How to Stretch Your Food Storage

by David Morris on December 30, 2011

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by the Urban Survival Course and

Hopefully you had a wonderful Christmas and have had a chance for some down time between Christmas and New Year’s.

Both last year and this year, my article on Mary and Joseph’s journey brought up a couple of questions/comments on what I like to call “food efficiency.” I’m going to briefly prime the pump on this topic today, invite comments, and write more on it if there is enough interest.

In short, if you eat foods that your body can burn and use efficiently, you don’t need to eat as much. In the case of storing food for emergency situations, it also means that you don’t need to buy or store as much.

One example of this concept that many people recognize is the difference between low quality and high quality dog food. When people switch from feeding their dogs low quality food to high quality food, one of the first things they notice is how much less poop there is to pickup. This is because their dog is able to use and digest more of the food and there is less food waste that they need to pass.

It’s the same with vehicles too…the cleaner the fuel you’re burning in your engine, the smoother the engine runs and the cleaner the exhaust. The more junk you burn in your engine, the rougher the engine runs and the smokier the exhaust.

Of course, this also applies to people as well…burn clean fuel and your body will run smoother and have “cleaner exhaust.” Burn junk and your body will run rougher and… (you get the picture)

This is all great in theory, but what makes food efficient? How do you absorb as much benefit as possible from the food you eat? There’s a few factors…and they’re different from person to person. This topic gets REALLY complex in a hurry, but the following factors will address the majority of the issue.

1. Complexity of the food

2. Glycemic index

3. Enzymes

4. Allergies

5. Bacteria

6. Bio availability

1. Complexity of the food. Foods that have more complex structures require more digestive energy to break down into usable components. From a pure calorie/energy perspective, some foods take more calories to digest than they provide. Lobster is one of these…so if you would try to live off of nothing but lobster, you’d slowly starve to death. In general, protein requires more calories to digest than fats, which require more calories to digest than sugars. Protein has other benefits besides calories, so the fact that it is more complex doesn’t mean that you should avoid it.

2. Glycemic index & insulin response. The glycemic index is a measure of how rapidly carbohydrates break down into glucose. Foods with a high glycemic index break down rapidly and foods with a low glycemic index break down more slowly.

This is important because if your blood glucose levels get too high or rise too quickly, your pancreas will release insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels. The problem with this is that the pancreas usually over reacts, releases too much insulin and causes blood sugar levels to drop lower than they were to start with.

Most people understand this intuitively and know that when they eat high fructose corn sweetener or refined sugarcane they get quick energy and then quickly drops off. But if they have fruits and whole wheat bread, their energy levels go up nice and slow and stay level for hours.

3. Enzymes. Enzymes are very complex and amazing structures that can cause chemical reactions to happen more or less quickly. In relation to food, enzymes break complex food particles down so that the intestines can extract as many nutrients as possible from them.

Different people make different enzymes at different rates and it causes the body to spend more/less calories digesting particular foods. So, it might take me 80 calories to digest and extract 100 calories from a meal that only takes you 30 calories to digest.

If you can figure out which foods your body is efficient at digesting, your eating becomes much more efficient. Also, many raw foods contain some of the natural enzymes required to digest them. When you cook them, you kill some/all of the enzymes and put more of the stress of digestion on your gut and causing you to get fewer net calories. One free tool you can use to figure out the foods that are best for you is from my friend, Dr. Joe Mercola. You can use it by going to:

Enzymes are temperature sensitive and are killed off by cooking. Many people, as a result, have switched over to a “raw” food diet. Personally, we do cook a lot of our food, but we supplement with enzymes to take some of the strain of digestion off of our bodies. This, in turn, causes the food to “burn” more efficiently, which takes some of the load odd of our livers.

4. Allergies. If your body identifies a particular food as a threat, then you won’t be able to digest it as efficiently as someone who’s body doesn’t identify it as a threat. In fact, the reaction could cause your body to rapidly expel the contents of your gut, cause general inflammation, or even kill you.

I found out that I had food allergies this summer when I had stomach flu-like symptoms off and on for 6-10 weeks. I lost 15 pounds, was weak, felt bad, and it was horrible. First, I thought it was the flu. Then, I thought it must be my gallbladder, gluten intolerance, or one or more of my organs were rebelling.

I ended up taking a blood allergy test and found out that I was allergic to some of my favorite foods and pretty much everything I had been eating for breakfast every morning for years.

I’ve got to cut those foods out of my diet for 6 months and then gradually try to re-introduce them again. When I re-introduce them, I won’t be able to eat them with the frequency that I used to, but there’s a good chance that I’ll be able to eat them.

