IT’S GOOD-AND GOOD FOR YOU- FOR THE NEXT 25 YEARS!
One of the first items on every survival and preparedness list is food. But just having food is not enough; having nutritious food is key to staying healthy during a crisis.
Nutrient Foods, a scientific nutritional food research and manufacturing company, opened its Reno, Nevada, facility in 2015 and sells the brand, Nutrient Survival. The purpose of the Reno facility is to manufacture nutrient-dense foods that’ve been scientifically formulated to provide the daily requirement of essential nutrients and fiber people need.
Nutrient Survival produces long-term-storage food with a shelf life of up to 25 years. It sources raw ingredients and then produces everything in its GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) system, which ensures products are being controlled and produced to quality standards) certified plant in Reno; additionally, its products are GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) certified. Nutrient Survival is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and its website extends an open invitation to tour the facility (located at 1100 Woodland Ave, Reno, NV 89523; 877-633-6637).
For this review, Nutrient Survival sent some products in sample packages (sample packages aren’t available for purchase). Most products are available for purchase in #10 cans, making them easily stackable and perfect for storage. It’s my understanding that the company hopes to begin offering smaller-sized packs for purchase later this year.
A WEEKEND WITH NUTRIENT SURVIVAL
Saturday: Breakfast is my favorite meal, and Nutrient Survival’s Homestyle Scramble fits the bill. The ingredients include eggs, shredded potatoes, cheese, onion, garlic and bell peppers. Homestyle Scramble is gluten and soy free.
Being a lover of omelets, I decided to start with this item. Following the instructions, I boiled water and added it to two servings of Homestyle Scramble, covered it and let it sit for five minutes. The result was perfect—a smooth texture and no crunchy spots. I sautéed some extra “good-for-you” ingredients I had in the fridge: mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and ham (just because I like it) in olive oil in my favorite cast iron skillet and added everything to the already-prepared Homestyle Scramble. The result was a hearty breakfast omelet.
I’ve always been fond of hamburgers and mac-and-cheese for lunch. So, for Saturday’s lunch, I started my burgers and then began prepping the mac-and-cheese. The sample package I received contained two servings. As soon as I opened the sample, a pleasant aroma was immediately noticeable, so naturally, I took a bite of it dry. It was pretty good.
Per the instructions on the Nutrient Survival website, I added 1/3 cup of water per serving. The instructions didn’t specify whether the water should be boiling, but because I want my mac-and-cheese warm, I boiled the water, covered it and let it sit for seven minutes. At the first bite, I was surprised at the intensity of the sharp cheddar cheese. It had a good texture—smooth and creamy.
For dinner, I grilled chicken and prepared the Southwestern Medley as a side dish. My “better half” is a fan of burritos, so we used the Southwestern Medley as the base ingredient for dinner burritos. If you like Southwestern flavors, the Southwestern Medley might be for you. It contains rice, bell peppers and black, red and pinto beans, among other ingredients. The instructions for the Southwest Medley were spot on: 3/4 cup of boiling water per serving, cover and let it stand for five minutes. The rice was cooked perfectly, and it had a very bold, Southwestern flavor. In addition, it’s gluten and soy free.
Sunday: The Colombian Arabica Instant Coffee gave me the jolt I needed Sunday morning as a result of its 125 mg of caffeine. It had a strong, bold flavor reminiscent of the coffee my husband and I brew over an open fire while camping. A vitamin blend is also included in this coffee. Not only does it help you start your day, it’s good for you too. Vitamin Coffee Classic comes in a box of 30 one-serving packets.
I opted for the Maple Almond Grain Crunch and Powdered Vitamin Milk for breakfast. After tasting it dry, I decided it would also be great to snack on it throughout the day. Preparing the Powdered Vitamin Milk for my Maple Almond Grain Crunch was easy: Combine 2 tablespoons of Nutrient Survival’s dry milk with 8 ounces of water and stir. The Powdered Vitamin Milk is one of the better powdered milks I’ve tasted.
Mid-morning included another cup of coffee while I snacked on Chocolate Chip Cookies, which also included a vitamin and mineral mix. I assumed the cookies would be dry but was pleased to find them moist and a bit chewy. My coffee cup was empty before I was finished eating cookies, so naturally, I had to try them dunked in milk. (Sunday was a good day!)
