$200 Survival Food Menu for 2 Months

Rich M.
By Rich M. May 4, 2020 10:33

$200 Survival Food Menu for 2 Months

Those who have been preppers a while usually have a pretty good stockpile of food. Stockpiling that food seems to be the way that most of us start out and we just seem to keep adding to that stockpile. But what about someone just starting out? Do you remember how hard it was to get going when you were first starting out as a prepper? Worse, were you one of those who was trying to do that on a shoestring budget?

The average grocery bill for American families works out to somewhere between $165 and $345 per month. But that’s probably buying more than 2,000 calories per day. We probably shouldn’t expect to eat that much in survival mode. Even eating 2,000 calories per day is going to mean that we’re eating a whole lot more than those around us. If we go too long like that, they may start getting suspicious.

Related: The SHTF Diet: Minimum Food And Water Supply For 3 Months

So what’s realistic in a survival situation? We’re going to need calories, just so we can do the various survival tasks we need to accomplish. But at the same time, we’ve got to keep our budget down. Fresh bacon and eggs for breakfast and steak for dinner might be nice, but that definitely doesn’t sound like a survival diet to me.

Let’s see what we can do, building a starter survival stockpile for one person for $200. That’s going to have to be enough food to last that one person for two months, providing three meals per day. Breaking that down, we get $3.33 per day, for the three meals we need. Not much, is it?

Since this is survival planning, we’re going to go with a survival diet, concentrating on the macronutrients, rather than the micronutrients. That means we want roughly:

  • 65% carbohydrates (for energy)
  • 25% fats (for a second boost of energy)
  • 10% of proteins (the basic building blocks of life)

I wouldn’t count on your normal variety in a survival diet. To start with, we’re going to have to work with foods that are likely to be in your stockpile. That means a lot of carbs and not many proteins. It also means a lot of repetition. If you’re the kind of person who lives to eat, rather than eating to live, you might find yourself struggling to feel satisfied on a survival diet.

In fact, I’m not giving you two months’ worth of menus here; I’m not even giving you one month’s worth. If you think about it, most of us eat a rather repetitive diet anyway, repeating the same dishes every week or two. So that’s what I’m planning on for a survival diet as well.

Related: How To Choose, Use & Store Protein Powder for Preppers

Beans and Rice

No matter what you do for a survival diet, I’d recommend adding in beans and rice on a daily basis. There are a lot of places in the world where beans and rice are the staples, eaten every day. The beans provide essential protein and both of them provide carbohydrates. On top of that, they’re an inexpensive addition to your survival diet, with beans costing you about 20₵ a serving and rice costing your about 11₵.

So regardless of whether I mention it in a particular day’s menu or not, plan on eating beans and rice with either your lunch or dinner, expanding those meals, and helping your food go farther.

Another thing you’re going to want to add to your menus is bread or other baked goods. We normally receive a fair amount of our carbohydrates through grains and baked goods. Simple bread, like pan bread, isn’t all that hard to cook and isn’t all that expensive either. I’m not mentioning the bread in most cases, as you can add it in where you want.

Related: Bean and Rice Survival Soup – Easy and Adaptable Recipe


Breakfast is the easiest meal of the day on a survival menu. What you’re after is carbs and a cup of coffee to get you going in the morning. Fortunately, most of us are used to eating more or less the same thing every morning for breakfast. So we can do the same thing on a survival diet. That makes the average breakfast something like:

  • Oatmeal
  • Toast with jelly
  • Coffee

Of course, to have that toast, you’re going to have to bake your own bread, which will cost you about $1.50 a loaf for something that’s better than what you’re buying in the grocery store. One loaf will last you through a week of breakfasts and a few sandwiches as well.

For the oatmeal, you’ll probably want to add some sugar and cinnamon, which I’ve included in the cost.

Sum total for this meal: $0.55

A couple of times per week you can substitute granola for the oatmeal, but that’s going to raise your breakfast cost to $0.80, so you don’t want to do it too often.


I would suggest making lunch your big meal of the day, rather than dinner. In survival mode, you’ll probably be winding down at sundown, just as they did in the olden times. So the food you eat for dinner won’t really be providing you with much in the way of energy for the day’s work.

This means that lunch is going to be the most expensive meal of the day. More than anything that means that this is the one meal where we’re going to add some meat into the diet.

Meal 1

  • Canned chicken
  • Packaged Spanish rice
  • Beans

Total Cost for this meal: $1.99

Meal 2

  • Canned corned beef
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Canned vegetables

Total Cost for this meal: $1.93

Meal 3

  • Spaghetti with meat sauce

Total Cost for this meal: $2.43 (enough for two meals)

Meal 4

  • Canned tuna
  • Toast
  • Canned vegetables
  • Beans

Total Cost for this meal: $1.77

Meal 5

  • Chicken noodle soup – canned chicken pasta, spices, home-dried veggies

Total Cost for this meal: $2.01 (enough for two meals)

Meal 6

  • Canned ham
  • Yellow rice
  • Beans

Total Cost for this meal: $2.20

Meal 7

  • Pasta with canned chicken (casserole)
  • Canned veggies

Total Cost for this meal: $2.60 (enough for two meals)

Meal 8

  • Macaroni & cheese, with Vienna sausages
  • Canned fruit

Total Cost for this meal: $1.99

Meal 9

  • Fried Spam (the same can be done with Vienna sausages)
  • Baked beans

Total Cost for this meal: $2.61

Meal 10

  • Canned soup (only buy the chunky ones)
  • Dried fruit

Total Cost for this meal: $2.20

Note: A few of the items I’ve mentioned here will provide enough food for two meals. You can either choose to eat those for lunch and dinner on the same day or you can save it till the next day.

