Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Futur

Postby Broomstick » 2014-04-23 11:21am

No, it's me suggesting ideas for cutting costs while feeding your pets and washing clothes/dishes/windows. I have no personal interest or investment of any of those websites. I'm not sure, exactly, what is "spam" about all that. Would you prefer I typed 1,000 words detailing the recipes or point to where I found the information?

For the US poor there is the advantage that, for the pet food and window cleaner, the components are all (or nearly so) classified as food items meaning you can use the food stamp program to pay for them. If you want a clean house or to feed your pets, have virtually no income, but can improvise with what are technically human food items that can reduce a lot of stress and stretch your resources. I'll also point out that highly processed food full of additives is no better for your pets than it is for you. My oldest sister made her own cat food for the better part of a decade and her cats were outrageously healthy, regrettably, I no longer have the recipe and it's impossible to ask her for another copy.

The detergents are made from low-cost ingredients and can be made in large batches.

And, just for fun, I'll mention that women in my family have used a hair rinse of diluted vinegar since the Great Depression in lieu of commercial conditioner - fuck of a lot cheaper, works just as well. Apply, rinse until you can no longer smell vinegar, and you'll make sure that you have no soap left in your hair either.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Futur

Postby Zaune » 2014-04-23 05:12pm

Broomstick wrote:No, it's me suggesting ideas for cutting costs while feeding your pets and washing clothes/dishes/windows. I have no personal interest or investment of any of those websites. I'm not sure, exactly, what is "spam" about all that. Would you prefer I typed 1,000 words detailing the recipes or point to where I found the information?

I think it was the multiple links all to one site. But, anyway...

On the subject of DIY bird food, one of the simplest things you can do is throw kitchen waste like vegetable peelings, the blunt ends of carrots (with the greenery removed if you grow your own) and other technically edible but not very tasty bits in a saucepan with some water and boil it into mash. I don't know how well this would work for more exotic birds but our chickens do pretty well on it as a way to stretch out their proper feed.
There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
-- (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)


Replace "ginger" with "n*gger," and suddenly it become a lot less funny, doesn't it?
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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Futur

Postby Broomstick » 2014-04-23 06:27pm

Plain Cheerios also work well in a pinch. Knock-off generics can work, too, but you need to make sure there isn't a lot of added sugar and crap and it should never be used as the sole diet as it contains more zinc than is healthy for them in those quantities. Vegetable trimmings work for the parrots as well, although you need to avoid avocado and eggplant as both are highly toxic to psittacine species. Plain grains - rice, oats, corn, etc. are good, as are seeds and nuts.

I grow multi-color maize for my birds. I cut the cobs into "wheels" for a colorful thing they play with, chew up, and eat without harming them.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Futur

Postby Broomstick » 2014-05-12 04:03pm

You know those solar-powered lights you can buy to put along your driveway and sidewalks?

They function pretty nicely as emergency lighting.

Last night during a power failure I pulled one up and brought it in the house. Not a ton of light, but enough so you weren't crashing into stuff or having to juggle a flashlight. Stayed lit for hours. Put it back in the ground to recharge this morning.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Futur

Postby Zaune » 2014-05-12 06:37pm

Don't get the cheap ones though; we've got some that came from a kind of proto-dollar store and they're barely better than a couple of candles.
There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
-- (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)


Replace "ginger" with "n*gger," and suddenly it become a lot less funny, doesn't it?
-- fgalkin


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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Futur

Postby Broomstick » 2014-05-12 06:50pm

Even the better quality ones don't shed much light, like I said, it's enough to reduce crashing into things, not enough to actually do much by. On the other hand, when you're old farts like us and might need to get up in the middle of the night in the pitch dark to piss being able to discern the hallway and toilet has great value.

I also cleaned up, trimmed the wick, and filled the oil lamp today, and I'm in the market for a hand crank radio. There's no more resurrecting the battery operated radio that has served my family since 1969, it is now well and truly dead. Can't complain though, a cheap-ass radio bought in Morgantown, West Virgina 45 years ago just now giving up the ghost is pretty damn good service.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Futur

Postby Raw Shark » 2014-11-07 02:46pm

So, I don't normally like to shill a particular brand, but I recommend Progresso soup highly if you can find it on sale. I picked up kind of a whole lot today for $1/can, and each can is a fairly satisfying 18.5oz that lasts at least 2-3 years, probably more in a pinch, and can be eaten unheated if necessary (but by all means necessary do not do this with the creamy styles). I'm a particular fan of the Italian Wedding, Albondigas, and Lentil styles for light meals in normal life (very low fat and calories, lots of flavor, fiber, protein, and vitamins), and the Creamy Baked Potato and Bacon and Thick & Hearty Clam Chowdah styles for winter emergency rations (unbelievably fatty, lots of starchy carbs, decent protein, taste great combined if you have to work outside all day or something).

