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Preparing an Emergency Food Kit with dietary restrictions

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 

I am trying to figure out how to have an emergency food supply that meets our dietary restrictions: vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, cane sugar free, and low or no tomatoes. In a true emergency my husband, son and I could eat anything, including (gag) meat. But my little one...who knows what meat is contaminated with. 40% of chicken is injected with broth that contains gluten. Anyone have any ideas on how to have a tub of emergency food? I found this article, but her only restriction is gluten. She doesn't know how easy she has it. http://www.celiac.com/articles/21603/1/How-to-Prepare-a-Gluten-Free-Disaster-Emergency-Kit/Page1.html

 

Does anyone have any ideas for an emergency food kit?

post #2 of 51

You should be rotating your emergency food stash on about an annual basis to make sure everything stays current, so maybe think about canned goods and pantry items that you currently utilize that could be just put into a plastic tote and set aside?

post #3 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchensqueen View Post

You should be rotating your emergency food stash on about an annual basis to make sure everything stays current, so maybe think about canned goods and pantry items that you currently utilize that could be just put into a plastic tote and set aside?

Thanks for the thought.

 

I also posted this in the vegetarian section. Folks have said essentially what you have.


I don't use canned items so if I bought stuff, it would all get donated to the food bank at the end of the year and I'd rather not have that annual expenditure if I could avoid it. 

 

I'm thinking those dinners in foil, but again they don't have a long shelf life. I want a plastic barrel of food that lasts 20 years, but I fear they don't make the right kind.

 

Most likely I'll have to suck it up and have foods that I have to recycle every year.

 

Thanks again.

 

 

post #4 of 51

Beans, rice, quinoa, oatmeal?, corn meal, split peas, canned and dried veggies, powdered eggs (if you eat eggs), coconut oil, multi-vitamins (or at least vitamin c), spices.  Not the yummiest diet, but it'll keep you alive and relatively healthy.  

post #5 of 51

I actually use my pantry as "emergency food supply".  If something were to happen, we could live off what is in the pantry for a month.  I make sure I have all the basics covered, and replace what I use every week.  I keep beans, rice, oats, cornmeal, lentils, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, GF pasta, aseptic pkgs or glass jars of tomato products, dried fruits, some various veggies (artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms, olives, green chiles, pickles, etc.) - not the most rounded or balanced of diet, but it's enough to keep us healthy for a month.  I also have considerable amounts of salt, vinegar and sugar on hand at all times, in case I need to do some emergency preserving. 

 

I have my canning closet, which has jams, tomatoes, juice, pickles.  Again, enough to keep deficiency diseases like scurvy at bay over the long term. 

 

I also consider my freezer to be emergency food storage.  If we lose electricity for what is liable to be a while, the first thing I have to do is empty the freezer.  Fruits, veggies, meats, pastas, it either has to be preserved, eaten or given away. 

 

And then I have a couple cases of bottled water.  I used to buy the big things of it (3 gallon jugs), but then we'd never use it, they'd invariably wind up damaged and leaking and then I'd have a mess.  While I don't like the waste of the cases, the fact is I can actually use them to keep them rotated.  When we have a party, or a friend is planning a party, we use our "emergency" water, and I buy a new case or two.  Replace it every year or every other year, and it's just fine. 

 

Oh, and I also pretty much always keep onions, garlic and winter squash on hand.  Maybe not the most creative, but they keep and again, it'll help round out a diet. 

 

The one thing you have to keep in mind though is that if you lose electricity and what you have on hand is beans and rice, how are you going to cook it?  We have a gas stove, which is great if the only thing we lose is electrical.  But in case of earthquake, chances are we'd lose gas and water also.  So at that point a solar oven is my plan.  I don't have one at the moment, because they are pricey, but you can make one with a couple cardboard boxes and some aluminum foil in a pinch.  Or a grill can do it, we have a smoker that could do it.  Or even a camp stove.  None of it is ideal, but if it lets you cook up a big pot of beans and rice to eat for a couple days, it'll keep you alive. 

post #6 of 51

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post

The one thing you have to keep in mind though is that if you lose electricity and what you have on hand is beans and rice, how are you going to cook it?  We have a gas stove, which is great if the only thing we lose is electrical.  But in case of earthquake, chances are we'd lose gas and water also.  So at that point a solar oven is my plan.  I don't have one at the moment, because they are pricey, but you can make one with a couple cardboard boxes and some aluminum foil in a pinch.  Or a grill can do it, we have a smoker that could do it.  Or even a camp stove.  None of it is ideal, but if it lets you cook up a big pot of beans and rice to eat for a couple days, it'll keep you alive. 


This is really important to consider - keep a couple of bottles of fuel for a camp stove or an extra bag of charcoal for the grill on hand. Sterno is good to have in a serious emergency box - you can't do a lot of proper cooking with it, but you can at least get canned goods warmed up with the stuff. 

 

I also think every kit should have vitamins and water purification tablets in it as well. 

 

post #7 of 51
Thread Starter 

Thanks for so many good ideas.

 

I've just spent a lot of effort to purge my house of canned goods because of BPA. I'm trying to figure out how to do an emergency kit without cans, but I don't know that I can. I looked at the pouches of curries online and the one company I looked at had sugar in all of them. Since they probably can't guarantee it's beet sugar (she's allergic to cane sugar) I probably will have to look elsewhere.

 

We live in an area that doesn't have natural disasters, but you never know when something can happen. I want something portable and ready in case we need to evacuate. Again, unlikely, but it seems like a good idea.

 

I'm thinking of getting a foot locker. If I can get by without foods that HAVE to be cooked, I'd prefer that.

 

I hadn't thought about stuff with Vitamin C. She's borderline with tomatoes (we think) so I do not want them in an emergency kit. The last thing we need in a disaster is for her to get diarrhea. It would put her at such high risk for other gi stuff.

 

So far the things I've thought about adding are

almond butter

coconut oil

maybe mung beans (I think they're yummy when freshly sprouted.)

freeze dried fruit

nuts

seaweed snack

Crunchmaster mulit seed crackers (original.)

 

Does anyone know if dried veggies exist?

 

post #8 of 51

could you add in MORE nut butters?

 

think of non- freeze dried fruits - cranberries, dates, raisins, currants, etc (keep a supply and use and re-supply) ALSO - dried peels (oranges, lemons, limes- you can also "candied" them - some like grapefruit)

 

 

I would also keep a good dark chocolate on hand

 

 

MORE seeds for sprouting - we eat a lot of alfalfa 

 

I would look into freeze dried eggs to keep on hand

 

I dry my own veggies (for dips) but you can buy or make your own 

 

do you do fish? many are dried or can be dried

for yourself and your DH (beef jerky) in a pinch - know you are not really into meat but you don't need to warm it!

 

seeds? pumpkin, chia, etc

 

do it yourself or buy already canned sauerfraut, beets, peppers, olives, preserved lemons (source of C)- make your own jam/preserves - I would do orange and lemon curds for the high C and you can add the sugar of your choice for her  - canned juices (make your own)----using canning jars not cans and PBA - you can find some companies that do not have it in their lids, otherwise Ball is very small amount considering the alternative 

 

just a few thoughts

post #9 of 51
Thread Starter 

Thanks. 

 

Yeah, I'm just getting started on what I can add. I'm thinking a couple boxes of lara bars. Also they sell rice dream in 8 ounce containers. I can include some for calcium and b12 and not have to worry about spoilage or refrigeration.

 

One of my guiding goals as I develop this is to have it set up that my kids can feed themselves if there were no adults available. So relatively simple packaging and no preparation. I figure I can put a small amount of mung beans in a small ziplock bag. Then you add a pre-measured amount of water to the bag, seal it, then let it sit. My daughter couldn't do that, but my son could.

 

I'm going to look at the pouch foods at the store and see what they have that my daughter can eat. I know there's a chickpea entree at Trader Joe's.

 

I will also calculate how many calories each person requires per day and try and pack based on that.

 

The bottom line will be to have a month's worth of food for my daughter. Then as much for the rest of us that I can fit into reasonably sized containers. The rest of us can eat anything, even meat, if we HAVE to. My daughter would get diarrhea from the wrong foods and that would be a HUGE problem in a disaster.

