Quantcast

Prepper Must-Haves: Vices

Print Friendly

Are vices really and truly a must-have item? No. History is full of periods and survival situations, particularly during the exploration of the colder climates, when even people accustomed to “modern” conveniences went months and years without goodies.

Our vices aren’t necessary to our survival in many cases, but when you cut us off from them, hard times and adjustments just get harder.

The ramifications on families and partnerships in stressful but not life-threatening situations are out there to be viewed in rates of dissolution’s, divorce, separation, domestic violence, addiction-abuse, and suits and counter-suits. If you think a crisis will smooth those away, I have a bridge to sell ya.

We can add one more stress to those difficult times, or we can find alternatives (some of them long-term sustainable) and plan supplies and caches to make things as easy as possible.

Top Vices

Some of the top vices are going to be sugar and caffeine, with tobacco and alcohol right there with them. I can’t do anything to prepare a family to lose internet and TV besides make sure we have puzzles and games, but I can slow our transition away from some of our other vices.

Bad times are already stressful, and we’re already looking at making some hard adjustments. Things that we consume daily before we even feel human are worth stocking – in bulk and out of proportion to the rest of my supplies, really.

If I like coffee, I might also consider stockpiling tea. I can get gallons to the cup per dollar for tea, without taking up much if any more space than pre-ground or instant coffee.

If I’m in a warm enough climate, I might even go so far as to plan greenhouse or protected space for a yaupon holly for caffeine and tea camellia species. Herbal teas will lack the zing, but many tea herbs have the benefit of being perennials and hardy.

There are a wide range of trees that can be tapped for syrup, all of which (and honey) will boil down into candy or can be dried to crystals. Sugar beets and stevia are just two options for producing sweet syrups and flavor at home even outside sugarcane territory.

Everyday Cravings = Higher Priorities

While we tend to look at sugar, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco as the common vices and see them high on bartering lists, they’re not the only things we’re doing without. Pure sugar is a fantastic preparedness item with both vice and food-preservation value, but we don’t all have a sweet tooth.

Our vices are our feel-goods.

They’re our comfort foods – be they salty or sweet or savory – activities, and even exercise or hobbies. All of those may be crimped in an emergency, whether it’s widespread or personal.

Know your actions, and those of family.

Just because my priority leads me to crunchy-salty goodies and chicken broth, and I am willing to scoff off sweets, without sweets my lover is pretty miserable. He is also annoying, gets antsy, and breaks down and goes to the store.

When determining priorities (and budgets), snag and stash the store receipts for a couple of weeks or months. Snag them ahead of holidays and in-family events as well. Do it in all four seasons.

They will rock-solid determine what you’re getting, and even when.

Just going by the shopping list and menu plan isn’t enough. I recently realized that a full third of our Walmart-supermarket spending is not on the lists. They’re not even impulse. They’re actually the things my lover ends up going to the store for because they aren’t on my radar as much.

Those are the kinds of everyday priority to watch for.

My vices, my parents, the kids’ – they’re taken into account with small, compact puzzles to bring out, stashed books, a portable hard drive of movies, little games, baking mixes, inexpensive instant pudding, Hershey’s syrup, and the ability to add crunch to our lives on a regular basis through familiar cold cereals, chips, crackers and dry cookies.

It didn’t actually add all that much to the preparedness budgets to do it, and it allows “treats” and normalcy in unrest, even if I never harvest anything else.

Anticipated Cravings

We can look at history and the way modern North Americans and Western Europeans eat to anticipate some of the food cravings we’re likely to see and can account for with our storage.

Meat – For most of us, meat is going to become a treat, just as it has been for most of human history. It will go back to being more of a flavoring, especially if a crisis drags on.

Anticipating that, I stock it.

I have no lost love for t-rats and MREs. I dislike canned meats pretty much across the board. But they’re in my pantries and caches, because the men in my life will dive after them, and I might wind up desperate enough to eat my share.

Things like pouches of bacon bits, canned hash, the less-expensive freeze-dried meats like crumbled sausage, and the TVP-soy products we can buy for long storage can at least give me and my guys some flavor and the hint of our usual meats.

