Preparing for Hurricanes With Allergies/Real Food
Preparing for hurricanes on a real food diet can be very stressful. Anyone who has been through it knows that preparing for hurricanes, regardless of what kind of food you eat, or if you have allergies or not, is already a very stress-inducing, anxiety-ridden event. Safe food and ample medication should be at the top of the list as far as emergency preparedness.
While preparing for Hurricane Dorian last month, a common theme I noticed was mamas asking what to get for their children on special diets. Some have allergies or severe intolerances, so just “making do” and eating anything available would be disastrous.
My son is one of them. In an already high-stress situation, the last thing I need is for him to have a bad asthma attack or anaphylactic reaction.
Hurricane Irma in 2017 promised to actively plague us for days, leaving us stuck at home with no access to medical care or emergency services. Losing power afterwards was pretty much a guarantee. I had to ensure we had enough safe foods and a good supply of medication available just in case. Our Ped was nice enough to give us steroids to use if needed.
We are thankful we were spared from Hurricane Dorian’s wrath, and feel so much sadness for the horrors the Bahamian Islands have experienced. 🙁
We do not live in a flood zone or too close to the beach, so our usual plan is to hunker down and prepare with sufficient food just in case we do actually lose power. It is best to plan for at least a week without power/tap water, but keep in mind that power could be out even longer than that!
During Hurricane Wilma my family was without light for three weeks! Back then I was such a picky eater that I pretty much lived on tuna, bread and lemon cookies. Now I plan much better.
Here are some ideas to prepare for a hurricane or other natural disaster while maintaining your real-food diet. Many of these are suitable for Paleo, GAPS, Keto and other special diets. Most are very allergy-friendly!
This list mostly focuses on things you can buy/prepare last minute, but if you think ahead of hurricane season you can definitely prepare your own of many of these things. Canning, dehydrating, and fermenting for longer-term storage are great skills that can come in handy in emergencies!
It can be helpful to have a generator, grill, gas stove, Berkey water filter, etc. In addition to losing power, the water pipes usually end up getting turned off. These things can make your life so much easier!
Lowering the temperature to the lowest setting for both fridge and freezer is helpful, as is making sure your freezer is packed to the brim (put water bottles and/or zip locks of water in to create ice and fill empty space). Have an idea of where everything is so that you only open when absolutely necessary and can take what you need out and close the fridge quickly.
Canned tuna, sardines, chicken
Jerky – There’s a large variety of Paleo, AIP, Whole30, Keto-approved Jerkys available
Eggs (some people will boil or make egg muffins ahead of time)
Freeze soups ahead of time (put freezer on lowest setting) – Store in serving sizes fit for your family so that you can take out of the freezer quickly and preserve coldness there for a few days.
Fruits & vegetables
Baby food jars/packages
Dried/dehydrated fruits and vegetables – Matt’s Munchies are a favorite here
Hard fruit such as apples, plums, oranges
Sourdough bread – slice and freeze
Coconut flour muffins/pancakes – make ahead and refrigerate and/or freeze
Coconut water (freeze!)
It is beneficial to meal plan
Anything that is not shelf stable should be used up first. This includes fresh produce, refrigerated goods, yogurt, kefir, eggs, and any baked goods made in preparation for the hurricane. Next up: potatoes, squashes and frozen items (frozen dinners, meats, broth, etc.). Finally on to the canned foods, fermented vegetables, and other packaged goods!
Instead of eating snacks during the “hurricane wait,” as many choose to do, have a feast! Eat filling meals as often as warranted before the power goes out. If push comes to shove and things hit the fan, a full belly will be helpful.
Pack an emergency escape bag that has medicine and some of the shelf-stable allergen-friendly food available. Shelters and hospitals are not the best places for getting allergen-friendly food, unfortunately.