For me, this post is mostly inspired by hurricane Isaac, but survival eating doesn’t cover just natural disasters. I am referring to any circumstance when you are pressed for resources: money, time, knowledge, cooking resources, etc. It could be a drastic change in schedule to which you must adapt your eating schedule (which is currently happening for me), a significant increase in physical activity that results in changing hunger cues and therefore a new way of feeding yourself. Here are some tips:
1. Anticipate as much as possible. Understand what might happen, and plan ahead. In the case of Hurricane Isaac, we knew the power would probably go out and made a fritata with our non-perishable food items. I threw as many vegetables as possible into a cast iron and sauteed them. While they cooked, I whisked all of our remaining eggs with some garlic powder, salt and pepper, cayenne, and paprika and poured it over the vegetables. The whole thing cooked for a while on the stove, and when it was partially cooked went into the oven with a sprinkling of cheese over the top to finish cooking. This gave us something healthy to eat until a few hours after the power went out. More on hurricane food safety later.
The point is, although this post is about the times you can’t plan for, you should always be trying to think about possible scenarios and prepping for them. For example, a person with a busy schedule should think about small healthy snacks that will be appropriate for the demands of their new schedule.
2. Stock up on the good stuff. Make sure there is healthy food all around you: fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean proteins, and whole grains; and make sure that they are easy to prepare. Also, always be aware of what food is available to you – if you don’t know it’s there, how can you eat is?
3. Don’t give in! It’s easy to eat crap when you’re panicking. Rouses on Tchoupitoulas had record alcohol sales as people prepped for Isaac, and I’m sure their cookies/candy/junk food sales were huge too. Don’t cite stress as a reason to transition from a healthy, balanced diet to one that contains nothing but crap! Sure, a small treat won’t kill anyone, but just think about how much better you’ll feel if you keep eating well rather than stuffing yourself with salt, sugar, fat, and artificial ingredients.
4. Understand good nutrition. Your health is your responsibility. In order to satisfy #2, you must have an understanding of basic nutrition, which is information that you must seek out. Not all people have been educated by a nutrition professional, which means that many people have received false or no information about nutrition. Make sure that
5. Bro science is bad science. The term “bro science” often refers to the guys at the gym who share their secret gym tips with each other that actually have no merit whatsoever, but it applies to food as well. As stated above, many people have false beliefs about nutrition. Magazines, friends at the gym, family members, and random people on the street are always talking about the next nutrition cure-all, the newest diet, and silly fads (raspberry ketones, anyone??) that are supposed to be “healthy”. RESIST THIS BRO SCIENCE! Make sure that you have credible sources for your knowledge. How do you do this? Well…
6. Consult an RD! Read here.