Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
11 Jun

Primal Preparations for the Post Apocalypse

HiRes 2With oil spreading across the surface of the ocean, the world economy teetering on a precipice, and the Real Housewives of New Jersey premiering on Bravo, it’s not a stretch to believe the end of times are coming. While several companies will sell you kits for the occasion, usually they amount to a four thousand dollar credit card bill and a truckload of rice and oats. Rice and oats are no good for the low-carber, or for anyone wishing to avoid the all-too-common emaciated look of apocalypse survival. Thus, to wind down the week with something a little light-hearted (and what’s more light-hearted than the end of the world as we know it), the Worker Bees have come up with a Primal-approved list of supplies to ease the transition through the fall of modern civilization. Be it global warming, the rapture, or a zombie outbreak, get ready to stock up your bomb shelters! (NOTE: Bomb shelters have been on the decline since the late 1950’s when scientists figured out that six inches of concrete won’t stop a twenty mile wave of cell-melting nuclear radiation. If you have no bomb shelter, a basement will suffice).

First a few non-potables, the most important being…

1. Friends. More important than food. More important than weapons. If there’s one thing evolution, ancient history, and modern horror movies have taught us, people survive in groups. Unlike the blood-thirsty mutants surrounding your village, you don’t have eyes in the back of your head. Having friends to watch your back, to take the night watch, to drag you to safety and to pull out the bullet, is the one thing you really can’t live without. And no fair-weather friends. Golfing buddies, “frenemies,” and people who poke you on Facebook don’t count. You need people in your Dunbar’s circle. The type of friends who would risk life and limb to preserve your spot in line at the premier of Sex and the City 2. The type of friends who would forgive you for farting in a closed elevator. Humans have a capacity to attain roughly one hundred fifty such close friends, and while you may not need all hundred fifty, it’s good to have at least five. Friends won’t store well in a basement, but you’ll want to keep a fresh supply within a twenty mile radius.

2. A Dog. Basically a small, fast friend with a good sense of smell. Dogs will alert you of approaching lycanthropes, and if the situation is dire, a dog makes for a quick protein-filled emergency meal.

3. Knives: steak, butcher, bowie, and spork. Knives are the weapon of choice for the Hell-World survivalist. Much preferable to guns, a knife will never run out of bullets. Whether separating a homunculus from its limbs or carving a wooden doll for the creepy little clairvoyant girl, knives get the job done. The spork has been included for eating efficiency and style. It’s a modern culinary blasphemy that fine cutlery may include fourteen various sizes and shapes of utensil, and yet not one spork.

4. A Vacuum Sealer. Oxygen is the enemy of longevity. Whether fruit, meat, or the remains of a favorite cat, the less air it touches, the longer it’s going to last. While most modern vacuum sealers are powered, you’ll want to find a non-electric sealer for the low-tech times to come.

5. Emergency Kit. Most kits include a variety of bandages, tweezers, ibuprofen, matches, and flares. Flares aren’t really useful so much as aesthetically impressive when fighting crime underwater, measuring how a deep a cave goes, or distracting dinosaurs at Jurassic Park. By the way, if your post apocalypse is overrun with dinosaurs, you might as well kiss yourself goodbye.

The Grocery List

Toss the kids into the Voyager and bring along a hand truck, because it’s time to hit Costco! The key words are “calorically dense.” The more calories per cubic inch of food, the better. And now, the list of approved foods…

1. Water. You may be able to survive a month after the food runs out, but you’ll be dead in three days without water. While eight glasses a day isn’t necessary, a quart of water a day works as a rule of thumb. That comes out to roughly 100 gallons of water a year. And don’t you dare buy Dasani. Aside from the environmental footprint of wasted plastic bottles, and the fact that you’d be lining the wallets of Coca-Cola executives, purchasing 100 gallons worth of 20oz water bottles would require a second mortgage. The best option is to buy a couple 50 gallon plastic drums and fill them with good old tap. And make sure to get the air-tight barrels. As the old saying goes, “An unkempt water drum makes for a hotbed of mosquitoes… and/or a sentient face eating slime monster.”

