Most of you have never experienced the after-effects of extreme mental shock and I hope you never have to. After the fire, I couldn’t remember what supplements I had been taking. I couldn’t remember what Vitamin D3 was, even though I have written entire posts and chapters dedicated to the wonders of Vitamin D3 and have been taking it for approximately seven years. Don’t rely on your memory in these situations—you may not have access to it. You don’t need to purchase these items before a disaster, in fact, ordering them if disaster strikes ensures they’ll be fresh when they’re needed. Just have them on your wishlist so you can order them in one easy click if you need to.
If you have experienced extreme stress and/or trauma, these supplements will help keep your brain and immune system functioning. I wish I had had this list and access to these supplements. I may have had the energy and the mental fortitude to make it through all the FEMA paperwork, forms and bureaucratic red tape.
Believe it or not, getting food and water was the most difficult thing for us. I guess people thought we could just go out to a restaurant (we could not) or that the evacuation centre had actual food (it did not, unless you count prepackaged muffins as food). Part of the problem was that the extreme stress turned off our hunger. I went almost three weeks without eating a single meal and was ultimately left so weak that I was unable to complete basic tasks, like waiting four hours in line to talk to the FEMA representative about why we had been turned down five times for housing assistance. On the flip side, when we were hungry, it was hard to find real food. People were mostly making donations of things like clothes, jewelry and razor scooters. Having some of the following items on hand would have been awesome.
Food bars (protein, paleo, fruit, granola, whatever you like)
Canned fish with easy open lids
Healthy crunchy snacks (I like Snapea Crisps. Yes I know they’re not Paleo. No, I don’t care.)
Plastic forks, spoons, knives
Paper plates and bowls
Other items (think road trip! No, wait—think vagabond.)
If you get grocery donations or are able to get to the store to buy things, chances are you will not have a place to store your leftover food, let alone a way to close bags you’ve opened. In a pinch, hair elastics can be used but twist ties have many other uses, which you will creatively discover as the need arises. You probably won’t be doing a lot of actual cooking at the beginning, or maybe even not for months. You can store open bags of nuts, beef jerky, etc. in Ziploc bags as well. Tupperware sounds like a good idea, but you won’t be able to see what’s inside and it becomes bulky to cart around. Lids can also come off, ruining the rest of your food and making you have a meltdown in the park while you’re trying to keep your cool for the kids pretending that you’re all just out for a family picnic and everything. is. fine. Remember, your kitchen cupboards and your entire pantry has now been reduced to one or more shopping bags, which you are going to need to transport more often than you think. Reducing bulk and maintaining food integrity is paramount.
You would be surprised how difficult it is to get water after a disaster. The evacuation center had small bottles of water but we would easily polish one off in one gulp and then feel guilty as it was thrown into the regular trash, to become part of a non-biodegradable, non-recycled trash heap. Thanks Red Cross! Carrying more than one bottle of water around was heavy, inconvenient and made my heart hurt for the damage we were doing to the planet, especially since every plastic thing I had ever owned was now part of the atmosphere. When we were in the hospital, we ironically had no access to water. Twice a day, the nurse would bring one small pitcher of water for the actual patient, and the rest of us would suck on the ice chips. Although we were constantly asking for more water, she conveniently forgot to bring us any. This resulted in us becoming extremely dehydrated in a short period of time which made everything else worse. Had we had reusable water bottles, we could have asked to have them filled up, or worst case, filled them up in the bathroom ourselves. A good average for the amount of water we needed was one gallon, per person, per day.
Your homework tonight is to add nonessential items and non-perishable food to your wishlist. You’ll be able to change the priority on items as your needs change, so that others will know how to best help you. I’m at AHS 2016 (the Ancestral Health Symposium in Boulder, Colorado) and I’m going to take this time to be in the present moment, enjoy my friends and learn some stuff. I’ll be back next week with some tips and advice on how to help a loved one when they’ve been through a disaster. Hopefully your world doesn’t end tonight. But if it does, grab the laundry basket, your documents, your bug out bag, some food and water and hit the road. Blessings.