Dietary Change To Fit A Post Collapse World- Part 1, By JLA

In most first-world nations, the diet most individuals partake in consists of a high carbohydrate, moderate to low protein, and low fat regimen. This diet type is inefficient for a post-collapse world. Tribal groups who have had to live in a more limited and primitive manner had a diet that consisted of a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate regimen, also known today as a Ketogenic diet or Paleo diet.

This article will go into the negative aspects of continuing a high carbohydrate diet and the positive aspects of transitioning into a high fat diet before the collapse occurs. It assumes that people in urban areas will not be able to produce their own food sources in any meaningful manner, due to lack of viable land for crop production and/or enough sources of meat. This article focuses on suburban and rural areas instead, but it is also noted that suburban areas will still be at a disadvantage, due to limited space and the dangers of other people being nearby.

Carb Diet Logistics

A high carbohydrate diet requires wheat, corn, potato, rice, et cetera as the basis of the food source. Those core carbohydrate foods are typically processed in some capacity to produce every-day foods. In a post-collapse world, the methods to process many of these foodstuffs would be very time consuming and can be labor intensive. This leads to an inefficiency in obtaining and/or maintaining a food source, when considering labor and time as a resource as well.

Difficult To Grow Large Quantities and Store

Wheat and rice products, specifically, will be difficult to not only grow in large enough quantities to produce food-stuffs necessary to cover a year’s food supply (provided the individual or family properly rotate the crops annually to avoid soil nutrient depletion), but without proper storage, they will be susceptible to spoilage, pests, and vermine. This is especially true in suburban environments where the land quantity and storage space is more limited. The difficulty in producing wheat and rice comes with the amount of usable land a person would need in order to produce enough grain to cover a year. Rice also requires a considerable amount of water, which is a precious resource and may not be viable in most areas of the country.

Other Problems Such As Depletion of Soil

Non-wheat and -rice products face similar problems, with the exception of quantity and land requirements, initially. However, they come with other issues that are also significant. Corn and potatoes deplete the nutrients in the land and without a sizable plot to do crop rotation on or obtaining a means to replenish the nutrients in the soil year after year, harvests will yield less and less food. This inability to sustain a consistent food source will be very problematic and may cause individuals to find new land to continue to grow crops or move to a new food source.

Significant Time To Harvest

Harvesting high carbohydrate products, such as wheat and corn, depending on the size of the field, would require significant time without the use of a tractor and appropriate attachment. Using a tractor would require fuel, which is inefficient in a post collapse world as that is a finite resource that may not be readily obtainable in the future. Processing wheat and corn products is very time and labor intensive unless you have crafted a mill, which may not be possible due to space issues as well. All of this leads to less efficiency in time and energy expended on labor, which can be critical if other issues or needs require your attention.

The average yield for wheat on an acre plot is about 40-50+ bushels, depending on the area that the individual is planting on. With a family of four, an individual would need about nine bushels, which would require about ⅕ of an acre (or 8,712 square feet) to feed the family sustainably for a year. In addition to that, saving roughly 500 square feet for a vegetable garden should be sufficient to feed a family of four for a year as well. This estimation is not taking into account soil quality, weather, disease, or pests that can damage or destroy the crop.

Carb Diet Health

Aside from the logistical issues that come with a high carbohydrate diet, there are also health problems as well. Carbohydrates are complex sugar chains (glucose) that spike a person’s insulin. This gives them peaks of energy but also causes crashes in energy. Added fatigue can increase mishaps/accidents, which can be extremely dangerous without proper modern health care and lower the likelihood of survival when a person needs to expend energy.

Other health concerns are for families who have members that are diabetic (specifically Type 2 diabetes), cancer, and those prone to seizures. A high carbohydrate diet (glucose) can prove deadly for someone with diabetes, especially in a post collapse world where insulin and other medication is difficult to come by. People who either have not been diagnosed with cancer or have and can no longer get treatment in a post collapse world, will also be in a difficult position due to glucose being the primary energy source for cancer cells. Individuals who are prone to seizures will also find it difficult to obtain medication to manage their seizures, and this predicament can put them or their group at considerable disadvantage when attempting to survive.

Crop Failure

Other issues with a high carbohydrate diet in a post collapse world are supplementing food sources in a significant manner if you fail to yield a crop and transitioning out of a high carbohydrate diet.

