Letter: Question About Storing Carbohydrates When You Can’t Eat Them


I have been following the blog for quite a while. I even have the 2014 CD archive. My question is, I have been storing up rice and beans like a squirrel getting ready for winter. The problem is these are all dense carbohydrate loaded foods. It turns out most of the medications my doctors prescribe are to negate the effects of these types of food. With high blood pressure and high A1C numbers, what’s a fellow to do? I certainly understand that in a crisis I will need that quick energy, but it seems counterproductive to plan on consuming these foods. Thanks for all you do! – Rainbolt

HJL’s Reply:

The primary purpose of prepping is to ensure the survival of you and yours. While there is a tried and true formula that meets the needs of the vast majority of people, it isn’t for everyone. If your doctor tells you to avoid the foods that you are storing, it’s time to change strategies. Unless you have a large amount of disposable income, you probably can’t make the change all at once. However, you should begin the change as quickly as possible. Just like when you began storing food, every little bit you put away helps your bottom line. Store what you need to survive.


  1. That seems to be an issue for many of us as we age. I have a fair amount of the staples, but my medical condition is changing at this time. After it settles, and I know what to do, I will change directions. A little at a time. The items currently stored will help the rest of my family and other loved ones.

  2. Your doctor is right about the carbs. And white rice is a prime source of carbs. However, the beans aren’t quite so bad. They are a prime source of protein and fiber. Fiber, especially the kind in beans, is especially good for lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. However, without the rice, it is an incomplete protein. The good news is that there are other foods that work as well as rice. The first is tree nuts. The second is whole grains such as corn, oats, barley, rye, and wheat. And yes, they are carbs, too. But you have to remember 2 things: first they are high in fiber (see above); and you need some carbs even in a diabetic diet.
    There is another thing to keep in mind: any animal protein source (milk, meat, eggs) added to beans or grains gives you another way to complete your protein.
    And, of course, you want a source of veggies, whether canned, dried, or fresh from your garden.

  3. For just the calories, there are oils that will store for a while, even canned butter and things, but you may need to rotate them.
    Beyond that, there’s powdered eggs, or the freeze dried varieties, with freeze dried meats or jerkey or pemmican.

    Note that beans are complex carbohydrates do don’t produce the glucose and insulin reactions. They aren’t low-carb, but they aren’t anything like sugar or starch. Your gut bacteria is what actually breaks them down, slowly.

    But the first thing is if your A1C and BP are high, you might want to try eliminating carbs now and see if they drop. See dietdoctor.com and look up ketosis. Then you can see if you get a blood sugar / insulin spike after eating beans. You should correct your diet now as the drugs won’t be available after SHTF.

  4. I am a 67 year old male. I too was concerned about meds post SHTF. I started 2016 as an over weight diabetic with High Blood Pressure from a previous stroke. I finally figured out that the AMA is/was not my friend; there is no money in curing folks of any specific malady. By June of ’17 I had quit my diabetes meds. By Xmas of ’17 had a plan to ween myself off of the dreaded ACE inhibitors!(Naturally) My physician was absolutely speechless when he looked at my 8/17 and 12/17 labs. You can do it and it’s actually cheaper than your regular diet. Get off the MEDS !
    BTW, this speaks directly to today’s most excellent article on Discipline 2.0!

    1. Yes! I am 55 and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease. I went on the autoimmune protocol, which was hard since I was raised on the Standard American Diet (SAD) of 80% carbs. But in three months I had NEGATIVE results on the antibody blood tests. Although I have had to give up or significantly reduce eating of some foods, I say all the time, “there is not one food I would trade for my health.” So go ahead and do it — you will feel much better!!

      1. Dear Captnswife: Love what you say: “there is not one food I would trade for my health.” It puts a whole new perspective on food – one that is sorely needed for many people.

  5. It sounds like your doctor wants you on the Paleo or Keto diet. Jerky, pemmican, cheese and dried vegetables may be some candidates for your prepping storage.

  6. In addition to the above sage advice, remember that rice, pasta, and potatoes should be cooked “al dente” or slightly chewy. That slows the absorption of carbohydrates in the stomach because the amylase enzyme cannot digest them as quickly, thus slowing the entry of glucose into your blood stream and allowing your insulin to respond more appropriately if you are a type II diabetic.

  7. I am not diabetic, but my parents and brother in law are. Not knowing what your physical activity level is at this time, if, as will probably be expected after an ‘incident’, your activity level is much higher (physical labor) you will need to eat more carbs because you will be burning off more sugar. My BIL wears a pump and has had diabetes since early childhood. He also LOVES carbs and sweets. He will sometimes ride his bike 20 miles a day or run 5 miles to lower his levels so he can have more carbs.

