Survival Calorie Demands, Predicting Earthquakes, and Hydroponics

by David Morris on March 24, 2011

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Urban Survival Newsletter, sponsored by Secret Survival Garden and our monthly print newsletter, the Lamplighter Report

It seems like I get into conversations about the number of calories that people burn through in survival situations on a fairly regular basis.  The normal line of thinking is that since survival situations are active and stressful situations, you need to plan on eating at least twice as many calories per day than what you consume on a regular basis.

For the most part, this line of thinking comes from two places:  Wilderness survival and high stress situations.  Neither of these are necessarily applicable to urban survival situations and here’s why…

In most of the wilderness survival situations I’ve been in, I’ve had to work a lot.  Building shelters, gathering wood, carrying and/or pumping water, gathering food or hunting, and hiking to improve the survivability of my situation.  Sometimes I’ve been lucky and found places where everything was easy and I could relax some, but for the most part there’s a lot of work involved and caloric needs are higher.

Urban survival is different…especially for a prepper during a short term survival situation.  You’ve got a shelter (home, vehicle, etc.), and you should have food, water, and fuel stored up to last you through short to medium term disasters.

Even if there’s violence in your area, the periods of time when you’re going to be in high intensity fighting will be separated by periods of relative calm.

In a longer term survival situation, you’re going to want to try to conserve your provisions as much as possible and try to find local food, water and fuel from sources that will get replenished.  You might replenish these items from your own well, rain catchment system, or garden; you can trade skills or items for them; or (worst case) you can hunt and gather like you would in a wilderness situation.

There’s a good chance that you’ll be using SOME additional calories, but probably not 2-3 times as much.  The reasoning for this is fairly simple…if you’ve got a desk job and don’t do physical labor for 8-12 hours a day now, the chances of flipping a switch and being able to suddenly do it in a survival situation is unlikely.  More than likely, if you’re in this situation, you’ll be doing intense physical work in bursts rather than all day long.  You’ll probably also gradually increase your activity level, which will improve the quality of your sleep, your use of calories while exercising, and overall health and your caloric needs will go up some, but you probably won’t need to eat as many additional calories as you think (more on this in a minute).

If you already workout regularly, do extended hikes or physical activity on the weekends, or do physical labor on a daily basis, then your body is used to a higher activity level and won’t be burning THAT many more calories.

The other factor here is that while it’s almost a given that intense work needs to be done in survival situations, when you’ve got an urban survival situation where there is a group of people involved, that intense physical work should be done by those most able to do it and not spread out among everyone.  Not only will the intense work get done faster if only the most physical people do it, but it will free up others to accomplish tasks that aren’t as physically demanding.

What about stress? 

A person under extreme stress can burn 3-4 times more calories per day than when they’re not under stress.  There’s a logical line of thought that says if you currently burn 1,500 calories per day, you should plan on eating 4,500-6,000 calories per day in a stressful survival situation.  When I first read this and realized that our food supply would only last ¼ as long as what I’d planned, I was very deflated.  Fortunately, this isn’t quite accurate. 

The confusion exists because of multiple uses for the word “stress.”  In this case, the fact that a post disaster survival situation may be full of stressors doesn’t necessarily mean that they will cause a biological stress response in the body.  Even if the stress of survival causes extreme biological stress, if you keep your stress level maxed out (burning 4000-6000 calories per day) you’re probably going to break down psychologically before you run out of food.

This is important.  Actually it’s vital.  I’ll try to cover it in as accurate but non-technical of a way as I can and encourage people to comment below with more technical explanations.

One of the indicators of when someone is under biological stress is that their adrenaline and cortisol levels go up.  This causes blood sugar levels to rise, pulse rates and blood pressure to go up, capillaries in the hands and feet to get smaller, and the digestive, reproductive, and cell re-growth systems to slow down, and less melatonin production and release.

These are all good things for fighting and fleeing, but fighting and fleeing are temporary activities—not a continual state.  In very simple terms, our bodies are designed to hunt, fight/kill/flee, eat, sleep, repeat.  The key here is that the body is designed to operate at multiple stress levels—not always sleeping and eating and not always with adrenaline and cortisol levels maxed out.  Intense activity & stress levels need to be balanced with intense rest in order to be sustainable.

If you keep your adrenaline and cortisol levels maxed out, it’s called chronic stress and it causes a few bad things happen, namely: 

1.       When adrenaline and cortisol levels are high, less (or no) melatonin is released and it’s harder to fall asleep and you don’t get as much regenerative sleep.  This means that your mind doesn’t have time to work through the events of the day and your brain doesn’t have the time it needs to replace and regulate critical brain chemicals.  This affects mood, reaction time, and your ability to make good decisions.

2.       If you use adrenaline, cortisol, or other brain chemicals faster than your body produces them, you run out and crash.

3.       Your digestive system isn’t as efficient at extracting nutrients from your food at the same time that your caloric needs are shooting through the roof.

4.       Your memory gets worse.

5.       Your ability to handle additional stress goes down.

6.       Heart attacks, strokes, & aneurysms.

(Chronic stress also causes heart disease, cancer, and problems with other internal systems, but in a survival situation the above consequences may have terminal consequences in a matter of seconds, minutes, or days while heart disease and cancer are longer term issues.)

What’s all of this mean?  It means that you shouldn’t expect to be able to operate with the maxed out adrenaline and cortisol levels that would necessitate a 4,000-6,000 calorie diet caused by stress for an extended period of time.  If for no other reason, you’ve got to get your stress level down on a regular basis so that you can properly digest food, get regenerative sleep, heal, and grow healthy new tissue.

