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Get Prepped Newsletter: September 16, 2011

This series installment marks our 20th week in our 52 week series of getting you prepared. This week we focus our concentration on long-term food storage. Ensuring that our basic needs of food and water are met during a short or long-term emergency will help us stay strong, healthy and focused on getting past the disaster.


This has been a hard week; the anniversary of September 11th always takes me right back to the fear and the sadness we all felt 10 years ago. Seeing how unprepared people were and still are worries me deeply. My biggest fear (as I am sure is yours) is that our friends and family may not be ready for the times ahead, and I become overwhelmed with the responsibility to share preparedness and lose track of staying calm. I become so wrought with an urgency to help others prepare that I neglect to see how much the worry is affecting me. I expressed my concerns with my friends at Facebook and asked them what ways they cope in these uncertain times and they had some great advice that I thought I share with all of you:

…I just think “as in the days of Noah” and keep on working.

…Keep trying to spread the news and help friends & family know how important it is to be prepared for “whatever” may happen… and keep plugging away at doing my own preparing.

 …There are unfulfilled bible scrips, in prophecy’s “the sun will shine again”, “what’s coming to shall pass”, “the 25th through the 31st is not the end, its just a sign.” God is not pleased. we will survive this.

…Just being a living testimony is the most important issue. People look at you and me a lot more than they listen. Funny but my drive into work this morning I was thinking about the days of Noah and the people lost then and the people lost now. Love your neighbor as yourself and everything else will fall in line.

… I do keep encouraging my neighbors to have plenty of their own Bullets, beans and band-aids. I let them know of every sale and deal I find. I have also helped them get started in gardening.

 After reading these encouraging comments, I remembered why I started all of this: Freedom. You will find freedom in preparing. I know this because I have through learning new skills and having preparations ready.  So, in times of worry, I gain energy from the community that we are building together, and I find my balance and peace of mind through preparedness. Thanks again for the great comments!

This series installment marks our 20th week in our 52 week series of getting you prepared. This week we focus our concentration on long-term food storage. Ensuring that our basic needs of food and water are met during a short or long-term emergency will help us stay strong, healthy and focused on getting past the disaster.

A few months ago, I mentioned that there would be some changes to Ready Nutrition. I am excited to say that Ready Nutrition now has its very own food storage calculator! This is a great tool to calculate how much food and preparedness items you and your family will need to store. The greatest feature is that you can customize the calculator for small scale or larger scale disaster needs. Feel free to share the calculator with others to help them in their preparedness needs. I have some more changes that I plan on making, so stay tuned!

Please feel free to peruse the archive of previous newsletters to catch up. You can view them at Ready Nutrition.

If you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter or see what we are doing on Facebook. I love to interact with my readers, because, after all, we are all in this together! Don’t forget to share the prepared love and invite your friends and family to read Ready Nutrition and help build our community.

Thank you for taking the time to better prepare yourselves for life’s unexpected disasters, and especially for being a part of this amazing community.


Tess Pennington


Week 20 of 52: 1 Month Supply of Food

We are all preparing for different reasons and to different degrees, however, most of you can agree that we are all preparing for a scenario where we will need to have emergency supplies to fall back on when the time comes. We have discussed in previous newsletters how storing food is both economical as well as promotes personal responsibility. Knowing that you can sustain your family in a disaster also provides peace of mind, which is priceless.

When storing food for long-term emergencies, it is hard to calculate how much food a person or family will need. One of the golden rules of prepping is “it’s better to be over prepared rather than under prepared.” Ensure that your family has enough food for long-term emergencies by researching to find out how many calories a person needs per day in order to survive, and knowing how much food to store. Remember to turn to the long-term food supply guideline to ensure that your food stays within it’s expiration date.

Certain foods can stand the test of time and are lifelines to families.  The following is a detailed list of the suggested prep items for you to purchase this week. Most of these items are lifetime survival foods, meaning their shelf life is 20 years+ and would be a good investment to make towards your food security.

