Lifeboats Versus Yachts, by Survivormann99

Most readers of this fine blog are well beyond the preparedness novice level. People in this more advanced category often forget their mindset, questions, and concerns when they first became involved in the field of preparedness. This is the case whether the prepping neophyte is preparing for a few days of inconvenience resulting from an ice storm, or a long-term survival ordeal as a result of a massive attack on the national power grid.

It is also the case that most articles submitted to web sites across the internet are intended for those readers who are far ahead in their journey toward self-sufficiency or preparedness.

From time to time, however, I believe that it is useful to see articles that help those who are taking their first tentative steps in prepping/preparedness. This information can help them to make good choices as they begin their path toward their ultimate objective. As with so many areas of human interest, bad choices at the beginning of the journey will have consequences that negatively impact the result. Here are three assumptions:

  • Let’s assume that you are a typical American and that, for family or compelling professional/financial reasons, you are unable or, simply, unwilling to pull up stakes and to re-locate to an area that will allow you to live an independent, self-sufficient lifestyle.
  • Let’s assume that you are realistic about the fact that your preparedness efforts will involve storing “beans, bullets, and band-aids” and other provisions and equipment for use when times get spicy.
  • Let’s assume that you fully understand that, if/when the “balloon goes up,” you will either make it, or not make it with what you have on hand at the time. You will sink or swim with the resources you have accumulated and that it is likely that the cavalry won’t be coming anytime soon–and perhaps not for a very long time.
A Rescue Yacht?

When it comes to preparing for hard times, then ask yourself whether you want to choose the rescue “yacht” approach or the “lifeboat” approach.

By saying the rescue “yacht” approach, I mean becoming the type of person who completely understands that the cruise ship that we call everyday society might sink one day. After this happens, this person using this approach plans to be safe on the equivalent of a yacht he has prepared for this purpose.

This person expects to live quite well after the ship goes down, and he is willing/able to spend a very considerable amount of money for pallets of freeze-dried entrées in order to provide for himself and his family for the duration of the calamity–and to do so quite well. The old series, “Doomsday Preppers,” for example, sometimes featured individuals who had the financial resources to make this happen at the missile silo or the former government facility they had purchased.

Let’s look at the “yacht” approach a little closer and say that you, yourself, adopted it. Say that you go whole hog and all in with your preparedness efforts. If you decide to buy No. 10 cans of excellent freeze-dried Beef Stroganoff, for example, you can find it on Amazon for around $37 per can as I write this. (It can be found at cheaper prices during sales, of course, and it can be bought cheaper in bulk quantities—but, hey, work with me here.)

There are 10 servings of Beef Stroganoff per can, but only about 260 calories per serving. So, for a per serving expense of $3.70, an adult male will get about 1/8 of his daily caloric needs, unless, of course, he is sitting and reading a book all day, in which case he will get about 1/5 of his daily caloric needs per serving.

For a really active male in the prime of life, and for a male who is involved in strenuous activity (cutting firewood comes to mind), if that Beef Stroganoff was his only sustenance that day, that is one can with a price tag of $37.00 each day. (I understand that no one is likely to eat only Beef Stroganoff for a day unless the person had nothing else available. The example is for illustrative purposes only. You can check for yourself what other freeze-dried entrées and freeze-dried vegetables cost.)

How’s that $37.00 expense each day for, say, 6 months or a year going to fit into your budget? If it is no problem, good for you!

Now add the necessary amounts of the same Beef Stroganoff for each adult and child in your family/group. Still good? Then really good for you!

But if that expense is just “beyond the Pale” with regard to the actual financial resources you can afford to use (or are willing to use), then you might want to consider very seriously the “lifeboat” approach. As with a basic lifeboat following a maritime calamity, you understand that the circumstances will be less than perfect, but you also understand that being in a lifeboat certainly beats treading water.

I took a short course this year where the instructor took students to a river flood plain and pointed out edible plants that Indians ate when times got to be particularly tough for them. They wouldn’t touch these plants in good times, he said, but, when nothing else was available, they did eat them to survive. Thus, they were “survival food.” I had never quite thought of the issue that way when I used the expression survival food.

A survival plan using a lifeboat approach needs to be relatively inexpensive, nourishing, and tolerably flavorful. A word comes to mind on this issue of survival food: staples. Another word comes to mind: calories.

While the following is hardly comprehensive, it is my opinion that you will be well-served if you add significant amounts of certain basic staples to your larder in order to provide the calories that will get you through a long term and serious crisis.

Inexpensive Staple Foods

Hard red and hard white winter wheat will provide essential calories and sustenance by way of your “daily bread.” Wheat grain can also be boiled and served like oatmeal, with sugar or honey, and, perhaps, cinnamon added to start the day. Wheat can also be sprouted in order to provide greens for the diet when fresh garden vegetables are not available over a long, harsh winter.

Long grain white rice is an excellent source of carbohydrates. It also provides many vitamins and nutriments. (Brown rice is more nutritious, but it does not store well.)

Beans, such as Pinto Beans, are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. They also provide a considerable amount of vitamins and minerals.

During my survival “journey” I learned about the LDS approach to preparing for hard times. The Mormon Church has always emphasized food storage with basic staples. I read somewhere that until around 1950, it recommended that members store 5 years of food for each person in the family. I understand that it currently recommends storage of 25 lbs. of grain—wheat, corn, rice, or other grain—per month, per individual. It recommends 5 lbs. of beans per month, per individual.

As it turns out, the Mormons are a good source of many basic staples for storage needs. Note that they gladly sell to Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

Hard red winter wheat can be purchased from the Mormons in No. 10 cans. A case of six cans (33 lbs.) costs $21.00. Rice, another basic staple, can be purchased from the Mormons. A case of six cans (32.4 lbs.) costs $30.00. A case of six No. 10 cans of Pinto Beans (31.2 lbs.) cost $33.00.

I have also found that feed stores in many rural areas, such as the one in my old stomping grounds, carry hard red winter wheat and hard white winter wheat for less than $13.00/50 lb. bag. (You do not want to buy soft wheat due to its much shorter shelf life.)

