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Dealing with food allergies/sensitivities and prepping

I’ve been gluten free for years and just prior to this pandemic my husband developed a serious gastro-intestinal issue that reduced his diet to literally 5 items (and growing, thankfully).  This definitely has put additional challenges on prepping, especially for BOBs.  I’m glad to find that companies have started offering and labeling GF freeze dried food options.  What I’ve not been successful at finding is emergency rations.  I can find protein bars, but their shelf life is months, not even a year.   Has anyone had success in finding (or making) very long shelf life rations for restricted diets?   And I know my situation is fortunate, I can’t imagine emergency scenarios with life threatening allergies.

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  • Comments (23)

    • 2

      It’s admittedly outdated and doesn’t cover all the possible food options (we need the community’s help to keep these kinds of things updated), we took a crack at this: https://theprepared.com/situations/guides/prepping-survival-with-food-allergies/ – anything in there helpful?

      • 3

        Indeed it was very informative.  I’d not explored that part of the site yet.    So they also hadn’t found any emergency rations, but had much, much more thorough information on allergens from the food companies.  The good news is that I think there are likely more options that are allergen free since this post.  It’s improving.

      • 2

        Agreed. It’s been almost three years since we did that research, and I recall at the time thinking that things were improving / the industry was getting it.

        If you care to, please share any research / findings here in the forum and it will help us update that guide!

      • 2

        Will do.  I know I agree with her conclusion to pack more food.  I already feel like my carryon baggage for plane travel is mostly food (and I don’t have children!).  That is under normal circumstances.  An emergency scenario and/or shelter situation is way more challenging.

      • 3

        I got a chuckle from this since that is how I am! I might have a full suitcase just for food and way to prep it. I know my husband finds it annoying but I have gotten really creative in eating while traveling. I even had my DIY MREs on my flight to Europe! I filled up my thermos with hot water from Starbacks just before boarding and used that to soak the food.

    • 3

      Alicia, I’m also on a restrictive diet, though not as restrictive as your husband’s. I make my own MREs using dehydrated or freeze dried vegies and beans, minute rice, raman, and my own seasonings. Basically I take my favorite recipes and use the mentioned quick cooking ingredients. The freeze dried and dehydrated food does seem pricey at first but a little does go a long way.

      I take these with me camping and pre-covid vactions such as theme park and even on the plane. They cook in 3 -5 mins, or just add hot water and sit for a bit. Yeah luke warm but heck it’s food I can eat.

      What I would like to learn though is a better way to store than zip lock bags. It’s worked for a while cause I use them so much but need better long term storage.

      If you need ideas I can post my recipes.

      • 3

        Thanks ElzyAmuzzed.  I’ve invested a bit in the GF Mountain House for the add hot water options.  I’d be very interested in your recipes.   I saw one very positive review for cinci chili dehydrated meal which is one of my go to recipes – but of course it included gluten based pasta.  So no go for me.  But you give me hope that I can get there.  I think long term storage is best in a food grade mylar.  Similar to what is used to protect spacecraft.  It would require a heat sealer which a vacuum sealer like a foodsaver would have on it.  And if I was using a vacuum sealer, I’d likely remove some of the air – but don’t want to crush it.  And it likely won’t get a hard vacuum with the mylar bags because they don’t have the texture for the air to escape.  Here’s a link to an option – here are a lot of them: https://www.amazon.com/Dry-Packs-30-Inch-Gallon-Dehydrated-Storage/dp/B00967K58U/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=food+grade+mylar+bags&qid=1593654586&sr=8-5

      • 4
      • 3

        I would be interested in learning the pros and cons to mylar you seal, zip close mylar, and vacuum packed. My gut says I should have something that is sealed tight, not zip closed and as little air as possible. There are so many options but I guess any is better than my plastic sandwich bags heh

    • 4

      Would it lengthen the life of the protein bars to put them in mylar bags? I am not sure, so someone else can answer. I can’t eat any legumes, which cuts out beans and peanut butter for LTS protein sources (for me- I have beans for everyone else). I can have whey powder (yuck!) so have stored enough that I can get a reasonable amount of protein for quite a while. I am considering putting some whey, once I have enough extra, into mylar bags for the longer term. I am not sure if that would increase the storage life. I would like to hear from others about that.