Things like Slim Jim’s and small beef sticks can be used as a snack, presented as a whole to bite into, or sliced into cold pasta and wheat salads.

Non-Spoon Foods – Maybe somebody eats oatmeal and farina, soup for lunch, and Hamburger Helper or shepherd’s pie pretty much daily. Most of us are probably accustomed to picking up, cutting or stabbing something somewhere through there.

For parts of the growing season, we can adapt how we prepare fresh foods to create a fork-and-knife meal. Some fruit trees will also allow us to present a crunchy for weeks or sometimes a couple of months after harvest.

One advantage to MRE entrees like the feta chicken is that it’s not as gag-worthy, but also, it’s a nice, whole breast portion. You can flake it with a spoon, but you can also stick it on a bun or a bed of couscous.

Planning for pancakes and omelets, to turn Bisquick into pseudo-tortillas, stashing dry cookies in canning jars with oxygen absorbers, and stashing bigger pastas and spaghetti for fork meals will help alleviate the boredom with spoon meals.

Dairy/Cheese – Without dairy animals and specific skills, a long-term crisis will affect us hard and fast in the cheese category. We love fresh cheese. I’m lucky enough that we also really like Bega, and I buy it on sale cycles.

Local stores sell tins of mild cheddar chip sauce at a fairly reasonable price, and it can readily top potatoes or be used as a cracker spread or pretzel dip, even if chips are painful to store due to the bulk they require. Velveeta and Cheez Whiz live on shelves as-is, too. Cheese soup can season rice, potatoes and macaroni.

Powdered parm from the pasta aisle can at least impart some flavors and toast up on top of zucchini, or be used in pasta salad.

There are shelf-stable cheese sticks and slices from companies like Northwoods and those awful combo packets put out by Jack Links and others, but they’re almost as expensive as freeze-dried cheese (and soooo much worse tasting).

I also keep most of the cheese packets that come in our processed foods. I dislike them, but as mentioned in the article about canning jars, being able to whip them up to top or season something makes them well worth a few oxygen absorbers.

Portion Control

The canning jar article also talked about portion control, and how I accomplish it on a regular basis. That goes for both the annual “events” and the weekly-monthly allowances we put back.

If we’re accustomed to free-grazing coffee and tea (I am), we may very well start our path to ratcheting back by only pulling out enough for a day at a time instead of buying things in a giant tub. Maybe we only buy instant packets for a week or a month, and keep it somewhere *else* in the house or kitchen to keep us and our families from snagging out of habit. As we adjust to our new levels, we might bring it out more often.

Cool drinks are another place where we might portion things out.

Instead of mixing up a pitcher and trusting all the kids (and adults) to pour the same amounts, which is bound to lead to arguments (adults, too), maybe we stash a rotating couple of short juice bottles with the wider mouths. We mix up the pitcher, everybody gets their (labeled) bottles. Once that’s gone, that’s it. No discussion of “I only poured half a glass earlier” or “everybody’s pouring extra and I only got half a cup” or “I’ve only had one cup of coffee, but the whole tub is empty, and now I want my second cup with my cookie”.

And I’m serious – anticipate that stress and aggravation or just personalities will pull that crap out of adults as well.

Once things settle into a new normal, no big deal. But I can drink an entire pot of coffee without realizing it until it’s empty, and I’ve seen people mow through a bag of chips or pack of cookies one or two at a time without realizing just how many they’re having.

Portioning things out can also help us truly plan for daily, weekly and monthly uses.

Not everything needs to be strictly regimented, but some things are really easy, and would be easy to lean on early, until they’re all gone. That big stack of canned meats looks like a lot, but can drop fast.

A case of canning jars (or three) and a couple of boxes or kitty litter buckets labelled 1-12, cold or warm, lets us really and truly portion things out.

Pudding fits 3, 5 or 6-8 in a jar, and might be a monthly or quarterly allowance. We might stick our Lorna Doone’s and Cheez-Its in baggies before we put them in a Mylar bag, and take out only this week’s or month’s to jazz up a plate or have as a snack. Instead of just calling it “good” with a few dollar-store boxes of Slim Jims and pepperoni, a test run and then busting in and separating will help them last, in an appropriate amount.

