How to Prepare for Food Shortage 2023

While it’s difficult to predict just how bad it will get in any given area, it seems safe to say that everyone should prepare for some degree of food and energy shortages, regardless of where you live, as we’re staring at a perfect storm of confounding factors that are global in nature and therefore can cause far-reaching and somewhat unpredictable ripple effects.

So, if you still haven’t begun preparations, I urge you to reconsider. Those who fail to prepare are likely to find themselves in an incredibly difficult situation this fall and next year. I was a member of the Boy Scouts in middle school and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Their motto is to “Be Prepared,” which has served me well most of my life, and I encourage you to consider it.

Prepare With Shelf-Stable Foods

Many say they feel unsure about how to prepare for food shortages and famine, having no real experience with that sort of thing. Modern life has also in many ways made us overly reliant on technologies that might not be available in an energy shortage situation. Foods that require refrigeration or freezing, for example, might spoil and go to waste if you lose electricity for more than two days.

While the solutions will vary from household to household, depending on your financial situation, location and skill level when it comes to growing and storing food, here’s a list of shelf-stable and nutritious items that can help you get through hard times.

Ideally, you’d be eating these foods on a regular basis anyway. This way, you can easily rotate your supply rather than buying something once and then not touching it for years on end.

Many prepper recommendations fall short in that they primarily focus on large quantities of rice and beans, but unless you’re willing to let your health go to waste, you’d be wise to focus on nutrition rather than carb-rich belly-fillers.

Animal protein — In my view, animal protein would be one of the most important supplies to stock up on. This would require the meat to be frozen. It would likely make sense to get another freezer to store enough meat for three to six months for your family. The key to making this work is to have a backup power supply, as there is a high likelihood the grid will go down and you will lose your investment.

The most economical way to do this would be to get ground bison, beef or lamb. Avoid pork and chicken due to high linoleic acid content. Ground meat is less expensive, but more importantly, takes up the least amount of space in your freezer

Canned wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel and sardines — All of these contain healthy fats while being low in toxic water pollutants and heavy metals

Tallow, ghee and coconut oil — These healthy fats are ideal for cooking and remain stable even without refrigeration

Organic beef broth and/or collagen powder — Beef broth is an ideal source of collagen, but organic grass fed collagen powder will stay fresh longer. Collagen is the most common and abundant of your body’s proteins, and is required for bone health, tissue integrity and repair

Whey protein — Whey protein is rich in leucine, which helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis, thereby promoting healthy muscle. Without a regular source of meat, it can be difficult to achieve enough leucine to maintain body protein from diet alone. Fortunately whey can be easily stored and can serve as a resource to preserve your muscle mass

Rice — Rice is a gluten-free staple that can be stored for long periods of time. Interestingly, white rice (my favorite is basmati) is far preferred over brown rice as the antinutrients in brown rice impair its role as a clean source of carbohydrates. Ideally, place the bag in a food-grade bucket together with an oxygen absorber or two, and make sure the lid is well-sealed

Honey — In addition to being a natural sweetener, local unadulterated honey also has health benefits. For example, it’s an effective cough medicine and can help combat respiratory infections and bacterial infections, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Macadamia nuts — Nuts are frequently recommended as a good source of fiber, protein and healthy fats that will stay fresh for a long time without refrigeration, provided they’re in a sealed bag or container. However, the reason why this is a terrible idea is that all nuts except for macadamia are loaded with very high levels of the dangerous fat linoleic acid. So, storing any nuts would not at all be helpful as you would only be able to have around five a day

Canned beef — Look for varieties that use salt as the only preservative. Lehman’s canned beef is one such option12

Organic freeze-dried fruit, vegetables and meats — For extra-long storage, you can also consider buying organic freeze-dried goods, which typically have a 25-year shelf life

Essential nutritional supplements such as: Beef organ complex, essential minerals, omega-3, vitamin K2, magnesium, vitamin B complex and astaxanthin

To Grow or Not to Grow Your Own Veggies?

