For everyday life, vitamins may not matter much. We have access to a wide variety of different foods, and many of our foods are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Hopefully we’re eating balanced diets that are meeting all of our nutritional needs. Maybe we take vitamins, maybe we don’t, and we’re usually fine either way.
A serious emergency may introduce new problems as we seek to get the different vitamins and minerals that we need. Transportation could be disrupted, so it may be much more difficult to obtain foods that are easy to find now. A lot of our food is imported—but without good transportation, it would never make it to use, or it would be severely delayed and limited. So, we can buy from local farmers, right? But, if some sort of emergency has just devastated our region, isn’t it totally possible that crops will have been destroyed too? Or, the farmers may not have access to water for their crops. Or, if it becomes difficult or impossible to import foods, the demand for local produce may be much greater than the supply. People may steal the crops. I think a serious emergency would seriously limit our access to many different foods that we take for granted.
When fresh food is scarce, unfortunately, the demand on our bodies will probably be greater than usual. We will struggle with sanitation problems because our normal trash-disposal services may be interrupted. A lot of people will be doing heavy physical labor to try to get things back to normal. Faced with these sorts of problems, everyone will feel high levels of stress. Under these conditions, immune systems do not function as well as they normally would. People will be more likely to get sick.
Ideally, in an emergency, things won’t go so well for a few days or several days, and we will have minor inconveniences for a couple weeks, or a couple months, and then life will be back to normal. We’ll all feel great about having more food than people usually keep on hand, and we will be somewhat inconvenienced, but basically our needs will be met, and we won’t run out of resources before everything is back to normal. I think this is what a lot of us plan for, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction to be prepared for a moderate emergency.
Preparing for an emergency that is more devastating requires a lot more work, a lot more money, and a lot more storage space. Whether you have a week’s worth of food or a year’s worth of food, you should probably have a back up plan. Hopefully you’ll hide or defend your preparations successfully, and hopefully they will last long enough.
One very simple thing that you can add to your emergency preparedness as a back-up plan, just in case, is a bottle of multi-vitamins. (Or several bottles.)
Of course, our preference should be to get the vitamins that we need from fresh food. Our next best option will be to get vitamins and nutrients from stored food. Hopefully we won’t ever be living on buckets of wheat or cans of beans, but if it comes to that (and even if it doesn’t), it will be important to be taking vitamins.
Remember that these will have to be rotated periodically.
Do you store vitamins as part of your long-term storage? Are there other supplements that you think are important to have around for an emergency? Or, do you have another “back-up plan” to make sure that you’ll be able to get important nutrients? (I’m also storing seeds so that I can garden, but that would take time and depend on other resources.)