• Food Storage Program for Paleo Dieters

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    by Cathy Cuthbert: What’s
    Happening to the Little People



    Many people
    are becoming aware of the need to have a preparedness plan for
    their families in the event of an emergency, whether it is a natural
    disaster or an economic one. The most obvious places to look for
    advice on how to prepare are the survivalist blogs and companies
    that have been in the business of preparedness for many years,
    and their advice is by far the most common we've seen.

    Despite their
    experience and many excellent suggestions, we have two objections
    to the usual advice on survival food storage offered by these
    sources. The first is that these storage programs are typically
    devised under the assumption that your stash — all of your stash
    — should last you for one year or maybe even 15 years without
    active management. We see three problems with this assumption.

    1. Most emergencies
      don't last for a year. Disruptions due to fire, flood and storm
      typically are rectified in a matter of days or sometimes weeks
      rather than months or years. Even when we researched emergencies
      that we here in the US have not suffered in recent memory, such
      as a currency crisis, we still don't see them lasting for a
      full year, at least not the final blow-off stage. The exception
      that immediately comes to mind is war. However, we surmise that
      preparing for a war by planning to hunker down with a year's
      worth of food is more or less futile. Chances are you will be
      outed. Overall, these programs seem like a waste of resources.
    2. If all
      your food has to have a shelf life of a year, you'll make different
      choices than if your storage program is designed for, say, four
      to six months. Beans, rice, wheat, canned and highly processed,
      dehydrated or freeze dried foods just about have to be the staples
      for a yearlong storage plan. However, a program for six months
      opens up the possibility of including many fresh and frozen
      foods. Not only are these healthier options, but this is how
      we eat already, making it much more likely we will properly
      rotate our supplies in order to make good use of our resources
      and keep our stash fresh and ready if we need it.
    3. You will
      spend more money and storage space on the quantity of your food
      while the quality of your storage food will suffer. There are
      two reasons for this. First, you will simply be storing too
      much. Second, what you will be storing will have reduced nutritional
      value compared to the fresh, nutrient-dense products that you
      would normally be eating. Without nutrient-dense foods, you
      will need more food to get the same level of nutrition, if you
      can get it at all. In other words, when you eat low quality
      food, you eat more of it trying to satisfy your nutritional

    This brings
    up our second objections to the standard advice — the lack of
    nutrient density. Food storage programs look a lot like a dried
    out version of SAD — the Standard American Diet. They are a modified
    version of the unhealthy and disastrous food pyramid, with its
    heavy dependence on grains and processed foods. To be fair, we
    recognize that many preparedness advisors include vitamins and
    seeds in their programs in their effort to address the lack of
    nutrient density of the foods they recommend and we applaud them
    for that, but in the context of the total program, this is only
    a band aid measure.

    in a attempt to construct a dehydrated SAD-like diet, preparedness
    vendors have created a whole array of very unnatural and frankly
    scary products — insipid, too — that we would never eat, such
    as textured vegetable protein, dried dairy products, sugary energy
    drink powders, and dried fruits processed with sulfur and sugar,
    to name just a few. We even read an article from a blogger who
    suggested buying candy for a disaster preparedness program. Eating
    candy is the last thing any health-minded grown-up should be doing
    in the best of times. During a time of crisis, when our lives
    may be at stake and both emotional and physical stress is extreme,
    eating candy which will further depress the immune system could
    be nothing less than a fatal choice. This recommendation is irresponsible.

    Once we change
    the parameter for the storage program from one year's amount of
    food to four-six months, we no longer need to depend so heavily
    on grains and processed foods for their long shelf life. We can
    spend our money on quality, natural, organic foods, many of which
    can be fresh. We can also devote some resources to providing cold
    storage such as a good, old fashioned root cellar or perhaps a
    spare refrigerator or freezer.

    You may disagree
    that a four-six months food supply is sufficient. Fair enough,
    we can be convinced of that. However, many of the high quality,
    nutrient-dense foods on our list have long shelf lives and can
    easily be part of a yearlong program. Of course the more perishable
    items fit into the first four-six months of that plan. You may
    choose to more heavily rely on grains for the second six months.

    In keeping
    with the recommendation that we should store the foods that most
    resemble our current eating habits, I have set out to plan a food
    storage program for a paleo diet.


    Eat fish,
    grass fed meat and raw, grass fed dairy for our proteins. If you
    intend to store these, obviously a freezer is necessary. The best
    freezers for long-term storage are NOT frost free. Frost free
    freezers work by cycling a heating coil on and off, raising the
    temperature (while using more electricity) which reduces the shelf
    life of your frozen foods.

