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By Kellene Bishop

Dharma Food Supplies

Food Storage photo c/o westword.com

If you could only store four foods for you and your family, what would they be? Come on, take your best guess. The good news is you could indeed survive with some knowledge and creativity on just four foods for you and your family for an entire year, and you wouldn’t necessarily get bored either. The reason I share these four foods with you is in response to so many pleas to simplify food storage. Although I feel more strongly about storing what you eat and eating what you store using the “meal method”, some folks just simply won’t tackle their food storage needs unless it’s broken down to ultra simple. Well, here’s ultra simple, broken down to just four foods.

Allow me to share with you what I call “The Vital Four.” I don’t call them that to be cute or cunning. These four foods are not only ideal and relatively simple to use, they are also still relatively affordable.

Hard White Wheat photo c/o pgward.org

Hard White Wheat photo c/o pgward.org

So, what would The Vital Four be? In order of priority:

  • Wheat
  • Powdered Milk
  • Honey
  • Salt

Now, before you get crazy, these foods would NOT be appropriate if you currently aren’t eating wheat. Remember that due to the significant lack of fiber in our diet today, if you were to go on an all wheat diet, you would be dead within 30 days due to the shock to your digestive system. So don’t plan on using these foods “cold turkey”, folks. You’ve got to get your body used to this kind of fiber ahead of time if you intend to survive on it. With four of the most simple foods, could this list be any more “ultra simple?”

So why this particular order?

Vital Four #1: Wheat. Wheat is at the top of the list due to its enormous amount of protein, multiple uses, fats, amino acids, carbohydrates, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins—not to mention its longevity in your storage. An unbroken wheat kernel has the ability to retain its fat without going rancid. For those of you who don’t know, wheat was discovered in the Egyptian pyramids dating back to 2500 BC. The story is told that 36 of the kernels were planted and grew and thrived into 1,500 bushels of wheat over six years. Even those who are gluten intolerant can still use wheat by sprouting it. Once you sprout it, it’s no longer a gluten compound. It’s a vegetable—particularly high in vitamin C and B which is great for blood sugar regulation and energy. (1 ounce of sprouted wheat contains an entire day’s supply of vitamin C.) In other words, sprouted wheat can compensate for the absence of fruits and vegetables in a diet. As you’ve heard me say, sprouting is ultra simple.

Milk is Good for Bones. photo c/o franklinpierce.edu

Milk is Good for Bones. photo c/o franklinpierce.edu

Vital Four #2: Milk.  An important part of the “promised land” duo, milk has a great nutritional content–particularly protein and vitamin A and D, multiple convenient uses, and also stores very well–especially with today’s technological advances. Milk is a quality food which is found to be important for the proper function of the muscles and the bones, but even more so in times of stress. Very few foods can claim to assist the body in these two critical areas in one fail swoop, and none of the others I’ve found which do assist the body in this manner taste very good in baked goods, cheeses, and sauces like milk does. I mean really. Whoever heard of spinach cheese?  There’s nothing difficult about using milk. Measure it. Water it. Mix it. That’s it. Super simple!

Vital Four #3: Honey. Honey is the ONLY food which stores indefinitely (except maybe Twinkies. But it remains to be seen whether we can really call the Twinkie “food”). It was also found in the Egyptian pyramids, and serves as a necessary sweetener in everything which may call for sugar. As you may have read in a previous article, it also has amazing medicinal virtues. One aspect you may not have considered is that the sweetness of honey is so fulfilling, it’s not likely to be over indulged in. The last thing you need in an emergency is to be addicted to a particular food. Unlike so many other sweeteners out there, honey is NOT addictive. In fact several university studies have shown that withdrawing from sugar is just as challenging to most humans as withdrawing from heroine. Honey also has small amounts of protein, iron, and vitamin C. Hmmm… sweet, nutritious, and an indefinite shelf-life. Sounds like a food storage dream.  