As a personal note, there’s a saying that no food tastes as good as feeling well. I’ve got to agree with it. As much as I have cravings for the foods that I’m allergic to, feeling healthy more than makes up for the few seconds of endorphins that I get from eating foods that my body doesn’t like.

5. Bacteria in the gut. With the help of enzymes, bacteria in your gut break down the food that you eat into forms that your body can use for building, repair, energy, and other chemical reactions. Your gut has both good bacteria and bad bacteria in it. It’s good to minimize bad bacteria and maximize good bacteria to get the most benefit from your food. A couple of things that will kill the bacteria in your gut are antibiotics and Sucralose (Splenda.) This lack of good bacteria will cause you to extract less from your food and have more waste.

In addition to avoiding things that kill good bacteria in our guts, we also take probiotics to keep our good bacteria levels high.

6. Bio-availability. This has more to do with supplements than it does with food, but it’s still important. One of the best explanations of this is in Dr. Michael Colgan’s book, “Optimum Sports Nutrition.” Dr. Colgan became relatively famous in the late 80s and early 90s by showing Olympic athletes how to achieve steroid-like performance gains without destroying their bodies. My copy is 17 years old and WELL worn. In it, he talks about the various forms of calcium, how much calcium is in that form, and how well the body absorbs it.

As an example, calcium carbonate is 40% calcium (60% carbon and oxygen) and only 39% of that calcium gets absorbed. So, if you take 1000 mg of calcium carbonate, you’re actually only getting 1000x.40x.39=156mg calcium.

Calcium citrate is 21% calcium and 30% is absorbed. Calcium lactate is 14% calcium and 27% gets absorbed. This issue of bio-availability is present with every vitamin and mineral you take.

What happens to the rest of the pill? Your body has to process it which puts stress on your liver, kidney, and other organs…all of which takes energy.

This is why I am continually pounding the drum for people to buy food that they already eat for their food storage. And, if you want to buy pre-packaged long term food storage, to be darn sure that the food is compatible with your particular digestive system before you buy hundreds of meals.

This would be a great time for any nutritionists, biologists, or even chemists to chime in with either more technical explanations, expanded explanations of the factors mentioned, or other factors that I didn’t address by commenting below.

Have a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve!


David Morris /


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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Vote -1 Vote +1Michael Isenhour
December 30, 2011 at 8:14 am

Thanks David all good advice,have saved to our survivial manual


+6 Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Reynolds, PhD
December 30, 2011 at 8:20 am


I enjoy reading your newsletter, but there are several major flaws in what you wrote today. I won’t go over all of them, but will mention two. I’m willing to go into more detail, if you like. As an aside, I am Visiting Professor at the Ohio State University, Department of Human Nutrition, after retiring from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Human Nutrition.

First, consuming lobster does not use more calories than it provides from digestion. The reason you would die from eating only lobster is that there are many missing (or in insufficient amounts) vitamins and minerals in just lobster meat, and you would die from those deficiencies.

Second, the issue of bioavailability DOES affect whole foods. Consuming high fiber foods reduces the amount of intestinal absorption of many minerals and some vitamins, thus reducing the bioavaibility of those micronutrients. Also, you stated above “What happens to the rest of the pill? Your body has to process it which puts stress on your liver, kidney, and other organs…all of which takes energy.”. This is false. If your body is not absorbing “the rest of the pill” (the definition of bioavailability), then it never leaves the lumen of the intestine and is flushed out (pun intended) with the feces. There is NO impact on the liver or kidney because the pill remnants are never absorbed so the liver and kidney never “see” them.

Bob Reynolds, PhD


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
December 30, 2011 at 9:14 am

Thanks for your comments, Bob, although your coment on lobster flies in the face of everything I’ve read about it for the last 15+ years. Frankly, I’d love it if you were correct 🙂

In addition to commenting on the two flaws that you saw, could you also expand on some of the other points that were correct? With your years of teaching, I’d bet that you have a lot of value you could add to the conversation beyond a couple of simple corrections.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Reynolds, PhD
December 31, 2011 at 6:02 am

There is one other aspect to the all-lobster diet I neglected to mention yesterday. If you eat ONLY protein (in this case, only lobster meat), you will quickly become ketotic (produce ketone compounds) from the rapid breakdown of body fat. In high concentrations, these ketones can become toxic. The best way to prevent the formation of ketones is to include some carbohydrate (at least 50 grams per day) in your diet. The body will then preferentially use the carbs for energy, somewhat sparing the fat, and reducing the excess formation of ketones. Many weight-loss diets put the body slightly into ketosis, which is not harmful. What is harmful is if you go too much into ketosis. Bottom line is that you COULD die from eating only meat and no carbs.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
December 31, 2011 at 11:15 am

One thing that I find funny with ketosis is that I can literally SMELL people who are on the Atkins diet 🙂


Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Reynolds, PhD
December 31, 2011 at 12:37 pm

David — you are correct. The ketones smell like acetone, and some may be secreted in their sweat or in their breath.


