Unless you’re a vegetarian, there’s nothing quite like a slab of salmon or a good steak to raise your dinner game and your spirits. If we’re honest, meat is good stuff. It smells and tastes spectacular because we are genetically programmed to be omnivorous. All you have to do is look at our teeth to know what we’re meant to eat. For most of us, that also means a tasty baked potato, some rolls, sauteed onions, and other side dishes.
Can you survive on an all-meat diet? Surprisingly, yes, it is possible to get everything you need from various forms of meat. However, you can’t just eat a steak for every meal and expect a long and healthy life. For example, you have to drink fermented meat products to get some of the nutrients you need.
Eat What Your Body Needs
I don’t want to denigrate or bag-on anyone’s dietary choices here. We’re talking about survival under any circumstance that is survivable, so we need to be sensible adults about the issues involved. Limiting your options in either direction voluntarily is risky. Not unlike deciding to pack half a medical bag, or leaving your Bug-Out-Bag behind because it’s a little heavy and it makes you sweat to carry it.
Ideally, you need a wide variety of meats, vegetables, and fruits and some carbs at the very least, but that’s not quite the whole story. What you actually need is the ‘stuff’ your body extracts from these foods.
What a Body Needs
The building blocks of life, other than water and carbon, are pretty standard for all of us. To function properly, you need a whole laundry list of ingredients. Some you can live without for a long time, others will weaken you and eventually cause death if you can’t get them regularly. You might want to consider buying a multivitamin supplement like Amazon’s Solimo (found Here) as a backup for emergencies in addition to your other long term food storage solutions.
- Protein- Protein is in every cell of your body. Meats are a complete protein source.
- Carbs- Carbohydrate is not a bad word. Your body uses carbs for energy and makes antigens on the surfaces of your cells with them.
- Fiber- Without fiber, you won’t poop correctly. Unfortunately, that can make you sick and lead to constipation and diarrhea.
- Fat-Soluble Vitamins A, D, E, and K- Different vitamins serve different purposes. For example, D is necessary for bone and immune health. Alternately, vitamin K is essential for blood clotting. Without it, you could bleed out from even a small cut.
- Water-Soluble Vitamins C, B, and Folate- Just like their fat-soluble cousins, these have various functions in your body, all of them essential to your health. Biotin and Pantothenic acid are also in the water-soluble group.
- Minerals Like Calcium and Iron- Calcium is what your bones are made from, and iron is necessary for healthy blood among other useful effects.
- Trace Elements such as Iodine and Fluorine- You only need a tiny amount of these, but without them, your body will weaken and could even die. Iodine, which many of us get in our Morton Salt is necessary for thyroid hormones.
Dangers of an All-Meat Diet
If you’re considering going full carnivore for a non-survival reason, you may want to think twice. It’s challenging to stay healthy when you eat only meat. As a result, when you tank your health, you are less capable as a survivor. Hence, make choices that give you the best chance of making it until you can establish a sustainable lifestyle without social conveniences. I’m not saying it can’t be done right, just be wary.
As demonized as fat is, it can be a lifesaver in a survival situation. Fat and bone marrow help build collagen, which keeps your skin, hair, and nails healthy, but too much is a bad thing. A high-fat diet can lead to obesity and heart troubles, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid all fats. Instead, be careful and check your own physical requirements based on age and any health issues you may have.
Cholesterol is tricky. Good cholesterol or HDL can still be bad for you if you have too much. Sadly, bad or LDL cholesterol contributes to heart disease and other vascular difficulties. Bad cholesterol, like the LDL present in meats, can clog up your arteries and eventually lead to death.
All meats have naturally occurring sodium (Salt in layman’s terms). We need some sodium in our diets to stay healthy, but too much can lead to dehydration. A little salt keeps the balance of water around your cells working because it’s an electrolyte. Your body needs this for proper muscle and nerve function.
Excess sodium that your body can’t use causes you to retain water. As a result, your blood pressure goes up to compensate. If that sounds contrary to what I just said about dehydration, it’s not. Holding water and using water is not the same thing. Think of it like swallowing small balloons full of water instead of just drinking what you need.
If you plan to survive on meat alone, you’ll need a combination of meats. Choose organ meats, fermented meats, and a combination of fresh and carefully cooked options to feel your best. I suggest the Mountain House Classic Bucket of freeze-dried meats from Amazon to make quick meals and for long term emergency preparedness. Storing your meats in case of an eventual disaster is a great way to assure that, whatever your diet, you’ll be one of the survivors.
Long Term Meat Storage
There are numerous ways to store meat for the long haul. Preservation methods have been around for centuries. In fact, it’s about as old as humanity. Our early ancestors in the ice age froze their food outdoors. In warmer climates, using sunlight to dry food was the first form of dehydration used by humans. Down the centuries we’ve gotten very good at making our supplies last as long as possible.
Meat Storage For Emergencies
- Freezing- Frozen food isn’t perfect, but it will keep things from rotting quickly.
- Drying- We all know someone who has a food preserver that will dry apples, but drying beef, chicken, and fish are also popular choices. After all, who doesn’t like a bit of jerky now and then?
- Fermentation- Mostly made of water and time, this method of preservation allows us to create delicious and nutritious treats that are supremely healthy.
- Pickling- Adding alcohol or vinegar to food and sealing it for later use is a great way to preserve when you have too much to eat right away.
- Salt Cure- On long voyages, salt-cured meats were one way to keep a hearty crew in good health and keep your meats from going off. Of course, you have to soak salt-cured meat a long time, and there will still be a lot of salt in your meals.
- Canning- The process of cooking, cooling, and then storing your food inside airtight jars or metal cans is relatively recent. If you haven’t begun learning about the art of canning, I suggest you consider it. In the meantime, pick up some Keystone canned meats for your pantry from Amazon.
- Freeze Drying- The fast preservation of freeze-drying is the most recent in a long line of food preservation traditions. Like canning, it helps keep a great flavor in your food as well as extend it’s shelf life, sometimes for years.
Learning to preserve your food is an outstanding survival life skill. Of course, it’s useful now too because you can save a ton of money. Buy in bulk and make your own long term supplies while you learn the skill. I call that a win-win. Any of the methods I just mentioned can be done at home, though there are some exceptions. Certain types of freeze-drying pretty much require a commercial setup. Likewise, there are a few things you probably shouldn’t can yourself. This is because the risk of botulism and other issues are just too considerable without ultra-high temperatures you’d be hard-pressed to reach in a kitchen.
Switching to an all-meat diet is not for everyone. Much like becoming a raw, paleo, keto vegan, it requires research and scrupulously rigid diet control to succeed. Additionally, some people simply cannot process that much meat. Most vitally, you’ll need to watch your cholesterol, especially if you have other related heart issues.
Where survival is concerned, your best bet is to be as flexible as possible. A restricted diet is one of the first things that usually fail when the SHTF. Practically speaking, you need all the resources available to you when times get tough. You may not find all the meat you need right away even if you’re a great hunter.
If you plan to live on meat alone, have a good stock of canned and freeze-dried meats on hand. You’ll want enough to keep you and whatever carnivores you live with to eat for a couple of years at least.