Caveat: Do not ever eat any of these if you have to watch your sodium intake. It will kill you like a bullet to the face. Other than that, this stuff is great. You could make similar soups yourself with considerably less sodium and more effort and preserve them for a similar amount of time if you have access to a pressure cooker and a lot of Bell jars.

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Futur

Postby Broomstick » 2015-10-22 09:12pm

I tried out making my own glass cleaner today.

Here's the recipe I used:

1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup 70% isopropyl alcohol
2 cups water
dash of dishsoap

for those interested in scaling the recipe up/down regardless of units of measurement, that's a 1:1:4 ratio of vinegar/alcohol/water.

You use the dishsoap partly to reduce the surface tension of the liquid, and also to add some color to it so you don't mistake it for water... although putting it in an empty container of commercial glass cleaner that says GLASS CLEANER was also helpful.

Don't overdo the soap, that leads to foam on the glass and streaking.

If you're cleaning car windows in direct sunlight you'll have to wipe pretty darn fast/thoroughly to avoid streaking.

Otherwise, this is pretty darn good stuff and hella cheaper than the commercially made stuff. Also relatively benign from a toxicity standpoint. I wouldn't recommend drinking it, but compared to some household chemicals it's pretty tame.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Futur

Postby SCRawl » 2015-10-22 10:40pm

Broomstick wrote:I tried out making my own glass cleaner today.

Here's the recipe I used:

1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup 70% isopropyl alcohol
2 cups water
dash of dishsoap

for those interested in scaling the recipe up/down regardless of units of measurement, that's a 1:1:4 ratio of vinegar/alcohol/water.


You're showing a 1:1:8 ratio of vinegar/alcohol/water in the recipe. Is the ratio correct, or is the recipe?
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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Futur

Postby Broomstick » 2015-10-22 11:01pm

No - you're correct, I just suck at math. There's the proof. Thanks for spotting the error and correcting it. 1:1:8 - the recipe is correct.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Broomstick » 2016-06-07 09:37pm

Haven't updated this for a bit, but here I am again. I'm back to talking about food again.

While stocking the camping supply aisle at work today I came across Mountain House brand freeze dried food. We used to buy this stuff back 35 or 40 years ago when I was doing serious hiking and backpacking. It's not the cheapest but it really is one of the better tasting and packaged preserved foods out there in my opinion. It lasts damn near forever, just needs water (preferably hot), and fixes up quickly (once you get the water boiling). There's a decent variety of items offered, the packaging is waterproof (until you open it), and if I was seriously into building long-term emergency stashes of food (as opposed to the roughly 2 week supply I keep on hand) this would definitely be on my list of hot items.

Disclaimer: I am not an employee of this company nor have I received any form of compensation for the following review, I'm just a happy customer from way, way back.

One nice thing is that you can really look at the nutritional information and ingredient list on line - important if, like me, you have medical issues regarding food. Is it exactly like fresh food? No, it's not - the texture is usually slightly different and it is food that has been preserved. But it does have actual flavor and you can identify the bits - in other words, it's not heavily salted cardboard.

They're even still offering freeze-dried ice cream. What does that taste like? Ice cream, of course, that's what it is - but the texture is different and it's warm (unless you have some way to chill it, which we didn't out on the trail in summer). It used to be called "astronaut ice cream" because NASA sent some into space (I have no idea what brand NASA used).

I did note Mountain House has jumped on the prepper bandwagon with multi-day boxes of food. Now, you could assemble long-term food stores for cheaper, but honestly, for a ready-made kit this isn't too bad, the food will actually taste like food, and it will last a long time. For a ready-made, easy solution to long term food storage you could do a lot worse.

This stuff is also really light weight - easy to carry and move around.

On the downside, you must have a supply of potable water to use this food. If you eat this stuff without water (besides a weird texture for some of the food) it will expand in your tummy, possibly causing a truly epic bellyache (yes, I've seen that happen). You can get away with a couple bites, if you drink fluids with it, but scarfing a whole meal that way is, let us say, not a good idea. So if you use this option be sure you have a stash of water one way or another.