  •  White Rice – White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, is rich in starches and carbohydrates, is cheap and has a long shelf life.  Although some prefer brown rice, white rice is the better storage choice. Even though brown rice has more nutrition, it is considered a “living” food and tends to not last as long as white rice does. If properly stored, white rice can last 30 years or more. Rice can be used for breakfast meals, added to soups, made into a variety of side dishes and is also an alternative to wheat flour.
  • Beans – These low cost preps are not only packed with nutrition, but are extremely versatile. Beans are packed with protein, iron, fiber, folate, antioxidants and vitamins. When beans are accompanied with rice, it makes a complete protein which provides all the amino acids needed to survive. One serving of beans and rice provides 19.9 g, or 40 percent of your daily vitamins.
  • Wheat – Wheat is one of your long-term emergency must haves! Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita­mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein. Wheat berries are best to store as they will last longer than flour. The berries can also be used as a  breakfast cereal, added to soups for additional nutrition, popped like popcorn, ground into flour for baking, used to make alcohol, livestock feed, used as a leavening agent, for sprouting.
  • Oats – Steel cut, rolled or quick cooking oats are the most common types of oats you can buy in bulk. Oats are considered a whole grain and can be a valuable protein source during a long-term situation. In addition, oats can be used in a variety of cooking recipes, ground into flour, sprouted for needed vitamin nutrition, and used as livestock feed. Oats also have proven to be very effective in soothing the skin, and can be used medicinally. The alternative medicine community boasts that infusions of oat straw has also been used to assist in nicotine withdraws, and  used to treat flu symptoms and coughs. 
  • SaltSalt is a multipurpose, low cost prep that will be highly desirable if a long term disaster were to come around.  Prepping calculators suggest having 25 pounds of salt stored for one year. Salt can be used for curing, as a preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, and tanning hides. Salt that is stored in it’s paper packaging can be subject to caking due to exposure to moisture. Packing salt in long-term packaging is suggested.
  • Sugar – Sugar will be highly desirable in a long-term emergency mainly because it will add a bit of normalcy to the situation. With a little sugar stored away you can use it as a sweetener for beverages, in breads, cakes, as a preservative, use it to make alcohol,  for curing, gardening, and as an insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches). Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container. It is suggested not to add any dessicant packets to sugar as it will cause the sugar to brick.
  • Bouillon Granules – Bouillon granules are a great way to add flavor to dishes during a long-term situation. This could be a great way to beat food fatigue (eating the same types of food repeatedly that causes one to lose their appetite). Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved.  However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered.  If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best to repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags. Bulk quantities of bouillon granules can be found at most super stores.
  • Powdered Milk – Because dry milk will probably be the most sensitive food item you are storing, the drier powdered milk can be kept the better. In fact, adding a dessican’t packet when storing for long-term would be helpful in preserving this necessary food item. Powdered milk is not just for drinking. It can be used in a variety of recipes, added to soups, used to make breads, and also has many beauty uses as well.
  • Cooking Oil – Many overlook this critical prep item. Having oil is not only essential to use for cooking purposes, but it can play a large role in our diet as well. The fats contained in oil have nine calories per gram compared to the four calories contained by either carbohydrates or protein. This makes fat a valuable source of concentrated calories that could be of real importance if faced with a diet consisting largely of unrefined grains and legumes. Having cooking oil on hand could also be helpful to aiding the diet intakes of children and elderly since they consume less food and may be risk for malnutrition in a long-term disaster situation. Storing cooking oil could pose a problem. Due to the instability of most cooking oils, unopened bottles of  oil have a shelf life of 1 year. This is one example of why it is so important to use the foods that we store. Ironically, coconut oil has a longer shelf life of 5 years when properly stored in cool, dark place. Although darker colored oils have more flavor than paler colored, the agents that contribute to that flavor and color also contribute to faster rancidity. For maximum shelf life buy paler colored oils.

Preps To Buy:

  • White rice in bulk quantities
  • Beans in bulk quantities
  • Wheat in bulk quantities
  • Oats in bulk quantities
  • Sugar in bulk quantities
  • Salt in bulk quantities
  • Bouillon granules in bulk quantities
  • Powdered milk in bulk quantities
  • 2-gallons of cooking oil

Action Items:

  1.  Calculate the amount of food your family will need for a month long disaster.
  2. With the food storage items purchased last week, begin assembling Mylar bags and storage containers and pour food contents in and seal for long-term storage. Have a print out on hand on the directions for packing food long term to ensure that you are storing food correctly.
  3. Ensure that food lids are sealed correctly.
  4. Store sealed food containers in a cool, dark, and dry area of the home.
  5. As a reminder, remember not to forget your pets in your long-term food storage plans and ensure that you have packed enough food away for your pets. Dog and cat food can also be stored in food grade plastic containers for long-term use.