Of course, that means having some means of keeping the food cool, if not cold. The colder you can keep it, the less bacterial growth there will be. Always be sure to reheat any food you’re keeping in a survival situation, bringing the core temperature up to at least 160°F.


Since we’ve eaten our main meal of the day, dinner is something to get us through the evening. These are going to be lower calorie meals, but they can always be augmented as I’ve mentioned earlier.

Meal 1

  • Peanut butter & jelly sandwich (you’re already baking your own bread)
  • Granola bar

Total Cost for this meal: $0.60

Meal 2

  • Ramen soup (add some small pieces of cut-up jerky and dried veggies)
  • Crackers

Total Cost for this meal: $1.00

Meal 3

  • Beans & Rice

Total Cost for this meal: $0.30


In reality, snacks are a luxury; not something that any of us can afford on a survival food budget.

Even so, just about every list I’ve ever seen for building a food stockpile includes a number of items that could be considered snacks, like nuts, dried fruit, and granola bars.

If you have these in your stockpile, then, by all means, use them. But this article was written without taking those into consideration, as part of the idea was to do two months’ worth of food for $200 or less.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to be maintaining your weight when everyone around you is losing theirs.

That would be a sure sign that you have food, when others don’t, causing people to come around and see what you have.

A Few Final Thoughts

Please keep in mind that this menu was based upon very few ingredients and assuming one person prepping only for themselves. In reality, most of us are prepping for a family. That considerably different. While the cost per meal will go up; the cost per serving will go down.

Where I’m using one small can of chicken as the meat for a meal, a larger can would be used for a meal cooked for three to four people; the same can be said for a lot of other ingredients.

In addition to the foods mentioned above, I’d recommend dehydrating a large stock of vegetables, specifically carrots, peas, corn, celery, and such. These can be added to soups rice dishes, ramen, and other dishes you prepare. They are low-cost to make, lightweight and won’t take up a lot of room.

Related: If I Could Only Stockpile 10 Foods

They’ll be even lower cost to make if you grow the vegetables yourself.

The other thing is that your survival stockpile will probably have a lot more ingredients than I’m showing here.

This was done based upon low-cost items, mostly generic, from my local grocery store. It doesn’t take into account the bulk storage of food items, such as many preppers do.

Nor does it include anything in the way of spices and soup bouillon, which I consider survival necessities.

If you’re going to be eating a diet as boring as this, you’re going to want something to give your food some more flavor.

Any of the canned meats I’ve mentioned can be mixed into the rice or potato side-dishes. In fact, I’d recommend that.

Not only will it be easier to cook and clean up, but it will make for a more tasty meal.

You may also like:

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Rich M.
By Rich M. May 4, 2020 10:33
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  1. SUSAN BREUNIG-WALKER May 4, 15:42

    You have given me some ideas, I do have canned foods stocked away, but you as you can see I am a beginner; this virus thing has taught me a lesson. I want to start my own garden this year. maybe learn to can things how do I get your articles back on these things that I will need? thank you for your information

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  2. grammy em May 4, 15:51

    this is not a balanced diet that provides vitamins and minerals needed long term. even 60 days without good sources of vitamin c may show up as sore gums, poor wound healing, etc. certainly before 6 months, your teeth would be lose and painful, and maybe falling out. the b vitamins are probably covered by the grains included, but the diet looks low on the fat soluble vitamins as well–a, d, e and k. missing vitamins would reduce your body’s ability to fight off illnesses and cause permanent damage to several body systems. for some people, there would be enough iron in this diet to prevent anemia, but for some it is not enough. anemia causes serious fatigue, headaches, and damage to the immune system. the minor minerals might be covered, depending on how careful the selection of foods is, ie a knowledge of which foods have which minerals (assuming they weren’t grown on depleted soils) and purchasing with that idea in mind. vitamin/mineral tablets would help, assuming they actually have what they say they do ( better check with an independent outfit that tests such things–maybe consumer reports or environmental working group). that also assumes that we arrogant humans actually know everything we need and can compress it to a few items like this list. long term–more than a month–i think we need to include fruits and veg that can keep long term,without refrigeration if need be, like apples, cabbage, sweet potatoes, winter squash, dried fruits and veg. also consider growing sprouts on a window sill (sprouts have a higher vitamin content than seeds). practice now. it sounds easy, but it takes practice, and you don’t want to make mistakes during an emergency when you can’t get more seed. if you have windows, you can grow salad greens–don’t plan on a tomato harvest, but you can grow a bit of green for your lunch. for example, did you know sweet potato leaves are tasty–mild and sweet. a sweet potato can vine in a window, look nice, and add to your health. many books are avail at your library on regrowing veggie tops and roots for edibles, on sprouting, balcony gardening, human nutrition, vitamin & mineral content of foods, etc. practice now! expand this survival diet a bit to keep your health up. use covid19 to practice for the next (bigger) emergency. you know it’s coming.

