Garden Hacks and Prepper Foods

The day started earlier than usual.  I had much to accomplish before my first day volunteering at the library.  With the cooler weather in the morning I decided to turn the soil and plant in a small bed that I haven’t gotten to. Cleaning out the crab grass and other weeds I used a potato fork to lift and aerate the soil.  To put lost nitrogen back into the soil I planted soy beans for the first time.  In the empty spaces between the beans I planted Radishes to prevent weeds and offer an extra crop while the beans grow.  While researching for my gardening book last night I read a piece about using radishes to help feed water into the soil.  Since gardening as an art of constantly testing theories I decided there wasn’t much to lose.  

 I checked on my potato pots and found that the leaves and soil inside had compressed towards the bottom preventing the sprouts from moving up.  I removed the extra material and helped the potatoes reach through the leaves.  I would try growing them in the soil again except that they take over the garden and are almost impossible to get rid of once planted.  If potatoes are planted in the soil do not plan on planting anything else in that spot, ever.  It will still be a month before I am pulling any quantities of food out of the garden to note on.  The small bits of greens I have taken are more for added flavor and fiber for the food I have stored.  

 I have found that traditional prepper food is not a health diet.  Sure it may help you survive for a short period of time if something bad happens.  What I am finding is that the same foods that are stored for long periods of time also contain many of the things that are causing the health problems many Americans are facing these days.  If food is stored in a box it likely contains large amounts of salt (sodium) or sugar.  The salt is a preservative and bacteria can not grow on sugar.  Took much salt in a diet can lead to water retention and high blood pressure. The sugar spikes insulin levels and promotes the production of fat in the body.  

 Most canned goods are the same way.  Soups, meats, and vegetables are canned with salt to extend shelf life and contain less nutrients than fresh food.  Canned fruit is loaded with sugar, even if the can says No Sugar Added  the sugar from the fruit is more concentrated much like it is with dried fruit.

 Odds are if a prepper is eating these foods they are hunkering down and not as active as they could be.  

 The traditional rice and beans meal is a high calorie dish that is just as guilty as boxed or canned food. If it was prepared correctly it could be more beneficial. Brown rice has the fiber needed to balance out the dumping of carbohydrates into the liver. Unfortunately brown rice has a short shelf life and spoils unless stored in the fridge.  Beans are high in fiber and have been shown in studies to extend the life span of humans.  While the two together create a complete protein, the spices and herbs added for flavor also include large amounts of salt.  The perfect meal for preppers still has some tweaking to do before it can hold that title.  

 Currently my diet consist of white rice, greens from the garden, meat from the freezer, and lots of tea.  I have some dried beans in the basement but hate cooking them preferring them from the can.  I know after everything I just said it sounds stupid.  The down side of dried beans is that they should be soaked over night before cooking and even now I haven’t learned to plan that far ahead.  As a society that has been trained well to rely on convenience I know I have to undo that training that has been put in me.  

Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.

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