Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tips For Adding Essential Foods to Emergency Supplies on a Budget!

I can not tell you how many times I have had people say I want to prepare but I can't afford to. Well you can. And you don't need to spend a lot. In fact depending on your lifestyle you would be amazed at how much you can do for FREE. All it takes is a little thought a little effort and a little time.

So over the next little while I am going to give you a few little ideas that can help you put together a little stockpile of goods to give you a fighting chance.

So today's tip is about Restaurant and fast food extras. In today's society most of us frequent Coffee shops or fast food places on a weekly or even daily schedule. I myself go to the coffee shop almost every day. So one simple thing that I do is grab an extra sugar or some other little thing that goes with my order.

Now before you freak out and call me a thief let me explain that I am not suggesting you go in and fill your pockets. I do not take anything that I am not entitled to use. For example when you purchase a coffee you are entitled to use a few packets of sugar. I always had three in every coffee. So in the interest of my health ( to much sugar is not good for you) I have cut back to 2. But the third one comes home with me.

After a year of doing this I now have over 300 packets of sugar. Thats about 1/2 a years worth of your daly need of sugar for an adult.

Of course sugar is only one small part of it. I save everything I can get my hands on. Extra packets of mustard and catsup (ketchup) that come from fast food places. The little packs of stuff like soy sauce, hot mustard, fortune cookies etc that come from the Chinese food place. It's incredible how it piles up over time.

Ketchup Packets
Now if you are willing and don't mind the jokes and funny comments you may have to put up with I have discovered an additional little trick. Enlist your non-Prepper family and friends. I now have several people who are not preppers and think the entire thing is quite silly saving me all their extras. Yes they poke fun at me. But I don't care. Take a look at the photo of what I have gathered myself and from friends in just 2 weeks.

As you can see it's a lot of the basic things one needs to sustain life. I have salt, sugar, fat, carbohydrate and protein. This little pile would keep me alive for several days at least.

I made a list of what I save and what it's good for.

Peanut Butter & Honey packets
Packets of salt. An adult needs 4 of these little packets per day. That's assuming it's your only source of salt. If you are getting some in your other foods then you need less. Salt is essential for life. Without it we die.

Packets of sugar. Collecting a packet a day will give you 2 kilograms in about 10 months.

Restaurant candies. They have sugar. And they're great little morale boosters in an extreme survival situation

Catsup (Ketchup). It has salt, sugar and carbohydrates. It is also a good source of Vitamin C.

Peanut Butter. It has fat, salt, iron, vitamin E, protein and some other good stuff.

Honey. Has sugar. Lasts forever if it's pure honey. A nice way to add variety to your daily diet.

Salt Packetss
Mustard. Has salt and a tiny bit of protein.

Black Pepper.  This spice is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin K, Iron, Copper and Manganese.
Strawberry Jam. It has less good stuff in it than one would think but it's high in sugar and it sure tastes good.

Plum Sauce. Good for Vitamin A, C, Calcium and Iron. This food is high in Sodium which normally is a bad thing but in an emergency survival situation, guess what? We need salt to live!

Soy Sauce. Will last forever as it's mostly vinegar. A great little extra to change the boring daily rice you'll be eating!

Hot Chili Sauce. Same as Soy sauce but it may not last as long

Assorted Packets in various containers
Vinegar. Lasts forever, excellent disinfectant, good for bartering, good as a cleanser and a medical necessity. It's an all-round powerhouse.

Fortune Cookies - will never go bad unless they get wet. They're sweet and they're carbs, sort of  a pasta wannabee. And - in an extreme survival situation it might be a morale boost to have a sweet cookie that has a fortune inside. You can also play the old game of everyone reads their fortune out loud and you add the phrase "in your pants" Believe it nor, this is quite funny in normal times, imagine how funny it would be in a tough situation.

This is my favorite site for nutrional information on pretty much everything, including spices!

So start saving up the extras we all toss out. You may be glad you did. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cheap Way to Collect Soap - a Necessary Survival Item

 Image courtesy of Marin at Free Digital photos

Wouldn't it be great if we could still have running water, soaps and towels during the Apocalypse? It's not gonna happen like that but we can still find ways to keep clean.

In fact it's important to stay clean to ward off disease. Disease can kill many of those who have stored enough food and water to keep going.

If you don't consider cleanliness, you're doomed. You'll end up with lice, scabies and other contagions brought on by being dirty.

Someone gets the flu, or a cold or something worse - guess what? You want to stop the spread of those germs and the first defence is hand washing. Of course you also want to be able to wash your entire body as often as possible to avoid skin contagions.

Yes you'll probably buy soap (bars, liquid, dish etc) and store some with your food supplies but have you thought about what happens when your supply of soap runs out? Do you know how to make soap? Do you have the ingredients for making soap? Do you know what plants, if any, grow wild that can be used for soap?

4 months worth of soap bits
I don't know how to make soap and the one plant I know of that can be used as a soap substitute doesn't grow in our area. So I need another plan.

I won't pretend I have the perfect backup plan. I don't. But what I do have is almost 150 bars of hand soap which my wife buys on sale whenever she sees it.  We also have about 10 bottles of liquid soap requiring no water. Guess what? It's not enough! But it becomes a toss-up on a limited prepper budget as to whether that bag of rice is more important than several bars of hand soap.

Since we like to figure out how to add to our survival stores without going broke, my wife and I save all those little nubs of soap. You know the ones that get to be about the size of a quarter or smaller and so you toss them out? Well, we started saving ours last year. Wish we'd thought of it sooner!

Everyone in our survival community (certain family members) is saving their soap ends. You will be amazed at how quickly it grows. And we'll be darn glad to have it when our full-size bars of soap run out!

So don't overlook budget ways to gather supplies you will need if there is a long-term emergency. Start saving those soap bits now! My wife puts them in a soap dish until they dry out then she tosses them into a ziplock bag. We have 8 ziplock sandwich bags full now. Doesn't sound like a lot but that's from only 2 of us in the household.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Prepping Tip: Buy Foods on Sale and in Bulk

Kraft Dinner Emergency Food
Score! The Canadian Superstore had a super sale on Kraft Dinner (the original). Half price. So I stocked up for my family emergency survival needs. 

This is how you stock up on foods for long-term storage for your family. Buy on sale and buy in bulk. 

One box of Kraft Dinner cooks up to 3 cups of final product for lunch, dinner or a snack.

Can't afford to stock survival emergency foods for a year? Aim for one month. One flat of Kraft Dinner cost $21.30 and is 35 boxes.

Guess what? 35 boxes of Kraft Dinner at 1/2 cup per person per day feeds a family of 6 for just over a month (at one box daily)

Guess what? 35 boxes of Kraft Dinner at 1 cup per person daily fees two adults for 7 1/2 weeks.  Wow, almost two months of survival!

You are a family of two adults and two children? Okay for 4 people you will get at least 4 weeks and you can have 1 full cup of Kraft Dinner daily.

Everyone can do this. Aim for 30 days of food. Watch for sales. Be sure the foods you are buying have a good shelf life. Store them carefully when you get them home. Protect from humidity and extreme temperatures.  

We dumped ours out of the boxes (to save storage room and to add oxygen absorbers to prolong shelf life) and poured all the pasta into one of our big pails, then added the appropriate number of cheese packages. My wife wrote out instructions for how much pasta for each envelope of cheese and wrote it on the outside of the pail in magic marker. She also put how many boxes of Kraft Dinner were in each pail so we would have some idea of how long each pail will last our group. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

More Than the Basics: Additional Foods to add to Your Emergency Storage

I've been working on our plan to buy and store enough basic foods for my family for 3 months. Our goal this year is to concentrate on the 7 basic foods I talked about in a couple of other blog posts.

But we also need other supplies to supplement our basic stockpile. Extra supplies include long-term foods that help give variety to meals and add nutritional value.

If I just had my 7 basic foods PLUS dried soup mixes or powdered broth, I could make oatmeal with milk and honey for breakfast, a tortilla and soup for lunch, and tortillas, rice and beans for supper. That's pretty decent in terms of helping to fill someone up but let's look at nutritional value.

1 cup cooked oatmeal, 2 tortillas, 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of pinto beans and 1 cup of  beef vegetable soup made from water and dried soup mix provides one adult with the following % of my daily needs for these nutrients:

Fats 55%
Salt 95%
Fiber 83%
Vitamin A 5%
Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 59%
Iron 133%

It's pretty obvious that I need more of Vitamins A and C as well as Calcium. I can live without the fats but I'll start losing weight pretty fast. And more fiber would certainly help.

The question now is to find out what foods will give us those missing vitamins AND have a long storage life. Foods that are high in Vitamin C that my family likes are raspberries (1 cup = 54%) and potatoes (1 large - 37%). The problem is they don't provide enough and I'd have to lay in a stock of dried raspberries or potato powder and those are expensive.