In Our Home:

The hot summer inspired my children to watch more TV and spend more time on the computer, as means of staying both entertained and cool.  As the heat decreases, we are really trying to encourage our kids to get more active. This means, my hubbie and I have to lead by example. We are trying to take as many family walks as possible in addition to sports and ballet classes for my daughters.

Family Preps:

We are getting ready to make a big purchase at a super store for some needed prep items. I want to focus my shopping experience on needed supplies for sanitation and also get some medical supplies. I have found that Sam’s Wholesale has children’s medicines and vitamins in bulk quantities. I’d like to stock up on these before the flu season arrives.

In the Garden:

 My seeds that I planted a few weeks ago are growing nicely. In a few weeks I am going to begin setting them outside to get a little sun. I am really looking forward to the weather cooling off so that I can plant my root crops.


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If like me, you worry about the people in your lives being unprepared, get them started on creating a 30-day emergency supply. I cannot stress the importance of a community enough, so reach out to those around you. Accept it if they decline your help, and brainstorm new and fun prep ideas with them if they embrace prepping. You can also share this newsletter with them, as it has plenty of helpful information about how to store and prepare food in an emergency. Hopefully, there will be a time when they will take comfort in this forethought.

Since this month is National Preparedness month, we should all take the time to ensure that those around us are just as prepared as we are. During a long-term crisis, it is those who are willing to work together that will have the best chance of making it.  Whether it is your family, your friends, a church or a local group of people that you know, make sure that you have some people that you can rely on and work together with in the event that everything hits the fan.

Help your neighbors and community be better prepared by:

  • Helping them understand the disasters that can affect your area.
  • Know your communities existing contingency plans.
  • Prepare for a full spectrum of emergencies and emergency plans.
  • Help neighbors and community prepare appropriately for their basic survival needs for both short and long-term scenarios.
  • Practice the plans put in place.
  • Start a community garden in your neighborhood, or at a local church.

With a little foresight and preparedness, communities can be more united in times of crisis. 


One of the perks of my job at Ready Nutrition is to address questions and/or concerns that you may have with your prepping endeavors. Feel free to ask anything that is on your mind because no question is too big or small. You can email questions to: getprepped@readynutrition.com

This week’s question addresses rodents:

I have found that mice can chew thru a fairly think plastic container. Very creative.
Hard to find a place in a house that the mice cannot get to.
We can kill mice, but they return, no?



Rodents are the worst! They eat our food, carry diseases and are a nuisance in the prepper world. If you take a few proactive steps in protecting your food investment, then you will probably not have a problem with rodents.

  • Keep rodents and other pests away by ensuring that the food storage area is kept clean. If any food hits the floor it could attract rodents that will look for more.
  • Keep possible entry points that rodents might use to enter the home as inaccessible as possible. Like you said, rodents are very creative, and they can enter through the smallest areas of the home, including pipes and cables. Ensure that these are patched with portland cement and vents are covered in heavy hardware cloth.
  • Keep food containers off of the floor, away from walls and where it’s not easily accessed. For instance, I have my plastic storage buckets on wooden slats 18 inches off of the floor. My other food storage sits on shelving that rodents can’t get on top of. The shelves are also not easily reached from anything nearby that a rodent could use to work their way up to shelf height or higher. Ensure that the shelves are far enough away from the wall so that rodents cannot wedge themselves in between and work their way up.
  • The best way to prepare for rodent infestations is through traps. This is a better investment option compared to poisons. In my opinion, poisons are not safe to have around food and for those of us who have small children or pets. Not to mention, if a mouse or rat ingests poison they will run off to die – and that usually involves dying inside your walls. After a week, the stench alone would be a horrible way to sit out a SHTF scenario. Traps will take care of the problem, and the benefit of having them, is they can be re-used.
  • Some preppers have even put their stored food storage containers in galvanized trash cans with lids on top. This could also be a way to avoid rodent infestations.
  • Having a cat or two that lives in or around the home can help keep the rodent population down.

I hope this helps.




This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on September 16th, 2011

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