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A major part of prepping is stockpiling shelf-stable food so you and your loved ones don’t starve during a disaster. This task might seem overwhelming even if you aren’t prepping for people with dietary restrictions. When you need to stockpile specific types of food to prevent severe health issues, food storage preps become substantially more daunting.
When most of us were growing up, we likely never knew a single person who was gluten intolerant, suffered from Celiac Disease, or stricken with a type of Lyme disease that made eating red meat a deadly proposition. Today, such conditions are either more common or, thanks to modern technology, we hear a lot more about them.
The days of sending kids to school with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are long gone. Food allergies appear to be much more common these days. And in addition to people with these types of dietary restrictions, there are also people with heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels who will need a strict in order to stay healthy during an SHTF scenario.
A disaster situation would be stressful enough without worrying about what to feed a family member who suffers from digestive issues or other restrictions. You wouldn’t want to compound the crisis by having someone fall ill from food that didn’t meet their particular needs. While many of these special needs would merely cause discomfort, others could be life-threatening.
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Prepping for Loved Ones With Dietary Restrictions
Prepping to feed a loved one with food allergies likely means you won’t be able to buy buckets of emergency food and call it done. However, it may be possible to purchase individual pouches of survival food that don’t contain the specific allergen that must be avoided.
Reading the label on any type of food is crucially important, especially if the allergy is severe enough to cause anaphylactic shock. When calling 911 and receiving help is not an option, the only help you could render in such a situation would be epi pens or antihistamines.
In addition to stockpiling food that you or a loved one is not allergic to, it would also be wise to rid the home of any food that contains the allergen. It could be too easy to make a mistake during food preparation during a long-term disaster or too tempting to just risk it when nearly starving.
Dairy Dietary Restrictions
Dairy allergies (or lactose-intolerance) is not usually life threatening, but can cause intense digestive problems, vomiting, and diarrhea. Purchasing non-dairy processed or powdered milk from the grocery store is one common option to stockpile ingredients for folks with dairy allergies.
Purchasing non-dairy milks is a great short-term solution when prepping for people with dairy allergies. Common options available at grocery stores include: soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, quinoa milk, rice milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, and macadamia milk.
Some sufferers are allergic to cow’s milk but digest goat’s milk just fine. If you or your loved one can safely drink goat’s milk, purchasing even a small herd of a good dairy breed may provide a safe way to consume dairy both now and when the SHTF.
Even if you live in a suburban area, keeping a miniature goat breed such as Nigerian Dwarf goats would likely be possible – particularly in a right to farm state. Miniature goat breeds do not require any more space than a large dog to live and are often far more quiet.
Pygoras and Nigerian Dwarf goats are not classified as a dairy goat breed, but generate a decent quality and quantity of milk and are also miniature breeds and easy keepers. Keeping goats as part of a long-term survival food plan is of course far easier in a rural area where the animals can graze at will or there is enough land to bale hay. Keeping goats in a smaller space means that you will also need to stockpile grain feed and hay to keep them well fed and healthy.
Related: 15 Best Goat Breeds for Homesteaders
Stockpiling nuts to make your own non-dairy milk may be the most viable and least expensive option for loved ones who have an aversion to dairy products. Nuts and rice have a long shelf life and making non-dairy milk from them really isn’t hard at all.
Celiac Disease And Gluten Intolerance
Gluten is a protein that is found in barley, wheat, and rye, and the number of people who are sensitive to it or have full-blown Celiac disease appears to have risen dramatically in recent years. Either that or they’re now better diagnosed and documented.
Celiac disease is often a genetically predisposed condition that presents as an autoimmune disorder. Ingesting gluten causes damage to the lining in the small intestine. Roughly one in every 100 people around the globe now suffer from Celiac disease – about 2.5 million of Americans are possibly walking around undiagnosed and may be at risk for long range health issues.
When a person with Celiac disease consumes gluten, their body launches an immune response that ultimately attacks the small intestine. Over time, such attacks cause damage to the villi – the tiny and fingerlike projections that compose the lining of the small intestinal wall. The villi spark nutrient absorption and when they’re damaged, the body no longer absorbs nutrients properly. For sufferers of this disease, it is not safe to consume gluten even in moderation.
Gluten intolerance does not provoke as severe of a response or complications as Celiac disease, but can still cause immediate and progressive bodily responses. When a gluten intolerant person consumes this type of protein, they typically experience aching joints, upset stomach, skin issues, and bloating – just to name a few.
Because gluten isn’t essential to a healthy diet, cutting out foods that contain this protein and stockpiling those that don’t will help to prep for people with this type of dietary restriction. Because so many folks have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or merely want to eat a healthier diet, there are gluten-free alternatives to many common food stuffs like pizza, pasta, flour, and bread at most grocery stores.
Naturally gluten-free foods that you should add to your stockpile also include vegetables, meat, rice, and cheese.
