Eating for survival is nothing new. It has been part of our North American culture as long as I can remember. In the 50’s it was prepare for nuclear war with food and underground shelters. As a kid, growing up in the 60’s it was about Boy Scout being prepared. As a teen/young adult in the 70’s, it was about do-it-yourself, folk medicines, food storage, wine making, self-defence and improvised weaponry. (I liked the wine making and food part.)
This survival information became very handy when I was laid off of work in the early 80’s. Here is what I ate to stay fit, healthy and extremely active (kick-boxing, working and making ends meet).
- Bean sprouts. They are, by far, the cheapest, most vitamin-packed food around. For example, a cup of mung bean sprouts (found in many Chinese dishes) has 23 mg. of vitamin C, which is about half of the Recommended Daily Allowance. A 2004 University of Saskatchewan demonstrated that broccoli seed sprouts reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. I like sprouts as they are cheap and easy to make, which I will demonstrate later in the article. Asians have used this survival food for centuries.
- Organ meats. I know, I know. It was so gross having to eat liver and heart and whatever when I was a kid. The trick is to learn how to cook beef or chicken livers and hearts. I stir fry beef and chicken livers and chicken hearts with some kind of sweet and sour sauce. As for beef heart, I first sear it in a frying pan, then put it in a deep oven pan with a couple of inches of water. Chop onions and garlic and insert it into the meat or by it. Cook for 45 – 60 minutes at 325 degrees F. Delicious and totally paleo.
- Brown rice. Cheap and easy to store.
- Oats. Steel cut or flakes are good. (Some argue that steel cut are superior, but they take a long time to cook.) I soak them over night and then bring to a boil in the morning. Mix with currents, dried cranberries, apple slices, etc. and cinnamon. Being allergic to milk, I use butter.
- Eggs. Very cheap protein source. Highly underrated.
- Vegetables from the ethnic side of town, such as Chinese, Korean or Fillipino.
How to Make Sprouts
- Put a couple tablespoons of your favourite sprouting seeds: alfalfa, mung beans, lentils, etc. in a jar or container, fill with water and let soak for 24 hours.
- Empty the container and then rinse twice a day afterwards. Keep in a dark place.
- After 4-6 days, place in the sun (window sill) for a day or two.
- Then refrigerate or add to soups, salads and stir fries. Rinse thoroughly with water first. WARNING: the alfalfa sprouts will rot very quickly. In a university experiment, I tested a batch of alfalfa sprouts that produced a million times more e coli 0157 than raw hamburger! I once broke a two day fast with meal of just alfalfa sprouts and it was very unpleasant. So, keep the alfalfa sprouts to a minimal.
I ate mostly like this for weeks at a time and maintained my weight at 150 pounds and still remained active. (And saved beer money.) With a bit of initiative and creativity, you can do the same. Survival is not about suffering and denial. You still have to have some fun.
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