Friday, March 27, 2020

Protein Preps

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Now that everyone is contemplating their food storage plans, let's talk about the importance of protein in your preps. While the importance of fats and carbohydrates have been addressed in previous BCP articles, I wanted to revisit protein to specifically talk about density per unit.

The Necessity of Protein
Whereas carbohydrates are a quick-burning fuel that can leave you feeling lethargic a few hours afterwards (aka the infamous "sugar crash") and fats provide a long-term but slow release of energy, protein is the happy medium of energy-producing food . Eating a steady amount of protein throughout the day will not only leave you feeling full and satisfied but also give you the energy needed to perform tasks without crashing out.

Getting enough protein is essential to our health, and lack of it can lead to health problems such as:
  • Reduced immune system response
  • Degradation of muscle tone 
  • Increased wound healing times (just one weeping wound requires as much as 100 more grams of protein per day)
  • Cataracts and childhood blindness
Proper amounts of protein are especially needed for the ill, the elderly, and vegans. 

How Much Do I Need?
Most Americans eat more protein than we need for daily nutrition, which is a result of living in a wealthy country. This means that in a survival situation we can get by on less than we usually eat, although we won't be happy about it.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein for a healthy adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, although some believe that to be on the low side, especially if you are extremely active or trying to gain muscle. For more information I encourage you to follow the link above.

I wish to point out that I am not trying to lecture anyone on their diet; why I mentioned this ratio of grams per pound will be made clear in the next section.

Protein Density for Food Storage
Since we're all stuck at home to avoid catching COVID-19, it's important that we eat well so that we can keep our immune system strong. However, it's also important that we have the right foods put away, as we all have a limited amount of space for our food storage. Please consult this chart when you re-stock your pantry so that you can optimize your food preps.

Complete Proteins
A complete protein or whole protein is a food source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of each of the nine essential amino acids necessary in the human diet. Complete proteins come from animals (including seafood, eggs, and dairy) and the soy family of legumes (edamame, tempeh, soy nuts, tofu, soy milk).

Protip: If you are storing canned foods such as tuna and salmon, get them packed in oil instead of water. The oil will add additional nutrition along with some essential fats.

Incomplete Proteins
These are proteins which are insufficient by themselves but combine with another incomplete protein group to make a complete protein. You do not need to eat both groups of incomplete protein in the same meal; your body is able to assemble a complete protein from different meals so long as you eat them on the same day. Incomplete protein groups are legumes, grains, and nuts & seeds.

When it comes time to re-stock your prepper pantry, keep this chart in mind.


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