2. Sardines. Loaded with omega 3s, an amazing source of fat and protein, you want the ones in olive oil, not in water. Sardines should compromise the base of your daily diet. They can be mashed into a salad, eaten raw, or even cooked in a soup. Anchovies and canned tuna (again, in oil, not water) also work.

3. Jerky: Beef, Salmon, Venison, Quail, Turkey, Aardvark, basically any meat you can dry out. DIY Jerky is the best route, though it may only last six months if you don’t vacuum seal it. If you choose store-bought jerky, go for dry, unflavored, or peppered jerky. Avoid “Teriyaki” and similar flavors as they typically contain unnecessary quantities of HFCS. And remember, a SlimJim is not jerky, it’s mechanically separated chicken parts mixed in a corn oil emulsion.

4. Pemmican. Pemmican is Eskimo for “meat wad.” Learn how to make your own as a travel snack for the long days spent on the tundras of a world climate-changed to an endless Winnipeg.

5. Canned Fruits and Vegetables. While canned goods last for decades, fruits and veggies are a luxury considering the relatively low macronutrient density. If a pickle only has eight calories, you’d need an Ark full of pickles to survive for a year. Pick nutrient dense canned goods; spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin, and pineapple are fine choices. Avoid fruits canned in syrup, canned corn (not a vegetable), and canned asparagus, which is just plain nasty.

6. Nuts. Nuts won’t keep as long as canned goods, though nut butters can stay edible for more than a year. A large jar of almond butter may contain over 3000 calories.

7. Coconut Milk/Cream. In the calorie-dense department, this stuff really takes the cake. At 700 calories a can, it’ll keep you energized for days. And because so many people have sent in emails on the subject… no, coconut milk is not a dairy product; and no, you cannot milk a coconut by squeezing its teats. Coconuts have no teats.

8. Olives. Canned olives don’t have the zing of fresh Kalamata olives, but they still contain healthy fat, and they go well with the piles of sardines and anchovies you just purchased. A hundred cans will do.

9. Vodka. It’s not strictly Primal, but it disinfects, it’s flammable, it can be traded for goods, and you just bought a hundred cans of olives, so why not mix a few martinis?

10. Vitamins. Scurvy is not fun. Not even for pirates. Goiters aren’t very pleasant either. Jaundice. No. Not fun.

11.  Herbs, Spices, Salt, Tabasco. Herbs are cheap, and while they will go stale after about 18 months, a little fennel can go long way for flavor. Considering the massive amounts of coconut milk you’ll be consuming, investing in a heavy supply of curry powder is also suggested. And Tabasco is included on the list because, frankly, a world without Tabasco is its own Hell on Earth.

12.  Sugary Drinks and Sodas. Whatever version of doomed future you may be living through, there are bound to be a few self-aware robots vying for world domination. And whether the robots disguise themselves as former Austrian body builders or colorful 18 wheelers, you can bet they’ll be bullet proof. Enter soda. As anyone who has ever owned a laptop or blackberry will attest, no electronic device can survive a direct spill from a can of sugary soda. If the machine’s wires don’t short circuit immediately, it’s only a matter of time before nearby ants creep in to suck at the corn syrup laden innards of a mean robot who will most certainly not “be back”.

13. Ant Farm. Ants are a great source of protein. Or you can unleash them on a Coke-soaked terminator.

14. Cheetos. The orange coating on Cheetos permanently bonds to many surfaces, perfect for marking trails, unsafe buildings, or members of the group infected with mind-control parasites.

15. Quaker Low Fat Rice Cakes. Though scientifically proven to be inedible, Quaker low fat rice cakes do have many of the same properties as Styrofoam. Soaked in gasoline for a week, they work as a kind of poor man’s napalm, a great defense against hordes of wayward bikers and rapscallions.

As useful as this grocery list may be, it is only a temporary fix. The average person may eat close to a million calories a year. Most people don’t have enough basement or money for an extra year’s worth of groceries. Or a decade’s worth. Stocking up for a lifetime is impossible, but stocking up for the time it takes you do adapt – to re-adapt - to a primitive hunter-gatherer lifestyle is possible. In the future, money will be worthless. Good looks won’t get you by if the zombie only wants you for your brains. Only healthy, Primal lifestyle habits will carry a person through the hardest times.

No one ever said living through the fall of man would be easy. But in the mean time, with a little know how, the right tools, a basement full of calorie dense, fatty foods, and a few good friends, you’ll have everything you need to make your living nightmare a dream come true.

Thanks for reading, everyone. If you found this article highly informative and took it very seriously you might like these, too. Enjoy!

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You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. You’re losing it.

    Matt wrote on June 11th, 2010
  2. This had the potential to be a great April Fools.

    MattyD wrote on June 11th, 2010
  3. Haha I loved the last few – great humor.

    I buy A LOT of coconut milk – at least 5 cans at a time. Its cheap but is so healthy. I am starting to enjoy more forms of coconut but so far the milk version has been perfect for primal smoothies.

    In fact, I will be leaving right now to stock up on coconut milk! Oh, I avoid Thai Kitchen brand since it has BPA. I go for Native Forest…

    Primal Toad wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Toad, I seriously doubt you would survive the apocalypse. Without the ability to post to MDA every day, I fear you might lose the will to live.

      CJ wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • I also avoid Thai Kitchen because of the guar gum that thickens the stuff into goop. Much prefer Goya or the stuff that we get from the Asian markets.

      Brian wrote on June 11th, 2010
  4. ROTFLMFAO!!!!!!!
    I can’t wait to make Quaker Rice Cake napalm to throw at the ant-covered, HFCS-soaked terminators. Thanks for all your research Worker Bees!

    Peggy wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • but what if it’s a GOOD terminator like in part 2 ?!?!?

      Don’t judge too quickly.

      mike wrote on June 11th, 2010
      • COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE!

        prib81 wrote on June 12th, 2010
  5. hahahaha. I love the cracks at soda, cheetos, and especially rice cakes!

    Clayton wrote on June 11th, 2010
  6. You forgot two items IMHO.

    1. Cigarettes- if you ever have watched any post-apocolyptic movie, you know these are the end all be all for trading items.

    2.Starbucks instant coffee Via-dissolves in cold water and is in a nice airtight package, need i say more?

    Jstrick wrote on June 11th, 2010
  7. Why sardines in oil instead of water?

    Shawn wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • They all come that way now (thanks BP)

      Peggy wrote on June 11th, 2010
      • OH SNAP!

        SLS wrote on June 11th, 2010
      • HA!

        Adam Kayce wrote on June 11th, 2010
      • rofl…

        Ely wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Seriously, why sardines in oil instead of water? Just the added calories for survival?

      Kurt wrote on June 11th, 2010
  8. @ Worker Bee(s):
    Does gin have similar antisceptic/flammable qualities? I really do prefer a dirty gin martini

    Peggy wrote on June 11th, 2010
  9. This may be the column that gets the rest of my friends to go primal. Or at least consider it.

    John wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • I loved this article. I’m a 30 year old who wants to introduce Primal to a lot(heck, ALL) of my friends. Many are not as health conscious as they could be, but they would definitely get this type of humor and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to extend this olive branch.

      The Apocalypse could just save their lives!

      CriQue312 wrote on July 26th, 2010
  10. I’m a little sad that when I emailed MDA this question about emergency preparedness food storage about a month ago, I asked about primal food storage in case of natural disaster or a long term job layoff and this post made it out to be a Zombie Apocalypse joke.

    Many frugal people store away some food in case a dip in their bank account, due to an emergency or job loss, causes a shortage of grocery money for a period of time. Also, prepared people store food in case of a natural disaster, say, a thunder storm knocks out the electricity so your food in the fridge spoils and the roads are flooded; you won’t be able to get to a store – in comes your food storage to save the day.