It also means that it’s critical that you become proficient at only putting your body into a maxed out adrenaline and cortisol state when you’re currently in a fight or flight situation.  Any time other than that, you will need to use prayer, goals, exercise, laughter, sleep, positive mental attitude and any other tools you’ve got to keep the stressful situations around you from causing an excessive stress response in your body.

One way that you can become proficient at controlling your stress levels is to simply develop the discipline of categorizing stressors in your life by whether or not you can control them.  Once you’ve done this, you simply have to forget about the stressors that you don’t have any control over.  Then, develop and execute a plan of action for the stressors that you do have control over.

Earlier I said that physical activity might cause you to burn additional calories but that you won’t necessarily have to eat more.  Here’s why—a pound of fat has approximately 3,500 calories.  In 2007, Gallup reported that the average American is 17 pounds more than ideal.  In 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported it as 23 pounds.  You should be able to ballpark if you have weight you could lose, and if so, how much.  If you burn 500 extra calories per day, which is ½-1 hour of intense work/exercise, 17 pounds of fat will last you almost 4 months and 23 pounds will last more than 5 months. 

As an aside, you may be asking why I picked 500 calories per day rather than 1,000 or 2,000 calories?  Because your body has a defense mechanism that kicks in when you burn between 500 and 1,000 fat calories per day.  In short, the body panics, thinks that you’re starving, and tries to replace the fat.  There are ways to trick this system, but they’re beyond the scope of this article.

So, what’s the point of this article?

There are actually two groups of people I am writing to.  The first group is those people who are discouraged because of how much food it takes to feed a family in a survival situation when you take the increased caloric needs from work and stress into account.  If you’re part of this group, I want to encourage you to start putting away food, regardless of how long you think it might last. 

In short, aim for having as much food on hand as you can without losing food to spoilage.  If you get 6 months of food put away and an EMP hits the next day and you burn through it in a month, that’s a month you wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t stored food.  If you put away what you think is 2 months of food, assuming increased caloric needs, and your diet stays the same then you’ll end up with bonus food.  Either way, you’re better off taking action.

The other group that I’m writing to is preppers in general.  I’m not sure if you caught the full importance of this article or not, but your ability to handle stress effectively and your ability to help others in your group handle stress can double or triple the length of time that you can survive with a given amount of food.  That means less money spent on food, less space required for storing food, and less of a load if you have to relocate.  This is truly a survival force multiplier and I want to encourage you to consciously develop this skill/discipline every chance you get.

Was the Japanese Earthquake Predicted…and the next major earthquake too?

Yes, no, and maybe.  There was a warning from Russian scientists saying that there would be massive earthquakes within a 14 day window in early March, but the expectation was that it would happen along the New Madrid fault line.  The reason for the prediction is very interesting…

There’s a comet (some think a dwarf star) called Elenin that is going through our galaxy this year.  Incidentally the last 3 times that Elenin, the sun, and the Earth lined up, we had major earthquakes—Chile, New Zeland, and Japan.  It’s looking like they’ll line up again around September 25th.

People are going absolutely nuts about this.  Speculation ranges from claims that the Earth will cease to support life in September to speculation that Elenin doesn’t even exist, and everything in between.

What do I think?  I think that Elenin is something that I don’t have any control over, so I’m not going to worry about it.  That’s not a flippant answer, and it’s a little more involved than it may sound on the surface.

We’re good with God, so if it is an extinction level event, we’re set.  Since our preparedness plan is based on the fundamentals of survival, preparedness, and self reliance and not on panicing about the current “hip” disaster scenario, we’re ready. 

We’re going to make daily progress in our preparations between now and then, embrace life, and be at peace as September rolls around.  If there are major disruptions in the grid and the supply chain, we’re ready.  If it’s a non-event other than some beautiful nights of star gazing, we’re ready for that too.

I will make one caveat.  We are tossing around the idea of being away from major fault lines during that time.  I am not sold on the need to do this right now, but we will be evaluating news about Elenin with that possibility in mind.

There are two things that I do see happening as we get closer to September 25th.  First, if this gets any major media exposure I predict that there will be a run on preparedness items by the masses…so get yours earlier rather than later.  Second, as this gets more and more exposure and people start talking about the possibilities, it’s going to help you identify others who are actively prepping and identify those who are newbie preppers who you might decide you want to mentor.

This week we had another reminder of how important it is to not depend solely on internet communication.  On Wednesday, I sent out an email telling you about how to set up a hydroponic gardening system for growing your own food in a survival situation.  The email company that we use is one of the most dependable in the industry…but they had a glitch that kept literally thousands of you from getting to see the information when you clicked on the link.  If you missed it, please go to I started doing hydroponic gardening almost a decade ago and it’s amazingly powerful.  Tom’s got some great information that will save you from making MANY of the mistakes that I have.

What are your thoughts on increased caloric needs, managing stress, Elenin, and hydroponics?  Share your ideas by commenting below.

Until next week, God bless and stay safe!

David Morris << Our monthly EMP proof print newsletter that gets around the unpredictability of the internet.