Additionally, many of the entrees are pretty high in sodium. Now, even most people who need to watch their sodium can get away with this for a day or two in a true emergency, but truth is most of what they sell can not be considered low sodium. Not a huge issue given their main target demographic is campers, hikers, hunters, etc. who will probably be exercising, maybe even sweating a lot. But if you're buying this for a scenario where you're hunkered down and not doing much you may want to opt for the lower-sodium items.

Finally, a word about servings. They do mention this on the website, but it bears repeating. The serving sizes are geared to around 1800-2000 calories a day, which is sufficient for sedentary adults. Again, if you're just hunkered down waiting out a situation that's fine. If, however, you are very active (say, backpacking, or fighting off zombies every few hours, or whatever) "one serving" is not sufficient. When I was an adolescent backpacker I was budgeting about 2-3 servings per meal, in addition to snacks, trail mix, jerky, etc. Yeah, I was eating a LOT of food, between hauling a backpack weighing up to 30 kilos and walking with it 10-20 miles in a day, AND being a growing adolescent. Depending on the situation, a 1 day emergency food box might last you 1 day... or you might need a 3-day box to get through a day. Also, if you're that physically active you may need to increase your protein levels to maintain your muscle health. We used to do stuff like hand out a pouch of chicken and rice to everyone then an additional pouch of chicken to add to it. And eat a lot of beef jerky. And nuts. And... well, consider this part of your emergency supplies, not the whole of them, and realize that having extra food is better than not having enough.

Note also that Mountain House sells various sized containers for these things, with the sealed cans good for 25+ years of shelf life! Given the size of the #10 cans, though, that's more of an option for a family or group than an individual. The smaller pouches and packs cost more per unit, but they can reasonably be consumed in one meal and leave the rest of your stash safely sealed up and protected from moisture, oxygen, bacteria, fungus, etc.

So, really, consider what you'd be buying this for - if you're prepping for just 2-3 days of no power and it's just you or maybe one other person individual pouches make sense. If you have a family and you're concerned about a week of no power post-hurricane or earthquake the larger cans might make more sense. (4 or 5 people can easily go through the #10 can of blueberry granola and another #10 can of scrambled eggs in a week's worth of breakfasts, for example.)

Is this your cheapest option? No. You are paying for several things:
1) All the preserving, portioning, and testing has been done for you. This company has been in business for decades and they're main target audience is not preppers but campers who have other options so tastiness is important to their customers.
2) Shelf life of 12-25 years (and it remains edible, if not wonderful, even longer as long as the packaging isn't breached)
3) Reasonably robust packaging. As long as the pouches are intact the food is good - so, for example, contact with flood waters won't render your food useless. You'll need to clean off the outside (bleach, maybe?) but what's inside remains wholesome. In this respect it's like canned food, but much lighter in weight.
4) The convenience of food that really does take only as long as you require to boil water and wait a few minutes to prepare. Actually, you don't have to boil the water, it will work with room temperature water but lukewarm beef stroganoff is... not the best experience (yes, experience again). Of course, in a real emergency when you're really hungry you'll be able to eat it, but life and morale is much better when you can actually enjoy your food.

Now, you might say, why not MRE's? Well, for one thing, the MRE's are geared towards soldiers and may be too high-calorie for sedentary people. MRE's also weigh more, because they still have lots of moisture in them. Is that an issue? I don't know - depends on you, doesn't it? They don't weigh that much more, but if you're putting together a "bug out bag" weight could be an issue - but then, you'd need to carry water anyway. MRE's tend to have more additives and preservatives than freeze dried options. The cost, depending on where you buy these things may or may not be greater. Nothing wrong with MRE's, nothing wrong with freeze dried, they're both options and I'd say pick the one you like best. And throw in some canned stew or fruit or whatever if weight isn't an issue. Variety is good, options are good. You can use that can of Progresso soup to bash in the skull of a zombie then open it up (the can, not the zombie) for dinner later. Pouch of freeze-dried chicken teriyaki not so good at skull bashing.

I also hasten to add that while I am a fan of this particular brand it's not the only one out there. If you do opt for freeze dried as part of your emergency stores you'll want something at least as good as this, with similarly sturdy packaging.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Zaune » 2016-06-07 10:20pm

Storable indefinitely without refrigeration, only needs hot water to prepare... If I'd known about this stuff a year ago I probably wouldn't ever eat anything else.
There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
-- (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)


Replace "ginger" with "n*gger," and suddenly it become a lot less funny, doesn't it?
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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby SCRawl » 2016-06-07 11:02pm

Zaune wrote:Storable indefinitely without refrigeration, only needs hot water to prepare... If I'd known about this stuff a year ago I probably wouldn't ever eat anything else.


