Adapting To The Food Shortage Crisis
Two years ago when the pandemic began, our warehouses and farms had sufficient stocks of food and livestock. There was no food shortage in many countries.
Now during the economic downturn and with all our money well spent during the holidays, we are finally beginning to see the other end of the stick.
Back in 2020, panic buying was not really necessary other than to reduce the number of times you had to go grocery shopping.
Let’s also hope that all the toilet paper we bought is now being put to good use.
An Economic Crisis Is Actually Happening
There are many divisions within a country, health, logistics, transport, finance and more.
All are equally important yet prioritised differently for different groups of people.
For many of us in Australia, the bubble would seem to have popped.
This is because we as a nation have always been self-sufficient and were lucky enough to have natural resources to sustain us.
Many Australian made products were actually sold out in comparison to similar imported goods during the lockdowns.
This has nothing much to do with blame, but is very much about self-sufficiency and doing what’s best for ourselves and our families.
We are not actually going into famine but we must start to work around the problems until solutions are found.
These solutions might come in different forms, financial, political or collectively as a nation. Changes are taking place.
So rather than living in fear and panic, let’s take a step back and plan objectively.
We can deal with food shortage in Australia successfully if we keep calm and see the situation rationally.
Here are a few easy steps to consider when adapting to the change that’s happening.
1) Live Like The Country Towns
This ideally means having more home-cooked meals and growing or regrowing your own crops.
If you live in apartment blocks, you are unlikely to have the garden space to grow fruit and veggies. But there are ways around this.
So for example, place your spring onion roots in a bottle of water and you will have at least 2 or 3 cycles of regrown leaves.
Remember to share them with your neighbours or take turns to regrow.
Reducing waste is going to be a way of life rather than a choice.
You could also consider switching to powder milk as it lasts a while longer and you have control of the amount used.
The less expired milk thrown out, the better it is for our economy.
2) Don’t Stomp Your Feet
In doing the right thing by ourselves, it does not mean we have to impose on others.
If you see someone buying a lot of food, and you assume that they are buying too much, you don’t know the whole story.
What seems a lot to you may be that they are feeding a larger family or their community.
You don’t know so don’t assume and create stress.
Why not ask if you could share the cost, divide it or simply walk away and leave them to get on with it?
But by working as a team, we may find that people may become less fearful and do not over stock.
3) Cut Back On Meals By Staying Full Longer
Choose meals that contain high fibre and protein.
While protein helps with muscle recovery and keeps you feeling full for much longer, carbohydrate fuels physical work such as that undertaken by builders, construction and tradies as they need more calorie intake.
Anyone working behind a desk could probably do with more fibre and protein.
You may find that your focus becomes a lot sharper as a result.
You may also start to notice that your insulin levels are lower and your body is becoming more lean and active. Silver lining!
4) Fasting & Intermediate Diet
If you were planning to change or improve your diet, this could very well be the best time to start.
Following an intermittent diet gives you an opportunity to eat less frequently and stay nourished for a lot longer.
Skipping breakfast isn’t as bad as we were made to believe.
It actually isn’t the most important meal of the day because each time we consume foods, our insulin levels are raised.
So fasting throughout the day and even late into the afternoon allows your body to utilise the stored fuel from the night before.
There are apps to help you track your fasting. These also give you valuable advice on how to fast safely and provide information on each stage of the process.
5) Large Pot Meals
This is definitely a key formula for saving time, money and resources.
Always have a big pot of stew, pulse soup or Paella ready.
This could feed the family for several days and it will definitely reduce the need to cook and prepare food.
Soup of the Week is a good, filling, healthy choice, while one-pot meals such as stew, chilli, paella, curry, pasta-based meals or jambalaya can make good use of whatever ingredients are available.
Plus, because they freeze easily, leftovers will make a weeknight meal.
6) Drink More Black Coffee
Tough times call for radical measures. Drinking black coffee reduces your appetite and keeps you alert when taken without milk.
You will feel less hungry but still have the addition of caffeine which can be a good anti-oxidant.
Remember to drink plenty of water too, to keep you hydrated.
7) What To Stock Up
This will be different for every household but the general rule of thumb is to have grains, flour and fermented foods which have a much longer shelf life.
It is always useful to have rice, noodles and canned food in your store cupboard.
Canned food can be beans, pulses and veggies – peas, sweetcorn, tomatoes, kidney beans, tinned spaghetti.
How to stock your pantry for any emergency has some sound advice from people who know.
Things to ponder:
Don’t Travel As Much
This may be self-explanatory but seeing what took place at the borders during the holidays should be enough to help us prioritize our friends and family visits.
A good way to adapt is to think of the previous travel restrictions as a way of already knowing what to do.
The less travelling we do, the more room there will be for food to be transported with fewer restrictions.
Be Open To Tasting New Food
Is your favourite food or drink out of stock? Why not try something different for a change?
Sample a different brand, or see whether something works as a substitute.
You don’t need risotto rice for a risotto – ordinary basmati or long-grain rice will do.
Chicken and pork can be interchangeable in some recipes, or you could go for a vegetarian or vegan meal with meat-free protein instead.
While a coffee shortage might seem to be a temporary issue, you could always try drinking tea instead.
Or ration your coffee consumption so your supplies last longer.
That way you can enjoy your coffee, drinking it slowly and savouring the taste.
9News reports that Coles is implementing purchasing limits on mince, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, and sausages.
In some places the lack of stock is down to the numbers of staff impacted by Covid isolation, in others, the supply chains are running, but more slowly than usual.
Highly perishable items such as fresh fruit and vegetables are most likely to be affected by this.
The staffing capacity to deliver and display these stocks just isn’t there right now.
It’s Not Just Australia
Australia is not the only place that’s affected by food shortages.
Food isn’t even the only thing arriving slowly. Some items are in short supply everywhere.
Computer chip supply chain issues are evident worldwide, with everything from games consoles to phones and cars affected.
Even Apple can’t get around that.
Containers and the ships to carry them are also often in the wrong place, slowly returning to a routine but held up by delays at ports.
For a while, crew members were also stranded by lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders worldwide away from their home ports.
Pallets to put the goods on are like gold dust these days, especially here in Australia where the bushfires have burned so much timber.
Stocks are building up again, but like so much about dealing with the pandemic, it’s a slow process.
No One Is To Blame
During the early days of the pandemic, there were reports of violence against workers.
Members of the public were assaulting front line staff as they tried to enforce mask-wearing, social distancing and food quotas.
Unsurprisingly, some workers have fought back.
Teachers and nurses are quitting their professions worldwide, worn out, burned out and stressed out.
Truck drivers here walked out last year to protest at the delay to enterprise bargaining and a continuing wage freeze.
Many employees only stopped work for 24 hours to make their point about long shifts and low pay, but it was enough to cause disruption.
The drivers also argued that delays at border crossings and mandatory Covid testing requirements cost them time and money.
They voiced that it was increasingly difficult to find safe places to rest and eat given restrictions on interstate workers.
While the issues have not gone away, testing requirements for truckies have been amended and state governments are looking at the supply of RATs to help small businesses.
So by initiating these small steps, it may not immediately change the world, but currently, they’re the best way to deal with food shortages in Australia.
We must adapt and be grateful for what we have so more can come to us.
Many years ago in my home country, when China and Japan were at war, my grandfather had an endless supply of food and groceries.
This was due to his position with the English government.
He would keep the essentials for our family and distribute the rest to our neighbours.
So for years, everyone in our community was fed and our family held it together.
His act of kindness lives in my heart and I’m here sharing these values that were taught to me.
Look after ourselves first and if we are in a position to help others, please do so.
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