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Disaster Preparedness, Low Carb Food Options, No Refrigeration Required

Maintaining During Phase 4

 

A hurricane said to rival Katrina is set to hit the Louisiana coast any minute. In areas decimated by storms, people stand in line for hours, waiting on water and food handouts. They are being turned away, empty handed, when supplies run out. 

Natural disasters can happen anywhere at any time. I live in a suburb of one of the largest cities in the Midwest and due to three different ice storms in the last six years, we've lost power four to seven days each time. I also live in tornado alley - our area was hit by F5 twisters twice in the last two years and people were without electrical power, phone service and water for weeks at a time.

It can happen to you. Are you prepared? Earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane or national emergency due to a terrorist activity: any one of these events can happen at any time and cut off basic services for days or weeks. Prepare your emergency food plan and have everything in place before the emergency happens. Your low-carb life style does not have to be put on hold or go out the window if you are faced with sudden adversity.

Water is the most important staple and should be number one on your food list. Allow 2 quarts of drinking water per day for a normal, active person. Be aware that if you are operating in a hot environment that need will double. Children, nursing mothers, people on special diets or the ill will need more water. Allow extra water for food preparation, brushing teeth, hygiene, etc. One gallon of water per day per person should be the absolute minimum you have on hand, and store at least three days worth.

Water can be stored in any food safe container. Empty plastic soda bottles are an excellent choice - wash well and fill. If you have a freezer and don't keep it completely full of food, store some of your water bottles there. In the event of a power failure the frozen bottles can be used to cool food stored in coolers, and as they slowly melt the ice-cold water will be refreshing to drink. Store your water supply in a cool, dark place, such as the corner of a basement or a basement cupboard.

If you are involved in an emergency situation and your drinking water supplies are running low, keep in mind that the water heater in the home is a storage tank you can tap. Water in the toilet tank, as long as no cleaning agents have been added, can also be used. Do you have a waterbed? Drain it and use that water to flush the toilet, or boil well and use for cleaning. If you have advance warning of an impending disaster, fill the bathtub, the sinks and clean trash cans. This water can be used for the toilets and for cleaning and will preserve your drinking water supply.

A low-carb diet is based on fresh vegetables and fresh protein sources, but in an emergency fresh is not going to be available. If you plan your food storage choices wisely, you can still eat low-carb as you weather the storm.

The obvious protein sources to choose for storage are canned meats and fish - tuna, sardines, salmon, oysters, shrimp, chicken, ham, Spam, turkey, clams, corned beef, chicken spread, ham spread, mackerel and mussels. Read labels and buy the lowest carb count beef or turkey jerky you can find. Meat sticks will also store well.

Stock up on canned beans. Many beans are fairly high in carbs, often containing 12 to 14 grams per half-cup but if you are active in clearing brush or storm debris or are in the maintenance phase of a low-carb diet you can eat more carbs than normal. Think of the other members of your family, too. Men and children, especially if they are active, can eat more carbs and canned beans are an excellent protein source.

Invest in nut butters. Read the labels and pick sugar-free or the lowest carb count you can. Peanut butter and almond butter are good choices. Store sugar-free jam or jelly to go with the nut butters. Even if this is not a food choice you normally eat your children will love you for thinking of them.

Buy canned nuts: pecans, macadamia, Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, soybean nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are high in protein along with essential fats, fiber and nutrients.

Canned vegetables are a great choice for emergency food storage. Green beans, wax beans, white kernel corn, beets, peas, zucchini, asparagus spears, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, peas & carrots, olives, dill pickles, eggplant, baby corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, roasted red peppers, pimentos and artichoke hearts are low-carb options. Buy what foods your family enjoy and will eat. Don't spend money and stock up on food that no one will eat. Don't pour off the water the vegetables are canned in. It can be used in place of drinking water in the food prep.

Look for fruit packed in water, check the label and buy the lowest carb variety you can find. Mandarin oranges are relatively carb friendly. Remember your children and stock up on canned fruit for them. Dried fruit and raisins are excellent kid choices. Dried or dehydrated fruit or fruit leather will keep well for long periods of time. Invest in low-carb crackers for the canned meats, nut butters and soup you'll have on hand.

If you have small children or infants, don't forget the baby food and formula and bottled baby juice. Buy canned formula that doesn't require added water. Powdered baby food that you mix with water and only prepare the amount you need for one feeding is excellent if the power is off and refrigeration is a problem.

For adults, canned V-8 juice or tomato juice is relatively low-carb. Again, if you have children stock up on canned juice that is sugar free or very low in sugar content, or boxed juice. Unsweetened canned coconut milk is very low-carb. Stock powdered milk and sugar-free powdered juice mix but store extra water for items such as this. Canned evaporated milk can be used in cooking or for drinking.

Dry soup mixes will keep well for long periods. Canned broth is a good low-carb choice - look for low-sodium beef, chicken or vegetable. Add a few spoons of tomato juice for body and sip a cup of this before a meal. It will fill you up and you won't need to eat as much. Canned cream soups often have low carb counts but be sure and read labels.

Dried eggs, bouillon cubes or granules, sugar-free instant cocoa, cider, instant coffee, instant tea, tea bags, sugar free hard candy, sugar free pudding packs, sugar free jell-o, salsa (will make dried eggs palatable) low-carb energy bars, low-carb candy and canned low-carb shakes are good food storage choices. Don't forget the salt and pepper or the manual can opener! You need a way to open all of those cans!

You can store trail-mix for the kids and make your own low-carb versions that contain nuts, seeds and unsweetened coconut. If you have sugar-free jell-o mix on hand but no refrigerator, use half of the water called for in the directions and the jell-o will set up without refrigeration.

You should also have vitamins for every family member. Children do not store vitamins like an adult does, and the vitamin stores in their body can become depleted very quickly. Under stressful conditions, an adult body will deplete vitamin stores much more quickly than normal.

You need to plan on storing at least three days worth of food for each family member. The food you select should be non-perishable and require no refrigeration and very little water during food prep. Only prepare the amount of food you can eat during one meal. There may not be a heat source for cooking - cans of sterno work well for this but keep in mind that you should store food that can be eaten cold as well as hot.

The food you buy for storage should be kept in a cool, dark place away from temperature extremes. Buy large trash cans with tight fitting lids and keep your supplies safe from bugs, critters and rain water. Large storage containers, as long as they are waterproof, will serve you well.

Keep an eye on your food stores and don't simply buy the food and forget about it. As you store the food, label it with the date and rotate the food in and out. If it has been stored for what seems like too long, add the stores to your pantry and replace with fresh supplies.

Write out your food storage plan and follow through with it. Make a list for each member of the family and buy and store what each person will need. When an emergency hits, you'll be ready.

 

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