Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
The Practical Prepper
There are those who feel that they might go to a shelter in a disaster, or that they'll rely on help from others when and emergency occurs.
The thing is, if they have any special dietary needs, there's a good likelihood that they'll face real problems.
Specifically, someone with food allergies may not find much to eat at the local shelter. Those with celiac sprue, which is an allergy to the gluten in wheat and other common grains like barley and rye.
Wheat gluten is found in a very wide range of products. It's in wheat, naturally, and is often added as a dough enhancer to improves dough's ability to rise and increase the bread's texture and chewiness. What's more, gluten is a basic ingredient in imitation meats, which are widely used in vegetarian foods. And perhaps surprisingly, wheat gluten can be found in unexpected foods, like ice cream or ketchup. (Gluten can show up in unexpected places because international food labeling standards do not require foods that "in their normal form do not contain gluten.")
The same is true for many other food ingredients: Milk, eggs, soy, and nuts are all other common allergens that are widely used in many prepackaged foods.
As an example, let's consider the ingredients in an MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat), which are prepackaged, long-storing meals used by the miltary, including the National Guard. A similar, but less expensive alternative called Humanitarian Daily Rations (HDRs) are sometimes used in disaster relief situations.
Here are the ingredients for Pasta with Vegetables in Tomato Sauce, which is a sample vegetarian MRE that I randomly found via an online search:
Ingredients: Water, Tomatoes, Enriched Macaroni (Semolina, Egg Whites, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, and Folic Acid), Tomato Paste, Carrots, Corn, Green Beans, Onions, Peas, Food Starch-Modified with Erythorbic Acid added, Mushrooms, Soybean Oil, Garlic Puree (Pasteurized and Acidified with Citric Acid), Parmesan Cheese, Sugar, Salt, Celery, Red Bell Pepper, and Spices
How many of the allergens mentioned about do you spot?
If you said wheat, egg, soy, and milk, you're correct. There's wheat in the semolina of the macaroni; it could also be (but isn't absolutely)in the modified food starch, depending on how it's made. Eggs, specifically the whites, are also in the macaroni. While most soy-allergic individuals may safely eat soybean oil, you'd need to check with your doctor to be sure. Finally, there's milk in the Parmesan cheese.
If you have food allergies, that's just one more huge reason why you should be prepared. Being able to find, store, and prepare the specific foods that are free of the allergens that trouble you are key steps, and ones you should take now.
Believing that preparedness and self-reliance are key to individual freedom, Atticus Freeman is the founder of the Self-Reliant Info blog, in addition to authoring The Practical Prepper weekly blog here on Farm Dreams. Thanks for reading!
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