A VIP reader in New York City wrote to us following the hurricanes asking us for suggestions on what to include in a vegetarian survival kit. We thought we would throw this valuable disaster preparation problem open to our readers for their suggestions and plans.
Since this is a vital issue that affects everyone, we are devoting this page to your suggestions and comments.
We can all benefit from hearing divergent views on this important matter. Heeding suggestions of others may help us devise the most effective survival strategy for our families, our friends, and ourselves.
In addition to food items, your suggestions could include first aid supplies, emergency equipment, and other necessities. Because some of your suggestions may be specific to others living in your area, please let us know where you live.
To send your ideas, .
Editors' Note: The most recent additions appear at the end of this article.
And Our Readers Suggest
" Be ready for the Apocalypse"
Of course, food isn't the only thing you need to be prepared for an emergency situation. You should also have a Disaster Supply Kit ready in advance. If you stock up ahead of time on vital ingredients and supplies, you can ensure a more comfortable situation and reduce costly errors from being unprepared.
Our supply list includes common-sense things, like bottled water, flashlights, a manual can opener. Also keep your important papers handy. And, of course, enough non-perishable food to last a week or more. Below is our basic Survival Supply List--you can adapt this to suit your own needs. We use it more as a basic checklist, with several more specific lists added to this one.
Survival Supply List:
The best advice is to be prepared. As long as you have a roof over your head and basic supplies, a strategy for using up your fresh and frozen foods, and a way to boil water, you've won half the battle.
"Ten lessons from a hurricane survivor"
"Hurricane Survival Guide from a Confederate Yankee"
Before the Storm: General
Before the Storm: Around the House
Before the Storm: Transportation
Before the Storm: Personal
Before the Storm: Evacuation
During the Storm
Moving away from the hurricane will most likely reduce the effects of a hurricane, but it cannot eliminate risks entirely, even hundreds of miles inland.
After the Storm
Again, this list is hardly comprehensive, and cannot anticipate special needs or unexpected situations such as those extraordinary circumstances currently facing those that have been hit by Hurricane Katrina. It is however, a start.
C. Y. 8-31-05
"Focus on protein sources"
I've thought about a survival kit already, so here's my take:
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.
"Quick meals from Dr. McDougall and plenty water"
I keep on hand some quick meals from Dr. McDougall and plenty of water. These can be found at http://www.rightfoods.com These are single serve meals that I keep in case of evacuation. All are vegetarian and some are even vegan.
For emergencies such as being stuck in a snowstorm and unable to go to the grocery store, I have TVP products from Provident Pantry under food storage --dehydrated and dried foods. These also require plenty of water. That site also has a lot of other emergency items such as camp stoves, which would be useful when there is no power.
Of course one also needs a can opener, serving utensils, dental floss, matches (in case one needs to make a fire), etc.
I just realized that a thermos is a good idea. When you obtain something warm, get two servings and keep one.
"Bless the beasts and the children!"
I have not given time to exploring the vast resources of your web site, but treasure the time when I will learn and enjoy all of it, from your resourcefulness to the charming illustrations.
I now wonder if you have given space to the underlying motivation of those of us who do not eat dead animals,as well as those who do not eat the products of those farm animals or other harvested sentient beings who may have lived in misery and died in pain.
In a survival kit, one can imagine many scenarios of disaster, from revengeful sources, or from the results of poor human judgment regarding the stewardship of this earth (climate changes), or other natural disasters.
Some of our Veggie/Vegan community of care must follow our diets or risk personal disaster; others of us follow our diets from ethics, religious, or political beliefs.
In this light, I would add some philosophical ideas for surviving: If you eschew specism*, and hold that humans are not so important a species that they must always be protected at the expense of other sentient or living things, such as perhaps not supporting theoretical plan to kill all migrating birds because they may contain the bird flu, then it would be difficult to find a need, should your survival kit be finished, to consume whatever you might find to eat.
If you reason that your life might depend on the value you have to others, and logic tells you that there is not time for the niceties of your world view to be tested or explained, then I suggest it would be comforting to give a blessing to those animals remains, or products that might be in the foods that would be available for consumption.