Opening the #10 cans was simple: I used a regular can opener. Additionally, I was delighted that none of the products I sampled tasted salty.
NUTRIENT SURVIVAL’S 40 ESSENTIALS
Package labeling shows that a mineral and vitamin mix is added to most of Nutrient Survival’s products. According to information found on its website, most of its products contain five nutrients the body needs (protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and Omega-3)and lists these as “40 essentials,” which includes nine amino acids (protein), Omega-3, Omega-6, fiber, 14 vitamins and 14 minerals.
Amino Acids (Protein): Protein is made up of amino acids. Protein is found in our muscles, bones, skin, hair and just about every part of our bodies. Protein is critical in the process used to carry oxygen through the body in the blood and assists in creating new cells, keeping existing cells healthy and making antibodies to fight off infection.
Omega-3 and Omega-6: Omega-3 and Omega-6 are fatty acids; and they’re the only two fatty acids known to be essential for humans. These fatty acids help perform many functions to keep our bodies healthy, including helping to keep the heart rate regular, fight infection, balance the immune system and fight allergies, make the lubrication that keeps the joints moving, bone formation and repair, and nerve transmission, especially for memory and concentration.
Fiber: Fiber, best-known for preventing or relieving constipation, has many health benefits: It lowers your risk of some types of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, fiber helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Vitamins: There’s a multitude of vitamins our bodies absorb from the food we eat; each one has specific, and often multiple, health benefits. Fourteen essential vitamins in Nutrient Survival’s vitamin mix include: A, C, D, E, K, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), cobalamin (B12) and choline.
Minerals: As with vitamins, minerals are also absorbed by our bodies from the food we eat. Each one offers specific and multiple benefits to our overall health. The 14 minerals included in Nutrient Survival’s mix are: calcium, chloride, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, molybdenum and zinc.
NUTRIENT SURVIVAL DRINK MIXES
I also received the company’s Liquid Nutrient Rehydration for Rapid Recovery and Immune Boost drink mixes in my package of Nutrient Survival products.
The Liquid Nutrient is a pleasant, lemon-lime flavor, and I definitely felt an energy lift after drinking it. This drink includes electrolytes, as well as a vitamin and mineral blend for muscle repair, focus and energy. It comes in a box of 30 one-serving packets that you just mix with water.
The Immune Boost is a citrusy/orange flavor and is one of the better-tasting vitamin drinks I’ve tried. It includes both vitamins and minerals and targets energy, cell protection and defense against viruses. It comes in a bag of 30 one-serving packets. Add water, and it’s ready to drink.
VITAMINS, MINERALS AND YOUR HEALTH
Health experts suggest that the quantities of the nutrients you take in are also factors in your overall health, citing differences in nutrients as “micronutrients” (needed in small quantities), such as vitamins and minerals; and “macronutrients” (needed in larger amounts), such as protein, carbohydrates and fats.
When it comes to vitamins and minerals, too much of a good thing can be bad. There’s a “tolerable upper intake level,” which is the maximum amount that can be taken without causing side effects—some of which can be serious (for instance, too much sodium [found in salt] can cause high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease). The RDA (recommended dietary allowance) is the average daily intake level to meet the nutritional requirements of 97 to 98 percent of healthy people. Consumer fact sheets with detailed information on vitamins and minerals, RDA (based on age), side effects and interactions can be found at The National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements website.
Each of Nutrient Survival’s products is clearly marked with labeling that shows the percent of daily value contained in the product, making it easy to calculate your daily needs without exceeding the tolerable upper intake level.
In researching the essential nutrients a body needs, the only difference I observed between Nutrient Survival’s list and information and lists found on health websites was the latter’s addition of carbohydrates and water as “essential nutrients.” In fact, Nutrient Survival’s packaging lists carbohydrates in the nutrition facts and, because each serving is meant to be mixed with water, it seems that Nutrient Survival has it covered.
Health benefits of the minerals Included in Nutrient Survival products:
- Calcium is commonly known for its role in bone health. Additionally, calcium helps with muscle function and maintaining heart rhythm.
- Chloride is an important electrolyte in the blood. Along with sodium, potassium and calcium, it helps balance the fluid inside and outside of cells.
