What to eat in a crisis situation?
The popular theory of "threes" is that a person is able to survive:
- 3 minutes without oxygen,
- 3 days without water,
- 3 weeks without food.
While the first two points are indisputable, it is worth considering the third. Can we really survive that long without any food?
We will not starve at this time, here is full consent, but only because earlier we will be killed by the lack of strength to act, irritation, apathy and a drop in perception that prevents us from operating effectively in a random field.
In order to function properly while resting, an adult needs to consume a daily food with an energy value of 2040 kcal. This value increases to about 3500 kcal with increased effort, e.g. during multi-day exploration of wild terrain. Calories alone are not enough, however. Equally important is a properly balanced diet that contains not only the right amount of carbohydrates, fat and protein, but also minerals, trace elements and vitamins. You cannot limit yourself to just one type of food.
Plants commonly found in our climate, allowing to enrich food poor in nutrients:
- oak acorns - rinse them in water with wood ash, and then cook them. They contain carbohydrates, fats and proteins,
- burdock - the root and stems are edible. It is best to cook them before eating,
- broadleaf cattail (water cattail) - rhizomes are edible, they can be eaten raw,
- wild, easily recognizable fruits, e.g. blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, wild strawberries,
- nettle - stops burning after cooking. It contains a lot of iron,
- wild garlic - has a pungent smell. Leaves, flowers and bulbs can be eaten raw,
- hawthorn - small red fruits are edible,
- sorrel - leaves can be eaten raw.
The main building block of our muscles is protein, the richest source of which is meat, but it is difficult to get it, because it is associated with the earlier acquisition of hunting skills. One of them is setting traps.
In the wild it is much easier to catch a fish than to hunt an animal. A line and a hook are enough for this, which should be part of an individual survival package. A stick cut from hazel can serve as a bit, and beetle larvae found in fallen tree trunks can be used as bait. These also provide a substantial source of protein. They can be eaten raw, boiled, or baked. Fish caught first must be gutted by removing the insides and then boiled or baked over a fire.
Other unconventional food sources available in temperate climates:
- insects - ants, beetles, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, crickets. Before consumption, get rid of hard-to-digest fragments such as wings, shells, legs,
- snails and earthworms - contain large amounts of easily digestible protein. They need to be cooked, removing the insides beforehand,
- mushrooms - contain protein. It is not recommended to collect them in case of any doubts related to the identification of a given species. Some of them are highly poisonous,
- nuts: walnuts, hazel, beech, pine seeds, oak acorns.
If you are unsure whether the found fruit or plant is edible, then there is a simple food suitability test. It is taught in special units all over the world. However, I would like to point out that the method is not 100% certain and should only be used in real crisis situations.
Follow the steps in the order presented. In the event of adverse reactions, terminate the test.
1. Smell the test plant. If it smells of bitter almonds, it is a sign that it contains hydrogen cyanide and is unfit for consumption.
2. Squeeze some juice onto the inside of your wrist, wait a few hours. If the skin starts to sting, redness or blisters appear, the plant should be discarded. Otherwise, continue with the test.
3. Squeeze a little juice onto the lips and tongue in turn. In case of burning sensation, discard the plant.
4. Eat a very small piece and wait a few hours.
In the absence of undesirable effects, the plant can be considered edible.
Author: Kajetan Adventurer Wilczyński