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When it comes to food, there is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Today’s post concentrates on foods that will provide a balanced source fats essential to maintain health. The good news is that adding beneficial fat to food storage doesn’t have to be expensive and much of it has a respectable shelf life.
For decades, Americans have grown increasing fearful of fat in their diets and that fear and adherence to avoid fats (for some, anyway) has led to increasing health problems in the U.S. and elsewhere. The truth is that fats are needed for our bodies to manufacture hormones and to regulate bodily functions such as digestion, reproduction, and the immune system. Fats are the foundation of cell membranes, which includes brain function and fats aid in delivering and maintaining our energy level and help to regulate our body temperature. Fats also play a large role in our bodies ability to absorb vital nutrients.
(David’s note: Fats, although in a very limited amount, are also necessary for forming and retaining muscle memory and efficient transfer of nerve impulses through the body…specifically the process of mylenation or creating the myelin sheath that’s made of cholesterol around neural pathways in the brain and body.)
In a post SHTF scenario, avoiding fats can be downright deadly! For instance, eating only wild game, especially during times of food scarcity for the game we hunt, can lead to “Rabbit Starvation”, a situation where a starving or undernourished animal must cannibalize its own muscle mass to survive, leading to lean meat reserves. Those who depend upon a diet primarily consisting of wild game can find themselves at risk for malnutrition.
Additionally, the human liver can only metabolize between 285 to 365 grams of protein each day before the kidneys become overloaded with the animal byproduct urea which can lead to Protein Deficiency. This situation can be partially offset by eating the organs and brain of wild game. However, without our maintaining our energy levels through 60 grams of fat each day and by consuming carbohydrates to balance our diets, it is not advisable to depend solely upon wild game.
When it comes to health, the fats we are advised to stay clear of as much as possible are saturated/hydrogenated fats which are found in junk foods like many pre-packaged foods, pastries, and fried foods. Frequent visits to a Kentucky Fried Chicken drive through or routinely giving in to cravings for double cheeseburgers and fries can lead to health problems. These foods are full of saturated fats. . . which isn’t to say we should never eat them, it simply means if consumed routinely, it can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
(David’s note: when you put stuff in your mouth, it’s going to either be used as fuel or raw materials for building. The body is adaptable and can run on junk, but junk will tax your organs unnecessarily. If you want the most bang for your buck and the most enjoyment possible for the finite number of trips you get around the sun, you want to use the best fuel you can find and build your body out of the best raw materials you can find. Anything else will cause your “engine to sputter or knock” or act like termites in a wood frame house. This, obviously, has to be weighed against the temporary enjoyment of “bad” food and is an individual choice for everyone, but the truth is the truth…what you put in your mouth is either helping your body and mind run better and be stronger or run worse and be more fragile.)
Should there be a long-term crisis, we’ll get off the fast foods train in a hurry whether we like it or not.
In place of saturated fats in junk foods, it’s a good idea to stock up on food storage that offers the necessary fats that will keep our energy levels up so we can preform the strenuous tasks that are likely to accompany a crisis.
To see what tasks those might be, we need only to look at the daily tasks of our forefathers and modify them to our particular living conditions. They planted and maintained large gardens and the overflow was stored in a root cellar when possible. They hunted for venison, rabbit, squirrel and other game and fished for sustenance, preserving the meat through smoking, salting, or dehydrating it into jerky (it wasn’t until 1858 that home canning began in earnest with the introduction of the Mason Jar). On homesteads, horses were used for transportation and cows, chickens and hogs were raised for food, which meant caring for them and butchering them. They milked cows, churned cream into butter and made their own cheese. They baked bread and cooked meals from scratch in ovens built into the side of a fireplace or they used a wood-burning cook stove. Cast Iron Dutch ovens were staples of pioneer life and used for soups, roasts, beans and other meals and placed over or on (depending upon the meal) hot coals. They hauled water and they collected and split firewood to heat their homes, heat water for cleanup and bathing and for fuel to cook with. They collected honey, used for baking and sweetening food, and some were beekeepers. On the prairies, sap from the Maple Tree was collected to make syrup and sugar. And they made their own soap and clothing.
There’s more, but what’s already been mentioned is exhausting to think about. Basically, pioneer families worked from sun up to sun down and it took the entire family working together to survive; men, women and children–lots of children.
To accomplish this hard labor, pioneers ate the largest meal of the day mid day to sustain them and the evening meal portions were smaller. Our forefather’s didn’t need to worry about calorie intake because they worked it off! In fact, it’s estimated by historians that women typically consumed 3,000 calories a day, and men consumed 4,500 calories, with a portion of these calories coming from milk, cheese, eggs, butter, lard, nuts and animal fats
None of us can know for certain just how demanding day-to-day survival in the twenty first century will be until we’re plunged into it, but it’s safe to assume we will require the caloric intake that fats provide.