Lentil Sprouts Ready to Eat
But I have a solution. Sprouts. Sprouts are an amazing powerhouse of nutrition. They also give high yield of edibles compared to the small amount of raw seeds you start with. As an example, 1 cup of sprouted kidney beans provides 119% of your daily Vitamin C needs! So start sprouting right now. You want to be sure you know how to do it in case of an emergency. I'll talk more about how we grow our sprouts in future blog posts.

There is one caveat - kidney bean sprouts are toxic if eaten raw, so must be cooked. To be safe, cook all bean sprouts (mung, lentils, navy etc) before eating. Just toss them into stews or soups or stir fry them to remove the toxins. Soaking beans overnight prior to sprouting will also help neutralize the toxins present in them but better safe than sorry, especially if you are in a crisis (emergency) survival situation where little or no medical help is available.

You can eat most other sprouts such as alfalfa raw. Think about what a great "salad" you can toss together during a crisis - 3 or 4 varieties of sprouts and some homegrown herbs such as parsley make a tasty (and nutritional) addition to an emergency survival meal. Or stuff them into your tortilla with a few beans. Yum!

Vitamin A Foods

1 cup of dehydrated carrots provides 1013% of daily Vitamin A needs. Wow. So that means to have 100% all you need is 1/10th of a cup. Now dehydrated carrots are expensive but what a magical food!

This will blow your mind - did you know that you can get 44% of your daily Vitamin A needs from 1 Tablespoon of chili powder or cayenne pepper?  So why not stock up on one or both of these spices? There's another magical spice you might want to have on hand - paprika - it gives 71% of your daily Vitamin A needs in 1 Tablespoon.


We need 41% more of our daily calcium needs.  How can we do that? Well, we could stock up on Calcium Pills but they are expensive and gradually lose potency over time. So let's look at foods rich in Calcium. 1 cup of cooked rhubarb gives us 35% so if you have rhubarb in your garden (as I do) you've got a great source of extra calcium when it's in season.

Dehydrated carrots are helpful and if you're eating them to get their high Vitamin A, guess what - you've just given yourself an extra 16% of your daily calcium and iron needs too! They sure pack a nutrition punch in every cup. 

I'm going to talk about menus and recipes and dried soup mixes in another blog post so stay tuned. I'm also going to show you my successful sprouting of Alfalfa and share how I save and store my seeds.

Monday, October 12, 2015

7 Tips on What To Do in a Pandemic

I have done a number of Blog Posts about the possibility of a flu pandemic but perhaps its time to talk about what you can do to protect your self if the worst happens. To protect yourself you must have an understanding of how the flu spreads.

What is a Pandemic?

Influenza or the flu as most of us call it can be spread several ways. One is when an infected person sneezes mucus directly into the eyes, nose or mouth of another person. Another is the airborne route when someone inhales the droplets that contain the virus produced by an infected person coughing, sneezing or spitting. And of course the good old dirty hands that our Mothers warned us about is one of the best ways to spread the flu through hand-to-eye, hand-to-nose, or hand-to-mouth transmission, either from contaminated surfaces or from direct personal contact such as a hand-shake.

So lets say you wake up one morning and you turn on the news only to find that health authorities are saying they have an outbreak or possibly a pandemic starting to spread around the world. What can you do? Well the first and most obvious precaution is to simply isolate yourself and your family from others as best as possible. Hopefully you have your supplies stored and ready so you don't have to run to WalMart and face all the possibly sick people. However if you do have to go out for supplies you can take precautions to mitigate the risk. 

What Should You Do to Protect Yourself?

Obviously a full military biological warfare outfit would be great but if you are the kind of person who has no supplies at home you probably don't have a biological warfare outfit in your closet. However you can at least dress in a way that will help lower the risk of catching the bug. 

1. Cover your mouth and nose and eyes. A surgical mask or even a workshop dust mask will help stop the larger droplets from infecting you. Even something like a scarf or other cloth can lower the risk but it needs to be tight to your face. Swim goggles can provide good eye protection as they are tight fitting but any kind of large glasses are better than nothing.

2. Gloves are extremely important. Surgical gloves may be best but rubber kitchen gloves are not bad. Again anything is better than nothing so even work gloves or driving gloves can help.

3. Dispose of or decontaminate your clothing. It wont do you any good if you bring the bug home on your clothing so take it off outside and don't take it in. Burn it or wash it with disinfectant. You could boil it if you have the time. And don't forget that good old sunlight will often kill the bugs so just hanging out in the hot sun for a few days will help.

