rationing food as a strategy in survival

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Rationing strategies
When food is scarce, have a plan for rationing!

Do you have a plan for rationing?
No matter how much food and water you stockpile, and no matter
how robust your garden is growing, there's one thing that's for
sure ~ eventually your food supply will run out. When food is
scarce, preppers must have a plan for rationing the last of the
food (and an ethical plan if possible).

How will you handle food rationing in famine?  How will you divvy
the portions? Have you ranked members in your family or group to
determine who gets a larger share and who might have to forgo
food altogether? There may be a hunger war coming, are you
ready? Below are some thoughtful considerations about rationing
that will help you resolve these questions and survive!

Rationing as a Strategy in Survival
Avoiding malnutrition and starvation is among the primary goals
of prepping and it's why preppers should plan a strategy for
rationing when food is scarce. Ethics come into play, but what is
ethical may not be necessarily for the greater good of your family
or group.

Incidentally, the strategies and ideas below apply to all kinds of
foods, not just ration bars.

#1: Determine who gets the food you have.
At some point in the process when the stuff hits the fan, you'll
want to start rationing and doling out those rations. You will
need to establish a hierarchy. In a way you will be strategicially
ranking members in your family or group to determine who gets a
larger share and who might be required to limit food intake or
forgo food altogether in a dire emergency.

Below are thoughts to consider in planning rationing as a strategy
for your family or group...

  • Women and children first? Women who are pregnant or
    nursing are theoretically "eating for two" and this brings a
    logical order to who may eat first. Chivalry aside, as a
    parent, you may think that your children come first! No one
    wants to see a child wilting away, but without an adult to
    look after them, children won't survive alone. This is why
    airline personnel always instruct you to place an oxygen
    mask on yourself before your children. That's food for
    thought about rationing, but there's more to ponder when
    food and supplies are low.

  • Provider or defender first? Should the provider eat first?
    Certainly the hunter, gatherer, fisherman, farmer or
    defender, should get proper nourishment because the others
    won't be able to eat or survive without this valuable service.
    That's good fodder and preppers can take nature's lead!
    Think of it this way, in nature the wolves in the pack who
    lead the group are the first to eat. This is nature's hierarchy
    and reward system to ensure that everyone eats and
    everyone strives to do better in the pack.

  • What about the sick and elderly? It would seem that
    people who are near the end of life could be the ones to self
    forgo food in crisis, but what if you had to make the decision
    for them? Utilitarianism comes into play ~ this is a set of
    beliefs that actions should benefit the majority of the people
    to make them the correct set of actions. Ultimately,
    however, someone has to make the judgement about quality
    of life and with a heavy heart decide. Such a rationing
    scheme may unfairly discriminate against the sick, elderly or
    people with disabilities. You may think of it as Darwinism
    and the survival of the fittest or a Nazi Germany. Either way
    you'd be correct. These kinds of ethical considerations are
    unfathomable, but will could come into play in crisis and only
    you can decide what is right for you and your family.

  • Lottery or a coin to decide who eats? If luck should decide
    the fate of eating, the concept of egalitarianism comes into
    play. In egalitarianism, all people are equal and deserve
    equal rights or equal luck to the food. Here morality gets a
    level playing field. This concept might work for football
    because it has a referee, but for something as important as
    a presidential election or starvation you'd likely not want this
    method of selecting who will eat! Hollywood can sometimes
    provide ideas to ponder. The Hunger Games, pictured right,
    is Dystopian tale of a highly controlled society that holds an
    annual pageant of youth competing from 12 districts in
    various stages of poverty. In the poverty stricken districts,
    people regularly die of starvation. Youth are selected by
    lottery to participate in a death match and there can be only
    one victor remaining in the arena!  The award of food and
    supplies goes to the district. The heroine takes the place of
    her sister.

  • In a lottery system the person most suitable to help the
    group survive might not win! Besides, there are always
    cheaters in a lottery method ~ someone might self-sacrafice
    or be selfish!

There are many other ethical considerations on doling out the last
of the food. There is lots to consider about what is a fair process,
but before we get into some ideas about rationing to help you
survive, consider the warning signals of famine and the causes.

Highest priority:
  • Highly skilled members of the group who are doing the most
    physical labor (chopping wood, hunting farming) would be at
    the top of the food chain.

  • Women who are pregnant or nursing are eating for two and
    will require a higher ranking than most.

  • Teen boys who have an active share of the work load will
    require slightly more food than many in the group.

Lowest priority:
  • Women who are menstruating will need slightly more food,
    but considerably lower on the  priority scale.

  • Women who are not menstruating can eat proportionally less
    than many others in the group.

  • Kids will eat proportionally less food than adults, but parents
    can give them more steady rations or boost the rations by
    sharing.

  • Elderly and those unable to would logically be at the bottom
    of the food chain.

#2: Consider water supplies as a factor to rationing.
Water is a factor in rationing:

  • Avoid salty foods when water is low. A well thought plan
    for rationing food will have you avoiding salty foods if water
    is low because foods high in salt will make you thirsty. FEMA
    recommends you look for salt-free crackers and whole grain
    cereals as well as canned foods with a high liquid content.

