When I first started thinking of the unthinkable–food shortages because of climate change, political turmoil, or natural disaster–I bought a few bags of wheat. Man does not live by bread alone, but bread would certainly help with survival. Wouldn’t it?
Then, I started getting a little older…and a little achier in the joints. I not only did my gardening homework, I read widely about the relationship between diet and health. I gave my buckets of good organic Oklahoma wheat berries to another person with a long-term pantry.
Now, instead of wheat and sugar, I had rice, quinoa, beans, oats, corn and honey. These were backups for my real plan, of course. I was building the humus in my acidic clay-bed garden and raising chickens for meat and eggs. And I continued to do research.
My diet isn’t the result of fad but of desperation. My mother lived for sixteen years with dementia. My dad, a minister, cared for her. He also worked at the church’s food pantry. The diet of his poor…and the food he brought home to mother…were laden with wheat, sugars, dubious fats, and a long list of unpronounceables.
In his eighties, he was diagnosed with dementia. He was healthy, active, and sharp. Then, he wasn’t. What role did the catch-as-catch-can diet play in his and mother’s conditions?
Certainly genetics plays a role, but our lifestyle can often override our genes. We all have health risks. My mother and her mother were crippled by deteriorating joints, and this is why I gave up wheat and sugar.
I asked my dad once, “Don’t your joints ever hurt?”
“Nope,” he said.
Well, mine did.
You can do wonders with achy joints these days. Now I am determined to do what I can to stave off the broken brain. Once again, I’m rethinking my pantry.
I’m convinced more than ever that the garden and the chickens are the real key to security. Here are your necessary vitamins and minerals, your proteins, carbs, and fats. Here are the foods necessary for survival and for more than that, good health, tantalizing tastes, and good times with friends and family around the table.
More research is required. I have decisions to make about what goes and what stays in my emergency stores. Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure soil building, gardening techniques, seed saving skills, and animal husbandry are the real long-term pantry.