Get Prepared: Protein Poisoning in a Survival Situation

Have you ever heard of protein poisoning? Me either!  Protein poisoning is a condition that is not uncommon in long term survival situations.  We’ve been talking about short and long term power outages, but when Survival Spot had vegetable oil high on its list of 100 Things That Disappear First in a National Emergency, I wondered about that.    Oil is not something I have much of on hand, and it’s not something I use a great deal.  I don’t fry foods often; popcorn is our biggest drain on oil, and popcorn certainly is not a requirement for survival.  And it certainly would not be a major point for an average power outage.   However . . .should we be faced with a very long term national emergency, that would literally require us to ‘live off the land,’ protein poisoning is something to be aware of.

Some rural people – and I admit I have been one of these – tend to think that in a worst case scenario, we can always rely on rabbits and squirrels to keep us alive.  Rabbits are the most lean meat there is, and most other game meats are very low in fat content.  In good times, we consider that a good thing.  But in bad times, we desperately need that fat. If we eat a diet of ONLY low-fat meat, we can actually starve to death with a belly-full of food.  So what can we do to prepare for this admittedly remote possibility?

Raise Your Own Livestock

By raising your own livestock, you can collect and save, the fat in the meat.  You can render the lard at home.  This added bit of fat to your diet can make the difference between life and death.   But since we are talking about a major, long-term national emergency, consider how you will provide for the animals without electricity and access to feed stores.  Don’t forget water.

Stock up on Protein Sources Ahead of Time

Create a supply of food that has a long shelf life and stash it away.  Look for freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, and other proteins such as butter powders, sour cream powders, and other basics.  Pressure can fatty meats at home, just in case.

Explore Your Backyard Grocery Store

Spend time in your own back yard looking for edible plants.  Many weeds are a healthy addition to a survival diet.  Cultivate them rather than killing them.  Plant an edible ‘Weed Garden.’  Look for nut trees and wild berry trees and determine if they are edible.  God really has provided us with an abundance if we just look for it.

Know How to Plant a Garden

Unless you live in an apartment complex, you have room to plant a garden.  You might have to till up your pretty front yard, but at least know how to do that and have the tools and seeds necessary should it be required for survival.  Even those in apartment complexes can learn how to use patios and container gardening.  One very important thing to know:  hybrid seeds will not produce viable seeds for the next growing season. It is imperative that you keep a supply of heirloom seeds – just in case.

Store Oils Properly

Storing cooking oils is a bit tricky, since it tends to go rancid quite easily.  It freezes well, and the shelf life doesn’t begin until it is thawed.  So whatever you have in a freezer will last for a year after this hypothetical national emergency begins.  Therefore, do not store more than you will use in a year.  That can work if you have a means to begin raising livestock at that point.

To store oils without a freezer, keep it cool and dark.  Select the highest quality of oils and consider storing shortening instead.  You can extend the shelf life of your stored oil by adding BHT.  Survival Center says:

“BHT is available over the counter in the retail trade, but you have to know where to look for it. The only retail distributor of the anti-oxidant that I am thus far aware of is Twin Laboratories (TwinLab), Ronkonkoma, NY 11779. Their BHT comes in the form of 250 mg gelatin capsules. I’ve been able to find their product in several local health food stores. It is also available through mail order sources.”


I sincerely hope that we never have to face a calamity that would put us face-to-face with protein poisoning.  But if we are prepared, we will not have to worry about it at all.  Think ahead, stock up, and be resourceful!


About Robin Egerton

Robin Egerton has written 84 posts in this blog.

Robin considers herself a "Baby Prepper" - that is, she is not preparing for a Zombie Apocolypse, but is proficient at preparing for emergencies. The most current project at her homestead is establishing sustainable gardening in raised beds. She is an experienced homeschooler and has extensive experience in fostering and adopting. After several years as a foster parent, Robin and her husband adopted a total of five children and later began a homesteading project. Robin learned to raise chickens, sheep and dogs. After growing extensive gardens and planting an orchard, the produce is canned and added to the food storage pantry to this day. When life with teens became extraordinarily hectic, Robin began putting her canning energy into preparing her own convenience foods. Robin's hobbies are knitting, crocheting, genealogy and she will soon be joining the world of amateur photography. All of Robin's interests can be found on her blog



  1. says

    Yes, I’ve heard of rabbit starvation! This is why it’s dangerous to do a high protein diet, one needs either a lot of carbohydrate or a lot of fat in the diet. Because I’m diabetic, a lot of carb is out, so we eat a lot of fat.

    I buy coconut oil in 5 gallon buckets… and it keeps indefinitely. It is cheaper this way, plus you have storage “naturally”. But coconuts do not grow here, so we’d run out eventually.

    Olive and avocado oils, I do not stock up on. Seems to me I want them fresh. Since I do not live where either olives or avocados grow, I assume I’d just be giving them up in a survival situation once I ran out.

    Another good source of fat is keeping chickens. The yolks, especially if you let them free-range, are chockful of some of the healthiest fat available, full of vitamins A, D3 and K2 plus a good dose of CLA. A small flock can keep you in way more eggs than you could ever eat, plus plenty to barter.

    All animal fats are similarly good, if the animals are pastured. Animals raised in confinement don’t have these nutrients and the fatty acid profile is unhealthy. Realistically, in a survival situation, we’d be using more animal fats. I don’t currently make schmaltz or duck fat or goose fat, all of which are very good.

    Meanwhile, I buy the fattiest meat I can, which also winds up being a frugal choice (relatively speaking, as pastured meat is expensive). Organ m,eats also have a decent amount of fat, instead of just doing muscle meats.

    Especially good is butter, which besides the A, D3, K2 and CLA also contains a lot of butyric acid. In mid-June/early-July, my local organic dairy’s butter goes really dark, indicating it is highest in carotenes, which is also when it’s highest in the above nutrients. I buy about 50 lbs when it’s like this and stick it in the freezer for the upcoming year. If my electric went out long enough to matter (my freezer is kept full with ice when not filled with food so keeps OK through 5-6 days of outage), I’d make ghee which is shelf stable for long-term storage.

  2. Peggy says

    We very seldom use vegetable oil. Instead, we use coconut oil, olive oil, other nut oils, and good old fashioned lard. I didn’t even think about stocking up on lard until reading your post. Thanks

  3. says

    I’m most familiar with protein poisoning in the modern sense: eating over 120 grams per day, regularly, until the liver and kidneys just quit. While protein deficiency is rare in America, kidney failure from excess protein is more and more common.

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The more I learn, the more I realize that things are really simple. Years of study (including Yuri Elkaim’s “Super Nutrition Academy” courses, Trevor Justice’s “Vegan Mastery Program” and dozens of books written by doctors and nutritionists) have taught me something that was really quite simple all along: eat lots of fruits, vegetables and seeds. Eat nuts sparingly, and if you can’t get b12 supplements, then eat fish and greek yogurt as well. (Grass fed cows, organic yogurt, wild cold-water fish, organic produce, etc.)

    Of course, all the science behind it all is quite complex and fascinating.

    One question I have that I have not been able to find the answer to is this: How many grams of fat are the bare minimum require for survival?

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