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Preparedness Tips: Grains

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One of the most important decisions in planning your long term food storage are the kinds of grains you are going to store. Too many people do not give this adequate thought, and just buy however much wheat they think is necessary to meet their needs and leave it at that. Others rely upon pre-packaged plans made for them by the storage food retailer who put together the food package they’ve purchased. For many, either decision could be a major mistake. There are any number of food storage plans to be found by those who take the time to look. Many of them are based on the so-called “Mormon Four” of wheat, milk, honey and salt, with as many additional foods as the planner finds to be desirable. Back in the thirties, when I believe this plan first got its start, this may have been OK, but we’ve learned a great deal since then. An unfortunate number of people in our society have developed allergies to one kind of food or another. One of the more common food allergens is wheat. Even more unfortunate is the fact that of those with an allergy to this most common of grains, many of them are not even aware of it. They won’t become aware of it until they try to live with wheat as a large part of their diet. This is the reason you should store what you eat and eat what you store: So that ugly surprises such as this don’t come up when it’s too late to easily avoid them. A second reason to think about providing a variety of grains in your food storage is appetite fatigue. There are many people who think providing variety in the diet is relatively unimportant and that if and when the time comes they’ll eat what they’ve got and that will be that. For healthy, well-adjusted adults under ordinary circumstances this might be possible without too much difficulty. However, the entire reason for having a long term food storage program is for when circumstances aren’t ordinary. Times of crisis produce stress — possibly physical, but always mental. If you are suddenly forced to eat a diet that is both alien and monotonous, it is going to add just that much more stress on top of what you are already dealing with. If your planning includes the elderly, young children and infants they might just quit eating or refuse to eat sufficient amounts and become unable to survive. This is not a trivial problem and should be given serious consideration. Consider the positive aspects of adding some “comfort foods”. In his book, Making the Best of Basics, James Stevens mentions a post WWII study by Dr. Norman Wright, of the British Food Ministry, which found that people in England and Europe were more likely to reject unfamiliar or distasteful foods during times of stress than under normal conditions. When it’s wheat, day in and day out, then wheat’s going to start becoming distasteful pretty fast. Far better to have a variety of foods on hand to forestall appetite fatigue and, more importantly, to use those storable foods in your everyday diet so that you’ll be accustomed to them.

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