Vices in a Crisis

Not all disasters are equal. Some are very personal, and some are widespread – localized, regional, national, international. Some are short term, while some leave a question mark and some we can anticipate being truly devastating and taking years to recover from.

Or stored supplies and our resupply-production plans should reflect those varying possibilities.

Regardless of the crisis, it’s likely to be stressful. Change itself is stressful. Combining the two is already a recipe for hard times.

Adding the dynamic of spouses and family, any partners, and the potential of neighbors and coworkers to still be contending with creates additional stresses and variables.

Regularly our vices are not all that good for us. It’s still not a great idea to go cold turkey on all of them immediately or shortly after a life-altering job loss, spouse/partner death that affects funds, natural disaster, long-term outage or rolling brown-outs, or big-time disaster.

At no other time in our lives are we likely to be so grateful for whatever our vice is – a couple little cookies and a cup of tea, strawberry syrup for topping pancakes, campfire tin-can cakes topped with applesauce, something nice and salty and crunchy, popcorn with Molly McButter, a cracker-cheese-meat snack or meal after a week of beans and various grains, a new puzzle or game, the ability to put our feet up and watch a show, or delighting Grandpa and the kids with some little Lego vehicle kits to then race across the dining room table.

With a little forethought and planning, we can readily and affordably still have and give our loved ones those feel-goods, to enjoy with a candlelit game of Tsuro or clustered around a screen watching old cartoons. They’ll offer breaks from reality, just as they do now, and help destress our lives a little.

  • GregChick

    An honest conservation, I am a plumber and I find that running hot and cold water is a demanded necessity.
    So, whatever on the snacks, in a pinch showers become very popular…..

    • JD

      One could always heat water manually, nonetheless, you are not gonna make factory style snacks and candies. Nor is anyone gonna make my favorite cigar. I’ll take the time and spend the money to add these things to the stockpile thank you very much.

      • R. Ann

        I actually thought about doing an article on various systems for short- and long-term handwashing and showers, and some of the heating and fuel-saving partial-heating options for water.
        It’s on my to-do list at the moment, but I’d love to see your take on it (and Greg’s and some of the other regular contributors to the site and comments).

        -Rebecca Ann

    • R. Ann

      There are a full dozen ways to heat water and have it hanging or sitting somewhere with a faucet or head, which you may be including (I may be misinterpreting your definition of “running” water).
      A lot of them aren’t all that expensive, although getting the water up/out may be depending on infrastructure.
      There are also a full dozen or two mini-crises, local or regional upsets, and personal disasters that spring to mind where water is unaffected, but the budget is.

      I see your point, and I have great affection for indoor plumbing, but the
      difference of price between most weekly or daily or monthly indulgences
      and a well, pump and power system capable of maintaining hot,
      pressurized water is pretty significant.
      I can work around water, though (I’m lucky in that regard, with our water sources and storage).

      That’s the nice thing about feedback -we’ll all weigh and then have the opportunity to re-weigh our priorities and then arrange our budgets to fit those and our current stocks, skills and abilities.

      Cheers!

  • JD

    Well thought out and good advice! (As usual, I’ve yet to read a bad article from you!) It can be amazing how just the little things like these can really make a crappy situation somewhat tolerable. As I can be miserable without my vices..

    • R. Ann

      Thank you – That’s an enormous compliment, especially coming from you.

      I’m a total zombie and grouchy grumble gremlin without my vices, so I’m with you. I can react to emergencies, but it’s almost more of an insult when something happens to upset my silly little start-of-phase routines for the day.
      🙂

      The addiction thing is its own topic nearly, to me. The indulgences … they apply across the board, addicts or enthusiasts or just a passing interest or periodic treat.

      It’s funny how just a little taste of home or small tidbit of indulgence – whether it’s something we eat, or something like a coffee and cigarette, fresh socks in fun colors, lipstick, some sort of crafting supply or Lego set (we’ve recently had 30 years and 50 years of Lego themed b’day parties in my family), or a brand new game, our favorite movie, can really change our mood and mentality.