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

+1 Vote -1 Vote +1michael griffin
March 25, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Hello, Thank you for your articles they have been most informative. However I am interested in learning about survival groups any info would be appreciated. We are headed into a changing and horrific scenerio. I would like info based in denver or surrounding areas. Thank you Mike


-10 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike
March 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

wow – a ‘comet or brown star traveling through our galaxy, and when it aligns with earth and the sun it causes earthquakes’. I didn’t know this site was managed by a hard-core physicist…you’re really worried about clap-trap like that? I think I am beginning to regret my subscription…


+6 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
March 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Thanks for saying that. I tried to write that section in such a way that nobody would jump to the conclusions that you did without reading the entire section. (Just to be clear, i’m not being sarcastic…your comment just indicates to me that I put the meat of the section too far down and created a situation where people would assume what I was trying to say without reading the entire section) Just to reiterate:

“What do I think? I think that Elenin is something that I don’t have any control over, so I’m not going to worry about it. That’s not a flippant answer, and it’s a little more involved than it may sound on the surface.

We’re good with God, so if it is an extinction level event, we’re set. Since our preparedness plan is based on the fundamentals of survival, preparedness, and self reliance and not on panicing about the current “hip” disaster scenario, we’re ready.

We’re going to make daily progress in our preparations between now and then, embrace life, and be at peace as September rolls around. If there are major disruptions in the grid and the supply chain, we’re ready. If it’s a non-event other than some beautiful nights of star gazing, we’re ready for that too.

I will make one caveat. We are tossing around the idea of being away from major fault lines during that time. I am not sold on the need to do this right now, but we will be evaluating news about Elenin with that possibility in mind.

There are two things that I do see happening as we get closer to September 25th. First, if this gets any major media exposure I predict that there will be a run on preparedness items by the masses…so get yours earlier rather than later. Second, as this gets more and more exposure and people start talking about the possibilities, it’s going to help you identify others who are actively prepping and identify those who are newbie preppers who you might decide you want to mentor.”

You’ll notice that the two big points that I made are addressing how to take advantage of the event being in the news cycle, not the need to prepare for September 25th as if it’s a given that we’ll have major earthquakes or pole shifts. I’m not making any comments on the validity of the theories surrounding it.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Alex
March 25, 2011 at 9:20 pm

David, I thought your where extremely clear to not fall in that error that I’m sure Mike missed when you comically said: “What do I think? I think that Elenin is something that I don’t have any control over, so I’m not going to worry about it.”

Thanks for a great article! I liked a few very well worded paragraphs and the ideas you conveyed in them.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Cody S. Alderson
March 26, 2011 at 8:49 am

It gets a bit discouraging even when only one reader out of tens of thousands misunderstands. I always try to write so that there won’t be any misunderstanding, but some folks only gloss over some of my articles and hone in on a word or two. Then they form an instant opinion without even a reread to check to see if they correctly understood what was written.

I’ve experienced two kinds of folks who do this. There are the hotheads and the ones who just are asking for a bit of clarification. But since it would be my error to allow someone else to control my emotions, I give even the hotheads the same calm response that I do to those who were just confused. Glad to see your professionalism shining through.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
March 26, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Thanks, Cody 🙂 I think Mike brought up a line of thought that is fairly common, and that’s why I approved it and replied back to it.

If y’all don’t know Cody, he’s a great author and writes mostly (if I’m correct) for the US Concealed Carry Association.


Vote -1 Vote +1Mike
March 26, 2011 at 11:35 am

Let me say that I regret the sarcasm in my response, as it clouds the point I was trying to make – that is my fundamental problem with a viewpoint that is based on a concern over something that makes no logical or scientific sense. I did get the point you were trying to make that you weren’t making a statement on the validity of the concern – that’s what I have a problem with.

There are plenty of things that make me prepare – our government, crime, troubles in MENA, etc. Those are real problems that could result in bad things happening for you and me. Those real concerns are motivation enough for me.

What bothers me are unscientific, sensationalist views that cause unneeded response that are not worth the cost of reacting to (cost in money, worry, etc). Look at the surge in Americans buying iodine pills after the Japanese nuclear disaster. Did those people look at the likelihood and amount of radiation that was going to hit the US? Probably not – or they wouldn’t have thought it makes sense to spend their money on something that wasn’t worthwhile. Nor do I think they did research on the side effects of taking the pills – those side effects scare me a lot more than any concern of my family being irradiated by fallout. I researched the radiation hysteria and quickly realized that the medicine had far more potential to cause harm than the ‘disease’ (I would have a totally different calculus if I lived in Japan).

Is September going to be an extinction event? No – at least not due to Elenin. Basic physics says this. The gravitational effect of a comet approaching .43 AU to the sun is nothing compared to the gravitational effects of the two objects that matter to the earth – the sun and the moon. I object to taking a non-event and building a straw man out of it. That is intellectually lazy. You state that you have no opinion of the likelihood of this occurring – you are not taking the time to understand whether this ‘event’ is worth even writing about.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
March 26, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Hey Mike,

I could very well be wrong here, but I think you’re still missing the point. The point is that, for the two situations that I mentioned, it don’t matter a hill of beans whether or not Elenin is a big deal or a non event.

1. If the general population THINKS it’s going to be a big deal, they’re going to be blindly buying supplies and probably drive up the prices for everyone. If you have a choice of buying stuff now rather than after Elenin enters the major media news cycle, (if it does) then do it now.

2. Elenin and talk about Elenin could very well flush out preppers that you may want to keep track of, team up with, or mentor.

Neither of these two points are affected by whether the claims about Elenin are unscientific or sensationalist and it really doesn’t matter whether the event itself is “worth even writing about.” The fact is that large masses of people over react to dangers that they don’t understand and major media outlets usually have a hayday with stuff like this. I’m not building a straw man…I’m saying that people are probably going to react to the potential threat and there are actions we can take to use those reactions to our best advantage.

