Published on February 17th, 2013 | by George Conte0
The best natural food for survival
I had this fun and interesting conversation with some of my friends before some days about what natural food would we choose to eat long-term if I absolutely had to make a choice. We talked about some farfetched and hypothetical situations. For example if we were going to have to live in an isolated island for the next twelve months and our only choice could be one type of food that we could bring with us in order to survive all these months.
Some of my friends started talking about their favorite foods that they would bring with them like chocolates, hamburgers, chicken meat, pizzas and all crazy stuff. I said to them that there was no point at talking about “meals” because I could just bring my “mega salad” containing everything inside from meat to fruits and olive oil…so pretty much anything I eat right now.
After that we decided to make a logical decision about if we really had to survive in isolation what specific “food” and not “meal” would we bring. My thoughts went immediately on a balanced in macronutrients and micronutrients “super food”. I thought that the perfect food for long-term survival has to contain enough proteins, carbohydrates and fat. Along with that it has to contain adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
I started to think in terms of food categories first before determine the specific food that is indeed perfect for that cause:
So we have fish that is balanced in healthy protein and fat and contains many micronutrients but doesn’t contain any carbohydrates or fiber so it can’t be a choice for us. Although Eskimos do survive mainly by consuming fish for long periods of time and this is indeed a viable choice, I can’t consider it the best one.
Meat either it is white and lean (like chicken) or red meat like pork that contains a lot of protein and fat is not a good choice, mainly because of the bad quality of fat (saturated) and the absence of carbohydrate. Also it lacks some of the basic micronutrients.
Most fruits are imbalanced in macronutrients; they contain mainly carbohydrates and almost no protein or carbohydrates. There are some exotic fruits that are more balanced but again there are a lot better choices out there.
Oils like olive oil
One of my friends had the misconception that since olive oil has many calories and it is healthy it’s a good choice. Well, not at all, oils are consisted only from fat. That means no carbs, protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins (except vitamin E). Olive oil is good for your health as parted of a balanced diet not as single type of food.
Another choice would be vegetables. Most vegetables (for example broccoli) contain everything a body needs to survive like proteins, carbohydrates some fat and high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately there are some problems with that choice. Firstly, most vegetables contain most of the above nutrients in extremely low amounts, so we would have to eat extremely high amounts per day in order to survive (about 6kg of raw broccoli per day!). The second problem is that most humans hate the taste of vegetables, so me and my friends would go crazy after eating them every day!
Dairy products are a really good choice. They contain a lot of high biological value protein, many carbohydrates and fat and also high amounts of micronutrients. Most of dairy products unfortunately contain high amounts of saturated fat that will harm us long-term, also many people are lactose intolerant so they won’t be able to follow this diet plan easily. In the other hand dairy products are tasty and there is the solution of low fat yogurt for those that want less saturated fat and are lactose intolerant, so yogurt could be a great choice of single food consumption for long-term purposes.
Legumes are actually a great choice! They contain a lot of calories, all of the basic macronutrients in huge amounts (except fat), high amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber. A great choice of a balanced food would be lentils. There is the issue of taste again, some hate them (I do too) and some love, it’s a matter of personal taste.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts are really impressive food category when it comes to nutrients. Nuts like walnuts contain in small mass, huge amounts of nutrients like protein, carbohydrates and fat. Not only that but they contain the healthy versions of them like monounsaturated fat with tons of omega-3 essential fatty acids (more than fish). Also they contain very high amounts of fibers, vitamins and minerals. Also as we all nuts they are super tasty, easy to storage and don’t even need cooking in order to prepare them! In my opinion walnuts are one of the best foods you can find to be natural and balanced in nutrients.
The result of the conversation with my friends
Some of my friends picked low fat cheese or yogurt (they would need a big container), others preferred legumes and some said they would just live by catching fish themselves; they didn’t even need to bring anything (lol). I chose walnuts as I analyzed it should be the perfect choice for a balanced diet, now I only need some beer with my walnuts (just joking!). By the way, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the best choice of natural food for survival!