  8. Look for “30 day diabetes miracle” book. Or look for “diabetes undone” class. Class also covers hypertension etc etc. Both are plant based and will help with getting off meds.
    Call a seventh day Adventist church and ask for resources. They have a huge medical resource devoted to natural health solutions. Many are totally plant based so you could add in your animal protein after figuring out what works. I used one of these programs to help my mom. I’m not sure it works on childhood diabetes but that wasn’t our concern so I didn’t pay much attention to that subject.
    Or search for Adventist book center and then type diabetes into that site’s search field.

  9. I have been following a keto diet for 2 years. I am now off the twice a day blood pressure meds I was prescribed. It is a myth that a person needs carbs, at all. A previous poster listed Diet Doctor site that is a great place to get the truth about keto. I won’t re-hash the science. I am still storing my rice, beans pasta because others in my family eat them. I am storing alot of canned meats, freeze dried, jerked. Canned butters. I also have coconut oils stored since they have long shelf life and low rancidity. If the balloon goes up I will probably add more carbs into my diet but I also have my BP meds stored.

  10. My sister and I are 75 and 82, and both on natural prescription med for low thyroid, and she is on beta blocker. We discovered Dr. William Davis a leading Cardiologist who also has Diabetic patients. His blog and several books, (including recipes) has even reversed Diabetes so that some patients no longer needed insulin. Without counting calories, and just eliminating ALL grains, esp. wheat (he explains why), rice, NO sugar of any kind, NO processed food, and only using Natural Stevia as sweetener, and NUT flours to bake with, and not consuming more than 15 grams CARBS with any meal, we have both lost 30 lbs. We are sedentary due to arthritis, but still losing weight. His books explain what is bad in wheat, corn, rice, and I recommend at least visiting his blog. Lots of testimonials there also. There are still many things we CAN eat, and for condiments there are Paleo condiments with NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP OR GRAINS IN THEM. We cook from scratch, and yes we can even have a glass of white wine. We make FLAX FLOUR WRAPS filled with eggs, no nitrite bacon, and whatever we want. We also ONLY eat pasture raised NO antibiotics, NO hormones, beef, pork, chicken and lamb and ocean caught white fish. We are NOT deprived and healthier. Check Dr. William Davis out on line and change your life. “wheatbellyblog.com”

  11. There are illnesses which require or at least benefit from a particular diet, so of course follow that diet advice. But your question had some ‘hints’ of something more than that. Carbs won’t give you high blood pressure. If your doctor is telling you that they do then get a second opinion.

    At this time let me change lanes here and ask is your doctor a MD or a DO? Sadly a DO is both predisposed to favor quackery and taught quackery in medical school. You can go to your DO perfectly healthy and he will still insist you modify your diet. Consider getting an MD and even then watch for this tendency to assume your diet is killing you or similar new age ideas.

    Secondly why was your A1C checked. Usually this is done because you are overweight and your doctor assumes you might be “pre-diabetic”. There is no such illness as “pre-diabetic” It is certainly possible to be diabetic and not display all of the symptoms and problems of a full diabetic but you would in fact be “diabetic” not “pre-diabetic”. Pre-diabetic is a made up word used by those who think diet can cure anything and typically they favor fad diets. If your doctor uses the “pre-diabetic” word then find a new doctor.

      1. I too live in a relatively small city and my own doctor is a DO. My point is still valid. The philosophy for medical training for a DO is different from that of an MD. They are more likely to believe in new age ideas and more likely to ascribe the latest fad to your complaint. One example: In the area where I live the DO’s will knee jerk assume that any patient that shows up with flu/pneumonia symptoms “might’ have black mold in their home. There is no black mold here ever but this is what these DO have been taught and this is their knee jerk choice of diagnoses. An MD will do a sputum test and if the problem is bacterial will prescribe anti-biotics.

        As I mentioned my doctor is a DO. She is a good and capable doctor who has showed no tendencies to diverge from standard medical practices. So there is no doubt in my mind that a DO can be and that they are as good as an MD. My point is that their teaching IS different and leans towards the new age kind of medicine. Some people prefer that! I like science based medicine.

        I might add that I have a similar distrust of chiropractors. Where I live they advertise freely that they can cure all kinds of illnesses with their neck cracking etc. In my opinion chiropractors like this should be disbarred. Stick with the sore backs or ambulance chasing and stay out of real health concerns.

        The bottom line is let the buyer beware.