I hope that clears things up 🙂


-2 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike
March 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm


Thanks for the clarification. While your clarification is helpful, I still suggest your initial post doesn’t make those points very clear.

In fact, several portions on your post make it seem like you believe, or at least are open to, the basic premise of the end of the world coment scenario. For example, you state “I will make one caveat. We are tossing around the idea of being away from major fault lines during that time. I am not sold on the need to do this right now, but we will be evaluating news about Elenin with that possibility in mind.” Why would you say this if you had researched the subject is not clear to me.

Additionally your intro is suspect as well: “Was the Japanese Earthquake Predicted…and the next major earthquake too?

Yes, no, and maybe. There was a warning from Russian scientists saying that there would be massive earthquakes within a 14 day window in early March, but the expectation was that it would happen along the San Madrid fault line. The reason for the prediction is very interesting…

There’s a comet (some think a dwarf star) called Elenin that is going through our galaxy this year. Incidentally the last 3 times that Elenin, the sun, and the Earth lined up, we had major earthquakes—Chile, New Zeland, and Japan. It’s looking like they’ll line up again around September 25th.”

I still assert this is a poor introduction to making the point you state in your recent response. The number of factual inaccuracies in that intro is staggering. Why not say “there is a theory that a coment could cause TEOTWAKI and is likely to drive up prices and cause all sorts of mayhem”? Even better would be for you to do a little research that would (hopefully) cause you to state “while the research I did says that this likely much ado about nothing, it still may be of interest due to the fact it will cause prices to go up, etc”.

I am not raising these concerns for my ego or sense of self satisfaction. Rather, I believe that without addressing my points above, that you’re clouding the points you are trying to make, and further, you are hurting your credibility. I believe that you have many good ideas on survival, and those ideas are rooted in good sense; I am suggesting that you focus on those ideas and be more clear when you bring up sensationalist claims.



+1 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
March 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Well, Mike, as I said….I don’t know what the truth is on Elenin. I live less than a mile from a major fault line, and it would be silly for me to completely ignore this.

With my math and statistics background, I know that when a random occurrence happens often enough, it usually means that it’s not really random. Sometimes it’s cause and effect. Sometimes events are correlated, but neither causes the other. Other times there are unseen influences that cause the correlated events to happen. Finally, sometimes random events occur in such a way that they look like they’re forming a pattern when they really aren’t.

What I do know is that news and talk about Elenin are likely to cause the issues I mentioned.

I also know that people on both the non-event side of the Elenin debate and the extinction-level-event side of the debate are both attempting to use the same method of debate…one that is emotionally charged, belittling to anyone who doesn’t agree with the, and doesn’t include many facts or includes facts without references that people are supposed to accept without debate.

You have the passion about this topic necessary to really do a service by presenting a factual argument that it was completely random that the last 3 times Elenin lined up with the Sun and the Earth, earthquakes happened.

By doing so, you could probably completely counter every point in the extinction-level-event argument. AND, I’d love it if you are right.

When I said we’d be waiting and watching how this develops before making a decision on where to be on September 25th, the primary reason is that I want to base my decision on arguments based on facts and history rather than volume. Specifically an argument like what I’m suggesting you formulate.

What do you say…are you up for it?


Vote -1 Vote +1sbr
March 29, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Don’t you mean that Elenin is going through our solar system instead of our galaxy? Our galaxy is 100,000 light years across and anything going through it might not reach us anytime in our lifetime. There is something coming from the southern plane of our solar system and should be visible in the northern hemisphere sometime in May of this year.


Vote -1 Vote +1Cathy
March 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Where is the San Madrid fault? USGS list the New Madrid fault and the San Andreas fault, not the San Madrid


Vote -1 Vote +1Joe
March 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I recommend the book “The Relaxation Response” by Herbert Benson, for learning how to reduce stress. Dr. Benson conducted extensive medical studies on the effects of meditation on reducing blood pressure and metabolism. He describes a simple method of inducing what he calls the “relaxation response” and recommends that people practice it for 10 to 20 minutes per day. The practice of the relaxation response can be combined with daily prayer, walking, riding mass transit, or even exercise.


Vote -1 Vote +1Lee Anne
March 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm

The Relaxation Response is an excellent book and I too would highly recommend it. It is as effective (health wise) as transcendental meditation.


Vote -1 Vote +1Innate 1
March 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm

500 calorie/day is quite low even for those with some pounds to spare. It can be done, but the breakdown in hormone production and immune function wouldn’t be worth that imposed limit. YOu would find depression, anxiety and bipolar behavior on the rise in short order. Not exactly what you need in a mass emergency situation. 100 days of this diet requires only a total of 11 pounds of fat (assuming you only consumed fat). Here’s the math: 500cal/day X 100 days = 50,000 cal
50,000 cal / 10 cal/gm (for fat) = 5,000 gm or 5 kg. Not all that much to procure, move or store.

So, you dont’ want to live on fat? Fair enough. The weight conversion for protein and carbs to calories would drive the total weight of the calories to about 1.5 times that for easy math. So, 8kg. Not that big of a deal. Let’s consider the deal done at 3-4 times that so no one has to suffer terribly in the caloric restriction department. That means 25-30kg for 100 days of a nice mix of carb/protein/fat.

1,500 cal / day is a more reasonable, keep your spirits up, immune functioning level.
The pounds will come off at that level as well. Keep in mind most people are now eating 2500-3000 cal/day. The stress of a 500 cal/day restriction might cause some to sign up for their shift at the nucluear meltdown site as the lesser evil.