4. Decontaminate yourself. Get a shower with lots of soap and hot water if you can but even a cold shower is better than no shower. In fact you may want to shower outside first if you can. If you have a pool or hot tub take a dip in that. All the chemicals in the water will help.

5. Isolate yourself from the other members of your family if you can. If its possible you should avoid contact as much as possible. Consider living in the garage or the tool shed for a week or two. If you cant do that then try to isolate your self in an extra room like the spare bedroom.

6. Don't let your new supplies contaminate you. Wipe them off with disinfectant before any one handles them with bare hands. If you cant wipe them of remember that the bugs cant live on the surface of them for long. So every day the supplies sit out in the open the safer they get to touch. Two or three days will kill most viruses on most surfaces but twenty days is best. If you must touch them use gloves and wash your hands after.

7. Isolate your family from each other. You cant tell if any one in your house may be sick so its best if you can to have as little contact with each other as possible. I know this could be hard or even impossible in a survival situation but do the best you can. Avoid hugging, kissing and hand holding. Disinfect doorhandles and any other commonly touched surfaces as much as possible. Don't share eating or drinking utensils. In other words run your house like a hospital. It wont be fun but it could save your life.

Remember that people can have the flu and be spreading it to others and yet not look sick themselves. People who contract influenza are most infective between the second and third days after infection. Children are much more infectious than adults and shed virus from just before they develop symptoms until two weeks after infection.

Contact with outsiders should be avoided. But one cant always avoid this so if you are forced to have contact then you must decontaminate and isolate yourself from your family after. Remember the virus could be spreading in the air so stay as far away from outsiders as you can. No one knows how far a virus can spread in the air outside but most experts agree that if you stay 100 feet away from others when outside your chances of being infected are low.  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Survival Food Groups Choices: The Basics

Survival Food Groups Choices: The Basics
We've talked about the 7 basic survival food groups my family uses to plan and store emergency food for a crisis. I've also mentioned spices and dried soup mixes as an extra to provide more variety. But do you know what food choices there are within each group?


Rice, oats, wheat, pasta, cornmeal, flour


Dried beans, split peas, lentils, dry soup mix


Vegetable & Olive Oil, Mayonnaise, Peanut Butter, Shortening


Sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, flavored gelatin, powdered fruit drinks


Powdered milk, canned milk - evaporated and condensed

Remember that different foods have different shelf lives. So for example I only buy vegetable oil, not olive oil, because vegetable oil lasts longer than olive oil.

Canned goods only last about 3 years then you must use them and buy new. So I don't buy many canned goods, but that's a personal choice. I'm far too lazy to rotate my food supplies! But I do keep 2 weeks worth of canned goods on hand because when a catastrophe happens, we are going to be busy doing other things depending on what the disaster is and the time of year it happens.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

You Need More Than FOOD in an Emergency Situation!

Human beings by nature tend to be short sighted. We often think only of today or perhaps tomorrow. We have a hard time thinking a year or perhaps longer down the road. But long term planing is very important for any of us who believe that the ZA (Zombie Apocalypse) could last for more than a few days or weeks.

Stockpiling food is a prime example of short sighted thinking. While I agree it is incredibly important to have as much food on hand as you possibly can. You also need to think about what you are going to do when that stockpile inevitably runs out. What do you need to have in order to start producing your own food. Do you have seeds for planting? Do you have the tools you need? Do you have the skills you need? Do you know how to hunt? Do you know how to fish? And yes you can stockpile skills and knowledge. You may not hunt of fish or farm but you can learn about these things and stockpile it in your head for a rainy day. You can also get books and print things of value off the Internet and add them to your survival library.

MEDICAL SUPPLIES are another incredibly important thing to stock up on. You will not be able to run to the store and get a bottle of peroxide during the Zombie Apocalypse. AMMUNITION  for your guns. FUEL like gasoline, diesel, propane. MATCHES. CLEANING SUPPLIES like bleach and ammonia. The list of things that would be great to have is endless so each of us has to come up with our own ideas of what is important.

Remember also that you may be able to trade extra things you have for supplies you need. So if you have the opportunity to get more of something than you think you need don't pass it up. I found .22cal ammo on sale for $10 per box of 550 rounds. I now have way more than I need but I know lots of people won't. It could be worth more than gold to someone who has run out.

So yes food comes first. But food is only the beginning.