Rule 1 is simple, eat and don’t get eaten.
Next up is obtaining food and consuming it. Now in the normal civilisation this is a fairly simple task. Find the local retail food distribution centre, make your choice, pay money, go home, prepare and eat.
When the zombies disrupt the system then lunch is going to be much more difficult. The subject of food is going to be dependant on the situation the survivor is in.
Variables such as bugging in or bugging out will affect the food stores available and the need to scavenge to supplement. Time considerations such as early stage of the disaster or late will affect what is available, shelf lives and whether the apocalypse garden is productive.. Location such as urban or rural will affect scavenging opportunity and the ability to grow and raise food.
This there is no simple cover all answer to apocalypse dinning. This section looks at the options available to the survivor in different scenarios and stages in the apocalypse.
Bugging out; The first 72 hours
The scenario: You have to bug out as your base or starting location is compromised.
Food Sources: Pre-packed portable supplies and scavenger opportunities.
There are a number of options available in relation to the first 72 hours when it comes to food. Opinion will differ almost as much are there are people.
All Pre-packed portable food supplies will have the following features so as to have the most benefit to the survivor.
First and foremost in deciding the contents of any bug out food supply is going to be preference. There’s little point in having food that you would prefer to not eat. Personally I detest anything that involves yoghurt so there’s no point in having yoghurt or yoghurt flavoured foods as in the first 72 hours I would rather go hungry than put that abomination into my mouth.
Eating is fuel but also one of the few luxuries you get to enjoy during the first 72 hours. There is a psychological aspect to eating and it can provide some comfort in a sea of discomfort. So anything in your bug out food supply has to be something you will eat. If it isn’t palatable you are unlikely to be hungry enough to eat it in the first 72 hours.
As a result you will not consume food that could be the difference between having the energy to run and being a zombie snack.
The best trick for checking your supply is palatable to you and your team is to eat it. Its too late when you find a few moments of peace between avoiding zombies to find out your food stash tastes like festering hobbit toes dipped in turd.
Eating your pre-packed portable food leads into being practised in your food. Like everything else you have to practice eating your bug out food. Not only will you learn its qualities or lack thereof you will also discover other things about the food.
For example if your food is the freeze dried meal in a bag type you need to practice reconstituting it. Practice adding the water and seeing how long t takes to prepare. If its a type you add hot water to practice using your heating method.
If you have chosen the freeze dried type requiring heating then its not the time to be hungry on a rook top with no source of combustibles to find you only have food that needs hot water and you don’t have a portable stove.
Also learn how much of your drinking water is going into your food source. You may be carrying your water ration only to find you use it up on dinner and go thirsty later.
Any sports person will advise that race day is not the time to be trying out a new food or eating regime. You have to train with food for such things as endurance running or triathlons. Poor food choices can and do cost athletes races. The apocalypse is no different.
There are a myriad of options and products relating to the portability of food. This is going to be impacted by the survivors preferences as much as anything else. Yet what ever your preference you need to remember it must be portable as you have to carry it.
The bug out bag is usually designed with the basic proposal that you are going to have to walk for some distance hauling that bag. The size of your bug out bag will be a topic elsewhere. Regardless of the size and weight limits of your bag the food must be portable.
This means that you need to consider the following at least;
Will dictate that canned and bottled foods will be of a low priority. The sheer weight is going to be a barrier. Yet this does not discount the use of cans and bottled goods.
Obviously bottled goods are a challenge as the container where made of glass is susceptible to breakage yet many bottled items are now in plastic.
At this stage its a 72 hour pack so cans might be an option if you have the capacity to carry the weight. You have to use the bug out bag to ascertain if you can manage the weight of heavier foods and trade off the weight against other items.
Is also a consideration in that you have limited pack space. Bulky food packaging reduces the volume available for other things. So you need to make a trade off for bulky food items with other items you might want to carry.
Portable also refers to whether you can eat half a meal and carry the leftovers for later.
Most pre-packaged food is just that, packaged hence storage may not be something you consider. Many a hiker has thrown a muesli bar into the pack only to find the tasty crunchy snack has been reduced to a bag of crumbs at break time from being bashed around in the bag.
Your food needs to be protected from being destroyed in the bag by other items as well as from the elements such as water damage. Thus a food box or food bag is a good idea. A stop in the field can lead to ants infesting your supply and rendering your carefully planned lunch a disaster. A food container can protect the food and also help in keeping a half eaten food item fresh for later.
Pre-packaged food has a shelf life so you need to monitor your bug out bag to ensure the food in it remains within its shelf life. Old food even if it is hermetically sealed goes off in time and can be poison or unpalatable when you need it most.
If you raid your pantry on your way out you need to ensure that the food you grab will last long enough for you to eat it. Fresh food can spoil quickly in heat and become more of a danger to the survivor than a boon.
Eat perishables first.
When you are bugging out you are going to be concerned with getting away and putting safety in front and danger behind. There s not going to be much chance to enjoy a 4 course meal that takes 2 hours to prepare.
Having to open a number of containers and cook in multiple pots and pans means that if you have to run during meal preparation you are likely to have to abandon your cooking gear and food supply.
Thus simplicity is always your friend. Any meal requiring cooking should be in a single container so you don’t have to unpack and only use one pot. Most pack stoves use only a single ignition point so the single pot is the most efficient option.
The more complex or longer preparation time means the more fuel required to heat or cook the food.
My preference is to have food that either requires heating and not cooking or better yet, no heating at all.
If you are running then simple is your only option.
Food is fuel that drives your body. This is the most basic of things about the munchies we put in our mouth.
Weight loss at the most basic level is a deficit between the calories going in and the calories burnt (going out). Energy in is less than energy out.
The deficit in this system leads to the body obtaining fuel from internal sources. The human body stores energy for later use in the form of fat. The body can also break down muscle to fuel its energy requirements.
Therefore the food you eat is going to have to meet your calorific needs. The food you eat must supply close to the amount of energy you expend.
There are a number of average daily requirements that have been calculated to ascertain what the average person requires in a given situation.
The Zombieteers discuss this in their tips for show 5 and outline some of the basic requirements and is a good quick guide.
You can do a simple bit of research to ascertain your own requirements. Just count the calories you eat over a period of time while you weight remains constant. This means your likely balancing energy in to energy out. The average intake over a day will be your base rate for maintaining your body weight for that level of exercise.
Weight loss websites are an excellent resource for ascertaining the average burn for an exercise type. Using your daily rate and adding any extras exercise burn will calculate you probable calorific needs.
Next select foods that meet this need.
One trick to getting increased calories in if you are not used to it is to put smaller amounts into the system on a more regular basis. You may not be able to eat more than your normal food portion at a single sitting so have more than one sitting.
Have a snack bar between sittings to get the extra if you need.
At the basic you need to maintain the energy in and energy out. The muscle stores you have and the fat stores you have may be more useful later down the track. In the early stages when its bug out time you need to keep the machine fuelled and running.