When it comes to fruits, berries and vegetables, many are not going to be able to successfully grow what they need in their own garden. That's just the truth. It does take some know-how. You can't just throw some seeds into the dirt and expect food. You have to plant at the right time of year, you have to water and consistently weed and so on.

Certainly, I encourage you to grow what you can, just be realistic about it and don't rely on something that has no chance of keeping you alive in a real emergency. One exception is sprouts. Virtually everyone can grow sprouts, even indoors in small spaces, and they provide high-density nutrients that can be harvested in days rather than weeks or months.

Certain crops, such as Moringa and cassava are extremely hardy and drought resistant, requiring almost no attention whatsoever, so they can be good options if you're just starting out. Moringa is a real superfood, and you can eat the leaves, either fresh or dried, and the seeds, but it really is a subtropical tree that needs a warm climate to do well. You can also grow fresh herbs to spice up your dishes.

Aside from stocking up on canned or freeze-dried vegetables, fruits and berries, another strategy is to build relationships with local farmers. Start frequenting farmers markets and make connections with people who actually grow the food themselves. I recommend visiting their farm to make sure they're the real deal, as some merely buy veggies from the same place the grocery stores do and then resell them at the farmers market.

In the interview below, I also review other prepping strategies I think are important, such as making sure you're getting a healthy amount of sun exposure, which is free nutrition (you don't have to pay for either vitamin D, melatonin or antioxidants supplements if you get enough sun), and getting out of crowded urban areas at all costs. Prepped or not, densely-populated cities are going to be the most dangerous areas on Earth once food, electricity and money get scarce.

Other Suggestions

Other key areas of basic preparation include:

Water and water purification — Identify sources of potable water and make sure you have one or more ways to purify questionable water supplies

Energy backups — To prepare for eventual energy shortages, brownouts, rolling blackouts or a complete shutdown of the power grid, consider one or more power backups, such as gas-powered generators and/or solar generator kits such as Jackery or Inergy.

Scale up and diversify according to what you can afford. Ideally, you’d want more than one system. If all you have is a gas-powered generator, what will you do if there’s a gas shortage and/or if the price skyrockets into double digits? On the other hand, what will you do if the weather is too overcast to recharge your solar battery?

Cooking backups — You also need some way to cook water and food during a blackout. Here, options include (but are not limited to) solar cookers, which require neither electricity nor fire, small rocket stoves, propane-powered camping stoves and 12-volt pots and pans that you can plug into a backup battery. If you have backup power, then a pressure cooker like Instant Pot makes a lot of sense as it can serve virtually all of your cooking needs

Firearms training for self defense and hunting — Learn how to use, store, carry and clean a firearm and work on your marksmanship. Other forms of self-defense training can also be useful, if nothing else, to make you feel more competent and confident in potentially high-risk situations

Communications — Give some thought to how you will communicate with friends and family if cell towers and/or internet goes down

Medicine — Stock up on nutritional supplements, medications, how-to books on alternative home remedies and first-aid supplies. I personally believe everyone should have a supply of pharmaceutical grade methylene blue, which can be obtained here

Money — Keep cash on hand, including smaller denominations. Both power grid and internet outages can eliminate your ability to buy without cash. For more long-term protection against inflation, consider buying physical precious metals such as gold and silver

Remember to consider and include analog devices and manual tools in your preparation. We’re so used to having unlimited electricity and continuous wireless communications, it can be difficult to imagine the restrictions you’ll face without them. If need be, turn off the breakers in your home for a day or two, ditch all wireless devices, and see what challenges come up. Then, figure out what you need to solve them.

Also, consider keeping hardcopies of useful books and important documents, such as your most recent bank statements, asset statements, the deed to your home or car and so on, in case electronic records become unavailable.

Entire books can, and have, been written on prepping, and some will take it to extremes. But while you probably won’t need an underground bunker stocked with a decade’s-worth of food, everyone, at this point, really ought to be preparing, to some degree, for food and energy shortages.

Sources and References:

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