Emergency Preparedness: Maintaining Adequate Nutrition in Times of Disaster

Getting through a disaster is the goal of an emergency preparedness plan. However, simply outlasting the conditions is not sufficient. Rather, because help may take weeks to arrive after a severe incident, effectively sustaining yourself during that time period is crucial to survival. In this regards, adequate food and clean water are essential to emergency preparedness, and building a supply well in advance eliminates last-minute scavenging.

Women's Nutrition: What is Considered “Healthy Food”?

Last minute gathering rarely yields a sufficient supply. Instead, the roots of food storage must be planted years in advance, with the goal of having enough items to sustain everyone in your household a year adequate food safety practices lead to less . With a relatively short lifespan, canned goods, however, are not the most efficient. Instead, basic items form the foundation of food storage. In this case, grains, beans, powdered milk, honey, oil, sugar, salt, and seeds constitute a sufficient start.

On the other hand, although these items provide a nutritionally-sound foundation, they result in a limited diet, one without sufficient fruits, vegetables, or proteins. For nutritional diversity, an emergency food kit is a solution. Consisting of dehydrated foods packaged in airtight cans or pouches, emergency food kits allow a household a varied diet with minimal preparation during times of disaster and provide up to a year’s supply in a single package.

Brands of emergency food, such as Mountain House, AlpineAire, and Wise Food Storage, all offer various storage options, but all have a similar concept. For all, water is added to a serving of freeze-dried or dehydrated food, which rehydrates in minutes. In some cases, the meal can be eaten as-is, or for a traditional cooking experience, multiple servings of rehydrated foods can be combined together in a pan and heated. Some brands, however, consist primarily of already-prepared meals, while others offer greater variety through cans or pouches of individual ingredients.

For emergency preparedness, basic items and kits work together to fulfill daily caloric and nutritional needs. Typically, if serving suggestions are followed, a kit supplies an individual with 1,000 to 2,000 calories per day of food.

It’s not that easy to determine if our cats are getting nutritionally adequate food. In some ways, things aren’t a whole lot different from the days before honest labeling was required. Actually, I’m not sure truthful disclosure is even a legal requirement for pet food now. After all, they’re “just animals,” right?

Labels now list ingredients, so we consumers can know what we’re getting… or do we?

Unfortunately, wherever there is a law or a regulation, there is a way to work around it. And work around it these companies do. Their bottom line is measured in dollars, not in happy health statistics, nor the beaming faces of children with healthy, playful pets. The happy faces may appear in commercials and advertisements, but they are not the faces of actual consumers and their pets in the real world. They are models and actors, hired to appear in the ads.

Here’s a thought: If the container proclaims the product is nutritionally complete or balanced, then it’s supposed to be. But what exactly does nutritionally “complete” mean? And what is “balanced?” We either have to know a lot more about cat (or dog) physiology ourselves, or we must depend on the professionals we trust to know about it. And so, we are left with the only practical choice… trusting someone else to tell us.

I don’t know about your veterinarian, but I know a few who depend on company sales representatives to “assure” them that the food they’re selling to clients is “nutritionally complete.” How scientific is that? It’s just like getting a new drug at your doctor’s office. You can be sure the doctor didn’t study it… he’s only going by what the sales rep told him. And what school did those guys go to?

Another way around the nutritional requirements is this little disclaimer, often found on some pet food labels: “This product is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding.” This means it doesn’t have to contain everything needed by your cat to live and be healthy. It only needs to contain what the ingredient list says is in there, whether your cat needs it or not, and whether you understand the chemical names or not.

Categorized as Health

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