Dietary Change To Fit A Post Collapse World- Part 2, By J.L. Augusta

In part 1 of this article, we took a look at the carb-based diet logistics in a post collapse world and outlined some of the health and practical concerns. Additionally, I introduced the Keto diet. The Keto diet 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.

We will now look at a dietary change to fit a post collapse world. Doing so in advance of a collapse has its clear advantages.

Transitioning Food Sources

Transitioning out of a high carbohydrate diet typically occurs when a person has started to deplete their glucose stores within their body. Usually this happens when a person’s body goes into starvation mode and the body starts to consume body fat for energy. The process of using fat as energy is called ketosis, and the body produces ketones via the liver. The transition phase from a glucose energy source to a ketone energy source can be extremely uncomfortable and sometimes referred to as the “keto flu”. This phase exhibits flu-like symptoms without actually being infected and typically lasts between seven and ten days. In a post-collapse world, this could result in limited functionality and leave the individual or group extremely vulnerable.

Moving To Ketogenic Diet Prior To Collapse

Moving to a ketogenic diet prior to the collapse could provide significant health benefits. The first benefit would be that the body would become fat adapted, which allows the person to move in and out of ketosis without dealing with the symptoms of the “keto flu”. This increases the adaptability of the individual or group and removes the 7-10 day vulnerability period. Additional health benefits include stabilization of insulin levels, cholesterol levels, reduction of epileptic seizures, and more.

High Fat Diet Logistics

Logistically, being on the ketogenic diet would eliminate the need for large amounts of land in order to harvest significant amounts of food over a long period of time. The focus on food sources would be livestock, such as chickens, kunekune pigs, and sheep. These are viable meat sources that graze and do not require as much land as corn, wheat, or rice, taking into account crop rotation and soil nutrient depletion. (Note: Kunekune pigs are graze animals, but they can also eat leftover fruit, vegetables, and sometimes meat). In addition to livestock, hunting and trapping would also be viable.

Garden

Having a garden for vegetables and possible feed is still a must. However, with livestock on hand or animal remains from hunting/trapping, replenishing the nutrients for the small amount of land is a much easier task. Storing blood from slaughtered animals to make blood meal will add nitrates to the soil, and processing animal bones from slaughtered animals to make bone meal will add nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to the soil. Manure from your animal can also be used to add additional nutrients to your soil and improve soil quality. This reduces the risk of nutrient depletion and will help maintain additional food sources for the long term. Also the requirements for the amount of land required to grow the food is considerably less.

Be mindful though that the larger the land requirements are for producing crops as a food source, the more blood, bone meal, and manure is required to maintain the nutrient integrity of the soil. This makes being in a high fat, moderate protein diet more viable, since the animal parts necessary to reintroduce nutrients into the soil are readily available, if you have prepared to live in this lifestyle prior to the collapse.

Storage and Preparation of Meats

Storage and preparation for animal meats can be easily accomplished and does not take up as much space nor is it as time consuming and labor intensive. In the event that freezing the meats is not an option, removing the fat and drying the meats is viable. Fat storage from animal meats is equally easy to accomplish via canning. Canned fat can then be used later for cooking. Fat or lard has a much longer shelf life and is not prone to spoilage as long as the fat is sealed and placed in a dark area for storage, making it edible for years. If the fat is spoiled (oxidized but not contaminated with bacteria since bacteria cannot grow in fat), the odor will be noticeable and can be thrown out or reused in another capacity.

Meat Choices

Chickens and kunekune pigs are very good choices as a meat source in a post collapse world, due to the lack of space required. Kunekune pigs are also excellent sources of fat but have a longer growing period than other pigs. One acre can support four or five kunekune pigs for grazing. Moving them from one area to another to graze can be easily handled with a movable electric fence, which uses solar power. Any excess grass can be harvested, dried, and stored for winter use. Easy to come by, storable, and inexpensive anti-parasite products for both kunekune pigs are garlic powder as a dewormer and diatomaceous earth (DE) for everything else.

Some bacterial infections may still occur, but it is rarer in a clean pasture that has not been contaminated with an infected pig, so researching the common types and consulting your local livestock vet prior to the collapse is always a good idea. Chickens are pretty easy and can range the entirety of your property (except where you have the kunekune pigs); the kunekune pigs can and probably will eat the chickens. You can also add DE into their food for protection against parasites.

High Fat Diet Health

The health benefits of being on a ketogenic diet in a post-collapse world are considerable. The energy levels of the individual while in ketosis (but out of the transition phase) are stabilized. There are no peaks and crashes due to the lack of an insulin spike. Tests have also shown that individuals that are on a ketogenic diet improved glycemic levels with no adverse effects, for individuals with Type 2 diabetes. What this means is that the insulin levels start to normalize on individuals with Type 2 diabetes, when they go into ketosis.

Consult With Your Doctor

Please note that if you plan to start the keto diet before the collapse, you need to consult with your doctor, as your insulin medication dosage will need to be modified until your body acclimates. After the collapse, the likelihood of going into ketosis is very high, and that may cause issues for individuals with Type 2 diabetes while they are still using their medication.

Epilepsy

Individuals with epilepsy will find the ketogenic diet to be highly beneficial as well, and it is currently used as a form of treatment in the more extreme cases where the individual’s seizures cannot be controlled with medication. In a post collapse world, those individuals should have a better chance at surviving and functioning versus being on a standard, high carbohydrate diet.

Summary

In summary, moving to a ketogenic diet prior to a collapse reduces many issues that arise with trying to maintain land conservation for food crop production. It also has lower land requirements to be more self sufficient (taking crop rotation and soil nutrient replenishment into account). Being in ketosis prior to the collapse also removes the vulnerability phase (keto flu), if the individual or group suffers from a period of starvation.

A ketogenic diet removes many inefficient or detrimental logistical factors that could compromise an individual or group’s food source if done improperly or not done at all. This includes soil nutrient replenishment, planting and harvesting practices, as well as removal of parasitic species (weeds, parasites, pests).

The time saved adopting this dietary change can be used to focus on other necessary areas needed for increasing survival rates. This can include maintenance and repair of equipment, increased security patrols and inspections, fortification additions, and additional resource gathering.

The trade advantage of meat products cannot be overstated. If an individual or group are in a position to be able to trade livestock animals that are alive and healthy, this will be worth a mint, as they can reproduce to provide more food and require much less effort, energy, and resources to grow and harvest.

See also:

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13 Comments

  1. I’m working on learning to be entirely self sufficient on our own land. This means dealing with all the ramifications of mineral restoration. I am well on my way. It is possible! One day, I may write an article about it, when I get it all figured out. Haha. To do it, it is critical to have animals to help you. I am right now learning how to feed chickens without grain. It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. I haven’t figured out how to have high fat content from a milk cow without grain/cottonseed meal. I’d love to get there. The old timers, according to accounts from actual farmers, always bought grain for their cow, or else grew some cotton and corn for her. She feeds everything else, so she gets the primo ration. I don’t have a source on my land for DE. I can grow onions and garlic and hot peppers. And the need for worming cows and goats goes wayyyyyyy down when you run chickens and guineas along with them. I live in the Deep South, where there is lots of bugs. Actually most folks around here spend lots of money on insecticides. I actually need to start growing bugs to feed my birds. The geese and ducks are amazing weeders. I pull weeds to keep them fed. And they do very well on the ant population too.

  2. Keto flu is actually a result of mineral depletion, sodium in particular. The body needs more water in ketosis for optimal function. Fluids flushing through the kidneys deplete sodium and potassium. The simple option is to increase salt intake. Pickle juice is highly recommended as an immediate relief from symptoms. I use a mix of salt, and Nosalt on my foods. I salt all food to taste, and believe me, food tastes better with salt. My symptoms of Keto flu lasted exactly one day because I increased my salt intake at the onset of symptoms. I still find that if I am working hard outside I may need additional sodium. I carry salt packets in my gear, just in case.

  3. JL. I have nothing against the ketogenic diet if health issues permit it. My daughter is on it and is experiencing really positive results. But i have to wonder if you’ve raised meat animals or gardened much. Also what kind of climate you live in. Animals need food, year round. If you have an acre of fertile land it supposedly will sustain 5 of the pigs. They will take approximately 5 months to achieve maturity. That means after 5 months (IF all goes well) you could potentially have 5 pigs to last for 5 months (of course you ll need to keep a sow and boar for rebreeding so that leaves 4 to eat). Then how long do you think that acre of land will sustain constantly having pigs on it? Pork is quite fatty so may not dehydrate well. Canning will work. Canning lard isn’t currently recommended (although i have done it. ☺) but in warm climates you would have to be careful. If living in a colder climate like I do, food has to be put up for winter feeding. I could continue but I really don’t think this type of diet would be a good one to count on . Especially if you expect extra people to live with you.

    1. I liked and benefited from this 2 part, and yet wondered about the choice of livestock or the author’s context too. I live in oak/madrone woods, and if Appalachians getting through hard times was my example I think I would be better served by American Guinea Hogs mostly because I’d feed them kitchen scraps and silvopasture. Not that I’ve tried it, but I’ve read they were the homestead pig.

      Sheep for me would be a bad fit due to parasite build up during the 3 rainy seasons. People around here suceed with goats, and cattle so that is the climate for this reader.

      I do have chickens. They make amazing compost (100x faster than the forest) with their scratching and reduce our tick population. I can catch them when I need to, it’s very easy to get them to go where they want to go. Which is ussually the same place I want them at least on a good day. But they have that opsec issue. Well the pecker-headed males do. So if things really went sideways cotournix quail and rabbits would be way more discreet.

      I’m inclined to start quail (for the higher fat) and get that learning curve humped next. While times are good and embodied energy is hardly considered by the markets.

      Before I start this; can anyone advise me on a downside to texas a&m cotournix quail compared to rabbits for a sustainable homestead-scale meat source?

  4. I was looking forward to reading about fats that store well and would be useful. From the article, I got pigs and chickens out of it. I have read about coconut oil last a long time. peanut butter would be a useful item for fat. other ideas?

    1. Peanut butter does not store well, at least not if you are talking several years. It will eventually go rancid.

      Related specifically to keto, peanut butter is not a good option, in my opinion. Too many carbs, even if you get the natural stuff with no added sugar.

      Coconut oil, on the other hand, is ideal for both keto and long term storage. I have read that virgin or extra virgin coconut oil can be safely stored 3 to 5 years, and I have also read that it is good indefinitely. One family in our survival group has 5-gallon buckets of it stored away, so we’ll have to hope for the latter!

      For storage fats, you can buy ghee in jars, canned butter — or can your own — and even sometimes you will find canned cheese. But for any stored fat, rotate to keep your stocks relatively fresh.

  5. The only realistic diet after TSHTF is a whatever is available diet. Fad diets will be in the dust bin of history. You will eat whatever you can find and you will be happy/lucky to get it.

    IMHO fad diets are the hobby of the rich and indolent. Not many “workers” choose these fad diets.

  6. Getting calories from animals is always less efficient than getting them from plants. Depending on the animal you need to feed it from 3 to 6 times the amount of calories than you get from it when you eat it.

    IE if you can get x calories one acre as plant calories you would need 3 to 6 acres to get an equivalent amount of animal calories.

    Getting calories from animals is just less efficient. Of course there can be other circumstances that make it more worhwhile. For example, marginal grassland that can support a limited number of animals but isn’t very productive for farming.

    (Note as I’ve already stated, I do keto, plus intermittent fasting already for the health benefits because I’m sedentary. I think if you are active all day the benefits are less).

    1. That is true but it misses the point. I’m not to crazy about hay and grass but cattle are. I like beef and you can’t grow beef in your garden. So if you like eat the grass and will asparagus but I will continue to prefer animal protein.

  7. My husband and I have been on and off the keto diet for several months and have lost 20+ pounds. My only concern with it is the constipation, which I already have a problem with. Not enough fiber.

    1. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, green beans, a salad of lettuce, celery, green onion, and ham dressed with olive oil and herbs. Prepare the vegetables with butter, salt and pepper, garlic, paprika etc. Eat reasonable portions of one of these with every meal, these are low carb, plenty of fiber, will solve constipation problem and keep your test stick in the middle range if you are otherwise “being good”. And don’t go on and off the diet, it will be your friend for life.

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