      • 3

        My assumption would be if any packaged food is put in mylar bags then it would last longer.

        As for protein I love Anthony’s powdered cheese. I can’t have some preservatives since it give me migraines, but this cheese doesn’t have the bad stuff and it tastes good. Costs a little more but tastes good. There are lots of dehydrated meats on the market, I”m sure someone here cold recommend a brand.

        However, as I replied above, just consider what you like to eat today and find a dehydrated version or dehydrate yourself. Assuming there isn’t a packaged version available. Just be creative. I like creating recipes so if you (or anyone reading this) has one you don’t know how to make as an MRE throw it up here and I will take a crack at it.

      • 1

        I think it may.  The ones I just received were in a #10 can with a oxygen absorber.  So you likely would extend the life if you did the same in a mylar bag.

    • 3

      These are some of my recipes, which can be made with meat, vegetarian or vegan (I’m vegetarian). I put all the spices in a separate baggie and add at the end of cooking, unless I’m just adding hot water and letting it sit.

      I don’t know what you can or want to eat, therefore my suggestion  consider what you eat today and you may possibly dehydrate it yourself if you cannot find store bought. For example if you don’t eat rice but eat cauliflower rice or gluten free pasta, just cook it then dehydrate it.

      Chili

      ·         ¼ cup dehydrated black beans

      ·         ¼ cup dehydrated pinto beans

      ·         ¼ cup dehydrated beef or mushrooms

      ·         ¼ cup dehydrated tomatoes

      ·         1 Tbsp dehydrated bell pepper

      ·         1 Tbsp dehydrated onion

      ·         ½ Tbsp chili powder

      ·         1 ½ tsp tomato powder

      ·         ¼ tsp paprika

      ·         ½ tsp cornstarch

      ·         ¼ tsp garlic

      ·         ½ tsp salt

      ·         Dash of pepper

       

      Indian Spiced Lentils with Rice

      ·         ½ cup instant rice

      ·         ¼ cup dehydrated lentils

      ·         ¼ cup dehydrated vegetables (onions, bell pepper, carrots)

      ·         1 Tbsp coconut milk powder

      ·         1 tsp curry powder (less if extra hot)

      ·         ½ tsp chili powder

      ·         ¼ tsp ginger powder

      ·         ¼ tsp garlic powder

      ·         ¼ tsp dried cilantro

      ·         ½ tsp salt

      ·         Dash of pepper

       

      Southwest Taco Skillet

      ·         ½ cup instant rice

      ·         ¼ cup dehydrated beef or black or pinto beans

      ·         ¼ cup dehydrated vegetables (corn, bell pepper, tomato, onion, jalapeno)

      ·         ¼  cup broken corn chips (bag separately)

      ·         1 Tbsp coconut milk powder

      ·         2 Tbsp powdered cheese (choose 1 below)

      o   Vegan version: 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast + 1 Tbsp powdered cashews

      o   Vegetarian version:  2 Tbsp powdered cheese

      ·         ½ tsp dried cilantro

      ·         ½ tsp garlic powder

      ·         ½ tsp tomato powder

      ·         ½ tsp taco seasoning

      ·         ½ tsp corn starch

      ·         ½ tsp salt

      ·         Dash of pepper

       

      Spaghetti with meat sauce

      ·         1 cup dehydrated beef or ¼ package Neat (meat substitute) Italian flavor

