Do You Have a Gluten Free Survival Plan In Place?
Are you prepared to stay gluten free during an emergency? Do you have your gluten free survival food stocked? Do you have a contingency plan if the power goes out, if a snow storm or hurricane strikes, or if food shortages occur?
The reality of a natural disaster or emergency situation is very real. I have personally been through three major events in the last several years, and I can vouch from experience that being prepared ahead of time helped keep my family and I healthy and free of gluten induced damage.
How Planning for The Worst Helped Me Stay Gluten Free
The Freeze of 2021
In 2021, a major freeze hit Texas. In the south, we don’t have the infrastructure in place to deal with major freezing temperatures because cold weather is a rarity down here. This freeze knocked out the electrical grid throughout the state, and millions were left without power. Typically, this would have been a small inconvenience, but because the temperature dropped to below freezing, many people had their water pipes burst from the freezing water expansion. Leading to flooding of homes. The only solution was to turn off the water to the home. The roads were not drivable due to icy conditions. Stores were closed, and the people were left to their own devices. The situation went on for several weeks. For many, no power or water in below freezing temperatures with water damage in the home. How do you cook without power or water?
Fortunately we were prepared. One of the first things I did after living without power for two weeks in 2008 (after a hurricane) was buy a generator. Because of this, we never lost power or water…and because I am a big believer in having an emergency food storage, we didn’t have to go without eating or compromise our diet.
Keep in mind, most homes don’t have enough non perishable food to last more than a week. During this event, there was a major food shortage due to supply chain issues caused by the freeze. Bottom line – those who were unprepared, were caught off guard.
Mysterious Power Outage in San Diego
Several years ago, I was in San Diego, CA. for a lecture. During the trip, the power went out in the entire southern half of the state. No one knew why. Cell phones were useless. I was disconnected from the internet, and a transient Dark Ages set in.
I was staying at a hotel in the downtown district, and people quickly went into panic mode. The streets
filled with people looking to find food. Restaurants ran out of food within hours. When the darkness of night set in, it got worse. Imagine being surrounded by that many people in closed quarters. The food was gone, communications with the outside world were cut off, and there were no lights, air conditioning, or refrigeration.
The people were stressed, they were hot and sweating. The smell of body odor permeated through the hotel lobby. The tension and fear were palpable. The hotel I stayed in was actually serving candy and processed cheese. That’s all they had left to serve. People were grabbing and gobbling it up. Not me…
Luckily, I was prepared. I always travel with food rations. Beef jerky, canned fish, grain free granola, and nuts can go a long way in a tight spot. Fortunately the power was only out for a day. But what if the power had not come back on? Would you be prepared to make it? Would you be able to stay calm and gluten free?
Hurricane Ike struck Houston in the Summer of 2008. If you aren’t familiar with Houston, it is HOT in the Summer. Temperatures range in the upper 90’s to 110 degrees. The humidity can be stifling. The air is heavy, and when you sweat, it sticks on your skin offering very little cooling relief. When Ike hit our coastline, the power was the first thing to go. That means no AC. That means your fridge and freezer start to heat up quick. The gas pumps running on electricity are inoperable. No TV, no computers, no ability to charge your electronic devices, no cooking with microwaves or electric stoves.
The morning after the hurricane blew through, the grocery store shelves were empty. Many of them stayed closed for days due to the power outage. People were acting erratic. They were scared. I was at home with my three sons. Fortunately my wife was out of town visiting her parents so she didn’t have to go through the first wave.
FEMA trucks were delivering ice if you cared to wait in line for hours to get it. Bottom line, if you weren’t prepared, your gluten free diet would be in jeopardy, and so would your health.
Depending on your geographic location, you may have to contend with hurricanes, earthquakes, winter storms, power outages, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, etc. Now I don’t say all of this to be a fear monger. I say it because it could happen to you (maybe it already has). I say it to get you thinking about preparedness. Most of the things below are common sense. That being said, knowing what you should do and actually doing it are two different things. Hopefully this list of considerations and action items will give you a reminder to prepare appropriately.