Also, diabetes is rampant now. Tempting as it may seem, you simply can’t yank these people into normal physiology by caloric restriction of that magnitude.

Nutrtional density is a better goal rather than calories. You can buy calories in high fructose corn syrup soda now cheaper than water. I think it better to measure protein grams and fat (good fats) grams and figure out where you’re going to get your veggies for carbs. Grains will do,and are certainly cheap, storeable and available right now (I have them to deal with a loss of access to veggies, which could happen with supply chain disruption, contamination etc… otherwise I don’t consume much grain) but veggies are better. Fruits are bonus points.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
March 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I’m not saying that you’d live on 500 calories per day. I’m saying that the fat can provide an additional 500 calories per day.

Fat doesn’t burn very well in the body on its own. It’s kind of like trying to start a fire with a 20″ log. It does work if you use a lot of kindling and smaller diameter wood (carbs, both simple and complex)


Vote -1 Vote +1Pat
March 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm

This is the first I’ve heard that people were worried about comet C/2010 X1 (Elenin). There’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s an object with a sub 2-mile diameter, and at it’s nearest, it’ll be over 20 million miles away. You don’t have to be a physics major to see that this object cannot exert a detectable gravitational tug on earth to any measurable degree; let alone enough to cause an earthquake (something even our own, much larger Moon or other planets cannot accomplish).

I just hope the canned cream-corn sales leading up to this ‘event’ offsets the impact on tourism as these people avoid travel during this period….



+2 Vote -1 Vote +1RNABS
March 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm

We are thoroughly enjoying your newsarticles and plan to begin hydroponic gardening soon. It’s also very refreshing to have someone comment on the things you do without going over the edge into the abyss. You present a very balanced view and so like your attitude “if I can’t control it, I’m not going to worry about it”, but with the caveat “prepare”.

Thanks again!


Vote -1 Vote +1Ag07
March 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm


I think you miss read the article. No one recommended a 500 cal/day diet. He said that if you have a 500 cal/day shortfall your body’s fat stores would last you 4 – 5 months making up the difference between your current cal. intake and what your body might want in a stressful/survival situation.


+5 Vote -1 Vote +1J. Wood
March 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm


I really appreciate your honest, sincere, God trusting perspective. It is reassuring, calm, rational, direct and no-nonsense.

I am a prepper and have been for years, though through lifes ups and downs I lost most everything and was only able to begin ‘preparing’ for TEOTWAWKI and/or when ‘Things Go South’ within the last five years to any major degree. Some things I have learned is that, 1) no matter my level of preparation I will never have all I need for/by myself, consequently 2) friends are absolutely vital to our survival as we work, trade, socialize, worship and (possibly) live together. 3) My faith and trust in God is the most powerful preparation I can do as he, the provider and sustainer of all life, is my security (Prov. 3:19-26, NLT). 4) I have learned to identify and react to ‘stresses’ in a manner that allows me to ‘pick and choose’ my battles, or those things which I truly get ‘stressed out’ about, 5) though I live alone (Alaska) I am preparing (and encouraging friends likewise) to assist as many of our friends and neighbors who are not ‘preppers’ when ‘Thing Go South.’ Out of my love for my fellowman and those who do not see things coming, or are unable/unwilling to prepare (denial?) I want to be used of God to save as many of those alive that my meager resources will allow (Ge 50:20b). I believe it will be a great tool for ‘evangelism’ during that time.

I will say that I like many of your ‘survive in place’ ideas; yet, one had better live in a location where that is genuinely possible. My biggest concern for individuals living in a major population area is that, unless the place looks deserted, stripped of any/all valuables or otherwise ‘barren’ you are an open target for the ‘zombies’ that will be roaming the streets looking for an easy mark. in a city environment one had best cooperate with neighbors to block off their street, apartment building, etc. and be ready to stand strong with local law enforcement to protect yourselves, property and loved ones.

Blessings on you as you spread the good word.


Vote -1 Vote +1ChiAgHou7
March 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm


I think you miss read the article. No one recommended a 500 cal/day diet. He said that if you have a 500 cal/day shortfall your body’s fat stores would last you 4 – 5 months making up the difference between your current cal. intake and what your body
might want in a stressful/survival situation.

he is trying to convince people that you don’t have to triple your food storage due to the increase intake requirements. Because if people see that, they may wonder… Why even bother?


Vote -1 Vote +1Oliver
March 25, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Does Elenin have any relation to the “pole shift” that the Earth is supposed to be going through in the next 1 1/2 years? The planetary alignment is the same thing thats supposed to happen; but also the Earth is jumping the galactic equator. If this is the case, then fault lines, shore lines, & claderas must be avoided.

I am so very grateful for your site! God Bless everyone!


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Oliver
March 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Sorry for the typo – claderas = calderas


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Jonesie Tx
March 25, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I have been preping now for just over a year, without the blessings of my wife or adult children. I am so gratefull to you for all your advice and your STRONG faith! I am hoping and praying that perhaps this article and the tragity in Japan. Now why do so many people act like we ,as prepers, are the insane ones right up to the point where they need our help?
I have a work shop with all my preps stored and protected in a hiden basement underneath the floor. Not even my wife knows of this and will probably blow a gasket when I tell her.
However, in light of recent and future possable events I have realised that if no one but me knows about this or how to get to the supplies and I’m not around it is all gone to wast. So,
my wife, kids, 3 most trusted friends, and severa key members of our church will very soon have all this info in case it is needed for use. I have enough supplies to sustain about 15 people for 6 mounths IF they follow your advive above. Keep up the OUTSTANDING work
and as in our preps for things we can’t controle, we will always Keep the Faith!