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Reynolds, PhD
December 31, 2011 at 6:06 am

Here is a trick to better survive in extreme cold. As stated in David’s article, it takes energy to digest and absorb proteins and their amino acids. Let’s put this information to work to our benefit. If you are facing a cold morning (picture any scenario), it is far better to consume a high protein breakfast which will generate some internal heat during its digestion than a high carb breakfast (such as pancakes and syrup). Conversely, if you are facing a very hot environment, cut down on the amount of protein consumed, especially for breakfast. Less internal heat will be generated.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike
December 30, 2011 at 8:29 am

Good advice about eating what you store. I know that if you start eating a lot of something all of a sudden, you can develop an allergy to it. This happened to a friend of mine who was doing the Atkins high protein diet. He ate so many eggs that he developed an allergy to them and now can’t eat any.

As a fat guy, I can really appreciate the “no food tastes as good as feeling good does” advice. Now I just need to apply that to my life!



Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
December 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Hey Mike,

It’s not that your friend ate so many eggs, it’s where the eggs came from; meaning:
Most likely the eggs are from commercial poultry farms where the hens are fed GMO/GE grains. These grains are primarily soy, corn & wheat and contain pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and chemical fertilizers. Whatever the hens eat, you eat. Also, industrialized poultry farms do not allow most of the hens to be exposed to the sun which throws their biological timeclock off. This causes an imbalance in hormone production which in turn creates an unhealthy egg. These issues create a high acidic blood level which breaksdown our immune system and creates diseases in our bodies.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Duncan
December 30, 2011 at 8:36 am

Is this new type of efficient diet something we can switch to at a moments notice or do we need to work into it over a period of time?


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Mitchell
December 30, 2011 at 9:46 am

Ive got to agree with bob there on the subject; I think what he meant to say is if you only eat lobster then that happens. It’s like if you only eat whole wheat bread- your missing out on some of the nutrients(vitamins etc) that exist in other foods that don’t naturally exist in lobster. Im sure it’s a great food and I’ll admit I don’t know much about lobster but I highly doubt it has all vitamins a-k, all minerals zinc, magnesium, etc.
Nonetheless good article;, most “survival” ” books don’t even touch on a healthy diet which is key in any survival situation for its the first preventive factor against diseases. obviously need some improvements and from my own background in health I’d have to say there is some need for improvement but I’m on my phone right now- far too lazy to type it- basically it is eat a well-balanced diet of wholesome food.
I’m thinking about it so I might as well say it; I’m going to get hits for this one cause it is disgusting but drinking your own urine. The first in the morning allows you to get all that your body didn’t absorb when you ate. A man was able to survive on only urine and water for 101 days (urine/water fast). Base is start drinking little bits, most important urine is the first of the morning. Don’t believe me? Look up urine therapy on; at least 6 diff. Books on it.


Vote -1 Vote +1Trevor
December 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm

OMG and WTF! I say Bear Grylls do that on his show and I almost wretched. I got to be real thristy for that.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
December 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm

It’s really not that bad. I don’t do it as a habit, but I don’t hesitate to do it to serve as an example to others that you can do it without having to hold your nose, make faces, or fight a gag reflex.

On whether to drink it first thing in the morning…I personally don’t, but I DON’T do it for the same reason that Mitchell suggests doing it…there’s a higher concentration of salts and minerals in the first pee of the morning. It’s not a catagorically right or wrong thing–it depends on your particular situation.


Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
December 30, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Hey David,

We do this when we we’re doing our Survival Fitness training with the Special Forces. Some things you just have to learn.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
December 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm

🙂 I don’t even think you need to “learn” it…all you have to do is take one sip and you realize it’s no big deal.


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Debbie
December 30, 2011 at 9:52 am

I like to eat lots of fruits and veggies and lean meats, which means refrigeration. Any good alternatives for a long term storage alternatives?


Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
December 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm

We dehydrate tons of fruits and veggies. After drying them out we vacumn seal them. They last a long, long time. We use these foods for both home and in our Survival Fitness Training in the desert, snow and swamplands with the Special Forces.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bob
December 30, 2011 at 9:54 am

Great article, I am going to do more sun drying to preserve enzymes. Plus if I do it myself I get it chemical free which is a huge problem of the store bought preservative laden dried fruits.


Vote -1 Vote +1The Ring Bearer
December 30, 2011 at 9:59 am

Are you saying that calcium carbonate is the most efficient form of Calcium? Does that mean we all should chew Tums? That’s about the only product I see on Vitacost that contains this form of Calcium.


Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
December 30, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Calcium carbonate is useless and you’re throwing your money away. First and foremost get your calcium needs to be from organic foods. Conventionally grown foods contain considerably less mineral content and the greatest percentage of minerals come from chemical fertizers which are man made; not how God intended it to be.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1George Marshall
December 30, 2011 at 10:05 am

My comment is to the point of enzymes and cooking. Cooking breaks down some enzymes, which are molecules- chemical compounds. They can’t be killed since they were never living. They are rather complex and my guess as a chemist is that they will begin to break down when stored for extended time. There would be variables such as temperature, moisture, etc; but basically they would tend to be less effective, though not harmful.



Vote -1 Vote +1Jan
December 30, 2011 at 11:49 am

Not so sure about that. When you can food, it must be cooked to kill the enzymes or the food will spoil. This is one of the basis of the government making pasteurisation (SP) mandatory – stuff wont spoil as fast. But that makes most folks enzyme poor, causing a lot of health problems – which may be another gov’t intent! Try getting raw milk. Unless you own a cow ,good luck!


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
December 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Jan you’re awesome! Raw milk all the way!

We have our own cows and we’ve been drinking raw milk for decades and raised our children on it and they’re raising their children on it. I’ve been involved with the raw milk movement since the mid 70’s and it’s the only way to go.

I even encourage the Special Op guys I train and they love it, for those who have never had it.


Vote -1 Vote +1koala
December 30, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Kinder goats, a mix of Nubian and a dwarf goat, provide both milk and meat. For situations when cows are not feasible.


Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
December 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Point weel made.

Also, goat milk is genetically A2, rather than A1, which has a better molecular profile for human consumption.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1MargK
December 30, 2011 at 10:28 am

Hi Debbie
Brand new prepper here – and Canadian to boot! I am amazed at the websites and items available in the US for emergency prep. So happy to have found and joined a Canadain company that is selling freeze dried products. I can’t advertise here – but when you start searching – you can find every every freeze dried fruit and vegetable and now meat products available – with long storage life. Your main focus then will be to have water or water filtration so you can reconstitute these wonderful products. All the best! So happy to have found this website! thank you for all the great info.


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Marcy
December 30, 2011 at 10:30 am

I’ve purchased freeze-dried fruits, veggies and lean meats. No refrigeration required, I use them in everyday cooking so I’m familiar with what I like best and that’s what I store. Keeps for 25 years in a basement. It also keeps it’s nutritional content better than canned, frozen foods do. I also purchase gravy mixes, stevia, herbs for cooking in freeze dried packages. Again, if you use what you store, you’ll know what you like and what you need.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Sally
December 30, 2011 at 10:48 am

I think we are buying the same freeze dried foods, I am slowing converting a lot of my stored foods over to this. We have worked making dinner out of what we store and we like the meals. They are way better than any MRE and the enameled cans inside and out with plastic snap on lids are great to reuse for multiple things….
Complex Carbs: Brown rice is always better than white, it takes longer to digest, contains way more nutrients (and a dog can survive on it too…) Whole Wheat, not white… etc.

The freeze dried foods are less heavy and do not contain sulfides like dried fruit.
Many people do not realize how badly sulfides make them feel….

PS: we were able to find many of the solar christmas lights on clearance and are trying a string across the basement ceiling with the panel in the little window in the basement. So far, we haven’t had to flip a light switch down there to see, lights up beautifully. Would love to slowing convert my house and everything to these solar powers!


Vote -1 Vote +1Prepper
December 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Sally, brown rice is better in every way except one: it has a shorter shelf life than white rice. White rice properly packaged in cans with oxygen absorbers can last 25-30 years but brown rice will only last 2-3 years. So if you use and replenish the stock, brown rice is the better choice.


Vote -1 Vote +1samiam
December 31, 2011 at 10:53 am has some neat ideas for making lamps or ceiling lights from leds plus lots of other stuff for making things and survival stuff


Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
December 30, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Hey Marci,

Something most people do not know is that 99% of all freeze dried fruits and some veggies use maltodextrin and non fruit based citric acid. Both these substances often convert to MSG through processing. Not a good thing when you’re in a survival mode. It elevates blood acid, hard on the liver & kidneys and they are excitotoxins which have negative impact on the brain and nervous system.


Vote -1 Vote +1Debbie
December 30, 2011 at 10:42 am

Thanks for the freeze dried food info! Has anyone done their own freeze drying? How do the commercial freeze dried products taste after reconstituted?