  12. Unfortunately, many people are not accustomed to eating greens. But these are very healing foods, and a pound of dehydrated greens has a lot of storable food value, and excellent protein. Just make sure to get a wide variety of greens. Other vegetables are excellent also.
    Many people are under physicians’ orders not to eat greens, because they contain vitamin K that helps blood to clot. So, they might counteract blood thinners. But, starting a plant-based diet early enough generally reduces the need for blood-thinners drastically.
    White rice, white flour, and degerminated corn are all a problem, much more likely to cause blood-sugar and other issues, than whole grains. Modern wheat is a problem in many ways.
    Baker’s yeast is also a problem, due to the fact that chemicals are used to kill off the natural bacteria that accompanies the yeast. The biological imbalance opens the way for yeast infections. The chemicals tend to suppress the thyroid.
    Baking soda (both sodium- and potassium- bicarbonates) can be devastating to the stomach.
    Outdoor exercise in the fresh air and sunlight is always vital.

  13. Try lentils, oats, and maybe some millet. I have switched away from beans and rice. I still have them. My wife believes it is a Christian thing to store for our neighbors.
    I lost 80 pounds on a modified Atkins diet of Jack Mackerel, eggs, and green veggies.
    I have kept it off for 16 years. I am now 66 and my body handles the lentils better now than beans. Black eyes peas are so-so. One third a cup max of oats per day. Jack Mackerel or sardines everyday. Sardines in olive oil will keep thirty years. NO wheat ever.
    Lentils cook in twenty minutes. Beans take forever to cook. The older beans are, the longer they take to cook. Cooking time matters when SHTF.
    Lentils are a primary food in India and Iran. Oldest crop. Wife will sometime sprout the lentils before they go in soup or eat raw.

  14. Go to health food store, get some amaranth and quinoa, and check you BGL response to them. If they are acceptable, note that amaranth can easily be cultivated (it grows as a weed through most of the Southeast), and quinoa’s North American cousin is “lamb’s quarters” (Chenopodium album), cultivated by the Cherokee before corn was introduced, also easily cultivated. Growing your own is much cheaper than buying these.

  15. Once we had a few months of survival-level wet-canned and dried food such as soups, fruit, tuna, chicken, wheat, lentils, dried milk and eggs, we started to analyze and concentrate on diet quality for our deep-pantry storage. Our analysis (based on nutritional density and our >60 ages) made rice and dried potatoes a low priority, more of a comfort food than a staple for the reasons you mention. Yes, we will need more calories if we are without modern conveniences, but we need quality calories from fat and protein. An interesting place to look for some of those other things, as a start, is ProvidentPantry.org , to see what the LDS church (a leader in family preparedness) considers as ‘the basics.’ Our larder has a lot of oat-based carbs a (old-fashioned, quick and pre-made granolas), due to the higher fiber and protein levels and reasonable price. I added more lentils because they cook faster than most beans and have a better variety of amino acids compared to average beans. I still consider these as more of carb storage than proteins. I’ve also added both canned cheese (WSU Cougar Gold, a real cheese) and freeze-dried cheese. The FD goes on special a few times a year and can be bought tor around $30 for a #10 can. (Cheaper if you have a friend with a freeze drier). The FD cheddar is also a great hand-snack, with lots of protein and fat. If you are on a ketotype diet, try a can as snack food now, before you buy too much. EE has other FD cheeses that are fine for cooking, like mozzarella. We get e-mails from several sources and buy $100 bucks-worth when these foods are at our price point, about $10 a can for granolas and lentils, and under $30 for FD meat and cheeses. We dehydrate our apples in the fall and store-bought pineapples when they are cheap in the spring. I can other fruit from our trees as both jam/preserves and pie-ready, and keep some FD fruit in storage. I make jerky, but can’t keep it on hand because my DH does not have discipline re: jerky. He respects the buckets and #10 cans, so that’s my focus. As for most ‘greens,’ we keep both garden seeds and seeds for sprouting and microgreens. These take up much less room and will sprout even in winter to augment a canned and root-cellar diet. I have a small cold-frame for winter greens and root vegies. That said, I keep #10 cans of dehydrated carrots for the vitamin A, but also as a source of carbs, in case we continue to be poor carrot farmers! Don’t forget to keep some favorite species and treats in storage to fight food fatigue. These are different for everyone. I hope this is helpful.

  16. Everybody loves to give diet advice so here goes from my own experience.

    Muscle is what burns calories and that is why when we grow older we find it harder to lose weight because we are gradually losing muscle from less activity than when we were younger. You can do cardio and nothing wrong with that but building muscle is the best way. That’s strength training or any equivalent.

    If you are overweight tell yourself you are going to lose fat only not any muscle. So, don’t feed the fat, feed the muscle. Up the protein in your diet. Lean protein. When I was seriously losing fat, and while at the gym (strength training to build the muscle) I kept my carbs and protein matched and the fat low so as not to feed the fat.

    I’d say I had a 40/40/20 diet. 40% carbs, 40% protein (and protein shakes made at home helped here) and about 20% fat. Some folks with chronic liver disease can’t go that high with protein. Check with your doctor.

    Most peoples blood sugar will not spike with an equal carb protein level. They balance out. I also counted calories to follow my progress.

    I did great but got lazy recently and a year ago I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. That only means I am approaching the range where my A1c is no longer normal. I risk all the bad things that come along with diabetes so I have been reminded by the essay today (excellent) to exercise the discipline and do what I did before when I was successful.

    Avoid extreme diets. You won’t stick to them and they are not healthful in the long run. I believe you can leave your carbs in your storage and you can eat them with your family – just a different proportion for you than them.

    The book that helped me then was “The 3-Apple-A-Day Plan: Your Foundation For Permanent Fat Loss” by Tammi Flynn, M.S., R.D. and Gold’s Gym trainer. Master’s degree in nutrition science from Texas A&M University. The apples? Well, there was a Gold’s Gym contest going on and she found that an apple before each meal facilitated hunger pains and facilitated fat loss. The stories in the book about the diabetic challenge and the numbers which were lowered to normal in most cases, in 3 months no less, when following her sane, safe program, were what kept me on tract. I believe you can do it too and you will not worry excessively about your carbs.

    The very best of luck to you.

  17. First: Talk to your doctor about changing from prescription blood pressure medications to herbs that can do the same thing without a lot of side-effects. Many common herbs can help a lot. Oregano, garlic, hawthorn, and cinnamon can help with controlling your blood pressure and the cinnamon is also good at control blood sugar/insulin levels. Turmeric, chili powder, coriander, cilantro, ginger, parsley, and rosemary can all help too. You can get them all in capsule form at most health food stores and even at many grocery stores these days.
    Do talk to a doctors first, and if your current doctor is not open to using herbs, you can always find a doctor that is open to such things.
    Also, oat bran, rice bran, and wheat bran are the lowest in carbs which might be something your doctor will allow.

  18. One worthwhile answer might be to start adding what you CAN eat, without disposing of the Carbs.
    Unless you run out of space, the carbs could be useful trade goods post-SHTF.

  19. What a great post and replies. I haven’t been paying much attention to my pantry lately…..now realizing that my dietary needs have changed as I get older and much of what I have isn’t necessarily what I would want to eat IF I have a choice. So I’ve made a list – based on what folks have recommended here…..low on the carbs – higher on the protein and fat. And lentils – will definitely start eating more lentils. Also, has anyone here stored coconut oil for many years. I have some I bought in 2012 that is waaayyyy over expiration date but it is just fine. Smells good and tastes good.

    1. @Nancy, I have stored coconut oil in vacuum sealed canning jars and it works great. The awesome thing about coconut oil and lard is, they are saturated fats, and so they are shelf stable. Plus, they are much healthier than monounsaturated fats such as canola oil or vegetable oil. They don’t go rancid like the lesser oils. With lard or tallow, you can fairly easily produce them yourself from animals you raise. Isn’t it awesome how God planned all that out?

        1. What I’m using now is 5 years old. I keep it in an out building without air conditioning, just a fan to circulate air. It’s in the dark. We live in the Deep South where it stays hot all but 1 month out of the year.

  20. I am 60 y.o. male with similar medical issues. IMHO, when the SHTF you will need the rice & beans so you don’t starve to death. Also, you won’t need to worry about your medications because they will no longer be easily available. So don’t sweat it. Just get on with your preps and be ready for lean times.

  21. My A1C was 7.8 in August 2017. It had been above 7.0 for the last three years. I started the South Beach Diet in mid October. In five weeks my A1C was 6.4. I was tested again a few days ago and it was 6.0.

    I recommend if your really ready to try something to deal with your type 2 diabetes, try the South Beach Diet. Buy the book. Their food is bland. It’s not easy, but the results are huge. It’s as if the diet was developed for Type 2 diabetics.

    I also believe many type 2 diabetics will not have an issue after TEOTWAWKI. Your dramatic drop in daily food calories will resolve the issue for many diabetics. That said, start now. Good luck.

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