It's probably rather expensive to eat every day. Fresh food likely costs quite a bit less.
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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Broomstick » 2016-06-08 06:00am

Yes. The freeze-dried stuff is 2-3 times the cost of fresh food. But, if you have the income for it, yes, you probably could eat this stuff long term. You might want to include a multi-vitamin, not sure how well vitamin C holds up to the processing.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Zaune » 2016-06-08 10:02am

SCRawl wrote:It's probably rather expensive to eat every day. Fresh food likely costs quite a bit less.

Not as expensive as living on takeout because you're too nervous to hang around in the kitchen for long enough to cook anything.
There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
-- (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)


Replace "ginger" with "n*gger," and suddenly it become a lot less funny, doesn't it?
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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Broomstick » 2016-06-08 05:50pm

Certainly, a tub of something like the blueberry granola or scrambled eggs is no worse than those little cups of instant breakfast food you find in the stores, and may be less expensive by weight if you get the big can. Keep the lid on and it should stay good for the 2-3 weeks it would take you to go through it.

Haven't done an exhaustive nutritional analysis but given it relies more on the freeze-drying process than chemicals to preserve the food it may be better for you, and may have less sodium than a lot of take out.

Truck stops often have self heating food packages, too, which might be an option for you.

Now, ordinarily I wouldn't recommend the above on a regular basis due to expense, but "maximizing your resources" isn't always about penny pinching. Sometimes, to get a better result, you might well spend a little more up front.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-06-08 05:56pm

The self heating thing was a bit of a fad in the mid '00's wasn't it? I know my parents made a bit of a to-do about giving me these self-heating cans of ready-to-drink coffee back when I was in college... wonder why that never went anywhere. Probably just because it was an impractical gimmick.
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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Zaune » 2016-06-08 06:10pm

Broomstick wrote:Certainly, a tub of something like the blueberry granola or scrambled eggs is no worse than those little cups of instant breakfast food you find in the stores, and may be less expensive by weight if you get the big can. Keep the lid on and it should stay good for the 2-3 weeks it would take you to go through it.

Haven't done an exhaustive nutritional analysis but given it relies more on the freeze-drying process than chemicals to preserve the food it may be better for you, and may have less sodium than a lot of take out.

Truck stops often have self heating food packages, too, which might be an option for you.

Now, ordinarily I wouldn't recommend the above on a regular basis due to expense, but "maximizing your resources" isn't always about penny pinching. Sometimes, to get a better result, you might well spend a little more up front.

Good to know, even if it's somewhat academic now I'm finally moving somewhere with my own kitchenette. I think I'll still invest in one of the multipacks though, when money permits; getting anything fixed in this place takes forever, and the management might object to me breaking out my propane camping stove.
There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
-- (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)


Replace "ginger" with "n*gger," and suddenly it become a lot less funny, doesn't it?
-- fgalkin


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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Broomstick » 2016-06-08 09:43pm

Elheru Aran wrote:The self heating thing was a bit of a fad in the mid '00's wasn't it? I know my parents made a bit of a to-do about giving me these self-heating cans of ready-to-drink coffee back when I was in college... wonder why that never went anywhere. Probably just because it was an impractical gimmick.

You can still find the self-heaters, as I said, in truck stops. I think the military also uses them. Yes, it was a bit of a fad, but I think the technology wasn't terribly mature, and also it's limited. Like a lot of things, it has a niche but was oversold for awhile.

I'm a strong advocate of having an emergency kit of some sort, and I've mentioned before I try to keep a week or two of food on hand. Granted, it wouldn't be spectacular gourmet stuff, but it doesn't have to be. There are a number of options out there, so pick one (or a few) to fit your situation.

For real fun I should discuss our emergency toilet...
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Broomstick » 2016-06-09 11:29am

Well, just for the hell of it, I decided to compare the #10 can of Mountain House granola with blueberries to Quaker instant oatmeal.

The Mountain House hot cereal comes in at $2.10 (American) per serving. The Quaker Oats instant with a box of 12 packets comes in at $0.88/serving on Amazon (because I'm too lazy to look up a half dozen local grocery store prices). That applies to pretty much all their offerings, whether plain or flavored, and also applies to the "buy four boxes" option which gives you 24 servings of Quaker's cereal so it's roughly in the same ballpark of quantity. If you purchase Quaker's offerings in smaller quantities (down to individual servings) you will pay more. I found a bulk purchase of 24 units of Quaker which rang in at $2.08/serving, which is only 2 cents difference from MH bulk.