      ·         Nutritional yeast

      ·         Vegan egg powder

      ·         ½ packet Raman noodles or ½ cup dehydrated pasta

      ·         ¼ cup tomato

      ·         1 Tbsp dehydrated bell pepper

      ·         ½ Tbsp dehydrated onion

      ·         2 tsp Tomato powder

      ·         ¼ tsp garlic powder

      ·         ½  tsp Italian seasoning

      ·         ¼ tsp sugar

      ·         ½ tsp salt

      ·         Dash of pepper

       

      Stroganoff

      ·         ½ packet Raman noodles or ½ cup dehydrated pasta

      ·         ¼ cup dehydrated beef or chickpeas

      ·         ¼ cup dehydrated mushrooms

      ·         1 Tbsp coconut milk

      ·         1 tsp mushroom powder ( to make just ground dehydrated mushrooms)

      ·         1 tsp tomato powder

      ·         1 tsp nutritional yeast

      ·         ½ tsp dried parsley

      ·         ½ tsp garlic powder

      ·         ½ tsp onion powder

      ·         ½ tsp corn starch

      ·         ½ tsp salt

      ·         Dash of pepper

    • 3

      My husband came across a new source of pre-made shelf stable foods that have some GF and soy free options.  The bars/cookies last 1.5 years while everything else is 25yr shelf life.  I may try the cookie/meal bars.  Currently only in #10 cans but pouches are in their future plans.  I believe the cookies and bars  are individually wrapped inside the #10 cans. 

      https://nutrientsurvival.com/collections/food

      • 2

        Update:  Just received the Peanut Butter Bar-Meals.  They have crisped rice with Barley Malt – a no go for me.  So not GF.  Soooo disappointed.  I wrote to let them know.  Will update with their response.  

      • 2

        That’s a bummer. I hope they’ll take them back. Were the other meals you ordered GF?

      • 2

        I had only odered the Peanut Butter Bar-Meals as I’ve already invested in Mountain House GF for that food/meal type.  Nutrient Survival answered me already.  Really quickly.  Here’s their response:  

        We do apologize that the label was printed incorrectly on the #10 can that you received. We would never want to disappoint our customers and you can rest assure that ALL of our products are indeed Gluten Free (except for the Triple Cheese Mac).  I have attached our certification info below and also included the correct label info that was supposed to be on the can.  Thank you again for informing us of this mistake 😮😊.

        So they admitted their label was incorrect.  They sent the correct label and the certification for the crisped rice (that on the original label included Barley Malt).   I’ll try them and see if I get a reaction this weekend.  

      • 1

        Great response! And I hope they work out this weekend. 

    • 2

      This article might be worth looking at, and links to at least two studies within the article so you can find more than a news report. For those who might need it. https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/08/health/expired-epipen-safety-study/index.html

    • 4

      I know a lot of people can’t do this, but I just purchased a Harvest Right freezer dryer.  I have gf issues and a host of food allergies. Purchasing prepackaged food is nearly impossible for us. With the food we waste in less than 2 years time, it’ll pay for itself. Now I’ll be able to prep foods my husband and I can eat and that we like. This is the biggest reason I purchased the machine. That and being able to process freshly picked or  purchased foods at the peak of the harvest. Mylar bags for storage for the freeze-dried foods and dry goods with an added oxygen absorber.  Up to a 25 yr shelf life. Good Luck!

      • 2

        I watched a video about the Harvest Right not too long ago and was really impressed. Any drawbacks that are worth knowing since it’s a pretty big investment?

      • 3

        I literally ordered it on Friday July 31. I did call the company for info on the motors and upgraded to the Premier model. He said it was the best and more quiet than the top model. You only change the oil every 30 loads. Looks easy enough. I’m stoked to get it, but have zero experience with one. The YouTube videos are encouraging and I’m really looking forward to using it. I’ll get back with you!!! I ordered the sample food packs from Harvest Right to try them out. I’m sold! 

      • 2

        Sounds great. And I hope you get it without too many shipping delays. I’ve heard some things are taking forever now.