Vote -1 Vote +1Sally
December 30, 2011 at 10:52 am

the freeze dried foods can be very bland because many do not have the salt content most people are used to. I use onions and celery, and lots of spices, just like I would cooking anything from scratch. There are cookbooks and websites devoted to cooking with freeze dried.
I have never done my own freeze drying, but I have done dehydrating. That is fairly simple but the storage can be an issue for us, we use a basement and I would be leery of storing long term dehydrated unless I had a really good shrink wrap sealing type of system to put the food in….
Hope that helps.


Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
December 30, 2011 at 4:45 pm


See my comment to Marci & Sally.


Vote -1 Vote +1Martin
December 30, 2011 at 11:44 am

Thanks David. I have a question, perhaps for your readers. I have recently read bleached flour is one of the worst processed foods a person can eat. Apparently flour is ‘bleached’ with chlorine gas. This causes a by-product which in itself is dangerous. The article explained this by-product is the very same product researchers use to inject subject rats to induce diabetes. If this is the case, is there any wonder as to the outbreak of diabetes in this country? Do you, David, or any of your readers have any facts to either reject or support this info. Thanks, Martin.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
December 30, 2011 at 4:47 pm


This is very true and it goes far beyond what you have stated.
I’ve worked in the nutrition field with elite athletes and Special Forces and anything bleached is poison. America has the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes in the world!


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
December 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I’ve got to chime in with a big, unfortunate, affirmative.


Vote -1 Vote +1Martin
December 31, 2011 at 9:27 am

Thanks, Stephen and David. Kind of makes you wonder. The FDA is fighting non pasturized milk, but has no problem with bleached flour. One is much healthier, the other is killing us, and they obviously know it. The almighty dollar at work?


Vote -1 Vote +1kaytee
January 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm
From what I’ve been told– most US bleached flours are “bromated”; something about the bromine not only gives it the desired “white” color, but improves the dough “structure”. I also have been told to avoid bromine because it interferes with thyroid hormone (as does seemingly almost everything else : ( …).


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Deborah, Biologist (UCSC)
December 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I’d like to thank you for your thought provoking emails. I’d like to add a few things for thought. Basically a body will need to be prepared in advance for consumption of less food and the associated stress of survival. To this end I have recently implemented the Paleo diet in my home which will most closely resemble survival mode. In doing so my body has begun to shed excess flesh and is running more efficiently in a short time. Second, underlying food allergies(ie ones that you have at a subclinical level) can express themselves at any time and are likely during high concentrations of consumption. You should have yourself tested for allergies with an allergy panel and NOT eat what your body finds offending to avoid body immune responses in your digestive tract. Third, I am considering what my actual survival food will be- it can not be large- it must be nutritious, it must be easily carried and last a long time. Basically, I do not think any of us will be able to stay in location. You had better be ready to hide and hide well for an extended period of time and prepare for such. With the FEMA camp readiness, mass military equipment movement all over the US to strategic. Positions and the quiet deployment of many thousands of soldiers to the US I think we are all in for a boat load of trouble. Learn the basic diet of the ancient peoples, implement it and ready yourself for survival mode. That is my 2 cents.


Vote -1 Vote +1Deborah, Biologist (UCSC)
December 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I’d like to thank you for your thought provoking emails. I’d like to add a few things for thought. Basically a body will need to be prepared in advance for consumption of less food and the associated stress of survival. To this end I have recently implemented the Paleo diet in my home which will most closely resemble survival mode. In doing so my body has begun to shed excess flesh and is running more efficiently in a short time. Second, underlying food allergies(ie ones that you have at a subclinical level) can express themselves at any time and are likely during high concentrations of consumption. You should have yourself tested for allergies with an allergy panel and NOT eat what your body finds offending to avoid body immune responses in your digestive tract. Third, I am considering what my actual survival food will be- it can not be large- it must be nutritious, it must be easily carried and last a long time. Basically, I do not think any of us will be able to stay in location. You had better be ready to hide and hide well for an extended period of time and prepare for such. With the FEMA camp readiness, mass military equipment movement all over the US to strategic. Positions and the quiet deployment of many thousands of soldiers to the US I think we are all in for a boat load of trouble. Learn the basic diet of the ancient peoples, implement it and ready yourself for survival mode, freeze-dried lightweight Paleo items will be in my backpacks and in my horse satchels when I go. That is my 2 cents.


Vote -1 Vote +1Miss Arleen
December 30, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Could you recommend good information sources for both the Paleo diet and for healthy survival eating? Also, would you elaborate on the food allergy statement? Seems like there is a lot to learn about eating.


