You’re a sophisticated vegetarian, maybe even a vegan, and suddenly you are confronted by an earthquake (or hurricane, or tsunami) and you are on your own and have to survive.

Would you eat meat?

This is a discussion that is going around the internet. Some of those commenting on BoingBoing seem to scoff, and one comment is that there are no athiests in foxholes, and no vegans in Tsunamis.

Of course, this is nonsense. In a real emergency, where you have to live off the land, you’re not going to be shooting deer to survive, you’ll be either breaking into supermarkets, or living on treebark and acorns, like my aunt did in Austria when their economy collapsed in 1919…
Well, anyway, a nice website called Vegetarians in Paradise has tips for those of you who worry about these things….and their tips are handy for those like my vegetarian daughter in law, who was in the Bakersfield quake at a friends’ house and was stranded for a week.

I don’t see any problem with vegans or vegetarians and packing survival supplies (beans store nicely, either dried or  canned). And cans survive anything, which is why my LDS neighbors always had shelves and shelves of cans and jars stored for emergencies. (Survival tip number one: In case of disaster, head for your Mormon Brother in law’s home).

But all that stuff about meat is nonsense: adults can live quite nicely for months on starches if you take a vitamin. You don’t need that much protein. Store macaroni or rice, and you can eat for quite a while. Don’t forget the salt.
A lot of what you need depends on where you live. If I lived in a city, I’d try to be better prepared, and might even buy a gun. As Instapundit’s list of survival lessons from Katrina shows, you can’t rely on a government that is known for incompetence and corruption. You might need to rely on yourself to get out of the danger area early, and you will need to think of a place to go who will take you in.

Here the problem would be earthquakes, (CDC ADVICE HERE) but we have a farm and would live on rice, and a river is nearby. And the saving grace is not only the government is there to help, but we have a large extended family to take us in.

The real survival problem would not be food per se (since we eat simply) but medicine: my husband has high blood pressure and needs medicine every day…

And what about those who were injured? Do you know basic first aid? In a major earthquake medical help might not be available…and as Katrina showed, the hospitals might not bother to transfer patients until it was too late, and have inexperienced hysterical doctors whose judgement is not up to an emergency.
In cold areas, I’d buy a generator to keep the heat on, and of course if you don’t have a river, store water and/or have a purification device, keep bottles of water handy. Tarps can double as tents, and don’t forget cooking…in prolonged blackouts, you can use gas, but in an earthquake, good old sterno or charcoal would be alternative.

We always have handcrank short wave radios and flashlights, and lots and lots of candles. Don’t forget the cards and books to keep from going crazy. For the rest, you have to figure if you want to do the LDS/one year supply stuff, or just maybe a week of basic stuff to keep you alive until help comes.
As for Tsunami, or other emergencies during vacations: well, when I travel, I always carry a ton of peanut butter crackers in my suitcase…to prevent hypoglycemia. They are a good survival food,  don’t weigh a lot, and a lot cheaper than fancy tofu bars.

Don’t leave home without them…


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.
(Thanks for the headsup from BoingBoing).

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