Attempting to supplement food sources if your primary food source is either depleted or if there was a failure to maintain the food source in some way, is considerably dangerous. It would require the individual (or group) to either acquire nearby land (possibly through force), or move. In a post collapse situation, moving is always dangerous due to the need to find water, shelter, and a viable food source, while possibly encountering hostile/territorial groups, poor weather, and any number of other problems.

Lack of Pesticides

The lack of pesticides readily available will also reduce crop yield unless the individual or group can produce home remedies to supplement. That endeavor requires additional resources, time, and labor to produce. Other natural factors will also come into play.

Too Much or Not Enough Water and Fertilizer

Like wheat and corn, everything wants to kill or eat potatoes. Too much water, not enough water, too much fertilizer, fungus, pests, and disease. They’re easy to grow if planted at the right time, with the right pesticides/fungicides, correct amount of fertilizer, right amount of water, and disease resistant plants. But in a collapse, controlling the amount of water, fertilizer, and availability to pesticides/fungicides and disease resistant potatoes will be difficult and with limited/finite supplies. Understanding the soil quality and ph levels where you live, is necessary to growing potatoes and testing the soil every year will be necessary to optimize harvest yield.

What The Keto Diet Is

The Keto diet is a more primitive dietary method that focuses on consuming 75-80% or more of your calorie needs from fat sources, 15-20% of you caloric needs from protein, and 5% of your caloric needs from carbohydrates. The human body uses two types of consumable (food) energy. Sugars/carbohydrates turn into glucose and fats, which turn into ketones. Since most individuals have never really been on a Ketogenic diet (except when they were newborn infants breastfeeding, this means most people are not fat adapted (their body forgets how to produce ketones as an energy source for the cells), and would have to go through a transitioning period if their high carbohydrate food sources depleted or became very limited.

Tomorrow, I will go into how to transition food sources, more of the benefits of being on the diet in a collapse scenario, and how to practically provide the food sources necessary for this diet.

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  1. I am 66 yrs old and I have been a type II diabetic for 12 years. I have been on Metformin and Insulin shots for the past 5. In March I started the Ketogenic diet. In 4 weeks I had to stop my insulin shots because my glucose levels had dropped so much. I ahve also been losing weight slowly. (Bonus) My bi-annual blood tests in July showed a high-normal A1C, normal cholesterol and triglycerides. My fasting glucose levels are typically at or below 100. I no longer take statins, Metformin or Insulin. If your are Type II Diabetic, I would seriously look at the research being done with ketogenic diets in diabetic clinics.

    1. Agreed. I would also add that combining keto with intermittent fasting works REALLY well.

      Also, note that metformin has health benefits even for those that aren’t diabetic (it’s very good at reducing cancer risk)

    2. Dr. Whittaker has a 85%-90% cure rate for Type2 diabetes(insulin resistance) mainly dietary and nutritional deficiencies that are easily cured. Insulin,metformin etc are just to keep patients chronic and cash-flowing

  2. The 9/27 article by JLA may lead to some misconceptions about the role of glucose in the human body. The following quotes come from the college textbook “Biochemistry Fifth Edition – International Edition” by Berg, Tymoczko, and Stryer.
    Page 476: “Glucose is an important and common fuel. In mammals, glucose is the only fuel that the brain uses under nonstarvation conditions and the only fuel that red blood cells can use at all.”
    Page 851: “Glucose is virtually the sole fuel for the human brain, except during prolonged starvation. The brain lacks fuel stores, and hence requires a continuous supply of glucose. It consumes about 120 g daily, which corresponds to an energy input of about 420 kcal, accounting for some 60% of the utilization of glucose by the whole body in the resting state.”
    Also, in chapter 22, “Fatty Acid Metabolism,” we learn that the liver is the major site for the production of ketone bodies from fatty acids, and they “…are the normal fuels of respiration and are quantitatively important as sources of energy. Indeed, heart muscle and the renal cortex use acetoacetate (ketone bodies) in preference to glucose.” (page 616) We also learn, however, that to high a level of ketone bodies in the blood “…result in severe acidosis. The decrease in pH impairs tissue function, most importantly in the central nervous system.”
    People, please – few subjects can be more important than what you eat, even in the best of times. Search the source documents; imitate the Bereans! Recall Acts 17:11 – “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” I found “Biochemistry Fifth Edition” in an internet used book store for $12.32 delivered, and it has helped this mechanical engineer understand things of which I had hardly any prior knowledge.
    Oh, by the way. If you are tempted to go back in time to consider the Paleo Diet, why stop there? Why not go all the way back, to Genesis 3:19? “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…”

      1. On page 617 of my above referenced text, the lead paragraph reads “22.3.7 Animals Cannot Convert Fatty Acids into Glucose.” The paragraph following this title explains why that is in 5 sentences.
        If one is happy with one’s weight, I see no need of a keto diet.