Both products are prepared by pouring hot/boiling water into the product.

Mountain House comes in at 250 calories per serving. Quaker is 120 calories. However, if you read the finer print (bless my bifocals) you will note that MH says a serving is 57g of the dry mix and Quaker says it's 34g! Oh... MH is using a bigger serving size.

Recalculating... Quaker is $0.007/calorie and MH is $0.009/calorie. Oh... hmm.... So if what you're actually eating is (for simplicity's sake) 250 calories for breakfast (the MH serving) then MH is $2.10 per breakfast and Quaker is $1.84 per breakfast (there is some rounding in those numbers), meaning they're closer in price per calorie than they initially appear to be. And honestly, almost no one I know finds just one packet of Quaker to be sufficient - I normally eat 2-3, or add other stuff, to make up breakfast.

For nutrition information I'm comparing MH granola w/blueberries to Quaker's fruit and cream selections. I'm also doubling the numbers of Quaker given the discrepancy by both weight and calories in their respective serving sizes. It's not a perfect comparison, but then this isn't a formal study, just rough calculations.

MH - total fat 9g, 14% of daily allowance; saturated fat 4.5g, 23% of daily allowance
Quaker - total fat 4g, 6% of daily allowance, 0 saturated fat.

MH - cholesterol 10mg, 3% of DA
Quaker - cholesterol 0 mg
(In case you were wondering - I believe this difference is that MH uses whole milk and Quaker is either using skim milk or just milk components but I'm not 100% certain)

MH - sodium 65 mg, 3% of DA
Quaker - sodium 340 to 580mg (varies by flavor) so 14% to 24% of DA
(Here's a dirty secret revealed - if you take the fat out of something then you need to add something in to improve the flavor, and that usually means salt or sugar or both)

MH - carbs 37g, 12% recommended daily allowance (RDA) for target of 1800-2000 calories/day
Quaker - carbs 44 to 48g, 14% to 16% RDA

MH - fiber 4g or 16% RDA
Quaker - fiber 6g or 24% RDA
(Both of those figures strike me as being on the low side, but whatever)

MH - sugar 16g
Quaker - sugar 8-12g

MH - protein 8g, 16% of RDA
Quaker - 6-8g, about the same

Vitamins %RDA, MH then Quaker:
A - 6 - 40
C - 2 - 0
Calcium - 15 - 20
Iron - 8 - 40

(Quaker lists a bunch more vitamins that MH does not so I did not include them here. Quaker, like most American breakfast cereals, has a bunch of added vitamins and minerals. MH does not.)

The biggest difference nutritionally seems to be that MH has a crapton less sodium and Quaker has no cholesterol and less fat.

For comparable serving sizes there is a price difference, but then, MH has a vastly longer shelf life and more robust packaging and that's at least some of what you pay for.

This comparison also illustrates that you have to pay a lot of attention to serving size as well as price. Remember what I said about buying single-serve Quaker? Turns out those "single serve" cups are twice the size of the packet servings, or around 53g.... funny, that's a MH single serving. And a MH serving is $2.10 and a Quaker single-serve is around $2.08... if you buy in bulk online. (OK, I also found them as low as $1.55 in lots of 12 or more) "Quaker Medley", another single-serve breakfast offering, came in at $3.25 a serving, which is more than MH.

All of which makes comparing the two a bit tricky. However, bottom line, any instant breakfast cereal product you make by adding hot/boiling water is going to probably be freeze-dried or some variation and that plus the cost of ingredients gives a base cost per serving for everyone and the rest is either packaging, advertising, or using particular ingredients that cost a bit more. Plus whatever profit the company can squeeze out of you ;) Comparison shopping is your friend.