 

 

post #10 of 51

You should pack some electrolyte added water, like Pedialite, as well as anti-diarreahal medication in your kits, just in case your daughter (or anyone else) should need it. 

post #11 of 51
How about the cartons of soup at TJ's? I know many of them would meet your criteria, plus they would be hydrating and all. And easy to open.

You can get dehydrated veggies but I'm not sure how long they last. They are with the snack foods/chips/nuts. You can also get dried mushrooms but they need to be cooked otherwise they'll make you sick.

I have had tofu jerky before (like beef jerky) -- it's not readily available around here but you could order it online. That would store well I think. Also maybe the little packs of allergen-free cookies? Not healthy but at least it's carbs.

I do think cans should be a part of the kit though, because they can withstand a lot and take up less space and you can eat right out of the can, no cooking/soaking/etc. I don't generally eat food out of cans but if it were me (and I do need to work on a kit myself!), I'd get cans of things like beans, soups, coconut milk, maybe even fruits & veggies. I'd keep them for a few years and then replace them only when they're well past the expiration date. I wouldn't worry about BPA in the case of a natural disaster because you'd have much bigger obstacles...

I have been through a very very minor natural disaster where we couldn't leave home for two days and had no power for a week. We couldn't cook anything (all electric appliances) and didn't have hot water and were sooo hungry. Just knowing we couldn't cook made us doubly hungry I think! We ate things we normally wouldn't eat or would usually reserve for occasional treats -- tortilla chips with canned beans and a jar of salsa, for ex. Mung bean noodles soaked in water were good too. We tried not to open our fridge/freezer (thinking power would return shortly so we wanted everything to keep) and by the time we realized the power wasn't coming on in time, most of our food was spoiled. We couldn't get ice -- everywhere was sold out. We fortunately had cold tap water but many of our friends didn't. So water, staying warm, & super-convenient foods were our priorities. I can't say I had a single thought about calories, nutrients, balanced meals -- those are things I usually think about constantly but all I wanted then was food, mainly carbs & protein. I certainly wasn't worried about BPA or anything -- and this was just a very minor situation, I'd imagine in a more desperate situation I would literally eat ANYTHING.
post #12 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchensqueen View Post

You should pack some electrolyte added water, like Pedialite, as well as anti-diarreahal medication in your kits, just in case your daughter (or anyone else) should need it. 



This is a really, really good idea. I'm going to track down some Pedialyte powder to add to my first aid kit. (Right now I have a couple of packs of the jelly belly sport beans).

post #13 of 51
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I agree that BPA is the least of my worries in that situation. It's just so hard to swallow when the sun is shining and all is well.

 

I'm guessing most of the Trader Joe's soups are NOT going to work for us. TJ's puts cane sugar in EVERYTHING. I just checked the pedialyte website. The packets have caramel coloring which is usually gluten. The products I checked have dextrose. I'd have to check the source of the dextrose to see if it's cane sugar.

 

I looked at all the Indian food pouches at Trader Joe's today. They all had either tomato or dairy. My 3 year old was with me so I couldn't look more.

 

Here's some info from the Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/preparedness/cdc_english/foodwater-3.asp

 

Here's also a thread that someone started. http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1227243/supplies-for-the-inevitable-zombie-apocolypse

post #14 of 51
Thread Starter 

The Red Cross website states to avoid "Fatty, high-protein or salty foods when your water supply is low."

 

We live in the desert. Guess I should pack more than lara bars and salted nuts.

post #15 of 51
According to celiac.com, Pedialyte is gluten-free. Not sure about cane sugar. I have never heard of someone allergic to cane sugar so excuse my ignorance but I would assume most sugar is cane sugar? Unless it specifically says beet sugar or honey or something? (How on earth do you avoid cane sugar?!)

Here's a place that makes packs of veggies with only the veggie & salt: http://www.mtnhse.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=M&Category_Code=MHV (I don't think their packaged meals will work for you, lots of added ingredients)... there are probably other companies out there and you can just order whatever you can get from each company and eventually you'll have a whole lot of food!

Also, you could cook & preserve your own foods... probably the best way for long-term storage is canning jars, and I know glass isn't ideal, but it could at least be a supplement to whatever else you can find and you can control the ingredients. Just be careful if you do this because altering recipes can lead to improper preservation so unless you're experienced with canning, make sure to find recipes that will already be allergen-free.

Here's some info on nitro-packing http://www.freezedriedsurvivalfood.com/3133/long-term-food-storage-techniques-and-container-types/ and you might look into other preservation techniques.

Given all your DD's restrictions, I don't think you are going to be able to come up with a complete & balanced kit just shopping at TJ's, you are going to need to preserve some of it yourself or special-order stuff or at least go through all the canned goods at a regular large grocery store and compromise a bit on things. Obviously you don't want to compromise in a way that will make DD sick but figure out if she'd tolerate small amounts of allergens or compromise on all-natural or veg*n or whatever. Chances are you will never need to eat this food anyway, you know? But I promise if you DO need it, you'll be glad you gave yourself as many options as possible, even if they're far from perfect.

And all this reminds me that I really need to make up a proper emergency kit myself!!
post #16 of 51

Frontier herbs sells a variety of dried veggies.  They also have black bean flakes (without other additions) and falafel powder (which you could use with tahini to make instant hummus and doesn't look like it has added sugar or tomato ingredients -- but you might need to check elsewhere too I don't find ingredient lists on their site).  

 

  

post #17 of 51

 

 

Quote:
 I have never heard of someone allergic to cane sugar so excuse my ignorance but I would assume most sugar is cane sugar? 

 

US consumption is about 50-50

 

the chemical properties are relatively the same but they process differently in the body

 

OP - do you have dry cereals in your storage- that could be eaten by her with/without a "milk"?

post #18 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

(How on earth do you avoid cane sugar?!)

 

Welcome to my world. You do it by making all your own food. We only eat at one restaurant and try and stick with one waitress. 

 

I was surprised to learn that cane sugar is actually a common allergen.

 

Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I will follow up on them.

 

There are TWO, yes count them, TWO cereals (beyond puffed grains that my kids don't like) that are gluten AND cane sugar free.

 

When I first met one of my friends, I was horrified to discover they were gluten and dairy free. What did she serve her family? They eat meat so that expanded their options. But still..,

 

HA!!! Gluten free, dairy free vegetarian is simple. Everyone has a choice for that. But cane sugar is nuts. It is in everything. So if you go to a restaurant, you and the chef read through all the ingredients on the pastes and everything else that goes into the food. Then put avoiding tomatoes on top of it. And if you want to eat a commercially made product with "sugar" you email the company to see if they can verify whether it is cane or beet sugar and they will always email back that it depends on what the distributor was selling that day, so no guarantees.

 

I don't expect to stock my kit with only Trader Joe's food. I can't. They put cane sugar in almost everything. Except for one variety of chocolate bars. They sell dark (and milk, but we don't eat that) chocolate bars made with beet sugar. Says it right on the box. And TJ is non-gmo. I can't tell you how excited I was to discover that. So if I have a recipe that calls for chocolate chips I can make my own. Of course, at $2 for 3 ounces it gets expensive really quickly.

post #19 of 51
Thread Starter 

I have emailed the Red Cross for suggestions and guidance. I will share what I learn.

post #20 of 51
Good luck with the Red Cross!! For a long time I was vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, plus had to avoid certain fruits and nuts. Corn is in everything. So is soy, for that matter. It was incredibly hard to stick to that diet. Now, I'm not even vegan anymore (after 8 years, plus 9 more before that lacto-veg, 17 years total veg*n!) and boy is it easier to eat now... I would never tell you to give up vegetarianism and it sounds like you're doing fine with your DD even with all the restrictions (aside from emergency preparations, that is!), but I will say after less than a month of eating just a little meat & eggs, I'm not sure I'd ever go back to vegan with all the other allergies/intolerances I have... I think I made things way more complicated for me & my family than I needed to, and we're all benefiting from a little dietary freedom (still restricted, but you get what I mean!)

Please don't take this as me trying to persuade you not to limit your diet however you want/need to. I just wanted to commiserate with the dietary restrictions issue. smile.gif I hope the Red Cross can help you but I have a feeling they are going to be just as stumped as you!
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