Going vegetarian after an event – would you?

After reading the thread How to desensitise myself to be able to kill and process and animal by Pizza Ninja, it got me thinking.

I was born and raised in a farming community and regularly helped my parents processing animals we had raised. I also did a lot of shooting and beating at drives. It was a big part of my life.

Spool on 30 years and I can now barely bring myself to kill a bug and I know I would really struggle to kill an animal, the exception possibly being if it were suffering and it was the humane thing to do.

To this end, I have turned away from meat production/procurement for after an event and have instead decided to become vegetarian. As it is I don’t eat a lot of meat, I would probably miss it, but I know the alternative would be hard for me to deal with.

I have, over the years found a number of plants that do well in my area and I save the seed from these year on year, I still trial new varieties of things, just in case I find one that does better. I have a number of perennial plants that I not only have in my garden, but I have planted out in the local area, a kind of guerilla gardening if you will. It’s insurance against any catastrophic loss in my own garden patch. 

I don’t intend going full vegan, as I want to keep some fowl for eggs and I do like milk in my tea and there is the whole B12 issue. 

So, has anyone else given this idea some thought? 



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  • Comments (29)

    • 2

      Good morning Jenny,

      I have and also acted on my thoughts … but for a major different approach.  Around the 6th decade of life it’s more difficult for the body to process meats. If I didn’t want to prepare and consume Bambi for evening campfire meal, I’d rely on a group member.  That’s a main purpose of prepper groups.  I guess this is why we started with the butcher, baker, candle stick maker. Some just don’t like to work outdoors.  Some do not like indoor work.  Some do not like to write reports either inside shelter or in field / on boat. Some people can never become soldiers and some do not like being around people.

      I don’t find Tim’s learned behavior something fatal for being a prepper … when in a group.

      Who’s joining me to guard the moat this evening during the hail storm and real chilly weather ?

      This is why I harp on small prepper groups.

      Of all the years of controversal political statements, Hillary did produce a couple of actual important ones such as “It takes a village …”

      For end of world prepper matters, I do plan to inject much fish into diet though.

      Would never become a vegan. One of my major survival foods is honey. Ingred Newkirk of PETA would curse me.

      • 2

        Homo sapiens is a classic omnivore, along with pigs and rats.  I will remain that way.  Hunger is a great motivator.  My diet includes less meat than it did some years ago and I rarely eat red meat.

        When stressed, I will become more flexible.  I don’t think many of us have experienced real, long term hunger.  Who knows what we will consume under those conditions?

    • 4

      Hi JennyWren, I slightly amended the title of the post to make it clear that you’re not writing a guide to becoming vegetarian or giving advice – hope that’s ok and that it retains the original spirit.

      As for myself, I have been omnivore for most of my life, but became vegetarian by accident for about eight years. I say “by accident” as it wasn’t spurred by any ethical or logical reasons: I was gutting and preparing a chicken (something I was used to, even if I grew up in the city) and suddenly started feeling disgusted by the sight of blood and could not eat meat anymore afterwards. But I would still eat eggs, cheese, fish, and the occasional cured meat. I did get back to eat meat when living in Argentina where vegetables where more expensive than meat. Hunger prevailed and there was really no substitute for the amount of calories and protein I could buy for $1 of meat vs $1 of vegetables.

      Right now I still eat meat and am not looking to change my diet, but when thinking about self-sufficiency or a hypothetical SHTF situation, I would definitely try to raise chicken for eggs and meat, but also grow beans or any other nutrient-dense food (I’m not a hunter nor a fisher so I think those are my best choices). But I would like to give it more thought as to what exactly to grow to cover my protein/calories intake, or how many chickens to raise etc.

    • 3

      It is easy now to have a diet low in meat because we get so many calories from other items… lots of junk food.  However after an event, during a crisis, there will be nothing more important than calories and nothing provides healthy calories better than meat.  Not a lot of calories in your veggies.  Nutrition yes, but not calories.  There is nothing you can raise that would provide more calories and nutrition than meat, so to give up on meat makes your survival all the harder.

      I too can no longer stand to take any life.  I used to hunt and I’ve killed & cleaned many an animal.  I’m quite sure hunger would be a great motivator to change my mindset & allow me to kill again.  However I do plan on surviving in a small group so there are neighbors that will handle the meat harvest & processing.

      • 2

        There are a number of alternative calorie sources that are not meat based. Nuts, seeds and dried beans and legumes all contain comparable calories to meat. As does seitan. Although like others here, I would be happy to receive meat if it were offered.  

        Personally, I rarely eat junk food, I run a cook from scratch kitchen and takeaways are very seldom. The nearest to convenience food I get is leftovers from the freezer lol. 