          1. I believe that those who choose to embrace a ketogenic diet would benefit from an understanding of the bodily changes which would occur in response to a chronic reduction in dietary carbohydrates. From the text I have referenced before, the adult human in the well-fed state (their terminology) utilizes ~ 200 mg/dl of glucose daily. Glucose comes from only two sources – that already stored in the body in the form of glycogen, and dietary carbohydrates. In the normal 24 hour fed/fast cycle the glycogen stores supply the body with its glucose requirements during the nighttime fasting period. Because the brain has no glucose storage capabilities of its own, it depends on these glycogen reserves. In an extended carbohydrate fast, for whatever reason, which the text refers to as starvation, “…stored fuels (including fats) suffice to meet caloric needs for 1 to 3 months. However, the carbohydrate reserves are exhausted in only a day.”
            As fasting moves to starvation, the fuel needs of the brain will be shifted from glucose to ketone bodies, but the red blood cells will be adversely affected since they accept only glucose as fuel. Also, after 3 days of starvation, the muscle protein degradation rate levels out at 20 grams/day, and will continue degrading until the body’s triacylglycerol stores are depleted.
            So I would ask those who have been on a ketogenic diet for a while, any measurable change in your muscle mass? Have you seen any decrease in your blood count?
            You mentioned death in your above reply. From the text: “A person’s survival time is mainly determined by the size of the triacylglycerol depot. What happens after the depletion of the triacylglycerol stores? The only source of fuel that remains is proteins. Protein degradation accelerates, and death inevitably results from a loss of heart, liver, or kidney function.”
            I fail to understand why anyone would want to leave the well-fed state and voluntarily move in this direction.

  3. I have been doing keto since April and have never felt better. The diet has curbed my food addiction and I have lost 30 pounds without being hungry. My husband and I started this because of it’s benefit to your brain. My husband’s parents live with us. The both of them have Alzheimers. My husband has lost over 30 pounds and weighs what he did when we got married. We both sleep less, have more energy, and can think clearer. Look forward to the rest of your article.

  4. With all due respect to differing opinions, there is a lot of evidence that the low-carb diet does not produce longevity.
    The problem with the high-carb western diet, is the fractionating of the foods. What God hath joined together, let not man put assunder. White sugar, white flour, white rice, isolated starch, isolated fats (especially non-saturated vegetable oils–olive oil and coconut oil being the best exceptions), are all unnatural and harmful to the body.
    The best way to preserve health–both now and after a catastrophe–is through the plan laid out in Genesis 1-3.
    Most primitive societies eat a relatively high-complex-carbohydrate diet, with relatively little meat. The most common exception is societies that eat largely of fish.
    There is a reason why the Bible speaks of the “staff of bread.” In Scripture, the most common foods are (1) bread and (2) flesh. Fruit is next.
    Regarding soil depletion, the real cause is not the use of plant foods, but the use of the flush toilet. This nemisis of civilizations is a preventable cause of erosion. This applies whether you live on oats or beef.
    Fortunately, free-range grazing is not likely to cause significant soil depletion, because the animals do not use concrete vaults and pumping services to withhold their waste from the ground from which they are taken.

  5. “Tribal groups who have had to live in a more limited and primitive manner had a diet that consisted of a high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate regimen”

    yeah, and they also lived at about a 1 person per 10 square miles population density, if that. and they also fought vicious genocidal skirmishes in an effort to secure the resources needed to live that way.

    “A high carbohydrate diet requires wheat, corn, potato, rice, et cetera as the basis of the food source.”

    and one or more of these crops are the foundation for any civilized culture more advanced than nomadic. one of the reasons potatoes became so popular in europe was because potatoes enabled a poor farmer with only one acre of land and a shovel to support and raise a family.

    1. Pototoes didn’t exist in Europe until after they were brought back from the Americas in the 16th century. The “primitive” societies of the Americas had the largest cities in the world with more advanced agriculture,and mathmatics until nearly exterminated by europeans.

