Grassroots Commentary

A New Addition to Your Disaster Preparedness and Survival: Part II

John Longenecker · Oct. 8, 2012

Imagine trying to stay alert with a bad case of the flu and you have a good feel for your ability to function under the combined conditions of disaster and malnutrition.

In Part I, I described why nutritionals are essential to your safety in time of disaster, namely when you find yourself operating at 100% at times for extended periods. No one can do this for long, but for bursts when needed, optimal health can get you through. Ordinary food is becoming more depleted of nutrients and alternatives are fewer, including personal gardening. Any disaster condition may last for months, and how you come out on the other side will be directly proportional to how to go in. You’ll want to be as healthy as you possibly can.

In Part II, when I say healthy, I am not speaking about a physicality of strength and power, I am speaking about how nutritionals affect your survivability of the disaster’s hazards. Your immune system, your alertness level, your ability to focus and concentrate, your ability to plan intelligently, coordinate with others when necessary, and avert stress – all of this I call your ability to cope.

For, it is not your ability to lift or run that will be life-saving, but your ability to adapt to changing situations, your ability to respond and not merely react; in short, your overall ability to cope with conditions.

Proper nutrition determines to a very great degree the functionality of our immune system. Poor nutrition can reduce our ability to fight opportunistic infections, airborne microbes and toxins, and can make people susceptible to degenerative diseases. This distracts your functionality from being at your best when your life may depend on it. Imagine trying to stay alive and alert with a bad case of the flu and you have a feel for your ability to function under malnutrition conditions.

Disaster and its stresses sets the stage for all sorts of conditions including malnutrition of the healthy. With shorter supply as food pipelines break, shelves are empty and supplies dwindle quickly. Irrespective of how you might see the face of malnutrition, Americans can develop malnutrition in time of disaster, and this will affect your ability to function.

Acute malnutrition of children under the age of 5 sets in sooner than it does for adults. A sick child profoundly affects your choices. What some adults might believe is tolerable for themselves in terms of going without comes on sooner in their young children. Wasting is well known around the globe, but human physiology is what it is wherever it is, and it needs to be averted by not only plenty of food, but plenty of nutrition.

World health organizations scholarly articles address food availability and distribution in relief efforts. Though many of the experts recommend supplements, this reliance on centralization means waiting. One of the greatest complaints in relief in the United States is in the waiting for arrival and distribution of food and seeing the continuing distribution of whatever they have on the menu.

Why not have your own? Why not have your own supplements? Why not have your own reaction time, comfort and security in better assuring your own nutrition for energy, immunity and alertness?

Nutritionals keep rather well and are the complement to emergency food which can be good for decades. But time is running out. Focus on food and water is only part of the picture of preparedness; actual nutrition is a must-have for your ability to cope and survive. This means improving your knowledge base on the subject.

Food Price Inflation is a new threat to your planning today for household safety tomorrow. Not only are foods being diverted to fuels or other ends, but pricing is increasing from other factors. This affects decisions made by households as budget considerations re-prioritize options. Nutritionals which keep well should be acquired and shelved in your preparedness larder while their pricing is unaffected. They should also be made part of your diet now to improve your overall ability to cope always.

As I mention often, outcomes are what we medical people work for, optimal outcomes. Preparedness is a thorough undertaking, a serious-minded, attention-to-detail approach to pre-thinking need and acting on instituting it before need for one outcome: survival, and surviving well. Making nutritionals a part of your health and your ability to cope will optimize your outcome come what may.

John Longenecker is a former Los Angeles Paramedic. His wife Aurea is a Trauma ICU Nurse. Together, they operate Wellness Priority One, quality nutritionals as part of the household’s disaster preparedness plans.

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