Dear Members & Friends of the Organic Food Network,
So far in this series, we have looked at what to eat and what not to eat to strengthen our immune systems and "be healthy." The e-mail preceding the start of this series offered different perspectives on the bird flu issue and gave us some background to understand the possibilities should the bird flu virus mutate and spread to humans. Remember that this is all speculation at this point and that my position is that we can all use this opportunity to improve our health habits and teach others to do the same. No fear or scare tactics here!
In today's e-mail, I offer you some suggestions for what to stockpile in case of an emergency (any kind of emergency) and how to find the best sources and prices for those items and organic food in general. Info we can all use no matter what, right?
Being prepared for whatever life may bring is never a bad idea. Stockpiling is a natural instinct whether it is in anticipation of severe weather or in response to a great sale! Anyone remember the big snow storm of 1967 in Chicago? It caught a lot of people by surprise and I remember our neighbors pulling sleds to the store to get milk and bread. At least there was milk and bread to get!
In the news stories I've been following, I've seen suggestions for how much food to store from a few weeks to three months. I think how much you want to store is really up to you. There's no way of predicting how much you would need or if you would need any of it at all.
The list I am making here for you is based on the idea that we might not have electricity for storing food in refrigerators and freezers, or for cooking on stoves and in ovens. Therefore it's wise to stockpile nutrient-dense foods that require no or minimal cooking. We also want to make sure that we've got the three categories of macronutrients covered: protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt recommended that Americans start storing canned tuna and powdered milk under their beds as the "prospect of a deadly bird flu outbreak approaches the United States."
Well, I don't appreciate the scare tactic, however, I don't completely disagree with the foods he mentions. At least, he didn't recommend the oh so nutritious cheese-flavored crackers.
Here is my list. It is not all inclusive, so add or subtract as you desire or your eating lifestyle dictates. A note here about food choices. In emergency situations, we MAY have to rethink what we normally eat. For example, I don't normally drink cow's milk, but wouldn't hesitate to stockpile some organic dried milk powder "in case." Chances are we are also stockpiling for members of our family who have varying nutrition needs and tastes.
Stock at least one gallon per person per day. You will not necessarily use it all for drinking. Once you initially have as much as you want, use and replace it, so the same water isn't sitting around for months.
Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
Yes, you can stockpile these in what is known as a GARDEN! If the flu does come to America and mutates, the expected time frame is around August, right at the height of the growing season. If you've never grown your own food, now is the time to do it, even if it is in pots on a balcony. Also, sprouts can easily be grown with only sprouting seeds, water and a glass jar.
Sunflower microgreens can be grown with sunflower seeds, organic potting soil and cafeteria-type trays. Info on the "how to" is easily available from raw food uncooking books and online.
The next best thing to having your own garden is to become involved in a community garden or buy a share in a Community-Supported Agriculture farm
(CSA). The farm, in essence, then becomes "your farm" and a reliable source of produce provided transportation issues don't get in the way.
Canned tuna is ok, however, since tuna can be a source of mercury toxicity, canned Alaska salmon would be a better choice. Meat eaters can consider meat jerkys. A variety of canned organic beans and legumes like peas and lentils are a must. Other protein sources are whole nuts and seeds in shells, ground seeds like flax, hemp and pumpkin in vacuum sealed packages; and nut and seed butters like peanut and almond butters and tahini. Trail mixes combine nuts and seeds with dried fruits and vegetables.
Other ideas include organic dried milk powder, and/or tofu and soy milk in aesceptic packages. Spirulina, chlorella and other blue-green algaes in tablets or dehydrated powder form are concentrated protein super foods as is bee pollen. Protein snack bars such as Organic Food Bar are nutritious and easy.
Nuts and seeds mentioned above will supply necessary good fats as will a variety of unopened fish and vegetable oils. Coconut oil/butter is a naturally stable fat that is easily utilized by the body for steady energy. Jarred or canned olives are tasty explosions of fats.