      • 3

        There are a number of alternative calorie sources that are not meat based. Nuts, seeds and dried beans and legumes all contain comparable calories to meat.

        Yes, of course and I grow lots of beans, etc.  But your discussion is based upon after an event.  How long would it take you to grow those beans & legumes?  Is it the proper season or will you have to wait 6 months to plant?  Do you have plenty of viable garden seed, fertilizer, pesticides, fungicides, etc. on hand?  Might take you weeks or months to get 100 lbs of veggies where you could get hundreds of pounds of meat instantly by killing a cow or horse.  Could get many pounds from killing a deer.  I have hundreds of catfish in my pond which are easily harvested & naturally replace what is harvested.

        I happen to believe that post crisis, most of my calories will first come from the garden.  However, I expect my catfish to supplement that as would some hunting.  I also expect wild animals to be gone rather quick during a crisis.  But for me to rely on a garden, post event, means I have to keep hundreds of pounds of garden seed in cool storage and add to that each year, as the seed only lasts a few years.  That I do.  I also keep years worth of chemicals in stock just in case.

        So on one hand, I’m with you.  On the other hand I understand the value of meat for quick access to nutrition and calories.  Hopefully, I’ll have a group member handle the meat aspect while I handle the farming, but I will do what is required to survive. 

      • 2

        Good afternoon Redneck,

        Do you catalog fresh fish the same or differently than farm animal meat  re calories ?

        No junk food here !

      • 2

        I too eat very little junk food.  I never eat prepared food with all those added chemicals.  We eat fresh meats & veggies almost exclusively.  I do love an occasional pizza though.  🙂

        In Mississippi, farm raised catfish is a huge industry.  Mine is just done on a tiny scale.  So I consider grain fed catfish the same as any other farm raised meat… good calories and nutrition.  In many ways, it has many advantages.  I had to stop raising chickens because no matter what, I couldn’t stop the predators.  Well I could have, by keeping them locked up 100% of the time, but I think that cruel.  I do have bald eagles that take some fish but they only take a lot when raising their young.  In a crisis, I’d make sure they go elsewhere.  Lots of meat in cows but you have to provide food in the winter & a whole herd can be stolen.  Two of my neighbors on our lane have cow herds and I’m sure I could work a deal with them during a crisis.

        In the early phase of a crisis, there would be plenty of wild game here.  I just came up from feeding our horses & catfish, and 4 deer cut across the pasture in front of us… me & my black lab.  They are everywhere, as are rabbits & squirrels.  I have suppressors for my various rifles & could hunt without attracting unwanted attention.

        But don’t get me wrong.  I believe in agriculture, thus my hundreds of pounds of seed.  A diet based off the three sisters, field corn, pole beans & winter squash, can provide almost complete nutrition by themselves.  Throw in collard greens & amaranth and yes, I think I could survive without meat.  But having a sustainable meat source, such as catfish or other farm raised animals, would certainly aid in survival.

      • 2

        Good evening Redneck,

        Appreciate reply.


        I am now in the mood for some vegetables and those real berries you grow…………….

      • 1

        We are done picking berries for the year but enjoying the jams & jellies.  Picking apples & muscadine grapes now.  Most of the garden has played out.  I pulled up my tomatoes last week.  I’ve stopped picking pole beans & am letting those beans dry on the plant for dried beans to eat this winter plus seed for next year.  Just planted some collard plants & seed.  They should do well all fall & part of the winter.

    • 3

      I’m already mostly vegetarian.  I don’t have enough land for much gardening, but I have buckets of rice and beans from the grocery store, and I rotate so I’m already eating from what I have stored.

    • 2

      I’m conflicted about all of this as I think I would both have a hard time killing and processing an animal, and I am hopeless at gardening. If the pandemic taught me one thing, it is that if I have to rely on what I grow to feed myself, I am going to starve.  I’ve gradually been building up my stores of Mountain House 30-year canned meats (and similar brands) on the assumption that I could use small quantities of those to supplement stores of rice and beans and other plant-based proteins.  You don’t need a lot of meat for a lot of nutrition – a little goes a long way.  But it is very hard to get all the necessary nutrients from a plant-based diet alone, and most people don’t really know how to make it work (I’ve had more than one friend end up seriously ill thanks to poorly informed adventures in veganism. To be clear, veganism can work, but it ain’t easy).

      My plan is to gradually build up a good supply of a variety of meats (chicken, beef, pork, turkey, etc) and if I don’t need to use them in the next ten years, I’ll start actually cooking them (prepper parties!) while rotating in new supplies.  Given the cost of these items I have to treat them like insurance instead of groceries – invest in them hoping I won’t need them, but super glad for them if the time comes.