I also find long grain white rice at a restaurant supply store near me for less than $9.99/25 lb. bag. Pinto beans at the same restaurant supply store were about $12.00/25 lb. bag a month ago. (There is apparently a temporary shortage.)

Wheat, combined with rice and beans, such as pinto beans, actually provides a huge part of your nutritional requirements, as well as, obviously, caloric needs. Adding vitamin pills to the larder will go a long way in meeting any deficiencies.

Definitely Affordable

So let’s say that you purchase 50 lbs. of wheat from a feed store, and 25 lbs. of rice from a restaurant supply store. And let’s say you add 25 lbs. of pinto beans from a restaurant supply store. The cost of this “larder” would currently be around $35.00 for what amounts to more than 60 days of food for two people, less than the cost of one freeze-dried No. 10 can of Beef Stroganoff.  

I say “more than 60 days” because you will have 15 lbs. more beans than the Mormons recommend, and because you will have been smart enough to take advantage of bulk prices. (A 4 lb. bag of pinto beans locally is about $6.00 in a supermarket. At a local restaurant supply store, a 25 lb. bag of pinto beans is about $12.00. You pick. Hint: It’s a Darwin Test.)

Is a combination of wheat, rice, and beans tastier than freeze-dried Beef Stroganoff, Turkey Tetrazzini, etc.? No, but we’re talking about what you can eat to survive for the long term, not for what you might choose for gourmet dining. This bland diet of grain and beans I mention would be “survival food,” not gourmet food. You will eat it to survive when you have no other choice.

Yet, I fully expect that, given what you already have in your pantry, and what you are likely to add over time, you can augment these food storage staples and stretch them well beyond 60 days with the “lifeboat” approach. These additional items in your pantry will help you avoid diet fatigue. The list of food items you probably already have and to which you can add the rice, alone, is probably very lengthy.

About diet fatigue, I view it as being somewhat similar to the aversion most people have to eating leftovers for very long. When hard choices need to be made, however, I am reminded that people in the Soviet Union were pulling wallpaper from the wall after the Russian Revolution or during World War II in order to get to the wheat paste used to hold it in place. You are likely to eat whatever you have in order to survive.

Just multiply $17.50 (that $35.00 I mentioned divided by 2) a month per individual for as many months as you believe are necessary, and I expect that you can afford the basic core of a much deeper storage larder than you ever expected, even if you have to build up that larder over time.

Besides the fat content in various food items you already have in your pantry, you probably already have cooking oil of various types. Fats are an essential, and, given their relatively short shelf life, add more from time to time as you slowly build your larder.

How Long?

The Mormons say to plan for 12 months of hard times. Others say 2 years, and some say even 5 years. Even if you plan for only 6 months, you are far, far ahead of the average American. (Remember the expression, “We’re only 9 meals away from a riot.”)

The Mormons welcome non-Mormons to purchase the food from them, so don’t be bashful. Go to this site and click on the online store link in the first paragraph and see all of the items the Mormons will ship to your doorstep.

Compare those prices to others you find on the internet. I expect that you will be shocked.

Depending where you live, you might want to simply drive to an LDS Bishop’s Storehouse and make your purchases over-the-counter. Here’s a list of locations.

My figures for the monthly food expense mentioned above were based on feed store prices and restaurant supply store prices. Remember that you are paying a little more than feed store prices for the convenience of buying Mormon wheat, although the price of other basic staples they offer is rarely equaled elsewhere. (Note that the shipment will come in boxes that are clearly marked for their content, so you might want to purchase a smaller amount at one time, or perhaps have it shipped to different places. You know, OPSEC.)

After you have enough basic staples stored to satisfy your estimate of your long term needs, I suggest that then, and only then, you should begin to acquire the varied foods that will delight your palate during hard times.

If you do buy bulk wheat, store it in mylar bags that can be bought for about $2.00 each on Amazon. Search YouTube videos about how to use them. The mylar bags will hold 25 lbs. of grain and more. Place them in food grade 5-gallon buckets that you can find at Lowe’s. The buckets will protect the bags from punctures and rodent damage. Use oxygen absorbers, or add food-grade diatomaceous earth to the wheat to kill the weevils that are always present in wheat and flour. You can buy food grade diatomaceous earth at feed stores, online, and at other outlets. For humans, it is harmless to consume food-grade diatomaceous earth.

Whether you knew it or not, weevils and their eggs are almost always present in wheat. That is why many people prevent the eggs from hatching by keeping their flour in the freezer. But, hey, weevils increased the protein level of that delicious birthday cake you ate a while back, so it’s all good.

So, there you have it. You can choose the rescue yacht alternative and be comfortable for a day, or you can choose the lifeboat alternative, and, for basically the same money, be secure for 60 days. With which choice will you and your family be more secure in hard times? You choose. (And, again, hint: It’s a Darwin Test.)

 




74 Comments

      1. I’ve never heard of it, but they are oxygen activated. Interesting proposal.

        Rust is iron oxide, and it is absolutely possible for rust to suck up the oxygen in small spaces.

        As they saying goes, further study is needed.

      2. Yes, i use two hand warmers per 5 gal bucket/mylar bag. The chemical reaction is the same as for the oxygen absorbers – because they are an oxygen absorber. They are more economical for me since I might do a bucket or two at a time and bulk O2 absorbers would go to waste.

  1. Great article for beginners and reminders for old timers. Also, in some larger cities the LDS Bishop’s Storehouses used to allow people to can their own dry products; not sure if this is still in effect though so call ahead to make an appointment.

    Years ago, I used to ask my family “What do you want to have with your wheat and beans?” The most popular responses were the kids wanted chocolate pudding and my husband wanted beef. Of course I also got lots of spices and dry milk to make a variety of dishes and then we moved on from there. Think calories and family comfort food to get through an emergency and stressful time.