Vital Four #4: Salt. Many folks are surprised to hear “salt” on my list of The Vital Four. Frankly, I’m surprised as well. I’m not one to “salt my foods. I rarely use it in my cooking, preferring other sources for a salty taste instead. In actuality, our bodies are just as reliant on salt as we are on water. In fact, it keeps our fluids in balance. It is necessary to all of the cellular processes in our body. ALL of them. It’s particularly necessary for muscle contractions, such as your heartbeat, nerve impulses, and the digestion of proteins. Our bodies do not produce salt. We deplete it through normal function. And we deplete a lot of salt when we’re involved in heavy labor or intense stress. Thus we must conscientiously feed it to our bodies. In addition to all of this, it’s also a great preservative for meats and vegetables without the need of any fancy equipment. Better yet, working salt into your diet doesn’t take any trickery.

If you want to still keep things ultra simple but add a few more “luxury items” to the list, I would recommend vegetable/olive oil, peanut butter, legumes, yeast, molasses, and dried fruits.

Passport to Survival photo c/o amazon.com

Passport to Survival photo c/o amazon.com

In summary, I find it interesting that The Vital Four are referred to in the Bible as foods of prominence: wheat—“the staff of life,” “land flowing with milk and honey” (mentioned 70 times in the Bible), and salt—“the salt of the earth” and “savor.” If you want a bundle of easy and creative recipes to use with your ultra simple food stores, I highly recommend Esther Dickey’s book, “Passport to Survival.” It was published in the late 60’s so you will most likely acquire a used copy on Amazon. But I find my copy to be just as useful—if not more so—today than perhaps it was intended to be several decades ago.

So I’ve made food storage as simple as is absolutely possible. Got any more excuses for delaying your food storage?  🙂

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

Honey photo c/o Getty

Honey photo c/o Getty

My drug of choice?  Well, I could say chocolate, or a Dr. Pepper, or even a sweet kiss from my hubby (those make my knees buckle).  But there’s nothing like a small spoonful of honey to put me in a happy, delicious mood.  Seriously.  Perhaps it’s because each time I steal a taste, I’m not just tasting the substance of honey, but its overwhelming value everyday, and in an emergency.  Honey not only tastes good, but it has numerous medicinal and comfort uses as well.  You know me, I love items that have multiple uses.  Honey is one of the super stars of my food storage AND first-aid supplies.

For starters, honey has an infinite shelf life.  As an emergency preparedness pro, I LOVE items that have an infinite shelf life.  Even if it hardens and is crystallized, it’s still perfectly good.  All you need to do is warm it up if you’re using it to drizzle on your toast.  I frequently just dump my “crystallized honey” directly in my bread dough without heating it up again.

Alexandria Catacomb photo c/o touregypt.net

Alexandria Catacomb photo c/o touregypt.net

But there’s more to the reason why honey was bartered just like silver and gold was for centuries and long considered a nectar to the gods.  Honey is rich in history of medicinal uses.  Researchers believe that it’s as a result of its many medicinal uses why honey was found in many catacombs and pyramids.  (Along with wheat, of course, that was still good.)  History has recorded honey as being the most widely used medicinal substance—particularly in the annals of Egypt.  Even during the First World War, it was used mixed with cod liver oil to treat wounds.

Honey is also an antibacterial agent.  The reason being is that it has low water content and high acidity content.  Bacteria and microorganisms can’t flourish and grow in honey.  Thus it’s a lot like hydrogen peroxide.  Mind you, the HP is a heck of a lot less expensive if you were going to use it specifically for that purpose, but HP can actually irritate and even burn some skin tissue.  It’s interesting to note that honey and hydrogen peroxide are actually closely related.  Why?  Because honey also contains a substance called glucose oxidase.  When combined with water and oxygen, glucose oxidase forms gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide.  Yup.  The very same stuff that you can get for a buck a bottle at the pharmacy. This reinforces the antiseptic effect of honey but is less damaging or irritating to skin tissue.  But, I also look at the health benefits of the food I feed to others in which I used honey.  Consider that I’m feeding and fighting at the same time.

Local Honey photo c/o timeinthekitchen.com

Local Honey photo c/o timeinthekitchen.com

If you have allergies, ingest honey from local farmers.  It will help you develop resistance to the nasty pollens that are flaring up your allergies in the first place.  The interesting thing is when you combine honey with water (such as for a sore throat) it produces the NECESSARY bacteria for human health, not the yucky bacteria (yes, I just said “yucky).  Unlike hydrogen peroxide though, honey is actually very good for burn care and is definitely less expensive than the other burn treatment contraptions out there.  There are bacteria in the digestive system that are actually aided by the chemical make-up of honey.  This is why you may have heard of honey helping with colitis symptoms as well.  