    Reply to this comment
    • red May 4, 16:34

      grammy: and most people won’t know the sweet potato is food! niio

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      • left coast chuck May 4, 18:09

        Red: During WWII, a roasted sweet potato was the only “sweets” my wife had. There was no sugar for candy or cakes. There was anko which is a sweet bean paste but that was a real luxury unavailable to average folks in Japan. Only the well-to-do could afford anko. To this day she still likes plain baked sweet potato

        Reply to this comment
        • red May 4, 22:43

          chuck: Same here on how to eat a sweet potato 🙂
          Anko! I haven’t had real anko since my last visit to NYC chinatown. Rice candy and sticky rice. Wow, that’s great eating. Adzuki beans don’t like Arizona and somehow pintos just can’t cut it in anko 🙂

          My point is, most people today cannot recognize food in the growing stage. those who do see sweet potato vines think they’re ornamental, not eatable. See canna and see flowers, not an expensive starch called Queensland Arrowroot. I was picking seed pods when someone stopped to admire the flowers. I shared some of the pods and she ate them. good! What are they? The seed pods were from radishes. Try a leaf from this. they knew it was a nasturtium, but tried the leaf. Wow, tastes like watercress. Wow, those are nice yellow flowers on those bushes. What are they? Safflower in bloom. onions in bloom. Date palms heavy with fruit, but most don’t know what they are. I had to show a Coloradan how to pick his and store them. His wife is from here and didn’t know.

          Much thanks to the reply! Now to try that recipe for pinto bean anko, again 🙂 niio

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        • Lou Brown May 4, 23:39

          Chuck the only way I like sweet potato is to bake it in the skin until it gets soft and the syrup ozzes out the ends. Remove the skins and mash it with butter, OMG is that good eats or what?

          Reply to this comment
          • red May 6, 02:11

            Lou: Sweet potato pies! I started 20 gallon tubs with weeds, leaves, and sticks (mulch from a neighbor), soaked it. It’s composting now, too warm to set the slips yet, but in a week, wow. I also have two upside-down hanging baskets. One plant per bag, and they root deep into it. they did better than those planted on the garden. Just, here, the bag needs shade in the summer (southern Arizona). In Pennsylvania (Pocono mtn area), I had them on the east side of the house in full sun and the Dominicans were shocked I could grow them while theirs died from cold nights. niio

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    • left coast chuck May 4, 17:06

      Good advice, Grammy Em/

      Reply to this comment
    • mbl May 4, 18:55

      Agreed, Grammy Em. Still, if you’re starting at the beginning and unsure how to get going, this might be helpful for some.

      Foraging for fresh stuff can also help. This time of year, in my neighborhood, we are just starting to get dandelions, and fiddleheads ought to be available soon. Lambsquarter provides nice greens for salad or can be used in stirfries and soups. White pine needles are excellent for tea and give Vitamin C as do rose hips.

      If you live near the seaside, various seaweeds and dulse can be gathered and eaten.

      We had quite a few years where we were in a very lean financial season, and that time taught me to use up every scrap of food i had. Bones were boiled for broth, or adding them with some veggie ends made stock. Leftover bits of meat and veg were collected in a container in the freezer and then used for soups. Any “tired” fresh veg could go in as well. A little bannock bread and you’ve got a nice meal.

      What i’m seeing in this C19 situation is that many people do not know how to cook from scratch. This situation offers a perfect time to learn.

      Radish greens are very yummy and can easily be added to soups for a bit of spiciness.

      Reply to this comment
      • red May 4, 23:17

        mbi: I miss the fiddlehead ferns, but am happy to be home in Arizona. Greens season is over till the amaranth are big enough, and the moringa finally sprouts (this is the northern most area it can be grown outside). No dandelions, but I did get some chicory to grow. Not a lot, but it’s in bloom now. All winter, rocket, filaria, and other things. Half the time I’m out front, there’s a small, impromptu class, and often I learn as much as I teach. Right now, turnips are going to seed, so the seed pods are very good. Radish is spicier, but about done for now. Some of the amaranth are knee high, so hopefully they won’t miss a few leaves 🙂 Prickly pear needs to be cut, cleaned, and frozen till it can be pickled. It’s starting to bloom, so it’s now or never. Mesquite is in bloom, the quail are jumping in the trees to eat the blooms and sharing them with the chicks, then chasing off rabbits trying to steal them. then they all disappear when a hawk comes by hoping for a dinner guest. niio

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  3. red May 4, 16:40

    Dried beef, dehydrated completely, no jerky, is $27.00 a pound here. It lacks fat, which is essential for good health. We save all grease and when too much accumulates, it can go to the birds in winter, or be buried deep in the garden and something that needs high nitrogen feed planted over that. According to dietitians, meat with some fat contain everything we need to survive the long haul. Just the same, we also eat from the garden and take vitamins + mineral supplements. This is needed in any case because soils are being depleted of minerals. niio

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  4. left coast chuck May 4, 18:04

    As most of you know who follow this list, I have commented frequently on caloric need and making sure you have sufficient calories per day to maintain your activity level.