Yea thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no eveil for He my God and Savior is with me!!!!! Psalms 23


+4 Vote -1 Vote +1Dennis
March 25, 2011 at 8:15 pm


I, or should i say “we” enjoy your articles very much and appreciate your dedication to helping others. We are a group of families who have come together over the past 8 years and have approx 165 years of preparedness experience in our group. Just a quick note of experience. We have found that when we all get together and that is about 42 of us from ages 7 to 73 with one baby due this week, that to conserve vast quantities of groceries during our 3-8 day outing at our 80 acre retreat, our wives have come up with a beautiful way to conserve food yet keep everyone full…They simply keep a large pot of stew, chile, or 7 bean soup on the stove with hard rolls and butter and a handfull of sprouts to add to the bowl. They have found that if the little ones and the men always have something to eat that they dont eat as much at supper, and will sometimes just skip lunch. We men have found that a quick bowl of soup or hearty stew with a hard rolls (always available) is all we need to keep us going well past lunch, and if the stew is real good, another bowl is all we need to fill the void and still get a great nights sleep…..the kids and younger adults have found when they are not waiting for a meal they will play or help out until dark without the constant “are we done yet” or “I’m hungry.” The simple fact that there is always something to eat and is readily available is a luxury that may not be for everyone, but for us, the simple fact that food is always available has REDUCED our food consumption and cost. And has provided us with many more hours of work time, and for some of us an extra SHEDDING of pounds during our outings. Just a thought for your readers, it works for us.

May the dear Lord Bless all of you for your efforts, and may he guide you in the days that lie before us.


Vote -1 Vote +1DeborAnn
March 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Have Faith in the Lord.
Will God feed the sparrow and not his people?
Will God demand that we rely on our own preparations….
When 2000 came in, I overheard my brother and mother saying….If it had really happened, we would all have had to rely on deborann for food…
I didn’t have that much but, it was a lot more than they had…
and it scares me. I can not get a gun for defense and if I could, could I use it for defense, for protection of my food source? for water? If I am starving(dying), I can just about assure you that someone pointing a gun at me and the 20 other people with me would not stop me from attempting to get food/water… And that scares me too, because I know that is not christian. Is bottle water going to be the only drinkable water there is? If someone sees you carrying out “body waste” won’t they know that somewhere there is “food/water”? Won’t they know that you have more behind your doors, under your floors, in your sheds, than they have? If someone sees smoke coming from your chimney or any other type outlet, that you have for smoke removal, or light at night don’t you think that they are going to figure “it” out, really fast… People, it is scarey!
However, Keep the Faith because a can of corn is lots more than a can of nothing…
Praise God


Vote -1 Vote +1Carole Wood
March 26, 2011 at 2:06 am

Hi DebraAnn,

suggestion: Assuming the worst; don’t burn lights at night. Don’t make really hot fires to keep smoke at a minimum. Take the ‘waste’ out at dusk, to avoid being easily noticed.


Vote -1 Vote +1No Name
March 25, 2011 at 9:26 pm

In Japan you just seen a taste of what is yet to come.It’s going to get real bad.It’s all going to happen more and faster.Get out of her way or Die?


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Sue Blake
March 25, 2011 at 9:57 pm

The main thing to remember in any situation is “Do not walk in fear”. Fear can cause all kinds of health issues and is walking in unbelief.
Hopefully you know the Father and His Word and you can be at peace.
God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a soundmind….2 Tim 1:7


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Carole Wood
March 26, 2011 at 2:09 am

The best advice. Trust in the Lord. He will not put his children thru more than he knows we can bear. And,,,,, he will remove his church (us) before the tribulation.
At all times and in all things we are to trust God.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bill M
March 25, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I have considered what I will have to do to save my famiely if there is no food and people are scavanging for somthing to eat.

Since I can not feed everyone, I have written the famiely rules for the use of our stored supplys. My children will be required to abide by them if they and their children stay with us.

It is my intention to ration these supplys to make them last as long as possable. Some of us, including me will lose some weight. this will prevent us from looking more prosperous than the folks around us.

I intend to place signs on the doors to my home that say ” Active Aids paitent, Blood Born Pathigen Protection Required”. I have some Hazardous waste red bags that I intend to fill with what looks and smells like bloody bandages and I will place them outside my door on the porch. This will repell strangers.

As for friends, I can not give them our supplys but will invite a friend to eat a meal with us.
I will not eat with the famiely and the friend. When the friend asks why I am not eating, I will explain that the only way I can feed him a meal is to skip eating my own rationed meal .

A real friend will go elsewhere for his next meal. The same rule will apply to the other members of my famiely. If they are willing to skip eating their own meal, they can feed a friend a meal.

This will work. Turning away your best friend is going to be a lot harder than you think !

Turning away certin strangers may be hard to do, ( for instance , a child ).


Vote -1 Vote +1Rick LongWalker
March 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Maybe that Elenin is like an advanced scout for the Dec. 2012 Mayan thing – where if i remember right the planets will align ( I think they do this every 25k years) and then you get all kinds of interesting things happening. That’s when the zombie of the week contest starts.


Vote -1 Vote +1Arthur
March 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Another suggestion regarding rdealing with situations that elevate stress – have a good supply of a quality multivitamin on hand – don’t forget to rotate your stock (food and vitamins). I love the suggestions for tress reduction techniques – learn and practice what works for YOU prior to an actual prolonged higher stress situation. Every brain ever created is different. What works for one person may not work for another. Hmmm. I think that is called ……preperation!


