14 Days of Calm

This post compiles advice from BJ, the Mountyn Company’s in-house survival expert. BJ began his career as highly-trained Air Force SERE expert. The SERE stands for: survival, evasion, resistance, and escape. SERE experts entrusted with equipping Air Force pilots and many other U.S. military operators with the skills and equipment to stay alive behind enemy lines
BJ has trained countless U.S. government officials on how to stay prepared for emergencies and how to respond once they happen. If you’re new to thinking about preparedness, the below advice will get you off on the right track. Stay tuned for more advice from BJ on how to stay prepared for emergencies.
- Hank, Team Lead at Mountyn

14 days of calm

Let's talk a little more about building our self-reliance which in turn makes it easier for us to help others. One good way to approach our preparation is to understand how we got here so that the preparation makes sense to us. It is hard to do things that we don’t normally do and even harder if we don’t believe those things are important.
If you are having trouble wrapping your head around the current pandemic, then perhaps try doing something physical to start yourself off processing the situation. Getting your body to a place where you head can follow might help. In the discussion that follows we will talk about building your stock/pantry. Maybe this is a good place to start taking action.
One method of looking at an event or issue is the ‘What, So What, Now What’ approach.
  • What: An event happens. Could have been a tornado or a flood. This time it was a pandemic. When we have an event like this in our lives, we all experience it personally and socially. We have individual reactions and perspectives and we have group understandings. In this time our group may be more virtual than usual, and we have lots of time to reflect on that experience and take a close look at what happened. Now is a good time to ask the question: So what does this all mean and what got us to where we are in our situations and how prepared we were?
  • So What: This event had a series of direct and indirect impacts on most of our daily lives. Certain items were harder to find. Social distance parameters were adopted to slow the spread of the virus. A great number of people were told to stay home, and others were isolated for 14 days because they caught or were exposed to the virus. Questions you should be asking yourselves: Am I comfortable with my level of preparation? Do I have the essentials, enough to get by for a few days? Do I have more than the basic and enough to feel like I’m not needing to rush out and scavenge the store shelves? Do I have more than enough, which puts me in a position to share with others if need be. What about the quality of what I have? Am I eating basic meals and feeling that I must change my habits to make it through this time? Do I have the kind of resources that make my life about the same quality as it was before the crisis? How calm do I feel?
A Quick Note: We are all different in our needs. Some of us find making it with just the basics as very satisfying and others need more. The main thing to adopt currently is an attitude of abundance. No matter what you have, a lot or a little, there is always more. We live in a great country and for now we can find just about anything we need. After reflecting on these questions, now is the time to look at how self-reliant you were and what you can do differently in the future to do it better the next time or continue the good practices you had.
  • Now What: Let’s just deal with the subject of food for the purpose of this blog. Fourteen days at home with no going out and limited access to foodstuffs can create undue stress even if you have people to help bring you groceries or restaurants to deliver. You need to be able to take care of yourself and your family’s needs and then when you want or absolutely require assistance reach out for it. Some of you reading this are already stocked and probably thinking that this is very basic. The thing is that everyone is self-reliant in different ways. When you read through the list of basic food items below the first thing you are going is add or substitute are your preferred food items. That’s a great place to start when you adopt any rough plan of action.