    To reiterate an often-posted fact: C-rations contained between 3600 and 4000 calories per day, depending upon the particular ration and if you ate and used everything in the ration, including the creamer for the coffee.

    MREs contain approximately the same caloric content as the C-rations.

    Both rations contain more than the minimum daily requirements of protein, a very important element of our diet if we are to maintain our strength, an important element in an EOTW situation.

    These caloric quantities were arrived at by well-qualified nutritionists for active young men in combat. I would suggest that if you are between 18 and 45 in an end of the world situation you are going to need the same caloric intake even if you are not being shot at or shelled. You will be doing a lot of digging (one thing that troops do every day) You will be hauling heavy loads (troops carry ammo, food. crew served weapons, more ammo, mail, water cans, fuel cans etc etc) You will be walking long distances. Even today, troops still move mostly by shank’s mare. You may not experience being shelled by heavy weapons, but even in a patrol sized fire fight, you are 100% engaged and you will be too if you have to fend off raiders.

    The 2,000 calorie FDA “average diet” listed on all the products is a composite average. What you really need is the number of calories you will actually need in an EOTW situation. You can find tables on line that list the caloric needs for various ages. Teenage boys need more calories than an 85 y.o. grandmother. Remember, in an EOTW situation you are going to be far more active than you are now, just actually living.

    Disregard all the modern appliances that you have for an EOTW situation. Your propane barbecue will run out of propane probably in a month. The water you have stored will run out sooner than you plan. Waste, both body waste and other waste will build up quicker than you think. Think about how hungry you get when you are camping and how good the food tastes. That’s modern camping. Pacific Crest hikers and Appalachian Trail hikers have plans to leave the trail to pick up food and bathe. The hiker who hikes from one end of the trail to the other in on continuous hike without coming off at intervals is the rare bird. You won’t have the luxury of making stops in civilization for R&R. Every day will be a constant struggle just to survive.

    You will be busy gathering and purifying water. Gathering and preparing firewood. Washing clothes by hand. Heating water for washing your body. Yes, you can go without washing as frequently as we do today in the U.S., however, you will be physically working a lot harder than you do today and cleanliness is one way to avoid things like lice that can carry typhus and fleas that can carry plague. Disease will be a lot more rampant than it is today, including lots of diseases we don’t hear about very often these days. Keeping your body clean will be very important for maintaining health in a primitive lifestyle.

    You should plan your diet to include at least the minimum amount of protein an active diet requires. You should take into consideration the ages and sex of each member of your family in planning your menu. You can’t just pick some arbitrary number and say that it will be sufficient.

    Don’t worry about how you appear to your neighbors. You WILL lose body mass. You may not actually lose weight because a cubic centimeter of muscle weighs more than an equivalent amount of body fat. However, as you put on more muscle you will burn more calories. You will appear slimmer even if you weigh the same or more due to added muscle. You won’t, however be sucking down so many empty calories as you do now with your super lattes and donuts and ice cream etc. Those love handles will disappear as will the gut that you suck in when you fasten your belt in the morning. You WILL punch additional holes in your belt.

    Unless you are a farmer farming your own property, you will be working harder than you ever worked before in your life. Harder than even today’s farmer. Today the farmer uses a chain saw when he cuts wood. After the gas supplies are gone you will be cutting wood with an axe and a hand saw.

    Today’s farmer doesn’t plow the fields with a mule and a hand plow, he uses a tractor and sometimes the tractor is even air conditioned and has stereo. Music in your life will most likely be singing and hand clapping on Sunday afternoon as you try to rest from your week’s labor — that is if you are not standing off looters and rapists and foraging for more food until your crops start to come in.

    I am not a nutritionist, but I have been doing a lot of reading on nutrition. I always wondered why the Mexican diet consisted of rice and beans at almost every meal. Talk about carb loading! What I didn’t realize until I started reading was that the protein in beans is locked in and needs certain enzymes to unlock it so that it is available to humans. The rice provides that enzyme to unlock the protein contained in beans so that we humans can utilize it. Make sure each meal with beans also contains rice so that you can take advantage of both the carbs and proteins contained in the beans.

    May sure you always have a good supply of a complete vitamin for everyone in your family. Scurvy, pellagra, rickets, and all the other vitamin deficiency health problems will once again become common.