Vote -1 Vote +1MP
March 25, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I tried hydroponic gardening several times utilizing an online manual using a grid of PVC pipe and 2 liter pop bottles, inverted, as the planting containers. The whole works sat on top of a rubbermaid container with a fountain pump that would pump the liquid plant food to the bottles. An overflow pipe would return the liquid to the bin. The pump was put on a timer to come on every so often to feed the plants. I had peppers and tomatoes in the containers, and they grew rather well. The tomatoes eventually took over the whole thing growing to similar sizes as our tomatoes in the ground. The only thing that sucks is the sun here will degrade plastic fast, so now I have to rebuild those garden setups before reusing them.

Another thing that I’ve also tried to come to terms with, and I believe many of us have to, is the idea that I believe that if something big and/or bad happens, the biggest thing we’re going to have a problem with is letting go of our lives full of “stuff”. If things go to hell, and we lose our homes, cars, gizmos, etc, we’re going to fall apart. The sooner we accept the idea that we can lose everything in a serious survival situation, the better we would be able to handle everything, almost like the “I have nothing left to lose” mentality. I know that would be hard to damned near impossible if we have spouses/kids that aren’t on board with all of this survivalist stuff. When the only thing that is on our minds is saving our own a**ses and of course our loved ones, then we can get around the idea of not being able to “make it” if we have to leave everything behind because a disaster threatens to take everything from us or looters are sweeping thru our area like wildfire. When it comes to material possessions, we should merely look at them as tools, tools to help us survive, whether its tools to help us eat, shelter ourselves, defend ourselves, transport ourselves, or even keep our morale up and keep us sane, they’re all tools, we can lose them anytime and if that happens, so what, we will improvise and find another tool to help us in our survival. Look at many homeless guys for a modern day example of minimalist survival.

This doesnt mean that I don’t advocate buying gadgets and what not, buy all the gadgets and gizmos you like if that makes you happy, but mentally prepare yourself to survive with none of it, if it ever comes down to that one day.

This all goes hand in hand with being one with God, if we don’t have control over life then all the stuff in the world is not going to save us other than our faith and that lump of grey matter between our ears that God gave us to use, which unfortunately many aren’t doing nowadays. Its nice to see more and more people here actually doing that at least.


Vote -1 Vote +1McClarinJ
March 26, 2011 at 6:36 am

By “going through our galaxy this year” I’ll assume you meant going through our SOLAR SYSTEM this year. And when you refer to the “San Madrid” fault I also suspect conflation of the San Andreas and New Madrid faults.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
March 27, 2011 at 9:41 pm

yup, thanks.


Vote -1 Vote +1Chuck Van Meter
March 26, 2011 at 8:41 am

Caloric intake is only one part of the diet to be considered. While a combination of corn, beans and rice will provide complete proteins and supplements can help fill other requirements, a simple means of providing more nutrition is/are bean sprouts. Almost all beans will sprout when soaked in water and placed in a jar but mung beans are among the most palatable. I believe in the KISS principle, while hydrophonic gardens are optimal many urgan dwellers have no space to set up the tanks required.


Vote -1 Vote +1CDR. A. Hansmann
March 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

Apparently your group is too young to appreciate the uses of a kerosene mode of operation. In the 30’s anyone with a country place was familiar with kerosene lighting, cooking and heating.
When we have a power failure in our D.C. area I just take down my three kerosene lamps and if it’s cold, fire up my two kerosene heaters. If I didn’t have gas, I would use them to heat my meals and warm my water. Kerosene is much safer to work with than gasoline since it doesn’t create flammable vapors.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
March 27, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Hey Commander,

You’re right on…and right at home. I think it’s safe to say that a pretty large portion of the audience here is in agreement with you on kerosene.


Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
March 26, 2011 at 10:56 am

Congrats on your article regarding brain chemsistry and stress. I train special forces and elite athletes.The facts you mention referencing brain chemistry play a major role in survival/performance function. Very informative for cicilians who really need to understand and prepare the body for such situations. You can prep all you want; however, without the mental capacity and chemistry training, your survival/performance can be devasting. Such training must be executed on a regular basis for civilians and non athletes to develop and excell in these very important functions of survival. This does not mean to train like spec ops or elite athletes; it only means to train & understand what one’s particular needs are, which are far less than elite forces & athletes. As a life long athlete I continue to develop my own physical & mental capacity as well as my children and grandchildren. I have provided training camps and seminars often to help civilians prepare physically & mentally for enduring 911 situations with great joy in sharing information. Wonderful article David!!!


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
March 27, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Thanks, Stephen. We’ve still got to connect sometime…and I’m looking forward to your fitness course. Shoot me an email about the work I did on triggering the endorphine release that you get from runner’s high at will.


Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
March 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Roger that!


Vote -1 Vote +1herb
March 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm

What happens to the hydroponic garden when the power goes out, and stays out?


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
March 26, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Great question, Herb.

I’ve answered a few emails on this very question this week and will probably devote an entire article to it. In short, you can use non-low-E glass, non-low-E skylights, or full spectrum compact fluorescent bulbs (my choice) hooked up to a solar/battery system.

For the pumps, you can use low voltage solar pumps.

For the water, you can reuse it in an outdoor garden or filter/distill it if your distilling process makes sense from an energy perspective.