      Cheers!
      Rebecca Ann

      • GregChick

        I’m such a bore, I just want to flush a toilet. This addiction topic may be a way to actually scare people into prepping! Being that they can’t possibly
        imagine the loss of modern life, but they may have been occasionally deprived of their addiction, and be able to actually imagine a day with out a drink, smoke or what ever. On this level, the reality of SHTF is plausible and therefore needs to be dealt with.

        • R. Ann

          I have a deep and abiding love of indoor plumbing. I’ve done without them often enough. I’m 100% with you there.
          TP, too.

          One of the main points I was trying to make was that the vices/addictions we have aren’t JUST those main 3-4 that get touted so often (nicotine, alcohol, caffeine +/- sugar).
          There’s the things we already crave and indulge in like popcorn, meats, dairy, crisps, breads, taters and gravy, and even things like alternatives to the information at our fingertips due to the internet, games and distractions, books and magazines, movies and TV, our arts and crafts, the ability to keep score for card games or make out lists easily and conveniently, and comfy socks or cozy sweaters.
          🙂

  • The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

    You are certainly on a roll lately! Another excellent topic…. 🙂
    I have relatively few vices, but I get pretty grumpy without coffee in the AM…
    So I have several hundred pounds of individual serving size freeze dried instant put away. I also home-brew beer, although I have not planted hops as yet, and I’m not at all sure about my long term abilities in that regards.
    Others have mentioned water and how “precious” a hot, running water, shower might be. I worked around that one after the forth episode of no power for a week following either a hurricane, (1 event), or massive T-storms, (3 events), left us without easy water for over a week except via the generator.
    A 12/24VDC ranch pump dropped down our drilled well, and a mil-surp 200 gal water bladder in the attic, along with a very basic solar hot water panel on the roof fixed that. I tied it all into the house plumbing with a few check valves, and a pressure switch to control the “on” times for the pump. If it comes down to it I guess I can build it out to allow hot water storage in the existing water heater tank, or possibly heating via the wood stove, although at that point it’s moving toward a full-blown, off-grid system with recirculating pumps, drain-back valves and so one. For now we take our shower during peak solar input, and make it quick. We actually found that running water in the kitchen and commodes is the biggest gain from the project.

    • R. Ann

      Thank you!
      I actually expected a lot of counter arguments for calling it a must-have, in whatever form “it” might take. Maybe some of the reasonable counter points will roll in.

      You’re one of those “others” I was thinking of when I mentioned the potential of an article in the earlier comment.
      **Edit: Somewhere way earlier water and some of the dedicated systems came up – I’ll try to remember what article it was.

      I know half a dozen non-powered ways to create a dry-camp or pumped-water shower & hand-wash station, but I tend to leave the alternative power stuff and the mechanics of mini cisterns for trickle-fed water wheels to others, just like how I nod when somebody tells me there are not actually magic gnomes on pogo sticks that drink funny liquids under the hood to make my truck roll forward. 🙂

      Cheers!

      • GregChick

        I agree, and mostly my point is that in some situations, pressurized water from a piping system is not a given. To be a bit sarcastic, a gun wont get you a hot shower. An assumption in my experience is that running water is a given when it is not. Either power can shut down water feed or just the ability to heat the water.

        • JD

          To be a bit nefarious, a gun could get a hot shower. In a true wrol situation, if someone happens to see you doing well, i.e. a big garden, smells of food cooking, live stock, generator running, who’s to say they just won’t kill you and take everything you have. Including your running hot water. There are preppers out there that don’t believe in guns, which is a deadly mistake. Lots of people think everyone will be out to help everybody in a shtf situation. But I can promise you, these people exist, both now, and will be more prominent if shtf.

          • GregChick

            So sorry to agree with you, JD, I too often live in a fantasy land. Just imagine a half a million people packed on a 100 acre farm, it would be like Woodstock right? the only worry would be the brown acid….

