Can You Survive Without Meat When The SHTF?, by Ken Gallender

I’d like to start this article with saying that I am not a tree hugger. I love meat, eggs, cheese and fish. I’m not trying to convince anyone to quit hunting and fishing. I have been an outdoorsman my entire life. I drive and use 4×4 trucks and ATVs every week. I just want to impart what has profoundly changed my life.

I have given a lot of thought to how we would survive and provide the protein requirements for my family if suddenly we were faced with the prospect of having no supermarket or source of meat and dairy products. I keep fish traps, gill nets, minnow seines, etc. as a silent means of catching fish and crayfish (“freshwater lobster”). I also keep traps for small game.

I recently learned, quite accidentally, that you can not only survive, but actually thrive in the absence of meat, dairy, and fish. I learned that with the exception of vitamin B-12 you can eat just one food and sustain yourself for a lifetime. That food is the sweet potato. You only get B-12 from the bacteria in your food, it is not found in the meat and dairy products, only the bacteria consumed by the animals and winds up in the meat and dairy. Cheese is full of bacteria. To get the vitamin D your body needs is easy. Go stand in the sun with your face and arms exposed 10 or 15 minutes a week. You can get all you need taking a short stroll every day.

As I entered middle age, I became obese and no matter what I tried, I was unable to drop the weight in any meaningful amount. I developed high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. My ankles would swell to the size of softballs after a day at my desk. My knees hurt and my activity was severely limited. I was 80 lbs. overweight. I started researching my diabetes and I discovered a video of Dr. John McDougall and watched his video on YouTube titled Stop Eating Poison. I watched in disbelief at what he said and it was directly opposite of what my doctors advised, and everything I have heard and read for the past 30 years.

I have spent years not eating anything that had a carbohydrate in it. I ate huge amounts of chicken, eggs, cheese, green vegetables, etc. I never lost weight. I started intermittent fasting where I consumed nothing other than unsweetened coffee and tea, three days in a row each week. I once went on a 7-day fast and guess what, I was still 80 lbs. overweight. Sure, I would lose 4 or 5 pounds here and there, but nothing substantial.

According to Dr. McDougall, you can obtain all the protein, and more, that you need eating rice, potatoes, corn and legumes (beans). He recommends avoiding all processed oils (olive, corn, peanut, etc.). It turns out that the oil blocks the insulin from doing its job. I thought about what he said and decided to give it a try as I had nothing to lose. I now eat no meat, dairy, eggs, cheese, or processed oils.

I started on March 30, 2021 eating exactly as he suggested. In less than six months, I have lost 60 lbs., no longer need medications of any kind, my ankles no longer swell and my aches and pains from getting older (age 67) are all but gone. I can actually look over my shoulder and check for oncoming traffic and no longer depend on the truck mirrors. When I reach my desired goal of 175 pounds, I plan to add nuts and avocados to stop the weight drop and thus maintain my weight.

I eat all the potatoes, rice, beans, corn, pasta, bread (with limited or no fat), and fruits that I desire. Sure, I sometimes miss the grilled meat and fried fish and I may partake of them from time to time in the future. The meat will only be on occasion (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.). The key to this is that you are never hungry.
I live on a tract of land in the middle of the city limits. My city has a huge population of welfare hippos and a thriving drug culture. I realized that it would be impossible for me to keep livestock and chickens in a true Stuff Hits the Fan (SHTF) scenario. Three days after the shelves become empty, my animals would disappear. If I had to evacuate to a safer area, I can carry large quantities of rice, beans, pasta, flour, etc. Carrying and caring for animals would be a different story altogether.

It would also be better to not have roosters crowing in your yard, while people are running around starving.
A good book is The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. It is an excellent read concerning primarily starch-based diets.

If you need additional calories, you can buy lard that keeps and stores well. Lard added to any dish will vastly multiply the calories of the dish. The first question most of you are now thinking is, “I don’t think I could give up meat, dairy, eggs, and cheese”. Just try it for one week. It is easier than you think.

If you are suffering from the effects of the American “Western” diet, this is your opportunity to get well.
There is nothing I like better than meat cooked in my smoker, fried catfish, French fries, etc. But in a SHTF scenario I can live and thrive without it.

Food Storage

Everyone has their way of storing food. Pre-packaged freeze-dried food is an easy but expensive way to store food. I find that using food-grade 5-gallon buckets with sealable screw lids are the best for me. They are air and watertight and easy to seal. You can also easily check the contents to make sure that there is no spoilage. They can be stacked [up to four high, without damaging the lids], and the size and weight are manageable. The large food grade barrels with gasketed lids are a good option, but try moving one that is full of dry corn, wheat, or rice. They are unwieldly even with a hand truck. You would need a tractor with a front bucket to even get them into a truck or trailer.

Now imagine trying to catch and load up your animals. My two dogs are a handful, but at least they will readily hop in the truck. You also have to carry food and water for the animals and have food readily available at your destination.

Planned Barter and Reality

We all romanticize about bartering and growing our gardens and harvesting eggs after the collapse. If you think this is going to happen you are delusional. Pick any major us city (New Orleans, Chicago, Baltimore, St Louis, Memphis, etc.) and visit the local WalMart and hang out for a couple of hours. After the two hours is up, you need to think what your world is going to look like after these people miss their 9th meal. As soon as they realize they can’t eat big-screen televisions, Louis Vuitton handbags, and Nike tennis shoes; they will hear your rooster crowing and smell the smoker cooking.

We also romanticize about taking our bug-out bags and trusty rifle and heading to the woods. Guess what, you aren’t the only one with that idea. It won’t take long for virtually every deer, rabbit, and squirrel to disappear. You can’t carry enough food in a backpack to last more than a week or so.

Who in your immediate family is capable of carrying a loaded backpack more than 100 yards?
For the cost of preserving a pound of meat, you can store 50lbs of rice. Rice is 11% protein. Your body doesn’t care if it the protein is from a cow or a grain of rice. What about calcium? You can get calcium from the same place that the cow gets theirs. It is in the plants we eat. Plants pull it from the soil and store it. When you eat the plants, you get the calcium.

Just like me, I’m certain that you are having a hard time wrapping your head around the fact that you can live quite well in the absence of eating meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. But in a SHTF scenario, you have to think of staying alive and healthy. If you are 60 lbs overweight, do you think you can put up much of a fight? Try crawling under your truck to work on it, try getting up after you’ve been on your knees changing a flat.
I want to stress, I love meat, cheese, eggs, bacon and fish. But I also love recovering my health and vitality. Much of my youth was spent on my grand parent’s farm. We had cows, chickens and a huge garden. I probably still sweat bacon grease. But in a SHTF scenario, I can quietly feed my family and should the need arise, evacuate with enough food to sustain us at our destination.

With beans, rice, and dried potatoes, you can store a huge amount for very little cost. SurvivalBlog has many articles that you access to learn how to store food so I will not go into detail on how to do it. Good luck, and pass the potatoes.

About The Author

Ken Gallender is the author of the Jernigans War novel series.