There are three basic elements of survival. They are food, water, and shelter. The order of importance depends on the survival situation. You’ll have to make a quick and correct assessment of the conditions in order to decide which comes first. Naturally, if you end up in a desert, water will be the first thing on your mind. But even though water is most crucial to your body, in most other cases you’ll immediately start thinking about food first. Depending on conditions, shelter can sometimes be more important than food or water (ex; blizzard, environment with nuclear fallout). But let’s just imagine the stores shelves have been looted empty and the starving masses have cleaned out every abandoned home. This scenario has played out many times the world over. It happened in New Orleans, it’s happening in parts of Africa and it could happen in your city! What would you do? How will you feed your family?
If you’re in good shape to begin with, that is, you’ve been living a healthy lifestyle based on a sound diet, and you are relatively young you can live without food for about 5 or 6 weeks. This is assuming you have a supply of water, you’re not performing a lot of physical activity and the environment you’re in does not present any obstacles.
If you find yourself without a survival kit containing any food items you should be able to find and acquire enough food sources to keep you going for a long time. Survival expertise involves the old dictum of hoping for the best while at the same time planning for the worst. If the critical event does occur and food stocks becomes scarce or completely depleted, you’ll be ready with your stored emergency food rations, while others will be in a state of panic with no knowledge of how to find any edible food sources.
The best way to endure a food shortage is to start out with a well-nourished body and the survival knowledge needed to find a variety of food sources through hunting, fishing, foraging, trapping and using the edible vegetation that you find in the surroundings.
Importance of a Survival Diet
If you find yourself in a survival situation that can not be resolved within 2-3 hours, your main focus with regard to nutrition is consuming enough calories to maintain the energy you will need to get you through the crisis. When food energy is low, people tend to suffer more from temperature extremes and may fall into a depressive state. Lacking energy will hamper your ability to make decisions and prevent you from performing the tasks essential to survival. In a survival scenario of short duration (under 3 days) the need for enough calories will be a dominant focus of your food choices and the usual attention paid to consuming the proper nutritional elements of protein, vitamins, and minerals will be of marginal concern during this brief period. If your disaster situation is long term (more then 2 weeks), nutrition and not just calories will be vitally important. Over time your body will run low on certain nutrients and it’s absolutely critical that you replenish these elements. A deficiency in one or two vitamins can cause severe disorders that may require medical attention so be aware of what you eat and try to maintain a diverse diet.
Acquiring a Balanced Diet
Despite what many people think, it’s not impossible to find food in a typical urban environment; the trick is in knowing where to look. If you know the basics of animal trapping, you have the know-how to hunt and fish and you aren’t too picky, you should be able to supply yourself with an adequate diet. It is also critically important to know the various forms of vegetation, fungi, and lichens that are edible. We know that in order to survive for a long time, humans must have a balance in their diet. The only way to maintain a healthy dietary balance is to seek out a wide variety of edibles.