When it comes to the food we eat, things have changed dramatically over the years. Food intolerances, allergies, and special diets are all common nowadays. More and more people need to eliminate entire food groups from their diets.
Food allergies can be fatal in some cases, especially anaphylactic allergies. Other times, it’s simply a case of severe digestive distress. And yet other times, it is because of moral or religious reasons.
Because standard emergency food storage contains grains, peanut butter, and powdered milk, special considerations, precautions, and steps must be taken to prepare an emergency food storage for those with dietary restrictions. And this it’s a little more complicated.
For people with food allergies, preparing can be as simple as stocking an alternative; but it can also be difficult if you need to keep the offending ingredient out of your food supply entirely. If you have a life-threatening food allergy, you won’t want the ingredient in your home.
Anaphylactic shock needs immediate care and medical intervention, which may not be readily available after a disaster. You should keep a supply of up-to-date epi-pens, cortisone, and antihistamines readily available.
Lactose intolerance (Dairy intolerance)
This condition is almost never fatal. It can, however, make those who suffer from it feel terrible.
Most people must buy more expensive, highly processed, non-dairy milk substitutes. You can, however, make your own non-dairy milk from pantry ingredients for emergency purposes. If this is the case, you should keep a supply of rice and almonds on hand.
High Blood pressure and High Cholesterol
Those suffering from the aforementioned condition should stockpile less processed foods. Most processed foods contain high levels of sodium and saturated fats, both of which can be dangerous for those with the above health conditions.
While these conditions can be managed with medications, these medications aren’t always readily available when you’re forced to rely on an emergency food pantry. Therefore, it is important that your diet doesn’t exacerbate your health issues.
When you or a family member has one of these health conditions, you should avoid or limit your stockpiling of the following foods:
Hydrogenated oils such as those usually found in highly processed foods.
High sodium foods, you can always add salt as needed.
Sugar and/or carbohydrates have been shown to raise triglyceride levels. This often leads to cardiac issues or fatty liver disease.
Rather you should stock up on storage foods that are as pure as possible. This includes eating lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Today is nearly the peak of wheat-related illness in the world. Those who suffer from this ailment are highly sensitive to gluten in any form. Even in moderation, those with a severe form of this condition cannot consume gluten without serious long-term health consequences.
Gluten-intolerant people experience less severe symptoms, but they can still be extremely uncomfortable. Symptoms include digestive upset, bloating, aching joints, skin problems, and others.
Most emergency food storage plans include a lot of wheat and flour, but if you or a family member has a gluten intolerance, you should prioritize gluten-free grains like rice, organic corn, quinoa, and oats.
If you are forced to deal with a short-term emergency, this may not be a big issue. If there is a long-term emergency, however, carefully preparing for those with diabetes can be a matter of life and death.
Because diabetes is a complicated condition that is affected by the individual’s unique health situation as well as other underlying health issues, it is best to consider diabetic nutritional needs and consult with your doctor before stockpiling diabetic foods.
However, it is highly important to understand how a diabetic processes food. For example, carbohydrates are processed by your body almost the same way as pure sugar, and they have an impact on your blood sugar level.
This means that a diabetic family member will be unable to consume a large grain stockpile. The majority of diabetics’ diets will be high in protein and fat, with as few carbohydrates as possible. It is also critical to limit caloric intake and divide food into six small meals per day.
Other diabetics will require smaller, more frequent meals high in fiber, low in fat, and low in carbohydrates. It is also critical that a diabetic remains active and exercises as often as possible without pushing his/her body to extremes.
Vegans and Vegetarians
Some diets, in this case, are restricted to nothing that comes from animals, while others will still consume dairy products or eggs. If you have someone who is vegan/vegetarian, you should accommodate protein sources that don’t contain meat, such as beans, grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts.
Plant proteins must be available in a wide variety to provide the amino acids required for good nutrition. Quinoa is a great non-meat protein source with amino acids that store well.
Some religions have food restrictions, which frequently involve meat. Depending on your family’s beliefs, you may need to consider kosher or halal food, as well as restrictions on pork, game, and certain types of seafood.
When it comes to the aforementioned conditions and their specific dietary requirements, there are a few things to consider when selecting an emergency food stockpile.
Consider a larger stockpile
While most people focus on a three-day supply of food in case of emergency, those with food allergies should have more food on hand than others. As preppers, we’ve learned that there are too many risks of not having enough food.
The shelter and government agencies may be unable to provide safe food options. It may take longer than expected for things to return to normal. There may be a lack of access to emergency medical treatment if someone suffers ill effects.
Depending on your specific needs, you should double the amount of food in your first level of emergency food storage.
Prepare your own food
When it comes to dietary restrictions, there are some emergency food companies that offer all sorts of prepared meal kits for people with dietary issues.
However, to save money and get the best deal and the safest option, consider preparing your own emergency food supply. There are a few options available for this.
The first step is to understand the differences between freeze-dried and dehydrated foods so you can choose the best method for your food preparation:
A dehydrator will cost only a few hundred dollars, whereas a freeze dryer can cost thousands of dollars.
Food that has been freeze-dried has a longer shelf life and retains more nutrients.
Because dehydrated food shrinks as water is removed, it can be smaller.
Freeze-dried food is simpler to prepare because it only requires re-heating, whereas dehydrated food takes longer to absorb water.
Dehydrated food can be consumed raw, whereas most freeze-dried foods must be “prepared” with water.
If you are considering making your own freeze-dried food at home, I recommend reading this article:
Also, if you have the budget for it, you could also purchase a quality freeze dryer and use it for both your supplies and those of your neighbors and friends. You could make money by freeze-drying food for others and obtain a pretty good return on investment.
If neither of these options works, consider canning. Canning is a low-cost, long-term storage option for those who have dietary restrictions. The types of food you can can will be determined by the equipment you have.
Many high-acid foods can be safely stored for long periods of time by simply processing them in boiling water for the appropriate amount of time.
Canning low-acid vegetables and stews will necessitate the use of a pressure canner. However, these are frequently inexpensive.
Stockpile the right supplies
People with dietary restrictions also need to worry about cross-contamination and proper food preparation. If possible, it is best to prepare the food in the container it is stored in since this is the safest way to prevent cross-contamination.
When it comes to food preparation supplies, you should use gear made from sturdy metals or tempered glass. Porous materials, such as wood, are easily scratched, and cheap metal and plastic can have small pockets where allergens can hide even after routine cleaning. The same is true for food storage containers and eating utensils.
A closing word on dietary restrictions
If you or anyone in your family needs to eat various foods following certain dietary restrictions, you should start by learning everything about the health issue that imposes those dietary restrictions. Learn how the body reacts to prohibited foods, what you can do to prevent exposure, and what you need to do if the family members are exposed to foods that could be harmful to them.
The second step is to organize your pantry by packing both the foods you eat and the foods those with dietary restrictions would need to consume during short- or long-term scenarios. Learn about substitutes and alternatives, and most importantly, learn how to make your own food to make sure they won’t starve.
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