The following is a list of storage-friendly foods that are high in fat content. I have listed the traditional shelf life advice of nutritional experts, but have also added notations based upon personal experience. It is always preferable to rotate canned goods before their shelf life expires for optimal nutrition. However, if you are storing food for a large number of people who do not live with you, it may be impossible to rotate food before its sell by date. Not to worry! The sell by date is required by the FDA and food manufacturers many times will supply them (typically for 2 years) when the actual shelf life is far greater.
The shelf life of storage food can be optimized by storing it in a cool, dark, moisture free location. To extend the shelf life of most cooking oils, you can keep them refrigerated–check the shelf life of your preferred cooking oil below.
Safety First: Always check canned goods for bulges and look for rusted or split seams and toss when in doubt. Dented cans should not be stored for long term food storage.
Food Storage Items
Nuts (all varieties)–1 year refrigerated, 2 years frozen, approximately 1-2 years vacuum sealed
Tuna Fish, Canned–5 years
Canned Mackerel, Canned–5 years
*Sardines, Canned–5 years
Salmon, Canned–6 years
***Peanut Butter–6 to 9 months (I’ve served peanut butter stored for over 6 years without any problems)
Bacon Home Canned–5 years or longer provided it was canned properly and the seal is intact
Beef, Canned–5 years
Beef, Home Canned–5 years or longer provided it was canned properly and the seal is intact
Biscuit Mix–12 to 18 months (longer when stored in a dark, cool, moisture-free container)
Butter, Canned–Indefinite, pantry
Ham, Canned–2 years, pantry
Spam, Canned–5 years, pantry
Cheese, (hard Cheese) Waxed–Indefinitely when waxed properly, free of any cracks that would allow mold to grow on the cheese
Chicken, Canned–5 years
Chicken, Home-Canned–5 years or longer provided it was canned properly and the seal is intact
Chocolate, Semi-Sweet & Unsweetened–18 months
Eggs, Whole, Powdered #10 Vacuum Sealed Can, 3 years, pantry
Eggs, Preserved in Mineral oil –6 to 8 months in a 70 degrees or cooler location (never below freezing)
Milk, Condensed, Canned–5 years (I’ve cooked with canned milk that was 8 years old without any problems)
Salad Dressing–10 to 12 months, pantry
Soup, Canned–12 to 18 months, pantry
Mayonnaise–2 to 3 months pantry, 1 year refrigerated
Canola Oil-1 year pantry, 1 year refrigerated
**Coconut Oil–1 year pantry, 1.5 years refrigerated, but some studies say as long as 5 years
MCT Oil (David’s favorite) This is the best components of Coconut oil–2 years. For more information on MCT oil, check out the article in the February Journal of Tactics and Preparedness >HERE<
Corn Oil–1 year pantry, 1 year refrigerated
Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Regular Olive Oil–2 to 3 years pantry, 2 to 3 years refrigerated
Peanut Oil–2 years pantry, 2 years refrigerated
Macadamia Oil–2 years pantry, 2 to 3 years refrigerated
Shortening–2 years pantry, 2 years refrigerated
Safflower Oil–2 years pantry, 1 to 2 years refrigerated
Sunflower Oil–2 years pantry, 1 to 2 years refrigerated
Vegetable Oil–1 year pantry, 1 year refrigerated
Walnut Oil–3 to 4 months pantry, 6 to 8 months refrigerated
Notes For Those On a Strict Non Saturated Fat Diet:
*a 4-ounce serving of Sardines canned in oil contains 240 calories, 28 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat, of which only 2% is saturated fat. This is a fairly inexpensive way to add important fat into your diet!
**The jury is still out on Coconut Oil. The saturated fat content in coconut oil is high: 12 grams out of 14 grams, however there are many who claim Coconut Oil is a unique type of fat that does not contribute to health problems. Results of a study of indigenous people living in tropical locations showed that although the majority of their dietary fat came from coconut oil, they do not suffer from heart disease as we do here in America.
*** Peanut Butter may have a so-so reputation nowadays, but it contains both good and bad fats, and is still recommended by nutritional experts because the ratio of good fats exceeds the bad (two tablespoons of peanut butter contains 8 grams of mono-saturated fat, 4 grams of polyunsaturated fats and only 3 grams of saturated fats and zero trans fats). If your diet excludes saturated fats, make sure it does not contain the word “hydrogenated” on the label before buying.
(David’s note on peanut butter: Many jars that say “peanut butter” in the store are really just thick brown spreads. Look for peanut butters that have as few ingredients as possible. Also, look for organic…not because of politics, but because it means that you will be minimizing the number of residual petrochemicals that you’re ingesting from the fertilization, weed control, and pest control process. Finally, treasure the oil film that forms on top. Either stir it in or soak it up with bread and eat it.)
Have you included fats with your food storage? Do you have any favorites that didn’t make the list? Please share by commenting below!
If you didn’t see Ox’s one hole group videos where he shoots 17 rounds through a single ragged hole with a stock Glock in 10.5 and 8.5 seconds after using Dry Fire Training Cards almost daily, but avoiding live fire training for 6 months, click >HERE<
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva