The vegan diet is becoming very popular these days. Veganism includes only plant-based ingredients and no animal products nor by-products. If you pay close attention to product labels, you have probably noticed that most of the ingredients in long-term food packages include eggs, cheese, butter, or meat. None of these are acceptable if you’re a vegan and therefore it may leave a significant group of people wondering how they can prepare themselves for an emergency when easy food storage options are not yet available for them.
I’m not going to say that all food storage companies are strictly non-vegan but for the most part, the options are way too limited.
I experimented with the vegan diet for several months, and while it does take some adjustment, it’s not too difficult to adapt to. The greatest adjustment was not the food itself but rather learning to deal with people who were constantly rebuking me for not eating meat.
Wherever you stand in the diet spectrum, let’s establish some peace and find a happy medium here. This blog is NOT meant to convince you to change your eating habits — it’s purely informational. For those of you considering to switch over to a vegan diet during a collapse or are already strictly eating plant-based foods, keep reading for the complete list of food options to stockpile in case of an emergency.
Is a plant-based diet possible if SHTF?
Without a doubt, yes!
I know this answer will raise many eyebrows but stay with me for a minute.
Every disaster situation looks different. I think that anyone would learn to make things work with whatever food options they have available. That’s natural human survival.
I’m not saying that chicken, fish, and all other meat will disappear from the food chain entirely- of course not- but it might become a scarce item for those living in urban settings.
It will be difficult for many to learn to hunt, fish, or prepare an animal for eating if they haven’t had to learn those skills before a food shortage.
Growing a garden also takes learning but is more possible for the urban population. Someone that has acres of land is more likely to grow animals on their property.
Recently I read the account of a man who, along with 3.5 million other people, had to live without power for several months following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. This man’s typical diet included meat until animal products became less available. He had no choice but to make the best of the situation he was in.
In his case, it was to prepare balanced meals with the few products that he could buy locally, such as oatmeal, other grains, and some fresh produce. During this time, he noticed his health improving because he was eating a cleaner diet.
Becoming vegan, even if temporarily, has many health benefits. Almost all carnivores will tell you that plant-based diets don’t provide enough nutrition and are therefore not sustainable. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Most of the nutrients you get from animals and dairy, you can also get from plants. For example, legumes and vegetables contain an incredible amount of protein. Leafy greens, almonds, legumes, seeds, and amaranth contain significant amounts of calcium.
If worse comes to worst being willing to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet (more so during a disaster scenario) is not only smart but good practice.
Do some research to determine which plants provide the essential nutrients your body needs, and consider taking supplements for the vitamins and minerals which are more difficult to obtain through a vegan diet, such as vitamin B12.
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Is a plant-based diet practical?
Absolutely. There are two main reasons why becoming vegan during a disaster scenario can be very practical.
Reason number one: In the case of a long-term power outage, like the example, we mentioned about Puerto Rico, refrigerators and freezers become useless. Due to the lack of refrigeration, fresh meats and dairy will spoil quickly especially during warm seasons. It’s important not to rely on them as your primary food staple. Another thing to note is that plant-based foods typically last longer than meat-based products. Many raw fruits and veggies, nuts, grains, seeds, and dried goods can last a long time without refrigeration.
Reason number two: Most meat products require thorough cooking. If your resources are cut short and you’re not able to cook for some time, your meal options become very limited. Many vegan foods can be eaten raw, such as fresh fruits, most vegetables, nuts, and seeds. You may need to get creative in putting together some tasty dishes, but your chances of cross-contamination and animal-related illnesses greatly diminish if they’re no longer part of your main diet.
Is a plant-based diet cheaper?
On average, meat-based products are more expensive than plant-based products. Of course, I’m generalizing here, but think of it this way: beans, corn, and rice are a few of the cheapest crops in the world- have you noticed how many third world counties use these ingredients in the majority of their meals? Not only are they filling and nutritious, but they’re cheap.
It’s fairly easy to build an affordable stockpile of plant-based foods, especially while said items are abundant in stores. If there’s an economic collapse or major natural disaster that disturbs the production and distribution of meat and dairy, I’m sure prices will skyrocket for these products because they will be in high-demand and low-supply.
Prices can, and possibly will increase for crops as well but you may have a better chance of growing your own veggies for free at home versus raising a cow- this largely depends on where you live. In an urban setting, it would be nearly impossible to raise livestock but I guess chickens are still an option. 😉
The ultimate list of vegan foods to stockpile
There are a huge variety of ingredients that you can stock up on for emergencies. Some of them will require more preparation than others but the meal options are virtually endless. Although many of these foods are non-perishable, their shelf life will vary. If these foods are part of your daily diet, you should rotate them as necessary.
- VEGETABLES: Some fresh options include tomatoes, root veggies, and cruciferous veggies. You should stockpile some of your favorite veggies in cans (preferably the low-sodium option). Potato flakes are great to keep in your food storage for an easy mashed potato meal.
- FREEZE-DRIED VEGGIES: Freeze-dried and dehydrated veggies last a long time and are the next best option when fresh produce isn’t available. Find some delicious freeze-dried veggies here.
- FERMENTED VEGGIES: Sauerkraut and pickles are great for digestion and provide our bodies with much-needed probiotics amongst other nutrients.
- FRUITS: Some fresh options include bananas, plantains, apples, and oranges. When canned fruit goes on sale, get some cans. Although it’s not nearly as healthy as the fresh version, it’s a great second option when fresh food is limited.
- FREEZE-DRIED FRUIT: This is also a great addition to your food storage. I like to put freeze-dried berries in a food processor and pulse them until it becomes a powder. Sprinkle this powder over your cereal and oatmeal for an additional flavor and nutrition boost! Check out some of our favorite freeze-dried fruit options here.
- HERBS: If they’re rooted in pots they will last fresh for a while, otherwise it’s best to dry them out and preserve them that way.
Whole grains are preferred over refined grains, for health reasons, but both options are vegan if they’re not made with dairy products.
- OATMEAL: For a disaster scenario, it’s much more convenient to have one-minute oats.
- GRITS: Another breakfast option.
- GRANOLA / MUESLI / CEREAL: When oatmeal for breakfast gets boring, switch over to a whole-grain cereal and top off with plant-based milk.
- RICE: This is a delicious and filling side to many dishes. You can purchase the instant rice in a box for prepping convenience.
- BULGUR / QUINOA / COUSCOUS: These are great alternatives to rice.
- CORNMEAL: You can make a lot of filling foods with cornmeal, such as polenta and corn tortillas.
- FLOUR: This is another staple to have in your stockpile.
- PASTA: Make sure it’s egg and dairy-free. Rice noodles are a great substitute for regular pasta.
- RICE PAPER: Spring rolls are the perfect meal for summer months and no electricity is required to make them.
- WHOLE-WHEAT BREAD: Any bread will do as long as it’s vegan but from a health standpoint, whole-wheat and whole-grain are the better options.
- VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN: This is loaded with protein and other minerals. Seitan jerky is the same thing, just made into jerky.
- BEANS: Beans are not only filling but full of healthful properties. Chickpeas and other beans are perfect for homemade hummus, a family favorite when it comes to dipping veggies. Beans are also a must for vegan chili. I highly recommend storing a few pounds dried and several low-sodium cans.
- DRY POWDER HUMMUS DIP MIX: This is a way to make hummus quickly!
- PEAS / LENTILS: This is another staple that is high on nutrition. I also recommend storing both dried lentils and canned peas.
- SOYBEANS: Although I’m not a fan of soy (most of it is genetically modified), many vegans use it to supplement meat it in their meals. You can stockpile dehydrated tofu, shelf-stable tofu, miso paste, textured soy protein, and dried tempeh.
NUTS AND SEEDS
- NUTS: Nuts are a great go-to when you need extra energy. They have a long shelf-life too, so be sure to stock up on these!
- NUT BUTTERS: Peanut butter and almond butter can either be bought in the freshest form (sealed jars) or in powder form. Both are great options to have in your pantry.
- NUT MILK: Nowadays you can find (or make) nut milk. For long-term storage, buy the kinds that are shelf-stable or the dehydrated powders. My favorite flavors are almond milk and coconut milk.
- SEEDS: Seeds are so healthy! Some delicious options are pumpkin, hemp, sesame, chia, and sunflower seeds. Top your veggies, salads or oatmeal with them for a boost in nutrition.
- SEED BUTTERS: Sunflower seed butter is a great alternative for people who have nut allergies.
- SEED MILK: The only seed milk I have tried is hemp seed. Seed milk retains more of its nutritious properties when made and drank on the spot. I recommend learning to sprout and milk seeds.
SNACKS FOR THE KIDS AND THE ADULTS
- POPCORN: Drizzle coconut oil on the popcorn to substitute butter.
- TRAIL MIX: A family favorite.
- DRIED FRUIT: You can either buy them packaged or dehydrate your own. Some of my favorite options are banana chips, prunes, raisins, and dates. Sun-Dried tomatoes are great too!
- FRUIT LEATHER: Look for healthy versions of a fruit roll-up or make your own at home.
- APPLE SAUCE: Squeezable fruit pouches work too and kids love them.
- RICE CAKES: Top it off with a little peanut butter and bananas and you have the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack.
- SEAWEED SNACKS
- CHIPS: Pita, tortilla, or even Kettle Brand chips are great to have around. If you don’t end up eating them, they work as a back-up fire starter (no joke)!
- SALSA: If you have tortilla chips, don’t forget to add a jar of salsa!
- CRACKERS: Water crackers, whole-grain crackers, and matzoh are long-lasting and delicious to snack on. It’s better to get the unsalted crackers because a diet high in salt can make you dehydrated so be extra cautious if potable water is scarce.
- PRETZELS: Unsalted is preferred.
- GRANOLA BARS: Some popular vegan options are Raw Revolution, Clif Bars, Larabars, and Luna Bars.
- COOKIES: Oreos, Nabisco Nutter Butters, Girl Scout Thin Mints, and Trader Joe’s Soft-Baked Snickerdoodles are all vegan! Look at your local grocery store what other vegan cookies you can find.
- FRUIT PRESERVES: Don’t underestimate the power of comfort foods during an emergency situation— PB&J sandwiches, anyone?
- DARK CHOCOLATE: This is a must-have in my food storage. Make sure it’s vegan.
- TEA: Loose-leaf and bags are always great to have on hand.
- COFFEE: Store coffee beans (if you have the means to grind it) and instant coffee.
- MATCHA: Matcha has incredible health properties.
- MORINGA: Another plant with amazing health benefits. You can get it in leaf and powder form.
- COCONUT WATER: Great for boosting hydration.
- WATER: Water is an absolute must, not just for drinking but for food preparation. Make sure you store a reliable water filter and purifier as well.
- SOUP: If you have a favorite vegan soup brand, it’s wise to store a few cans, boxes, or dehydrated pouches— whichever way it comes in. Soup is usually easy to reconstitute.
- BOUILLON CUBES: Vegetable-based bouillon is great for adding flavor to meals and simple enough for a basic, yet tasty, broth.
- NUTRITIONAL YEAST: This is a highly nutritious food with a cheese-like flavor. A lot of “vegan cheese” recipes call for it. Before adding it to your storage supply, however, make sure that it doesn’t make you ill. While it’s healthful and beneficial for a lot of people, it might cause digestive issues and headaches in others with IBS and yeast intolerance.
- PROTEIN POWDERS: Look for vegan options. Add protein powder to water or nut milk for a meal replacement that will give you a boost of energy.
- SWEETENERS: Maple syrup is healthy and perfect for oatmeal, cereal, and other sweet treats. Stevia is good for sweetening up drinks. I don’t recommend artificial sweeteners.
- SALT: Pink Himalayan salt has a lot of minerals.
- SPICES / SEASONINGS: Spices, like cinnamon, don’t just infuse your food with delicious flavors but they also add nutrition. One of my go-to seasonings is Tajín— I can’t have tacos without it! Whatever your family-favorite condiments are, include them in your stockpile.
- PLANT-BASED OILS: Oils have a long shelf life but must be kept in a cool, dark location. Coconut oil and olive oil are my favorite substitutes for butter.
- SUPPLEMENTS / MULTI-VITAMINS: If you choose to follow a strict plant-based diet you will need to take B12 supplements so that you don’t become anemic. Make sure you’re eating a variety of foods to incorporate the nutrients your body needs. There are many vegan supplements and multi-vitamins to boost your health and vitamin/ mineral intake.
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Tips for the vegan prepper
- Store your food supply in a clean, dark, and cool place where temperatures don’t fluctuate too much. Some foods require extra storage protection such as water and rodent-proof containers.
- Buy heirloom seeds and grow a veggie garden. Don’t use all your seeds at once. Start with the veggies that grow well in your region— consult your local nursery for growing tips and tricks. Learn to grow food now so that when an emergency occurs, you have the skills to keep your garden going.
- Hydroponics and aquaponics are recommended growing methods but also require skills and learning.
- Invest in a food dehydrator and other food-preserving methods, especially if you’re growing fruits and veggies in your garden. Food preservation skills will be critical if you’re harvesting more than you can consume during the season and also for long-term storage.
- Learn to sprout seeds. Sprouts and seed milk made from sprouted seeds are extremely beneficial for your well-being. Nutrition and health are some of your priorities in an emergency situation.
- Learn to forage in the wild. There may be edible plants and trees (or tree bark) in your area. You can make a “pine needle” tea that is rich in vitamin C and eat the pine nuts during the spring and summer seasons.
While every disaster scenario will look different, it’s vital to have enough supplies to cover even minor emergencies.
The other day I read an article about England and how people are preparing themselves because they don’t know what the economy will look like after Brexit. Imagine a powerful country like England facing a food shortage or national crisis based off of politics alone. How are we any different?
Still, don’t become fearful of the uncertain future but rather set yourself up for success!! Stockpile food that will ensure the health of you and your family for days or even weeks.
Be prepared to thrive in difficult times!
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