16 August 2011

The "top 10 high-energy foods" are convenient for self-reliance and preparedness

Not long ago, I read an article about the top 10 high-energy foods. As I read, I realized that many of these can fit in well with our preparedness planning and our ability to be self-reliant.

The article, Top 10: High-Energy Foods, is from AskMen.com, and it lists 10 health-conscious foods to help keep your energy levels high while keeping your body fat low. The foods are listed below, along with notes for each about how they can fit into your food storage plans or otherwise be obtained in a self-reliant manner.

  1. Cold-Water Fatty Fish: This includes small forage fish, such as sardine, herring and anchovy, and other larger pelagic fish, such as salmon, trout, and mackerel. If you're near a source of the appropriate kind, catching your own fish is preferable from a self-reliance standpoint. Otherwise, storing cans of sardines or salmon are good options. According to the USDA, low-acid canned foods such as meat, poultry, fish and most vegetables will retain best quality on the shelf for 2 to 5 years — if the can remains in good condition and has been stored in a cool, clean, dry place.

  2. Omega-3 Eggs: Appropriately enough, these eggs are produced from hens who are fed a diet that's high in omega-3, typically from flax seeds (or seaweed). Storing eggs is not a long-term solution; the USDA recommends using eggs within 3 to 5 weeks of the date you purchase them. Of course, a self-reliant solution is raising your own chickens, and feeding them flax seed to boost the Omega-3 qualities of the eggs. (This approach dovetails nicely with number 4 below.)

  3. Tree Nuts: This includes a variety of nuts, such as black walnuts, chestnuts, English walnuts, pecans, or pine nuts. Tree nuts are tasty, healthy and can be obtained for free if you're willing to forage. See Erin Hufstetler's Guide to Identifying and Harvesting Tree Nuts to find out what you need to know to identify and harvest a variety of nuts. When storing them, you can safely keep shelled nuts for around 4 months in your pantry, or unshelled nuts there for 6 months.

  4. Seeds: Whole flaxseed is naturally wrapped in a perfect storage package: a hard hull that preserves it  for up to a year or longer. Flax seed is also fairly easy to grow, whether in a small home garden or on a large-scale farm. If you want to grow flax from seed, the main things to consider are the type of seed, the climate and the time of year for planting. You can find a good article on how to grow flax seed on eHow, along with a separate article on how to harvest flax seeds.

  5. Old-Fashioned Oats: This is a very versatile food to store, since it can be the foundation for many meals or baked goods. Under the right conditions, oats can be stored for a very long time. According to an article at sciencedaily.com, food science researchers discovered that 28-year-old rolled oats (and 20-year-old dried milk) were still edible — and sometimes even tasted okay. (They also concluded that a lot of food well past the manufacturer's expiration date might still be edible for years or decades to come. Something else to consider and test in your food storage planning.)

  6. Quinoa: Commonly referred to as a grain, this "superfood" is actually a seed. It has excellent nutritional value and is high in protein. In fact, it's a complete protein, which is very useful if meat is harder to come by. When storing quinoa, sealed containers of plastic or glass are best. It will stay fresh for a year or longer if properly stored in a cool, dark, dry cabinet.

  7. Fruits: You can grow any number of fruits on your own. Of the four highlighted in this article, cantaloupe is probably the easiest for the most people across the US, perhaps followed by apricots. Unfortunately, whole fruits don't generally store for a long time. You'll need to dehydrate your fruit or can it to get long-term storage out of it.

  8. Water: While it's number 8 on this list, water is really number 1 on everyone's list, since you can live without food for much longer than without water. Your recommended daily water intake will vary depending on the source, as well as your environment and activity level. The typical suggested intake is 64 oz per day, but this Top-10 article suggests twice that. Most preparedness planning advisors recommend storing at least 1 gallon per person per day. Generally speaking, you can store water in clean, quality containers for up to 6 months. However, if you're storing adequate water for multiple people, the amount of water required quickly stacks up (literally). For instance, storing just a 1-month supply of water for a family of four would equal 120 gallons of water, a 3-month supply would be 360 gallons, and a 6-month supply would be 720 gallons (requiring a container 5 ft in diameter by 5 ft high.)! Clearly, adequate storage can be an issue, so it's a good idea to know how to purify water and stock the appropriate supplies.

  9. Tea  and Coffee (numbers 9 and 10): The energy from both of these are due to the caffeine, which may or may not be desirable in a preparedness/emergency situation. However, both can be stored for a year or more, provided you have a cool, dry environment. In a long-term emergency situation (i.e., months or years in duration), it's likely that coffee would become more rare in much of the US, given that our climate isn't the best for growing coffee. A variety of teas can be made however, from herbs, pine needles, etc., however.
How many of these high-energy foods do you regularly eat now? Have you incorporated them into your self-reliant and preparedness efforts? What pitfalls have you encountered?

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