Food Preps

One of the most important cornerstones of a prepper's stash is, of course, the pantry. Nonetheless, this is something people oftentimes get hung up on - and is a serious barrier to entry when it comes to prepping. In this brief guide, I'll go over some of the stumbling blocks that one tends to discover in their journey, and I'll address how to remedy them.

Stashing Food Is Expensive

Certainly, acquiring a year's supply of food is no easy task; frankly, it's a rather expensive one too. Still, the most important thing you need to realize right now is that Rome wasn't built in a day. Prepping stashes start small - you're buying non-perishables for a reason, and that reason is not only for the longevity of the food itself, but for the ability to build up your supply, and have some lee-way for how food is to be rotated.

For example, I shop for groceries on a weekly basis. Every single week, I put aside $10 for preps; that can buy 5lbs of beans, or 10lbs of rice. It can be 5 cans of soup, or 1 single container of powdered milk. You can buy 10lbs of salt, similarly, or one large container of ground coffee, whether for your own consumption, or for barter.

In just a few months, it all adds up, and believe me, if you start today, looking back in a few months' time, you'll be shocked at just how much you've acquired - and just how much better-prepared you are.

Junk Food Will Kill You

A large percentage of preppers is under the unfortunate impression that $.99 ramen, a few bags of chips, and SPAM meat is the pinnacle of a prepper's diet. Perhaps a can of chili too, and you've got all the essentials. You know what you've got all the essentials for? Being extremely sick and unhealthy, with a greatly heightened risk of dying from colon cancer or heart disease.

Now, I will admit,these things will probably keep you more or less alive for some time; but that's about all. You won't die. That's literally all I can say. You will feel awful, all the time, in an already stressful situation - you will be lethargic, you will likely suffer from a long list of digestive maladies, and you will most likely not last long in whatever scenario you are prepping for.

When prepping, you need to get actual food. Sure, it should be energy-dense, easy to store, and long-lasting, but that doesn't mean you need to eat the lowest-quality-per-calorie junk.

I am not saying this to discourage would-be preppers. You don't need a fortune to buy a year's worth of freeze-dried triple-course meals to be a prepper.

You really don't. I acquired 6 months of food for about $200, in Ontario, one of the most expensive markets for groceries, during the peak of COVID. Now, I haven't got some sort of particular manner of buying groceries - if I can do it, so can you!

What Do I Get?

When acquiring food, you need two things - an understanding of basic nutrition, and an outline of what to get, based on that understanding.

Proteins, Carbs, Fats, and Micronutrients

All food falls into one (or several) of these categories. Proteins are the building blocks of your body; fats and carbs are fuel; micronutrients are trace chemical compounds, minerals, and elements that help regulate, and keep in-balance, the complex biological processes that go on inside of you, every second of every day.

Your body needs proteins, fats, and micronutrients. You can survive without carbohydrates, but they're a good source of bulk energy. The way I think about it is like this - proteins and fats will keep you alive. Micronutrients will keep you healthy. Carbs will keep you energized.

Plant Proteins vs Animal Proteins

Now, there's a bit of difficulty with preserving animal proteins for a long time - the trouble with cans is the microplastics and potential risk of botulism, especially if dented. Dehydrated meat is great, but requires quite a bit of work to make edible; plus, it doesn't last as long as you'd think it would, and can get expensive. Powdered milk isn't perfect, and undergoes a fairly complex process to be made, oftentimes ridding it of healthy fats.

Of course, powdered milk, dehydrated eggs, and at least a dozen cans of chicken or beef are essentials, but you will need to depend on a non-insignificant volume of plant protein for your protein needs.

The most important thing to understand is that plants do not provide complete proteins by themselves - beans are lacking in certain complexes; now, rice may have said complexes, but it lacks the ones that beans do. This is why many cultures around the world enjoy dishes of rice and beans prepared as a single dish, since together, they provide a complete protein intake. Make sure to research the combinations that you need to buy, and buy them together.

Thanks for reading. :)