How To Stay Gluten Free During an Emergency
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Chance favors the prepared.
are two mantras to live by when mapping out what you need to do.
There are many factors to consider when planning for your gluten free emergency. Food is only one of them. You need to consider other things as well. Back up power and electricity options, cooking alternatives, water storage, communications, home protection, and connecting with other prepared individuals in your community should all be a part of your contingency plan. Don’t forget that emergencies are not something we can accurately predict, so planning for the absolute worst should also be part of your mindset. Consider that you might need other tools that could prove to be invaluable should the emergency last longer than anticipated.
The 7 Best Gluten and Grain Free Survival Foods To Stock Up On
I am not a big fan of the dehydrated powder foods that claim to have a 25 year shelf life. First of all, the vast majority of these products are not organic. Many of them are loaded with MSG and other preservatives. They typically contain a lot of grains like wheat, corn, oats, and rice. If you are trying to stay gluten free, the vast majority of these products won’t work for you.
If you are working with a restricted budget or storage space, make sure to stock up on foods that are higher in protein and fat as they will literally give you and your family better gas mileage. Remember that the average person weighing 150 lbs. needs about 1500-2000 Calories daily to function at high capacity. So consider your family’s needs as a whole. Also consider that buying foods that your family already eats is ideal. That way, you can eat through your stock and replenish it as you do instead of storing highly processed dehydrated powder food cannisters that will most likely never be eaten. The following list is not exhaustive, but should help get you moving in the right direction.
- Canned Goods: Pick a place in your home to store non-perishable canned foods. Canned meats, fish, fruits, and vegetables are all obviously gluten free. If you don’t can yourself, you can stock up on things like canned salmon, tuna, sardines, organic vegetables, etc. All of these are typically available at most grocery stores. Try to have a month supply stocked away. Canned foods can last for several years without spoiling.
- Nuts in the Shell: Stock up on nuts in the shell. Look for organic options where possible. They can last for up to 2 years without going bad. With some nuts being 70% fat, these are a great resource for Calories when you need them. Buying in the shell also prevents the potential for gluten cross contamination during processing. Consider pecans, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and pine nuts.
- Dehydrated Meats: Dehydrated, vacuum sealed, jerky has a long shelf life and can provide a solution to food storage using less shelf space. Beware that jerky is commonly made using MSG, wheat, and other toxic preservatives. I use Nick’s Sticks. They are grain and gluten free, and are not processed with chemical nitrates. They make grass fed beef, chicken, and turkey options
- Dehydrated Fruit: Organic dehydrated fruit is another great gluten free emergency storage food option. Dehydrated fruits, though higher in natural sugar, are nutrient dense options rich in vitamin C and other natural antioxidants. Dried berries, pineapple, apples, bananas, and cherries are all good options. My favorite is dried mango.
- Frozen Goods: If you have the space and can afford to put a deep freezer in your garage, definitely add it to your list. You can freeze fresh meats like chicken, beef, bison, pork, fish, turkey, and more. You can also stock up on some organic frozen fruits and vegetables. Cauliflower, broccoli, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, and more.
- High Calorie Granola: One of my favorite high Calorie storage food options is a product called Paleonola. It is a grain, gluten, dairy, soy free granola. It comes in multiple flavors. My favorites are original and maple. I also use it when I travel.
- Dried Beans, Legumes, and Seeds: Many with past gluten induced gut damage struggle to digest these foods, making them last on my list. That being said, they are a good source of protein, and have a long shelf life. If you tolerate beans, legumes, and seeds well, they are a good emergency food item to keep on hand. Kidney, pinto, navy, white beans, peanuts, cashews, lentils, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, and chia are all good options.
