*How long can you go?*
When I got back from my trip out West, I looked at my full pantry and decided to do an experiment. How long could I go with just what was in my pantry, freezer and refrigerator without resorting to my "deep stocks" of preps. I chose freezer and refrigerator because I have enough alt power to keep them running for a good while so they are viable for at least the three weeks this experiment was supposed to run.
After I decided to subsist off of what was only in my pantry - not other kinds of stored food that I do not normally use, I wanted to see how not only long I could subsist and how long I could tolerate a "limited" menu. One note, I am single so I have complete control over what I eat and what I store. My girlfriend tolerated this experiment, but those with non-surivivalist spouses, children or significant others may have more trouble with this approach.
Over the three weeks, I ate VERY well using these stocks plus what was in my freezer. Generally, I ate some sort of cereal for breakfast, soup and some sort of startch (a potato, crackers, tortilla) with a beverage for lunch OR some leftovers from dinner the night before, and some sort of chicken, beef, or seafood dish complete with vegetables, starches and beverages for dinner. For example, I stock a lot of frozen chicken breasts. I would grill, sautee or pan fry one of these for dinner and cook a cup of rice and a can of some sort of legume (purple hulled peas, crowder peas, or field peas). To this I would add some sort of fruit for dessert. This diet keep me full of energy and provided enough fiber to stay healthy. I also keep a good amount of fish and shrimp in the freezer because I try to add them into my diet at least once a week. I never had to touch Ďalternative" sources of protein in my deep stocks.
On occasion, I allowed myself to eat dinner out with friends or eat lunch with coworkers for a business lunch. During this particular experiment, life had to go on. I did not make one trip to a grocery store. In either case, I had sufficient food for these meals at home without going into my stockpiles.
At the end of three weeks, I still had plenty of food left in the pantry and I could have more than likely eaten for another number of weeeks. I work out at least three-four times a week. This kind of eating provided me with more than sufficient energy to accomplish these tasks.
Here are some conclusions:
If you have a fully stocked pantry, you more than likely have a couple of extra weeks of food.
Experiment with dried milk before actually having to use it. It actually wasnít that bad. But I had to tinker with it to get the right formula.
Canned vegegables do not go bad after one year storage in an airconditioned space.
I love rice and beans as staples. My pantry stocks include these items and I never got tired of eating them. Occasionally, I mixed in some pastas and other vegetables to keep things from getting too monotonous.
Take a multi-vitamin and be sure to stock plenty of them. It will also be useful to keep a source of fiber pills in case you donít get enough fiber from your preps.
Take into account energy for cooking. The meals I cooked were rather quick cook meals and could have easily been cooked over my alternative stove options.
Be sure to have sufficient stocks of some sort of cooking oil. Now, I stock and use almost exclusively peanut and olive oil. Yes, the are a bit more expensive, but they are healthier and better tasting than many other oils (as least to me).
A little bit of sugar goes a long way. Sugar should be used as a condiment not as a primary food.
Donít forget the coffee, cocoa and tea if you like such things. I learned that I have a healthy supply of them which could prove useful for barter purposes.
Concentrated foods make sense to store. Legumes pack a heck of a lot of protein and energy which helps keep the body going. But concentrating on these kinds of items, you can stretch your food supply out longer from a smaller storage space. Rice blends with almost anything giving you much needed carbs when you are active.
I started craving "fresh" vegetables. My garden is not producing at this point anything other than peppers. I have some bananna trees which are bearing. But on the whole, I found that my diet lacked fresh fruits and veggies. I hope to remedy this when I move out of the city and into more country digs, or when I get a bit bigger yard in the city without a landlord, Canned pineapple and dried fruits got old after a while.
I used tap water as normal, though I also realized through measuring I have sufficient stocks to last well over a month without having to ration or resort to other water procuremenet methods
Maintain a large selection of spices. They keep good for a long time and add a tremendous variety of options which keep things from getting boring.
Add some cake mixes to your stash. They are a morale booster.
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