    An abbreviated list of vitamin and mineral deficiencies is: Iodine – goiter and other symptoms; Vitamin A – night vision and other vision problems. Night vision will be of prime importance in an EOTW situation when the batteries for your FLIR device have died; Vitamin B – beriberi, a potentially fatal condition; Vitamin C – scurvy, also a potentially fatal condition; Vitamin D – rickets and osteomalacia; Calcium, muscle cramps and osteoporosis; magnesium – heart arrhythmia; zinc – slow wound healing, a most important consideration in an EOTW situation; iron – a whole long list of conditions detrimental to overall health.

    There is also pellagra and off the top of my head I don’t remember what deficiency that comes from but a diet that is heavy in unmiticized corn results in pellagra. It was one of the most common conditions resulting in rejection for enlisting and/or draft in WWII as a result of a poor diet during the Great Depression.

    Reply to this comment
    • red May 4, 22:18

      chuck: Have to disagree on one point of a very good article. It wasn’t eating grits and cornflour that caused so many to be rejected in WWII, but a semi-vegetarian diet low in meat and soil that was depleted of minerals by over-farming. People were surviving on turnips and greens and could barely afford meat.

      I don’t know any American Indian who was rejected. Corn and beans are a mainstay, but we eat a lot of meat, as well. Mexicans the same, when they can afford the meat, or at least the lard and tallow to fry their food in. Corn is high in Vitamin A–but not so much white corn. a lack of meat caused low Vitamin D. niio
      Corn is also high in C but not as high as fresh vegetables, something sorely lacking in a Depression Era diet–and is today, as well.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 4, 23:37

        RED: As much as I respect your vast knowledge of things agricultural and your amazing ability to ferret out the URLs of relevant websites, in your rebuttal to my post I am afraid that you are misinformed

        I looked at the reference you furnished and although it shows what looks like corn in the picture, nowhere in the article is corn mentioned.

        I have taken the liberty of copying three different “authorities” who all basically agree. Wikipedia goes into greater detail than the other two. I am including them in this post.

        In my first post about vitamin deficiencies I didn’t want to get into regional deficiencies, but prior to WWII, in the south particularly, pellagra was quite common and during the WWII call-up. many young men from the south were rejected for the draft or from enlisting due to pellagra and other vitamin deficiency conditions.

        I see that the copied material is quite voluminous, so I would suggest that you consult Healthline.co, and Britannica.com for additional information on pellagra.

        I am attaching the information from Wikipedia. As you will see, the North American Indians knew that corn had to be nictamalized (I am sure I didn’t spell that correctly) before the niacin contained therein was released to be used by the human body. I had read that in several different places before I posted, and so knew what I was talking about. I had also posted that information on this list in prior discussions about EOTW food and nutrition.

        Pellagra can be common in people who obtain most of their food energy from corn, notably rural South America, where maize is a staple food. If maize is not nixtamalized, it is a poor source of tryptophan, as well as niacin. Nixtamalization corrects the niacin deficiency, and is a common practice in Native American cultures that grow corn. Following the corn cycle, the symptoms usually appear during spring, increase in the summer due to greater sun exposure, and return the following spring. Indeed, pellagra was once endemic in the poorer states of the U.S. South, such as Mississippi and Alabama, where its cyclical appearance in the spring after meat-heavy winter diets led to it being known as “spring sickness” (particularly when it appeared among more vulnerable children), as well as among the residents of jails and orphanages as studied by Dr. Joseph Goldberger.[
        Pellagra is common in Africa, Indonesia, and China. In affluent societies, a majority of patients with clinical pellagra are poor, homeless, alcohol-dependent, or psychiatric patients who refuse food. Pellagra was common among prisoners of Soviet labor camps (the Gulag). In addition, pellagra, as a micronutrient deficiency disease, frequently affects populations of refugees and other displaced people due to their unique, long-term residential circumstances and dependence on food aid. Refugees typically rely on limited sources of niacin provided to them, such as groundnuts; the instability in the nutritional content and distribution of food aid can be the cause of pellagra in displaced populations. In the 2000s, there were outbreaks in countries such as Angola, Zimbabwe and Nepal. In Angola specifically, recent reports show a similar incidence of pellagra since 2002 with clinical pellagra in 0.3% of women and 0.2% of children and niacin deficiency in 29.4% of women and 6% of children related to high untreated corn consumption.
        In other countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark, even with sufficient intake of niacin, cases have been reported. In this case deficiency might happen not just because of poverty or malnutrition but secondary to alcoholism, drug interaction (psychotropic, cytostatic, tuberculostatic or analgesics), HIV, vitamin B2 and B6 deficiency, or malabsorption syndromes such as Hartnup disease and carcinoid.
        The native New World cultivators who first domesticated corn (maize) prepared it by nixtamalization, in which the grain is treated with a solution of alkali such as lime. Nixtamalization makes the niacin nutritionally available and prevents pellagra. When maize was cultivated worldwide, and eaten as a staple without nixtamalization, pellagra became common.
        Pellagra was studied mostly in Europe until the late 19th century when it became an epidemic especially in the southern United States. In the early 1900s, pellagra reached epidemic proportions in the American South. Between 1906 and 1940 more than 3 million Americans were affected by pellagra with more than 100,000 deaths, yet the epidemic resolved itself right after dietary niacin fortification. Pellagra deaths in South Carolina numbered 1,306 during the first ten months of 1915; 100,000 Southerners were affected in 1916. At this time, the scientific community held that pellagra was probably caused by a germ or some unknown toxin in corn. The Spartanburg Pellagra Hospital in Spartanburg, South Carolina, was the nation’s first facility dedicated to discovering the cause of pellagra. It was established in 1914 with a special congressional appropriation to the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) and set up primarily for research. In 1915, Joseph Goldberger, assigned to study pellagra by the Surgeon General of the United States, showed it was linked to diet by observing the outbreaks of pellagra in orphanages and mental hospitals. Goldberger noted that children between the ages of 6 and 12 (but not older or younger children at the orphanages) and patients at the mental hospitals (but not doctors or nurses) were the ones who seemed most susceptible to pellagra. Goldberger theorized that a lack of meat, milk, eggs, and legumes made those particular populations susceptible to pellagra. By modifying the diet served in these institutions with “a marked increase in the fresh animal and the leguminous protein foods,” Goldberger was able to show that pellagra could be prevented. By 1926, Goldberger established that a diet that included these foods, or a small amount of brewer’s yeast prevented pellagra.

