Thursday, June 19, 2008

Food and Stress

Everyday I read the same thing on all the survival minded websites...

"When the SHTF your body is going to demand more fatty foods to deal with the stress.." or something like that. This is the rational to start stockpiling processed canned meat products and fatty convenience foods - as a hedge against mental illness post-apocalypse.

Crazy. The concept from this prepper mentality is that once the balloon goes up, all of us will be sitting in our retreats or bug out locations gorging on cans of Spam and Hormel Tamales in order to deal with the stress life has handed us. Our bodies will demand loads of fat, cholesterol and processed lard or we simply will collapse mentally.

Here is the real deal..

Take a real stressful situation and different people deal with it in different ways.
Remember when you lost a job? Had a sick child? Worried about that mid-term grade? Or maybe how you were going to pay that stack of bills? Bet you dealt with each of these in a variety of ways.. anger, depression.. The whole 7 Stages stuff we learn in psych 101..

My wife for instance, will probably get real grumpy, depressed and want to sleep long periods of time.

I am the opposite. I will suffer from insomnia and eat hardly anything for days.

I base this upon personal experience with things like death, financial problems, work stress, child rearing, birthing and sickness. I know when I am stressed, the idea of popping the top on a can of Vienna Sausages makes me want to hurl.

I know some people, when faced with insurmountable stress, do stuff their faces with sweets, or alcohol or chain smoke. Some will pop pills and others will go catatonic. The deal is all of us will handle things differently.

The way I see things, the first few days of a SHTF situation will have each of us concentrating on staying alive and keeping our loved ones safe. After a long period of incredible stress and worry, we will then settle down and adapt to the situation as it plays out.

Once we adjust to living without electricity and running water for instance, or the sounds of random gunfire and round the clock watches, then our bodies will begin to adjust as well.

We will work more manual labor doing tasks such as putting in a garden, harvesting, gathering wood and water and shoring up the home. That sort of physical work will push our bodies to demand more calories and fuel naturally.

However, I don't believe everyone has a sudden and universal physical demand on our bodies and minds which forces all of us to start consuming two times our normal caloric intake in fatty, processed foods the day after the end of the world. Some people may, others will not.

My own nasty belief about this mindset is the people who have it can't wait to dig into those cans of chile con carne, spam, tamales and the sacred, beef stew; they are merely making a pseudo-scientific nutritional and mental health case to do it sooner rather than later.

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