie off through the woods, but your kidnappers aren’t far behind.  In this situation, the person in the best physical condition is the victor.  Whoever can run for the longest, wins.
  • EMP. An EMP strike or solar flare has taken out the grid, as well as all the vehicles.  If you want to get anyplace other than where you are, it is most likely that you will have to walk.  If, for example, you’re at work, you are going to have to trek your way home to be with your family.  Whatever the distance, whatever the terrain, you better start walking now.

These examples, of course, are what happens immediately, when you must escape something.  What about those long days after the initial disaster, ones of plowing fields, chopping wood, and lugging water?

As a prepper, your personal health and fitness level can be your most valuable asset.  Just as important as tools, weapons and plans, your ability to simply move your body for a long time without stopping can be the difference between life and death.

And it all starts with walking.

Just Walk

Of course, there are many components to fitness and eventually we will talk about all of those.  But the best place to start is to lace up your sneakers and walk.

 (This is where I tell you, as I am legally bound to do, that you should seek the advice of your physician before starting this or any other exercise program.)

When people start a walking program, they tend to make one of two mistakes.

1.) They push themselves way too hard and end up getting so sore on the very first day that they are virtually crippled from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

2.) They don’t push themselves hard enough and stop the  second they begin to feel out of breath.

Your starting point depends on your current fitness level, of course, but that can be hard to judge if you have been moving from sitting on your rear at your desk at the office over to sit on your rear on the sofa at your house.  So I generally recommend that you start with 30 minutes.

If you are truly sedentary, don’t kill yourself by trying to set a rapid pace for your 30 minute walk.  You should walk at a very comfortable pace for at least 5 minutes to warm up your body. Then, speed up to the point that speaking is possible but not super-easy.  Your heart rate should be elevated enough that your speech is limited to short bursts of words, not Shakespearean monologues.  If you get to the point that you can only gasp out a word at a time, you are pushing yourself too hard, and you need to slow down.

If you need to slow down, that doesn’t mean stop!  Keep going, just at a slow, easy pace.  This is you, building your endurance. Unless you are having the symptoms of an actual heart attack (extreme shortness of breath, faintness, dizziness, pain down one arm, etc) keep moving at a slow pace as you catch your breath.

About 5 minutes before your walk is over, drop back your pace a little to cool down.

As you become more fit, you can make things more difficult and more akin to survival situations.  You can add hills, obstacles, increase your speed, carry a loaded pack, or walk for longer to add to the challenge.

Motivation

Some things that help:

  • A dog.   My dog would walk FOR-E-VER!  Walking a dog is a great way to keep motivated and will result in not only a healthier you, but a healthier and better-behaved pet too.
  • A buddy.  A walking buddy will help you maintain a pace.  As well, we are much less likely to cancel our walk if a friend is going to be let down when we don’t show up.
  • Tunes.  My Ipod full of headbanging rock is my favorite piece of workout equipment.  I opt for music with a beat that mimics the pace I want to keep. I like energetic, heavy driving music to keep me motivated.  Make a playlist of whatever inspires you to move quickly.  Sometimes I’ll walk a little further just because there is a really great song on.  I save the Ipod for walks, making it a special treat.

Safety note: I recommend only using one headphone.  Whether you are in the city or out in the woods, like me, wearing two headphones and making yourself deaf is the equivalent of wearing a “Prey” t-shirt.  It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings.

Remember that you can have all of the preps in the world, but if you can’t walk far enough to get to them, they will do you no good whatsoever.  In fact, they’ll feed the next guy, you know, the one who’s out there pounding the pavement every day!  He is in shape enough to get to them.

Your physical stamina can mean the difference between life and death, not only for you, but for those who depend on you.  Just get out there and walk and within a month, you will see that your 30-minute walk takes you a lot further than it did when you began.

Excuses

And a word about excuses.  Okay, a few words, because there are oh-so-many excuses.

Unless I am going to be struck by lightening or die of hypothermia because I’ve gotten soaked in sub-zero temperatures, I walk.  There are many days that I look out the window at the gray skies and think, oh, man, I don’t want to walk today!  But I do it any way.  Why?

Because, if you are a prepper, you are training for life.  You are training for events that happen at the most inopportune times.   Rarely does a disaster conveniently time itself on a sunny day of moderate temperatures.  Nope, if you have to hike away from a car accident, it likely happened because of ice or rain on the roads.  You will be hiking away from it through the pouring rain.  If a crime has been perpetrated on you, and you must flee, are you going to take your chance when it presents itself, or will you say, “Yeah, it’s raining, dude.  I’m just gonna hang out with this serial killer until it clears up.”

You aren’t made of sugar. You aren’t going to melt.  Just walk.

And yes, you do have time.  Unless you are moving from the moment you get up in the morning until the moment you go to bed, you can find 30 minutes to go for a walk.  Trust me, after you get used to it, your body will crave it and you’ll feel so much better!  If you really truly are that busy, break your walk up into two 15 minute walks, or even 3 ten minute walks.  There really are very few days that you can’t take 30 minutes from your day to do something wonderful and potentially life-saving.

You’re sick?  Are you really, truly sick?  If you are, you’re right.  You should stay home, tucked under the covers.  But if you have a bit of a headache, low energy, some female problems, or just general lethargy, you may be surprised at how much better you feel after a bit of exercise and fresh air.  Exercise is nature’s anti-depressant and sometimes those minor aches and pains are related to mood more than they are actual physical maladies.

You don’t have to start with a Marine Corp Mud Run.  You see all those big buff dudes running down the road in fatigues, carrying an 80 lb. pack?  Let ’em run!  You, my friend, are just going to walk today.  You are going to get started and you are going to find your own path to fitness.  This isn’t about comparing yourself to those who are more fit or more strong than you.  Everyone is not capable of doing what an Ironman Triathlete does but just about everyone is capable of more than they are doing right now.  If you challenge yourself, you might just be amazed at what you can do once you’ve built a base of fitness.

 Get Started

Today.  Right now. If it’s the middle of the night when you’re reading this, then you can wait until tomorrow.  But remember that the sooner you start, the sooner you are ready to face survival challenges head on.  You, keeling over from a heart attack while you bug out, will be one less thing that you (and those with you) have to worry about.

Getting into better shape is something you will never regret. Even if you never need to be more fit because of a survival situation, you still get all the health and well-being benefits from doing it.  Your body and those who love you will thank you!

“I got fit and I never even had to escape from a deranged stalker!

What a waste of time!”

said no one, ever.

 

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* Use Your Noodle: The Importance of Whole Foods in the Prepper’s Pantry

Have you ever talked to a prepper who has highly processed, nutritionally-bereft foods stacked to the rafters?  Oftentimes the logic behind the purchase of massive quantities of these inexpensive items is, “Well, it’s better than going hungry!”

Actually, that’s not necessarily the case.

If it comes to the point where you are completely dependent on your long-term food storage, you better hope that you have food that will do more than satisfy a rumbling tummy.

A perfect example of this is Georgi Readman, an 18 year old girl who lives on the Isle of Wight in the UK.

Georgi hasn’t eaten anything but Ramen noodles for 13 years.

Since the age of 5, Georgi has eaten little more than the highly processed, packaged noodles.  She told reporters that the thought of eating anything else makes her feel sick:

“I hate the texture of fruit and vegetables.  I can’t go to my friends’ for dinner or go out for meals because I don’t want them to see me freak out if the side salad touches the stuff I eat. Mum goes to the supermarket and brings back as many packets as she can afford. I always fancy noodles and could easily eat two packets at once. I’ve even eaten them dry and uncooked before!” (source)

Georgi’s health has been ruined by the dubious parenting skills that allowed her to make this life-altering decision at the age of 5. According to her doctors, the teen is malnourished, and her health is comparable to that of an 80-year-old.

Dr. Lisa Kaufman, a pediatrician who does not treat Georgi, speculates about the damage such a nutrient-poor diet would have wrought.  “A diet of instant noodles has likely wreaked incredible amounts of havoc on her organs. The body—especially one that’s still developing—needs protein, minerals, and nutrients to grow; that’s just basic common sense. Without it, this girl has probably suffered stunted growth and IQ, osteoporosis, heart and kidney damage, and high blood pressure. Her lifespan has likely been shortened as well.” (source)

This could be considered a case study for a prepper who is stocking a bunker full of things like Ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, and Gatorade.  These items might be cheap, but your health will suffer.  Your immune system won’t be able to fight off the ravages of illness.  You will be weak and tired.

What happens when you eat processed foods?

When you eat heavily preserved foods, your body can’t break them down to use the nutrients in them (if there are nutrients left after all that processing in the first place.  The video below compares how homemade noodles from good ingredients and Ramen noodles go through your digestive system. It doesn’t get more clear than this:

Do you see how it is impossible for the digestive acids in the body to break down those foods?  They remain recognizable most of the way through the system until they are ready to be excreted.  This means that the few nutrients that may be present are not made available.  This is the reason that North America is full of malnourished fat people – those who rely on processed food must consume far more of it in a vain effort to get the nutrients they need.  They crave food because their body is crying out for vital components.

So, what does this mean to you, as you build your food supply?

Obviously it would be scientifically unethical to do a long-term study on a person eating only one food or only processed foods, but we can use the example of Georgi Readman to understand how detrimental this would be to our health.  If you feel that one day you may be reliant on your food storage, then it’s important to learn from this.

Stock your pantry with whole foods that the body can break down through ordinary digestive processes.  Look for items that have less than 5 ingredients, all of which are easily pictured in your mind’s eye.  Have you ever seen a TBHQ or a Disodium Guanylate?  No?  Then you shouldn’t eat them.

Compare the ingredients of a pack of Ramen noodles with a pack of plain pasta.