        While I realize that Wikipedia is scorned by some as an authority, Encyclopedia Britannica which is world recognized as an authority on many subjects echos what Wikipedia said, but not in as much detail.

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        • IvyMike May 5, 02:18

          All of these comments add up to a great bunch of comments, and the article was good, too except I think it said the average grocery bill was 2-3 hundred per month when it meant per week.
          Nixtamalization can also be done with lye water which is much easier to make after shtf.
          There have always been a lot of impoverished Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. In the 70’s the Mexican welfare system was to provide a tortilla subsidy. People in the valley rounded out their diet by gleaning beans the combines miss when harvesting a field. At one point the farmers started limiting access to the fields. There is a big inflow of retirees there in the winter and they read about the problem and, for several years worked with the farmers and organized the gleaning. It wasn’t unusual for a family to collect a hundred pounds of pinto beans, just about enough to ensure survival another year. These are the kind of shtf scenarios people should consider.
          Thanks for bringing up pellagra, another forgotten problem from when times were bad.

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        • red May 6, 02:05

          chuck: Wiki isn’t trustworthy. Here. perhaps, but Britannica is good.
          But, it’s not that I disagree with you in your post, but meat is the issue. Peoples have never tried to go vegetarian as they have to, today. You cannot live on beans and corn or soy and rice. the average height of Japanese male in 1940 was 150 centimetres. Today, it’s 172. And, they had access to a lot of seafood, unlike most Southerners in 1940.
          Children raised on mostly that get sick. You had to have seen the articles from NYC where vegan parents lost their children because of stunted growth from raising them without animal products.
          All factors must be taken into account. No one in Asia raises children on a soy diet.Most Americans got by on corn and beans, but also had meat. city people, the 4-Fs, didn’t. The relationship is between pellagra and low meat.
          A lot of Pennsylvanians survived on cornmeal and turnips and greens weeks at a time, but also most had access to animal products. My mother and her family did that for a year until their heifer freshened.
          As I said, it’s very rare I would disagree. Corn, itself is not the problem, but people trying to live on it as their mainstay. All they do is poison their children. niio

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    • mbl May 4, 22:25

      LCC, i was nodding a lot as i read your comment. I have been stocking up for a while now, and it started with one year when the garden was really bountiful. I ate all i could fresh, shared with friends and family, and still had stuff, so i learned to preserve it.

      That led to having a bit more on the shelf because if we had one growing season for most items, and let’s face it, freshest is tastiest, then I could expect to go into winter with a lot of fruit and veg in an abundant year. Following the old ways of despatching a cow, pig, or deer before winter would provide protein as would a successful fishing trip, such as the day my brother came home with over 90 pounds of bluefish. He and a friend had gone fishing, and we were blessed to have bluefish weekly for nearly a year from that catch.

      What i see in this current situation besides my earlier comment of many not knowing how to cook from scratch is the realization that we’ll need to prepare ALL the meals we plan on eating. While i knew that logically, I see in this season I really am walking it out.

      I made a list of categories of items i’d want to be able to eat and how often i wanted to eat them, then set about seeing how much i’d need for one person for one year. As a starting point, i used serving sizes suggested on the package or in cookbooks unless I knew it was an item where we’d eat undoubtedly more given the chance.

      I also decided to make a column to double the amount per person to account for increased caloric needs, or in case we had someone else with us.

      I’ve been working off that list for a while.Calorically, the lowest would be 1200 calories, if there was just one meal with the must have items at the smallest portions, the average is about 1700 calories, and the double portions between 3000 and 3500 calories. I know the 1200 is too low for most days, but I also thought about those days where I have been really physically active. While i was hungry and could chow down, at times i was so tired that i opted for sleep over food.

