This is something that I’ve been stewing on for quite a while now. Since I first heard about the folks that were storing a month’s worth of food or more, I started thinking, “How can I do this without breaking the bank since I can’t depend on corn, wheat, rice, and sugar for calories and bulk?”
I started looking at various food guides that talked about all the grain, fruit, sugar, and legumes that a person needs to get “adequate” (yeah right!) nutrition and I realized that I was really going to have to start thinking outside the box.
On a normal day, I eat 1800 to 2000 calories. I eat mostly fresh/frozen veggies, unprocessed meat, eggs, and fats like olive oil, coconut oil, and butter. VERY occasionally, I’ll have a small bit of berries (raspberries work fine for me), and I also use flaxseed meal and coconut flour from time to time.
Up ’til now, I’ve struggled with food storage from a low-carb perspective. Since we have a really tight budget, I’ve had to either copy-can to build a food stash or put back some home-canned or home-dehydrated items. Despite the fact that I try to stay focused on low-carb foods, I’ve always come up against two sticking points.
- Commercially-canned meat and veggies are full of salt and less nutritious than their fresh/frozen counterparts. If I were forced to live on my pantry stash after having emptied my freezer, I’d be taking in enough salt for five people in just one day. Not liking salt, I can’t see that idea working. And while I could home-can meat and veggies, that assumes that I actually have a surplus, which I haven’t.
- Because of food costs, local availability, and the salt/processing issue, I was resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to eat in a way that would control my blood sugar and keep me healthy. In my view, a fat person who’s stuck eating long-term storage food doesn’t need any more stress on her body than she’s already getting because of the situation that forced her to dig into the food stash. While weight loss wouldn’t be a focus in that sort of scenario, staying as healthy as possible would be VERY important, and that would be hard for me to do, even if I stayed with non-gluten grains, legumes, and less-sugary fruits.
After puzzling on the problem, something occurred to me. I could undertake a project using Fitday, the product infromation at Emergency Essentials, and my knowledge of nutrition and a low-carb eating precepts to formulate an ideal one-month food supply to meet my individual needs. It took a lot of work, a lot of math, and a lot of tweaking, but I think I’ve finally come up with something I’m proud of. There’ll definitely be more tweaking along the way, but I have an excellent start.
- 2 #10 cans dehydrated broccoli (Emergency Essentials)
- 2 #10 cans Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Cauliflower Pearls (Emergency Essentials)
- 2 #10 cans Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Green Beans (Emergency Essentials)
- 1 #10 can freeze-dried portabello mushrooms slices (Emergency Essentials)
- 1 #10 can dehydrated green pepper dices (Emergency Essentials) — This can would actually last about 3 months.
- 1 #10 can dehydrated chopped onions (Emergency Essentials) — This can would actually last about 4 months.
- 2 #10 cans Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Tomato Chunks (Emergency Essentials)
- 1 #10 can Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Chopped Spinach (Emergency Essentials)
- 1 #10 can Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Raspberries (Emergency Essentials)
- 1 #10 can freeze-dried sliced strawberries (Emergency Essentials)
- 2 14-oz jars clarified butter (Emergency Essentials)
- 1 gallon unrefined organic coconut oil (Mountain Rose Herbs) — This will actually last for 4 months.
- 1 L bottle olive oil — This will last 2 months.
- 1 18-oz jar natural peanut butter
- 1 lb Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour
- 1 lb Bob’s Red Mill Organic Golden Ground Flaxseed Meal
- 1 qt mayonnaise
- 192-ct Mini Moo’s half & half (Sam’s Club) — This shelf-stable half and half doesn’t last forever, but we use enough around here that we can rotate it.
- 8 oz dry grated Parmesan cheese
- 10 cans of tuna packed in water
- 65 oz home-canned chicken
- 80 oz home-canned beef
- 2 cans Yoders’ Canned Bacon (Emergency Essentials) — I haven’t gotten brave enough to try canning bacon at home yet, but I will!
- 1 #10 can whole egg powder (Emergency Essentials) — The whole egg powder would last me about a month and a half.
Understand that I used Emergency Essentials’ nutritional information to calculate nutrient values, but there’s no reason that, where possible, you could use an equivalent amount of home-canned or home-dried items. I simply don’t have a good enough dehydrator to put those items back, and some of the commercially-prepared items actually work out to being cheaper than their fresh equivalent.
I also store a lot of other items like salad dressings, salsa, herbs and spices, home-canned items, baking needs, and the like so that I can combine the above foods into new and interesting dishes that won’t leave me feeling bored.
The nutrient profile for JUST the foods I’ve listed above is:
- Calories: 59826
- Fat: 4263.0g (61%)
- Carbs: 2643.2g (17%)
- Fiber: 824.6g
- Protein: 3254.3g (22%)
This gives a daily average over 30 days of:
- Calories: 1994
- Fat: 142.1g
- Carbs: 88.1g
- Fiber: 27.5g
- Protein: 108.5g
Although I would never eat 60.6g of net carbohydrate under normal circumstances (while I’m trying to lose weight, control my blood sugar, and keep other health issues at bay), I’m satisfied that this calorie balance (the ratio of fat:carbs:protein) would allow me to maintain my weight and stay reasonably healthy. These provisions would also provide a variety of foods that won’t trigger allergies, sensitivities, and autoimmune issues that aren’t present when I eat a clean, low-carb diet that allows me to lose weight.
After looking at the vitamin and mineral breakdown in Fitday, I know that I’ll have to supplement some. This isn’t a big surprise to me though because I always have to supplement some, even when I’m eating a variety of fresh, unprocessed foods. I choose not to supplement with a multivitamin. Instead, I supplement based on my individual needs. And I store and rotate supplements just like I store and rotate my food. I specifically need calcium, magnesium, shark liver oil (real vitamin A), and a high-dose vitamin D supplement. Your mileage may vary.
Lastly, I’ll be adding some Nature’s Best Isopure Zero Carb Strawberries & Cream whey protein to my stock as well. I have some EAS 100% Whey protein powder from Sam’s Club, but I don’t care for its taste, and it isn’t fortified in any way. Having access to that sort of thing can make for a nice boost (or meal replacement if need be), so I want to put something of higher quality on my shelf.
Until now, I’d always thought that I would fly by the seat of my pants if I were forced into my shelf-stable food supply. Since I’d never found anything that wasn’t either sugar-laden, soy-laden, or prohibitively expensive, I knew I was going to have to be innovative. Now that I’ve come up with a solution that’ll be a great starting point for me and my husband, I thought I’d share so that maybe other folks wouldn’t have to look as hard as I have over the past 3 years. Since we’re all happiest with three meals per day, working out the logistics of food issues is an important step on the journey to claim your own liberty!