As a food, honey is one highly underestimated substance indeed.  Did you know that honey isn’t just a sugar?  It actually contains protein, iron, important enzymes, and Vitamin C.  And, as opposed to sugar, humans are not inclined to over eat honey.  It doesn’t affect your body like the drug of sugar does—making you crave more, the more you eat it.

If I had to rely on only four foods in my food storage, honey would definitely be one of the key players.  (Because I know I’ll get emails on it, the other three foods would be powdered milk, salt, and wheat.)  If I can get my hands on Snow White honey, I do at every opportunity.  It should be stored in its granulated or crystallized state until ready to use.  I also like using the Blue Chip Foods brand of their powdered honey.  It’s a bit more convenient to use in my recipes when I’m in a hurry and I don’t use nearly as much of it as I would sugar.  (Usually about only half to a third of the amount of sugar a recipe calls for.)  I recommend that you only store raw honey, not processed honey.  In actuality, processed honey is more at risk for botulism in all ages.

Munaka Bush from New Zealand photo c/o nzplantpics.com

Munaka Bush from New Zealand photo c/o nzplantpics.com

Do I have an ulterior motive in writing you about honey today?  Well, the Swine flu has been on my mind, of course, and I’ve been studying alternative uses to aid in the spread and ill effects of Swine flu.  It’s interesting to discover that there is a unique honey called Manuka honey that is made from the flowers of the Manuka bush in New Zealand.  This particular honey has been researched and is believed to have a special component which helps fight “super bugs” which are resistant to many types of antibiotics.  While I’m not suggesting that you all spend hordes of money on the internet to obtain Manuka honey, I am suggesting to incorporate honey into your food storage supplies because of its tasty adaptation in any recipe that calls for sugar as well as the safe medicinal effects it has on the body. 

One caveat here.  As a general rule, honey should not be fed to a child under the age of one year old.  Their immune systems aren’t able to handle the pores inherent in honey and could contract botulism.  However, beyond that you will find honey to be an effective laxative, stomach ache cure, and aiding against colic as well.

Here are some medicinal honey recipes:

  • Stomach Ache: Mix one teaspoon of honey, juice of ½ lemon with a hot glass of water.  Due to it’s diuretic effect, it’s better to use this method first thing in the morning.
  • Coughs and Colds: Mix 6 oz. liquid honey, 2 oz. glycerin with juice of 2 lemons.  Bottle and seal firmly.  Use as necessary.  You can’t “overdose” on this particular cough medicine.
  • Sore Throats: Allow 1 teaspoon of honey melt in the back of the mouth and trickle down the throat.  This will ease inflamed, raw tissues.
  • Insomnia: Honey helps in nervous disorders including insomnia and acts as a tonic in recovery of any damage to the human nervous system.  Mix one teaspoon of honey in a cup of luke-warm water.  Drink before going to bed.  Obviously, it’s a lot less expensive and safer than Tylenol PM.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

 

spam-in-a-canI’ve encountered some pretty strong facial expressions when I insinuate that having SPAM in one’s food storage is an asset.  And to be forthright, I totally get it.  Even when we were dirt poor, my mother never made us eat it.  However, I wasn’t educated in matters of emergency preparedness then either.  But I certainly am now, and as a result, have come to embrace the wonders of SPAM.  I’ve discovered that if I cook with it much like I would chicken or pork in a recipe, then it’s delightful.

 

And no, the irony that I’m writing about SPAM today in face of the Swine Flu has not escaped me.  I guess I’m just warped that way.  

 

I have some great recipes that I’ve tried out and adapted for “food storage” available ingredients, but before I do that, I thought I’d share a couple of factoids about SPAM for you.

 

A 2 ounce serving contains 7 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat—two important components for the body during an emergency.

