Have you ever watched an episode of the reality TV show, ‘Survivor’? The premise of the show is simple: a group of Americans is left to survive on an isolated island with only a few resources.
While these mid-life crisis contestants do have an emergency medic on site and a camera crew filming their every move, they actually do have to survive 39 days in the jungle eating a diet of rice, coconut, and any protein they can catch.
But as they take bite after bite of bland rice, you see them start to experience a very real phenomenon: Food Fatigue.
Food Fatigue is way more than just being bored with your food. Eating a diet that is unbalanced in flavor and nutrition eventually impacts the way your body and mind respond to what you’re eating.
When you’re experiencing Food Fatigue, you get depressed, your energy becomes depleted, your muscles are exhausted, and you hate life.
A quick fix to Food Fatigue? Condiments!
With an exciting and healthy balance of condiments, you could eat a bowl of rice every day while staying in relatively high spirits with acceptable energy levels that will hold you over until a nice juicy deer comes along.
So, make some shelf space and get ready for some condiment-clad survival meals to help you power through even the grimmest situations. Here are 16 condiments and seasonings you should be sure to stockpile.
1. Cocoa Powder
If there is a craving that is certain to make an appearance when times get tough, it’s chocolate. Especially if you have children.
And while we tend to associate cocoa powder with processed chocolate, pure cocoa powder is actually packed with health benefits as it offers a clean dose of iron, fat, fiber, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Studies also show that cocoa acts as an antidepressant, antioxidant, and has heart-healthy properties.
Purchase Coco Powder in a resealable container and it can least you up to 6 months after opening.
2. Vanilla Extract
Baked goods are bland goods without a couple drops of Vanilla Extract. You can also add Vanilla Extract to overnight oats for a super healthy breakfast that requires no cooking at all.
The nutritional value? Anti-inflammatory effects on your joints, cholesterol stabilizer, antioxidant, fever reducer… the list goes on.
3. Baking Soda
4. Granulated Sugar
Besides being a quick mood booster, sugar is an easy way to gain weight. And in a survival scenario, gaining weight is key.
Add some sugar to your tea, caramelize it for the occasional sweet treat for the kids, and use it for a plethora of homemade baked goods to fill your camp with smells of home.
5. Fresh Ground Pepper
Black Peppercorns have a shelf life of 2-3 years. Take advantage by always having fresh ground pepper on hand!
Add this classic condiment to your eggs for breakfast, grilled meat for lunch, and soup for dinner.
6. Sea Salt
Fact: Salt makes everything taste better.
Why sea salt and not table salt? Table salt is basically just bleached chemicals that add flavor to your meal but lack nutritional value.
7. Hot Sauce
Studies show that hot sauce helps you eat less, helps you make metabolize the fat in your body more efficiently, and helps you balance blood sugar levels. All of these hot sauce benefits will especially come in handy when your rations start to get low.
While you may be tempted to choose organic ketchup, it’s better to stick with the classic ketchup. Yes, organic has less processed sugar and more vitamins BUT organic ketchup also has a shorter shelf life.
Unopened bottles of classic ketchup can last up to 1 year (or more) without losing their flavor or changing color.
Beyond making bush meat taste like deli meat, mustard and mustard seeds have plenty of health benefits such as aiding digestion, improving cardiovascular health, and helping control diabetes.
10. Soy Sauce
Drizzle soy sauce on your rice, use it as a base for sauces, or marinate your chicken before tossing it on the grill. You’ll get flavor, necessary salts, and some bonus health benefits on the side.
While we usually consider salt and sodium to be interchangeable, naturally high-sodium soy sauce behaves differently than plain old salt. The difference comes in the way that the soybean is broken down in the fermentation process.
The outcome? High levels of heart-healthy peptides and anti-inflammatory proteins.
11. Soup Mix Packets
You can make French Onion Dip when by combining it with yogurt or sour cream, you can add Leek Soup Mix to rice casseroles, or you can blend either soup mix with staple carbs like potatoes or rice so that you don’t get tired of the most accessible rations.
12. Seasoning Packets
13. Liquid Smoke
If you’ve never heard of Liquid Smoke, I’m about to blow your mind. A couple drops of this magical elixir infuses your food with a deep charcoal grill flavor that will have your taste buds believing that you’ve been slow roasting and smoking your food all day. Put that stuff on everything.
14. Curry Paste
Take note from cultures who have had to (and still have to) survive on very basic ingredients such as rice, potatoes, staple veggies… and if they’re lucky, meat.
Vinegar. It doesn’t go bad (when properly stored). You can’t go wrong on stocking up like a vinegar-loving weirdo.
16 All the Extracts
When you’re running out of store-bought flavor, get creative with products and extra ingredients in your pantry to make your own fresh extracts on the spot.
The main ingredient you’re going to need? Vodka. Here’s a list of great excuses to stock up on the hard stuff.
Something to note! No matter the condiment, always look for a container that is going to give you the tightest seal. Glass jars, resealable bags, and Tupperware are going to give your condiments a longer shelf life and reduce the risk of losing flavor.
Now yes, obviously you could survive without condiments and seasonings. You could choke down your bland survival food and keep yourself alive. But living through a disaster is stressful enough as it is. Why make it worse by eating boring meals? Why not boost your morale with something delicious and satisfying?
Hopefully, by now you see the importance of having extra condiments and seasonings on hand. Maybe you’re going to add them to your list right now. If not, get going!