19th October 2021 ✦ Laura (RGB)
The food supply chain worldwide is reportedly being systematically dismantled in order to orchestrate food shortages and famine. It may be that the UK will shortly be in another lockdown, with more lockdowns to follow. People are generally dependent on supermarkets, and the public’s reaction to the first lockdown is a foreshadowing of what will happen when the general public become fearful of shortages.
Supermarkets only have about 3 days worth of food at a time which will go quickly in a crisis, and with deliveries not getting through, stocks may not get replaced. If there are power outages, you could also lose whatever chilled and frozen food you have. It is crucial that people take this situation seriously, and prepare a storage of long-life food and essentials. Fortunately, prepping doesn’t have to be difficult, intense or expensive.
Here is a list of food essentials to consider stocking up on:
- Sea salt for consumption is best, and iodized salt will provide you with iodine.
- Plain pasta, rice, lentils and noodles, stored properly. To these you can add fish, meat, vegetables and sauces to make simple meals. Oats can last months to years depending on the type.
- Tinned food – fruit, vegetables, different types of beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, rice pudding, custard, soup, fish and meat.
- Food in jars – olives, jams, picked vegetables, pickled eggs, beetroot, pesto, chutneys, sundried tomatoes, gherkins, pasta sauce and spreads.
- Oils, ghee, lard and tallow for cooking and frying. Look up the shelf life and ideal storage requirements of different oils. Olive oil and avocado oil is a way to add calories, nutrients and fat to your food.
- Mixed nuts – last months if properly stored (longer if shelled) and are a source of fat and protein. Also: peanut butter, or other nut-based spreads such as almond and pecan.
- Dried or dehydrated fruit and vegetables. You can dehydrate these yourself or buy them, and if properly stored, they can last years. Also consider a stock of dehydrated meat and fish (jerky).
- Honey lasts forever, and is also a useful topical treatment for burns, rashes, sore throats and other skin conditions as it has antiseptic properties. Ideally, find raw, unfiltered and naturally processed honey – cheap, processed supermarket honeys made from ‘blends’ have most of their pollen count removed and are nothing more than sweeteners. Manuka honey is glorified as the most nutritional honey you can buy, and can be incredibly expensive – but the truth is that honey found at a local farmers’ market is just as good, if not better.
- If you don’t like the taste of honey but want a natural sweetener: molasses, maple syrup or date syrup are alternative sweeteners which last years if stored correctly.
- Tinned fish: Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, and Herrings for health and flavour.
- UHT or long-life milk, and dried powdered milk. Powdered or canned coconut milk can be added to food for extra calories.
- Bovril, for B-vitamins and iron. Bovril was traditionally a British war-time drink and it may be that we’ll have need of it again.
- Jelly – gelatine has a myriad of health benefits and is a long-life dessert.
- Dried herbs and spices, and condiments – to add variety to meals you might be eating over and over. Curry powder, chilli powder, dried onions, garlic granules – make sure you have in store the ones which you usually use.
- Flour, yeast and other baking items for making bread and cakes. Flour isn’t going to last in storage very long but it’ll help to do some baking in the initial stages of a food shortage. Perishables like sliced bread will be the first to be stripped from supermarket shelves – but you’ll be able to make your own.
- Long-life cartons of fruit juice. An unopened bottle of lemon juice is a source of vitamin C and can last 6 months past its best before date.
- If you have pets, pet food.
If you no longer have access to fresh produce like meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and dairy products, then supplements and vitamins can be lifesaving – especially if you need to boost your immune system and stave off illness. You don’t want to just be surviving with your health hanging by a thread – you’ll want to be as strong as possible. Here are some worth considering:
- Vitamin C tablets or powders
- Vitamin D, which many people are deficient in – this is especially important in the winter, especially if you have dark skin but live in a cold, low-light place.
- Cod liver oil
- Blackseed oil
- Primrose oil with Vitamin B6 is especially good for women to help with menstrual cramps
- Bone broth is nutrient-dense and high in collagen, this can be made into a drink or mixed into meals
- Protein powder
- Turmeric with black pepper has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Add both to warm milk (or similar fat) along with cinnamon and ginger – this is known as ‘golden milk’ and has a range of health benefits
- Iodine to protect against radiation poisoning
- Seaweed is great source of iodine and potassium
Carefully research what is safe and beneficial for you. Carefully choose your supplement provider; make sure you’re buying genuine and effective supplements and not fake and ineffective products from pharmaceutical companies.
There are herbal teas which are known to be effective remedies for cold and flu, and are reportedly effective against the ‘spike protein’. It may be worth doing your own research on this and having some of these teas in stock. These include:
- Pine needle
- Rock Rose (cistus incanus)
Make sure you’re storing your stock correctly. Check dates and arrange according to shelf life. Silica Gel packs and tubs of bicarbonate of soda can be placed with your stores of food to soak up moisture and condensation. Examine your cans and jars for damages or perforations. Putting items away in clear plastic boxes will allow you to easily check on them.
Don’t buy anything you won’t eat. You should plan to rotate your stock, which means eating the older stock and replacing it with new stock from time to time. If you’re not stocking food which you will actually eat then it’ll just go to waste, and you don’t want to have to force yourself to eat things you can’t stomach during a shortage.
It may be that you can’t access a doctor (or that you wouldn’t want to), so create your own first aid kit and medicine box. Make sure you have a stock of any important medications you currently take and will need, and have everything you need to care for minor injuries and infections, and harsh colds or flu. A few suggestions:
- Bandages & plasters
- 3% Medical grade hydrogen peroxide
- Alcohol for sterilizing wounds
- Cold and flu remedies
- Tiger balm can be used for muscles aches and headaches
- Apple cider vinegar can be used for infections and mouth ulcers
- Charcoal tablets can be used for upset stomachs and poisoning
- Urinary alkalizers can help with a UTI, which without treatment can become a deadly kidney infection
In a time of real crisis, food and medicine are not the only things you need to stock up on. Food shortages and power outages will cause extra problems and wide-spread civil unrest, and life may become restricted, chaotic or dangerous. It’s also advised to stock up on some of the following essentials:
- Anything you’ll need for your pets, such as medicine, treats, bedding and toys.
- Anything you’ll need for babies, such as changing and feeding kits.
- Water filtration devices and purification tablets
- Lighters (and lighter fuel)
- Bleach, detergents and cleaning products; vinegar and bicarbonate of soda can be used for washing clothes and cleaning
- Short-range radios which charge via USB cable
- Fire starters – you can buy some or you can make your own with simple materials.
- Toiletries such as toothpaste, soap and shaving equipment. You may also want to stock sanitary wipes in case you have trouble with your water supply. Remember that hygiene is as important as nutrition.
- For women, sanitary products – if you use disposable products, consider switching to reusable ones.
- Luxuries such as tobacco, chocolate, coffee, sweets and alcohol. These will provide comfort but you don’t have to consume these things yourself; they’ll be useful to trade if people can’t purchase them.
- Light sources: batteries, torches and candles. A solar panel battery charger.
- If you need them, a spare pair of glasses or stock of contact lenses.
- Ensure you have practical clothing and a spare pair of shoes. Have enough winter clothing: coats, gloves, hats, scarves. Have enough underwear. Buy a simple sewing kit to fix clothing (if you can’t sew, learn basic sewing).
- Maps, battery powered alarm clocks, notepads and pens – it may be that you won’t have use of your phone or computer, so always make sure that you have old fashioned alternatives.
Equipment such as pressure canners and dehydrators are useful for preserving your own food if you have the money, the time and the space; and camping kettles and stoves might be needed for cooking without electricity or gas.
Collect books which help you identify edible plants and medicinal herbs; help you grow and preserve food; provide you with recipes and cooking techniques; advise you on ways to make and store natural medicines and anything else to aid with survival. If you download these from the internet, print them out and keep physical copies. Foraging can be a crucial source of food and nutrients – seaweed and seamoss, for example, can be collected straight off the beach. Do an inventory of the natural and cultivated food sources that exist around you, especially if you live in the countryside or by the sea.
Download and store films, tv shows, music, video games, e-books and podcasts on hard drives so you can access them without the internet. Make sure you have enough entertainment that doesn’t rely on internet access or even electricity. Pens, pencils, paper and books; build a physical library if you haven’t got one, and include informative books.
Make sure your house is secure, especially if you live in the city and other densely populated areas. In a crisis you could be faced with looters, rioters, and people who haven’t prepared trying to break into your house to take your supplies. Be ready for this and increase your home security. If things get really dire, then you will need to be able to defend yourself and your household. If you have to leave home and go elsewhere, know who and where your friends are.
And finally, it may be wise to put some of your money into gold and silver coins, as gold and silver will hold its value after fiat currency collapses. Do your own careful research on this.
This is not an exhaustive or perfect list. It’s only a list of recommendations and a prompt for you to do the research and prepare as you need to. There is plenty more to know and learn, but you don’t have to do it all – pick and choose which things you are able to do and consider most useful. Any amount of prepping is better than none. You don’t have to have stockpiles of frozen seeds and a bunker with a generator and a dehydrator and vegetable garden… but if you’re someone with an empty fridge and cupboards, who relies on takeaways and restaurants and makes daily food shops, who relies on a visit to the chemist or doctor to treat any minor disease or injury, then you should make an urgent lifestyle change. You should have enough prepared to survive 3 months, which is possible to do even in a small city flat. Ideally, aim for 6 months, and keep checking on and rotating your stock. Many people in the current day live with the naïve belief that food and supplies will always be available and in abundance, which is a dangerous assumption to make.
Most importantly: work on becoming mentally and emotionally prepared for the future. Physical prepping is much easier than mental prepping. If things do get dire, 50 cans of baked beans are not going to save you if you aren’t ready to face the new reality.
And to end this on a lighter note: while it’s wise to expect the worst, you don’t have to make prepping a negative experience. Becoming more self-sufficient, learning to forage and grow and preserve food, strengthening your survival skills and stocking your house with essentials are all things you should be doing anyway – you don’t need the threat of impending crisis to do these things. Buying in bulk or buying extra non-perishable food stuffs when you shop, adding them to a store and cycling them out will also save you money in the long run, which makes prepping a financial investment. Food storage is real wealth creation as we go into a high inflation, post-pandemic era. And the skills and knowledge you acquire can be passed on to your children, friends and family. Remember that what we are facing is not the end of times, but the beginning of a new and better world.