Friday, January 25, 2019

Appetite Fatigue

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
The concept of appetite fatigue has been referenced several times in posts, but until now there has been no written explanation for it. This is due to the fact that I mentioned it in the early days of the GunBlog VarietyCast and before I started keeping a written record of my segments. To correct that oversight I have made this post, which is a reconstruction of that podcast segment.

Most people haven't been forced to eat the same thing day after day after day, but appetite fatigue  -- also known as food fatigue and informally called I would rather starve that eat this crap one more day -- is a very real condition, and you don't even have to be in an emergency situation for it to occur. Any college student who has subsisted on ramen noodles for any length of time knows exactly what I'm talking about here.

Appetite fatigue can affect anyone forced to eat the same thing, but it affects children, sick people, and the elderly the hardest. There was a study done in Britain after World War 2 which showed that these three groups would simply stop eating when confronted with a sudden crisis-induced dietary change, which resulted in malnutrition and sometimes even death, even when surrounded by food. For a more recent case, one blogger's family was without power for a week after Hurricane Rita in 2005. They had an entire crate of MREs, but unfortunately that crate had just one flavor: pasta primavera. After only three days, the children were refusing to eat the meals.

Here are some suggestions on how you can reduce the effects of appetite fatigue.

Store What You Eat and Eat What You Store
I'm not saying you shouldn't put back some MREs or other food rations because they do have their place, but you need to normalize your food reserves as much as possible. Store the kinds of food you like to eat so that you don't experience a kind of "menu shock" when you discover that your survival food tastes funny. Similarly, if you plan to make extensive use of survival food, make it a part of your diet now so you can become used to it. Discover which packages you like and don't like, and what tricks you can use to make them palatable.

Store Spices and Other Flavorings
In GBVC episode 44 I talked about the importance of having spices and condiments in your bug out bag, and it's just as necessary here at home. Bags of beans and rice are cheap to buy, and you can make them last a very long time, but if all you're eating is boiled beans and rice then you're quickly going to get sick of their taste. Adding spices can stave off food fatigue by keeping your tongue happy.

Experiment with Textures
Eating food of the same consistency can become dreary, even with different flavorings. Again, ask any student who has lived on ramen noodles how much of a difference there is between beef flavor ramen, chicken flavor ramen and shrimp flavor ramen. The answer is "not much", as they all feel like noodles in your mouth and not beef or chicken or shrimp. Changing the texture can help change how your mouth perceives taste, which goes a long way to extending your food supply. For example, frying those ramen noodles changes both their taste and texture, and it only requires you to store cooking oil and a suitable pan for frying -- both of which will keep for a very long time.

Exercise Portion Control
Also known as leftover syndrome, this is what happens after Thanksgiving when you're sick of turkey and are willing to eat practically anything else. This is a very mild form of appetite fatigue, and it's easily averted by simply not making more food than you can eat in one sitting. This is especially important after a disaster when refrigeration of cooked food might not be possible. You don't want to waste food by being unable to eat it and having it spoil.

Store Comfort Food
Take a cue from The Martian's Mark Watney and save some items for special occasions or to break up the monotony and lift spirits. Did you know that you can get a pizza making kit that will store for 20 years? At $14 for a 12 inch pizza,  it's not a bad deal. I wouldn't suggest you buy hundreds of dollars of pizza kits, but putting a few back isn't a bad idea. Imagine what would happen if it were your birthday during a disaster, and all you had to eat were the same old boring beans and rice you'd been eating for a month. Wouldn't you regard pizza as a special treat? For the same reason, put back treats that lift spirits like hard candies or vacuum-sealed chocolate. Sometimes just knowing there's a treat at the end of a meal can help people, especially children, get through another boring dinner.

And to finally answer the question asked by Adam in episode 95 when this segment first aired: yes, there is such a thing as "survival cheesecake". Mountain House sells a pouch of New York Style Cheesecake Bites, and you can buy it on Amazon for $10 with Prime shipping.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to