Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gluten Free Hurricane Preparation ~

I realize that it would have been helpful for Celiacs caught in Hurricane Sandy, myself being one of them, to perhaps have read this blog prior to the actual hurricane and all the devastation that's been left in its wake, however, that would have required the electricity still being turned on! And as millions of us know, we've been without power for quite some time...and millions are still without. Here in Portsmouth, Rhode Island (just a few miles inland from Newport), we were lucky enough to have the lights back on this evening - a small miracle given the scale of this monstrous and damaging storm.

In the days leading up to this huge storm, it was truly hard to know which direction it was heading and which states/areas would truly be effected by its wrath. Having just arrived in Rhode Island this past Thursday night to visit family, we still weren't sure if this part of New England would be hit, so for the first 36 hours we were taking things with a grain of salt. As Sandy continued on her northbound path we started making lists of what non-perishable food and supplies we might need in the event the situation turned dire, or we were out of power for three-plus days. It all seemed rather straightforward until I was starkly reminded (duh!) that I'm the only Celiac in the family - out of seven family members, I'm it! That means I can't eat boxed whatever or survive on cold Spaghetti-O's or any of the other 'typical' unhealthy products that tend to rule when the elimination of stoves, refrigerators, and the use of kitchen supplies goes out the window. And being in this more rural, small city I was so relieved to remember that the Green Grocer, a delightful little market loaded with gluten-free products just down the road, would be my saving grace...and it has been!

I seriously thought about what I could safely eat after a few days when all perishable items have passed their prime and I'm left with only gluten-free products that can't expire, but would still offer some kind of nutritional value - - not so easy but here's the list I put together and supplies I've had on hand all week and still snacking on tonight as the rain is steadily falling. Fortunately, our situation did not turn dire...scary, yes and a very long night of super-high winds and pelting rain with the fear of trees falling on to my brother's home, but thankfully we were spared from any rising flood waters or other severe dangers.

The idea at this point is to be prepared, knowing that you can never be sure what life's going to throw at you or where you might find yourself -- be it a natural disaster or (as I can also thoroughly attest to) days of unexpected travel delays on foreign soil with nothing more than Larabars to sustain you!

Gluten-Free Hurricane Survival List:

First priority - Tons of bottled water!!

- Buy as many fruits as you know you can consume within a 72 hour period that don't require that much (if any) refrigeration: Bananas, apples, oranges, raspberries, blueberries.

- Same (obvious) rule applies for veggies and chopping and bagging will also make them more manageable: carrots, cucumber (slices), zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower.

Nutritional Bars: These little beauties can sustain me for days, assuming that I'm also drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated, while adding in some fresh fruit and bits of additional protein.
- LaraBar
- KindBar - LOVE the Cranberry + Almond
- thinkThin - Peanut Butter bars
- Nogii Bars

Granola: This is always a staple - can serve as breakfast, lunch or dinner or a great snack. I use almond milk with my granolas, which can be left un-refridgerated for several days without issue.
- Udi's 
- Trader Joe's
- Bakery on Main

Dried Fruits & Raw Nuts:
- I always keep bags of assorted fresh almonds, cashews, pecans, and pistachios loaded with dried cranberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, name your favorite and mix. They can maintain their freshness for weeks and provide a body with a good amount of fiber, omega 3's and protein. 

Chips, salsas and hummus: Though hummus is usually refrigerated, it can be left out for a day or two and remain edible and fresh. 
- Food Should Taste Good - I love all of their chip/crackers
- Blue Diamond Nut Thins - Delicious and fulfilling - can be used as mini-sandwhiches instead of bread
- Kettle Potato Chips
- Organic popcorn - can make in advance or buy bags that are prepared with olive oil and sea salt

I've been reminded once again that living a 100% gluten-free existence is a challenge. But never has it been more true than this week finding myself in the middle of my first full-fleged hurricane, with the fear of being dependent solely upon my own thorough preparedness. Though I didn't have to go for days on end without power or clean water, my gluten-free supplies I stocked up on were indeed good choices, and I felt secure knowing I could sustain all week, eating safely without any cross-contamination from the other six family members' crumbs!

I hope this blog and list will serve as helpful in the future for you in the event it's needed.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of our fellow countrymen here on the east coast who are in the midst of such peril and facing unbelievable challenges that lie ahead.

Be safe.

Sandy, please go away now!

No comments: