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February 18, 2014
Totally Ready for Anything
Not All Food Storage is Created Equal
by Carolyn Nicolaysen

There is a change in the wind. Yes, at workplaces, on the web, and in the media, people are beginning to talk about food storage. People from all walks of life, all economic strata and all parts of the country are now heard saying they "just have a feeling" they should be preparing — and first and foremost they should be storing food.

Now may be the time to help family and friends who have not caught the vision to join the grass roots movement toward self reliance, or to reignite your own enthusiasm.

We have been discussing the drought in California on the Totally Ready Facebook page. Here are the facts. The drought in California is the worst drought since records have been kept. All the major water storage reservours and lakes are at 40% capacity or less. Many more are worse than that.

Beef herds are being sold off and prices are expected to triple on beef. Many farmers are not planting, or if they have tree crops they are not going to allow the trees to produce. Fruit and vegetable prices are going to go up.

Most food storage plans lack variety. Some of this is due to lack of knowledge, or purchasing a prepackaged plan that seems strange and foreboding, or having only very basic goods like wheat, rice and powdered milk, and supposing you are then done. This is folly.

Whatever the reason for a lack of variety, it will always lead to appetite fatigue when trying to live on that limited list of foods.

We currently have a college student living in our home. Most mornings for the past two months she has gotten up and made oatmeal for breakfast. Friday we had plans so when I got up I made oatmeal. She came into the room, got a shy smile on her face and asked if I minded if she ate something else. Her comment, "I just don’t seem to be able to force it down the last few days."

That is appetite fatigue. It is real. Our bodies begin to reject foods we used to love. This often happens during pregnancy. We crave foods and eat them all the time, and then as soon as the baby arrives we just can't seem to look at those same foods, no less eat them.

Appetite fatigue should be a serious consideration when building any home food storage program. I have heard people make the excuse that they have a dozen ways to make meals out of wheat. That may well be true, but wheat is still wheat and at some point your body will scream for something else.

Another reason to demand variety is the fact that when we do not normally live on wheat and beans our bodies will reject a sudden changeover to those foods. Your family will experience gastrointestinal upsets, some of which can be life-threatening. Where food is concerned, variety truly is the spice of life.

The other elephant in the room is the need for nutritionally balanced meals. A food storage program with grains, beans and powdered milk is terrific and appropriate for long term storage. However it is not appropriate by itself. During times of stress it is even more important for our bodies to be provided with all the nutrients needed to keep us healthy and strong in the midst of a life crisis.

Vitamins alone are not the answer. Vitamin supplements are not absorbed by the body sufficiently to meet these needs. A nutritionally sound diet is still the superior way to get the vitamins and minerals our body needs.

Why Fruits and Vegetables?

Colorful fruits and vegetables provide the wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients your body uses to maintain energy levels, protect against the effects of aging, reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, maintain good vision, build strong bones, keep the heart healthy, maintain a healthy immune system, and improve memory function.

Why Protein?

No other nutrient plays as many different roles in keeping you healthy as protein. Protein is important for the growth and repair of your muscles, bones, skin, tendons, ligaments, hair, eyes, metabolism, and digestion.

Protein helps create the antibodies your immune system needs to fight disease. If you are injured or ill, you may need more protein. Often when people are dieting or just in a hurry, they will skip protein. If you develop a headache, muscle cramps or shaking you can't control, you may need to consume protein.

Easy sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and dairy foods. Besides meat, beans, peas and nuts have the most protein, but they are incomplete proteins. To achieve a more complete protein serving, you must combine them with grain, fruits and vegetables.

Why Grains?

When we speak of grain, we are really talking about carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel and are easily used by the body for energy. Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, kidneys, brain, and muscles to function properly.

The best source of carbohydrates is grains — whole wheat, wheat flour, bulgar, oatmeal, cornmeal, rice (white, brown and wild), buckwheat, popcorn, rye flour, barley, pasta, pretzels, couscous, amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum, and triticale. You can also count muffin, cornbread and pancake mixes when calculating your grain requirements for your food storage plan.

For a three-month supply, you should store only the grains you use or are learning to use. If you would like to expand your horizons, purchase a small amount of a new grain, try a few recipes and then purchase more once you know your family will eat it and you can properly prepare it. If you don't know how to prepare grains such as wheat, ask a friend to teach you.

Why Dairy?

Diets rich in milk and other dairy products help build and maintain bone mass, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, build teeth, and help maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Evaporated milk contains milk fats, which powdered milk does not. Evaporated milk is great to use in ice cream, cream sauces and soups and is also much better for children 3 and under. For every 10 cans of evaporated milk, eliminate 1 pound of powdered milk in your storage plan.

However, evaporated milk takes finesse to store. You can’t just throw it in your food storage and forget about it. It has to be rotated often, and even occasionally shaken on the shelf.

There is no reason to guess about any of this. You can know exactly what you should be storing, and only you can know what is best for your family. Every family is different. We have family members who are intolerant or allergic to specific foods. We have family members with medical conditions. We have personal likes and dislikes when choosing what we eat.

There is no perfect plan and no “One Way” for all, but there is a perfect plan for your family.

Remember, no food storage plan that tells you specific foods to store is going to be what your family needs. These programs may help you to survive but they will not help you to thrive.

This week have the family make a list of your favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. Next make a list of yur favorite desserts. Yes, desserts are an important part of a great food storage plan. With those lists complete you will have a good idea of the foods your family prefers and thus the beginning of your food storage plan. Get those lists done and in my next article we will design a plan to fit your family.

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