      I’ve given lots of thought to nutrition. I make a conscious effort to keep quite a variety of fruits and vegetables in my canned and dried goods (as well as nuts and seeds), as getting a variety of items is key to micronutrients and overall health. Pre-pandemic I never ate canned food.  Now I always keep some on hand and have learned to make many delicious and tasty dishes with them (my role in a survival group will be chief cook and launderer; I think I’ll be the one washing  the blood off the clothes of the folks who secured the meat!)

      A very simple tip I have found is to simply go to the online version of your local grocery store shopping app and put in “Canned fruit” and “canned vegetables”. Get some of everything – using the app makes it easy to find what is on sale – and do a FIFO rotation system to keep them fresh and constantly available in your pantry.  Who knew canned mangoes were a thing? They’re delicious and high in vitamin A. Jarred asparagus. Beets! Etc. Try to store at least one of every color of the rainbow.  (Beets, mangoes, corn, green beans, dried blueberries……)

      This system also taught me what I won’t eat, and what goes bad quickly. On the one hand low-sugar canned fruits are healthier; on the other hand they expire much sooner than the sugared version. I use far more canned olives than I would have thought and far less canned milk (which also goes bad quickly).  I’ve learned to keep an eye on expiration dates and donate things to a food pantry that have only a few months left on them (most pantries won’t take them when they’re officially expired), and then I know to stop buying those items for myself. No more fruit cocktail!  I never ate it. But canned spinach? That stuff is awesome and far easier to prepare than fresh. 

      I probably should update my fishing skills as I could probably bring myself to dispatch a fish more quickly than, say, Bambi or Thumper. As others have said if I were starving I probably would do what is needed, but in a true SHTF situation a lot of the wildlife in my area will likely be quickly cleaned out anyway by people far more skilled than I. 

      I really enjoy these conversations and different perspectives from different preppers who have a variety of living situations and constraints to manage. Keep it coming!

      • 1

        Good old canned Spam is a great prepper resource.  Keep it dry and somewhat cool, and it ill outlast you.  It is full of salt & fat, two things we need to avoid today… but will be very necessary in a survival situation.  It is much cheaper than all that fancy food too.  I have hundreds of cans in storage.  It will be a perfect compliment to beans & rice in storage.

      • 1

        I love Spam!

      • 1

        I do too.  My doctor doesn’t.  🙂

      • 2

        Good morning M.E.,

        Your situation is not rare ; it’s common enough.

        It’s common enough to reply on canned foods.  I’ve studied the WWII refugee situations in Asia and Europe …. and it worked then.  Theirr kids are now here and elsewhere.

        One “modern” / contemporary benefit is that now – most especially for evacuations – we have plastic (not known to the State of California) – that can substitute for the heavy can … or D-I-Y with a Glad Bag or related brand. Just use strict sanitary measures when reconfiguring.

        Next to inventory’s olive oil, add some honey. Glass containers for dwelling; plastic for a needed evacuation.

        EXCELLENT THEME ! Treat this project like insurance instead of groceries.

        Yes: Prepper parties !

        I’ll bring a covered dish of something … probably a can of Aldi brand coffee.

    • 4

      Some hopefully relevant Human nutrition basics (please be aware that I’ve simplified things a tad, but hopefully hit the important parts):

      Food can be broken down into two gross components: Micronutrients and Macronutrients.

      Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. The bad news is that when it comes to Micronutrients what you need and how much is mostly guesswork, oftentimes amounting to someone near-literally pulling a number out of their rectum. That, and there are probably trace elements we need but don’t even really know about, because… Well, that leads us to the good news. The good news is that for the most part Micronutrients take care of themselves as long as you eat a decent diet with a bit of diversity and have a source of clean groundwater (you’d be amazed at how many of the trace elements you need are in the water) to drink. In other words, for the most part, absent some specific health issues and/or disorders, there’s no reason to worry about micronutrients and supplementation is generally neither called for nor results in any measurable benefit.

      Macronutrients are Protein (4cal/g), Fats (9cal/g), and Carbohydrates (4cal/g).

      Alcohol (7cal/g) is sometimes listed, but that gets complicated and isn’t relevant here, so I’ll be skipping it.

      Carbohydrate is basically a fancy word for sugar. There are Monosaccharides (Fructose, for instance), Disaccharides (Sucrose, for instance), and Polysaccharides (what people tend to think of when they hear ‘carbs’).

      An odd side-chain of this family are what we call fiber — soluble and insoluble. Fiber is basically long-chain sugars so tightly bonded that the human digestive system can’t break them down. Still, they serve a useful function in our digestive tract, they’re just not ‘food’ per se, unless you’re a rabbit, cow, or what have you.