So... MH for this particular item has a lot less sodium, incredible shelf life (until opened, then it's just a couple weeks, like anything else open), and isn't that much more in price than a lot of alternatives. Some of their other breakfast offerings (haven't really looked at the other entrees) have more significantly fat and sodium as well as higher cost. Is that a problem? I don't know, haven't really run the numbers. Do remember that MH is geared towards active people, so if you're young, male, and move around a lot, especially if you aren't eating a great quantity of food, it might be a good choice for you. Older, more sedentary people, particularly those with either sodium or fat issues, might need to be more cautious - but that would apply to any processed/preserved/pre-prepared food product.
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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-06-09 11:51am

I will note that oatmeal in the big cylinder box is much cheaper than the kind in the little baggies. It does require a little more prep-- you have to boil water in a pot and then simmer the oatmeal for a few minutes, and you have to add some flavoring, but other than that... it's much cheaper as you get many more servings versus the little baggies.
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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Crazedwraith » 2016-06-09 12:04pm

My co-workers have recently become enamoured of Huel. Oats, with lots of added vitamins and minerals used as a food replacement. Lasts quite a while I believe and only needs mixing with cold water. Though it's basically thin fortified cold porridge.
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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-06-09 12:08pm

Crazedwraith wrote:My co-workers have recently become enamoured of Huel. Oats, with lots of added vitamins and minerals used as a food replacement. Lasts quite a while I believe and only needs mixing with cold water. Though it's basically thin fortified cold porridge.


You wouldn't be working in either a horse barn or with a bunch of Scots, would you? /Johnson

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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Broomstick » 2016-06-09 01:26pm

Elheru Aran wrote:I will note that oatmeal in the big cylinder box is much cheaper than the kind in the little baggies. It does require a little more prep-- you have to boil water in a pot and then simmer the oatmeal for a few minutes, and you have to add some flavoring, but other than that... it's much cheaper as you get many more servings versus the little baggies.

Well, part of what you're paying for is convenience and speed of preparation.
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Re: Maximizing Your Personal Resources / Surviving the Future

Postby Broomstick » 2016-06-09 02:34pm

What the hell, let's play this game again, this time comparing freeze-dried scrambled eggs vs. fresh eggs.

MH #10 can, which has 10-15 servings for entree type stuff like this: $30/can
Fresh eggs per dozen are $1.20 at my local Wal-mart (presumption being you're not going to get much cheaper than that) and, assuming 2-3 eggs per serving you get 4-6 servings per dozen, so... let's compare the can to 2.5 dozen eggs (10-15 servings again).

Well, geez - $3.00 versus $30, that seems like a no-brainer, right? Except
1) you need some sort of oil/butter for those fresh eggs, adding at least a few cents
2) the prep time and clean up for fresh eggs is longer, and
3) fresh eggs have a MUCH shorter shelf life

Again, what you're paying for here is the
1) convenience
2) shelf life

Granted, eggs, even unrefrigerated, last at the very least several days and more often a couple weeks, they are still subject to breakage and eventual spoilage. The freeze dried variety last darn near forever, or at least a significant portion of a human lifespan. On the downside, no matter how well preserved and reconstituted they never taste quite the same as fresh.

Still, the freeze-dried variety is about 10 times the cost of fresh. How important is prep time/clean up/other ingredients to your breakfast? (eggs+other stuff like bacon, sausage, peppers, etc.) Because the eggs+other cans are nearly the same price, but purchasing all those separate ingredients + prep time is a bit more than simply just getting eggs.

For eggs, by themselves, probably better off with fresh due to the steep cost difference unless you want something you can store on a shelf for years or you're traveling (like backpacking) under circumstances where breakage is more likely. If you're looking at post-disaster emergency food for your home then unbroken, uncracked fresh eggs will be edible for at least a week and probably 2 even without refrigeration.

Most of the entree type stuff - beef stroganoff, chicken a la king, and so on - run about $3-4/serving in the big cans. That's actually not bad compared to making these things from scratch (use a mix for the sauce I'm estimating about $2/serving for stroganoff if you use a cheap cut of beef like ground burger meat). If you bought it as individual pouches enough for a meal would be around $7-8/serving for the Mountain House - yeah, that's more like eating in a restaurant. Well, someone did do all the cutting/cooking/other work for you.

Again, consider the circumstances. For an emergency bucket of food for a family of 4 post-hurricane/earthquake/whatever 1 can of beef stroganoff is dinner for everyone in 10 minutes with just boiling water. You can even heat it up in the can, which drastically cuts down on the dishes to be done (You can also make a camp stove out of #10 cans, which was often the fate of such cans back in my camping days. Or use it as a pot. Or a bucket. Yay recycling.). It's there on the shelf, waiting patiently for year upon year, for when you need it.

Not really intended as everyday food. Sure you could use it like that, but even MH would probably agree that's not the most cost-efficient way to go (though they would be happy to accommodate you if you wanted to do that anyway).
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice


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