 

Residents of Hawaii and Guam consume the most amount of SPAM per capita than any of the other areas, including 41 countries in which SPAM is sold.  In fact, SPAM is sold on the McDonald’s menu in Guam and the Burger King menu in Hawaii—known as the “Hawaiian Steak.” 

spam-soldier-eatingSPAM was widely used during World War II in Okinawa and the Philippines due to it being an effective way to get meat to the front lines.  Soldiers had to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  As such, they began to joke that SPAM was simply “ham that didn’t pass its physical” or “meatloaf without basic training.”  Surpluses of SPAM from the soldiers’ supplies made their way into native diets.  Consequently, SPAM is a unique part of the history and effects of U.S. influence in the Pacific.  

SPAM comes in 12 different flavor varieties, including garlic, hot and spicy, and a roasted turkey version.

Due to its low cost, it’s long been stigmatized as “poor people food.”

 

SPAM is consumed all over the world in fried rice, stir fried with noodles, in sandwiches, burritos, and fried on the sides and served with eggs.  It’s even been used in sushi rolls.

 

Every year, Austin, MN has a Jam celebration in honor of the food which includes fireworks and a carnival-type setting. Waikiki, HI does something similar as well each year.  Austin, TX holds a Spamarama each year which conducts a Cook-off Contest as well.

 

My suggestion is that you begin familiarizing yourself with SPAM now, so that you can successfully use it in your meal preparation in the (not so distant?) future.

Fritatta

3 tbsp butter or oleo or vegetable oil                  
7-oz can SPAM, cubed 1/4"
1/2 cup of dried chopped onion                      
10 pitted black olives, chopped
1/2 cup of dried chopped green pepper        
6 eggs (or equivalent of dried eggs, rehydrated)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (or dried equivalent)
2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp pepper

In 10-inch omelet pan or skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat.  Add onion, green pepper and potatoes; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisply tender (5 to 7 minutes).  Add SPAM and olives; continue cooking until SPAM is heated through.  Loosen sautéed ingredients from bottom of pan; add remaining 1 tbsp butter.  Tilt pan to cover bottom with butter.  In small bowl mix eggs, water, and pepper; pour over SPAM mixture.  Cover; cook over low heat 12 to 15 minutes or until egg mixture is set on top.  With pancake turner, loosen edges and bottom; invert onto serving platter.  Yield: 6 servings

Hearty Spam and Bean Soup

2 cups dried pinto beans, wash and soak overnight (or make this in a pressure cooker)
12 oz can SPAM, cubed 1/2"           
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 quart water       
3 bay leaves
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp cumin
2 (13-oz) cans tomato juice              
1 (14-oz) cans chicken stock            
1 medium onion, chopped (or dried equivalent)                        

In 4-quart saucepan add all ingredients; stir to blend.  Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened (3 to 4 hours or 30 minutes in a pressure cooker).  Remove bay leaves.  Yield: 6 servings

Spaghetti SPAM Carbonara  

1 1/2 lbs spaghetti             
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil                     
12-oz can SPAM, cubed 1/4"           
1/2 cup chopped onion                     
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
ground pepper

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in skillet cook SPAM and onion in oil and butter over medium heat until lightly browned.  Set aside.  When spaghetti is cooked, drain; return to pot.  Add eggs; toss to combine.  Add SPAM mixture, cheese and parsley; toss to combine.  Season to taste with pepper.  Serve immediately.  Yield: 6 servings.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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A Frank Exploration of Buckets of Emergency Food Supply

 

emergencyfood275_newIf you have food storage accumulation on your radar, you’ve no doubt been tempted (or already beguiled) to purchase the so-called 3 months supply of food that comes in a 5 gallon bucket which you’ve seen in emergency preparedness stores or your local warehouse.  With these products claiming to be a 3 months supply of food for 1 person at approximately $85 to $125, you’ve not doubt thought that this would be a much easier way to get your years supply of food storage as opposed to accumulating huge bags of wheat, sugar, rice, beans and all of the other necessities and then trying to find room for them.  Well, I hate to tell you this, but you’d be wrong.  In fact, in light of a true emergency, relying on this type of nutrition in a volatile time, you may even find yourself dead wrong.  

