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Living on lightweight meals (Disaster?)

  1. May 3, 2013 #1
    I have an idea...well, more of a nebulous question that could use some 'push' towards a solution;

    If one were trying to find a package that a) would allow humans to survive disaster (extended power failure, earthquake, etc) where no help was available and b) had to be condensed as much as possible in case of forced evacuation/travel, how would you do this?
    I'm trying to do this and put it out on the 'Net as a potential 'cure' for all the professional preppers who sell you these huge go-bags...

    Water's not an issue, since good filters are cheap and numerous.

    Vitamins? Pills? Could protein, etc., be done simply? What about building blocks (aminos, etc)?

    Obviously, that's an ENORMOUS oversimplification, but I would appreciate your thoughts - what could be done at home that could be quickly culled and be light enough for foot travel?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2013 #2
    Long term you'd be hard pressed to find any one simple, compact food item which could sustain humans and maintain proper health. In a pinch nuts and nut butters are pretty calorie dense providing a mixture of the three main macronutrients. Also things such as trail mix and granola (bars) would be pretty calorie dense and give enough variety to provide, hopefully, enough of the essential amino acids and micronutrients to keep someone alive for some period of time.

    The problem is the time frame you are anticipating. There are many pathologies which have been irradicated from affluent nations by varied diets and enrichment of common foods with micronutrients. Off the top of my head scurvy and rickets are examples of diseases which have etiologies stemming from malnutrition. These diseases have been, mostly, eliminated in developed nations owing largely to the availability of varied foods and enrichment of many common foods with the appropriate micronutrients.

    Another idea would be to look up what astronauts eat in space, I'd imagine the folks at NASA have done extensive research into this exact area (they aren't loading the space shuttles with pantries and freezer chests). On the other hand I'm not sure how long any given astronaut stays in space so long term effects may not be taken into account as much.

    I would also suspect stuff like protein powders and vitamins would help somewhat but they are not exactly compact and calorie dense. You'd need a source of, atleast, fat somehow.

    It's also important to remember that a varied diet is important because the human body relies on a host of nutrients to maintain proper function. There are micronutrients which we likely don't even know about yet which are important to health. That's why the smart diet 'gurus' of the fitness industry do not advocate elimination of ANY class of food from one's diet but instead advise moderation and variation.
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  4. May 8, 2013 #3
    Depends on the climate and time of year, as well as the duration of the outage. Also how active is the individual required to be. I don't think one can have a generic solution. In polar regions energy demands are higher, for example. In tropical regions biting insects are likely to present health hazards.

    How much energy should be provided in food, and how much in equipment (heating, camping....)
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