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

With 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 not going to need the vitamins. People who don’t eat fruit and veggies only get scurvy if they eat a ton of grains. An all meat grainless diet poses no threat of scurvy. Post-apoc, those who survive are going to be way healthier! Something to look forward to =).

    Ryan wrote on June 11th, 2010
  2. I haven’t read the article yet… I was just so excited by the title that I had to comment first!! Thanks for this in advance. I love preparedness… whether it’s zombies or for a tornado! Thanks Mark :)

    Drey wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Okay, that was pretty fun. Thanks for the post! I’d love further exploration on primal food/water storage!

      Drey wrote on June 11th, 2010
  3. Although this story is very amusing, I believe that Mark didn’t write it just for fun. To get people to listen you must make it amusing especially when you are talking about changes that you can’t confirm.

    Well, look at the world today and the changes that are taking place. Study what the age old cultures had to say about our time, it might give you a clue.

    There could be more truth in this story than you want to believe…

    Well done Mark!

    Not all a joke! wrote on June 11th, 2010
  4. Someone watched The Road

    Greg Harrington wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Awesome Book and Movie!!

      Big Thunder wrote on June 12th, 2010
  5. How about canned corned beef and canned coconut milk for a nutritionally dense emergency food kit.

    (Burger and a milkshake in cans….)

    John wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • I tried canned corned beef once – had bought it for hurricane preparedness, and after hurricane season passed, I opened it to see how it tastes and if it could be used for normal eating. YUCK! You’d have to be really hungry…

      Maxine wrote on June 15th, 2010
  6. Awesome stuff – nice to see this topic treated lightly.

    I must say even the thought of this sort of topic is quite American.

    Bomb shelters and panic rooms etc seem to be largely confined to the US… The Cold War has a lot to answer for!

    I’m not saying we don’t have them in Australia, but here (and the UK and Europe), you just don’t hear references to these things like you do in the US…

    You would struggle to find a property in Australia with either a bomb shelter or panic room if you wanted one… In fact I’m now so curious I’m going to do a search to see if I can find one! 😉

    Not a judgement, just an observation… Is the Cold War the only factor I wonder? I guess if younger Americans born after the Cold War ended don’t think of these things as much, then you could say it was the major reason.

    Just some random thoughts…

    Peace, love and (sprouted) mung beans! 😉

    LukeinOz wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • I live in the USA and have not heard the term “bomb shelter” since the 1960s. Unless, of course, you count the reference to a bomb shelter in the 1999 movie “Blast From the Past”, which was about a bomb shelter in the 1960s.


      RSL wrote on June 12th, 2010
    • I suspect that you will find that at the peak of the cold war there will maybe 10 bomb shelters in any state. People considered the idea, but I have seen no evidence that anyone did – other than people writing an article on how they made their bomb shelter for magazines.

      Henry Miller wrote on June 12th, 2010
  7. Wow, I can’t believe you forgot honey.

    Honey is the only food that doesn’t spoil, so its a requirement for any long term storage of goods.

    Plus its full of a ton of antibacterial properties so it can be used not only for food, but to put on wounds in the event you get hurt. Remember man didn’t die from food early on, he died because medically he couldn’t fix things today we find an easy mend. A broken bone and bad teeth meant death back in the day.

    George wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • Lol. I cut myself chopping some veggies (not too deep) & immediately after stopping it from bleeding, dabed some raw honey on it. W/ in mins the pain was fading. I used it like a Neosporin & put a bandaid on it. It really does work. No scar or mark shows now on my finger. (Now to get my husb from eating soo much raw honey everyday lol)

      Madeline wrote on June 11th, 2010
  8. A serious discussion on emergency survival would probably require a whole nother website! But there are some easy things to do at least for smaller emergencies. Make sure you have water on hand. It stores nice frozen in the freezer and also helps the efficiency of the freezer. Have some kind of off grid cooking stove and fuel around, or bbq or whatever. And keep yourself well overstocked on canned goods that you usually eat and then make sure to always eat the oldest ones. And have a hand powered can opener. That way, if there is an earthquake and something knocks out the grid for some days or weeks, you will be able to survive for the short haul. Other good things to have are basics like toilet paper and weapons. For the long term you would be looking at learning basic farming, getting heritage seeds, animal husbandry, hunting, getting a water well, etc. That’s a whole diff level of planning, learning, expense and commitment. However, everyone should try to plan for smaller emergencies. As we have seen with Katrina and other situations, emergencies do happen and govt response often takes days to even show up.

