Friday, January 13, 2012

Preparedness: Gluten Free 72 Hour Food Kit

I'm a big fan of preparedness, food storage and creating 72 hour kits for emergencies. I mean, seriously, we're on a major fault line and in the tornado zone plus we can get some pretty nasty winter weather which could result in power outages. So, we've got a few things to be ready for.

One thing I'm not a fan of is the recommendation to store up foods that are full of preservatives, nitrates, food dyes and such. I have a chemical sensitive kid and as an extra precaution, we decided to go gluten free as a family this year. I am fearing I may have to add corn and pasteurized dairy to that list as well. I already avoid hfcs and other processed corn but popcorn, cornmeal and fresh/frozen corn may have to go as well. Hopefully this is only temporary to heal him but one day at a time.

So, back to my quandary. Reading these charts of what to store. The suggested items for the most part are NOT a part of our daily diet. And well, since everyone who is into food storage knows the food storage motto 'store what you eat and eat what you store' that just won't fly for us. Not to mention I wouldn't want to store a bunch of food that would cause us gastric/emotional/physical distress during our normal lives let alone when we could possibly be stressed about a local natural disaster as well.

So, recently, I've started researching alternative things to put into my 72 hour kits for my family. While I wouldn't buy this to work towards long term storage for several reasons, I think it is a good compromise for  an emergency kit to get us through a few rocky days or weeks. I feel good about the items I've assembled for our kit knowing our family can eat them and not get sick from eating them.

I first started with this suggested list of food items:
1 lb dried fruit or trail mix per person
2 pkg soda crackers AND graham crackers per person (there are 4 pkgs per box)
4 granola bars per person
2 cans meat per person and 2 cans beans per person (chicken, tuna, etc and chili, etc.)
4 sticks beef jerky per person
1 pkg chewing gum per person
2 packets hot chocolate mix per person
2 instant soup packets per person
1 roll of toilet paper per person (tip: unroll the t.p. and put it into a ziploc bag. This way, it won't get crushed and it will stay clean. It also takes up less room)
1/2 lb dried milk per person
hard candy / lollipops

and tweaked it to suit us (number in parenthesis is how many we need total):

(06) 1 bag trail mix per person (1# each) - Rainbow's End from Trader Joe's
(06) 1 bag nuts per person (various weights) - Trader Joe's: Raw Almonds and Cashews, Pistashios, Macadamia nuts
(24) 12 oz. dried fruit per person - Mix from Aldi and Trader Joe's: Mangos, Apple rings, cranberries, apricots

We eat Trader Joe's trail mix, nuts and dried fruit regularly. Some of the dried fried I also got from Aldi who is owned by Trader Joe's (or vice versa). All that I buy are preservative and dye free.

(12) 2 pkg crackers per person 
Blue Diamond makes a variety of crackers that are fairly good. Still looking for other alternatives but for the price, they are the best so far.

Updated to add: Mediterranean Snacks Lentil Crackers are our hands down favorite crackers now. They come in 3 flavors: Cracked Pepper, Sea Salt and Rosemary. All are delicious. 

(48) 8 lara bars per person
I bought 3-16 packs of 3 different flavors. These are delicious, preservative free and filling. My co-op offered the best price for the case that I've found so far though Amazon is close.

(12) 2 cans meat per person (3 - chicken, 3 - tuna, 6 - salmon)
Trader Joe's sells bpa free cans of preservative free meat

(12) 2 cans beans per person 
Eden Brand's cans are organic, bpa free and amazon sells cases for a very good price. I got a couple of different kinds: black beans, red beans, garbanzo

(6) 2 pkts per day variety heat-n-eat vegetable blends
Tasty Bites have sealed packages of Indian foods that are good and don't have preservatives. I'll stash at least 3 different kinds of packages, most likely 2 of each to add flavor to beans and meats. While I don't normally like cooking foods in plastic, for an emergency I would use them. For everyday cooking, I'll remove them from the packets. 

UPDATE: Trader Joe's, bless their hearts, has a comparable version called Indian Fare that are in foil packets. I've not researched the foil packets yet so I have no idea if they are better for storing food than the plastic packages but they are a bit less expensive. I may do a mix of these and the Tasty Bites packages. 

(12) 2 pkg beef jerky per person
Once again, from Trader Joe's as they are preservative free, gluten free, msg free...a lot of people who review them online don't like them but our family does. Only the organic is gluten free though which is a bummer because I like their Buffalo Jerky.

(12) 2 pkg chewing gum per person
Glee Gum rocks! Gluten free, preservative free, aspartame free, made with sustainably harvested rainforest chicle. We usually get cinnamon and bubble gum flavor.
(12) 3 packets hot chocolate mix per kid
Still looking for a mix. I may have to package my own (we make it from scratch anyway for daily consumption).

(01) 1 lb. coffee beans
Just bought 1 bag of beans from Shop-n-Save for my partner, he's the only coffee drinker. Normally I buy him the Trader Joe's coffee because it's fair trade, organic and inexpensive.

(01) 1 box tea bags
I am the tea drinker (herbal). I opened a box of India Spice and left 6 bags in then added 6 bags peppermint and 6 bags chamomile so we have some for the kids too.

