So you’ve come to a fork in the road: you originally planned on collecting food and supplies as you went, but now you realize you must prepare sustainable food sources for you and your team. What do you do in the meantime, while you are collecting the seeds, animals, and feed for your new little hobby farm, or while you are waiting for your crops and animals to mature? You must still scavenge, so now the secondary goal becomes to scavenge as effectively as possible.
If you go to a major city center, and the apocalypse has more recently begun (one or two months in), the grocery stores will be completely rank. As in, disgustingly full of moldy, rotting food. The coolers will have inevitably been shut down by this time, allowing decomposition to take full hold on all the produce and meats throughout the store. The most unfortunate part of this is that grocery stores (at least here in the US) place the cooler and freezer banks all through the store, not just in one area like they used to. So you and anyone with you will most likely need a gas mask to prevent the mold spores from getting into your lungs (NEVER underestimate the power of mold) and to prevent you from hurling at inopportune times due to the combined stench of six to ten rotting animal variety cuts. Once you’re in and the area is secure, your job is to choose the most protein and nutrient-rich foods in the store, and get out as fast as you can. You don’t want to be in there any longer than you need to, and I can guarantee if another survivor group finds you, it will not be the friendly kind of meeting that you’re used to having at the local market. What to grab: First, be prepared to carry heavy loads of canned goods. Burlap sacks or other heavy duty military stuff sacks are perfect for this kind of work. DO NOT CHOOSE PLASTIC OR PAPER. Your bag is gonna tear, and you’re gonna wish you had listened to me. I also don’t recommend carts, because they are unwieldy and awkward on uneven terrain. Look for these food items:
- Canned meats such as tuna, salmon, chicken, ham, beef, and pork (protein)
- Beans, such as chickpeas, LENTILS, kidney, pinto, and black (partial protein, fiber)
- Canned or jarred nuts – cashews, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, etc. (protein)
- Canned or bagged BROWN and WILD rice, barley, and other dried grains/seeds. Don’t even bother with white rice. It’s been bleached and contains empty calories (aka calories that will make you gain fat, not muscle, and make you feel full without feeding you), and there is no fiber in it. (fiber, partial protein)
- Canned green beans, asparagus, peas, carrots, tomatoes, etc., but NOT CORN – humans cannot digest corn. It comes out looking exactly like it did when it went in. True fact. (fiber and vitamins/minerals; helps prevent scurvy)
- Canned fruit like pears, pineapple, peaches, and oranges in water, natural juice, or light syrup – not heavy syrup – check the labels for this one, folks. (fiber and vitamins/minerals; helps prevent scurvy)
- Quinoa – one of the world’s only non-meat sources of complete protein. To put it simply, your body needs a certain type of protein to build muscle tissue, and you would have to combine things like beans and rice to get that complete protein, but with quinoa, it’s all there in one little grain. And in a time when protein will be hard to come by, quinoa may just be your best bet. This will be found near the rice and grains.
- VITAMINS – A, B12, C, D, Calcium, Fiber, Multivitamins, Fish Oil, Iron, natural supplements like Echinacea, etc. You may not be getting all the nutrients you need from your food, so the next best way to get them is through dietary supplements. Grab as much as you can.
That pretty much wraps up your grocery list. Am I saying don’t splurge on things like pie filling and Twinkies? No, just that the listed items should be your priority, and to keep in mind that every calorie you take in should be one that you’re willing to burn while deanimating zombies. Bon appetite!
Next week: What kinds of things should I grow?