      As far as your body is concerned, all sugar is ultimately Glucose (or Glycogen, really, Glucose+Water molecule). Most sugars are converted in your digestive tract, Fructose is the lone exception and is processed through your liver. Glycogen is one of the two energy substrates your body uses (the other being fats) as part of ATP regeneration (Krebs Cycle) in Mitochondria. At any given time a healthy individual stores about 2,000Kcal of Glycogen, mostly in muscles and the liver.

      There are no essential (in this context ‘essential’ means you get it in your diet or die) Carbohydrates. Your body can survive without Carbs via a backup pathway called Ketosis (albeit not without some sever downsides and one potential upside) or your body can make Glycogen via a process called Gluconeogenesis. Your body can and will make sugar from amino acids it gets by breaking down protein, up to and including your own muscle protein (Catabolism).

      Fats are, well, lipids, an energy-dense storage mechanism that your body uses for a variety of functions. There are two fats that are essential, you must get from your diet as your body requires them but cannot manufacture them — Linoleic acid and Alpha-Linolenic acid (there’s some debate on this, but it gets overly esoteric and isn’t relevant here). Your body uses fats as a storage mechanism, energy source (Krebs Cycle again, as a gross generalization your body prefers glycogen for short term anaerobic activity, fats for longer term aerobic activity, more often it’s using a little of both)), and as a basis for a variety of biosynthetic pathways.

      Sex hormones, for instance, start as Cholesterol. Cholesterol -> Progestins (Progesterone) -> Androgens (Testosterone, DiHydroTestosterone) -> Estrogens (17ß-Estradiol, Estrone).

      Proteins are, basically, long chains of amino acids. Your body does not use the protein you eat, instead all proteins are broken down to their constituent amino acids. There are a very large number of amino acids, but life as we know it is made up of combinations of 22 of them (well, 21 for humans, we don’t use one that some other creatures do). Of those 22, an adult human (note, different for non-humans and human children) cannot synthesize 9, these are referred to as essential amino acids — you get them in your diet or you’re gonna have a bad time.

      There are a further 6 that are referred to as conditionally essential, but that’s mostly relevant to children or persons with certain disorders they probably already know about.

      Any protein source that contains all 9 essential amino acids in sufficient quantity is referred to as ‘complete’.

      …And here is where we get to the whole SHTF going vegan thing as potentially problematic.

      Any animal protein source — dairy, egg, fish, meat, whatever — is going to be complete for humans.

      Almost all plant source protein will *not* be complete for humans — the common exceptions are Soy and Quinoa.

      Humans are not herbivores, in point of fact we’re not very good at digesting plants. Animal-source proteins, for instance, in general have a ~80% bio-availability. Plant-source proteins have a ~60% bio-availability.

      Under normal circumstances the average person needs roughly 2,000Kcal/day, split roughly between ~60g Fat/day and 2g/Kg *complete* Protein/day (both mins, obviously, IIFYM, and all that). While it’s quite possible to do that on a plant-only or plant-mostly diet, it’s bloody damn hard to do it consistently over a long period of time and, I’ve never actually had a client do it right despite my efforts and despite having had a depressing number of vegetarian clients.

      Oversimplifying a tad, animals are mostly protein and water, plants are mostly sugars and water. A plant-only/mostly diet tends to be rich in carbs and low in complete (for humans) proteins — fats can go either way, depending on what you like.

      To maintain an adequate complete (for humans) protein intake, something that is critical to maintaining muscle mass, healing though injury or illness, and overall health, requires going above the general 0.8g/lb/day recommendation (remember, bio-availability is lower) and being careful with your mixing and matching.

      Rice does not have a complete protein profile. Beans do not have a complete protein profile. Rice and beans together? Bingo!

      It’s not all that complicated or difficult, but doing well on a plant-only/mostly diet requires having a good grasp of the fundamentals of human nutrition and, especially if you’re planning for post-event, you have to do the research beforehand to come up with combinations that give you an adequate complete protein intake while keeping the carbs and fats reasonable.

      So, if going vegetarian post-event is your plan, it would be exceedingly wise to do a whole lot of research and planning now to make sure you have an adequate diet for your long-term health.

      • 3

        Good morning Myria,

        A couple of broad questions; 

        Are the sugar sources about the same re nutrition eg beet sugar versus cane sugar ?

        Is it “sugar” causing the large US diabetic situation or how the sugar is refined ? India, with it’s huge population is a large consumer of sugar. Does India have a diabetic problem like the US ? 

        Is honey considered an animal protein source ?

        Ref “not all that complicated or difficult, ..”;

        Well, I’m overwhelmed with it all. Have been told that the type of cooking oil can determine the overall value of the animal value.

