In our current comfy, technology-ridden lives we rarely have a reason to sacrifice our comforts, but what if the world was a much different place? What if your own city wasn’t a city, but a wasteland? And what if, in a matter of hours, you went from comfortable and sustained, to simply needing to survive? Have you ever wondered about the limits of human sustenance, or the bare minimum you need to survive? Let’s go over a few strange things you could, in a pinch, eat for to stay alive.
Dog Food: Gross, right? Yeah, it is, but it might be what you need to sustain you for a short while. There are a couple drawbacks, however. Namely, humans are omnivores whereas dogs are carnivores. Carnivores can survive exclusively off of a meat based diet (like dog food) whereas humans would experience mineral deficiencies after some amount of time and need to find a food that met those needs or else face increasing fatigue and degeneration of the body. In summary, dog food will work in a pinch, but after long you’ll need to find something else.
Insects: This one probably doesn’t surprise you, but most people don’t know how to safely eat bugs in the wild. If you need to survive, grasshoppers and other insects can make a good meal and provide useful nutrients. Before eating any critter, remove the legs, wings, and head, and then cook it. Cooking insects kills off parasites that could be deadly to you if consumed live. IMPORTANT: Avoid brightly colored insects, caterpillars, and anything that can sting or poison you.
Small Fish and Water Critters: Any fish you can catch is fair game in most locations. Minnows can be eaten whole, though for many other fish you’ll want to do a little more preparation. For larger fish, remove their bones and organs before cooking their meat. You can lay the meat over a makeshift spit over an open fire (you’ve probably seen this in movies) an they will cook quickly without burning.
Berries: Berries are only safe if you recognize them. For some plants, berries actually developed as a defensive mechanism and are poisonous in order to discourage other animals from eating them. If you recognize a berry, it’s probably safe to eat, but make sure you rinse it off thoroughly in a stream if possible to remove parasites. If you are unsure about a berry, but it’s your only source of potential food, you may want to conduct a test to see if the plan is safe, though this is time consuming and potentially dangerous.
In the best case scenario, you’ll be able to prepare ahead of time and have no problem with finding food. But the best case is rarely the real case in a catastrophe, and it’s always good to know how to find and prepare viable alternatives. In this situation, remember to be thorough, careful, and take your time to be safe – the human body can survive up to 3 weeks without food under normal conditions, and while this may not be comfortable, a day or two without eating is preferable to poisoning yourself and becoming dehydrated.