Focus on quick-cooking whole grains like quinoa, millet, whole wheat cous cous, amaranth and rolled oats in bulk, or in packaged side dish mixes with seasoning packets; and dehydrated vegetables, broth and soup mixes that can be easily reconstituted with water. Include quick cooking whole grain pastas such as buckwheat soba noodles for variety. Dried seaweeds such as nori sheets are yummy eaten right out of the package. Nutrient-dense dried fruits are dates and berries such as goji berries and wolfberries.
bottled or jarred salad dressings and sauces for flavor: Italian, Asian, etc.
canned fruits and vegetables (some are canned straight from the field)
canned pumpkin will boost vitamins and minerals and can be used in a variety
soups in cans or aeseptic packages
apple juice or sauce for mixing with dehydrated green vegetable powders
supplements and herbal tinctures (more in the next e-mail)
treats and comfort foods (yes, you can have the cheese-flavored crackers,
and some dark chocolate, too).
No electricity or gas, remember? Portable heat sources are sterno and propane-operated camp stoves and grills. Don't forget matches and candles. Utensils Pack utensils with your food supply. What if you couldn't simply go to a kitchen drawer and get what you need? This list includes a can opener, nutcracker, knives, forks, spoons, pots, pans, dishes, cups...you get the
idea. A large thermos or two for "cooking" food by simply adding hot water would be highly efficient.
WHERE TO BUY ORGANIC AND SUSTAINABLE FOOD
natural foods stores
organic and natural food sections of grocery stores
Community-supported agriculture farms (CSAs) food buying clubs or co-ops farmers markets home delivery services direct buying relationships with local farmers and producers mail order catalogs and websites especially for buying in bulk Last weekend, I was a presenter on a panel called Organic Eating on a Dime at the FamilyFarmed.org Expo in Chicago. During that discussion, I offered the following as my three best tips for saving money on organic food.
1. Grow Your Own Food
2. Eat Low on the Food Chain
3. Start or Join a Food Buying Club
A little more about each one...
Grow Your Own Food. I've already talked about this above. Start a big garden, grow food in pots on your porch or balcony, or sprout some seeds in your kitchen.
Eat Low on the Food Chain. This doesn't mean you have to become a vegetarian if you don't chose to do so. It does mean to think about limiting your meat and fish consumption to a few times a week and increase your intake of vegetable-based proteins such as beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, a fermented soy product; and seitan, a wheat gluten product. Organic eggs and whole milk yogurt are generally less expensive than meat and fish.
Start or Join a Food Buying Club. This can be as few as two or three people sharing a 25 lb. bag of brown rice or a dozen or more families going in together to split cases of produce, nuts, canned beans, etc. Here are some great resources including some of the companies that the Organic Food Network's food buying club order from.
--Goodness Greeness. This is the largest organic wholesale distributor in the midwest. GG will deliver to buying clubs with minimum orders. For example, the OFN's buying club minimum to Warrenville is $400. Some of the anti-viral foods you can buy at a savings include a 5lb. container of peeled garlic, 12-jar case of organic pureed ginger, and, of course, all kinds of greens, mushrooms and other veggies and fruits. GG has just started offering organic dairy products and will soon have organic meat. See <http://www.goodnessgreeness.com/ .
--Frontier Natural Products Co-op. It only takes 5 families ordering together to open up a wholesale account. Here you can buy organic spices, teas, herbs, personal care products and more. Some of the anti-viral foods you can obtain at a discount include aloe vera juice and gel, spirulina tablets, green tea, echinacea and astragalus herbs, sprouting seeds, flax and hemp seeds and more. When you have a minimum $250 order, there is no shipping or sales tax! See <http://www.frontiercoop.com/ .
--Gateway Natural Meats. Grass fed meat, wild caught fish, organic eggs and dairy products. See <http://www.gatewaynaturalmeats.com/
--Alaska Seafood. Wild caught salmon, halibut and sable--one of the richest fish in Omega 3 essential fatty acids! Call 847/439-5261.
--Nature's First Law. Fabulous mail order source of the finest raw and living foods--read "nutrient-dense." See <http://www.rawfood.com/
--Sun Organic Farm. Another wonderful mail order source for dried foods in bulk
--whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouting seeds and more. See <http://www.sunorganic.com/