            • JD

              Lmao! Stay away from the brown acid!!!!! Lol

      • The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

        I posted an article on the solar pressurized water, on “I think” this site a couple years ago when it was still in the experimental stages. I’llsee if I can track down the gory details. I’m a tinkerer by nature and trade, so I do a lot of “weird” stuff as needed….

      • The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

        Here ya go. While this project was till in the experimental phase. There’s been a fair number of changes to make it permenant, and simpler…
        “Powering Your Survival Homestead”

        • R. Ann

          Cool. I’ll look it up. Thank you!

  • James Gattis

    I’m a smoker so having tobacco on hand, no matter how old or rank is better than nothing, Also, a big “vice” today is pain meds, that bottle your dentist gave you would be worth a fortune for trade, and pills usually have a very long shelf life. Just sayin’..

    • The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

      Interesting you mention the pain meds – I had my shoulder rewired a few years ago, during which they used a regional in the brachial plexus, but they were also kind enough to provide me with 300 oxycodone tabs. I never took a one, relying upon ibuprofen instead. They are now ensconced in my BO cache in a vacuum bag along with some silica gel packets.
      In shtf they will be money…

    • R. Ann

      I feel you.
      I actually used to stock some of those Phillies that are less than a standard cigarette in cost because of the taxes, but cover some of the cig smokers and are small enough to move through for the cigar guys in one of our humidors.
      Then I found the eCig V3 guy, and it’s so fast to charge, uses so little power to charge, and is so close to a cigarette-cigarette compared to the other style and flavors of Vapes, it’s what I stock for my own use now. One of the little screw-ons is about the cost of a pack and lasts almost as long as a carton. Too, 2-3 years after I put them down, the little blister packs of the screw-on’s are still good, and all of the backup ecig sticks charged right back up, no problems, no flavor changes, ready to go.
      I’ve had one going for driving and the ranges and work where I might only get a drag or two and get tagged again for several years now, and haven’t noticed a change in charge/battery life or any problems.
      Might be worth looking into for you.

      If you’re near a Circle K or one of those Kangaroo marts they just took over, check out the Traffic brand for another freezer-humidor storage option. They routinely run in excess of $5-10 less than the other cartons around here, and $20 less when we were up in Yankeeland. 🙂

      They’re pretty comperable to a Pall Mall, and come in the usual range of flavors and strengths (Blue is gold/light).

      One or both of the two might open up enough of the budget to keep a rotating stash going for you.

      Cheers!
      Rebecca Ann

    • Huples

      Consider stocking nicorette gum or growing tobacco and finding willow trees

  • Kathy Bonwit

    What is Bega. Search it and found city in Aussie. Lighting company.

    • R. Ann

      It’s a type of canned cheese from Australia with no expiration date, meant for bush country without power.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0b2f456398597a36ef9440fee94c80c174f397640d92df029ac5edf61348f244.jpg
      So long as it stays above 35F and below 85F, it has almost no shelf life.
      We had cases that went back and forth in summertime back-of-truck and enclosed-trailer transport twice now, in excess of 3 and 5 years old, definitely hitting above that (like, it was above that OUTSIDE as we were moving them a year+ apart) that has the mildest of color changes but no flavor or smell change.

      It’s not really spreadable unless it’s warmed a bit. You can slice it,
      or just cut it to have with cheese and crackers, tomatoes, microgreens
      for a snacky lunch or dinner.
      It’s somewhere in between an American cheese, a Havarti and a very, very, very mild cheddar hybrid in flavor.
      I love it, and I’m not a big processed government or Velveeta fan.
      Melts well for grilled cheese sandwiches, makes FANTASTIC burgers, grates
      well when cool for baked potatoes or to put in/on omelets or for mac and
      cheese.
      If it cost less, I’d only buy it and sharp white cheddar.
      I tend to buy it when CampingSurvival runs one of their deep discounts on it. Sometimes the larger cans have been as low as $2.50.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3836fe1fede64b31a937d2541a01a3e29eb80f29e2524c1829f6962aab1a1ca8.jpg

      • R. Ann

        I very rarely brand-name drop, either with a company or a specific product.
        I don’t usually buy from CampingSurvival – I consider them overpriced largely. When they have a deep sale, though, in this one case, because I love the flavor and the versatility is so huge, and an actual finger-food cheese is so rare for storage, I don’t mind doing so this time.
        I think last time, we had to pre-order and by the case was the only way it made sense to do it with CampingSurvival, but that was still the best price online that I could find.

