It has been a tragic week for the state of Texas. The word I would use to describe it is unprepared. It’s hard to place blame because Texas weather is unpredictable, and a storm like this comes once in a lifetime. For many, it was hard to prepare for the unknown and even if you tried our infrastructures and systems are not set up for this kind of weather.
What I do know is that Texans are kind and take care of each other. Neighbors were reaching out left and right. Our gym lost power, but as soon as we got it, we were offering it to those in need. Our LAB family was taking care of each other and those in need in our community. It’s truly amazing to see.
In a time of crisis, we realize how important basic survival skills are to have. Like choosing the best place for shelter, knowing how to generate heat sources via fire, layering multiple layers of clothing, conserving water, staying the most hygienic with no water, etc. And of course, how to feed ourselves when resources are scarce.
I’m not a crisis expert, but I believe that knowing and experimenting with nutrition will help you during any emergency situation.
Being Educated on Macros
It’s so important to know what foods are considered a protein, a fat or a carbohydrate. This is not for vain or physical reasons… This is so you can stock your pantry with essentials that will help you. For example, protein will help you feel fuller longer. So, when stocking up before the storm, I bought all the canned and packaged protein I already enjoy on a regular basis like tuna, chicken, beef jerky, beans, etc. These items won't go bad and do not need to be heated to eat.
Experimenting with Different Foods
In Nutrition LAB, I encourage experimenting with different foods to expand your options. For example, I’m not against drinking milk, but I know through experimentation that my body doesn't fare well with it. So, I found that I enjoy a plant based milk called Ripple. When we went to the grocery store before the big storm hit, there was NO milk of any kind, but wouldn’t you know it, Ripple was still sitting on the shelf. Because I had already experimented with this product, I had options. This same concept is true for the entire grocery store. When you start exploring and learning more about food, you’ll have more options to choose from when products are scarce.
Fasting Will Teach You How Long You Can Go Without
Not only do I encourage experimenting with different foods, I also encourage people to experiment with eating windows. While some might think fasting is just starving yourself, it’s really just constricting the time in which you eat. Many fast without even knowing it for at least 8 hours while they are sleeping. The most popular fasting window is 16:8, where you would not eat for 16 hours and then eat for 8 (ex:12pm-8pm, but you can really do any 8 hr window). You can extend that window 17:7, 18:6, 19:5...and so on. Coach Hargrave even did two 36 hour fasting windows a week for a while. I tried one 36 hour fast and decided that wasn’t for me… :) However, if I needed to go without, I had done it taking note of all the feelings my body went through.
All that to say, if you train your body to feel hunger and get past it, you realize that you will actually survive and thrive on eating less and eating the most nutrient dense food you can find when you can.
Experimenting With Diets such as Vegan, Whole30, Mediterranean, Grain-Free, etc
There are certainly fad diets I do not recommend that yield short term success and are not sustainable. However, there are some that help you learn different ways to eat and are similar to fasting in the sense that they give you boundaries. When you are vegan, you don’t eat animal products. Being vegan would mean that I would most likely know how to cook some mean vegetable dishes. I would also know how to get protein from legumes, nuts and seeds. Whole30 goers avoid sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy. When I experimented with Whole30, I learned how to read food labels and that milk made my stomach hurt. The point being, learning to survive on any “diet” will help you fuel with the most nutrient dense foods in crisis mode when options are limited.
Knowing Basic Cooking Skills
You do not have to be a master chef to consider yourself a cook. Microwaving is cooking. Putting a salad together in a bowl is cooking. When you learn to cook, you learn to make meals. This basic skill is essential for survival. When learning basic cooking skills, keep it simple. Don’t go for complex recipes. This is another reason why knowing your macros is important. To build a nutritious basic meal, you will want protein and vegetables (canned and frozen are great). Another great skill to know is how to spice your foods. Restaurants do not use special asparagus and brussel sprouts… they just know how to season them so that you will eat them. Experiment and find what makes food taste good to you. This opens up a slew of options for you when resources are low.
Nutrition includes hydration. We typically tell everyone to consume at least their body weight in ounces of water daily. This means, there is always a bottle of water next to you. Water is the most important liquid you can consume. Now if it is not your favorite, you can also do sparkling water or add fresh citrus or fruit to your water. Don’t forget in times of crisis (like we experienced), you might need to boil your water so that it is safe to drink.
In summary, educating yourself and experimenting with your nutrition will help you survive during a crisis.
While the storm has passed, the crisis is still unraveling. Here is a list of ways to help the Fort Worth community.
- Donate to SafeHaven to repair shelters.
- Donate supplies to the Presbyterian Night Shelter.
- Donate water bottles to any of Fort Worth’s Fire Stations
BY ISIS HARGRAVE
Isis is a Nutrition and Fitness Coach at enduraLAB. Book a Nutrition Consultation or Personal Training session below.