 

The minimum amount of wheat storage for one person for a year is 400 pounds.  Forget the rice, beans, sugar, seasonings, and other items that you should be storing as well.  If you divide the 400 pounds of wheat by 4, you’ll get 100 pounds of wheat per person, per quarter, minimum.  There is no way that you’re going to get 100 pounds of nutrition in one of these 25 pound buckets–dried up and dead or otherwise.  

 

Let’s also take a look at the survival bars that the military eat for survival basis only.  These bars come in 2400 or 3600 calorie versions.  They are intended for the intake of one per day in extreme survival situations.  Clearly, there’s no way you’re going to be able fit 90 of these in a 5 gallon bucket.  Keep in mind your caloric requirements increase in times of high stress, fatigue, depression and emotionally climatic situations.  Again, let me stress that the survival bars issued by the military are for a minimum amount of survival until rescue comes.  If you look at the caloric intake of the meals that come in these 5 gallon buckets, at two meals per day as the package recommends, you will get a total of only 660 calories, and that’s if you eat the most caloric dense meal that the bucket provides 3 times a day. That’s less than 25% of an adult’s minimum caloric intake needed in a time of crisis.  There’s no voluntary dieting or calorie skimping in a time of crisis. You will be a useless human being if you attempt to take that route.  If you want to see how many calories you should have daily, without the crisis consideration, just use this link here.  http://www.hpathy.com/healthtools/calories-need.asp  It may be a good eye opener to many of you.  In spite of this common sense information, I see so many naively buying up these buckets and thinking that they’ve got their food storage for the year.  It’s a sad commentary to discover that the Orem, UT Costco sold more of these food storage buckets than any other product in their history of specialty products!

 

The majority of the meals included in the bucket require 20 to 25 minutes of simmering.  If you are using fuel to boil this water, that’s an awfully long time for one meal. There are at least 100 different meals that come to mind that are healthier, tastier, and that don’t take nearly that much prep time, fuel usage, or water usage.  Remember, in a crisis you need to preserve your energy, your fuel, and your water.

 

If you’ve already accumulated this kind of bucket food storage, don’t fret. There are some good aspects of it.

 

1)     It is a START. Considering that there are so many that don’t even start on their preparation, you should give yourself kudos for taking a step in the right direction.  But please remember it is in only a start. Please do not allow yourself to have a false sense of security in thinking that you or any member of your family has enough nutrition and calories with this kind of storage.  

 

2)     It’s a good add-on to wheat, rice, and beans.  Making up some of the contents in these buckets may be a perfectly good way to spice up your other plain staples.  One thing you do want to be aware of is guarding against “appetite fatigue.”  You don’t want your loved ones refusing to eat simply because they are “sick” of the same old food.  This has happened on many occasions even in 3rd world nations where they are starving. And I’m sure we’ve all heard of the occasional story of the 4 year old who will only eat 3 items…chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese or pizza.  Clearly it’s important to prepare yourself to utilize ways to make your food as tasty as possible (I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who have completely forgotten to store any kind of spices).

 

3)     These kinds of meals may come in handy for trade, and since they are a trade item and take up a small amount of space that gives them a decent value to have on hand. Remember, in a true emergency that is expected to last a while, currency will have very, very little value.  In fact, there are many studies that show a bucket of wheat will be worth more than a bucket of gold.  

 

Discussing the merits of wheat is an entire book practically, but I will address a few aspects of it quickly lest you think that the recommendation of wheat storage is fostered my some maniacal men who desire to make your life miserable or to challenge your creative storage techniques. 

 

wheat-sproutWheat has numerous uses, and not just in the berry or flour form. Wheat, especially when it’s sprouted, is a fabulous nutritional resource.  In fact, when you sprout wheat it is 600 times more nutritious than the wheat ground down into flour. In fact, if you’d like, the wheat can be sprouted, then dried, and then ground down and made into whatever you’d like, thus manifesting that much more nutritional benefit.  1 cup of sprouted wheat has 8 grams of protein.  It’s also a great source of nutrients, amino acids, and good carbohydrates. Sprouted wheat has been used to cure scurvy and birth defects.  Let’s see if your bucket of empty calories can do that.  

 

In future blogs I will share with you how to cook with wheat, what to substitute if you are allergic to wheat, and so much more! Glad you’re reading to get better prepared.

 

Kellene

 

 

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.
You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.  

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