        I cannot go to a Chinese fast-food take-out restaurant and understand if a basic “Budda Delight” (vegetarian only) lunch is OK ref the neutrients. Was told white rice not healthy.

        Was also told whole grain breads healthier than mixed grain ? What am I missing ?! Never had Beri Beri  from white rice !

        Thanks in advance.

      • 3

        “Are the sugar sources about the same re nutrition eg beet sugar versus cane sugar ?”

        Simple answer: For the most part, probably.

        Complex answer: The devil, as always, is in the details, and we’re a bit hazy on the details.

        Assuming it’s a sugar your body can handle — so not something like cellulose or, if you’re like me, lactose — in the end it’s all Glucose as far as your body is concerned. Simpler sugars take less time and energy to convert, complex sugars have to be broken down in stages and thus have a slightly higher TEF (Thermal Effect of Food, digestion takes energy).

        The wildcard here is Fructose, a sugar common in, as the name would suggest, fruit. Fructose, unlike other sugars, is metabolized (turned into Glucose) in the liver, rather than the digestive tract.

        Some have pointed to this, and the fact that in The US we subsidize HFC (High Fructose Corn syrup) production and use it in a ton of processed foods, as a potential smoking gun for a variety of possible issues.

        Personally, I remain unconvinced, mostly because there’s a depressingly long and deep history of particular Micronutrients, Macronutrients, and/or food sources being demonized with said demonization typically being dead wrong or even grossly counterproductive.

        Doesn’t mean HFCs aren’t a problem, I just tend to doubt there are any easy answers or solutions where something as complex as nutrition is concerned.

        “Is it “sugar” causing the large US diabetic situation or how the sugar is refined ? India, with it’s huge population is a large consumer of sugar. Does India have a diabetic problem like the US ?”

        Diabetes is one of those complex issues people like to throw simple answers at. Certainly sugar is at the heart of the problem, as diabetes is defined by the body not properly regulating blood glucose (sugar) levels.

        Why? Too much sugar in our collective diet? Too much of a ‘wrong’ type of sugar in our collective diet? Something else? A lot a something elses?

        Keep in mind that Diabetes is not a binary condition. If you X-ray a femur it’s either broken or it’s not, it’s a binary condition. With Diabetes things are more nebulous. The diagnostic criteria, and thus who is defined as ‘Diabetic’, has been changed several times over the years, most notably in 1998. In The US the way surveys are done to determine what percentage of the population is diabetic has been changed markedly over the years, generally in ways that increased positive responses. The diagnosis has expanded to cover four types of diabetes, rather than two, with a fifth, and somewhat nebulous, ‘prediabetic’ condition being added.

        What constitutes ‘diabetes’ has been a lot more of a moving target than the medical community or press seems to want to acknowledge.

        Not to say that diabetes isn’t an issue, it absolutely is, or that non-binary conditions aren’t common, they are, but comparisons to prior years and talk of ‘explosions’ in diagnosis tends to ignore just how much of a by-definition issue this quickly becomes. Throw in an aging population in many countries — age is a primary risk factor — and there’s a lot of variables to contend with when trying to look for cause-and-effect relationships.

        “Is honey considered an animal protein source ?”

        No, honey has extremely little protein in it (0.3g protein/100g). Honey is primarily sugar, mostly Fructose and Glucose (same as Sucrose, AKA table sugar, albeit in honey not bonded as a disaccharide ).

        “Well, I’m overwhelmed with it all. Have been told that the type of cooking oil can determine the overall value of the animal value”

        We’re just slowly (depressingly slowly) coming out of a very long period where fats (oils are a kind of fat), as a macronutrient, have been demonized endlessly.

        The two main reasons for this are that fats are very energy dense — fats have 9cal/g, whereas both carbs and protein are 4cal/g — and a lot of it comes down to heart disease (keeping in mind that heart disease, in the end, is what kills the most people), blood lipoprotein profiles, and exogenous (from outside the body) fats.

        The energy density issue is very real, fats contain over twice as many calories as either of the other two primary macronutrients. In the end, weight (whether you’re looking to gain, lose, or maintain) is an issue of thermodynamics — energy in minus energy out.

        Taking a step back: A Calorie is simply a measure of energy, like a Watt or Erg.

        A Calorie is defined by the amount of energy it takes to raise one gram of water one degree centigrade.

        Originally, and for some purposes even now, the amount of Calories in a given type or amount of food was determined by literally burning said food and seeing how much it raised the temp of a set amount of water.

        In any event, one calorie is a really small amount of energy, so for the most part when you’re talking nutrition what we really mean is a kilo-Calorie, or 1,000 calories. This is sometimes specified as ‘kcal’ or, by convention, Capital-C ‘Cal’.