      I am going to follow your suggestion of looking to see what the caloric needs are based on age. I am older now than i was when i double-dug garden beds for the first time and worked on a windjammer. Fun times even though both were a lot of work.

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      • left coast chuck May 4, 23:57

        mbl: 1200 calories is a slow starvation diet. It won’t kill you if you have it every now and then, but I have read in numerous places that the diet the Germans and the Japanese fed their “guests” in the re-education camps they maintained for folks who didn’t agree with the German regime and in Japan for foreign devil POWs was 1200 calories a day and we all know how well those folks thrived on that munificent diet.

        A great many “servings” as listed on various food labels are less than 400 calories which three times a day equals 1200 calories = slow starvation and lots of nutritional disorders.

        Even Mountain House, considered by many outdoorsmen to be the Cadillac of camping food only has 1800 calories per day in their “day’s food” compilation. A 25 year old man trying to hike the Pacific Coast Trail on just Mountain House’s “days worth” of food would soon lose interest due to malnutrition. A 25 year old male hiking up hill and down with a pack, carrying camping gear, food and water would easily consume 3,000 calories a day or more.

        In about ten day’s time he would find that he was getting fatigued early in the day. He would be unable to concentrate on map readings. He would be confused by trail markers and find his coordination impaired. If he were able to maintain the discipline to just eat “a day’s worth of rations.” My feeling is that he would have consumed his rations in half the time he thought they would last.

        A certain writer who makes his living advising people about survival claims that he only takes 9 Clif Bars for three days worth of rations when he goes out in the field and supplements that with leaves and other edibles he gathers along the way. Knowing that the caloric content of dandelion leaves is way down on the caloric scale as are most of the other greens that foragers harvest, that advice in my opinion is almost criminal. His audience is folks who are not knowledgable who come to him for survival advice and that is the junk he hands them. Try just eating 3 Clif bars which are all less than 300 calories and subsisting on lettuce, cabbage, onions and carrots. See how you feel in three days. Don’t limit yourself on the veggies. Eat all you want. For one thing, by day three you won’t be getting much walking in as you will be spending most of your time squatting off the trail some place.

        Yes, evaluate your food stock with caloric content and be sure to include fats and protein, especially meat protein which is most important for muscle strength. In the end of the world we will need more strength than our bodies can provide, so it is imperative that we maintain what we have.

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    • City Chick May 4, 22:46

      Any recommendations for adult and children’s multi vitamins which can be stored long term with or without refrigeration along with emergency food supply would be most appreciated.

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      • left coast chuck May 5, 02:07

        Because we are 50+, my wife and I take 1-A-Day 50+ for women and for men. They are hard tablets and huge, but because they are hard coated and dry, I would suspect that they would survive fairly long term. Sorry, I can’t quote any specific months or years. Store them in a temperature stable place in your home that is kept dark most of the time and they should last well beyond the “use by date”.

        If you want additional storage time, get an insulated storage device, soft bag, styrofoam ice chest and store them in there. The real secret to long term storage is even temperatures. Wild swings in temperature are what lead to deterioration as opposed to steady temperature.

        Of course, I am talking about storing at moderate temperatures, 60 to 80°F. If you are storing them at 120°, forgeddaboutit. I am not so sure about freezing. Certainly freezing preserves some items long past their ordinary use by date, but for other substances, freezing shortens shelf life. I just don’t know about vitamins. I would rather store them at 60° than 0° as a personal choice but I have absolutely no information on which to base that choice.

        If you are talking about the gummy vitamins, I suspect that their shelf life is shorter than hard, dry vitamins. Again, no specific scientific data to back up that suspicion, just life experience. It seems to me gun drops just don’t last as long as hard candy. Following that line of thinking, it would seem that gummy vitamins would not have the shelf life of hard, dry vitamins.

        I would certainly welcome some reliable reference that proved me totally wrong. As, I am sure, would City Chick.

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        • red May 6, 02:21

          Chuck: Ask any aide in a retirement home about bedpan bullets. anyone approaching our age should break the vitamins up to help digest them.
          with the acceptation of Iodine, minerals, at least would last quite a while. For other things, naturally fermented is the best route if the vitamins play out. And YOU, if you’re reading this, STAY HEALTHY or I’ll find a hairbrush. We need you. y’r ever humble followers, niio

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  5. grammy em May 4, 19:44

    mbl, yes, certainly some is better than none. but if we depend on our preps, we need to learn how to create good preps and add skills to acquire aand keep fresh veggies and fruits. we have fiddleheads here and early shoots of some other grow-in-the-shade plants can be prepared the same way. we have established a colony of ramps along a nearby creek along with miners’ lettuce, plantain, red currants, and other greens–a little guerilla gardening against the day it may be needed. the creek abuts a pioneer orchard remnant–mostly houses now, but and ancient cherry tree with young shoots covers one area. fruit is small and tart, but useful for pectin and jam.there is an online site that shows abandoned fruit and nut trees in urban areas. we located an old apple and black walnuts that way.

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  6. JayJay May 4, 23:46

    If you like home canned tomatoes and macaroni OR pasta (my favorite) this is a easy and inexpensive meal.