  • Make sure you have enough water for freeze dried foods.
    Another consideration in times of rationing in regards to
    water is that many freeze dried foods require water to
    prepare. The exception is freeze dried fruits that you can eat
    without adding water and some freeze dried meats that also
    can be a snack without rehydrating with ater.

#3: Consume food methodically.
Have a strategy of how to eat your food, so that you can eat it
methodically and stretch your resources.

  • Don't be tempted to eat all your food at once! Rationing is
    the way to go. In a short-term emergency situation, such as
    being stranded, a strategy could be to consume all the food
    immediately or it could be to parcel out the food slowly.
    Temptation may plead you to eat all the food immediately to
    avoid others from getting the food first. Its true that in a
    survival situation you might compete with humans or anmals
    for the food, but then your body is racing the clock on the
    catabolic process (breaking down complex molecules into
    smaller ones). Rationing may add time as a factor for your
    rescue potential. Guard your food well with proper containers
    and employ force to protect what's rightfully yours.

  • Take small bites. Maximize nutrient absorption by taking
    small bites and savoring those bites. This is difficult for a
    person who is starving because the impulse is to get the
    food quickly to the stomach to stop the hunger pangs.

  • Chew rations slowly! Rationing is an allocation of scarce
    resources. A forgotten strategy in rationing is that after
    you've decided who gets what food, everyone participating in
    the eating should eat slowly. Whatever food is left, have the
    decided action to eat slowly and by that we mean ~ chew
    your food so that every morsel has the full benefit of the
    digestive powers of your saliva. Chewing is the first phase of
    digestion and you must help your body break down the
    nutritive substances by thoroughly chewing.

#4: Reduce activity as part of  your rationing efforts.
Conserving energy is a good strategy overall when it comes to
rationing efforts.

It follows naturally that if you reduce activity in your family or
group, you will also reduce your need for more food. FEMA says
that "
healthy people can survive on half their usual food intake."

#5: Be selective in how you stock and use rations.
Formal rationing was a concept developed in wartime when the
society produced less. It's just a fact that when the military
needs more armaments, the society will produce less consumer
goods and a rationing is a way to deal with that shortage so that
it could guarantee minimum amounts of necessities to everyone
(especially poor people) and prevent inflation.

Here are some ways the U.S. and Great Britain dealt with the
shortages:

  • Butter. During World War II a housewife might find a store
    sign requesting not to ask about butter.

  • Cheese. Vegetarians were allowed extra cheese in wartime!

  • Milk. In Venezuela during their economic crisis, powdered
    milk has been confiscated by government officials. This is
    because it is their only means of getting dairy into their
    diets. Many preppers aren't aware that from powdered milk
    you can make cheese and there are many useful recipes with
    powdered milk.

  • Sugar. Extremely valuable, sugar is something to savor,
    conserve and to stockpile! During wartime, the United States
    government asked citizens to think before using the
    commodity. You don't need sugar on fruits or to make
    desserts; use less on your oatmeal or other cereals: take
    your coffee and tea without sugar; live with less cake and
    candy; and whenever possible use other sweeteners! And
    sugar rationing was severely rationed in Britain ~ people
    could buy a half a pound of sugar each week.

  • Tea and coffee. Tea and coffee are typical rations because
    of the select growing regions and availability.

#6: Grow food, not lawns.
A core prepper tenet is to grow food, not lawns. If you have a
lawn you can transform it with ornamental food, such as peppers
or a lemon tree. You can also plant hidden food ~ an secret
survival garden ~ or plant food in pots.

  • Diversify your crops. During the Irish Potato famine, most
    peasants had farms that were around 1-10 acres and this
    was all the plot they had to grow the family's food for the
    year, which was mostly potatoes. Had they diversified they
    would not have suffered.

#7: Consider the many Causes of Famine.
There are many causes of famine:

  • Drought and natural disasters. In a prolonged period of low
    rainfall, crops undoubtedly suffer. Such was the case during
    the Great Depression when America's heartland became a
    dust bowl. It was a combination of deficient rainfall, high
    temperatures and high winds brought dust storms and
    massive insect infestations. In part drought is to blame for
    the economic turmoil in Venezuela. Drought is a factor in
    Venezuela because the nation relies on hydroelectric dams,
    and the rolling blackouts affect water shortages.

  • Crop failure vs. Cash Crops. Disease can wipe out crops,
    but so can cash. Such was the case in Ireland around 1845
    1852 the time of the Irish potato famine where the potato
    crop had failed because of a mold. The mold did not affect
    other kinds of crops, which were exported "cash crops." While
    the peasants who lived mostly on potatoes starved because
    of the potato crop failure, the Brits overseas controlled the
    cash crops and did not offer the food to the locally
    impoverished. The available food went to Europe for profit.

