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!
I have to eat low carb due to having a gastric bypass. This article was a great inspiration. I have a lot of the same things stored already and just never really thought about it. I do have a few carby things store like beans and some oatmeal. I also have one can of wheat berries. I have a disabled adult son who lives with me and he eats carbs. So he can have those items. On thing you may want to explore is sprouting and making homemade yogurt. I made it the first time this past week and it was absolutely perfect. I eat a minimum of one a day to maintain good intestinal flora. I have been told if I wanted it thicker to add powdered milk to it. So maybe you can use the powdered half and half to make it? Might be worth an experiment to see….If you do so please post the results
My husband and I are the only low-carbers in the house, so we store “the usuals” for the kids — grains, beans, pasta, more fruit, etc — but my issue was feeding me and DH.
I hadn’t thought about yogurt ’til you mentioned it just now. I made my own yogurt for the first time a couple months ago. I used a crock pot, and it was AMAZING! I used whole milk, and it was pretty loose, but I just drank it instead of spooning it. :) I’d forgotten about the powdered milk trick. I can get Nestle Nido at Wal-Mart; it’s a whole milk powder. I don’t know about half & half powder though. It probably wouldn’t work too well because of the higher milk fat. It would, of course, be totally different if I had some dairy goats. That’ll happen later though. For now, powdered milk would have to do. I’ll definitely post my results when I try it.
I didn’t know about Nestle Nido! Thank you! I’ve looked and looked for a whole milk powder to add calories when my daughter goes on hunger strikes. She’s very small for her age, and when she gets sick, there are extreme limitations to what she’ll eat, but she cannot afford the calorie loss. I usually use Carnation Instant Breakfast, but with that you get a whole host of other chemicals/sugar. So excited!
At Wal-Mart, the Nido is in the international foods aisle. It comes in a can like baby formula. Some folks give it to their babies/toddlers, but I prefer to have some on hand for other reasons. If you don’t have a Wal-Mart nearby, Amazon sells it. I also think buythecase.com sells it too. Can’t remember right off hand though.
We always have to plan for those sorts of things in our food storage. My oldest boy almost died from dehydration when he was 3, and he’s been to the ER to get rehydrated several times since. So whenever he gets a stomach bug, we no we have to start RIGHT away with rehydration strategies. Knowing this stuff about our kids keeps our preps more well-rounded.
Interesting read. But I have noticed you missed some very important items….sprouts! All grains and legumes can be sprouted and eaten in a salad form. Sprouting converts them from a starch to a vegetable. I never much liked lentils until I sprouted them…yum, yum. Sprouts are extremely high in nutrition too. Somewhere I was reading that green leafy vegetables are the most nutrient dense per calorie foods that we can eat. Dehydrate kale and spinach leaves and add to your meals. Also don’t forget about your dandelion greens they are usually free for the picking.
I can vouch for the quality of the NIdo milk. Its the best that I have found to date. I find mine in a European grocery store.
You’re not the first person to suggest sprouting. Here are my concerns:
1) I don’t know much about it. (I’m learning though, because it does interest me.)
2) I don’t see how sprouting foods to which I’m sensitive can be a good idea.. This means that I wouldn’t touch most sprouted grains.
3) I’ve found SOME nutritional information on the USDA’s nutrient database, but some of these sprouted legumes are REALLY high in carbohydrate, and they don’t list any fiber. Sprouted lentils, for instance, have 17g of carbs per cup with no fiber, and those appear to be some of the lower-carb sprouts. I’m certainly interested in other foods that can be sprouted, but it looks like grains and legumes would give me issues.
I absolutely haven’t forgotten my yard. :) I take it for granted that I can go and foreage something from my property to add to the food base that I have on my shelf. The goal of this blog post was more one of, “What would I like on my shelf if I had NOTHING else — no home-canned foods, no greenery to foreage outside, no home-dehydrated goodies, nothing in my freezer/fridge, etc. — so I could have a reasonable idea of what it’d take to get through a month. Obviously, every little thing I can do makes everything go that much further, right? :)
I looked at that dehydrate2store YouTube channel a few months ago, and I watched her dehydrate frozen spinach. I did that too, and it’s great to toss into salad for crunch or stir-fry for a little extra nutrition. I also love my dehydrated zucchini, cauliflower, and portabellas! (I get portabellas from Sam’s Club for a really great price and then dehydrate them. Maybe some day I’ll learn how to grow them at home.)
Our Sam’s club used to sell a bulk container of dried mushrooms. We loved that option over canned, but they don’t carry it anymore. Maybe we should look into buying fresh and dehydrating…
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