        Wait for the price to come down, or try a smaller sample can from somewhere else you’re ordering from anyway to skip/lower the shipping charges, just in case you don’t like it.

        • GregChick

          Share a large order with local preppers? I am not interested, but that may be a thing to do here…

          • R. Ann

            Share?
            My family’s lucky I share that cheese with them! 😉

            I just order a case or so at a whack. They’re relatively small cans (like the tins of nacho cheese size, a bit wider for the bigger can) so it’s something we can move through reasonably 1-2 tins at a time, and since it’s not usually abused, it can sit there for years while I remind myself to be good.
            Usually I split my own order between my pantry and my “be good and don’t eat these now” storage, and a case to donate to the holiday baskets for churches and stuff, but I do have some family and partners that buy in here and there.

            It’s not THAT expensive to me at this stage in life that I need to split the order, but it IS something I budget for. I keep a “jar” going for things I want when they pop on sale, though, and have had times in my life when $4-$7 for a CAN of cheese would have been out of the question – that’s a week’s worth of PBJ or ramen there!

            🙂

            • GregChick

              Do you write well, and think the idea of others here offering a bulk buy thing by grouping orders of any prepper supply could be a feature of the site? Some supply places offer free freight and a lower price with volume. I agree it would be a regional sort of feature, but possible many regions have a few preppers online here. A discussion of product would be symbiotic part of the conversation…

              • R. Ann

                That would totally be a Pat cookie.
                I will say, I’ve seen it attempted on some of the forums here and there and it’s like herding cats.
                Even things like the trap group of a local private club organizing a group buy on JUST shotgun shells of two gauges and the same shot can turn into a headache.

                Too, you have to have a lot of things in place:
                – Local preppers willing to admit they’re local; and a local rally point
                – Payment form (ideally, prepayment) — cash, Paypal, checks, money orders, or cards? And then somebody to turn it all into their paypal or card
                – Somebody to take receipt, reliable and trusted enough to get to a certain location and keep track of who and what went where
                – The other parties reliable enough to actually come get their product

                It CAN work and I’ve seen it work, but usually it’s between parties who already have a meet and greet or trust each other, who are centrally located.

                It really might be easier to run that kind of thing out of a forum, though, and people will be more likely to be comfortable on one of the forums that you have to log in and see.

                There’s also the potential of some kind of liability running group buys off a private site – blog or news site – instead of a forum that already has existing policy and rules about taking educated risk and being aware of risks.

                🙂

              • GregChick

                Herding cats, Such a great term. There I go back to falling for the brown acid.. Yea, local clubs, CERTS, and others are best for that.

  • EgbertThrockmorton1

    R. Ann,
    Another great article! We have been stocking up on the airline size bottles of booze at a very reasonable price, and other “commodities” for our “barter store”, including candy bars we’ve packed for long term storage and freshness. We also include tobacco products, mostly roll-yer-own papers and loose (prison/jail) tobacco, which for the smokers, is better than nothing.
    Figure that we can always find “somebody” that needs them…
    and the ammo we stockpile is just for us. We aren’t sharing unless things get testy, then, that sharing is only a one way proposition.

  • Milkshakesuds

    I understand the idea of comfort food, especially in an uncomfortable situation but if one is in the habit of eating processed food, chocolate, potato chips, slim jims etc and drinking soda pop or other sugary drinks your crisis is going to be your health and its not very likely you’ll survive long after a shtf episode. If you do partake of these items you are without question overweight, loaded with trans-fats and sugar and not physically fit plus your wasting money on no nutrition items when that money could be better spent. No matter how much prepping you’ve done if you haven’t prepped your body, you lose. simple as that.

