If you’re a vegetarian, or you know someone who is, you may have wondered if they would survive in a survival situation. Maybe there’s a natural disaster and you’re forced to flee your home. Maybe you’ve gone camping but gotten lost and are forced to spend several days in the wilderness. Will you survive?
Eating meat, although it’s commonly part of our daily diet, doesn’t mean it’s the only option. The tricky part is when it comes time to finding food in a survival situation.
If you are in the wilderness your first idea might be to hunt for food. Finding rodents, deer, etc. may be on your to-do list. However, if you’re vegetarian I’m assuming that these things are definitely not on your list of things to do. Instead, you probably want to be scavenging for plant life that is consumable. First things first, never consume an unknown plant. You should only be ingesting things that you know are safe for consumption. See a great article here identifying many edible options.
With this being said, the only reason a vegetarian would not be able to obtain food is because of things under their own control. For example, they won’t have to run faster than their dinner. They don’t have to outsmart their meals. They won’t have to hunt, skin, and cook their food. Instead, they can be creative and determined to find items that can be eaten for proper nutrition.
We think it’s best to have a combination of both meat and plant life but that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t survive if you chose not to eat meat. Meat can also be tricky because if it’s not cooked properly, or to the correct internal temperature there can be some nasty side effects. When in the wild you don’t have a meat thermometer handy, I’d assume, so you’re taking more of a risk by eating something you have hunted and prepared yourself.
In order to truly be able to stay on top of your health for a long period of time, you’d need to ideally be in an area with an abundance of fruits, vegetables, and other plant life.
You’ll definitely want protein in your diet. If you are not consuming meat then nuts are your best option. Chestnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc. all have small amounts of protein. In addition, if you can find vegetables such as spinach or asparagus you’ll also be getting essential nutrients.
The most important thing to remember about being a vegetarian in a survival situation is that it really comes down to knowledge of your environment. You might be surrounded by nutrient-rich plant life but if you don’t know that they are edible it won’t do you any good. Like in any survival situation, you should be prepared, informed, and knowledgeable.