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What You Need to Know About Food for Preparation and Survival


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How much food dedicated just for survival purposes should you have? What kind? What about emergency rations? How long can you go without food? What do expiration dates mean? How do you scavenge or hunt for food efficiently?

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What You Need to Know About Food for Preparation and Survival

  1. 1. What You Need To Know About Food for Living and Survival
  2. 2. A person can go several weeks without food. That, however, is stretching it. I’ve gone eight days without food during one mission; interestingly I stopped feeling hungry after a few days. However, the ability to function begins to degrade. When our output exceeds our caloric intake these are the symptoms: -physical weakness -confusion, poor judgment, and disorientation -weakened immune system -inability to maintain body temperature which can lead to hypothermia, heat exhaustion/stroke
  3. 3. The Coast Guard has determined that with fresh water, people can survive in a life raft 8 to 18 days without any food. The Coast Guard also believes you need a bare minimum of 800 calories a day for survival; but that’s sitting in a life raft, not being very active and focused on pure survival. Note that number when I discuss emergency ration bars further on.
  4. 4. The human body can sustain a surprising amount of weight loss. When the body loses 20% of its weight, it consumes 50% less energy. Your body temperature drops and we become lethargic and apathetic, neither of which are desirable in a survival situation. Eventually, the organs begin to waste away. Liver and kidney malfunctioning begin to occur. Diseases like scurvy and pellagra emerge. Scurvy is a lack of Vitamin C and leads to anemia, spontaneous bleeding, pain in the limbs and swelling. Pellagra is a lack of Niacin, B3, which leads to inflamed skin, diarrhea, dementia and sores in the mouth.
  5. 5. Women usually can sustain weight loss better than men. Each person will respond differently based on their physical condition and weight. Most people will die if their body mass index falls below half of normal.
  6. 6. Bottom line: have a minimum 3 day supply of non-perishable food for each member of your household. The same in your Grab-n-Go bag. That’s baseline. As you will see, I recommend more than that. This is food specifically set aside for survival.
  8. 8. Non-perishables for three days minimum. Food that doesn’t require refrigeration. Don’t have food that will make you thirsty. Plan for infants and special dietary requirements. Note expiration dates. Click on image for a good supply from the company that made our Long Range Patrol meals in Special Forces. It’s what I have on hand and in our grab-n-go bags. Also good for camping. I rotate this stock by using the oldest when camping. You add hot water to the pouch and can eat right out of it.
  9. 9. THE GREEN BERET PREPARATION AND SURVIVAL GUIDE I set three levels in survival preparation. Mild. Moderate. Extreme.
  10. 10. I recommend investing in some emergency ration bars. They are a bit expensive, but you won’t mind the outlay when you need them. The ones I list all are 3600 calories, which in a survival situation equals 800 calories a day for three days. They contain a mixture of salt, carbohydrates, fat, protein and are usually enriched with daily requirements of minerals and vitamins. Some reasons to have these: 1. They have a five year shelf life, so you can store them. 2. They’re compact (but heavy) 3. They’re ready to eat (no cooking) 4. They can withstand wide temperature swings, which helps with storage. 5. They don’t make you thirsty.
  11. 11. I have ration bars in our vehicles, our Grab-n-Go bags, and in our Bug Out Hide Site cache. I recommend storing some at work. Even just one packet in each place makes a big difference; and it’s less than two cups of extra-whatever-latte- frappe you order at Starbucks. Some things to consider: -Put them inside a large Ziplok bag, because once you open the packet, the bars aren’t individually sealed. -They are emergency rations, not to be used if other rations are available. -They are designed for survival, not activity. -They’re heavy so many don’t put them in Grab-n- Go bags, but I think the weight is worth it.
  12. 12. I have a variety of ration bars (click on each for link): ER Bar Grizzly Bear Emergency Food Rations DaTrex 3600 Below are some before going into a ziplock bag and into my Jeep.
  13. 13. Something to consider if you have time to prepare is trail mix, or what we called GORP in Special Forces. We were among the first to start putting M&Ms into regular mix. There are a number of varieties, but it's quick energy. However, the shelf life is limited. There are many variations. Having high protein bars is a quick source of energy and doesn’t require cooking. Click on images.
  14. 14. A small, portable stove is key. Make sure you have plenty of fuel which comes in various sizes from small to larger and heavier. The stove screws onto the fuel canister. This stove is inexpensive and has a built-in click lighter, and two cups in the form of the case. I’ve brewed many a cup of coffee/hot chocolate/meals with it. Cooking Food & Boiling Water
