Nutrition in Survival Cooking
Staying healthy in a survival situation should be at the top of your list. By maintaining health in an extreme circumstance you can better insure your own survival and that of your families, friends or group mates..
Along with attention to proper hygiene, the key to staying healthy when you are in any type of emergency or survival situation, is eating proper nutrition. This is more then just eating, which is usually what folks think about, but is also about eating nutritious and filling foods. The absolute best way to get good nutrition is by providing sources of fresh fruits and vegetables to you and your dependents in every situation. An prepared freeze dried survival food is not going to get the job done and neither is a conventional vitamin.
Conventional vitamins, While an easy way to get some vitamins and minerals in a short term way are only isolated synthetic components of nutrients. They are not the same as the complete complexes found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Although you should have a bottle or two of multi vitamins in your pantry as fresh foods will be in short supply in any survival cooking environment. And “something” is better then nothing” as they say
Shelf stable food that has been “fortified” with vitamins and minerals are providing the few standardized vitamins and minerals recommended by our government which can be synthetically derived or chemically produced in a lab. These do not provide you with the thousands of heath promoting nutrients that nature provides you in fresh foods.
For a short term acute crises it is vital to avoid infection and sickness which would be debilitating for your situation. A key component to a high functioning immune system is having healthy digestive system.
The enzymes found in fresh fruits and vegetables are powerful components of food that help promote healthy digestion. In situations where water may be contaminated, a healthy digestive system can often successfully fight contaminants found in water such as parasites. Furthermore, by taking a table spoon of raw apple cider vinegar every day your intestines will more easily maintain a proper PH making them more permeable to nutrients and boosting the immune system (please be sure to rinse mouth with water every time as vinegar can eat the enamel off teeth otherwise.)
Vinegar is a powerful disinfectant for a dirty surface or cuts in cases where infectious disease may be rampant
Another factor that can directly affect the immune system is stress. Have you ever notice that after you’ve become “run down” is when you end up getting sick? Inevitably, in unforeseen emergency or survival crises situations stress will be a major factor on the functionality of your immune system.
Certain super foods such as those naturally high in the vitamin B complex are going to help your body deal with the unavoidable “stressors”. Brewer’s yeast is a preferred natural source of the B vitamins and has been used for centuries as a natural food supplement.
Another aspect of disease prevention is the roll of chronic inflammation in your health. Chronic inflammation can often be a precursor to diseases like cancer and heart disease. Certain foods can either contribute to inflammation or help reduce it. Processed and shelf stable foods often contain preservatives such as hydrogenated oils that perpetuate the inflammation cycle. On the other hand, spices like ginger and turmeric have been shown to reduce chronic inflammation.
Incorporating enough fresh fruits and vegetables into your normal everyday diet is hard enough with easy access in the local grocery store. How are you supposed to do it in the midst of major fall out or natural disaster?
This question poses a particular quandary when you are thinking about food storage. Food is most nutritious in the raw form because many of its healthful nutrients break down when heated above temperatures over about 100-115 degrees.
Vitamin C for example is very susceptible to heat damage. When you dehydrate your own food, you may be exposing it to temperatures too high to protect nutrients like the enzymes in fresh fruits and veggies necessary for healthy digestion.
Freeze dried food is a great option because freeze drying protects almost all of foods naturally occurring nutrients.
Another obstacle to staying healthy on stored food is how to get a big enough variety of food in order to have a therapeutic effect. Different foods are higher in different nutrients. Nutritionists recommend eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables in order to get the necessary variety of nutrients from the various foods that contain them. Maintaining a large enough variety of stock piled fruits and vegetables requires dedicated intention if you want to provide enough variation to make a difference in health.
There are two other options for providing your family with fresh foods in a survival situation. The most practical solution is the use of a true whole food supplement where the vitamin content comes from the foods in the ingredient list.
The vast majority of so called “whole food supplements” are not truly whole food at all. Most of them are just synthetic vitamins (incomplete nutrients and unnatural) hidden in a culturing process with a little pinch of different foods sprinkled on top. It’s difficult to find a reliable company with integrity that provides truly naturally occurring nutrients.
An alternative to whole-food supplements is a home grown sprouting system. Buying a sprouting kit for a few hundred dollars allows you to sprout nutritious seeds on your kitchen counter top providing your family with nutritious fresh sprouts in about 3 days time.
There is a certain amount of work involved in the sprouting process, especially in a Survival Cooking environment, as you have to change the water in the buckets at least every six hours to avoid bacteria growth witch can require a lot of water.
Without a continuous source of fresh water sprouting is not a viable option. Also, by only eating fresh sprouts you are still not getting a very big variety of foods and therefore are missing many potentially powerful nutrients like those found in beets, carrots or berries.
In case of crises or disaster, most prepared people are equipped with enough calories from protein, fat and carbohydrates provided by shelf stable food to survive. What most people have not considered is how to equip them selves with enough nutrition necessary to stay healthy. By supplementing your preparation efforts with either raw whole-food supplements or sprouts and seeds for growing , you are ensuring that your family will get what it needs to keep themselves healthy in almost any situation imaginable or otherwise.
Survival is not just about staying alive, its about living a reasonably healthy life in an unreasonable world.