(6) 1 instant soup packets per person
Frontier Soups. I am excited to find this brand! I have only bought 1 bag so far and am going to try it out before buying for our kit but the blends are all natural, no preservatives, no gluten in a lot of them and they have something like 31 different flavors that are gluten free.

UPDATE: I changed the amount we need of this brand as 1 packet makes enough to feed all 6 of us for 1 meal. 6 packets would make 6 meals for us or 2 a day. I'm keeping it at 2 a day as the soups call for additional ingredients but if all we had available was water, we could make do so I'd possibly make 2 packets for 1 meal. The flavor we tried was the Potato Leek soup.

(36) 6 packs instant oatmeal per person
It is hard to find instant oatmeal without preservatives locally but found some I did! Glutenfreeda's and Nature's Path! I still need to double check Trader Joe's, I think they may be good too. If so, I will definitely go with them for the price. We haven't tried our glutenfreeda oatmeal yet but the tj oatmeal has been taste tested and passed with flying colors.

UPDATE: Trader Joe's are preservative free and most are gluten free. I have also found Nature's Path brand, again most are gluten free but not all. All are preservative free. Glutenfreda, for us is out, not because of taste but because of price.

(04) 1/2 lb dried milk per person
Not sure I'll stick to this recommendation. This is one of those things I dislike about food storage recommendation because we have dairy goats. We don't use a lot of milk from the store though we love ice cream, cheese, yogurt and butter. I buy raw cream to make our own butter/ghee and we use our own goat's milk to make yogurt, soft cheese and ice cream. but, it would be nice to have some on hand in case it's the off season (like right now) while our goats are gestating. I may go with only 2 packages instead of 4.

(24)1 pkg. hard candy / lollipops
I buy the 5# package of Yummy Earth lollipops then we have a great time working our math skills to separate all the flavors and divide them up into ziplock bags for long term storage. The kids love them and I love that they are free of food dyes, corn syrup and other nasty stuff. I added 3 of each flavor into a quart size ziplock bag for our 72 hour food kit. They also make gummy bears and small fruit candies.

So that currently comprises our 72 hour food kit. It's packed in a plastic bin that can be thrown in the back of the truck in case we have to leave home and stay with friends or family for awhile. We'll have enough food to keep us fed and not be a burden on our friends/family while eating what we are used to eating and not having to go off our diet. It is currently in the house but will be stored in an outbuilding when I'm finished assembling it.

This kit will be rotated every 6 months, we'll eat the food in the kit and I'll repack with fresh food. Since I usually buy this food at the grocery stores and from amazon, it's no big deal to rotate out twice a year.

In case of lack of electricity, if we were stuck at home, we could use our wood stove to cook on and often do anyway just to save on propane (I've even baked in it). In case we had to leave and the place we go to doesn't have electricity, we would include our camp kit which has 2 2burner gas stoves, several single burner stoves plus all the cooking equipment (pans, bowls, plates, etc) we would need (look for a future post on our camp kit).
For water I plan to get enough aquamira straws for every person in the household and maybe a few more Seychelle water bottles. They come in 4 different colors so maybe one of each color for the kids. (For a more thorough list of our water filtration, see the 72 hour family kit post).

Have you created a 72 hour food kit? Do you have any special considerations in your diet that you've had to work around? How have you adjusted the 'typical' 72 hour food kit to accommodate your needs? I'd love to hear all about any changes you've made!
Next time I'll discuss the rest of our 72 hour kit and how we customize it to our family.

You can see all the posts in this series through my page tab at the top: preparedness. As I write more posts, I will update the page with the links.


Oceanna de la Mer said...

Hi there,

I am new to blog land after an almost ten year leave from the net....boy has it changed! Great to see so many interesting blogs! I started following yours and wanted to thank you for your posts....much appreciated. I had cut out wheat two years ago but found I was still having problems. Then last year after my mum was diagnosed with Celiac I realised it was gluten making me so sick. I had started storing food before, I've had to change that to accomodate my new way of eating. Thanks for posting some great ideas I did not think candy ;) Not something I eat often so didnt think of to store but I imagine it would be great to have in an emergency situation. I look forward to hearing more from you.....thanks for sharing.
Deep Peace

AarTiana said...

This is an excellent emergency food kit! You are right, so many of the suggested so-called foods in others are just not good enough - wonderful idea and I have shared this blog post with other like minds! I realize you are an herbalist too, so all your medicines would also be natural!

tansy said...

hi Oceanna and AarTiana! thank you for your comments, i welcome your feed back.

i do have a post up about my first aid kit for my vehicle and i will be posting my general first aid kit in the future when i have time to write and photograph it. i hope to do a whole series about alternative preparedness that is not the typical mainstream prep kits. if there are any subjects you'd like me to cover, please let me know and i'll do what i can!

Jessica said...

thank you SO much for this post. I just stumbled into your site today,but will be a long time visitor! We have many allergies, don't use chemicals, and love herbs, so you are my lifesaver!

tracey said...

thank you so much!
we recently have gone gluten free and dairy free, and i'm thankful i didn't create my 72 hour kit until finding your blog.
the pictures were especially helpful :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the info

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