You may have heard the term “emergency preparedness” before … but what does it really mean? Homeland security defines emergency preparedness as “"a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response e.g., natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other disasters.” That all sounds a bit dramatic, doesn’t it?! While it’s not something we love to think about, it’s important every family have an emergency procedure in place. Something that often gets overlooked is emergency food supply.
Following any sort of disaster, there may be power outages that could last for several days. Consider the following when constructing your emergency food supply:
- Choose foods you know your family will want to eat (i.e., not cardboard-tasting biscuits and rice cakes)
- Avoid foods high in salt and sugar that will trigger thirst
- Speaking of thirst … be sure to load up on bottled water - remember the average sized adult should be drinking 2 – 3 litres / day!
- Store utensils like can openers and rubber bands
- Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Consider family members who have special dietary requirements
Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation become essential during this time. Problem: most of these foods tend to be less than ideal from a health perspective, boasting unfavourable levels of sodium, fat, sugar, additives, preservatives and a heap of other nasties. These foods also tend to be high in FODMAPs, a collection of of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that aren’t absorbed properly in the gut, which can trigger symptoms in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS). FODMAPs are found naturally in many foods and food additives, but particularly in packaged emergency-response type foods.
Some common emergency food items include:
- Ready-made meals, canned meats, fruits, vegetables
- Spices and Sauces for flavouring
- Protein and/or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Nuts and seeds (and their butters)
- Dried fruit and vegetables
- Juices, UHT milk and long-life drinks
- High energy (nutrient dense) foods
- Teas and coffee (but limit intake of caffeine to avoid thirst)
Casa de Sante, specializes in artisan low FODMAP products that are nutrient dense, taste delicious, don’t require refrigeration, and have long shelf-lives … the ultimate emergency response food! Often those who have to eliminate onion and garlic from their diet due to digestive distress complain food tastes bland and lacks that added “oomph!” This is where our extensive range of salad dressings, stocks, spices, granolas, drinks and pantry staples set themselves apart. Each product is formulated in a way that makes it friendly for both your tummy and taste buds! This means they are sure to please both IBS and non-IBS suffering family members.
Adhering to the Low FODMAP Diet, requires you to develop a strategy and plan ahead. Maintaining a low FODMAP pantry is key to sustaining a low FODMAP diet. IBS sufferers are more likely to “fall off the wagon” in times of stress or emergency, so ensuring a pantry is stocked with a range of FODMAP-friendly products will help IBS-suffering members of the household stay on track. The role of low FODMAP supplements can also not be overstated, as additional nutritional support is required during times where supply of wholefoods like fresh fruits and vegetables are limited.
Also, it is important to remember is that just because you are not dealing with fresh foods does not mean food safety becomes redundant. As per usual, don’t eat foods from cans that are swollen, dented or corroded (even if the product itself looks safe to eat). Similarly, don’t eat from packets that may have been opened, or from food that smells abnormal, even if its appearance is normal. Although perishable food does not require refrigeration, once opened, this often changes for several products e.g., pasta sauces. Be sure to read the label as to whether refrigeration is required after opening, and, if this is the case, discard of any remaining food.Overall, you’d be doing your future self (and household) a huge favour by paying your pantry a visit. Ask yourself: would you be OK should an emergency occur? Remember, being prepared is your best weapon against the unexpected.