My heart truly goes out to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy over the past few days and those that will be hindered by her after effects moving forward especially the people in New York and New Jersey who are experiencing awful setbacks (to say the least). Natural Disasters aren’t ever fair. Good luck to all those that have lost, and a special thank you to all those that are helping with the relief efforts.
This disaster got me wondering what I should stock in case another hurricane or other natural disasters were to occur. I went for a normal food shopping on Sunday night so I would be okay for about 4 days but what if I needed to be planning to be cut off from a stable food supply for more than just a few of days? What should I have on hand? There are plenty of angry bloggers that will point to the fact that basic survival doesn’t have anything to do with being vegan or vegetarian, it has ONLY to do with survival so people should do ‘what they have to do to survive.’ These are the same people (I assume) that won’t mind eating their pets and other human beings in their best self-interest. I’ll stick to my power bars and dried fruit thank you very much… oh and keep away from my cats you zombie cannibal crazies!
I few internet dwellers had some really good ideas about vegan survival kits (which exclude the obvious: matches, flashlight, utility knife etc.) and focus on food survival. Below I found a helpful comment on Vegetarians in Paradise along with plenty of other helpful tips to be found there also. It was kind of an open forum so it was also interesting to read about what different people thought were the most important things to bring. I tend to agree with below:
“Focus on protein sources”
I’ve thought about a survival kit already, so here’s my take:
- Have one kit in the car and one at work, as well as ample stocks at home.
- You may be able to get vegan food in a disaster, but you can count on NOT getting vegan protein. For that reason your survival kit should focus on protein sources.
- My basics for the car and work are canned beans and bean-based soups, tetrapak soup (Imagine), individual packs of soymilk, vegan (Clif) energy bars and crackers. SELECT LOW-SODIUM ITEMS, AS YOUR DIET MAY CONSIST ENTIRELY OF THESE FOODS. Since you may not have access to fresh fruit or vegetables for a while, also keep some vitamins or (my choice) Emergen-C packets on hand. I also keep a small bottle of spirits (vodka, brandy, etc.). Sometimes it’s just what you (or others) need to relax–and it can be used as an antiseptic.
- Plenty of water.
- Remember to rotate the perishable foods every few months.
- Another item people should store away from home is a can of powdered soy or rice protein. I would assume that for several days, one would have access to bread, crackers, dried and canned fruits etc. from one’s work cafeteria, local stores, people’s houses, etc. The difficult thing will be vegan protein–and vitamin C.
I gave just the basics. One could add dried fruits, tea, favorite cereal, premade tea, etc. “Treats” for bargaining would also be good. But with most of these additions one runs into the problem of things getting stale. Canned and tetrapak items last longer. D.O. 1-6-06″
I especially like that this post doesn’t leave out the alcoholic beverages- which could prove oh-so-necessary. I also don’t think I would have thought to bring sweets for the bargaining purposes- but those too may come in handy in the event of an apocalyptic disaster in which I need to trade one of my Gin-Gins for a boat ride. You just never know!
On a related subject, my boyfriend had gotten called up over the weekend to head over to Cape Cod to work on a storm damage team (again, because of Sandy). After just one full day, he reported what I had already known to be true- it’s damn hard to be vegan/vegetarian on the road! This got me thinking about the subject of travel. Common sense would lead you to believe that you should do some research (Happy Cow is a wonderful tool for this) of the area so you’ll know what you’re up against in terms of restaurants etc., but in his case, he’s moving from place to place with each call without any real opportunity to select a dining establishment (and relying on fast food can be almost impossible). He’s managing to get by with trips to Subway for their Veggie Delight (vegetarian and vegan-with-a-few alterations) and the supermarket, but this is something that I wish we would have planned better for. Never listen to a man when he says he’s going to rough it- especially a vegetarian- they need some extra help.
Below is what I should have packed for his trip. I think it serves as a good guide for every part of the food groups he would need to get adequate nutrition and maintain energy without the help of a stove or oven while he’s driving around for days: (It will serve as a good grocery list for next time)
- Soy/rice/almond Milk (if not the fresh stuff that I make at home, the small single serve packs they make that don’t have to be refrigerated)
- Raw Nuts and Raisins: Cashews, Walnuts, Almonds and some shelled peanuts
- Vegan Granola Bars: Clif Bars and Luna Bars are both vegan. They do have refined ingredients in them but are good for the road
- Nut Butter (Peanut/Cashew/Almond)
- Blue Corn Chips (Tortilla Chips are typically vegan- just be sure to check the ingredients)
- Snack-friendly veggies: cut up carrot sticks or baby carrots, sliced celery
- Fruit: Anything that can be eaten without much preparation: Apples, bananas, peaches, plums, oranges, grapes
- Dairy free bread/pita
- AND DON’T FORGET THE WATER!
**I would put everything in a cooler with an ice pack since I know that he’ll be going back to a hotel with a small fridge for the night and he’d be able to re-freeze his cooler pack and refrigerate the fruit and veggies and be able to re-pack the next day. If he was going somewhere without refrigeration but was still going to have access to the supermarket I wouldn’t pack more than a day or two’s worth of fruit or veggies so that they would stay fresh and he could either visit a market for more or swap them out completely for some dried fruit.
I’m sure the list isn’t perfect and I welcome any additions that you might find useful and necessary. As always, I am a work in progress. I wish everyone the best of luck weathering whatever storm they’re up against.
More on vegan/vegetarian traveling:
I found this very helpful link to Vegetarian Phrases In Other Languages just in case you find yourself traveling abroad or having to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the languages you do. Or, if you don’t want to try speaking the languages yourself you can try this Vegan Passport with 73 languages explaining your dietary needs to others.