  • Crop production changes because of war. You may have
    overlooked it in your history books, but during World War I
    America's allies faced starvation and the civilian supply of
    food became a significant a factor in victory. It was a
    difficult few years with rationing and food shortages that
    took a toll on citizens. You see, many men from the farming
    industry joined the armed services, which left the people
    with a short supply of agricultural workers. It happened
    again in World War II when Germany tried to cut off the
    supply of food to Britain by attacking ships that brought in
    wares from overseas. In wartime Britain food became too
    costly for many citizens, so the government took action and
    regulated butter, bread, meat, and sugar between 1917-1920.

  • Inflation. If food prices were to skyrocket certainly many
    people would suffer from starvation. Imagine a world where
    it could cost $100 for a loaf of bread and you can quickly see
    how inflation could affect a population and famine could set
    in.

  • Political shortages of food. Food shortages in Venezuela are
    a result of failed political policies. Food is available to the
    citizens of Venezuela in neighboring countries, such as
    Columbia, but not everyone has access to getting across the
    border. This is a real life Hunger Games.

#8: Give thoughts to other kinds of rationing...
Finally, give thought to other kinds of rationing.

  • Medical supply rationing. Rationing also applies to
    allocation of medical resources. When food is scarce, it helps
    to have an ethical and well thought out plan for rationing;
    however the same philosophy plagues physicians and first
    responders when it comes to medical care. They must assign
    degrees of urgency to the wounded or ill patients.

  • Triage is a type of rationing! Triage is assigning degrees of
    urgency to wounds or illnesses as a strategy for treating a
    large number of patients such as with a combat situation or
    an active shooter, or even an pandemic. Triage is a decision
    and order of treatment when there are too many patients or
    casualties in comparison to the resources available to help
    the victims.

  • IOSAT "nuke pills": The U.S. government doesn't have a
    supply of IOSAT Nuke Pills for the entire population, though
    it may have enough for a region if there's an accident at a
    nuclear reactor. In part it's because of supply and demand ~
    in part it's also because it expires.

  • Rationing of petroleum, electricity and energy. There have
    been several instances where gas and even electricity has
    been rationed. In the 1970s the United States suffered an
    embargo where Arab members of the Organization of
    Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) began a ban on trade
    of gas and petroleum. It was in retaliation for the decision to
    re-supply the Israeli military and to gain leverage. What
    resulted was gas lines and rationing based on license plates.
    You could fill up with gas only on even or odd days based on
    the even or odd number of your license plate.

Pet food rationing
Ratioing of bird food and meat for pets isn't something that you
might consider, but take a lesson from history. An under reported
fact of the war was rationing of meat as it affected pet owners.
Humans and pets were competing for resources. In Britain there
was a
massive pet cull during World War II. The government
asked and the people complied ~ dogs were murdered so that the
pets did not take the meat rations. The BBC estimates that
750,000 British pets were killed. Pamphlets read "If at all
possible, send or take your household animals into the country in
advance of an emergency." Setting animals free in the country
was to some more humane than murdering them.

In short, butchers would not be allowed to legally sell meat for
pets, and it was forbidden to buy or sell bird seed all in the name
of rationing.
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Rationing strategies and ethical considerations
Above, a grocer in Britain during World War II posts a rationing sign on
sugar, tea, and coffee. Such restrictions were common, as was the sign
hanging atop that reminded patrons that "Loyal citizens do not hoard."

Preppers are patriots who are loyal first to their family and
friends. Rest assured that it's not currently illegal to hoard, and it
just makes sense to prepare the way your ancestors did for the
coming winter months.

Rationing your food for 30-days or 45-days.
The Augason Farms one-month food bucket, pictured immediate
right, includes a 30-day and a 45-day meal planner to give you
options in crisis depending on how much you need to ration your
food supply. This is something you won’t find in any other
emergency food kit. Augason Farms takes the guesswork out of
daily meal preparation with this unique meal planner. In an
emergency situation, it is critical that food is carefully prepared to
ensure you have a balanced number of calories each day for an
extended period of time. If there’s a chance an emergency might
go beyond 30 days, the 45 day planner is an important tool to
help you spread the food across additional days. It’s safe to say
this meal planner could be a lifesaver.

The Augason Farms bucket includes:
  • Cheesy broccoli rice and creamy chicken flavored rice
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Hearty vegetable chicken soup and cream potato soup
  • Maple brown sugar oatmeal
  • Morning Moo lowfat milk alternate
  • Instant potatoes
  • Banana chips

Happy endings...
One of the reasons you stock your prepper's pantry with shelf-
stable foods and why you grow a garden is that you want to avoid
a personal famine or hardship. Avoiding malnutrition and
starvation is among the primary goals of prepping, but in doling
out the last of the food, ethics come into play. Preppers must
have a thoughtful plan for rationing!

When it comes to rationing can learn from the past. In wartime
people rationed soap, cigarettes, coffee, sugar, clothes and
petroleum products. These rationed supply items can provide
clues to future rationing. In being mindful of stockpiling certain
kinds of supplies, you will be more prepared as a prepper.

More prepping articles....

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Augason Farms 30-day food supply bucket