Friday, January 11, 2008

Beans and Rice - Survival Update

I am sick of beans and rice.

The month of January is a "practice what you preach" month. For four weeks I am living off of my stocked dried beans, rice and flour. I wanted to make sure that I can survive when the day comes that I have to live off the stores. I needed to see what else was necessary, what was I missing, it would be bad to have two years worth of food stocked in the cabin and not be able to eat it.

The last two weeks have taught me that you can exist fine on one cup of dried beans, one cup of white rice and four slices of bread everyday, but boy is it hard. One cup of dried beans makes about two and a half cups of prepared beans, one cup of dried rice makes about three cups of cooked rice.

The preparation is not that difficult, put the beans in a crockpot the night before, leave it on low and by noon they are finished. The rice takes about 30 minutes to cook. I am using a crockpot because it best simulates slow cooking on top of a wood stove or in a solar oven. Although I have a gas stove at the cabin, it can only be relied upon as long as propane is readily available.

The bread is store bought, I know that it does not exactly simulate the survival experience, but frankly I don't have the time. I know I can make the bread so I am cheating a little.

As Americans we are use to full flavored fattening foods that satisfy our hunger. The beans and rice do fill you up but they are somewhat less than satisfying...ok a lot less than satisfying. Plain toast I can deal with but the monotony produced by the beans and rice was unbearable. After just three days I thought, there is no way hell I could live on this. Oh but I was wrong.

First off, in a survivalist situation you eat to live not for enjoyment or satisfaction. You eat for the calories and the energy they provide, you want nutrient dense food. Second, any food can be made exciting and different by simply adding spices and salts. I have a small collection of spices and various meat seasoning salts at the cabin. So on the fourth day I put some beef meat seasoning in the mix and bam it was a fresh tasty dish. I also found this powdered cheese that you mix with water, I tried some of that and it really made a great dish. The powdered cheese keeps just like a spice.

The point is that you will need lots of spices and seasonings. Go to the dollar store with sixty buck and just go crazy, get alittle of everything and really stock up on what you like. You will need it to fight off the monotony.

One other note, there will be a distinct difference in dietary variety depending on your survival situation. If you are a survivalist living in the country you will be very busy cutting firewood, tending your garden and hunting rabbit and such. Your meal is something you eat to keep you going, you take time out of your day for the meals. A city survivalist is going to hunker down and keep a low profile until the critical time passes. You are sitting in the house trying not to draw attention to yourself. In this case the meals are what you look forward to, they are the high points of the day. If you are staying in the city you will need a much greater variety in your food stocks.



theotherryan said...

I commend you for practicing what you preach. I honestly can not see myself living in that way for any length of time if I have a better alternative. The meantion of powered cheese and spices is very good. Other then that meals will not be that fun.

BigBear said...

Yea it won't be doable without some serious flavoring.

The Urban Survivalist said...

Go to King Soopers and look at the bottom rack under all of the other spices. Those big jars go on sale all the time for around $2-$3 each. Between cayenne powder, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, chives, basil, parsley, salt, pepper and everything else that comes in those jars (one of each will probably run you around $20) you should be able to add a lot of variety that will last for months.

The point you made about city people having to hunker down is a good one as well. That's why I go heavy on canned goods. I've still got plenty of dried beans and rice but if I want to skip them for a day or two it won't be a problem.

BigBear said...

I keep a good stock of canned food here in the Springs. I prefer canned food when you can be assured that it won't freeze.

William Smith said...

Beans and Rice. Yes, I am too interested in being able to live off grid. Right now I am eating beans and rice, not as an experiment, but out of necessity in my situation. (will not go into that) Agreed that it is pretty bland and a little salt goes along way to help. Hunger is a pretty good sauce too, if you get my drift. Onions and garlic are easy to grow and store and make a huge difference. You can also use dried onion and/or garlic powder as a substitute for the real thing. Be prepared to conserve what energy you get from your food as you will not only loose fat but will also loose muscle mass if you are not careful. I have lost over 30 pounds in less than 5 weeks and became very weak sometimes. I am learning to listen to my body as it tells me what I can and cannot do and when and how much to eat. Something that I never noticed. Also be aware that your stomach / digestion system may take a while to acclimate to the new diet. I am also drinking ONLY water. Drink lots if at all possible. Beware, after doing this for some time, do not think that if you get lucky to be invited to dinner or fast food it would be great. It's not. A small coke and hamburger caused me to be jittery and my digestion system dumped this as fast as it could. Not a very pleasant experience. Sometimes we think we cannot do something like this. But, be of good hope, we do what we have to and life goes on and in some cases becomes a richer experience than one of luxury.

Best Regards

Bredker said...

Hey, I just watched the reality show "im a celebrity get me out of here", where they could only eat rice and beans. I'm in good shape already, but trying to get totally ripped and want to shed a little lower abdominal fat. Saving lots of $$ would also be nice, as I spend a fortune to try to eat a caveman diet (zone/paleo). Would it be ok to switch to only rice and beans? Maybe also add vegetables and fruits for nutrition, and maybe some eggs? Maybe just do it for a month straight?

Thanks for any advice!
Bryan (

Capt Ray said...

Don't forget fat in your survival diet. Fat is energy and goes a long way toward providing the necessary energy to keep you active enough to survive. Grab a couple cans of Crisco.

Crisco can sit on the shelf open for a year or more and will provide kaboodles of energy. You can add it to gravy for your beans. Don't go crazy: A spoon full per meal. Any more and you might get the "runs," depending on your digestive system. Grab some bulk gravy mixes along with chicken or beef bullion. Throw a couple of those in with your rice and your rice will be much tastier. Same with a spoon full of beef gravy mix.

In military survival school, I snuck in a heat-sealed tube of Lawry's Seasoning salt. We used it on rabbit, beef and squirrel. The guys in my element thought I was King Kong for bringing that along because it tastes so very good, especially when you are starved. It stores for a long time as well. And, it meets the need for salt in warm environments (to stimulate thirst and replace salt loss).

Dittos to the variety of spices. Load up.

buffler said...

It may sound silly to some, but I have been gathering packets of condiments from anywhere and everywhere I order from, they keep well as long as temperature variations aren't too extreme and, go a long, long way to making the bland enjoyable.