  6. Keto diet South Beach Diet Water Diet Paleo Diet Atkins Diet. All a bunch of garbage designed to separate people from their money. Want to lose weight? Eat fewer calories than you burn, get off your rear end and exercise, and stop eating things blatantly bad for you (soda, fast food, etc). The End. And I didn’t even charge you $19.95…

    1. The problem is carbs make you crave more carbs. I started intermittent fasting and low carb about 4 months ago and am already down 30 pounds. Whenever I go off diet the cravings come back. As long as I stay on I’m good. For me like most people, 1 cookie is too many and a dozen is not enough. So I remove the temptation.

      Note you don’t have to pay anything for this info, it’s all online for free. I just skip breakfast, don’t snack. And avoid grains and sugar. Easy peasy

  7. Most of the grains grown/consumed presently is different strains than grains of old. ie no good for you. Today’s wheat can cause gardening of the arteries. ANCIENT GRAINS are healthy. As they have not been TINKERED with by the a hole scientists. Bread in the bible in not like most bread of today.

  8. “Carbohydrates are complex sugar chains (glucose) that spike a person’s insulin. This gives them peaks of energy but also causes crashes in energy.”

    Pure myth and non-science.
    What actually happens is exactly what your body was developed to happen. The energy (read “good stuff”) is saved for later use. It can be seen as a spike in blood sugar (the “good stuff”) right after eating carbs and a decrease in blood sugar after your body saves the good stuff for later when you need it. With enough training/excercise over time your muscles and liver will store the good stuff in larger amounts allowing you to do more, much more physically. What we are actually talking about is not a “negative” but a very good and practical ability that your body has to store ‘quickly’ available energy right in your muscles and liver where it can be converted to kinetic energy in seconds. Ask any distance/marathon runner.

  9. Meat could be stored by canning or possibly dehydrating. But fats typically don’t store well long term. How does he expect to obtain the foods he requires in a long term grid down situation . it doesn’t apear to be a sustainable way of eating.

  10. I already do low carb/keto. But in a survival situation you’re going to eat what ever is available. And carbs can be a great source of calories (not so much needed at my desk job, but very needed in a survival situation).

    Moreover, it’s very possible to farm sustainable without fertilizers and pesticides. There are places in China that have been harvesting rice in the same spot for 4000 years. You just need to use sustainable practices.

    I would note though that root vegetables are far more efficient for growing (and easier to process) than grains. Moreover, there are more root vegetables than just potatoes. As with anything you want variety.

  11. I lost more than 40 pounds on Keto last year and unexpected bonuses were that my sinuses cleared up, I needed less sleep, and the occasional arthritis I had experienced completely went away due to diet’s tendency to reduce your body’s inflammatory response. So I am a big fan of the ketogenic diet and lifestyle.

    I don’t, however, expect to continue to practice it in a long-term emergency situation. Why? Because it is very difficult to stick to a ketogenic diet if you are living on long-term storage foods. In our storage we have buckets or #10 cans of wheat berries, #10, many different kinds of beans, pasta, soup mixes that include almost all of the above, lentils, dehydrated vegetables, pancake mix, banana chips and other dehydrated fruits, barley, chick peas, sugar, honey, etc. And keep in mind that common garden vegetables you might raise like squash, peas, carrots, and corn are high in carbs.

    Yes, we have Spam and other canned meats, but without refrigeration, most of the foods ketogenic diets demand will be unavailable, unless you can successfully hunt, fish, or raise enough livestock, which will be difficult early in a disaster unless you live in a very remote area.

    Frankly, I think dieting is a very first-world problem, and in a survival situation, we will no longer be living a first-world lifestyle. People will have enough trouble finding food that carbs of ANY sort will be welcomed.

    1. “Frankly, I think dieting is a very first-world problem, and in a survival situation, we will no longer be living a first-world lifestyle. People will have enough trouble finding food that carbs of ANY sort will be welcomed.”


  12. The author seems stuck on the idea of modern “mono crop” farming and ignores most cultivation was companion crops(the”Trinity” of corn,beans and squash)that can effectively feed a family on a relatively small area and has little soil depletion or rotation of crops that actually improves soil health and productivity and greatly reduces labor intensive practices like weeding and pest control. Certain crops(rice) need very strict growing conditions(monsoon type rains)to provide the water(flooded fields) to grow.

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