-2 Vote -1 Vote +1Mitchell
December 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Ive got to agree with Dave on this; the pee also has nutrients and some say even the protein your body couldn’t digest as well; but if you don’t know when your next water is going to be don’t drink the morning one. On a more serious level though it may be disgusting but seriously if your life is on the line start drinking it ASAP; it really isn’t that bad- the first drop is the hardest. As a side note though for the more adventurous ones out there catch the midstream urine in the morning. (The beginning and end of it lack the nutrients) and drink that golden drink as fresh as you can- if left for a few days it develops ammonia in it. Also start off slowly with it(like only an ounce the first day/time) you begin drinking too much and your body isnt healthy enough for it ( like most Americans) you’ll possibly have diarrhea which can create dehydration. Well there’s a quick and dirty guide to it. Remember though if you seriously don’t know when your next meal is/ water drink it ASAP for this keeps one from developing starvation/hunger for longer- problem is most people won’t drink this till it’s too late. Well I wish you luck with as some have said that golden fountain of youth! ;). I never thought I’d suggest anything like that…


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
December 30, 2011 at 4:56 pm

The other way to do it is to mix urine with purified drinking water to “stretch” out your water supply.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Reynolds, PhD
December 31, 2011 at 5:55 am

There is an old trans-oceanic sailor’s trick that has saved more than one life. Pee, like sea water, contains lots of salts. Drink too much of each (with nothing to dilute it) and you will die of dehydration (yes, dehydration) as your body expels more and more fluid to rid itself of the excess electrolytes (salts). In an emergency, rather than drinking either pee or sea water, suck it up in a turkey baster, insert the baster in your rectum and expel the fluid gently into your colon. Sounds horrible, but essentially the colon is designed to absorb water from feces (rehydration) without absorbing the salts. Any salts expelled into the colon from the turkey baster are simply pooped out. You won’t absorb enough water to run a marathon, but it will provide enough water to keep you alive. My recommendation is to have a turkey baster in your emergency equipment. They are light weight and don’t take up too much space.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
December 31, 2011 at 11:14 am

Thanks, Bob…I’ve been too squeamish to try that strategy, although I know it works for absorbing all sorts of fluids.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Reynolds, PhD
December 31, 2011 at 12:48 pm

David — as you well know, when you are in a true survival situation, you either get over your squeamishness or you die. Those of us who are determined to survive most likely will. The others, well, ……….

To be honest, I have not used the old turkey baster trick either, but would not hesitate to do so if I felt that it was the difference between living and dying. It’s not a pleasant thought, but then again, neither is slowly dying of dehydration.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
December 31, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Well put 🙂


Vote -1 Vote +1Patricia
December 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Just one comment about the lobster. Better skip it intirely, it is a scavenger sea creature and simply not fit for human consumption. They clean up the waste in the ocean. You eat what they eat. Of course some are talking about drinking there own waste so does it matter. It matters to me.!


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
December 31, 2011 at 11:11 am

There are a lot of animals that fit in the category of scavengers that may or may not be “fit” for human consumption, including mussels, craw fish, crabs, pigs, etc. because of their scavenger lifestyle. That’s going to be a personal/religious decision.

As to drinking human “waste”…I think that as you look into it more, you’ll find that urine is MUCH closer to water than feces are to food. In other words, urine isn’t “waste” in the same way that feces are. In fact, I’d venture a guess that it is much safer to drink diluted urine than it is tap water in many older houses/neighborhoods.

As an interesting note, I won’t touch artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn sweeteners, soy products, MSG, petroleum based body products, or GMO foods, but I see no problem drinking urine in a survival situation.


Vote -1 Vote +1Michael
December 30, 2011 at 7:33 pm

All good information. Remember that the foods we store for any sort of emergency should be of the highest quality but also keep in mind that they should be intended for short term. For the raw food folks. Stash away sprouting seeds. In four days you’ll have fresh raw greens. Have read some of the comments from past articles as well as the recent ones and have deducted that your readers are quite educated as to what survival skills and supplies will be necessary in the times to come. Looking forward to
to more on the subject


Vote -1 Vote +1Anne
December 30, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Concerning food complexity and bioavailability- I took a class in raising and caring for poultry. The instructor said eggs (especially if they come from an organic source) are nearly a complete package of nutrients. This makes sense because the egg supplies the developing embryo with the nutrients it needs to grow and develop. Someone did a study and found that laboratory animals could survive for over a year when fed just eggs. My instructor thought people could survive on eggs in a similar fashion although they might get sick of eating the same food every day.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Reynolds, PhD
December 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Anne — this will work fine for most animals, but eggs contain almost no vitamin C. Humans need vitamin C because we can not make it whereas most other animals can make their own vitamin C (notable exceptions are guinea pigs and some fruit-eating bats). Since chickens can make their own vitamin C from glucose, there is no “need” to have vitamin C in the egg. Other than the issue with vitamin C, eating only eggs just might be sufficient to get you through until you went bonkers from eating the same thing day in and day out.


