According to Ryan, spirulina is the bacteria that everyone should be talking about. Purportedly containing enough nutrients to be a
total food source, he expects his family will be able to survive on 10-20 grams of the stuff per day.
Looking a bit closer, spirulina is not all it’s cracked up to be. However, it
comes pretty close. Compared to other plants, it is a relatively complete source of amino acids. While it technically contains all eight amino acids, there are far lower concentrations of lysine and methionine than animal based sources. However, compared to plant sources of protein such as soybeans and other legumes it is a better source.
In addition to protein, spirulina is a tremendous source of B1, B2 , copper, and iron.
Culturing of spirulina is relatively easy and only requires
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distilled water and the means to control pH. Live strains of spirulina can be found at the university of Austin TX culture collection of algae. This is one of the few places that will ship live spirulina to you!
Earth Worms for Food
This isn’t the first time we have seen entomophagy on Doomsday Preppers and it probably won’t be the last. According to the show, they are consumed in 90 countries world wide. Even some restaurants stateside have been coming around to the idea of eating earthworms. Are they actually a viable source of nutrients?
According to an analysis on the earthworms consumed in Venezuela, earthworms are a serious competitor as a protein source. With over 60% of dry weight consisting of protein, earthworms also contain a complete source of the essential amino acids. In addition, they are a good source of iron and contain almost as much calcium as cow’s milk!
Aboriginal Skills and Small Game
The final unconventional food that Ryan consumed on his segment was a wild caught field mouse. Using a deadfall trap, one of the oldest traps known to man, one can harvest all sorts of small game in the local area. This can be considered an aboriginal skill, favored by some of my personal favorites such as Chris Nyerges ad Cody Lundin. They can be used in almost any environment and are simple enough that even a child could be taught to do it.
From a pure calorie perspective, setting up deadfalls with the goal of catching field mice might be a losing proposition. As the show pointed out, Ryan would need to eat 17 mice to stay above water from a caloric perspective. With so little meat that skinning becomes a challenge, it is not a very efficient way to stay alive.
Another thing to be considered is the cost of getting those calories. Setting up traps and checking them burns calories, maybe more than the haul would be on any other day. Making larger deadfalls for game like rabbits could be a better option. Better yet, raising rabbits would provide an emergency source of rodent meat if it’s absolutely needed.