Indigenous people, and those of many religions, have often blessed animals prepared for food. With the strength of survival, such a person could carry the vegans to the safety of more resources.
Bless the beasts and children!
I am a dead serious, but alive and healthy old vegetarian and animal supporter of Veggies in Paradise.
* as in sexism, ageism, racism
B. S. 2-8-06
"More Items for Your Survival Kit "
i took both a desert and a snow survival class when i was a kid living in NV. i know that's not hurricane territory, but many of the ideas are solid for emergency preparedness kits for use anywhere. plus, many of the items we used were simple to find, cheap, safe and multi-purposable. this was many moons ago, but here's some of what's stuck with me:
What About Us Frozen Northern Icicles?
Hi, there. I was reading your page because I started looking for a recipe containing pistachios, and I found you and got diverted. One of the ideas I had concerning natural disasters (and other disasters as well) was that you must live somewhere warm and south-ish. You don't have any mention of freezing weather and blizzards and nasty power outages and negative degree conditions, or how to prepare for that.
I live in Wisconsin and along the way I've learned to keep spare gloves, hats, blankets, jeans and scarves in the trunk of my car because the weather can go from nice to treacherous in nothing flat. And to wear layers. And that bottled water and food freezes like a rock in the trunk of your car overnight. And to have both a shovel and a long scraper back there, too. I've also learned that AAA can be swamped when you are off the road in a ditch buried in snow, where they can't see you anyway even if someone could get to you in the next 4 hours.
Anyway, you've got a great page. There's tons of good information on there. I'm going to put some of it in my emergency binder. You just need a section for "brrrrrrrrr my jeans are soaked through and I have no boots."
Fortuna Favet Paratus (Fortune Favors the Prepared)
Every American should keep a survival kit (including most of the items listed by others above), as well as extra food and water. I saw a couple of suggestions, however, that I think need re-visiting. One was the suggestion to purchase Dr. McDougall's Right Foods and have plenty of water on-hand. I would suggest that instead of relying exclusively on dried foods that must have water added, stock plenty of heat-and-eat type soups, pastas, etc. Fresh, clean water could be at a premium in a crisis, so you don't want to have to use up all your stored water reconstituting your food.
The second suggestion I would re-evaluate was to have "at least a week's worth" of stores on hand. I would seriously suggest that EVERY American should have AT LEAST three month's worth of stored food. As for food, you don't have to buy everything all at once. When you go to the store, buy one or two extra of (non-perishable) food items that you normally buy. It does you no good to buy "emergency food" if you don't normally eat that type of food. You will have enough stress in a crisis to worry about what your food tastes like, or how to prepare it. Make sure you include comfort foods, and foods that are easy to prepare without a great deal of cooking. You're also going to have to have some way to heat/cook food. Perhaps easiest is a propane camp stove. Just make sure you provide fresh air (to avoid CO poisoning), and stock extra tanks of propane.
As for water, that's the toughy. You should attempt to store as much water as possible, given space considerations. In a crisis situation, every person should have available one gallon of water per day. A month's worth of water for a family of four makes that 120 GALLONS! Beware those "Three-Day Emergency Packs" that sell you something like "(6) 4-oz water pouches" per person. This is only 8-oz of water per day per person, which is ONE CUP (or ~236 ml), and the average adult, AT REST, in a comfortable climate, must have about 800 ml per day AT A MINIMUM to drink, this means about 3.5 to 4 cups per day. Strenuous activity or hot or cold conditions could increase this requirement by three or four times.
In addition to storing water, store water purification tablets/bleach, water filters (camping-type that removes cysts, etc.), or extra fuel to boil water (worst option). In a cold emergency, don't eat snow, but melt it first. Eating snow can dangerously lower your body temperature.
Great suggestions already!.
In a large box or BACKPACK, stocked and ready to go:
If you have pets:
If you are preparing to save 3-6 months of items, which is what I suggest is smart, stock enough food to last (and buying in BULK is most economical). Just have a way to cook without electricity, or be prepared to eat out of a can, or to sprout food. Also, remember to have enough toilet paper!
Hope this is helpful!
It is curious that no one has mentioned the Kelly Kettle for their survival kit. Unlike the stoves mentioned thus far, the Kelly Kettle uses twigs, leaves, small sticks, dry grass, etc. for its fuel. Compared to propane, butane, and other man-made fuel canister sources, the advantages of the Kelly Kettle include:
Designed by Irish fishermen more than 100 years ago, the ingenious Kelly Kettle (also known as the Storm Kettle) has been in use ever since. It can boil a quart or more of water within 3 to 5 minutes. And you can add an accessory or two for heating up or cooking simple meals like oatmeal, rice, noodles, and dehydrated meals. Now available in both stainless steel and aluminum, you can now purchase this eco-friendly invention in the US. See http://www.kellykettleusa.com if you want to learn more about it. Many families have enjoyed using it on camping trips, and it is one of the first items I would include in a survival kit. And I have also given the Kelly Kettle to friends and family members--for special occasions it makes a memorable and useful gift.
Nuwick Candles also offer a small folding metal stove support for cooking over the 120 hour candle. I include it in our disaster kit as well. It not only cooks, but also provides warmth and light. The only down side is that it eventually burns all of its fuel, unlike the Kelly Kettle. And it would take much longer to boil water over the Nuwick Candle stove, using up its fuel too soon. However, it can be used indoors because it does not produce carbon monoxide.
A really good food source for one's disaster kit is Harmony House Foods where one can buy a variety of already cooked dehydrated beans, vegetables, and delicious vegan soup blends. Their diced and sliced dehydrated potatoes are amazing even for non-camping and non-disaster purposes. Their freeze-dried fruits are exceptional, but a bit pricey. And they also carry TVP (plain and flavored), nutritional yeast, and sample kits for newbies unfamiliar with their products. For example, their "Backpacking Kit" was the winner of the coveted "EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD 2007" from Backpacker Magazine. It includes the following items: (2) Carrots, (2) Diced Potatoes, (2) Green Peas, (1) Tomato Dices, (1) Sweet Celery, (1) Cut Green Beans, (1) Sweet Corn, (1) Green Cabbage, (1) Mixed Red & Green Peppers, (1) Chopped Onions, (1) Black Beans, (1) Northern Beans, (1) Lentils, (1) Red Beans, (1) Pinto Beans. Just ZIP open the pouch, pour the desired amount in your cooking pot, simmer, season, and enjoy! This kit is on sale now for $45 marked down from $60. Free shipping charges if you spend $99 on your order.
We go through a gallon jug of garbanzo beans about every 3 months. Since they arrive already cooked and then dehydrated, the one gallon is about the equivalent of 3 to 4 gallons of fully re-hydrated beans. These foods are terrific for making quick meals after a busy day--no washing, peeling and chopping of vegetables, for example. The hash I make from the diced potatoes and (TVP) Taco Bits takes less than 5 minutes prep time. And I make enough for work lunches the following day or two.
One last food source I find helpful is Bulk Foods . I often order cashew nuts, organic raisins, and nutritional yeast from them. Also spices and Italian dried herbs. Really good prices and quality dried foods. They are now carrying more organic dried foods, too, if that is your preference
Finally, wind-up flash lights and radios seem to be a more eco-friendly choice than the battery powered items mentioned by others.
Additions to Survival Kit
As a 32-year vegetarian, a rustic camper, & a successful Mom (raised 2 healthy & hardy sons--not to mention Intelligent & Good looking--who are veg. since birth, now 30 & 25, who consider me their best friend and honor me as their mother) with all that entails, I wish to add to your list:
Okay, that's what I came up with off the top of my head this morning after I read your article. Please feel free to print this all or in part. I just want to help. Of course, I just thought of a couple more things...
Put all your kit in a plastic tote so you can grab & go.
Oh yeah, & a Small Hatchet--it's a hammer & a cutting tool.
Also don't forget good Strong Knives, a larger survival/camping type & good strong pocket knives (Swiss army style or not, strong is the key) & lastly a good Multi-tool! You never know what problem you might run into that this will solve for you.
I hope this helps. These are all things that I have found very helpful in the woods, at home, & around town. Thanks for your time & effort in helping folks with the information you give. Here's hoping that we won't need it, but be ready anyway.