Vote -1 Vote +1Scot
January 1, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Adrenal glands of the animal you might need to eat in a survival situation will provide vitamin C if you have run out of other sources.


Vote -1 Vote +1dog
December 30, 2011 at 9:26 pm

sure is a bunch of great info. thanks to all of you. keep it comig.


Vote -1 Vote +1Linda
December 30, 2011 at 10:54 pm

i love this kind of awesome reading, don’t get enough of it. Thank you David. Thank you everyone for the great, tried -true information posted.
A note to enzymes, i’ve had an overactive thyroid probably 30 years, do not take medication. My bowels finally started shutting down. An Herbalist put me on “food enzymes,” 3 months later i am eating almost 3 full daily meals and digesting properly. i didn’t know anything yet about shelf life, etc but will never go without enzymes again – nor without acidopholus which i have taken daily for 10 years – a note to which, i am also a smoker, when everyone else gets bronchitis, phneumonia, flu, etc, this magical bacteria flushes all this out of my system and i rarely get sick, usually a virus with minor symptoms to others. (oh and organic brown rice is my new favorite food – a little bit in just about everything will fill in nutrient gaps.)


Vote -1 Vote +1jean kruse
December 31, 2011 at 7:05 pm

David, you said you don’t eat soy products? Is that just a personal thing or is there a nutritional reason?


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
January 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm

This is something that I’m relatively well versed in, but not an expert in by any means. My understanding is that soy has estrogen mimicking properties and I’m not really looking to increase my estrogen levels, my wife’s estrogen levels, or my young sons’ estrogen levels. That’s part of the equation.

The next part of the equation is that soybeans are some of the most highly genetically modified (GMO), and chemically treated foods that we’re exposed to today.

Another part of the equation is that soy is an incredibly useful product and can be manipulated into hundreds, if not thousands of food, feed, fuel, and industrial products. As a result, I get exposure to it from eating beef/chicken/pork that was fed soybeans, eating textured vegetable protein, many fast foods, and even many ready to eat foods that are prepared at home.

As a result, we have personally chosen to limit our soy intake as much as possible without becoming militant about it. Should you? I think that the case against soy as a food/feed product is pretty strong, but it’s something that you’re going to want to figure out for yourself. Health/nutrition is an exercise in compromise and it’s incredibly difficult for most people to do everything “right”…especially with “right” changing every few months. In other words, it may or may not be a battle that you have the bandwidth to fight or one that you would choose to fight even if you did have the bandwidth.


Vote -1 Vote +1Rita
December 31, 2011 at 9:05 pm

as for drinking urine a lot of people more women than men that get bladder and kidney infections so you may want to use purification tablets if you do that, you can find them in sporting department in stores, most people don’t know that they have infection without a urine test, just a thought. as for food if it comes down to it you can eat dandelions and other flowers but you need to search to find out what kind of flower’s has poison in it, some are safe some are not, if water is not contaminated you can eat fish, make sure to gut it first.


Vote -1 Vote +1Rita
December 31, 2011 at 9:16 pm

David a question for you with Iran threatening to block petroleum the gas prices are already going up again $ 3:45 gal. here, do you know at what point that could cause the banks to shut down? food prices have also raised again, on a low income budget so its really making it rough especially in the winter because of insurance companies around here very few people have fire places or wood or coal stoves, what is an alternative to heat if you can not afford solar panels?


Vote -1 Vote +1Rita
January 3, 2012 at 11:41 am

Shouldn’t worry or stress about what will happen God will not forsake his own, the Myan calender says the world will end this year but the bible says only God knows when, not even Jesus or the Angels know when. We are in the time of sorrows but if you pray our Lord will forgive and watch over you and will help you through what is to come.


Vote -1 Vote +1Barb H
January 4, 2012 at 1:10 am

David, I wish there were more people like you in the preparedness industry. Our options would be much healthier.

Stephen, the special forces guy, I want to pick your brain!

Like some of the other responders, and David himself, we eat clean — raw dairy, pastured meat and eggs, organic produce, as much raw as possible, very few processed foods and those we do eat have no chemicals or unrecognizable ingredients. My husband eats grains but I do not.

In addition, we store everything in glass. I realize that in a survival situation that will not be possible but if I’m to integrate our survival stash into our daily diet, it must meet these requirements.

I have found no ‘pre-packaged long term storage solutions’ available that do not have MSG in them. Even if they don’t have ‘msg’ on the label, they all contain autolyzed yeast extract, textured vegetable protein, or another of the many ‘ingredients’ used to hide its presence in food. They are also rife with other chemical and GMO ingredients and none of the meat or diary is pasture raised.

What I have started to accumulate are raw organic nuts, dried fruits, cocoa and coconut which are readily available. I soak and dehydrate the nuts before storing them and keep them in the freezer until they’re used. I use swing-top canning jars since ball jar lids contain BPA.

