Survival Food Stockpiling - Tips from a Vegan Prepper
Survival food stockpiling...without meat or dairy?
Most outdoorsmen eat meat and lots of it. But what about alternative sources of protein? Is it cheaper? And can you really get all your protein from just plants?
In short: Yes.
So how do vegans prepare for emergencies? What foods do we stockpile? How do these special dietary requirements affect, not only our nutritional intake, but our pocket book as well?
First, How is a Vegan Different than a Vegetarian?
- A: A true vegan does not consume or use animal products of any kind, in any way (for food, clothing, cosmetics etc.), whereas vegetarians will consume animal products that do not require the animal to give up its life (dairy, for example). However, many vegetarians will also eat fish or eggs.
So while rules for vegetarians can vary widely, veganism is much more black and white: You either eat animal products, or you don't.
For some, it’s an issue of morality. For me, I chose to follow a vegan lifestyle primarily for health reasons. My dad had a stroke and, during his recovery, read in The China Study that a plant-based diet (veganism) could help treat the root causes of his stroke.
Disclaimer: Before we get ahead of ourselves, I have zero medical or dietary science certifications, licenses or even formal training. Please consult a physician with questions about your specific dietary goals.
Hey buddy, plants are what food eats
Now, whether you agree or disagree (and believe me, I’ve met plenty of skeptics) there are certain facts one cannot ignore.
Plants do not contain measurable amounts of cholesterol and are chock-full of fiber. And, in many cases, plant-based protein costs significantly less than animal-based protein.
Well that’s great, but how does all this apply to survival food stockpiling?
Glad you asked. For many TEOTWAWKI and SHTF preppers out there, the main goal is to be as self-reliant as possible, should a crisis arise. Stockpiling food that is cheap, easy to store and that can keep you healthier is simply a smart way to prepare.
I’m the first to tell you, I’m not a true vegan. I wear leather belts and shoes. I kill insects daily and enjoy it. And when I’m a guest in someone’s home, I’ll eat what they serve, rather than make an embarrassing refusal. But otherwise, I avoid eating animal products, which include all forms of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.
The most common question I am asked is, “What do you eat?” To which I simply reply, “Plants.”
All kinds of plants. Here is a list of the most common foods I eat in my daily life, many of which lend themselves to survival food stockpiling:
Common Vegetarian and Vegan Foods
- turnips and greens
- peppers (bell, jalapeno)
- Brussels sprouts
- potatoes (sweet, red and Idaho)
- extra virgin olive oil
- vegetable oil
- coconut oil
- imitation butter spread
Nuts & Seeds
- beans (pinto, garbanzo, white northern, black, chili, mung, lima, green)
- black-eyed peas
- edamame (soy)
- rice (white, brown, wild)
- flour (white, whole wheat)
- pasta (white, whole wheat, veggie, rice)
What’s the difference between legumes and beans?
- Legumes are plants that bear fruit in a pod. Examples: beans, peanuts, peas and even coffee.
- Beans are the actual seed/fruit of a legume. Examples: pinto, garbanzo, black, kidney and lima.
Essentially, all beans are legumes, but not all legumes are beans.
Stockpile This, Not That
The key to a healthy diet is variety. This is important to everyone, but is especially important when foregoing animal products.
While plants contain many vitamins and minerals, they do lack the essential amino acids, conveniently found in animal products, that our bodies require for various functions, like rebuilding cells.
Unlike the other amino acids, our bodies cannot make essential amino acids, so we need to get them from food.
Essential Amino Acids
In order to maintain a healthy body, vegans need to consume
different types of plant protein in order to provide all the essential
This is easier than it sounds; in fact, I bet you already do it.
Simply combine legumes, nuts, seeds and grains. Again, variety is key. Some
examples are peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat, red beans and brown
rice, or lentil and barley soup.
- NOTE: You’ll notice I recommend whole wheat/grain/rice over the bleached, heavily-processed versions. While white rice and flour keep longer (they contain less oil than the “whole” versions) for survival food stockpiling, the whole grains generally provide more protein and fiber per serving than their processed counterparts do. If you choose to stockpile the whole versions, be sure to rotate your supply frequently.
You’d be surprised just how much protein is in plants. Peas, for instance, contain so much that they technically could be considered a protein in school lunches.
One of the few plants that contain all the essential amino acids is quinoa (say: keen-wah), a South American seed. Like anything, it’s expensive when purchased in prepackaged meals, but when purchased in bulk costs about the same per pound as select cuts of meat. And it's already dehydrated, so it's a perfect addition to your survival food stockpiling arsenal.
3 Benefits of Survival Food Stockpiling Plant Protein
- It’s cheap. Pinto beans purchased in 50-pound bags cost 75 cents, or less, per pound. Granted, nuts and imported seeds like quinoa are higher, but survival food stockpiling is about providing essential nutrition in emergencies, not gourmet meals. If you want to spend the money, that’s fine, but it’s not necessary.
- It’s easy to store. Pasta, rice (They are great sources of protein too!) and legumes are frequently sold dehydrated. To package them for long-term food storage, place them in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place. They’ll keep for years. That’s it; no specialized, expensive food preservation equipment required.
However, if you want to go the extra mile, you can repackage dehydrated foods in metalized food bags placed in 5-gallon pails and sealed with gamma-seal lids. Include an oxygen absorber and your vegan-friendly protein can last decades, if not longer. Vacuum sealing will help protect your food even better.
And best of all, decades of food preservation is achieved without any ongoing expense. If you rely heavily on a freezer for your food preservation, you’re taking a serious gamble. Freezers break and they’re vulnerable to power outages. Yet most people store a good portion of their food this way, particularly expensive meat products. Plant-based protein is not only cheaper to buy, it is often cheaper to store.
And while on the subject, freezing fruits and vegetables is not a good practice either. The idea is to make your survival food stockpiling methods as self-sufficient as possible. Can or dehydrate produce to ensure you’ll have safe food to eat even if the power goes out.
- Plant-based protein is versatile. Getting fresh greens, which contain vital nutrients we all need to stay healthy, may be difficult in an urban area and especially during an emergency. But as long as you have certain legumes and seeds that lend themselves to sprouting, you can grow your own salad anytime, anywhere, without soil. All you need are some clear dishes with lids.
How is this possible?
Prodigious sprouting “seeds”, like mung beans, lentils and alfalfa, contain enough nutrients to begin growing a new plant even without external fertilization. When exposed to moisture and light they send out a root and leaves, and are able to grow (for a while), photosynthesizing their own food, which packs them with even more nutrients.
For step-by-step sprouting instructions, complete with photos, check out the survival food stockpiling article, “How to Sprout Fresh Greens Anytime, Anywhere”.
Stocking up on plant-based protein should be a part of every survivalist’s food storage plan. It’s the ideal survival food: healthy, cheap and easy to store.
- Still unsure about eating vegan? Here's some great vegan recipes from world-renowned chef Jason Wyrick.
Remember that fat, along with oxygen, moisture and temperature, is the
enemy of survival food stockpiling. Though they provide more nutrients,
whole grain pasta, flour, oats, rice, nuts and seeds, contain higher
amounts of oil, decreasing their shelf life.
For more on survival food preservation methods, including canning and dehydrating, check out these tips for long-term food storage.