    I think this post had the potential to be informative but made a joke out of what is truly a frugal and responsible way to live, especially in this live for the moment society where the “it will never happen to us” attitude is so pervasive.

    Rachel wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Whoa, whoa. We’re just having a little fun here, Rachel. And this isn’t in response to your email.

      I agree. It pays to be prepared and maybe a future post could address this topic in a more serious tone.

      Best

      Mark Sisson wrote on June 11th, 2010
      • A series of articles on getting off the grid would be great. Stuff like canning preservatives, growing your own vegetables, trying to live without electricity, etc. would be interesting for me.

        Chris wrote on June 11th, 2010
        • I’ve often wondered why MDA doesn’t cover more backyard fruit/vegetable production; especially with Mark living in a productive So Cal climate.

          As far as the topic goes, Mark forgot to mention the ability to protect said booty.

          If you have a family and have ever tried to imagine the next 30 years of nuclear proliferation, monetary deflation, food production for 10 billion, etc., well its pretty scary…

          chris wrote on June 13th, 2010
        • Fortunately, with the internet, you can find information on almost anything. I, personally, am glad Mark sticks to information on living a primal lifestyle (usually in a modern world).

          I think what may be called for is the folks at Mark’s Daily Apple suggesting other blogs and websites where information on sustainable living can be found.

          Cheers.

          Sara wrote on June 15th, 2010
        • I second this!

          Doll wrote on October 17th, 2012
    • Hi, Rachel:
      I think there are other primal types interested in emergency preparedness. Unfortunately, none of the gurus so far has come out with any serious articles on it. I asked Richard once, but he wasn’t interested. I suggest looking at the survivalist/prepper websites & blogs, but doing so from a primal viewpoint. Some of what I’m doing: storing canned meats, veggies, fruits. Learning to can my own foods. I have 2.5 acres in the high desert & am learning about permaculture so I can put in food producing plants along with small animals (chickens, sheep, goats, pigs). Obviously being in the desert water access is a priority. I’m on a well system so intend to put in solar energy at least on the well. I could survive w/o electricity on the house, but will absolutely need the water! Recommend survivialblog.com as a starting point & JWRawles book available there. One thing though is to not just become a ‘survivalist’ or ‘prepper’. You have to remember to live for today also. As in most things, balance is important. Good luck!

      Karen wrote on June 11th, 2010
      • I’d put in a hand pump before solar. Ideally something that you can repair yourself (in a pinch anyway). Solar is great when it works, but if something breaks you can’t really fix it.

        Henry Miller wrote on June 12th, 2010
    • Chaohinon wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • beachbound wrote on June 11th, 2010
  11. Awesome.

    rsg wrote on June 11th, 2010
  12. I just had a great visual of tossing flaming rice cake pucks at zombies…thinking I need to create some sort of launcher now so that I am ready to go. I am getting roof repairs next week, I might have them install it then.

    Erin wrote on June 11th, 2010
  13. Hahahaha

    “Soaked in gasoline for a week, they work as a kind of poor man’s napalm, a great defense against hordes of wayward bikers and rapscallions.”

    Nice use of the word “rapscallions” by the way :)

    Hannah wrote on June 11th, 2010
  14. Especially valuable given the general “grains = great” staple dogma among the survival-oriented. And as always with these pieces, conveying useful information in a humorous package. Stuff like this is why I keep coming back — Mark, you and your Bees are exemplary ambassadors of the primal communities, always striving to build bridges instead of burning them.

    frogfarm wrote on June 11th, 2010
  15. Here’s the spork you need:

    http://www.rei.com/product/660002

    Jamie Fellrath wrote on June 11th, 2010
  16. Nice way to finish the week, Mark. Thanks for the laughs!

    Justa wrote on June 11th, 2010
  17. are you sure that coconuts do not have teats? what are those little brown thingies on the end? ….THANKS for the laugh this was a great way to end a tough work week!

    Steve1907 wrote on June 11th, 2010
  18. I love your humor columns!

    Thanks for a good Friday laugh!

    jenella wrote on June 11th, 2010
  19. “no, you cannot milk a coconut by squeezing its teats. Coconuts have no teats.”

    lol

    “I have nipples, Greg. Can you milk me?”

    Rip City wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Best line of the whole post!

      musajen wrote on June 11th, 2010
  20. [Insert Rim Shot Here]

    ben wrote on June 11th, 2010
  21. Awesome, Mark! Loved it so much, I forwarded the link around! ROFL!

    Katt wrote on June 11th, 2010
  22. I just tweeted this but I had to stop by and say it here: Best. Post. EVAR!

    I started laughing my backside off at the dog-as-tasty-snack and snorted (good old tap) water out of my nose at the dinosaur observation.

    Oh, and Rachael, dear, let it go. I am THE frugal chick (I’m The Thrifty Mom after all). I am ALWAYS prepared for any emergency but I also don’t take myself too seriously! This post was fun, funny, AND informative. What was wrong with Mark’s suggestions?

    Lighten up a bit. You’ll live longer after the Zombie Apocolypse …. ;)

    -Blue (The Thrifty Mom) wrote on June 11th, 2010
  23. Love the article. It’s humorous yet constitutes truth. Brilliant.

    Steven wrote on June 11th, 2010
  24. This was funny and, I’m sorry, but who HASN’T totally thought about how they’d survive the end of the world. Although, gotta say, I wouldn’t want to eat my dog even if I was dang hungry.

    Pemmican is a derivation of a Cree word not Eskimo. Eskimo actually call themselves Inuit. Where I born (Kugluktuk, Nunavut represent!) you did not call Inuit people Eskimo without someone wanting to punch you in the eye.

    Leya wrote on June 11th, 2010
  25. One of my favorite post by far! So funny and yet still informative. LOL

    Heidi wrote on June 11th, 2010
  26. Excellent post, Mark, but where are the chia seeds?! Not only are they a superfood with myriad health benefits, but their antioxidant content keeps them fresh and nutritious for years! Also, because chia’s in the mint family and doesn’t require all that much maintenance (or water) to grow, I truly think of it as the most logical food to emphasize in addressing the world hunger crisis (in place of the nutritionally devoid and irrigation-heavy white rice we throw out of airplanes). I’m all for stocking up on some of these items, like bulk coconut milk, coconut oil and sardines, but chia seeds will likely be a viable food source long after the habitats and climates responsible for these other foods perish… which is sadly already happening, and fast. I’m working on a floatational geodesic dome greenhouse concept (no stealing) to address the impending issue of erratic temperatures and precipitation levels, which will likely lead to jeopardized food supplies if we don’t err on the side of caution and develop new ways to simulate environments (with green technologies, of course) indoors. I know it sounds insane to have gardens that are flash-flood proof, but I think it’s equally smart. Us humans should really start planning for the worst, just to err on the side of caution as opposed to risk. Satchel out.

    Satchel Paige wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Plus, with the right chia planter, you can grow it in the shape of a cow. Then you can imagine you are eating grass fed beef, yet another psychological advantage :)

      Rip City wrote on June 11th, 2010
      • @smith
        Fantabulous office, Evangelist, but where are the chia seeds?! Not only are they a superfood with myriad eudaemonia benefits, but their antioxidant noesis keeps them good and nutritious for geezerhood! Also, because chia’s in the strike phratry and doesn’t order all that untold upkeep (or nutrient) to change, I genuinely believe of it as the most coherent substance to emphasize in addressing the class thirst crisis (in situate of the nutritionally devoid and irrigation-heavy soul rice we befuddle out of airplanes). I’m all for unshod up on whatever of these items,

        Beach Holiday Guide wrote on June 15th, 2010
  27. I have a suggestion for a post apocalyptic primal snack: zombie jerky!

    TheFatCaveman wrote on June 11th, 2010
  28. frickin’ genius, this post! through the humor, there is actually some phenom info. just keeps me coming back for more. of course, MDA may need to figure out a way to keep posting via smoke signals, cuz i can do without civilization, but no MDA? (i just freaked my own self out at the thought!)

    jennifer wrote on June 11th, 2010
  29. and oh, the vegans and vegetarians will go first. they will be so tasty with all the marbelised fatty tissue.

    jennifer wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Especially the beer-drinking ones – it’ll be like Wagyū!

      prib81 wrote on June 12th, 2010
  30. “Coconuts have no teats.”

    I have no doubt that never before in the history of mankind has that sentence been uddered.

    Brian1965 wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Am I the only one to get the use of the word “uddered”? Hysterical!

      This is one of the best posts ever on MDA.

      Mike wrote on June 13th, 2010
    • Too funny!!!

      Maxine wrote on June 15th, 2010
  31. Is it wrong that I immediately want to go out and buy Quaker rice cakes and soak them in gasoline to see what kind of mayhem could ensue?

    In my defense, I grew up with 3 brothers…

    musajen wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • I’m glad someone finally figured out something useful to do with rice cakes. Can’t believe I used to eat them and think they were healthy (whole grain and all)!

      Maxine wrote on June 15th, 2010
  32. One single line disappointed me today, Mark. Why?

    A real martini is made with gin.

    Macha wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • That is EXACTLY what I commented about. Srsly – vodka?! Not even in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies. Not even.

      Ace wrote on June 11th, 2010
      • I asked the same thing… Well, y’all are welcome to hang out in my gin-only bunker

        Peggy wrote on June 14th, 2010
    • That is because you don’t know vodkatini!
      :)
      No, serously!

      Vitalx wrote on November 2nd, 2012
  33. Things you’ll need:
    1. Water
    2. Tabasco
    3. Some type of edible material plus #2.

    brianA wrote on June 11th, 2010
  34. I’m sort of sad, but relieved, that this post ended my futile attempt to find the teats on a coconut to milk it. I kept turning it round and round and round…looking, peering…

    Zach B. wrote on June 11th, 2010
  35. I can’t believe you even dared to say that vodka should be anywhere NEAR a martini. You Americans, I tell you…

    On another note: in the post-apocalypse? I doubt we’re going to care that much about HFCS, srsly.

    Ace wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • …well, maybe an appletini. :-)

      Sara wrote on June 15th, 2010
  36. Cannibalism=survival.

    Kurt wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Here’s the problem with cannibalism: you’re going to want to eat the healthiest people, in the same way that its best to heat the healthiest, grass-fed cows. But they healthiest ones are the hardest to catch, they’re in the shortest supply, and they might be your Primal buddies!

      Dan wrote on June 11th, 2010
      • I love a challenge.

        Kurt wrote on June 12th, 2010
  37. I am really curious about recommending the sardines and tuna in oil instead of water. From what I have seen the tuna in water is much higher in Omega 3’s.

    Marc wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • I’m guessing it’s the energy density mate… As Mark states – you won’t have unlimited space and money – the food you buy has to have as many calories per square cm, sorry square in…

      Plus from a Primal point of living, you need oils in your diet, and bottled oils once opened will eventually go rancid… I’m guessing here so could be completly wrong.

      LukeinOz wrote on June 11th, 2010
  38. Seriously, though, I keep nuts, sardines & bottled water in my car… my mama taught me to be prepared in case I’m trapped in my car during an earthquake. I should really add a can of coconut milk and some thai curry paste… sardine curry tastes a heck of a lot better than knawing on the limbs of the guy in the next car.

    jj wrote on June 11th, 2010
  39. When buying canned fish packed in oil, be sure to check the ingredient list. Many are packed in soybean oil. I generally don’t even bother to pick it up off the shelf unless it states that it contains olive oil, and even then it’s sometimes a blend.

    Kristin J wrote on June 11th, 2010
  40. This definitely had some great potential. I love the humor though!(I laughed my ass off for sure…) But you all should definitely put some quality primal survival up on the next post.

    kevin wrote on June 11th, 2010

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