Vote -1 Vote +1sogone0
March 26, 2011 at 4:33 pm

There is a 3rd type of person…one whom just wants to put the kabosh on or to discount whatever someone else has said! Your responses have typically been very professional. I am not a perfect typist either – so I forgive your few minor mistakes or misquotes!
Love ya guy. My opinion for short term rationing is 1000 to 1500 calories for non combatants and 2000 to 3000 for assigned combatants, teen agers or pregnant women, etc.. Higher protein required for combatants! ST=3 to six months. Long term is a different story and one that I am not prepared to comment on.
Stay sharp, watch your six and stay safe !


Vote -1 Vote +1mikeinchina
March 27, 2011 at 7:50 am

Hi Dave, thanks for all the great info, as always!
I wanted to suggest looking at Aquaponics as an alternative to Hydroponics. I believe it can cut down on your water use as well as providing protein, as you produce fish, and they provide natural fertilizer for the plants, the plants in turn cleaning the water for the fish. I am curious about how well it works in cold climates, as I have heard there are successful setups as far north as Alaska, but it may be a useful option to consider. I have no personal experience with this but would love to hear from anyone who does!

Be well!


Vote -1 Vote +1Tiffany
March 28, 2011 at 4:39 am

I’m so glad I found this site. I’m a mother of three and I have been completely alone in my thoughts to prepare for what is coming. I’ve bought books i thought to be important (plants, gardening, survivalist, fishing, trapping, at home cures etc. ) and little by little my basement stock is growing. But my family thinks I’m crazy. Not crazy enough that my husband would leave me, but enough that, if I were to speak of any of it, they will openly call me nuts. So, I am left to do this on my own. As a rational person I have to admit to myself that Y2K made a lot of people look foolish..but I was not one of those people. As a religeous person I have to acknowledge that I truly believe that no man knows the day or time the Lord cometh..but I have to believe in the signs I’ve witnessed and the dreams given me. So, I am asking that if anyone has any helpful hints for me to prepare and be the leader for my 5 person household, please shoot me the info in an email. I’m doing the best I can, but with my limited knowledge and no other person for me to go to..I beg for your help. Thankyou so much.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
March 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Hey Tiffany,

One thing that you can do that probably won’t meet with much resistance is to start buying extras of the relatively non-perishable foods that you currently eat. Canned goods, chips, crackers, rice, beans, oatmeal, etc. A lot of people are predicting a 5-20% increase in food costs this year, so unless you’re getting that much in the bank, it’s not a bad idea to buy extra food. One of the reasons for this is the catastrophic freeze that hit Northern Mexico last month.

Which reminds me…we got Subway sandwiches on Saturday and they had a sign up saying that they were experiencing periodic shortages on green peppers and tomatoes and that they may or may not have them. Unless local farmers are able to pick up the slack, I would expect this to be a sign of things to come….and a reason to buy extra food.


Vote -1 Vote +1Nails
March 28, 2011 at 11:37 am

Great article David. Keep up the good work!

Take care and God Bless.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Keith
March 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Hi Dave;
I love your articles and see no reason to argue with any of your statements. To me it is as I tell most of the people I talk with. It does not hurt to be prepared. I am a preacher of a small church and we talk a lot. Why not be prepared? I would rather trust God and believe in what He has for me than to not trust in Him and find out there really is a God. He will take care of us and He will provide for us but, only if we trust in Him and use the resources he gives us such as you and others.
Thank you so much for all you have given all of us and I believe He has brought you to us in a provision for us.Again thank you and God bless you and your family. OH! They call me a bible toten gun toten preacher as I am also a gun smith and custom bullet maker.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
March 28, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Thanks, Keith. Your last sentence struck a chord…I had Skynard’s “God and Guns” in my CD player 🙂


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Robert
March 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm

My main comment will be on food storage plans (commercial ones). I have observed that all of the commercial buy it and forget it plans that I have seen are fatally defective. They seem to be more based on political correctness than nutritional needs. Most lack: calories, fats and oils, enough sugar, enough grain products. Most are rather heavy on TVP, freeze dried fruit, and ‘comfort foods’. This gives a high cost – low performance plan. To buy enough (storable) food for one person for one year will currently set you back about $300 in the US. To buy new (but reusable) food grade plastic 5 gallon buckets (with lids) to store it in will cost a similar figure. Developing a long term plan requires careful planning since deficiencies can be fatal over a period of a year or more.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1sbrogdon
March 29, 2011 at 10:03 am

Just letting you know that at least 1 other person understood where you were coming from when you spoke about the comet and it’s effect on american life. I recognized the “Y2K crisis” as nothing more than a way for 24 hour news channels to fill time as I’m sure they’ll do the same this summer about comets.. And as you say, it can drive the price of commodities way up. I was raised a “prepper”, even receiving food storage items as wedding gifts so my wife and I will not have to pay the high prices. It MAY benefit us as new skills and information may come out along with the panic.
Keep up the good work, you have my wife and I going through our pantry/basement looking for the “holes” in our supplies, we already found 1, tooth paste and dental floss. We bought 2 months worth last week will buy another 2 months worth next week etc.
And Mike, quit looking for faults and glean the gems from may seem like dross. This is about information, not opinions. When you see those, let ’em go.


Vote -1 Vote +1cathie
April 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm

David thanks for all you do…we don’t have too much money but try to buy what we can afford a little at a time although it’s not much it’s better than nothing. we’ll pray a lot too and with your help and ideas maybe it won’t be so bad…at least I know you are with us and God is watching over us. Thanks again David.


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