A Prepper’s Guide To Nutrition
Despite the fact that preppers love to talk about nearly any topic under the sun, nutrition and how it applies to preppers is often a neglected topic. Very few, if any, preppers can honestly explain why it is better to eat fats and proteins than it is to eat carbohydrates.
Original Article by Tony over at prepsurvivalguide.com.
Even fewer preppers can explain the benefits of vitamins or where calories come from. This guide is written to fill that gap.
To start off with, let’s begin talking about a basic calorie.
Calories And Preppers
Without getting into too deep of an explanation, calories are the tool your body uses to produce energy. No more, no less. With calories, our bodies can run, jump, breathe, swim, fish, and anything else we want to do.
Without calories, we starve. Simple as that.
While popular culture often sends us the message that calories are of the devil, a calorie (and a lot of calories) are a prepper’s best friend.
What most people don’t realize is that all calories come from three sources: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. You will never and can never get a calorie without one of these three things.
Let’s break them down separately.
Carbohydrates (carbs) are four calories per gram. Most carbs reside in fruits, vegetables, grains, and sugars. Even though carbs are usually associated with all things evil in modern culture, carbs are necessary to survive and carry precious vitamins and minerals.
Even though they are necessary for survival, they are not ideal for a prepper’s perfect meal. Carbs carry less calories per gram than fats (discussed below) and are not as useful as proteins when it comes to rebuilding and strengthening muscles.
Carbs also have a fatal flaw when it comes to prepper meals: they burn quickly. This means that even though you may eat high calories while eating carbs (think donuts), your meal will not last as long as a meal that consists of mostly fat or proteins and you will find yourself feeling hungry more quickly.
Proteins contain four calories per gram and are the food of choice for competition weightlifters and world class performers. Proteins are useful for rebuilding muscles bigger and stronger.
Proteins burn slowly in the stomach and after eating them, you’ll feel full for a long time. Most proteins are meats, nuts, or legumes. These make for excellent prepper meals.
After spending time outside doing whatever your current prepper projects are, your muscles will be fatigued and worn down. Proteins are the body’s way of rebuilding those muscles where they can do more work and last longer the next time you go out to work.
The best prepper meals are high protein.
Fats contain nine calories per gram and are our go to foods for prepper meals. Since fats contain a lot of calories per gram, you can eat less and survive longer than others (and it’s easier on your budget!).
This happens because fats have more calories per gram than other foods. In theory and in practice, you can eat half as much fatty food as you do carbohydrate food and survive more than twice as long on your fatty food.
This is also a boon to preppers because fats typically burn slowly, meaning that you will feel full for a longer period of time.
Fats are usually found in meats, oils, dairy products, eggs, and nuts. If you’ll notice, foods that have fat and foods that have proteins are very similar. These are the kinds of foods we want to eat as preppers. Now that we understand what fuels the body, let’s take a look at the construction materials the body uses.
Vitamins & Minerals: Tools Of The Body
Before we get into vitamins and minerals, I would like to say this: if you find yourself in a survival situation, it is better that you focus on how many calories you are consuming than how many vitamins and minerals you are taking in.
All of humanity until the past 50 years has survived without spending any time wondering how their vitamin intake is. If a situation gets bad, worry about your caloric load and the vitamins will follow.
If you can think of calories like the fuel your body uses to run, vitamins and minerals are like a trusty hammer, drill, and other useful tools.
Vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients because your body doesn’t need a huge amount, but it does need some. Without necessary vitamins, you can develop blindness, scurvy, weak bones, or an assortment of other problems.
Interestingly enough, we are more likely today to have an overdose of a vitamin or mineral than we are to have a deficiency. Because of market competition and government intervention, most of the foods we consume today have plenty of all the necessary minerals.
If you take vitamin and mineral supplements, your body is capable of getting rid of most of the excess, but you may be doing an unnecessary deed or even harming yourself by taking supplements without being told to do so by a medical specialist.
What To Eat In Shelter Or The Bush
As said above, most of the food we consume today has all the necessary tools for our body to survive and thrive.
But what if we don’t have the resources of today?
If disaster strikes, we would almost certainly lose access to supermarkets. So how do we balance our diets then?
If you find yourself without a supermarket, whether you are in your shelter or on foot in the wild, your number one goal should be calorie consumption. The average human burns 2000-3000 calories per day depending on how active they are. Your meals should have plenty of meat (which contains fat and proteins), but also eat as much fruit and vegetables as you are able to get your hands on. Fruit and veggies are high in carbs, but will almost certainly carry most if not all of the vitamins and minerals that you need.
If possible, eat as many nuts, beans, and home grown meals as possible. This should prevent any sort of deficiency in vitamins and minerals while making sure that you have enough calories to survive the day. If you are out in the wilderness and are going to eat the local flora, first do the universal poison test.
To do the poison test, take one part of the flower (or whatever it is that you’re about to eat) and place it on your tongue. Do not chew or swallow. Wait 15-30 minutes with it on your tongue. Yes, that is a long time. But it is better to wait a long 15-30 minutes than to die from eating poison.
If at any point during this 15-30 minutes you notice burning, itching, nausea, or anything else that indicates poison, assume that part of the plant is poisonous and discard it.
If you feel no symptoms of poison, then eat only a small portion of that plant (and only the part you tested) and wait for any side effects. If you feel none, then you are probably safe.
As a general rule, avoid anything that has a soapy or bitter taste. Your taste buds are pretty good at detecting toxins and these are early warning signs.
Even though nutrition can be a complex subject, when it all comes down to it, just remember to eat as much diverse food as you can while prepping or in the bush to have a balance of calories and vital nutrients.
Hope you’ve enjoyed!
Header image credit: trailove.com