Knowledge And Diet Changes Required Now
Planning for better nutrition during TEOTWAWKI isn’t merely about eating delicious foods we’re already accustomed to so that the transition from our present state to the coming chaos is as seamless as possible. It is really more about saving our loved ones. However, in order to save our loved ones, the aforementioned transition needs to be seamless. To make it seamless necessitates increased knowledge of nutrition as well as changes in our diet now.
Our future will include the confrontation of diseases and conditions that most of us cannot comprehend. We can’t grasp them because we haven’t lived in third world countries. Most who read this blog have always had an abundance (or overabundance!) of food. Most have never seen the effects of a lack of fat, protein, or even vitamins in diet. And even if we have read about malnutrition, we still are not fully prepared to prevent it in our families.
Let’s begin with a little myth-busting. It’s often said that when TEOTWAWKI occurs, we’ll be grateful to have anything to eat. Unfortunately, research and historical observations show otherwise. This is especially true among children and the elderly. These groups, in particular, will simply stop eating. Another myth that we deceive ourselves with is that it will be time to start that diet. We need to lose excess weight now rather than during TEOTWAWKI.
Carbohydrate, protein, and fat are macronutrients– the basic building blocks of nutrition. Let’s first examine what happens when the body lacks any one of these.
Actually, a lack of carbohydrate in the diet is extremely rare. This condition should be non-existent among any who call themselves preppers. This is because carbohydrate sources are the least expensive foods. You can raise fruit and vegetable carbohydrate sources easily in gardens. It is easy to store grains in abundance. This is not only because they are so inexpensive now but also because they are difficult to raise in the quantities needed to support a family with only manual labor.
Carbohydrates are the high octane fuel that the body prefers for the central nervous system. Carbohydrates have four calories per gram and are needed to burn fat completely. A low carb diet makes people fatigued, irritable, and lethargic. In the absence of carbohydrates, fat breakdown is incomplete, and the waste product is ketones. The condition that arises is called ketosis, which can cause nausea among other things. So carbohydrates have a valuable role in sparing protein and preventing ketosis.
Carbohydrate protects protein so that it is available for building tissue. When there is inadequate carbohydrate intake, protein gets broken down. Why is this? Because protein can serve as a source of carbohydrate if carbohydrate intake is too low. Carbohydrates should comprise 50% of the diet for most people. The best carbohydrate sources are whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Protein should be consumed just to build and repair tissue, not for calories or energy. Yes, protein can be a source of energy, but it should not be considered a primary source for a few reasons. For one, the body does not need excess protein. Indeed, excess protein can contribute to kidney stones. Furthermore, the body can’t actually store surplus protein. Any excess goes to the liver and gets converted to carbohydrate.
On the other hand, insufficient protein consumption will prompt the body to start breaking down muscle. This also happens when the body is injured, as protein is required for the body to repair and build tissue. Anyone recovering from a physical injury or surgery needs a great deal of protein. Inadequate protein intake can also interfere with medications, because protein is not available to transport drugs.
Protein deficiency can lead to mental retardation and kwashiorkor. The swollen belly you see in pictures of starving children in third world countries is one of the symptoms of kwashiorkor. Kwashiorkor is also marked by apathy, fatigue, failure to grow, and flaky skin. Protein deficiency in pregnant women will also have lifelong detrimental effects on the fetus.
Complete and Combined Proteins
Complete proteins are animal-based—meat, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese. For most people, chickens and rabbits are the most economically feasible way to insure a supply of fresh protein during TEOTWAWKI. The only complete proteins that are plant-based are soybeans, quinoa, hemp, and buckwheat.
Dry beans are not complete proteins and must be combined with other foods to make a complete protein that provides all the essential amino acids. Examples of foods combined to make a complete protein are beans and rice, wheat and milk, lentils and barley, and peanut butter and whole wheat bread. Fortunately, these foods do not need to be combined in the same meal, but they definitely need to be consumed within the same day. A well-balanced, varied diet will naturally provide all the essential amino acids for optimal health.
