What to Eat in a Crisis

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Those of you
who follow the meanderings of our government and its monetary policy
know that things are not well with our country politically and economically
speaking. The dollar is now on the verge of losing reserve currency
status and that will make things even worse. True unemployment
is a lot higher than the government is reporting. You don’t
have to be an economist to figure this stuff out. People are uneasy
and it shows in their economic behavior.

Whether this
is the big enchilada I don’t know, but America is truly at
a crossroads and for many of us life potentially will never be the
same again. If you track the numbers you know we are in the midst
of what one writer has called the greatest depression. Despite
what many talking heads are saying things are not getting better.
Never before in the history of the world have so many governments
all at once engaged in the practice of fiat money, a practice which
has without exception always led to economic and political disaster.
If you don’t know what fiat money is I suggest you check my
post out on ending the Federal Reserve titled $10,000,000
For A Loaf Of Bread
.

The practical
and potentially devastating aspect about this is that here in America
(and increasingly so around the world) most of us are accustomed
to “just in time” shopping. We buy enough food for a week
or so. We expect when we go to the store what we need will be on
the shelf. The thought of a shortage or a crisis is the farthest
thing from our mind. After all, the food truck(s) for Whole
Foods
show up every morning at 2:00 am right on schedule, so
why should I be worried?

If you have
been fortunate enough to be shut in because of inclement weather,
or lived in an area affected by a trucker’s strike, or lived
where there was a predicted shortage of a particular item (like
toilet paper), then you know there is reason to worry. I say fortunate
because that experience may have taught you how tenuous your life
line to food really is – a boycott, a natural disaster, inclement
weather – and all of a sudden the food stops rolling and for
those who are unprepared it can be a very unpleasant experience.

How and why
Americans got away from the farming mentality of saving during the
summer for the upcoming winter, or saving during good times for
the inevitable bad times, is a story for another occasion. We who
for the most part do not garden or produce our own food are extremely
vulnerable to any kind of disruption in the market place –
be it a trucking strike, getting snowed in, losing our job, or God
forbid, a hyperinflation.

In light of
the current economic woes, storing
food has become very popular
. The problem for traditional foodies
(for whom lack of animal fats is not an option), is that
there isn’t a lot of choices available in terms of what to
eat. One of the basic principles of food storage is store what you
eat, since an abrupt change in circumstances is likely to be exacerbated
by the need to consume strange foods that you and your family wouldn’t
normally be eating.

I think this
principle is sound for short term crises although I don’t think
it bears any relation to reality if one were involved in a long
term breakdown. The greatest sauce in the world is hunger,
and otherwise strange food can become pretty tasty when there is
nothing else available. This is what Stefansson had to say regarding
his Adventures
in Diet
:

During the
first few months of my first year in the Arctic, I acquired, though
I did not at the time fully realize it, the munitions of fact
and experience which have within my own mind defeated those views
of dietetics reviewed at the beginning of this article. I could
be healthy on a diet of fish and water. The longer I followed
it the better I liked it, which meant, at least inferentially
and provisionally, that you never become tired of your food
if you have only one thing to eat.”

Let us hope
none of us ever find ourselves involuntarily in a situation where
we are forced to eat only one thing. Stefansson further adds in
relation to the men who journeyed with him:

Still, as
just implied, the verdict depends on how long you have been on
the diet. If at the end of the first ten days our men could have
been miraculously rescued from the seal and brought back to their
varied foods, most of them would have sworn forever after that
they were about to die when rescued, and they would have vowed
never to taste seal again – vows which would have been easy
to keep for no doubt in such cases the thought of seal, even years
later, would have been accompanied by a feeling of revulsion.
If a man has been on meat exclusively for only three or four months
he may or may not be reluctant to go back to it again. But if
the period has been six months or over, I remember no one who
was unwilling to go back to meat. Moreover, those who have gone
without vegetables for an aggregate of several years usually thereafter
eat a larger percentage of meat than your average citizen, if
they can afford it.

For a traditional
foodie there is currently little to store if you are out of electricity
for a week and you do not have a generator to keep your electrical
items running. Unless you normally eat canned meats or other canned
animal products it won’t be a pretty picture. The one item that
is really needed under duress for cognitive awareness is fat, and
not just any old fat, but saturated fat. Going around the blogosphere
is a recent excerpt
from the authors of Protein
Power
, Michael and Mary Dan Eades, who have written The
6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle: The Simple Plan to Flatten
Your Belly Fast!
, on the necessity of saturated fat:

1) Improved
cardiovascular risk factors

Though you
may not have heard of it on the front pages of your local newspaper,
online news source, or local television or radio news program, saturated
fat plays a couple of key roles in cardiovascular health. The addition
of saturated fat to the diet reduces the levels of a substance called
lipoprotein (a) – pronounced “lipoprotein little a”
and abbreviated Lp(a) – that correlates strongly with risk
for heart disease. Currently there are no medications to lower this
substance and the only dietary means of lowering Lp(a) is eating
saturated fat. Bet you didn’t hear that on the nightly news.
Moreover, eating saturated (and other) fats also raises the level
of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol. Lastly, research has shown
that when women diet, those eating the greatest percentage of the
total fat in their diets as saturated fat lose the most weight.

Editor’s
note: Those of you who have read the series on this site called
Slaying
the Low Carb Dragon
know that the same is true for men. The
Kitavans,
where saturated fat intake was 80% or more of the fat they consumed,
were free of obesity, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases
that plague the west. By the way, the Kitavans eat a high carbohydrate
diet (69% by calories), although the Eades in their various bestselling
books preach a low carbohydrate lifestyle. It is worth noting that
the Kitavans apparently don’t need a 6 week cure for the middle
aged middle. :-)

2) Stronger
bones

In middle age,
as bone mass begins to decline, an important goal (particularly
for women) is to build strong bones. You can’t turn on the
television without being told you need calcium for your bones, but
do you recall ever hearing that saturated fat is required for calcium
to be effectively incorporated into bone?

According
to one of the foremost research experts in dietary fats and human
health, Mary Enig, Ph.D., there's a case to be made for having as
much as 50 percent of the fats in your diet as saturated fats for
this reason. That's a far cry from the 7 to 10 percent suggested
by mainstream institutions.

Read
the rest of the article

October
20, 2009

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