  2. Prep all you want.
    SHTF is NOT coming any time soon.
    We are witnessing the culmination of evil. Being controlled is worse than death, therefore evil will be looking to control all humans, NOT KILL THEM OFF… Every day we’re being fed BS by the MSM and the alt media too. We’re being kept on edge, while measures of CONTROL reach higher levels. With all the endless threats of major catastrophe, NONE of them have reached the point of crippling civilization. That’s because evil knows that the continuation of civilization is humanities worst nightmare. Without INTERVENTION this s#%t show will continue.
    God or Revolution is our only hope.

    1. @WindmillDown- Define your SHTF any way you want. Ignore them all at your own peril. No skin off of my nose. But the rest of us might want to protect our families from 1) Disruptions in the ‘Just-In-Time’ distribution system 2) Shortages or rationing due to war 3) Crop failures due to weather or other factors 4) Temporary or long-term economic disaster or monetary reset 5) any other unforeseen nightmares.
      You can’t prepare for everything, so the main one I prepare for is the World War II model. Food is rationed. Shoes and clothing is rationed. Many products are not being produced or are being used mainly for the war effort. And it lasts for 5 years. My scenario does not account for every possibility, and does not eliminate all the consequences of any of them, but it will make it more bearable for my family. I do not have every bit of food that i will need, but what I have got will stretch what food is available considerably. We have rice and beans, spices and canned vegetables to supplement food available for sale to my family. We have some extra clothes and shoes for the future, mostly from thrift stores. We have good tires on all our vehicles. We have backup heat, backup cooking methods, candles, and a backup water supply. We have large supply of first-aid supplies and remedies for colds and other issues. You can do it too. Best wishes.

      1. P.S.- cooking your own food is WAY cheaper and more satisfying than store-bought survival food, not to mention the fact that you know what is in it. With practice, you can eat for way less money while eating much better.

      2. Thanks Nathan, but you’re missing the point.
        I am not arguing against prepping. I have been prepping for years, and in fact am working toward a lifestyle of total self sufficiency. I pride Independence, and also hold admiration to all those that pull out of this s#@t show, aka civilization.
        My point is that while we continue to prep for a “major event” aka “SHTF”, the ONLY thing that IS happening, is all of us getting backed into a corner, more and more,every day-month-year…Your (our) LIBERTIES and PRIVACY, not to mention our GENETIC TRAITS, are slowly being DESTROYED………while we sit and “wait” for the big day to come.
        Point is: We need REVOLUTION. Pull the plug on them.

        1. A revolution ? Please define that. Who would be starting it ? Who would they be fighting against ? Would it be a civil war ? Would it be a political event ? What is it supposed to accomplish ? Please explain.
          The way I see it, my job and my goals are to protect my family, my friends and possibly my neighbors from harm. And to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution as originally written. I will not be participating in any revolution against anyone, except to attain those goals.
          If we are attacked I will help to fight back and defend ourselves and our country. Otherwise, no thanks.

  3. You can no longer can your own at the bishops storehouses. Also we are not Mormons. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Mormon is a non-member slang term that is not approved by the church.

    1. Most people who say ‘Morman’ mean no disrespect. It was only a couple years ago that the “Morman Tabernacle Choir” dropped the Morman part from their name.

  4. Excellent article. The #10 cans of staples are awesome and I didn’t know they are available. My only contribution is to consider metal 5 gallon containers from ULine or similar Instead of plastic. Several tons of fine combustible particles makes for a nasty fire and the loss of all your food. Plastic just adds highly toxic gasses to the mixture (cyanide, flurophosgene, etc.). Metal isolates the fuel and denies oxygen. It’s not protection against a total conflagration but should survive almost anything less.

  5. All good points. Many of us can’t afford yachts, more like rowboats! I find it frustrating that the MSM approach to portraying prepping as well as some preparedness websites makes it seem as if purchasing a year’s worth of dry prepared meals in #10 cans is the only way to go. This of course makes people feel helpless when they confront the price tag for this. I personally don’t even understand why anyone who did have that kind of money would want to live on nothing but cans of freeze dried Stroganoff anyway but that’s just me.

    In terms of sourcing I have found that it really pays to shop around as you noted. For instance, I’ve been trying to find an affordable supply of farro(love the stuff!). I’ve been buying it in small bags at retail prices both in stores and online but was trying to find a better deal. Figured maybe my local food coop would be a good source to buy it in bulk but not the case. They only give you a 10% discount off their rather inflated store prices if you buy in bulk. A 25 lb bag of conventional Farro was going to cost $112 there! I’ve located the same 25 lbs of Farro, but organic even, for half that price at an online restaurant supply store. The shipping charges aren’t small but if I’m buying other items with it as I will, the shipping charge isn’t too bad spread out among all of the other products. They also sell honey in bulk, organic even, lots of beans and other grains etc. so a good choice, especially if you’re buying a lot or can team up with others to cut the shipping charge. So restaurant supply stores sell a lot more than just #10 cans of pizza sauce!

  6. I went on a 4 day survival hike once with just 5lbs of rice and 5lbs of pinto beans. Simply boiled in water both were pretty much inedible and didn’t come close to fulfilling my calorie loss. I made a bee line to Burger King at the end of the hike with what little energy I had left.

    Lesson was to include butter, lard, salt, pepper, spices, dried veggies/meat, etc. in your storage plans or the basics will taste like wallpaper paste.

    1. Thats funny, i bet your body was dying for the fat.

      Rendered fat is sold in 3rd world countries to mix with their rice. It is very essential and a huge calorie booster. I have a overnight hike on pinhoti trail next week. I’m packing heavy on the protein- tuna, sardines and trail mix. I find raw rice to time consuming on the trail so im going to take precooked rice with some oils this time.

      Im in the life-boat, except i’m in it because freeze dried foods are unappealing to me unless were talking hiking weight. Rice, spices, and my garden id take any day over freeze dried food. Got a #10 can of lasagna, opened it and cooked it, barf.. id rather survive off spaghetti O`s.

      1. Re sardines: only Goya has real sardines. They taste more like light tuna than anything else; a very vivid flavor. Decades ago the government allowed any small fish to be called a sardine. Having been raised on real ones, I knew the difference.

        Real sardines also have powerful nutritional value.

        And the Goya sardines are packed in olive oil, so you don’t need to add extra.

