There is a change in the wind. Yes, at workplaces, on the web, and in the media, people talk about the price of food. 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.  Recently a friend was at the grocery store and there was a man in his 20s staring at the shelf of canned goods. He stopped her and asked if she knew anything about storing food. She spent the next hour helping him understand what and how to store. He said his family was not on board with the idea but he “just had a feeling” he should store some 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 re-ignite your own enthusiasm. Along with this movement comes some terrible advice. Let’s do a little reviewing.

1. Most food storage plans lack variety. Some of this is due to lack of knowledge or purchasing a prepackaged plan 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.

A few years ago, we had a college student living in our home. Most mornings she got up and made oatmeal for breakfast. One day we had plans to do some Christmas shopping, 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. Our bodies know when we are lacking nutrients.

Another reason to demand variety, 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.

2. Nutritionally balanced meals. 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. Even a long-term storage plan must include all food groups to give the greatest chance for the family to remain healthy.

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.

For a three-month supply remember:

  • YOU are the expert for your family. Do not purchase the items others purchase, decide instead based on what your family loves and craves. Do not store what a list or program online tells you to store. At Totally Ready, we guide you with challenges each week to store by food group. We will never tell you which grains or which vegetables to store, we simply make sure you are systematically storing from all food groups.
  • Variety is important.
  • All food groups are important to store.
  • Water is a huge part of a great food storage plan. Store one gallon per person if storing canned and frozen foods. Store two gallons per person if storing freeze dried or dehydrated food.
  • And remember pets are family members too. Store for them as well.

Once you have a three-month supply of the foods you eat, it is time to think financial self-reliance. This is a challenge especially in light of a 9.1% inflation rate. Our income even with raises and bonuses is not keeping up and our buying power is diminishing.

“If you wish to get rich, save what you get. A fool can earn money; but it takes a wise man to save and dispose of it to his own advantage.” Brigham Young, (JD 11:201)

Inflation is soaring and recession has already begun according to most experts. Are you prepared for much higher interest rates? High interest rates mean you will either have to forgo purchases or you will pay much more as you pay over time and interest piles on. Are you prepared for you and/or your spouse to lose your jobs? Could you pay your rent or mortgage for a few months? How about the car payment, credit card debt or health insurance?

Obviously, this cannot be accomplished in a week or two, but it can be with consistency and determination. Begin saving just a little each week. Put aside a little more than is comfortable and make some sacrifices now to be at peace later. Check out the money saving tips and recipes each week at Totally Ready.

President Spencer W. Kimball counseled: “Let’s do these things because they are right, because they are satisfying, and because we are obedient to the counsels of the Lord. In this spirit we will be prepared for most eventualities, and the Lord will prosper and comfort us. It is true that difficult times will come—for the Lord has foretold them—and, yes, stakes of Zion are “for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm.” (D&C 115:6.) But if we live wisely and providently, we will be as safe as in the palm of His hand.” * A  promise from the Lord through a prophet: “we will be as safe as in the palm of His hand”.

I love the subheading from the March 2009 Ensign article Family Home Storage- A New Message:  “Check the expiration date on your ideas about home storage. You may need to throw some of them out.”

3. Long-term storage. This is an area we really need to examine and throw out old ideas. Could you remain healthy eating just the items you have in your long-term storage? How much do you really need to store? Many have used old guidelines for long term storage. The way we cook and the way we eat have changed in huge ways over the past few decades.

Wheat: Americans eat about 180 pounds (81.6 kg) of wheat per person per year, that’s less than half of what Egyptians and Algerians eat. The people who consume the most wheat per year are Tunisians, who eat almost 500 pounds (226.8 kg). But, how much does your family eat? Do you eat more pasta, oatmeal, and rice than you do wheat? All of these store well for long term. Do you cook and bake with wheat? Then why are you storing it? Store other grains you will actually like eating and know how to prepare.

Beans: Beans may be a source of protein, but they are not a complete protein, meaning they do not provide the nutrients our bodies need from proteins. To create a complete protein with beans white rice or cornmeal must be consumed with them. There are other options, but none store well long term. Cornmeal is not a good long-term food storage option, but popcorn is and can be consumed as popcorn or ground to make cornmeal.

If your family is not accustomed to eating beans on a regular basis, consuming them daily will lead to serious intestinal difficulties. Incorporate beans now but if you cannot eat them because of medical issues or your family just does not like them, why are you storing them? Other protein options for long term storage are: eggs (powdered, water glassed or frozen), canned tuna, salmon, chicken, beef or other meats, peanuts and tree nuts. Nuts will last the longest if vacuum sealed and then stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Once sealed they will store for a year or more on the shelf. Nuts can also be ground for nut butters, a great way to rotate.  You may also consider jerky which will store for a few years.

Powdered milk: If you hate powdered milk, store chocolate syrup or cocoa powder to add. You may also consider storing shelf stable milk which does come in a lactose free form. Remember all those other “milks” are just drinks and do not provide the nutrients milk does. Evaporated milk and shelf stable milk should be stored for children due to the fat content children developing bodies need. They are easy to rotate in baking, creamed soups and just drinking. Both will last a few years, although not twenty years like powdered milk.

Cheese is also a great source of the nutrients found in dairy. Consider cheese. It can be waxed or purchased waxed and will last on the shelf for years. It can also be frozen for years if vacuum sealed.

Oil: We need fats in our diet, but we no longer cook with oil the way our grandparents did. Coconut oil it the king of long-lasting unprocessed fats. Fats that are solid at room temperature are the best for long term storage. Take time to consider the fats you are presently using. Crisco and lard store well long term and if you use them even if only a few times a year, store some. Oils do not store well so store only what you will realistically use in a year. Some charts suggest gallons of oil for a family. Since we no longer fry foods the way we cooked when those charts were created, most will never use gallons a year. Oil must be rotated yearly; hard fats will last much longer. Crisco must be used within a year once opened. Don’t forget butter, can be purchased canned but do not can your own, it freezes very well and will last frozen for years. Some will say they have canned butter for years, they have been lucky. Remember butter and some other fats can be purchased freeze dried or dehydrated. Think fats for long-term storage not just oil.

There is no reason to guess about any of this. You can know exactly what you should be storing, and only you can know 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 to eat. There is no perfect plan and no “One Way” for all, but there is a perfect plan for your family.

*(Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, Chapter 11: Provident Living: Applying Principles of Self-Reliance and Preparedness, From the Life of Spencer W. Kimball, 115)

Carolyn is always available to and questions and share tips at and on Facebook. For those wanting information or to participate creating Christmas ornaments for Operation Christmas Ornaments and you do not have a Facebook account you can now find information and updates on Carolyn’s blog.

Catch Carolyn on Annette on America:  (prepping for blackouts and civil unrest) (prepping for recession)  (prepping for inflation)