One issue we have not discussed in any depth is health. I have been silent the last few weeks while we dealt with some of those issues within our family. So now I am going to use this opportunity to admonish many of you in as gentle and loving a way possible! If indeed things conspire to bring about a SHTF situation due to any number of reasons, your health and that of your loved ones and friends will be paramount in how all of you survive – how you live! Rice and beans are survival food but in no way can they be considered perfect nutrition without a more full diet. Contrary to popular belief, starvation will come in many forms later on. Let’s consider a few of those scenarios.
If in fact the electric goes down or war happens or “merely” economic collapse, we can all rest assured we won’t be indulging all of those sugary or salty or fattening treats that keep us all on the bit overweight or challenging weight side! We will probably all conquer our personal weight loss wars at that point in obvious way. Most preppers will tell you that it will be important to “blend in”, to not stand out as robust or super healthy in a crowd of emaciated people! But there is another side to this reality.
Our bodies are going to be pushed, taxed to their limits. Even if jobs still exist as we know them, you will be forcing yourselves under more stressful lifestyles then. There will be rougher choices to make, more emotional stressors to deal with then you are used to now. That type of stress takes a physical as well as emotional and mental toll on a person. In addition there will be more physical tasks to be taken care of. There are plenty of articles written by bloggers who believe we will be forced into physical combat or at minimum, security tasks to protect family and home. I am not going to be discussing those particular issues but rather that you think in terms of what it will take to survive otherwise. For example, you may need to consider supplying wood for heat and cooking. It will not be easy to chop and split those larger amounts of logs. Working the soil and then planting and weeding a garden is a physically exhausting work. If you have not been able to store water and make a close source for water, hauling it will be difficult as well. Perhaps you will be forced to bike or even walk everywhere instead of using a car. Calories in against calories needed will be much different from now. None of this will be possible if you are not physically fit and able.
So for those of you still young enough to bring about healthy changes to your lifestyle now, please consider doing so. I am not referring to becoming a gym fanatic or going on restrictive diets that never allow for that piece of cake or extra coffee. But I am strongly advising you to pay attention to your health. The costs of seeing doctors or worse hospital treatments will continue to rise, Obamacare not withstanding. The best option is to not need to have any continuing medical needs now such as high blood pressure or heart conditions or diabetes. You should be doing everything within your power to avoid fat mass but rather to build the strongest healthiest muscle mass possible now. Try to learn to eat without added salt – sodium is not healthy in larger doses. We have been learning to eat with low to almost no sodium in order to combat certain health issues our family faces. This is in addition to already paying attention to sugar and to low fat, low cholesterol choices. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to avoid as many if not all convenience foods – prepackaged items usually loaded with salt and or hydrogenated fats or sugars.
One of the biggest rules most preppers will encourage others to remember is to only stock what your family likes to eat. That translates to teaching everyone in the family to learning to eat healthier now. An added bonus to all of this is to start reading those labels. Aside from the shock of those content percentages and amounts to a single serving, you will also learn just how many of our food products are not only admittedly full of chemicals but also just how many are packaged if not also grown in China! I am not sure how it is that we Americans have allowed the shipping of American grown products to China to be canned or frozen or prepared into something else but it is even more inconceivable that we accept that it is cheaper to do this than to package them here! Read the fine print and the print on the back of labels – Pacific salmon does not guarantee that it is also prepared here! The horrors of tainted food products for our pets and then the poisoned baby formula should have all of us thinking twice about how that happened! China is among those countries that allow fields to be fertilized with human excrement. Yet we know that many salad growers have in turn dealt with salmonella contamination.
Perhaps the only way to avoid this is to grow one’s own! Learning to can, dehydrate, and even freeze properly makes this an even better bet for most families. Have the children help – teach them to grow their favorites. Most children enjoy the process when involved. What better way to instill pride and self esteem than to let them be responsible for those radishes or sweet strawberries! Nothing tastes better than a fresh picked watermelon on a hot sultry summer’s day! My grandchildren get a kick out of helping to can tomatoes or make pickles. They love the jam making process too. Eating warm applesauce on a chilly afternoon is another of their fun moments! They may not think about healthy eating but grandma does!
Think in terms of what your family eats now. Is it healthy? Are your children or grandchildren fussy eaters? It is possible to store treat foods and favorite comfort foods but try to teach more healthy habits now before a crisis situation occurs. Use vitamins wisely and stock them. Coupons will help bring the cost down. Make exercise a part of your lives. That doesn’t mean just gym workouts. Take the children bike riding. Take hikes. Invent contests like who can swim more laps or who can carry heavy bundles. Working in the garden will help burn some of those extra calories but nothing has to be only work. More important is to also use those times for boding relationships. Talk together and listen to each other – even those silly stories that little ones spin can mean a lot that mom or dad took the time to listen. Remember too that church and prayer time along with bible study also helps to build a stronger more united family. Share together during those times. I am not suggesting any particular dogma nor do I want you to live under such rigid religious rules that the children resent this time. Rather I want you to realize that spiritual preparedness is an important part of the emotional and mental health part of being prepared. Use whatever your religion or spiritual belief system tells you as a means to ready for whatever comes! All of this will make your stress levels go down – do not fear what may or may not happen. If your prepare now, it is like having a special insurance policy that not everyone else has considered!