Since you seem to be well versed in the adverse effects chemicals have on our bodies how do you justify vacuum packing your fruits and veggies in plastic? Have you found one that is BPA-free? Or are you willing to take that risk in exchange for the easy portability? BPA leaves the body quickly if you stop ingesting it but if you eat it every day it will never leave.

In addition to the foods mentioned above, I also bought several cases of Eden Foods organic rice and beans, which come in a BPA-free can (for my husband), and jars (not cans) of Eden organic tomatoes. I’m still looking for a source for dried organic veggies like asparagus, broccoli, green beans, cabbage, and cauliflower. All I’ve found are corn, peas, and carrots which are better than nothing but they aren’t exactly ‘healthy’.

Unfortunately, I have NO ideas on how to stockpile healthy protein. The raw food sites which provide our nuts and fruits cater mostly to vegans and vegetarians. Where can I find freeze dried or dehydrated pasture raised meat or eggs? I would settle for organic but cannot find that, either. I realize that nuts and seeds are high in protein but my husband couldn’t survive on them, he needs meat.

Any help that you (or anyone else) can provide would be greatly appreciated!


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
January 4, 2012 at 10:20 am

Hi Barb,

Thanks for your great comments! It really is a challenge to build up long term food storage when you eat organically, chemical free and/or have food allergies.

On the plastic/BPA question, we just use it. We’re aware of the reported risks, but only have so many battles that we can fight at one time and still have a high quality of life. It might completely offset the lengths we go to to eat organic food…it just is what it is.

Healthy protein is a tough one. You can go with freeze dried meats, but they run $20+ per pound. Pasture raised and organic will cost more. Another option is raising rabbits/chickens/fish. Another is storing or growing beans, but that may not work for your husband.


Vote -1 Vote +1Barb H
January 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm

David, if you have a source for freeze dried pasture raised/organic meats, I’m willing to pay the added cost! As you know, if you eat clean you eat less and can afford to pay more for what little food you eat. Please tell me you DO have a source…. If you have a source for dehydrated organic cruciferous vegetables, I’d like that, too.

Our homeowner’s association won’t allow livestock or farming and we cannot leave this house while I am still caring for my mother, who has dementia (moving her would kill her). There are fish in the retention pond behind our house (our emergency water supply) and rabbits in the common area but they will not last long if TSHTF.

We plan to have a house in the hills, off the grid, someday; but for the near future, I have to rely on canned/dehydrated/freeze-dried options.

I agree that you have to choose your battles based on your own situation. Personally, I fight every one I can, to reduce the load created by those I can’t, like the air we breathe, but if I had to let something slide, it would be BPA.

Speaking of BPA, I just came up with an idea for protecting the vacuum packed foods from the bag! When I store foods in glass containers with a plastic lid, I place a piece of Martha Stewart’s parchment lined foil under the lid to prevent the gasses from getting to the food. You could do the same thing when you vacuum pack something — wrap it in that foil first. The foil prevents the BPA from leaching to the food and the parchment prevents the tin from touching it. The downside would be that you could not see what was in each bag.

Thanks, again, for sharing your (life-saving) knowledge. We’ve wanted to do this for years but, until now, didn’t know where to start.


Vote -1 Vote +1Rita
January 5, 2012 at 3:02 am

Hi Barb get your husband beef jerky, some farmers make the healthiest jerky, if you have a farm you can raise your own animal’s for meat and milk, if in a city or where no animals are allowed you can have your husband help a farmer for meat thats what they did during the great depression, in desperate times people can work together to help each other out, some farmers will even give food for getting their houses cleaned, Just be safe and watch who to trust.


Vote -1 Vote +1chuck
January 27, 2012 at 10:50 am

Another great resource is The LDS Preparedness manual … its available online in pdf format
for FREE


Vote -1 Vote +1susan v.
March 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm

what a great thread! like barb, i’ve been trying to find high quality organic gluten free emergency food. i acknowledge the argument that in a true emergency just having food to survive is more important than worrying about whether it is gluten free, pastured meat, etc. maybe i’m being naively stubborn but i just don’t have it in me to order some of these MRE foods that are full of hydrogenated oils, yeast extract, wheat flour, etc.
also like barb i’m not living in a place where i could raise chickens (hopefully that will change in the future). i also do not have a basement or cellar. and have a very shady yard so can’t grow much besides greens. what i do have is living in an area with an abundance of local farms, including a herdshare that i belong to for raw milk. of course they are dependent on hot water for sterilization. i’m hoping that in a true emergency the local farms would band together and help the community out (rather than their current practices of selling to high end restaurants and being featured at expensive “slow food” type dinners).


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