Water Storage Tips
Don’t forget that emergency water rations are also important to consider. A natural disaster could damage the pipes or compromise the water supply, subjecting people to risk of exposure to toxins and disease causing micro organisms. If get your water from a well, a loss of power can render your well pump useless. Therefore having a plan for keeping enough water could make or break your success. I recommend a few key resources to help you with this:
- Water Storage Tanks – During the 2021 freeze, a water boil advisory was issued. The water supply could be compromised or could be effected by weather, power outages, and more. Keeping stored water is a smart idea. These 5 gallon tanks are great if you don’t have a lot of storage space. They are also great if you have an outside source of water where you can refill them.
- Water Filtration – Don’t forget that any outdoor water you collect may need to be filtered. Consider a LifeStraw. These tiny portable filters can be carried with you. You might also consider a gravity filter like a Berkey. Gravity filters work best for filtering higher volumes of water. Make sure you have ample replacement filters as well. Remember that water can also be boiled to help sterilize bacteria and other micro organisms.
Helpful Items & Tools If the Power Goes Out
If the power goes out, you will want to consider a number of the items listed below. Keep in mind that electronic payments will not be available if there is no power, so you will have to have cash on hand to make any purchases.
- Flash Lights
- Fire Starters – Lighter and matches could be very useful.
- Gas Grill – Buy a propane powered grill. Make sure you have a couple of reserve propane tanks as well. This will give you the ability to cook if the power goes out.
- Extra Propane Canisters
- Generator – You can buy portable gas and diesel models for a reasonable price (especially used ones). If you can afford a whole house natural gas generator, buy one. The ability to keep electricity going is definitely a bonus for comfortable survival.
- Extra Fuel – Have some reserve gasoline cans in the garage. This could help you run a gas generator or your vehicle should the gas pumps go down
- A Deep Freezer – These can be used to store larger quantities of grass fed meats, vegetables, and fruits. As a matter of fact, having a deep freezer full of meat is what saved me and my sons from going hungry after Hurricane Ike. In my experience, frozen foods will last about a week before thawing in a deep freeze. The first week of power outage we were able to cook mean and heat up veggies on our gas grill – which brings me to #8…
- Rechargeable Crank Radio
- Walkie Talkies
- Solar Charger
- Consider the benefits of gun and knife ownership. When an emergency occurs, you may need protection from looters. I have witnessed looting first hand. It is not pretty. Owning a gun and knife might also come in handy if the proverbial poo really hits the fan, and you find yourself in need of hunting. Don’t forget the ammo.
Natural Medicine Cabinet
If there is a prolonged disaster or emergency that inhibits life as we are accustomed, you might also consider having some of the following items on hand for health and medical needs. (The video below has more detailed information on these items as well).
- Gluten Shield – If it comes down to starving vs. eating gluten, you might want to consider keeping some Gluten Shield handy along with Biotic Defense. At the very least you can minimize the damage.
- Biotic Defense – A probiotic that offers up intestinal support for microbial imbalances that may occur from being exposed to contaminated water or food.
- Silver – Silver has been used in natural medicine for it’s many medicinal properties.
- Iodine – This important mineral can protect against radiation. In addition iodine has wonderful ant-microbial properties should you need them.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a powerhouse in my natural medicine cabinet. I wouldn’t be caught without it.
- Zinc – This vital mineral offers excellent immune support.
- Multi-Vitamin/Mineral – A good multi can make the difference between staying adequately nourished or becoming malnourished.
Other Medical Items
- First Aid Kit
- Sutures and needles
- Extra Gauze and bandages
- Antibiotics – Ask your doctor to right you a prescription for emergency use. Consider oral and topical options.
- Consider taking a CPR course
- Prescription Medications
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Take the time to prepare today. Remember that just like an ounce of prevention = a pound of cure, an ounce of preparedness = a pound making life a whole lot easier.
If you have tips to add or resources for any of the above, please feel free to share with us below…
Always looking out for you,
Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior