You must plan nutrition concerns before TEOTWAWKI. We’ve begun to look at myths, including that TEOTWAWKI will be a good time to diet. We left off right in the middle of our examination of necessary vitamins and minerals, specifically looking at the B vitamins. Let’s continue.
Vitamin B (continued)
A wide variety of foods contain Biotin (vitamin B7); however, beef liver, soybeans, butter, split peas, lentils, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, and brewer’s yeast are especially rich sources of this nutrient. Symptoms of deficiency include brittle fingernails, hair loss, conjunctivitis, and dermatitis in the form of a scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genital areas. Pregnant women are at high risk of biotin deficiency. So if you have someone of child-bearing age in your group, it might be wise to store a Biotin supplement. Fortunately, deficiency is rare. Intestinal bacteria actually synthesize biotin. Unfortunately, we do not yet understand whether biotin is synthesized in adequate amounts.
Liver, leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, peas, poultry, meat, seafood, eggs, and whole grains contain folic acid. Folic acid is also one of the very few micronutrients where scientists believe that the synthetic source is better. This is because in the synthetic form it is more nutritionally available. An empty stomach absorbs folic acid better. Folic acid deficiency in pregnant women can cause neural tube defects in their offspring, so again, if you have someone of child-bearing age in your group, you should consider storing a Folic acid supplement for her. In other people, folic acid deficiency can cause anemia, depression, age-related macular degeneration, glossitis, diarrhea, gray hair, fatigue, mouth sores, and swollen tongue.
Beef, liver, turkey, and milk, and eggs in small amounts contain cyanocobalamin. Like the other B vitamins, it is water-soluble. However, in contrast to other water-soluble vitamins, vitamin B12 can be stored in the body for up to two years. Unlike most other vitamins, cyanocobalamin dietary deficiencies occur commonly, even today. Dietary deficiency is especially common in vegetarians/vegans because B12 from plant sources is rare. Meat sources may be limited at some times.
Deficiency occurs in 20% of the population over age 60 years, and 6% of the population under age 60. It is also more common in individuals who have had gastric bypass surgery. Even a mild deficiency can cause fatigue, lethargy, depression, poor memory, and headaches, especially in older people. More moderate deficiency can cause irritability, anemia, bleeding gums, and easy bruising. And the damage can be severe and irreversible, especially to the brain and nervous system.
Furthermore, there are a number of common prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can interfere with the release of dietary vitamin B12. However, they do not interfere with supplemental B12. These drugs include H2-receptor antagonists, such as Tagamet, Pepcid, and Zantac; metformin; and proton-pump inhibitors like omeprazole, Prilosec, and Prevacid. Including cyanocobalamin in the food storage plan would probably be a good move for anyone over the age of 60 and for all who take any of the afore-mentioned drugs.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. Fruits, juices, and vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and potatoes are rich in vitamin C. Rose hips and pine needles are also very high in vitamin C. Scurvy is the classic disease associated with vitamin C deficiency. Brown spots on the skin, primarily on the legs and thighs, soft gums, and bleeding from all mucous membranes are markers of the deficency. The effects of scurvy are completely reversible with the addition of vitamin C to the diet.
Oily fish, milk, butter, and eggs contain the fat-soluble Vitamin D. Our bodies can synthesize this vitamin, but you must have sun exposure without sunscreen. Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets, softening of the bones, bone fractures, and bending of the spine. The decrease in the incidence of rickets in children in the 1900s is attributed almost entirely to the increased consumption of fortified milk.
Most nuts; peanut, olive, sunflower, and safflower oils; and dark leafy green vegetables contain this fat-soluable vitamin. Deficiencies can cause nerve problems due to poor conduction of electrical impulses along the nerves. Fortunately, problems from deficiency are rare and are almost never due to poor diet. Individuals with gastric bypass, liver disease, and Crohn’s disease aremost at risk for vitamin E deficiency.
Dairy products, almonds, pistachios, beans, broccoli, kale, dandelion leaves, okra, and eggshells contain calcium. Eggshells can be washed, dried, ground into powder, and then mixed into food or water, if necessary. A deficiency of calcium leads to poor blood clotting, osteoporosis, and rickets. Common causes of calcium deficiency are vitamin D deficiency and hypoparathyroidism. Calcium deficiency treatment includes taking calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium supplements.
Leafy green vegetables, whole grains, cocoa, nuts, and spices contain magnesium. Only about 32% of the U.S. population gets the minimum recommended daily allowance of magnesium. In addition, insufficient dietary intake and proton pump inhibitor therapy are the common causes. Magnesium deficiency can cause neuromuscular and cardiovascular dysfunction (muscle spasms), high blood pressure, and anxiety disorders. magnesium supplements treat magnesium .
All fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish contain potassium. Foods with high amounts of potassium include milk, chocolate, nuts, bananas, potatoes, and dried apricots. Most Americans and Europeans do not consume adequate amounts of potassium on a daily basis. Severe potassium deficiency can lead to hypertension and even death.
Seaweed, kelp, and shellfish– items not normally included in our food storage– contain iodine. We can also get iodine from milk and eggs, provided that the animals producing them have adequate intake themselves. The best and easiest source for us is iodized salt. Plan on using about eight pounds per person annually, if you are cooking everything from scratch. (But you should also store plain salt for making yeast breads, as iodine retards yeast fermentation.) Iodine deficiency in adults can cause hypothyroidism, and it has also been implicated in breast and gastric cancers.
Red meat, lentils, beans, poultry, fish, and leafy green vegetables contain higher amounts of iron. Iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutritional deficiency worldwide. Most cases of iron deficiency anemia are mild. If left untreated, this condition can cause delayed growth in infants and children and heartbeat irregularities and complications in pregnancy for others. Iron deficiency can also lead to fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, muscle twitches, and irritability. The bioavailability of iron (the ability of the body to absorb iron) is increased when iron is consumed at the same time as vitamin C.
Dietary fiber is sorely lacking in the diet of most Americans. On average, the recommended daily dietary fiber intake in this country is half of what it should be. Fiber, both soluble and insoluble, comes from plants, and our intake should come from plants not from supplements. Unfortunately, most people don’t pay too much attention to the importance of fiber in the diet. They know it makes for easier bowel movements and reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Beyond that, most don’t know much. However, this information is critical for being prepared to care for our families. Again we go back to the saying that people will be happy to eat whatever is available when TEOTWAWKI hits.
Well, what can happen when there are sudden changes in the amount of fiber in the diet? If one suddenly goes from a typical American diet to one that is very high in fiber—say a diet heavy in whole grains and beans—a serious health problem can occur. (This can also occur with fiber supplements.) Also, a sudden, dramatic increase in fiber intake can promote the development of bezoars in the gut. Bezoars are clumps of dietary fiber, like hairballs in cats. But whereas the cat can cough up a hairball, humans cannot eliminate a bezoar on their own. Unfortunately, it requires surgical intervention. To avoid this painful condition, increases in dietary fiber consumption must be made gradually.
Too little dietary fiber, such as might occur if one is suddenly living off of canned goods and processed foods with little to no whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can also have a deleterious effect. In the best case there is only constipation. However, in more serious cases, diverticulitis can develop and again surgery may be required to deal with it.
Harmful substances such as coffee, soda, alcohol, and tobacco should be eliminated from the diet as quickly as possible. Ten percent of the U.S. population will develop ulcers at some point in their lives, and the risk factors include caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco use. It is not wise to be addicted to substances that can cause health problems. Especially if the absence of the substance will cause irritability, headaches, and poor judgment at best.
What To Have In Food Storage
So now that we’ve covered the macronutrients of carbohydrate, protein, and fat as well as the micronutrients of the essential vitamins and minerals, what exactly should we have in our food storage to meet our recommended daily allowances and optimize our health? Believe it or not, the solution is simple and economical. Numerous articles have been devoted to the subject. One appeared on Survivalblog about eighteen months ago. It’s called What’s For Dinner, by J.R. . In a nutshell, it is the food storage program advocated by the LDS church. For one adult for one year, you need the following:
- 400 lbs of whole grains,
- 60 lbs of dry beans,
- 60 lbs of sugar,
- 20 lbs of dry milk,
- 20 lbs of fat, and
- 10 lbs of salt (half iodized, half plain, plus
- a wide variety of garden seeds.
In addition, if you fall into any of the risk groups mentioned above (woman of child-bearing age, over 60 years old, use proton-pump inhibitors, et cetera) you should store vitamins B7, B9, and B12 and magnesium supplements.
A Japanese proverb states: “Preparation does not guarantee success, but a lack of preparation guarantees failure.” Preparing for our dietary needs well does not guarantee that we will be able to ward off the Grim Reaper and his minions indefinitely. Good preparation does not mean no one will become sick or die, but it surely improves our odds greatly and increases our peace of mind. The diseases that will be making a comeback in this country due to poor nutrition resulting from the coming economic and political chaos will continue to be something that we only read about.
This is because we have prepared well.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part two 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.