Here are some insights on starting small and using the Food Storage Analyzer from Ruth in Arizona:
Starting Small and the Food Storage Analyzer
I’m fairly new to the real business of being prepared, so this is written for the other novices. I hope some of what I have learned will be useful and help you avoid some of my goofs. For years, I thought I was prepared with my 72-hour emergency kit in the garage. I lived in San Francisco during the 1989 earthquake, and kept a kit both before and after – though much improved AFTER. Last summer I learned I wasn’t anywhere near prepared. So after some soul searching, I began to act.
My husband and I both work for paychecks, at least for now, so I could skim a little from mine each payday to devote to being more prepared. One pay period it was a couple of boxes of ammo, the next it was a case of whatever food was near our tastes and was on sale. I did a lot of comparing on the internet and with our local grocery store that sells ‘institutional’ size foods. For the items I wanted to store, Emergency Essentials quickly became my favorite based on price and variety. I am sure that the institutional food is way too heavy and not as efficient as dehydrated or freeze-dried. For the same weight of 3 days-worth of an institutional #10 can of pinto beans, I could carry a case – almost a months-worth – of dried items like beans and rice. I bought a few cans of pre-made gravy for water-frugal times when we don’t want to use water if we can avoid it, but most of what I store is dependent upon having an available water source.
Fast forward – The extra ammo was easy to sneak into the house and store. Not so much with the case of #10 cans. I planned these purchases primarily based on what and how we eat now – not a lot of meat, mostly nuts, grains and legumes. My husband started noticing and commenting on the growing storage. He was not enrolled, but was not overly resistant. I needed to do more to enroll him in the process. He still thinks I’m a little goofy, but he happily eats the bread I bake for him twice a week using the same types of products that are in our food storage. He helps grind the grain in our little hand grinder. He loves the split pea soup I make purely from food storage items. He remains skeptical, but after the Haiti and Chile events, he is not critical.
I tried the Food Storage Analyzer. Wow! First thing I learned was that I was closer to my goal of 6 months’ supply than I thought. That was good news. The other not-so-good news was that my supplies were very low in calcium and vitamin A – better to Replace out while it can be rectified than after a disaster catches us less self-sufficient. On my next few purchases I concentrated on powdered milk, freeze-dried cheeses and dehydrated carrots. Just so happened that these buys, when added in the analyzer, got us to our 6 month supply WITH sufficient calcium and vitamin A.
Whoopee, you say? If you aren’t to that point, you just can’t imagine how great it feels! The relief was not just intellectual, but emotional and physical. I really felt my body RELAX in a new way. It wouldn’t take an 8.0 earthquake in my neighborhood to trigger our need for these supplies. How many people, now living on tenuous unemployment checks, thought their jobs were secure? What if a year from now this storage tips the scale and lets one of us retire with supplemental food so we can stretch our remaining income. Remember, becoming prepared can start small and grow as you strive to make the resources available.