    Eva wrote on June 11th, 2010
  9. Too totally funny!

    mariah22 wrote on June 11th, 2010
  10. Great and humorous article! I LOL’d! :)

    Chris wrote on June 11th, 2010
  11. Excellent & creative post! Mark, you never cease to amaze!

    Debra wrote on June 11th, 2010
  12. “a dog makes for a quick protein-filled emergency meal”

    you’re a freak. you just lost one loyal reader after that disturbing line

    Zach wrote on June 11th, 2010
    • “you’re a freak. you just lost one loyal reader after that disturbing line”

      Lighten up. It was a joke, or did you think all the stuff about killer robots and radioactive mutants was factual was well?

      Torch wrote on June 11th, 2010
  13. “long days spent on the tundras of a world climate-changed to an endless Winnipeg.”

    It’s really not that bad here in Winnipeg…though good jerky is always in order.

    Greensprout wrote on June 11th, 2010
  14. I know this may have been written in fun, but I do live on the Gulf Coast and we are starting our preps for hurricane season. I have been wondering what to stock up on – most non-parishables are crackers or carbs. It has crossed my mind more than once this month that I need to get to work on a primal survival kit.

    Melinda wrote on June 12th, 2010
  15. Am I reading that parody site, “The Onion?”

    Oh, yeah, I get it now.

    This is “Mark’s Daily Onion!”

    Jim Purdy

    The 50 Best Health Blogs wrote on June 12th, 2010
  16. “…and if the situation is dire, a dog makes for a quick protein-filled emergency meal.”

    That was awesome!

    Andre Sanchez wrote on June 12th, 2010
  17. My husband pointed out something vitally important that you forgot: duct tape.
    Can’t hold the world together without it.

    For an excellent blog on food storage preparations, try Sharon Astyk:
    She’s not primal, but she’s not vegetarian either.

    ColoGrassFed wrote on June 12th, 2010
  18. Seeds.. For growing stuff after the apocalypse is over.

    VTPrimal wrote on June 12th, 2010
  19. but PLEASE not monsanto seeds!

    jennifer wrote on June 12th, 2010
  20. I have to disagree on the tap water decision. Desani might be more useful in the end. You can use the bottles as urine storage receptacles. Furthermore for trading afterwards…as you cannot tell the difference between Desani and urine…

    Just kidding….kinda.

    kevin wrote on June 12th, 2010
    • No, no. You would need Aquafina bottles for urine storage receptacles! They’re in wider mouth bottles.

      Sara wrote on June 15th, 2010
  21. What MAD did here was a great psych trick of stating the absurd to help you develop solutions on your own. Btw, when the S–T hits the fan, you’ll need to come up with your own alternatives to spare fido. Excellent article. I am starting my survival planning as of today. Some excellent comments from other groks by the way!

    Clemente wrote on June 13th, 2010
  22. That was great. Loved it!

    Brandon wrote on June 14th, 2010
  23. I know cannibalism is not politically correct, but there are a heck of a lot of Americans that would make calorie dense survival food. Plus, it’s not like they can run away. Once the “mobility” scooter dies, their toast.

    BTW, I actually witness two super fat people in the grocery store debating over which type of marsh mellow to go with. The day is nigh…

    nathan wrote on June 15th, 2010
  24. I was so entertained by this article! Loved it and all the information that came with it. I just came upon your site recently and it’s a treasure trove of info. I can’t believe all these years I thought fat was the bad guy! No wonder I haven’t been well!

    Great comments too…the day is nigh…lol!

    Kristina wrote on June 15th, 2010
  25. This. Is. AWESOME

    “poor man’s napalm”


    ThePrimalBrett wrote on June 16th, 2010
  26. Great article. I would also like to see a few more serious takes, as most food storage is beans and rice. Especially for a family up north with a short growing season. I do know people off-grid who can their meat.

    Amy wrote on June 16th, 2010
  27. I love your sense of humour Mark :o)

    On a serious note, I do think it is worth stocking up. We usually stock up just before winter to aviod having to travel to shops etc during the flu season. This helps to keep us healthier as well. We are also planning on becoming as self-sufficient as possible. It is of course not an option if you live in the city but we are lucky enough to have just bought a block of land and we plan to have our own chickens, eggs, veges, and some fruit trees. Perhaps even one or two of our own pasture fed cows/sheep/goats.

    Angelina wrote on June 16th, 2010
  28. a handheld non-electric vacuum sealer? any ideas where you can get that?

    heri wrote on July 8th, 2010
    • Publix has one, made by Renolds. It works pretty well, but the bags are pricey. I think there’s another brand also.

      Maxine wrote on July 8th, 2010
    • isn’t that called a straw? 😉

      Feather wrote on July 29th, 2013

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