  15. 15. Pots to cook in with utensils. I use the pots below with a larger stove that I pack in my Jeep. Here I’m brewing up on the front bumper of the Jeep in the Smoky Mountains. Note chow for Scout, our rescue dog, also laid out. Food
  16. 16. Know what the emergency broadcast stations are. Below is a hand crank/solar radio/flashlight combo I have in my Jeep and in my grab-n-go bag. Click on image for link. Survival Radio
  17. 17. Food Expiration Dates There are several terms stamped on food. This is what they mean: SELL BY: How long a store should display the product for sale. This is a guide for the store. It is optimum quality date, but food is still edible for a while after. BEST IF USED BY OR BEFORE DATE: This is only about quality, not safety. GUARANTEED FRESH DATE: This usually refers to bakery items. They will still be edible after that date. USE BY DATE: This is the last recommended day to use the product at peak quality. It is still edible after this. PACK DATE: This is on canned and packaged goods. This actually might not be clear as sometimes its in code. It can be done by month-day-year as MMDDYY. Or it could be Julian calendar for the year, which means January is 001-0031. December would be 334-365.
  18. 18. Foods not to eat past their expiration date? Eggs. Deli meat. Mixed greens. Alfalfa sprouts. Oysters. Shrimp. Raw ground beef. Berries. Soft cheese. Chicken. How long is food usually good for? Milk: a week after Sell By. Eggs: Three to five weeks after you buy them. Double- grade A will go down a grade in a week, but are still edible. Poultry and seafood: Cook or freeze within a day. Beef and pork: Cook or freeze within three to four days. Canned goods: High acid foods such as tomato sauce can last to 18 months. Low acid such as canned green beans can last for five years. However, do not store these in a hot space. A dry, cool place, is best. Food Expiration Dates
  19. 19. Getting Food Scavenging Phase The primary way to get food in a moderate to extreme emergency is to scavenge. Remember, though, that others will be doing the same. Think through the food distribution network. Don’t go for the obvious targets like stores. Move up the chain. Distribution centers. Abandoned trucks. Crops still in the field. I cover scavenging in another slideshow and in the Guide. It’s a phase that is often overlooked.
  20. 20. Gathering Food Unless you are an experienced hunter, consider trapping. It’s quieter and more effective. You can set multiple traps that are passive, while hunting requires activity. One of the most important things to have in your Grab- n-Go bag are snares. I keep snares in all my G-n-G bags, in my cars and in my house and Bug Out Hide Site cache.
  21. 21. How To Use A Snare Anchor your snare. Use wire, such as from a coat hangar, slide it through the loop, and tie it around the base of a tree or post. Make sure the wire can’t be pulled apart or unwound by the animal as it fights the trap. Find a stick as the stand for the snare. Prop it up between the anchor point and the loop for snare. Have the slide lock of the loop about a half inch in front of the support. Essentially you’re hanging a noose down over the trail. Once you’re in place, push the stick down into the ground fixing it in place. The loop must be at the proper height for your target—where it’s head would go into the loop. This is from 3 inches to 10 inches off the ground. Set multiple snares to increase your odds. This is another way trapping is more effective than hunting. Check your traps every day. The animal will be dead because the sliding lock closes around their necks and either cuts off circulation or breaks their neck during their initial struggle to get free. Remember all that? Invest in a survival manual. Links at the end.
  22. 22. Food We are hunter-gatherers. Besides hunting with snares, we can gather edibles and also fish. In my recommended survival library (another free slideshow) I include books on plant identification and how to prepare, along with a basic fishing guide.
  23. 23. But let’s hope it doesn’t get to that. Get and keep at least a three day supply of food in your home. You should have more than that. This will make you more prepared than 60% of American households!
  24. 24. More Free Information I constantly update free, downloadable slideshows like this on my web site for preparation and survival and other topics. Also, I conduct Area Study workshops for those interested in properly preparing for their specific circumstances.
  25. 25. The guide on the left is the complete preparation and survival guide. The one on the right is a pocket-size manual with just the survival portion. Useful in your Grab- n-Go bag, car and kitchen drawer. SURVIVAL GUIDES
  26. 26. New York Times bestselling author, is a graduate of West Point and former Green Beret. He’s had over 80 books published, including the #1 bestselling series Green Berets, Time Patrol, Area 51, and Atlantis. He’s sold over 5 million books. He was born in the Bronx and has traveled the world. He’s lived on an island off the east coast, an island off the west coast, in the Rocky Mountains, the Smoky Mountains and other places, including time in East Asia studying martial arts. He was an instructor and course developer/writer for years at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School which trains Green Berets and also runs the SERE school: Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape.