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.
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.
- Dietary Change To Fit A Post Collapse World- Part 1, By JLA (Active 9/28/18)
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 78 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
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Round 78 ends on September 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.