It is sometimes really difficult to plan food storage when you’re on a restricted diet, but for those of us who have to avoid certain foods, it is absolutely essential that we prepare by coming up with a food storage plan that will work for us.
Last week I shared a list of several ideas that have worked for us as my husband and I have started storing food; today I’ll share some other ideas.
1. Store multivitamins with ingredients that are “safe” for your dietary restriction. Obviously, these are not a substitute for actual meals, but if things were bad enough, plain rice and multivitamins are a much better choice than just plain rice.
2. Learn to can foods (in mason jars). Honestly, I haven’t ever done this before, but my mother-in-law has even canned ground beef. One of the problems we see over and over again is that the meat-equivalent items are not things that work for us. If we store pure canned meat (either in mason jars, or tuna and other items from the store that have acceptable ingredient lists), then maybe we can’t have chili mac as an MRE, but we could probably make something pretty similar. I think I’d like to try canning beef jerky, because when I make that we can eat it, and I think it would store well (and it would be tasty later, too).
3. If you are able to, consider raising chickens! There are a lot of cities that are allowing people to have a few hens, so you don’t need to live on a farm to be able to do this. Eggs are a very nutritionally complete food, and chickens are very easy to care for. Plus, they will eat bugs and grass, so even if times are really tough they will probably still produce. Storing chicken pellets and cracked corn is a really easy addition to human-food storage. We have about a dozen chickens as part of our food storage, and I absolutely love them! They have fun personalities. We are also raising dairy goats and meat cows, which will make our food storage more delicious, but they require a lot more work than the chickens do.
4. Learn to culture foods. Our ancestors created food storage mostly by culturing their food. If you know how, you can make sourdough bread, yogurt, cheeses, pickles, or other foods even with limited resources and limited refrigeration.
5. Don’t be afraid to add things that you know work for you. For instance, if you’re eating gluten-free, buy your favorite gluten-free stuff, and repackage it so that it is better preserved, or store it in your freezer instead of on your shelf. If you can find a place that sells “safe” oats, package those up, even though you’re not going to find that on a list of recommended food storage items. If you can’t have sugar and you use sugar substitutes, store that instead of sugar.
6. Remember that if you’re dealing with especially tricky restrictions, you don’t have to plan for the entire family to eat a restricted diet. In an emergency, it may sometimes be a lot easier if you can feed the rest of the family regular food, instead of adhering to difficult restrictions for everyone. My husband and I like eating together, but he will be ok if sometimes I’m eating things that he can’t have. I may be overworked and very stressed in an emergency, and it may really feel great to only grind enough wheat for my husband instead of duplicating my efforts just so that I can eat “safe” food with him, when I don’t actually really need to. Some of our food storage is stuff that he can’t eat, just because I know I’ll like it. (Hot cocoa mix, for instance.)
Well, that’s all I’ve got. Our food storage is primarily a whole lot of ingredients and a little micro-farm, plus some special foods that my husband can eat (like nuts, which we store in a freezer), a few MRE type foods that my husband can eat, and some MRE type foods for me, which he cannot eat (and he’s okay about that).
Have you had any other ideas? Please share what you have done in the comments so that other readers can benefit!