    The only 3 digestible comfort items i recommend to take on the move are salt, tea/coffee (no sugar) and Maryjane (as tea, not smoked). Ones a lifter the other stabilizes serotonin levels in the brain as well as antioxidant. Im not saying go around stoned, just have it for natural high stress comfort. Alcohol is out of the question, sure I have a beer now and then, more now than then but I wouldn’t risk being intoxicated in a shtf situation.
    If after a shtf episode and you have items like alcohol, chips, etc they will be better as barter items than as nutrition.
    Also that last thing I would want to give children is sugar, at anytime, they utterly lose it, not a good thing

    For bathing,
    Look at the Japanese, they sit on a stool and ladel the hot water over themselves from a bucket to wash. its very relaxing and refreshing. conserves water and resources,

    • R. Ann

      Not sure where you come from or just how much you indulge in something when you indulge, but there’s a difference between a goody, indulgence or splurge and constant binging.
      “If you do partake of these items you are without question overweight, loaded with trans-fats and sugar and not physically fit” – I was 135-150#, 5’10” female Marine running my 3 in 19min, 6-12 miles a day, through packing, hunting/hauling, hauling and moving square bales on my own, and splitting 4 cases of beer and a fifth with 3 other chicks 2-3 nights a week, smoking half a pack to a pack a day, and eating those crap foods and the crap in the chow halls.

      While I’m no longer as bad, I do work and play in physical fields, have overcome shoulder and knee injuries (due to a fall and an accident), am now a bit overweight but not obese, and I do still have 1-2 sodas every day or two, daily pot of coffee and some extra black tea in there, and every once in a while something sweet, regularly something salty and crunchy in addition to meals.
      I grew up with sugar and have no lasting effects. There’s a difference between a cookie here and there – or even daily – and foods loaded with sugars and nothing else to balance it.

      Again, it’s that “everything in moderation” aspect.

      It’s also about getting up and moving.
      If you’re consuming enough to be obese and out of shape, there are more problems than just the food choices at play.

    • R. Ann

      I saw the email message with your response – it’s just not showing up here (yet?). I didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you if I end up distracted and don’t remember to keep looking for it, so I’ll reply without it.

      I’ll repeat two things, one from the article and one from my first response:
      – Vices aren’t just foods; they’re also activities, and while many are not great for health, some aren’t unhealthy
      – I believe in “everything in moderation:

      If you think I’m the only jarhead who smoke, drank booze, and ate crap, and still eats crap, or who’s now 15-20# over my 18y/o weight, let alone the only veteran, you smoke or drink better stuff than I do (or, way cheaper stuff).

      We’re not going to agree on just how much salt, sugar or other is “safe” (betting your answer is “none”). To each their own.
      Before you jump on that high horse about foods now, though, you might want to cruise through the ingredients lists at the chowhalls, mess halls, MREs and FSRs.

      Whether veterans continue to owe their nation after they have their DD-214 is a long conversation.

      Personally, yes, I believe in my oath.
      However, I’m not a troop. (I’m not a “sarge” either, despite my father’s periodic Army-cop stumble there.) I was a Marine.

      I do not intend to police the entire county, state, nation or world should it completely fall apart. I will work to the degree I’m able as a call-up deputy in my county, and within my neighborhood.
      It’s just not possible. It wouldn’t be if I was still in 18 y/o me shape.
      My family now comes first – all 3 living generations of veterans around yesterday’s table feel the same way, as do the two age sets of friends who are also veterans and-or cops/former cops.
      If you’re a child, mentally retarded, physically disabled, or pregnant, chances are good we’ll still come save you, or give it the best shot we can, though.
      If you’re a cop, EMT or FF, we’ll give you a hand, too. But we did that before we joined, do it regardless, and in some cases we serve(d) in those capacities as professionals or in volunteer status after the military.

      Be disappointed or disgusted by that all you like.
      If somebody hadn’t been taking care of things at home, from the actual family, the neighbors, out to the cops, docs and FF’s, most of us wouldn’t have left our children and mothers to serve the larger nation, and we sure wouldn’t have deployed away from them overseas. Your family and cohorts are welcome to abandon or temporarily take leave of those closest to you in the name of the greater good at your own discretion, as are we all.
      -Rebecca Ann