    Finding a
    local source for your proteins is generally the best way to go,
    especially finding a local source for eggs. Buy cage free eggs
    that have not been detergent washed if you can. To find these,
    you will have to buy directly from a farm. With the natural coating
    left to protect the eggs, they will last several weeks to months
    in a cool place such as a root cellar or spare refrigerator. (Be
    sure to wash your eggs with hot water and detergent to disinfect
    before using.) If you can't find a local source for the meats
    and dairy, try U.S.
    . They have an excellent selection of grass fed meat,
    poultry and dairy products that they deliver frozen to your door.
    If you can't find a local source for fish, try Vital
    or U.S. Wellness

    it is tempting to store soy products for shelf life, you may change
    your mind after reading about the "soy is a health food"
    scam. Both the Weston A.
    Price Foundation
    and Joseph
    supply ample information on this topic, see here
    and here.
    According to both, the only soy products that can be safely consumed
    are fermented: miso, soy sauce and tempeh. Tempeh can be frozen.
    All have a long shelf life if properly stored. Here are some suggestions:

    • Canned
      and frozen fish, low mercury only. Excellent shelf life.
    • Frozen
      grass fed meats. If the power goes out, be prepared to make
    • Jerky
    • Eggs
    • Raw, grass
      fed cheese, delivered and stored frozen or in the wheel and
      stored in a cool place.
    • Grass
      fed milk can be stored frozen
    • Tempeh

    One more
    thing you may want to store is whey. Make it from raw grass-fed
    milk that has soured or high quality organic yogurt by straining
    out the curds using cheese cloth. Whey will store for six months
    in the refrigerator. According to Sally Fallon's Nourishing
    , whey is healthful for digestion and can be
    used in preparing grains, mayonnaise and fermented vegetables.
    (See below.)

    your skills: Learn how to raise backyard chickens. Chickens
    are immensely useful. They not only provide eggs and meat, but
    rid your yard of insects, clean your garden after harvest and
    provide a source of fertilizer. Four to six chickens in your
    backyard with a chicken tractor are easy to care for and great
    fun to watch too, way better than TV. For smaller areas, such
    as in your garage, try coturnix quail. I've have raised these
    in my garage. They supply meat and eggs. Obviously, storing
    feed is a good idea.

    in Your Backyard
    , Chicken


    The only
    canned veggies we would store would be tomatoes for flavor. If
    you want to store canned vegetables, we recommend Eden's healthy
    cans without BPA. Otherwise, store fresh veggies when possible
    and seeds.

    We urge you
    to create an indoor or patio garden that can't be seen by passersby.
    Choose crops for small places that can be harvest-ready in a short
    period of time. Examples: peas, radishes, lettuce and other salad
    greens, bok choy, spinach, green onions, herbs, etc. Fruit crops
    such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and eggplant, take too long
    to ripen. (We've had no luck with Zucchini and corn in containers,
    by the way.) But if you have the space and inclination, try cherry
    tomatoes and small hot peppers since they ripen sooner than the
    large varieties.

    Use edible
    plants throughout your landscape, particularly plants that most
    people don't know are edible. Some examples are nasturtium, New
    Zealand lettuce, pursilane, and sunflowers. Consider planting
    edible perennials in your yard that fit this description, as well,
    such as day lilies and Jerusalem artichokes.

    and sprouts are an excellent source of fresh nutrition. Full of
    vitamins and precious enzymes, they need little space and are
    ready to eat in only days. Look for seed mixes specifically for
    microgreen container gardening at Pinetree
    Garden Seeds
    and Bountiful

    A wide variety
    of sea weeds are available commercially. They come dried and have
    a long shelf life. Whenever you make a soup or stew, add sea weed.
    You will not taste it yet you will gain all the advantages of
    organic minerals necessary for health. Granulated kelp can also
    be bought and can be sprinkled on salads and soups.

    • Microgreens
      and Sprouts
    • Seeds
      for your hidden garden.
    • Seeds
      for a large garden and barter
    • Veggies
      for your root cellar: onions (avoid purple onions since they
      don't store as well), garlic, winter squash, spuds
    • Tomato
      sauce in jars
    • Sundried
      tomatoes in olive oil
    • Fermented
      foods: kim chi, sauerkraut, miso.
    • Sea weeds
      for the minerals

    your skills:
    Learn about the wild edibles and edible perennials
    that grow in your area. Also, learn about hydroponics and aquaponics.
    Try this website for ideas on implementing an affordable system
    for the home garden or even for your condominium or apartment:
    Friendly Aquaponics.

    , Perennial
    , Grow
    More Foods than You Ever Thought Possible
    , and any of
    the publications from Bountiful Gardens, The
    Contrary Farmer
    , The
    Integral Urban House
    , Toolbox
    for Sustainable City Living

    Storing seeds
    for an extended emergency is critically important. We recommend
    that you take the time to choose seeds wisely. We have seen storage
    seed packages and looking at the contents found that they didn't
    suit our location or eating habits and preferences. They were also
    very expensive to the point of being a rip off. Choose your seeds
    yourself, buying at least some open pollinators along with the hybrids.
    To store them properly, buy silica gel at any craft store, dry the
    silica in the oven according to the directions, pour about a half
    inch into canning jars with new lids, put the seed packets in the
    jars and tightly seal. After about a week to 10 days, the seeds
    can be stored in the freezer. You can but don't have to remove the
    silica before storage. When you need the seeds, take them out being
    careful not to expose the others to the air for longer than necessary.
    Your seeds should be viable for many years.