Stocking up for 14 Days

14 days: For a long time, people have been keeping a pantry of some sort. Natural disasters such as snowstorms, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes were just a few of the events that reminded us to keep a few days of supplies on hand.
Now we have been provided with a new guideline based on how long it takes a virus to work. And 14 days is what we need to plan for. Just 42 meals at home. It may sound like a lot to deal with but it’s really pretty simple and can be stored in a small place (like the bottom of a closet).
As a reminder please do not go out and try to buy this all at once. First of all, we are in a time when we need to make sure there is enough to go around for everyone. Secondly, it will only raise your stress if you treat the list below as a ‘must do’. It is a guideline to allow you to slowly build your pantry and have a knowledge of what is in there and why. Get a few things at time when they are available and when you have the funds.
The following is a basic list for two people for 14 days. Increase the amounts as needed to fit your preferences and family size. I have added some thoughts about each category. Take stock of your current pantry and start your list from there.
  • 28 cans of vegetables: Yes of course you would probably rather have fresh, then frozen and then canned but we are building a corner of your self-reliant household to be ready for any emergency - not just this virus - and as such a storage method that addresses potential power outages is a good thing. Separately, whatever is left over after this event we would like to turn into the baseline for our 14-day stock which you can slowly restock to a level you are comfortable with without wasting food. Also, if you don’t use it in the future you can always donate it to a food pantry before it expires.
  • 4 cans/jars of tomato sauce: Tomato sauce is essential for making a complimentary, or combined, protein with pasta and rice.
A Quick Note: Complementary proteins are important in every diet and we get them all the time even though we don’t think about it. Milk and grains are a great example. Pasta with tomato sauce and rice and beans are all great ways to extend your pantry and stay healthy.
If you have space and want to store cans of stew, or prepared soups and pasta then by all means add them to your pantry. If you know you will eat it and you have a bit of space to store a favorite food, something that feels like comfort food. I personally would store spaghetti-o’s.
  • 14 cans of fruit: This is a high energy morale boosting part of your pantry. They are great to use while on the mend from an illness and on a regular basis to add variety or make a baked cobbler. Dried fruit is a great substitute with two exceptions: dried fruit is more expensive and you will need to rotate it. Raisins of course are a great dried fruit to add to your storage.
  • 3 pounds of rice & 3 pounds beans: That is 3 ounces dry food each per day for each person. This is your other complimentary/combination protein. Grain and legumes (beans) cooked together combine to help your body use the proteins. Think of a big bowl of red beans and rice as a meal. Pick lentils, pinto, navy, or whatever you like. However, if you just don’t like black beans you are not going to like them any more during an emergency so store what you will eat. Canned baked beans are a great treat so if you like them add a few cans to your pantry. Rice packets/boxes with spices are great tasting and easy to prepare. Precooked rice in packages is good also but has a shorter shelf life.
  • 6 pounds of pasta: 3 ounces dry each day for each person. Choose the types you like to eat. Veggie and high protein pastas are available as well as gluten free.
  • 1 canister of quick oats (2lbs & 10 ounces): Quick oats take less energy to prepare and will work better in a situation where power is an issue. If you prefer instant oatmeal you can substitute or add a few boxes.
  • 4-8 cans of chicken or turkey: If you are used to eating meat you will need to stock some protein. Stock SPAM if you like it but don’t put it in your stock if you won’t eat it cold.
  • 4-8 cans of tuna, or other fish: This may be an item that you use with a sauce or mayonnaise. If so, then add a jar or two of that sauce to your stock. Remember that it helps your overall morale/attitude to enjoy the meals you are eating during an emergency, so it is ok to add the sauces and condiments to your pantry as you find them.
  • 1 pound of peanut butter or nut butter.
  • 24-32 ounces of oil: Your choice. I like to keep several smaller, sealed bottles because if I lose one to spoilage or leakage for whatever reason I haven't lost all of my oil.
  • 1 pound of butter/butter alternative: Keep it in the freezer and rotate like your oil.
  • 2-3 pounds of coffee: Or one large can of coffee if you drink coffee. You should rotate this like your oil to keep it fresh especially if you are storing bags as they will not last as long as a can.
  • 12 quarts of dried or boxed (long shelf life) milk: If you use milk daily, if not just keep a small amount for baking/cooking.
  • Tea: Whatever you normally consume you should have in storage.
  • Salt, pepper, bullion: These are the basics you will need to simply make any meal more palatable. If you are reading this saying “gotta have hot sauce!” then you absolutely want to add hot sauce to the list of stored items.
  • Spices: Any other spices that you normally eat (for example cinnamon on your oatmeal) you can just make sure that you have half of a jar on your shelf at any time.
  • Drink mixes: Something to flavor water and keep you hydrated. A container of regular Gatorade (or something similar) is a great thing to have on hand for rehydrating when you are sick or making water taste better if you need to boil it after a natural disaster.
  • Dry soup mixes: These can be pricey but really nice to have on hand.
  • Flour, baking soda, baking powder: For those baker’s out there you will want to add these items to your stock. You will need to rotate the flour as you rotate your oil as it will not have the shelf life of canned foods.
  • Baking mixes: This is not an essential, however, having some brownies or whatever you like makes it really simple to have a treat or celebrate a special occasion. You will need to rotate these on a regular basis.

Get this shopping list in PDF here!

Keeping a ‘stock’ doesn’t have to mean doubling up on everything. For some items it means making sure you always have enough on hand to do what you need to do. In our current situation it means 14 days of whatever you would use. Other items are going to need to have a duplicate somewhere in your pantry.
There is an old story about two people. One who fills their gas tank only when it is almost empty and another who fills it when it is half full. They both spend the same amount of money over time and one has never run out of gas.
What if you didn’t run out of an item and ‘have’ to go out to get it at the last minute? Could you then focus on other things and maybe over time create more calm for yourself? It is sometimes the little things that make big differences overall. Lastly, remember that great feeling you get from being able to help someone else just because you have a little extra something on hand.

1 comment

Richard H. Cochran

I would like to hire someone at your company to make a map for me. I am 80 years old and not computer savvy. Ploease get back to me.

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