        So calories-in are what you eat and drink. Calories-out is your TDEE — Total Daily Energy Expenditure. TDEE is made up of ~70% BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate, the energy it takes to keep you alive), ~15% NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, your general daily activity level), ~10% TEF (Thermal Effect of Food, what it takes to digest what you eat), ~5% EAT (Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, working out, running, whatever).

        The sad truth is that you can have very minimal effect on calories out. All those Peloton adverts about torching off the calories are BS of the highest order. There are a ton of benefits to exercise, but, for a variety of reasons, changing your basic caloric output to any meaningful degree isn’t one of them.

        So you can’t change the caloric-out side of the equation much, but you have total control over the caloric-in side.

        The current obsession with an “Unknown virus of unspecified origin” aside, for many years the medical community has been primarily worried about obesity, because it is a comorbidity for everything under the sun, and heart disease, because ultimately that’s probably what’s gonna kill you.

        Fats were seen as the devil incarnate where both problems were concerned.

        First, tell people fats are bad, they won’t eat as much of them and, given they’re over twice as calorically dense as carbs or protein, they’ll eat fewer calories. Yeah, no, nice logic but not the way things work in the real world. Fats got demonized, for sure, but those calories got replaced, mostly with carbs (protein tends to be expensive), and, as mentioned previously, the body needs some fats from your diet or bad things start happening.

        From the heart disease side of things it was a matter of lipoprotein profile, a numbers game. An overall reduction in exogenous fat intake, especially ‘bad’ fats (saturated- and, worse, trans-fats) would improve the lipoprotein profile, and thus overall heart health.

        Nice theory, the evidence for it is, however, a bit mixed. Endogenous lipoprotein production seems to be, overall, far more relevant, and there’s a lot of evidence for stress (both physiologic and psychologic, it not being clear there’s a difference as far as the body is concerned) playing a bigger role in vascular plaque formation and the resulting heart health issues.

        A lot of really smart people disagree here, and still see exogenous fats to be a huge issue, so do your own reading, take an appropriate-sized grain of salt, and come to your own conclusions. To be safe, stick to unsaturated fats (generally fats that are liquid at room temperature), minimize saturated fats (generally fats that are solid at room temperature) and avoid Trans Fats (not used much anymore).

        “I cannot go to a Chinese fast-food take-out restaurant and understand if a basic “Budda Delight” (vegetarian only) lunch is OK ref the neutrients.”

        For the average person, it’s not a huge issue. Chances are their diet is far from optimal, more than likely it’s way high in carbs, low in protein, with fats going either way depending, but in general they’re getting enough of a mix of plant and animal sourced foods that it’s not a big deal.

        For someone only eating plant-source (or, for that matter, only eating animal-source, though it’s a bit easier there) foods it’s a lot more complicated. We’re omnivorous by design, going against that requires some care to maintain long-term health.

        If it’s just a meal now and then, it doesn’t matter, but my whole emphasis with the original post is that to eat an all- or mostly plant-sourced diet long-term and maintain your health requires research and learning what combinations of plant-source proteins you need to ingest to meet your body’s macronutrient needs.

        You can do a search for ‘vegetarian complete protein combinations‘, or variations on that theme, and you’ll find tons of lists, images, and such. Look through such lists, find combinations you like (and/or combinations you could reasonably get/have in a SHTF situation), include those in your diet as your primary protein source, and you’re better prepared for a vegetarian diet in a bad (or good) situation.

        “Was told white rice not healthy. Was also told whole grain breads healthier than mixed grain ? What am I missing ?!”

        Not unhealthy per se, as usual it’s a bit more complicated.

        Most seeds and grains have a hull or husk around them. Either at harvest or through processing and storage, that hull or husk is usually removed. Those husks are usually indigestible fiber, very long chain tightly bonded sugars that our bodies can’t break down, they literally come out looking pretty much the same way they went in.

        Even though this indigestible fiber serves little direct nutritional purpose, it turns out that it’s very important to the proper function of our digestive tract, acting as water storage, ‘bulk’ for maintaining digestive motility (everything moving through the system at the proper pace), regulating digestive processes, helping to regulate our gut biome (something we’re increasingly recognizing as being critical to our physical and emotional health), and helping the body eliminate some unwanted metabolites.

        Our dietary fiber comes almost entirely from plant-source foods, there’s very little in meat, but, for a variety of reasons, a lot of common processing results in less and less fiber in the food we eat.

        For this reason prioritizing ‘whole’ foods were possible is a Good Thing™ for most of us. ‘Whole’ grain products generally means the grains used included their husks and thus could be seen as ‘more healthy’ than, say, a bread made from bleached white flour.

