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Preparing to Be Self Sufficient

by Robyn Tippins on November 17, 2012

I’ve been touched by the outpouring of support and help given to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. I’ve also been playing the what if game.

  1. What if I lost power for three weeks or more?
  2. What if I had to rely on the food in my pantry?
  3. What if I had to figure out how to cook and heat my home without electricity and gas?

These what ifs have led me to so some serious soul searching. I took a pretty clear trip down ‘what if’ lane and found out a few things about myself. First, I would rather starve than horde food and not share it with others. Second, I know where I am going at the end of this life, so while death doesn’t scare me, I do want to be obedient and help others.  Third, to help others I have to make sure my own needs are taken care of.  If I’m a victim, I can’t very well be a helper.

To that end, I’ve taken the step of stockpiling food.  This isn’t a doomsday prep scenario.  I’m not necessarily against preppers, but that’s not my reason for doing this.  First and foremost, I’m preparing for a limited amount of off-grid time.  I know that in the next year or two, I’ll be without power for a day or two, and I want to be prepared for up to 3 months without power.  I live in the south east and we have several hurricanes each year.  The likelihood that we’ll face significant power outages isn’t slight.

Thrive Foods - Survival Food - Long Term Food Storage

I’m also concerned about my carbon footprint.  It’s no coincidence that we’re seeing larger, more powerful and bizarre storms.  Our coastlines are shrinking by 1″ each year and by 2100 many scientists say there will be no glaciers left.  Global warming is real, and this constant shipping of fruits, veggies and meats from all over the globe is killing our planet.  There’s no reason to eat a peach grown in Guatemala (no offense intended to Guatemala) when your local farmers’ market has one that only traveled 5 miles to get to you.  When we do buy from far away, it should be in bulk to minimize carbon outlay.

I’m concerned about what my family is eating.  I typically minimize sugar, caffeine and white flour and rice, but I’m learning that food shouldn’t be about how yummy it is, but how nutrient dense it is.  That doesn’t mean I eat Kale (sorry Kale), but it does mean I’m teaching my children the difference in eating for comfort and pleasure and eating for fuel.  Some ‘fuel’ can be yummy, but that’s of secondary import.  So, that means if I make macaroni and cheese, it is made with organic low fat cheese, whole grain noodles, coconut oil and free-range organic eggs, even if the Kraft Mac and Cheese is a bit yummier.  It means we don’t ever eat just rice again.  All bland foods have some sort of veggies added (more on that later).
Survival Food - Long Term Food Storage and Food Rotation

I’m tired of throwing out food.  Each week I focus on providing my family with healthy meals, often made from fresh fruits and veggies.  That means I throw out food each week, because it’s simply impossible not to if you are cooking with fresh ingredients.  Long term food storage means I can buy dehydrated items and cook with them, and they don’t suffer from the quick shelf-life that fresh items do.

And finally, I’m concerned about my budget.  I want to buy foods in bulk because it cuts my food budget.  I can shop less often, saving money on fuel, wasting less food and I can save money by buying larger amounts.  This was not a huge factor in my decisions, but I’m thrilled to know that I’m impacting the earth less, preparing my family for emergencies, conserving natural resources and beneficially impacting my family’s health, all while saving money, time and shelf space.

I’ll be stockpiling food but also cooking with it along the way.  The idea is that you stock your pantry and rotate out the food as you use it, always using the oldest food first and ordering more when your stockpile is at it’s minimum threshold.  Join me as I learn to cook in a new way and prepare my family and my community for emergencies.

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