Prepping for folks with diabetes has loomed on my mind since reading my friend Bill Forstchen’s incredible prepping book, One Second After. In the book, the main character’s daughter survives the initial SHTF scenario only to tragically die from untreated diabetes as her heroic father can do nothing more than hold her hand as she passes away.
We have one loved one that is a diabetic, one that is borderline diabetic, and two tribe members (one is a young teen girl) who are also diabetic. Prepping for loved ones with diabetes is very important to us – and surely not as easy as prepping or Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, unfortunately. Finding a natural or easy-to-stockpile alternative to prescription medication for diabetes or insulin is extremely difficult.
When in doubt about how to address a particular medical issue, I always see what the prepping medical couple, Doctor Bones and Nurse Amy have to say on the subject. Joe Alton and his wife Amy have done more to help families prepare to address medical needs than anyone else on the planet, in my opinion – and I am more than proud to call them friends. In addition to the diabetic preps you can find by following the link above, I also highly recommend checking out the 4th edition of their bestselling book The Survival Medicine Handbook.
In addition to the preps you can learn about from Doctor Bones and Nurse Amy, stockpiling foods that have low to no carbohydrates for diabetic loved ones, is wise.
A Type 1 diabetic diet during an SHTF situation when insulin is not available should be keenly focused on fats and proteins. Keeping the calorie count low and spreading food intake out to roughly six small meals consumed throughout the day may allow the body to process the carbohydrates ingested in the healthiest manner possible.
Good food choices to stockpile for a Type 1 diabetic include:
- Healthy fats
- Non-starchy vegetables
A Type 2 diabetic diet should focus on foods that are low in fiber. Remaining as active as possible while consuming only a low amount of carbohydrates is also recommended.
Stockpiled food choices should include:
- Brown rice
Avoid food with simple carbohydrates such as flour, pasta, sugar, pastries, white bread, and cookies. Foods with a low glycemic index typically spark just a modest rise in blood sugar and are often a good food choice for folks with Type 2 diabetes, as well.
High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, and Heart Disease
Preppers who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease—or have loved ones who do—should be stockpiling foods that are not only less likely to increase existing medical issues but ones that can help keep blood pressure down.
Garlic, moringa, and orange juice may help thwart high blood pressure on a temporary basis. Moringa trees can only be grown in dwarf forms in nearly all areas of the United States. Moringa powder can be purchased by the ounce or by the pound and should have a shelf life of at least two years when stored properly. One teaspoon of moringa powder a day, as instructed on the package, may help keep blood pressure low while providing the body with ample nutrients. Moringa powder can be sprinkled onto food like a spice or brewed into a tea.
Avoiding processed food is important for folks with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease because such foods boast high levels of both sodium and often saturated fats. Reducing or eliminating foods that are high in hydrogenated oils (often found in processed foods) and carbohydrates is also wise to avoid negative health issues for folks with one or a variety of these three common health conditions.
Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains—a Mediterranean style diet—should help reduce the chance of blood pressure and cholesterol spikes and additional stress on the heart.
Foods recommended for a prepper pantry when dealing with the potentially serious or deadly health conditions include:
- Basil (especially sweet basil)
- Black cumin
- Celery seed
- Chia seeds
- Citrus fruits
- Fish (especially salmon)
- Flax seeds
- Greek yogurt
- Leafy greens
- Pumpkin seeds
To avoid processed versions of these foods, it would be wise to grow or raise as much of your own as feasible so it can be either eaten fresh or dehydrated to preserve – avoiding the need for sodium to deter rancidity.
Continuing to observe religious dietary restrictions during a long-term disaster may be difficult, but not impossible. Home canning, year-round gardening (indoors and out), and raising your own meat and fish (pond stocking) can help you be prepared to better adhere to religious food restrictions.
Stockpiling nuts and even peanut butter to help loved ones maintain high protein levels when they choose to avoid meat for religious reasons can help keep their bodies strong and healthy during times when increased physical activity is likely.
Vegetarian or Vegan
Attempting to help adhere to the dietary lifestyle they chose for health or moral reasons should not be as trying as prepping for some of the medical-related dietary needs above.
A vegetarian does not eat the flesh of animals but often chooses to consume animal products such as eggs, milk, and cheese. Vegans will not consume any type of animal product – not even honey from a beehive.
In addition to growing and stockpiling shelf-stable fruits and vegetables, be sure to include more non-meat protein sources in your preps like beans, nuts, seeds, and legumes for the vegan or vegetarian loved one to eat. Quinoa is an especially popular protein source for vegans and vegetarians that is also a rich source of amino acids.
Prepping a survival food pantry for loved ones with dietary restrictions will not necessarily require more money or storage space. But such food prepping does require diligent planning and even labeling for commercially or home-preserved and stored food. However, there’s no reason for preppers with dietary restrictions to stockpile any less food than the average prepper.
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