        In general the less processing the more fiber, and for many people this is important. For a vegetarian, though, at least one that has plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet, and not depending mostly on processed foods, vegetarian or no, it’s not a super high priority and shouldn’t ever be treated as the only consideration.

        You want plenty of fiber in your diet, yes, but that doesn’t make white rice, with its relative lack of fiber, ‘bad’.

        At least not as long as said rice is Basmati or Jasmine, anything else is, of course, an abomination.

        A lot of things like “white rice is bad for you” come from oversimplifications that can be understandable in some circumstances, but end up going well beyond their relevant points and taking on a life of their own.

        In some parts of the world, where rice is a dominant component of the daily diet, is its relative lack of fiber in the form most commonly consumed problematic?

        Well, yeah.

        Is having the occasional bowl of rice curry with some veggies as part of a varied diet bad?

        Not so much.

        I hope that helps, sorry that brevity is just not my forte.

      • 2

        Good evening Myra,

        Yes, it helped much.

        Brevity not important. Conveying the information is what’s sought.

        Had spent ~ half hour going through the link.

        As soon as I read “Doy has an unfounded bad reputation … ” was thinking about a few years ago when red wine was medically advertised as the ultimate solution for vitamin deficiencies, mineral deficiencies, mental health, …… …… !

        I love buckwheat.

        I take note of “Peanut butter sandwich (on whole-wheat bread)”. A toasted English muffin won’t work ? …… and “whole grain pita bread”. Would never had known that “whole grain products include the husks”.

        A major matter frequently neglected – or perhaps “avoided” is the better word – is costs. A somewhat healthy frozen cheese pizza at Aldi’s costs $2.39. A larger pizza from diffferent store sells whole grain pizza with a cost over $20.00. Besides concerns with having a healthy diet, I’m also an avid follower of the stress theory of disease.

        I inherited an Army Alaska Territory regulation from around 1935 stating that only red sockeye salmon is acceptable for human consumption . The other categories are for dog food only. 

        Now, at 8:30 PM, am now in the mood for  takeout Budda Delight meal. With max accuracy, I can clearly guess the rice used is the cheapest out there – otherwise the takeout meal would cost geometricly more than I’m paying.

        Again, thank you for link. Always appreciate charts and non-narrative info presentations that uses human factors engineering principles.

      • 2

        Good evening Myra,

        Had just experienced a diet-relaxing last 2 days re your breaking my unsolvable riddle that multigrain breads are not harmful.  The another anology reverts to the red wine example I always considered an overkill matter. Yes, red wine contains vitamins and minerals – and, for that matter, raw opium offers sedative features. Humans are making up for vitamins, minerals and sedatives via many other daily items consumed.

        Another example I’m governed by is olive oil. Am fully aware of the best category. Would always seek out “first cold pressed”.  Yet, I still continue to look at the other categories of olive oil on store shelf re price differentials. Might not be getting the “best” if highly expensive but would not revert to an olive oil that’s related to Mario Andretti’s STP motor oil additive.

        My next project is to learn what it being pushed on to the consumer re term “added sugars”. Cannot figure out why a can of Walmart’s spaghetti-o’s has a huge amount of added sugars to an otherwise spicy can of spaghetti-o’s.

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        With the best will in the world Myra, I believe you are majorly overcomplicating things to the point of confusion. 

        I think everything you have said can be condensed into have as good a balanced and mixed diet and you can’t go far wrong. I was taught to have a portion of the 3 main food groups on your plate wherever possible. By the main food groups, I mean carbohydrates, protein and fibre. Now I don’t know whether this is still valid in the modern dietetic vision of things, but it’s served me well over the years. I really doubt a body will have much time to consider micro and macro nutrients when they are working hard to keep any sort of food on the table. And there is another thing to consider; work. Work rate vs food intake. 

        I am a firm believer in KISS. Keep it simple, stupid; in all things. Overcomplicating anything, particularly when things have turned to custard could well end in tragedy and the older I get the more I see of this overcomplication. 

      • 2

        Even with a degree in Biology, I too believe in KISS.  That is why I emulate what native Americans did long ago.  Much of their diet was vegetarian and was supplemented with some meat.  I really don’t study the science of how it works but I know from their experiences that the three sisters by themselves provide complete nutrition.  Mix in the occasional fruit, berries, nut & wild game and you have a very healthy diet.  The following article is taken from the Oneida Indian Nation tribe and I think it explains it well.

        My survival during an extended crisis will be based upon how native Americans thrived in the past.  Almost all my seed in storage are the three sisters.  I do also store oilseed sunflower, amaranth and collards.  There is study that shows native Americans also grew sunflowers & amaranth.  I have many fruit trees, berries, grapes & nuts growing on my property.  As stated, I have a catfish pond & wild game. 