  7. Survivormann99, this is an excellent article.

    I started out with the ‘yacht’ mindset (FD in #10 cans) and gradually moved to the ‘lifeboat’ approach. While there are always other factors, I now think more in terms of $/2,000 calories (one person one day).

  8. One comment about the food: If anyone is a diabetic, type 1 or 2, that food list will impact you in a big way. All of those foods will drive your blood sugar up and you will suffer and maybe die. I have yet to see anyone address this and I do not have any answers.

    1. RE Buck;

      I was just thinking the same thing. My type II diabetes is controlled by diet and this food list would just about kill me, though beans in moderation isn’t too big of a hit as the proteins balance out the carb loading.

      In doing a little research into this, to get the require calorie daily would involve a lot of meat, quality fat and vegetables… Alot of vegetables. I have to do this daily and it is difficult in good times. Still looking for that holy grail, though, if anyone has any further ideas.

      1. to both Solo and Buck…
        Do a search and look into Jerusalem Artichokes (aka Sun chokes), not only are they mentioned many times as a control food for type II, but are also a perennial vegetable and require little to no garden maintenance and easy to grow. Good luck

    2. So for what it’s worth, my two cents on this topic. I don’t prep(or cook) for anyone with diabetes but I don’t chose to store(or use) lots of white flour, white rice, simple carbs etc. as I don’t think they are healthy. A diabetic who’s trying to do food storage though should be able to store and eat the following I would think(but again, ask your doc);

      -whole grains such as wheat, farro, quinoa, buckwheat etc, dry beans, lentils, garbanzos(make hummus with this!), steel cut oats, canned fish(tuna, salon, sardines etc), nuts, seeds, nut butters w/o sugar, tahina, canned/dried meat. Quality oils such as extra virgin olive oil also store well.

      A way to continue to have high quality dairy products and eggs would be important(maybe raise chickens and/or ducks for both eggs and meat ). Consider a family goat! And of course grow your own healthy veggie that are lower on the glycemic index(greens, cruciferous veggies etc).

    3. Buck, I am not diabetic but I wonder if you could free-dry your regular foods? I FD full meals all the time. Freeze-dryers have come down in price and could offer you a decent ROI depending on what you need to store. Also, try sprouting for the needed fresh greens. Just an idea.

    4. To counter that a little for type 2 diabetics, we all would probably have moderate to huge weight loss over time, which would probably really help type 2’s.

      It’s called “the new disaster diet”!!

    5. Here you @Buck and others. I am type 2. My food storage is LDS bought beans, rice, flour, oatmeal in #10 cans. I also bought bags of OVA easy freeze dried whole egg crystals several years ago while on sale. I bought the huge mylar bags( miscalculation, now realize smaller bags would be more practical for day to day use.) However just opened a big bag( best by 2014 ) tried some scrambled them up, they were fine. So sealed the rest in seal-a meal- bags and added 02 absorber packets in smaller quantities. That helps with increasing protein to bean meals, oatmeal breakfast w/scrambled eggs or eggs alone. Make sure to store meds if dr will cooperate and glucose strips to keep an eye on bs. If runs too high, go protein and lo carb, walk around your house to get those muscles to burn glycogen stores. Inside or out whichever is doable. Also store can walmart spam, canned chicken, canned tuna and sardines. Good luck!

    6. Try black soybeans. They MUST be black; only the black ones are safe as they do not have any appreciable amount of phytoestrogens.

      I repeat: black soybeans DO NOT have significant amounts of dangerous estrogen mimicking compounds, which other soybeans do.

      On the other hand, they are full of healthy phytochemicals. Best of all, they taste like ordinary black beans; none of that nasty soy flavor.

      Black soybeans have 30-40 percent protein, with the rest being fats and fiber, and very little carbohydrate.

      If you are diabetic, or pre-diabetic, black soybeans are your best long term storage bet. You can buy them in bulk from Eden Foods. They are organic, and the company is Christian.

  9. As Avalanche Lily has recommended several times, check out Ice age farmer, I started listening recently and they describe how there are shortages in in Beans, ect.
    I have not checked the store shelves myself, I stocked up on beans and rice last summer. it may be in certain areas that this is the case.

  10. Many years ago I read a story about a American who choose to live in Africa and travel with tribal men who were on hunting trips. They mostly ate cornmeal mush. He found that his Western stomach and digestion system didn’t allow him to eat enough of this low calorie food to sustain himself while the natives could put it away by the bowlfuls.

  11. Another consideration is storage space – freeze dried food, quite tasty stuff, is “high volume/low density” in #10 cans when calories are computed, as Survivorman99 pointed out.

    Rice, beans (of several types), wheat (hard, in both white and red) have much greater “calorie per unit volume” than freeze dried.

    A dehydrator is a worthwhile investment, you can produce and vacuum-can everything from dried fruit to jerky in your choice of meat.

    I’ve chosen what I hope is a balanced approach; high caloric density foods, purchased in bulk quantities to lower the price, coupled with as much freeze dried product as budget and storage space will allow, plus canned food for shorter term use and more “day-to-day convenience.”

    Pro tip: find a friend who owns a restaurant and who will let you add to his regular order from his food supplier (commercial supply houses don’t allow “walk-in” trade, you have to have an existing account to buy from them); restaurant suppliers have the best prices, although usually #10 cans are what’s available, requiring “repackaging” before storage; the supply houses that cater to convenience stores and “mom and pop” grocery stores will have flats of 8 oz and 16 oz cans, in either 12 or 24 cans, and at prices that rival, and usually beat, “buy one/get one” sale prices at supermarkets and prices at warehouse clubs. FYI, the only choice will be full flats and cases, NOT individual cans. Needless to say, it’s not just “Cash is King” but not only will the supply houses not want to deal with your credit card, your restaurant-owning buddy will not be interested in dealing with that hassle either.

