Tag Archives: Food

Guidelines for Obtaining Long Term Food Storage

After creating a three-month supply of food, and storing a two-week supply of water for each person in your household, it is time to start working on long-term food storage.

The goal with long-term food storage is to get a one year supply of food items with a long shelf life. This food supply should begin with basic items that will sustain life in an emergency in case there is nothing else to eat. Items stored should be capable of having a shelf life of 25 to 30 years or more.

The following basic items might be considered for storage. Indicated with the item is the approximate amount of each needed to sustain an average person for one year in an emergency.

  • 300 lbs. of Grains (Wheat, rice, or other cereals)
  • 100 lbs. of Powdered Milk (non-fat)
  • 100 lbs. of Sugar or Honey
  • 150 lbs. of Beans and Legumes
  • 100 lbs. of Flour
  • 2 Gal. of Cooking Oil or Shortening
  • 5 lbs. of Salt
  • 1 lb. of Baking Powder

These items provide a diet that supplies approximately 2,300 calories per day. The above suggested items may be proportionately reduced as other foods are added. Those frequently chosen to be added to the above list are dried legumes (peas, beans, peanuts, and lentils) which are high in protein and store well. Vegetable oils, dried fruits and vegetables, and canned meats and fish would also make great additions.

As you can see from the above mentioned long-term food items, meals made from these ingredients would be very basic and probably wouldn’t do much more than sustain life. I know, however, that there are many recipe books that show how to make great tasting meals out of these ingredients.

Ready-made freeze-dried and dehydrated foods may be included in your long-term food storage preparations. These tend to be slightly more expensive, but can be great tasting, easy to prepare, and tend to retain their vitamin content better. Ready-made freeze-dried and dehydrated foods will take your food supply beyond just sustaining life in an emergency to providing variety, good nutrition, and great taste during times of emergency.

When storing long-term food storage items the following items need to be considered:

  1. Buy quality products. Obtain top grade whenever possible and store it away from other products that may affect the flavor of the food.
  2. Use proper containers. Usually metal storage cans or heavy plastic containers with air-tight lids are the best.
  3. Use easily accessible storage facilities.
  4. Foods should be stored at cool temperatures (between 40 to 60 deg. F.).
  5. Regularly rotate food storage items to prevent spoilage. Date food items when you purchase them and use the oldest items first.
  6. Foods should be stored in a well-ventilated, cool, dry, dark, and clean area.
  7. Do not place food storage containers on or against cement or dirt floors and walls. Place pieces of wood under and between the storage containers to provide ventilation and to protect from moisture.
  8. Don’t go into debt to obtain long-term food storage. Acquire food storage items gradually.

Hopefully these guidelines will give you some good ideas on how to get started on long-term food storage so that you are prepared in case there is some sort of emergency.

A Raw Food Diet: Is It Healthier?

In today’s ever health-conscious world, the Raw Food Movement is on the rise, gaining new devotees as well as critics.

The basic premise of the raw food diet is that raw foods in their whole, natural form provide the enzymes necessary for digestion and vibrant health, and that cooking food destroys these natural enzymes along with many of the other critical nutrients in whole, unprocessed food. By eating raw, whole foods, you consume the enzymes found within them, which are believed to enhance and improve digestion, leading to better absorption of the food’s beneficial compounds (such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants). Raw food enthusiasts claim that this diet promotes good health because your cells are able to acquire the nutrients they need from pure, unadulterated food.

Ancient Wisdom Perspectives
From the point of view of Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine, the raw food philosophy is not completely accurate. These ancient traditions assert that cooking food actually makes many of the nutrients more available. They also state that eating cooked food protects the digestive capacity (“digestive fire”) of the body. With all the contradictory dietary advice out there, it’s no wonder people may be confused about which diet is best for them.

One Size Does Not Fit All
It all comes down to the health requirements of the individual, as everybody has unique dietary needs. According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, raw foods have a “cooling” effect on the body, so someone with a lot of “heat” and inflammation may do better on a raw foods diet than someone with a colder constitution. Also, it is interesting to note that the majority of success within the raw food movement is found among those who live in warmer climates. Cooked whole food is healthier for people with weaker digestion and colder constitution, as cooked foods are more warming, and easier to break down and assimilate.

Pros and Cons of Cooked Food
Certain foods are proven to be healthier when cooked. For example, lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes and watermelon. However, lycopene content is highest and most bioavailable when tomatoes are cooked. Many vegetables, such as kale, spinach, onions and garlic are also more nutritious when cooked because light cooking unlocks many of their compounds, making them more easily absorbed.

However, science has also shown that over-cooking many foods — especially meats — is unhealthy, as foods that are overcooked can produce chemicals such as acrylamide and others that contribute to inflammation and more serious health problems over time.

The best cooking methods are light steaming or sauteing, without over-cooking at high temperatures. These methods can help to make nutrients in the food more available and easier to absorb, without causing the harmful chemical reactions found in foods cooked for long periods at high temperatures.

The Enzyme Debate
While raw foodists claim that enzymes from raw foods are critical for proper digestion, the American Dietetic Association asserts that the body naturally produces the enzymes necessary for digestion and does not need to obtain them from food. In addition, because the ph of the stomach is very low, meaning that it is very acidic, the stomach breaks down all proteins including enzymes. This means that the enzymes found in fruits and vegetables are essentially destroyed by our stomach acid, as its job is to break down food and kill any harmful pathogens. The amount of enzymes found in raw food have not been shown to drastically improve digestion or the levels of natural enzymes in the body. One critic of raw food, Dr. Stephen Barrett, states, “Raw food contains no enzymes needed for digestion. All the enzymes needed for human digestion are made in the body.”

However, it is important to note that with today’s fast-paced lifestyles and the Standard American Diet, many people are enzyme deficient and can greatly benefit from including supplemental digestive enzymes in their daily program. Enzyme supplements are typically designed to survive the stomach acid environment and release their digestive health benefits once they reach the small intestines, where most nutrient absorption occurs.

Everything in Moderation
For many, the raw food diet may seem like another fad diet. While it may have nutritional drawbacks for some people with weaker digestion, it can also provide benefits from the abundance of fresh produce typically consumed in a raw food diet. Once again, the old adage of “everything in moderation” may be applied in this case. There isn’t one type of diet that is the magical formula for vibrant health, nor does one type of diet work for everybody. The best advice is to maintain well-rounded eating habits that include healthy fats, protein and complex carbohydrates, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, in order to feed your body and mind the nutrients they need to achieve optimal health and well being.