    Hybrid varieties
    are not all bad. Best boy and early girl are going to out yield
    black krim 4 to 1, easy. It is simply not true as you may read
    on the blogs that hybrid seeds are sterile. The next generation
    of plants will not be identical, but anyone who is a gardener
    knows that there will be plenty of volunteers in your garden next
    year from the tomatoes that hit the ground this year.

    your skills:
    learn how to select and store seeds from your
    own harvest. An excellent book on the subject is Seed
    to Seed
    by Ashworth and Whealy.


    In our effort
    to find foods with long shelf life, let's not stumble into storing
    what many consider the bane of our modern food system — unhealthy
    fats. That includes commercial peanut butter with its added transfats.
    With the proper storage conditions, we can store healthy fats
    for much longer than four-six months and they have better flavor,

    Coconut oil
    is the oil of choice for cooking since it is more stable than
    all the others. Mercola.com recently published this tip: to preserve
    olive oil, buy in small dark-colored bottles and add the contents
    of a gel cap of astaxanthan or lutien to the bottle as an antioxidant.

    Being paleo-dieters,
    we can't forget butter for our storage program. Butter can be frozen,
    but need not be, especially if wrapped airtight. Ghee, of course,
    has a longer shelf life than butter.

    • Coconut
      oil, minimally processed
    • Mac Nut
      and Olive Oil
    • Nuts in
      the shell. Store frozen if possible. Don't forget the nut cracker.
    • Tahini
    • Olives
    • Butter
    • Ghee
    • Homemade
      mayonnaise using whey, shelf life of about six months in fridge.

    your skills:
    experiment with making your own butters from
    your organic stored-in-the-shell nuts and seeds.


    Despite our
    disapproval of the food pyramid, we believe there is a place for
    grains and legumes in your storage program. The Westin A. Price
    Foundation has published quite a bit on how to use grains in a healthy
    manner by sprouting or fermenting them before cooking. (See their
    newsletter, Wise Traditions, Summer 2006 for more.) For example,
    , says to let rice sit overnight at room temperature
    with whey in the salted cooking water before boiling it the next
    day. This type of fermentation reduces the anti-nutrients in the
    grains making them more digestible. Fermenting the grain flours
    with sourdough starter or yogurt is also suggested.

    Another use
    of grains that you may overlook is sprouting. Wheat can be sprouted
    for a couple of days to yield a healthy drink called rejuvelac,
    and the wheat berries added to salads. Buckwheat can be sprouted
    as a microgreen. Beans also can be sprouted for eating with salads,
    as well as cooked for soups, daals and stews. You should note
    that lentils need not be soaked therefore require less water for


    • Sea salt,
      not commercial salt which contains aluminum
    • Teas, especially
      medicinal teas such as Saint John's Wort
    • Dried fruit
      for the phytonutrients and, of course, taste
    • Raw, unfiltered
      apple cider vinegar
    • Raw, unfiltered
      honey, stevia, maple syrup
    • Herbs and
      spices. Many spices are not only prized for their flavor but also
      their medicinal qualities, particularly the curry spices. Fresh
      ginger can be stored frozen.
    • Water. In
      many cases, you should NOT store municipal tap water for drinking.
      We suggest looking for a used, food grade 55 gal drum and filling
      it with reverse osmosis water or quality well water with hydrogen
      peroxide (preservative) for drinking. A great trick is to install
      a used, busted hot water tank in line with your working hot water
      tank. (Call your plumber. He may have a tank to sell to you.)
      If your water service is interrupted, this tank can be used for
      washing. Because it is in line, it is constantly being refreshed
      so that there is no need to add a preservative.
    • Supplements.
      At a minimum, store the three things our bodies need and can't
      produce, according to Dr.
      Don Miller
      — vitamins C and D3 and iodine. Also store nutritional
      yeast for B complex and if you are into it, green superfoods.
    • Alcohol
      for medicinal purposes. Buy vodka in glass bottles for you and
      airline-size plastic bottles by the case for barter.
    • Organic
      fertilizers for your hidden garden.
    • Solar cooker

      your skills:
      Learn how to solar cook. Go to the Solar
      Cookers International
      website for cookers and books. We
      have been solar cooking for years and have even roasted beef
      with the sun. A solar cooker could be a life saver in an emergency
      since water can be pasteurized with it.

    Also a
    selection of medicinal herb is wise. Learn how to grow or gather
    them in your area and how to make tinctures.

    with the Sun

    Please view
    this article as a work in progress. I welcome suggestions to improve
    this program and will update it with your help.

    2, 2010

    Cuthbert [send her mail]
    is a liberty activist and a member of the Board of Directors for
    the Alliance for the Separation
    of School and State
    and for the Advocates
    for Self Government
    . She is a former homeschooling mother
    (they grew up, damn it) who lives on California’s central coast.

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