    My favorite?? Pasta salad…costs about 50¢ a plate.

    Another cheap great meal……saute garlic and onion in skillet with olive oil…add can of peas and chopped ham(or spam)…add cooked spaghetti pasta and stir….simmer a few minutes…GREAT MEAL!

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  7. Govtgirl May 6, 04:57

    Love this article and the accompanying blueprint on how to build a basic stockpile over time. At one point I said that Claude’s “Lost Ways” was heavy on the recipes. I take that back as have discovered I know very little about scratch cooking and meals with these basic foods. I wondered if you need that many varieties of beans and looked up the comparative nutrition of various varieties. There were differences, but they were all in a range and it compared them to potatoes as a benchmark. The potatoes looked pretty impressive. I found a wonderful beans cookbook at bean institute.com. You can download it for free. It has everything, several baked bean recipes, hot-hot-hot recipes fit for red and a lot of more mundane recipes that I think would work for my husband and me. Anyone who needs to learn how to cook some recipes from scratch with plain ingredients, this is a good place to start. It also has all the prep hints that I think it was red who gave them on soaking to keep the gas down.

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    • grammy em May 6, 14:46

      speaking of which, if you add a teaspoon of baking soda to the soak water, you may find it helps break down that coating, and further reduces gas. do you know why that coating is there? it’s a sprouting inhibitor! it helps assure that the seed doesn’t sprout too early, after only 1 rain (which might not really be the beginning of growing season). the first rain washes away the coating, the second helps the seed sprout.
      additionally, i add at about a 1/2 tsp of ground ginger to the cooking beans as it helps with digestion. you could add more if you actually like the taste of ginger–i don’t. and did you know that ginger makes a decent houseplant–same light or a little more than african violets. they have a season of growth and then they die back and are dormant a while. that’s when you dig them up. if you get organic ginger rhizomes at the grocery, they will grow…but be sure you look them over and find one that has little nubs on the rhizome starting to swell. the store people often rub them off, as people don’t usual buy sprouting produce. but that’s just what you want! tumeric grows just the same way and is probably next to the ginger at your market. get organic!

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    • red May 6, 22:02

      Epazote was the original Beano 🙂 Grammy added baking soda helps, and I know it does. We then drain and wash the beans (baking soda also helps them cook faster), and freeze what isn’t needed immediately. If you can dry them, do it fast. we make stews with beans and dry for an ‘instant’ soup later to save on freezer space. niio

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  8. forecast May 6, 17:55

    Look into The Survival Tabs. This is what was used originally in the space program. They don’t need to be cold, and they have a 25+ year shelf life. One container can keep one soul alive for about 30 days.
    Survival Straws: Can make any water except ocean water drinkable immediately. There are even ones that cover nuclear.
    You can buy canned bacon & butter that have a 10+ year shelf life.
    Chocolate is good for not getting depressed. Coco can last a good while.
    Honey never expires. You can get pails or straws.
    In the health department my family uses 3 things that have really helped us. Fish Antibiotics and Colloidal Silver and Essential oils. Colloidal silver we have used for PNEUMONIA , pink eye, ear infections and wound healing. It works for many things. And the fish antibiotics….well, their names are: Ampicillin, Amoxicillin, penicillin etc. We buy fish biotics online with Allivet . We get everything else from Amazon because it’s easiest.

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    • left coast chuck May 6, 20:54

      And there is always Tang for Vitamin C.

      Scurvy is a scary condition. You lose your vision, your teeth, you bruise easily and then bleed easily and after all of those symptoms, you die. Worse than dying of CoVD19. Interestingly enough, really fresh meat contains enough Vitamin C to ward off scurvy.

      I never knew that fresh meat, not dried meat or jerky, but fresh red meat was a cure for scurvy. I learned that reading a book about an early 20th century, ill-fated antarctic expedition where all the men in the party either disappeared in the wilderness or died. The only survivor was an Eskimo woman. Sorry, I don’t have her tribe, so forced to use the generic Eskimo. Actually she was citified and not really a “outdoors woman.” What she relied upon was skills her grandmother had taught her about surviving in the arctic winter

      In the book it talks about hunting for fresh meat, any meat, to reduce the effects of scurvy. That was the condition the last man died of and the book goes into great detail in describing his symptoms and the agony they caused him. Not reading for the faint of heart.

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      • red May 7, 00:25

        Chuck: wow, thank you for that. All I can find is Ada Blackjack and Wrangel Island. Good info, and again, thanks. niio

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        • left coast chuck May 7, 03:45

          Ada Blackjack is the Eskimo woman I had reference to and the book is the story of her survival experience on Wrangel Island. It is available on Amazon. It is a compelling story. I recommend it.

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  9. red May 7, 15:36

    Chuck: I don’t have a copy yet, but laughed at the part where animal rights people hated her for killing innocent animals. You know any one of those dolts would club an elephant to death is it came to dying of starvation or eating meat.
    Another good survival story, but a novel, is Mrs. Mike (no relation to IvyMike, I think 🙂 niio

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