A Whole Foods Mom Embraces the Spam

I rely on healthy whole foods as much as possible, but I do have a dirty little secret lurking in my pantry, and it’s not just about spam.

Oh, and if you reached this post wondering if you can buy Spam at the store called Whole Foods, I am pretty sure the answer is no. I have never seen it one anyway!

I rely on whole foods as much as possible, but I do have a dirty little secret lurking in my pantry...and it's not just about Spam...

I’m really not the greatest at buying organic or whole foods as much as I would like. Mostly because it is so expensive to do so. But, I take pride in the fact that we rarely spend money on any type of prepared foods.

TV dinners, canned food, or meals premade by a store are overlooked on most shopping trips.

In my pantry, you might find some cans of soup and beans for quick hummus or a box of mac ‘n’ cheese for emergency meals.

And while I don’t completely resist canned food, I do mostly stay away. Well, until now.

The movement away from GMO-laden, chemically treated foods is a necessity. As a nation, we’re sicker than ever even though we’re living longer lives. Our food is no longer our own to control. Growing our own food is a must for keeping ourselves healthy.

Unfortunately, our culture has turned away from the farm to table life into an urban wasteland of anything green that isn’t fed huge amounts of chemicals and then mowed down in punishment (i.e. lawns).

The hope for me is that our family is able to convert our yard space into that which will sustain us for as long as we can live here. We hope our neighbors can grasp that concept as well! That is our hope and that is our goal.

But I had to be realistic about our food storage.

I know we are just not ready to sustain our family on what’s growing out in the backyard. We have a few garden plots full of vegetables and herbs, and we plan on putting in a few fruit and nut trees.

But what happens if our garden fails that first year?

What happens if it produces less than we need the 2nd year?

What happens if…?

Mom, put aside the guilt and be prepared!

Yes, we should stock as much produce as we possibly can by canning, dehydrating and even freezing (though the freezer should not be our primary source of stored foods). Yes, we should rely on locally grown, grass-fed beef, non antibiotic-laden, free range chickens, and the list goes on.

Your pantry and storage should reflect that lifestyle if you embrace the idea that food should be whole, not chemical laden, and produced with as little harm to the environment as possible. That is our goal for a self-sufficient lifestyle.

But be realistic. Are you able to raise your own cow and make your own cheese? Then you’re going to have to purchase milk from someone.

Are you able to raise all of your own meat in a backyard in the middle of HMO Suburbia? No? Then you’re going to have to buy your meat elsewhere, etc.

Make the best choices for your family that you can do in your budget, but be realistic about what you can accomplish. Shoot for the very best that you can.

Making better long-term food pantry choices

Below are a few simple suggestions for creating a long-term food pantry.

  • Make food storage choices from companies like Thrive or Preparewise;
  • Store whole food ingredients and learn to make your own food. Even if this means storing canned vegetables until you’ve been able to grow your own, or canned meats that you can integrate with healthier ingredients;
  • Purchase produce and meats from the local area and can or dehydrate them yourself. Even if you have to purchase non-organic and GMO foods, the closer you can get it to ‘whole food’ the better.
  • Learn to cook from scratch. Even if you are using products that aren’t on the “best mom in the world ingredient list”, learn to cook for yourself. You’ll be able to build a better food storage pantry from those ingredients that will serve you better.

Always consider the “what ifs”

This is how I think about my family’s food supply. I do what I feel is best for our family in case of times of crisis. So, this means I stock up on canned proteins like tuna, other canned fish & chicken, canned vegetables & even fruit. And yes, Spam is a part of that canned goodness.

Yes, we eat all this crap occasionally.

Because these foods do not last as long as a freeze-dried food, we do cycle through them to keep them from going bad. But they are never the mainstay of our diet. They are our backup – our just in case.

Do I feel guilty when I do a quick grilled spam sandwich for a weekend lunch? Yes, a little.

Do I hate it? Nope. I know that those foods are what I can rely upon until we are able to process and grow our own foods completely.

I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to accomplish supporting our family with food grown on our land, but that’s my hope. Until that day, I make sure I keep a stock of food that will keep my family going when there’s nothing else available.

Even if it means I have some foods that I’m relying on for calories. Even if that means hiding a can of spam in the bottom of my shopping cart and hoping no one sees it.

Tip: The main mantra I give for food storage is “Store what you eat, eat what you store.” However, if you can’t stomach the idea of actually putting some of the canned meals into your food rotation, but you know you would eat them in a time of need, consider donating them to your local food pantry. They are always desperate for food for families who just do not have enough. 

I have a dream

One day, I do hope to be somewhere where I can raise my own food, barter for what I can’t raise, produce wholesome nutritious foods for my family all of the time, that I can then preserve to keep our larder full of such produce. People did it for centuries before the mid 1800’s. But I have to be realistic. I don’t have all of the skills necessary. I’m learning, as fast as I can, but I still have holes. And I’ll fill those holes the best I can to make sure that if ever the dam threatened to break, we’re okay. And I’m okay with that.

I rely on whole foods as much as possible, but I do have a dirty little secret lurking in my pantry...and it's not just about Spam...

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Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.

She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what's coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.

Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).

Her preparedness skills go beyond just being "ready", she's ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she's feeding her family, she's a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.

Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.

Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.

She's been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.

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