Great Value Ramen Noodles (chicken flavor)

Ingredients:

Flour Enriched, Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron Reduced, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Canola Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Folic Acid (Vitamin aB), Palm Oil, Vegetable(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Potassium Carbonate, Salt, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Caramel Color,Citric Acid, Onion(s) Dehydrated, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Succinate, Garlic Powder,Soy and Corn Protein Hydrolyzed, Maltodextrin, Monosodium Glutamate, Sodium Alginate,Sodium Carbonate, Soy Sauce Powder, Soybean(s), Spice(s), Tocopherols, Wheat, Disodium Inosinate, Flavoring Natural

versus

Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Pasta

Ingredients:

Semolina Enriched (Niacin, Iron (Ferrous Sulfate), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (Vitamin aB) ), Wheat Durum Bran, Durum Flour, Wheat Germ Durum

versus

Homemade pasta (you can find the recipe below)

Ingredients:

Flour, water, olive oil, salt

I don’t buy a lot of pasta because I prefer to make it from scratch and I’m not a huge fan of “enriched” foods that could be healthy if you just never took those vitamins out in the first place. (The added-in vitamins are in italics.) However, it’s very clear which is the better choice of digestible, bio-available nutrients if you opt to buy it already made.  (And for the record, I do have some boxes of whole wheat pasta in my stockpile).

Keep a wide variety of macronutrients.  Your body requires protein, carbohydrates, and fat to function optimally, as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals.  Your stockpile should contain a wide variety of food in order to supply these nutrients.  It is important to stock whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, carefully sourced meats or other protein-rich items, and healthy fats.

Of course, the long term storage aspect can make it challenging to have good sources of all of these nutrients.  But home preserving, carefully researched purchases, and the ability to produce some of your own food can help make your supply far more nutritious.

Avoid items containing genetically modified ingredients (GMOS).  There is research to indicate that the nutrients in GMO foods are not readily bioavailable, requiring you to eat more of the GMO version to get the same amount of nutrients as you would receive from ingesting the non-GMO version.  Furthermore, the infamous rat-study (that many have tried hard to discredit) showed that rats fed nothing but GMOs ended up with numerous health problems, including grotesque, disfiguring tumors and organ shut-down. Other risks to consuming GMOS include the risk of allergies, obesity, a lowered immune system, and even drug resistance:

If you purchase non-organic processed foods, it is virtually impossible in North America to avoid GMOs.  This is why my pantry contains the basics needed to cook from scratch (organic cornmeal, brown rice, and wheatberries, for example).

Your pantry is your lifeline.

In a crisis situation, your food storage pantry could become your lifeline, as you begin the task of producing your own food.  The production of one’s own food is a culture shock all on it’s own.  Think about the tremendous amount of work that goes into a loaf of bread, from seed to flour.  Now, think about trying to perform that kind of hard manual labor with inadequate nutrition.  We are unaccustomed to that kind of work in our automated world today.  If we call upon our bodies to do that, we must properly fuel ourselves.

In a potentially post-SHTF world, you must also consider that a lack of modern sanitation will lead to more disease. It is possible that less medical care will be available in the near future, as the economy continues to collapse upon itself.  A strong, well-nourished immune system will help to fight off illness and keep your family healthy.

Many people make the mistake of building a food supply merely meant to keep their stomach from growling in hunger.  That mindset could help you to survive a short-term disaster.  But if a crisis situation turns into a different a way of life, you will need a food supply that feeds and nourishes the systems of your body, not just one that keeps hunger at bay. You must prepare to fuel yourself for building a new, more self-reliant lifestyle.

Otherwise, once the noodles run out, so will your hopes of survival.

Simple Homemade Pasta

This is so easy to make (and so inexpensive)!  It can be a fun family project if you have kids, too.  And the taste?  There is absolutely no comparison to that dry stuff in the box!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of salt

optional:  Spices of choice, up to 2 tbsp in total (garlic powder, onion powder, spinach powder, rosemary, basil…the sky is the limit!)

Directions:

  1. Place your flour in a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt (and any other dried spices you have opted to put in).
  2. Make a well in the center and pour in the water and olive oil.
  3. Gently incorporate the ingredients with a fork.  The best way to do this is push a little bit of the flour mixture at a time into the liquid, then add a bit more of the flour mixture, and keep doing this until it is all well-incorporated.
  4. Knead the mixture for about 10 minutes and then let it rest for half an hour, covered with a damp towel.  When you come back to it, the dough should feel soft and silky under your fingers.
  5. Knead and let it rest for another half hour.
  6. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, then cut it with a sharp knife,  or use a crank pasta machine.  You can cook it immediately or let it sit, uncovered, for half an hour. (I like to let it sit before cooking – I think it holds its shape better!)
  7. Depending on the thickness of your pasta, cook it in boiling water or broth from 1-2 minutes.  Don’t overcook it or it will turn into mush.

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