Natural Preparation for Natural Disasters
There are plenty of people talking about the end of the world, Mayan prophesies, doomsday scenarios, and more. Most of them are pretty off base with their dire predictions, but that doesn’t mean a little disaster preparedness isn’t worth some investment of time and money. Every year, thousands of people are forced from their homes by flooding, fire, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, financial difficulties, and many other catastrophes, manmade or natural. Thousands more lose power, water, and gas for long periods of time without access to help of any kind.
Preparation can make all the difference between panic and calm determination to make it through. Don’t scramble when the time comes. Plan ahead. You don’t have to go out and buy a bunker, three year’s supply of food, or start stockpiling ammunition to be a little more ready for what the earth or mankind can throw at you.
Start by creating a 72 hour kit, many people call them bug out bags, that contains enough food, water, and supplies to get you through three days. These include a change of clothing, some warm ones if you live in cooler regions. You should also have such a bag for each person in your family and don’t forget your pets. Here is a pretty good checklist to get you started.
You can alter this list to fit your needs and lifestyle, like by adding some essential oils, witch hazel, and apple cider vinegar to the first aid kit. Choose healthy, organic foods as much as possible and quality filtered water. There’s no reason to eat poorly, just because the apocalypse has started. Dehydrated food works well because it is light and makes meal prep easy. Canned foods weigh more and contain a lot of sodium, but they can work if need be. Just don’t forget the can opener.
Heat, light, and a means to cook meals becomes important pretty quickly when power and gas go out, especially in winter. You don’t need much and you don’t have to sacrifice your ideals either. A little butane burner doesn’t use a lot of fossil fuels to heat water for your meals. You can also rely on an alcohol stove or rocket stove. These don’t take much fuel to get the job done either. You will also want a good flashlight per person. It can get pretty dark when an entire city is out of power.
Your 72 hour kit should be mobile. Many people put them in backpacks or use small luggage with wheels. You want to be able to grab it and throw it in the back of a car, but you also want to be able to walk with it if that becomes necessary too.
Once you have a 72 hour kit, it’s time to think about food storage and other preparations. A lot of preparation relies on using common sense and some forethought. If you know a storm is headed your direction, gas up the car and stock your pantry before it gets close. Most people wait to the last minute or until disaster strikes to do these things. If the power is out, gas stations and grocery stores shut down too.
There are many ways to keep food storage natural, organic, and healthy. Much of the foods that keep well are plant-based superfoods anyway. Seeds, whole grains, dried vegetables, dry herbs, spices, beans, lentils, and brown or wild rice are all pretty common in any long term food storage. Quinoa, chia, nutritional yeast, and kelp are less common, but really should be used much more often.
Quinoa and chia keep well, taste great, and are superfoods that are packed with nutrients. Protein, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals abound in these seeds. Sprouting seeds is another great way to get the most out of your food storage. It takes very little water, but unlocks a large amount of nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants. Sprouts can be done in a pinch by placing seeds on a paper towel, misting them with water, folding the towel over the seeds, and setting them in a warm dark place for a few days. You can put the towel inside a plastic back to retain the moisture or mist them a few times. Don’t eat sprouts if they start to mold.
Kelp, dulse, and other sea vegetables can be found dried in sheets or in flakes. These contain vitamins and minerals that might be hard to find during any type of disaster. A multivitamin is another good idea to have on hand to help supplement your body’s needs, especially when stress, lack of sleep, and limited food lead to deficiencies. Nutritional yeast contains a good dose of B vitamins to keep your brain functioning well and your mood from slipping. Spices and herbs also contain a ton of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Many can also be medicinal, like cinnamon, clove, turmeric, and ginger.
Start building your food storage with these staples and also add to it with things you already use and enjoy. All it takes is a couple extra items each time you go shopping to begin adding up. Buying something you like is important. This makes it easy for you to rotate stores so they don’t go bad or go to waste.
Don’t forget to store water too. You can’t make it very long without it. Use glass bottles if you want to avoid BPA. Stored tap water should be rotated every 6 months while bottled water should be rotated once a year, but check the date on the container to be certain. In an emergency, fill up your bathtubs before the water stops or gets contaminated. You can also use water from your hot water heater and the back tank of your toilet. Turn off the water heater before you empty it and boil any water if you are unsure about contamination. This may sound gross, but it is better than going thirsty.
It is always a better option to be prepared than surprised. No matter what happens this December with Mayan calendars or astrological alignments, be ready for anything, stay safe, and eat well while you do.
Learn more about Charlie Pulsipher
About Charlie Pulsipher
Charlie Pulsipher is a health and fitness enthusiast, writer, author, and neighborhood do-gooder. He shifted his education from Biochemistry to English Literature in an attempt to avoid math, but never stopped loving the natural world of the miniscule. He has published several fantasy and science fiction novels and helped others publish more down to earth books about natural foods. He can’t stop writing. He is probably happily tapping away on some keyboard even now.