  12. Buck, I am not diabetic, but do research many types of eating habits. I think Keto or Carnivor diets may be an alternative. High carb diets raise bloodsugar levels. A person could use jerky, pemican, and dried meats to store enough food away for a diabetics survival. I think researching and praticing these diets now would be benificial to people. With pratice you can make your own jerky and pemican lots cheaper than trying to buy it. I also dehydrate meat to use in soups or “gravy”. We have wolves so I don’t eat any meat that is not cooked, the disease wolves carry is spread through their feces and is picked up from the grass and water. I cook up the bones for bone broth (that I pressure can) and ribs and any trimmings get cooked till the meat comes off the bones. I pull them out onto trays or pans to cool and to get them out of the broth, you want them as fat free as possible for dehydrating. When cool enough to work with, cut up to fit in meat grinder. Spread ground cooked meat on trays and dehydrate. Strain the big stuff out of the broth and can. Extra fat can be rendered thouroughly so their is no moisture in it (so it will keep) and can be stored in jars or used to make pemican. Adaption time for keto or carnivor can be stressful for some people so get into the lifestyle now, and many people claim they have recovered from diabeties using these ways of eating.

  13. Much of my storage food is in a schoolbus in galvanized trash cans and it’s freezing out there.. it all seems ok right now, but does anyone think it will hurt the beans, oats and wheat berries in the long run.

  14. Another idea to help on costs. Approach a local ‘casual food restaurant’ about them giving you the 5 gal food buckets they recieve food in such as pickles. They normally throw them away. Along with this, if they are agreeable, ask for the used coffee grounds AND the filters used. I did and rinsed all the buckets with a diluted bleach solution, air dried them all and filled either with water treated with bleach, or packed several for each member of the family with food and other supplies for about a weeks survival.
    Had more coffee grounds then needed to add to my compost but its rich.
    Also, once rinsed and air dried I have used several to store gas in as well. A little stablizer and good.
    In all I was able to obtain for free 80 5 gal buckets that otherwise would have been tossed in the trash.

    1. Jim,
      I live about 10 miles outside of a small town. For years I have been buying up 5 gallon food grade buckets for $1 each, including lids. They smell like pickles, but after bleach and several washes, they sure work great with Mylar & O2 absorbers. It has saved me a lot of money! You getting them for free is an even bigger deal. Bar-b-q restaurants often have these and will save them if you ask. Also bakeries have a smaller square version that also work well.

  15. Excellent article Survivorman. Hopefully my seed supply will stay dry in my little lifeboat and my stack of .22 shells will help the barbecued raccoon break up the monotony.

    My philosophy is, it’s crazy to “prep” expecting to pull this all out of a closet some day after the SHTF and then try to figure out how to work it all. IMHO we should already be using that wheat to make bread and sprouts, and those beans to make hummus, chili and baked beans. I don’t consider myself a “prepper” I’m just a guy living a self-reliant lifestyle who happens to have a lot of beans, bullets and bandaids because when you live so far out in the sticks, you stock up on stuff. And since I’m an armchair economist watching the current state of affairs, who also read that ominous note in the middle of page 2 on my social security report, I store up LOTS of stuff. 🙂 At any rate, the other good side of using all that wheat and beans is that is stays rotated.

    A note on wheat. I bought some wheat at my local feed store about eight years back and it wasn’t very clean. So the next time around, for a few bucks more (~$14/50 lbs) I had them order me some certified seed wheat instead. It only cost a few bucks more per bag and it was very clean. I not only grind it for flour, but it makes a great breakfast boiled and then eaten with butter and raisins. Then I discovered I could save a lot of money by not boiling it (which takes a lot of propane) and sprouting it instead, which only takes about 36 hours. I just barely sprout it, then heat it just enough to melt the butter, add salt and raisins for breakfast. You can sprout a lot at a time, then put it in the fridge to slow it down when it hits the stage you want.

    And for beans, a small pressure cooker will pay for itself in propane savings over time. Not only do they cut cooking times way down, they also cook beans at 250°F instead of 212°F so older beans which tend to get hard will soften up much more easily.

    https://www.amazon.com/Presto-6-Quart-Stainless-Pressure-Cooker/dp/B00006ISG6

    Survivorman, can you provide us any nutritional info on weevils??

    1. St. Funogas,

      I’ll surf the internet for as long as it takes to find out the weevil and weevil eggs info 🙂 It might turn out to be useful to add more of the critters to some of my storage. You know, protein and all.

      About using certified seed, a brother cautioned me about not storing corn that was commercially marketed seed corn. He said that it is dyed so as to mark it as seed corn and that it is treated with pesticides. One kernel showing up in a load of corn can result in the load being rejected.

      His opinion about seed corn is outside my paygrade, however, as is an opinion about certified wheat seed. Maybe someone with the “proper credentials” can address this issue.

      1. Survivorman, thanks for the pointers. I’ll wait to hear back on that weevil info. I did eat some rather huge insects (2″+) at a food stall in Cambodia once… not the tastiest things on the menu but I guess in a pinch they’d suffice.

        https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/cambodia-insect-food-street.html

        When my kids were little we were going to stir fry some grasshoppers once after reading about John the Baptist living off grasshoppers and honey. We caught a bunch and were pulling the heads and wings off before cooking. We discovered a bunch of them had very long parasitic worms of some kind that were coming out as we pulled the heads off… and we lost our appetites! lol. Of course, the heat of cooking them would have killed the worms. In a real TEOTWAWKI situation, those are the kinds of foods that nobody will be thinking about so they should be plentiful at first, and loaded with protein just like shrimp?

        On the seed wheat, the feed store had one bag on hand so I called the source on the label before I ordered a bunch more to be sure it hadn’t been treated. With more time on my hands now (and less money) I just need to learn how to clean regular feed wheat.

        1. Best bet on bug consumption is to learn to grow your own then it’s good grade with no added parasites and really cook em hot. There is \ was a small movement for insect consumption and many companies will ship you them food grade so you can eat them.

          You really can’t taste them if they are fried and ground up… My friend pulled that one on me. I was like delicious spaghetti and she goes “oh really…. I used crickets in the noodles sauce and meatballs” I asked how many…. She asked me to try and find her fridge crickets…. She used them all she informed me that it was roughly a pound of crickets I had consumed and that I owed her 50 bucks for winning the “you could never get me to have seconds if you served me stealth crickets betx

    2. Get a vacuum bottle/container. Before bed, pour 1/4 cup wheat and a cup or so of boiling water into it and close it. For breakfast dump out the excess water and the wheat will be soft and quite edible.