- Chromium helps metabolize protein, carbohydrates, lipids (a fat or fat-like substance in the blood) and improves insulin sensitivity, helping the body lower blood sugar levels.
- Iodine regulates fetal development and is vital to thyroid health. Your thyroid gland assists in regulating hormones that control many functions, including your heart and metabolism.
- Iron is critical to hemoglobin, which is needed to transport oxygen in the blood. It increases energy levels and promotes a healthy pregnancy.
- Magnesium has a role in more than 300 enzyme reactions in the body and serves many functions, including nerve and muscle function and immune system support, and it helps regulate blood pressure.
- Manganese supports bone formation, reduces inflammation, is essential for blood-clotting and assists in metabolizing cholesterol, glucose and carbohydrates.
- Molybdenum helps break down toxins that enter your body. Your body also uses it to process genetic material (such as DNA) and proteins.
- Phosphorus keeps bones strong and assists in repairing damaged tissues.
- Potassium primarily regulates the balance of fluids and controls the heart’s electrical activity. It also minimizes the risk of stroke, lowers blood pressure, lowers the risk of kidney stones and protects muscles and bones.
- Selenium has a major role in many bodily processes, including metabolism and thyroid health. It’s a powerful antioxidant and might protect against heart disease, mental decline and certain types of cancer.
- Sodium helps keep minerals, such as calcium, soluble in the blood. It stimulates muscle contraction and assists in adrenal gland functions.
- Zinc can boost your immune system, speed the healing of wounds, reduce inflammation and lessen your risk of age-related diseases.
These vitamins are included in Nutrient Survival products:
- Biotin (B7) helps keep your liver, skin, hair and nervous system healthy and is important during pregnancy for embryonic growth.
- Choline is essential to regulate memory, mood, muscle control and more. It’s also necessary for the formation of the membranes that surround your body’s cells.
- Cobalamin (B12) helps provide nourishment to the brain and nervous system and is an essential nutrient that helps create DNA.
- Folate (B9) is important for cell growth and function and is especially critical during early pregnancy to reduce the risk of birth defects of the fetus’ brain and spine.
- Niacin (B3) helps keep the skin, hair and nervous system healthy and might help lower cholesterol, ease arthritis and boost memory function.
- Pantothenic acid (B5) is critical for many functions in the body and is especially important in making and breaking down fats.
- Pyridoxine (B6) is essential to nearly 200 chemical reactions in your body. It assists your immune and nervous systems to work better; is necessary for brain development; and helps lift your mood. Studies have found that it eases nausea during pregnancy, might help reduce cancer risk and slow tumor growth, and assist with combating dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Riboflavin (B2) is critical for cell growth and is required for many essentials, including the lining of the digestive tract, skin, blood cells and brain function. Riboflavin is thought by many to assist in the treatment of numerous conditions, including some types of cancer, cataracts, glaucoma, acne, carpel tunnel and memory loss.
- Thiamine (B1) plays a vital role in the development and function of cells.
- Vitamin A supports a healthy immune system, cell growth and vision.
- Vitamin B comprises eight different essential vitamins (vitamin B complex). While they each have their own benefits, they’re dependent on one another for the best absorption and health benefit. All B vitamins help your body convert protein, fats and carbohydrates into energy.
- Vitamin C is best-known for protecting the immune system, but it might also protect against cardiovascular disease, prenatal health issues, eye disease and even wrinkling skin.
- Vitamin D helps regulate your immune system and stimulates your pancreas to make insulin. It’s important in bone health by assisting in the absorption of calcium: The body can only absorb calcium when vitamin D is present. When skin comes into direct sunlight, it converts stored Vitamin D into an active form, and it’s believed that activated vitamin D is a strong inhibitor of cancer cell growth.
- Vitamin E is key for healthy eyes, skin and a healthy immune system. It also has antioxidant properties that might provide protection to your cells.
- Vitamin K (a group of compounds that include K1 and K2) is most notably known for assisting the blood to clot and prevent excessive bleeding. Studies suggest it might also be beneficial for bone and heart health.
(Medical News Today has an insightful article on the benefits and usage of B complex.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the June, 2021 print issue of American Survival Guide.