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Food for Emergencies
When disasters occur, it can take days, weeks, or even months before life returns to normal. Most emergency officials recommend that citizens store at least a 3-day supply of food and water in preparation for a disaster. However, as we've seen from Hurricane Katrina and other events, we may be forced to survive without the help of the local authorities for a much longer period of time. In light of the severe cleansings occurring throughout the world, Oshienushisama recommends that we store enough food and water to last at least 2 weeks, if not longer.
In July, we published an article on the importance of maintaining a supply of emergency water. This month's article will focus on the food that you should store to ensure that your family doesn't go hungry during emergencies.
What Should I Store?
Store what your family normally eats. You and your loved ones will likely be under stress when disaster strikes. It may be particularly difficult for your family members (especially children) to adjust if they're suddenly forced to eat strange or unfamiliar foods. Having comfort foods available will contribute to your family's psychological well-being during disasters.
Store food that doesn't require refrigeration or need to be cooked. Meat, vegetables, fruit, soup, stew, broth, milk, juice and cereal all can be found canned, dried, dehydrated, or packaged for long shelf-life. In addition, crackers, nuts, nut butter, jam, raisins, and seeds will last for an extended period of time, even after opening.
It is important to set up a rotation system to ensure that your food is suitable for consumption when you need it most. Even food packaged for long-term storage will eventually spoil or lose its nutritive value if you simply stuff it in the back of your pantry and forget about it. Make it your priority to regularly consume some of the oldest food in your supply, and replace it when you go to the grocery store or purchase new supplies online.
One of the simplest ways to rotate your emergency food is to use the pantry method. For example, store the oldest food on the top shelf of your pantry, and keep the newest food on the bottom. As you use the food from the top shelf, move the food up and replenish your supply of new food on the bottom shelf. Write the expiration date on the food to alleviate any confusion in the process.
Be sure to check your supply on a regular basis and discard any cans that are leaking, swollen, or corroded. Buy food in bulk and remember to rotate, rotate, rotate! A well-planned rotation system will help you to avoid waste and ensure that edible food is available at your time of need.
What Do I Do If There's No Electricity?
When the utilities are not working, keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible to slow the rise of the temperature inside. Use the food in the refrigerator first, then the food in the freezer. Work through any food that is more easily spoiled, such as leftovers, fish, meat, and milk, then eat any vegetables and fruit. Eat the food in the pantry once the perishables are gone.
Even if no electricity is available, you may still be able to cook food if you have a barbeque grill, hibachi, or camping stove. Don't forget to store extra fuel and matches in a safe and dry location.
Another excellent option is solar cooking; this method has the advantage that it can be used even by apartment dwellers. A basic solar cooker has reflectors and a container that concentrates heat from the sun to cook your food. You can purchase inexpensive solar cookers online or even make your own. For more details on this process, see http://solarcooking.org/ and http://www.solarcooking.org/plans/.
Food for Evacuations
It is important to keep at least a 3-day supply of food in your emergency backpack, in case you need to evacuate. "Meals Ready to Eat" (MREs) and emergency food ration bars are well suited for this purpose. Both have over a 5-year shelf-life and are packaged to withstand tough conditions. Some MREs can last up to 10 years if they're stored in a cool location.
MREs were designed for soldiers living in the field. They are compact, easy to carry, and balanced in nutrition for high-stress situations. Emergency food ration bars are routinely used by emergency relief organizations, such as the American Red Cross and the US Coast Guard. They're non-thirst-provoking and typically available in 1200-, 2400-, and 3600-calorie blocks.
There are also dehydrated and freeze-dried foods available in cans or pouches. These are favorites for campers and hikers because they are lightweight and easy to carry. Keep in mind, however, that these products typically require water to prepare.
All of these products can be found on many emergency supply web sites, including Camping Survival (www.campingsurvival.com), Emergency Essentials (http://beprepared.com), Nitro-Pak (www.nitro-pak.com), and Quake Kare (www.quakekare.com). Organic dehydrated foods are available on sites such as www.maryjanesfarm.org/categories/food-pantry.asp. Also, our sales and publications department is looking into the possibility of offering emergency food and supplies.
Tips for Managing Hunger and Stress
The production of glucose increases when we are under stress. This increase in glucose leads the body to produce more insulin than it would under normal circumstances. As stressors lessen and/or the body adapts, insulin production declines, producing a dip that causes hunger. This is one reason why people consume large quantities of food quickly during an emergency. Although high-protein foods, including meat, fish, and eggs can curb your appetite for longer periods of time, eating too much protein can increase your thirst and result in higher water consumption. With this in mind, it is fine to include dehydrated meats (jerky) and canned meats and fish along with powdered milk and eggs in your supply of emergency food.
Foods high in fiber fill you up and can help stabilize glucose levels. These include oatmeal, lentils, buckwheat, almond butter, and quinoa. Cinnamon, tarragon, and Parmesan cheese add to the enjoyment of food and help you to feel satisfied with less. Fatty foods are also satisfying and can be useful for other reasons; one spoonful of coconut butter, for example, will warm the body in cold weather. Candy can quickly reverse a hypoglycemic episode if someone is known to have hypoglycemic episodes or is a diabetic. After the episode subsides, glucose-stabilizing foods such as those listed above can be offered.
Yoko Agriculture and the Importance of Self-Sufficiency
To be truly prepared, it is important to not be overly dependent on the conveniences of modern society. Sukuinushisama, Seishusama, and Oshienushisama have all stressed the importance of cultivating Yoko gardens for our families. What better investment can be made in our future than to create gardens full of God's Light and spiritual essence?
At the very least, it is a good idea to keep seeds handy in the event of a prolonged emergency. Beans, grains, and other seeds can be sprouted relatively quickly when food is scarce. These young plants are full of vitamins and minerals, and are delicious either cooked or raw.
Food that cannot be eaten immediately should be preserved for later use. In most North American farming communities, people are accustomed to canning their food. In other regions of the world, such as Asia, people bury cleaned chicken, fish, or unshelled eggs in buckets of rock salt to preserve them. Days or weeks later, the salted fish and meat are hung out to dry in the sun. There are multiple ways to preserve food and avoid wasting God's blessings. For more information on this important practice, visit the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation (http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/).
In addition to gardening, take some time to familiarize yourself with the edible plants that grow wild in your area. The respected edible plants expert Linda Runyon once wrote: "Weeds are in every country of the world, so it's beyond me why there is world hunger. An entire civilization is walking on their food." There are several excellent edible plant resources available, including Tom Brown's Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants (http://www.amazon.com/Browns-Guide-Edible-Medicinal-Plants/dp/0425100634), Petersen's Field Guide to Edible Plants (http://www.amazon.com/Field-Guide-Edible-Wild-Plants/dp/039592622X), and The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide (http://www.ofthefield.com/html/learning_resources_3.html).
Conclusion
As members of Sukyo Mahikari, it is important for us to be prepared, not only so that we can be self-sufficient and protect our families, but also so that we can be of service to society. By maintaining an adequate supply of emergency food and water, you will be taking an important step toward being ready for anything during this critical stage of the divine plan.


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