Survival School: Hungry like the Wolf
We’ve covered food quite a bit. Understandably. While a human can survive for three weeks without food, it isn’t pleasant. Starvation means no fuel to make our bodies move, and we’re all about mobility here at the ZSC. Staying put, unable to defend yourself is the very thing we’ve been preparing our brigadiers against. A stationary target becomes zombie chow pretty quick. But how are we supposed to maintain a balanced diet on the run? You won’t. However, if you focus on finding steady sources for protein, keeping one step ahead of the undead will be much easier.
The CDC recommends teens and older eat about 50 grams of protein a day. It may sound like a lot, but not when you consider that a single fillet of striped bass contains a whopping 28 grams of protein. Just remember, the more active you are, the more protein you’ll need to keep your muscles going. Despite running for your lives, you’ll need to self-check your health anytime you stop to rest.
–Are you overly exhausted despite adequate sleep? Lethargy and the overwhelming urge to sleep is a huge red flag for protein deficiency. If you’re having trouble finding motivation or focus to do anything or curling up for an afternoon nap when you’re normally not a nap person, time to take a look at what you’ve eaten the last few days.
–Feeling weak as a newborn lamb? Muscle weakness is one of the first signs that you need to up your protein intake. Look for trembling muscles, wobbly knees, along with trouble focusing your eyes.
–Not filling out your clothes the same anymore? It’s an old wives tale that says a starving body will go for the fat first. Bodies need protein to keep internal organs going. They’ll start cannibalizing healthy muscle tissue in order to get what it needs. Sure, you’ll look like you lost weight, but you won’t be able to swing a q-tip, let alone an ax at a zombie.
–That cut on your arm refusing to heal? Slow healing goes along with the bit up above. Your body will focus on keeping your internal organs going, only sending excess protein to help rebuild damaged tissue such as wounds and sprains. If you have a fellow survivor who is injured, don’t think their lack of mobility means they need to cut back on food.
–Bald isn’t your hairstyle of choice? Hair loss and brittle finger/toe nails happens for the same reasons stated above—your body is conserving protein and energy for vital functions.
Where can you find protein? Below are two lists, arranged from the highest amount of protein per serving size on down.
Protein sources to pack: Dry whole milk, pork chop, chicken thigh, chicken breast, turkey breast, edamame, non-fat dry milk, steak, chicken leg, ham, kidney beans, white beans, lima beans, black beans, fava beans, mung beans, canned tuna, non-fat/low fat cheese, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, beef jerky, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, tofu.
Protein sources to find in the wild: Rainbow trout, beaver, striped bass, bear, catfish, deer, muskrat, rabbit, squirrel, opossum, boar, horse, goat, raccoon, freshwater bass.
The wild resources are numerous and vary by location. Best bet is to fish for your supper. One fillet of rainbow trout is well over half of what you need per day at 33 grams of protein.
A quick note for those thinking, “Why don’t I just pack a bunch of protein bars?” While that’d seem like a good idea, it isn’t. Most of the popular protein bars are a bunch of sugar and fat wrapped around a minimal amount of protein. The kick you feel from eating one isn’t from the fuel you need, but from the junk they used as filler. During my research, I found one protein bar that wasn’t full of fat and sugar. For the 20 grams of protein it’d give you, the cost (over $2 per bar) isn’t worth it. You’d get more from buying $2 worth of kidney beans.
You’ve got your shopping list. Better make sure your emergency food supplies include most of the dry ingredients listed above. They’ll keep you going long enough to establish camp and hunt.