Fat is the most energy-dense macronutrient. It has nine calories per gram, while protein and carbohydrate have just four calories per gram. Dietary fat is essential for transporting fat-soluble vitamins. It slows digestion to give the digestive tract time to absorb nutrients from food. It is essential for brain development and function, the protection of vital organs, thermal insulation, and the production of regulatory hormones. A diet too low in fat can contribute to the formation of gallstones.
There isn’t a lot of information on diseases that occur due to a lack of fat in the diet. Most readers of this blog will be at least somewhat familiar with “rabbit starvation” (also known as protein poisoning). We see this condition when people eat only protein, such as wild rabbits. The condition may be due to the body’s inability to metabolize excess protein in the complete absence of fat and carbohydrate in the diet. Please note that an individual who consumes rabbit as the sole source of protein is not going to be at risk for protein poisoning if they also incorporate fats and carbohydrates into their diet.
Disease Due to Missing Vitamins and Minerals
Diseases that arise due to a lack of specific vitamins or minerals will be much more common. This will be the case because people will become limited in what they have for food. In general, for best health, we need to obtain our vitamins and minerals from our food, not supplements. This does not mean we shouldn’t store supplements. Indeed, we have a generous supply of supplements here for our family. It’s just that the best—the healthiest—sources of vitamins and minerals, in general, are our foods.
That being said, let’s take a look at the essential vitamins and minerals in our diet, the most common foods to find them in, and the consequences of a lack of these essential nutrients. The symptoms of overdosing on any of these will not be addressed, as it is difficult to overdose with dietary sources and unlikely that individuals will choose to ingest large quantities of precious supplements when TEOTWAWKI hits.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that the body can store it. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, liver, cod liver oil, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens, butter, apricots, and eggs. Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include night blindness, dry eyes, impaired immune function, total blindness, birth defects, and cancer. Historically, measles cases spike during/after a famine or war when diets have been limited and vitamin A stores in the body have been depleted. The gut lining becomes keratinized (cracks) and the measles virus invades.
The B vitamins are a group of eight compounds. Almost all commercially-produced breakfast cereals and breads are now fortified with B vitamins. In fact, diseases due to deficiencies of these vitamins are not a concern in the developed world. But when our economy collapses and commercially-produced foods are no longer available, diseases arising from a lack of B vitamins will become much more common.
Whole grains, beef, pork, fish, corn flour, and spinach contain thiamin. Symptoms of deficiency can occur in as little as ten days and include weight loss, impaired sensory function, weakness and pain in the limbs, paralysis, and edema. Beriberi (Sinhalese phrase meaning “I can’t, I can’t”), the classic disease associated with a thiamin deficiency, was identified and understood when researchers realized that a diet high in white rice was responsible.
Eggs, leafy green vegetables, milk, meat, cheese, and legumes contain riboflavin. Symptoms of deficiency include stomatis (painful red tongue with sore throat), chapped and fissured lips, and inflammation of the corners of the mouth. A riboflavin deficiency can also exacerbate other B vitamin deficiencies.
Meat, fish, and whole grains contain niacin. A mild deficiency slows the metabolism, causing a decreased tolerance to cold. More moderate deficiency can cause nausea, skin and mouth lesions, anemia, headaches, and fatigue. Severe deficiency will cause pellagra (Italian; pelle=skin, agra=sour), the four classic signs of which are dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and death. It was common wherever corn (maize) was the dominant food crop, including the American South, where over 100,000 people died of the disease between 1906 and 1940. (Native American and South American cultures used the process of nixtamalization to treat maize, which makes the niacin nutritionally available.)
Nearly every food contains pantothenic acid in small quantities, so deficiencies are exceptionally rare.
A wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain pyroxidine. Beef, pork, turkey, bananas, and potatoes are particularly rich in pyroxidine. Pyroxidine deficiency is rare and most often occurs when there is a deficiency of other B vitamins.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part one of a two part entry for Round 70 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 that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
- Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
Round 70 ends on May 31st, 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.