  16. You can get all your macro-nutrients and 2,000 calories/day by eating 6 servings of white rice, 3 servings of pinto beans, and 3 servings of spam.

    Carbs 66%, Fats 21%, and Protein 13% which meets nutritional recommendations.

    If you use 4 gallon square buckets (holds around 25#), you will need: 6 buckets of spam, 4 buckets of pinto beans, and 11 buckets of white rice to equal one man-year of food and it will cost around $900 if purchased from Wal-mart ([food grade] buckets from hardware store).

    If you substitute milk and EV olive oil for the spam, you can lower costs as the cost of the spam is 2/3rds your total outlay. Sugar is also a cheap and easy way to increase calories as long as you keep it under 10% of daily caloric intake.

    I have found that the “yacht” meals not only waste money, they also waste storage space. Many of the Mountain House #10 cans are 1/2 to 2/3 full to hit the $37 price. Given how much space all this stuff takes up, having the cans be 1/2 empty is a tremendous waste.

  17. As an alternative, you may want to watch “SENSIBLE FOOD STORAGE” and/or “ACU 1308 Wendy Dewitt Sensible food storage” on YouTube. Wendy is an “LDSer” and really knows her stuff.

  18. I would love to see an article that addresses the alternatives for type 2 diabetics. Is there anyone out there that can speak knowledgably to this subject? I would be very grateful for the input.

  19. In many ways I’m ahead of many people in prepping. As I read the “Profiles of Preppers” in the SurvivalBlog.com I realize that I am far behind many others. The preppers locations, the land they bought, the time they have been prepping, they must have made a lot more money than I did. Someone mentioned that the “new” prepper can get depressed because so many things are out of balance. Keeping up with “the Jones” can drive you insane. We need to evaluate our current life and balance that with our “survival life”. That may take a lot of money and cause a lot of family structure failure.

    Although I was in the Army Special Forces, it was 45 years ago (and 80 lbs lighter), I made $7800 before taxes, compared to my last year before retirement $302,000. I had a tent compared to 10 acres, 3br ranch house, 7 stall stables, springfed lake stocked, small sheds, and I still owe $112,000 even though I’m 66 yrs old. 66 yrs and it looks like I have Parkinsons Disease with difficulty walking (near impossible to carry a 100 lb rutsack) so now i’m feeling pretty much bugging in if SHTF. Weapons and ammo are plenty, and food is a concern since I’m got to stay here.

    Botttomline is I continue to research and plan, never give up. And build local team structures for mutal aid.

    There will always be those who have and those who don’t have, and those who want to survive and those who don’t even try.

    I will never quit, I have the tactical skills (memory is slowly fading) to raise hell, and the abilty to teach others (Instrurctor in many areas), and yet I still have miles to go before I sleep. thanks for sharing.

    1. I feel the same way about being ahead/behind on prepping. I don’t worry about it though but focus on making progress each week and month.
      I wanted to share this amazing Parkinson’s trial that is overseen by a UW doctor. If a person is wondering if they really do have Parkinson’s, these dogs can tell you in a few seconds! The link is pasted if you are interested. Also, FYI, I had a great uncle with Parkinson’s who spent his time felling trees and chopping wood on acreage for fun because he said the exercise abated his symptoms. After he broke his hip and couldn’t get exercise, the symptoms came back with a vengeance. Just thought I’d share. Are you in the Redoubt by chance? No worries if you don’t want to say. Anyways, love your attitude.

      https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/washington-dogs-trained-to-detect-parkinsons-disease/1002520683/

  20. I spent 2 years working a job in Utah. I was treated very well and learned many things about the Mormons. There are “Mormons” and then there are mormons… Just as with any other tribe. Tread lightly and leave your preconceived notions at home. # 1 thing to remember is when bad times hit, a Tribe is going to take care of it’s people first. People can either be a blessing or a lesson. Much depends on you.

    Hobo

  21. Ive heard that a good figure for food is 750 pounds of rice corn beans and wheat per year per person is a good number. Thats for a person aged 16 to 35 doing strenous work work.

  22. 2000 calories is a start. You should plan your meals higher in calories aim for 3 to 4 thousand calories. Then taper down.

    I work as a carpenter in both the construction site and shop capacity.

    While I’m working in the shop I must reduce my calories consumed below 2000 or I gain weight.
    When I switch back to heavy structural framing I’m at about 2000 to 2500 with some weight-loss.
    When I step up to concrete or hanging drywall my caloric count is more like 3000+ and still weight-loss occurs.

    The reason I believe is that the muscles are being pushed harder and building and using up more calories to do so.

    My weight will bounce between 250 to 200 summer and winter indoor vs hard labor.

    What I’ve found that works best for me is to add the extra calories needed in the form of proteins animal or plant.

  23. I like the yacht/lifeboat analogy and the point that you can lay in some long term storage food without shelling out big bucks cannot be over emphasized. As we stare the Wuhan Coronavirus in the face, this article is a very timely reminder for those that do not have much extra food on hand.

    Tim Bennet’s comment about Spam, above, may sound a bit extreme, but if you stock Spam, corned beef hash, canned chicken, canned ham, salmon, tuna, beef stew, chili, and other potted meats, you can get to the same place with more variety and, dare I say, fewer complains from the other passengers in your life boat!

    Yes, cultures have lived on diets of rice and beans or corn and beans, but when they have the choice they enhance these basic selections with spices, extra veggies and, when available, meats. When possible, add to your storage pantry simple things such as beef and chicken bouillon, olive oil, salt and other spices, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, dried onions, powdered eggs, powdered milk, and baking mixes (pancake, biscuit, muffin, etc.).

    1. To pickled …. Yes. Exactly. Some one else gets it.

      There are several options available for every situations. Why just plan on living off of 3 things when there are many many options available.

      To quote Harry Chapin

      “There are so many colors in the rainbow… So let’s use every one”

  24. Thanks for all of the replies and advice. I will look into FD meats. That sounds like a good idea. Other than canned meats, I do not have much food preps.
    I am doing Keto and have lost a bunch of weight and my blood sugar has come down. But, much of the standard food pyramid advice just does not work for diabetics. Whole grains, beans, fruits and many vegetables drive up blood sugar. I have learned the hard way to ignore the Dr’s nutritional advice. I believe eat it, test your blood sugar and you will quickly find what works and what does not. I eat a lot of various meats and safe (for me) vegetables.
    Around here, the Delmarva Peninsula, the Walmarts have massive shortages of food and medical supplies. All of the other groceries and drug stores are well stocked.

  25. I really liked your article! I love the way you write. When I got to the end, I did an audible, “Now, you write it!” The horses are already out of the barn for me. However, with that said, I have no regrets b/c I do not pay full price. Ever. For some reason, I decided on a standard of approx. $2.00 or less per serving for MH. First off, in 2017, I went to REI and bought pouches of multiple brands, of all the freeze dried options. Remember Captain Kirk in Star Trek, where he altered the Kobiashimaru test, so he could win? Well, similarly, I prefer win/win situations. So, after taste testing everything over several months, I had my list of what to buy and what not to buy. My logic was, if I do not want to eat it today, when life is normal, why would I save something awful to eat when the SHTF and stress is at a maximum level? I will want comfort food. Mentally, we will need comfort food. For me, this is a win/win purchase, b/c I only purchased what I love to eat, so I lose nothing if there is no shtf within the next 30 years. I used to joke, that if the Lord called me home, people who eat these supplies are going to say out loud, ” Dang! God had this lady buy the good stuff!” I imagine genuine prayers of thanks to God before meals. Anyways, price wise, I am a bargain shopper. I would not pay full price if I could. When I found a good deal, I purchased what I could, and have been adding more for the last three years. Just last week, while taking care of my mom (75) after partial knee surgery, I told my dad I needed to drive home real quick b/c I had $500 of food boxes on my front porch I needed to bring inside. His reply was, “You’re not still buying food, are you? What for?”… I’m sure Noah got similar comments. “Why are you still working on that boat? It’s been years. Enough is enough. Nothing is going to happen…”. Until it does. So, last few weeks, I got multiple cases of MH Lasagna @ $18.86 can, MH Teriyaki Chicken @ $16.53 per can, & MH Rice & Chicken @ $13.63 per can, plus delivery was free. I do not worry about delivery opsec b/c I plan to move to the Redoubt. My original thoughts about freeze dried, were similar to yours: way too expensive as a stand alone meal, so I was thinking of on top of rice, or noodles, et cetera. Also, a big factor for me was the time and physical energy savings FD will help with the first year after SHTF when so much physical labor will be spent on security and growing food. I forgot to mention oatmeal. I lovvvve oatmeal. So guess what everyone gets for breakfast? Lol. Except Sundays. and maybe Saturday’s. All depends on chickens laying eggs. If anyone wants to complain, they are free to eat their own supplies, which will likely be zero, nadda, nothing. I do have some MH breakfast, but just for treats on holidays. Yes, I have beans, rice, wheat, dried milk, pancake mix, fruits & vegetables as well, but not enough. It is an ongoing process. I still have many holes to fill, but I know the Lord will provide. How do I know? Because He already has a million times over. Example, I told the Lord I really loved the MH Noodles and Chicken, but it was too expensive, and I needed Him to put it on 50% off sale for me. So not only did I get many cases @ $20.00 per can, (which has 12 servings a can = $1.67 per serving) I got many cases @ only $18-$19.00 per can… God delights to give good gifts to His children. 🙂 With all this said, please remember to not judge me when I invite you and yours over for dinner after shtf. Oh, and keep writing!

    1. @ Krissy

      You are too funny! 😉 I’m with you all the way on storing what you like to eat though. For instance, I think sardines are nutritious and store well and good to have around. There’s a huge difference though between brands. I personally think Season has the best. So I found some at Ocean State Job Lot for $1 each; the same price as the dollar store stuff but way way better imho. Although that’s the sardines packed in sunflower oil; the ones in olive oil are I think $2 and EV Oil Oil even more. Now I’d rather get the ones in EV olive oil(of course); haven’t thought of asking G-d to lower the price for me though! It’s ok; I’m happy enough to get them in sunflower oil for a buck. Will hold off on asking favors for the low-level stuff! ;- ) May need some bigger interventions down the road!

  26. We really loved the “lifeboat” perspective. This is our own philosophy… We have combined food grade storage of long term items (wheat, rice, etc) with storage of shelf-stable canned good (searching for the longest best-by dates available) and with the ability to grow a significant amount of our own fresh produce. We also have egg laying hens for fresh grasshopper eggs. For us this is viable. Good to read about others who have drawn the same conclusions… We wrestled for a long time with the idea of freeze dried foods given the cost, and decided to go in another direction. We have considered investing in a freeze dryer, but haven’t yet done this. We would be interested in hearing about the experiences (up and down) of others who are freeze drying their own supplies!

  27. Fat is an essential part of the human diet. … “The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat. We’ve learned in recent years that fatty acids are among the most crucial molecules that determine your brain’s integrity and ability to perform.” [ncbi Federal Gov] SurvivalBlog advertiser readymaderesources sells canned butter.

    JAMES WESLEY RAWLES on JANUARY 10, 2008, here at SurvivalBlog wrote: ~Grandpappy’s Pemmican Recipe – A Native American Indian Survival Food~
    “Pemmican is a Native American Indian survival food that has a very long shelf life and it requires no refrigeration. It is similar to a Granola Bar except it contains no artificial preservatives.”
    Wikipedia has an article about ~Pemmican~ (history, ingredients, and importance).

    People can buy a big tub of Lard at places like Wallymart. [25 pounds, +smaller sizes too] Manteca [Lard] is a main ingredient in Mexican Food. = That’s why it tastes so good. A tub of Lard in a freezer will store longer than on the shelve.

