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There is a change in the wind. Yes, at workplaces, on the web, and in the media, people are talking 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 that they should be storing food.
The Presidents Infrastructure Advisory Council has just released a new study examining the electrical grid in the United States. The Council was established by executive order in October 2001 to advise the President on practical strategies for industry and government to reduce complex risks to critical infrastructure. The committee conducts in-depth studies on physical and cyber risks and recommends solutions that reduce risks and improve security and response. Their results, a catastrophic failure is possible and probable.
The latest study completed in 2018 found: “Unlike severe weather disasters, a catastrophic power outage may occur with little or no notice and result from myriad types of scenarios: for example, a sophisticated cyber-physical attack resulting in severe physical infrastructure damage; attacks timed to follow and exacerbate a major natural disaster; a large-scale wildfire, earthquake, or geomagnetic event; or a series of attacks or events over a short period of time that compound to create significant physical damage to our nation’s infrastructure. An event of this severity may also be an act of war, requiring a simultaneous military response that further draws upon limited resources. For the purpose of this study, the NIAC focused not on the cause, but rather on the consequences, which are best categorized as severe, widespread, and long-lasting. The type of event contemplated will include not only an extended loss of power, but also a cascading loss of other critical services—drinking water and wastewater, communications, financial services, transportation, fuel, healthcare, and others—which may slow recovery and impede re-energizing the grid. Most importantly, the scale of the event—stretching across states and regions, affecting tens of millions of people—would exceed and exhaust mutual aid resources and capabilities.” *
They found a catastrophic failure is not only possible but probable and we are not prepared to cope with it. One of the recommendations: “Design a national approach for catastrophic power outage planning, response, and recovery. Current planning frameworks focus on sector-by-sector preparedness and response, but in a catastrophic power outage, U.S. infrastructure and services will fail as a system. We need to take a systems approach— from the federal level down to the local level.”
“An event of this scale—with severe economic and national security implications—will require an unprecedented level of federal leadership, likely engage the military, and will see the federal government exercise authorities that have rarely or never been used.*
They go on: “There needs to be more individual accountability for preparedness. People no longer keep enough essentials within their homes, reducing their ability to sustain themselves during an extended, prolonged outage. We need to improve individual preparedness. Most preparedness campaigns call for citizens to be prepared for 72 hours in an emergency, but the new emerging standard is 14 days. For example, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii have a standard that individuals have enough food and water to support themselves for 14 days. These efforts could serve as a model for federal and state preparedness resources, campaigns, and training. The idea of individual preparedness is not a new concept. Civil defense, an older term used to elevate a level of individual preparedness and activate communities, used to be more widely accepted.” *
Now may be the time to help family and friends who have not caught the vision to join the grassroots movement toward self reliance, or to re-ignite your own enthusiasm.
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.
Most mornings for two months, a friend who was living in our home got up and made oatmeal for breakfast. One day 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 adequate 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 chemicals 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.
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 protien.
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.
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, corn bread 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.
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.
Don’t forget treats in your storage plan. A favorite treat will go a long way to maintaining a positive attitude during a stressful time.
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. Begin now.
For help with specifics and to ask questions visit Carolyn’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TotallyReady/