        The Interworking of the Three Sisters
        Corn, beans and squash are known as the Sustainers of Life because they comprised the foundation of the Oneida diet of old. Although occasionally augmented by the nuts and berries that grew wild and meat from deer and other game, the Three Sisters together provided nearly all the nutrients the Oneida people needed to remain healthy and active.

        In fact, modern nutritional science has shown that even the methods of preparing the Three Sisters, especially corn, increased their nutritional value. White corn has thick hulls that are difficult to grind and hard to eat, so they have to be removed before the corn can be used. Hulling by hand is time- and labor-intensive, but ancient Oneidas discovered that soaking the corn in a mixture of water and wood ashes would dissolve the hull without damaging the edible part of the corn. This became known as “hominy,” which could be eaten as it was or dried and ground to make hominy grist – known today as the very popular Southern dish of grits.

        Preparing the corn in this way alters the nutrients so that the human body can absorb the highest amount of niacin. The process also increases the amount of calcium in the corn and turns the protein into a form that is more readily usable by the body.

        Eating corn, beans and squash together – as the ancient Indians did in a dish that has come to be known as succotash – also enhances the nutritional benefits of each. Together, the complementary amino acids of the Three Sisters form complete proteins, virtually eliminating the need for meat in the diet. Traditional white corn also contains a slow-release carbohydrate that is now known to help prevent and regulate diabetes – a quality today’s more popular yellow corn lacks.

        When grown together, the Three Sisters also fare better and are better for the environment. The corn stalk acts as a trellis for the beans. Bacteria that grow on the bean plants feed on sugar from the corn’s roots and convert nitrogen in the air into a form the plants can use, releasing nitrogen into the soil and providing fertilizer for the corn and squash. The squash vine’s wide leaves shade the soil, preventing erosion and weed growth and retaining moisture. Together, the Three Sisters yield up to 20 percent more produce while using a smaller plot of land that requires less water and less fertilizer.


      • 1

        Exactly this Redneck. I also have the same things stored in quantity and my thoughts are much as yours, with greens and foraging I’d be happy. 

      • 1

        Good evening Redneck,

        That’s super background info re the origin of grits.

        As a(n) historian, love to learn the background of stuff, to include the neglected fields like foods and garments.

        Again: great info. Merci.

      • 2

        You are welcome.  Many wonder, what made them decide to soak their corn is wood ash water?  Where did that idea come from?

      • 2

        “With the best will in the world Myra, I believe you are majorly overcomplicating things to the point of confusion.”

        Quite possibly, though to be honest I don’t see any of this, my tendency towards verbosity aside, as overly complicated.

        “I think everything you have said can be condensed into have as good a balanced and mixed diet and you can’t go far wrong.”

        Therein lies the rub. For an omnivore, a wholly, or even mostly vegetarian diet is, by definition, neither balanced nor mixed.

      • 1

        I don’t have much to say on the topic, but have enjoyed just reading all of the content on this thread. Thank you Myria for sharing some of your valuable information and knowledge.

        Is health and nutrition part of your career or just a hobby or lifestyle that you are living?

      • 1

        Quite possibly, though to be honest I don’t see any of this, my tendency towards verbosity aside, as overly complicated.        Verbosity aside, I am obviously either easily confused, or lacking your intelligence. 

        Therein lies the rub. For an omnivore, a wholly, or even mostly vegetarian diet is, by definition, neither balanced nor mixed.           This whole humans are omnivores thing maybe true, but it is not an essential way to live or survive and we will have to agree to disagree on this subject. There are millions of people in the world who live without meat in their diet, either through religious, ethical or economic reasons and I do not believe you cannot have a balanced or mixed diet without meat and I do not believe poor diet is as you suggest, restricted to a plant based diet.

        I can still cook and eat a balanced meal without meat on the plate and it’s a skill that I am happy I have. In this country, we are already being encouraged to have meatless days as we see concern for the planet and prices rising (today is a meatless day; Kitchari with maybe a couple of eggs.). We are living in precarious times and being able to provide a meal with what you have available is a skill I am glad I have. In times of plenty it is easy to get blinkered into what a meal is supposed to look like. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, however, practicing being inventive and experimental with your cooking is something I highly recommend to everyone.


    • 2

      I have thought about this topic a few times in my life being a ripe old age of 60 and life time vegetarian. I have been fortunate to never have had to consume meat, fish or poultry, though I have always cooked it for my family and husband. Weird I know, but I have always felt it was my choice and inner feelings not others. I raised one full blown vegetarian and meat  eater. On a walk last evening a deer was grazing and I said to husband that I did not see dinner there, others would have said where’s the gun. Having said that, if staying alive meant eating meat….so be it sadly.