    People need fat in their diet. … People need fat out on the hiking trail. The old-timers knew this in the old days. = Pemmican was an important survival food, back when SHTF was an ordinary everyday event.
    Make sure to read ~Grandpappy’s Pemmican Recipe – A Native American Indian Survival Food~

  28. We as adults can mentally push through alot of diet fatigue but you children cannot, if you have young ones it’s a good idea to store lots of freeze dried fruits, chocolate milk or orange drink, candy or treat mix. Suffering through 5 bites of beans to get to a sweet reward goes a long ways for a 6 year old.

  29. @Pickeled Prepper…”other passengers” in your lifeboat, a VERY important consideration since they will help sink you or swim. Well, really, they will hopefully help row. That good analogy is then followed by the question of who would you choose to be stranded with on your rowboat? And that is followed by the hope to BE THAT kind of companion …big order to fill with such a challenging time.

    On another topic…fats. In the past decade we have switched to using olive oil, butter and lard from pastured animals as well as coconut oil. Coconut oil, (the flavorless kind,) keeps years. We have used some more than five years old and not noticed any degradation. Under 73° or so it is a solid, much like lard or cold butter. It becomes liquid in the upper 70°s. Works for most any cooking but needs mixed with the olive oil for making mayonnaise and salad dressing. Bought in quantity and stored in a cooler place will provide a good source of fat for many years.

    Great article!!! Brings many seemingly obvious to one’s consideration…THANK YOU!!!

  30. If you are using Mylar bags (and you should be) the distinction between ‘food grade’ and ‘non food grade’ is immaterial. NFG includes dyes which are used to mask color variation from recycled plastic. FG is essentially virgin plastic. Buy lowes white buckets and get on with it. The leach through Mylar is undetectable.

  31. One way to store up long term food is to learn how to pressure can. You can put up what you like instead of buying those horrible tasting freeze dried foods. I like to can up my proteins this way. Venison hunted on the homestead will be good for years when properly pressure canned. I also have put up a ton of various nuts, like pecans, walnuts, almonds and even pistachios in the shell. Years later pop open the can and they are fresh as can be. You can’t store nuts very long on your cupboard shelf as they go rancid but they will be good forever when pressure canned. So if you are diabetic this might be a skill you want to learn. It’s really not that hard. Dont let all the horror stories about pressure cans exploding deter you. I really think that’s a myth. I’ve never has that happen to me or anyone I know. So get canning and store some good food!

    1. Learn to pressure can, learn to pickle, learn to ferment and dry and smoke. Learn what and how to freeze.

      Then put into practice what you learned. Use it every day (either making it or eating it)

      Will you get some flak from co-workers about bringing a mason jar lunch to work?

      Yes …

      Until they smell the goodness that home cooked food gives off.

      It’s a good segway into conversations about truly sustainable living (not the popularized politicalized sustainable living in the main stream view) such as “hey this is a glass jar it can be microwaved and frozen multiple times and boiled (sterilized) so that it doesn’t build up residue etc.

      I work for a company that is all Pollock. All except me that is. And all of them are immigrants . First time I pulled out my mason jar pickles it opened the flood gates. They started bringing in thier home made preserved food and pickles etc . .. in short it was just a great all around experience (especially when they got to try thier very first pickled egg from my wife)

      1. First I warm the Mason jars in the oven rather than in water so there is no chance of having moisture in them. You can warm the nuts in the oven also but I usually dont bother. Then I fill the jars leaving the usual 1/2 ” to 1″ headspace, pop on lids and pressure can for 10 minutes at 5 to 10 lbs pressure depending on where you live. I usually can them in snack size pint jars. I suppose you could vacuum seal but as I dont have one of those gadgets, I have neve tried. Happy canning!

  32. There is some good info in the article . The comment are worth reading. We all have our ideas and some will work and some don’t. There is no mention of “Wheat Grinders”
    that you will need to make your wheat, corn , and other stuff into flour. How many of you know how to bake “Bread”? Do you have bread pans or dutch oven’s to bake in?
    Folks it take a lot of time and energy to do all this if there is no one to show you how it is done.U Tube videos are great but hands on is a lot better.
    I have been into survival since I was in the 8th. grade. It has taken me lots of years to learn how and what to do. My time in the military helped and older people showed me lots of good short cuts. Living in Alaska for 30 years added to my knowledge and skills. At 80 years old I am slowing down and can’t do what I did as a young man.
    You will all get there much quicker than you think.
    My suggestion is to make friend with old timers and they are more than happy to help you with there ideas and suggestion. Many have helped me when I commercial fished,smoked meat and fish. I learned as a youngster how to process meat and take care of it. Raised on a ranch and farm was very helpful.
    As far as going to the LDS pantry’s go for it’ I do being here in Utah.
    I wish you all God’s help and wisdom in you in your quest for self sufficient life style.
    The Gman

  33. We have been stocking up on FD foods for about10 years now. But we don’t buy the prepared meals much. We are both a little picky about ingredients. I don’t like nuts, seafood, avocados and several other things. My DH won’t eat tomatoes, lamb, broccoli, spinach, or pineapple and is deathly allergic to coconut. That means anything with coconut oil or coconut milk is on the “Do not buy” list. The other problem with all the ready-made FD foods is that most of them have way too much sodium/salt in them.

    So… our solution is to buy the cans of individual fruits, vegetables, meats and all the other ingredients from ThriveLife. They are located in Utah, of course. And they do have a selection of ready-made dishes that are FD, but we have found the individual cans fit our needs much better. We also get a monthly delivery of cans that almost always includes one or two #10 cans of FD mushroom slices/pieces that we use all the time. Most of the foods are unadulterated, just the food, no seasoning, no preservatives. ThriveLife also sells sealed #10 cans with packets of non-GMO seeds for your garden. Oh, and they have fruit-flavored yogurt bites that have too much sugar in them to be truly healthy but they are sooo good as a snack/treat. They have FD ice cream, too! And brownie mix. Just add water and bake. (Don’t add any water to the ice cream. Just pop a piece in your mouth.)

    I am sure some of the other companies offer similar items but we happen to like Thrive.

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