Bio-Availability: The Importance of Whole Foods in the Prepper’s Pantry
Bio-Availability: The Importance of Whole Foods in the Prepper’s Pantry by Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper
Have you ever talked to a prepper who has highly processed, nutritionally bereft foods stacked to the rafters? Oftentimes the logic behind the purchase of massive quantities of these inexpensive items is, “Well, it’s better than going hungry!”
Actually, that’s not necessarily the case.
If it ever comes to the point that you are completely dependent on your emergency food storage, you’d better hope that you have food that will do more than merely satisfy a rumbling tummy.
Back in 2013, a perfect example of this came to light with the story of Georgi Readman. At the time, Georgi was an 18-year-old girl residing on the Isle of Wight in the UK.
Georgi hasn’t eaten anything but Ramen noodles for 13 years.
Since the age of 5, Georgi has eaten little more than the highly processed, packaged noodles. She told reporters that the thought of eating anything else makes her feel sick:
“I hate the texture of fruit and vegetables. I can’t go to my friends’ for dinner or go out for meals because I don’t want them to see me freak out if the side salad touches the stuff I eat. Mum goes to the supermarket and brings back as many packets as she can afford. I always fancy noodles and could easily eat two packets at once. I’ve even eaten them dry and uncooked before!” (source)
Georgi’s health has been ruined by the dubious parenting skills that allowed her to make this life-altering decision at the age of 5. According to her doctors, the teen is malnourished, and her health is comparable to that of an 80-year-old.
Dr. Lisa Kaufman, a pediatrician who does not treat Georgi, speculates about the damage such a nutrient-poor diet would have wrought. “A diet of instant noodles has likely wreaked incredible amounts of havoc on her organs. The body—especially one that’s still developing—needs protein, minerals, and nutrients to grow; that’s just basic common sense. Without it, this girl has probably suffered stunted growth and IQ, osteoporosis, heart and kidney damage, and high blood pressure. Her lifespan has likely been shortened as well.” (source)
This could be considered a case study for a prepper who is stocking a bunker full of things like Ramen noodles, macaroni and cheese, and Gatorade. These items might be cheap, but your health will suffer. Your immune system won’t be able to fight off the ravages of illness. You will be weak and tired.
What happens when you eat processed foods?
The reason Georgi (or anyone else who relies on highly processed food) is malnourished is because of a lack of bioavailability.
“Bioavailability” is the ease with which any nutrient can make its way from the food you eat into your body. The bioavailability “journey” that every nutrient takes is the same. In the first part of the journey, the food must be digested (broken apart) so that the nutrient can be freed from the food that contained it. Once the nutrient has been freed from the food that contained it, the second part of the journey involves absorption of the nutrient from the digestive tract into rest of the body.
When a nutrient is highly “bioavailable,” it can be digested and absorbed a high percentage of the time and in a dependable way. When a nutrient is poorly bioavailable, its digestion, its absorption, or both can be much more difficult and much less predictable. (source)
When you eat heavily preserved foods, your body can’t break them down to use the nutrients in them (if there are nutrients left after all that processing in the first place. The video below compares how homemade noodles from good ingredients and Ramen noodles go through your digestive system. It doesn’t get more clear than this: