Pros and Cons of a Vegan Diet Post Apocalypse

For most people likely the idea of having to eat an exclusively vegan diet is their idea of the apocalypse! No more bacon and beef burgers. Leaving aside the other valid reasons to embrace a vegan diet before SHTF this article is a

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Huples. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

I am vegan and I have no intention of being vegan in SHTF. However knowing some tips and tricks about the vegan diet might help us all out when the worst happens and the shelves empty forever.

For most people likely the idea of having to eat an exclusively vegan diet is their idea of the apocalypse! No more bacon and beef burgers. Leaving aside the other valid reasons to embrace a vegan diet before SHTF this article is a none expert’s view on how to eat better if there are no more open stores and the only meat for miles is the odd rat.
Personally I plan on eating that rat in SHTF but I was recently asked to put together a how to article on how to be vegan in SHTF if meat, fish, dairy, and/or eggs are unavailable. I would argue that meat food preparation is the easiest of all if you embrace the SHTF and accept that Costco is gone forever and so is McDonalds. You should have plenty of meat sources stored and have a good idea of how to hunt and trap those local rats.

Having been vegetarian for 12 years and vegan the last 5 years I know how to eat well without animal products. I also know, and this is a critical point, that small amounts of meat and fish go a long, long way. While grabbing that tin of meat balls and eating it dumped over your white rice might work in a short-term SHTF in a long-term event what a waste! Use a tiny amount as protein is readily available from nature and using a huge intake is not necessary. More on this later.

Eating vegan means variety and eating a wide range of different vegetable sources. Eating vegan using the available produce in our modern world is easy and tasty. In SHTF this won’t be the case but nor will it be the case for anyone eating any other type of diet.

What Can Go Wrong with Being a Vegan?

Nothing much as it improves your sex life and general longevity but certain things can easily become dangerously low using a vegan diet. These pre SHTF include calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids (Read more here). The occasional rat takes care of calcium (hum, rat bones!), iron, and zinc. In fact your garden (you have plans for one and have seeds and know how to save them, right?) will almost supply everything you need.


This needs to be taken care of as it is essential but how to get it when there is just no meat or stores anymore? Soya beans grow easily even in southern Canada so growing them and knowing how they can be used and stored is an essential skill. Green peas also are easy to grow and help with zinc. Nuts need to be found, prepared, and stored. I have acorns and black walnuts in my area. You need to know what you have in yours and how to harvest, prepare, and store these nuts. It is labor intensive and a skill.


Spinach I hear you cry! Popeye had this as his source of strength. Yes and no. It is high in calcium but that calcium is bound to oxalate which renders it hard to absorb. For this reason use it as it is easy to grow and tasty but also grow rocket, cabbage, parsley, and kale (Bet you have been waiting for kale! Preparing tips after this this section). Use these heavily in both SHFT and now. Cow’s milk is very; very good at blocking calcium absorption which is why very few vegan females have osteoporosis.


A normal vegan diet supplies plenty of iron despite the myths. Just eat a lot of dark green vegetables. I became anemic (lack of iron) about a year and half into my badly thought out vegetarian diet and I suspect a lot of preppers will as well in a long-term SHTF. Eat those vegetables, eat them a lot, and eat them daily.


This vitamin is infamous in vegans yet most vegans and almost everyone else know next to nothing about it. You will need supplements and fortified foods. However gardening in good quality soil and regular rotation of the fields will introduce some B12 into your body if you do not mechanically scrub the vegetables. This is not a reliable source so long-term you need to eat small amounts of meat. Fortified vegan foods and grains work well now but in long-term SHTF I plan to use my rat traps!

Can you fish in SHTF? Fish and the problem with a source for Omega 3 mainly goes away.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid

Black walnuts are essential in SHTF and a good long-term supply of chia seeds is helpful. You can get Omega 3 from soya beans and leafy greens but it is unreliable. Can you fish in SHTF? Fish and this issue mainly goes away. Salmon run near me and I plan on grabbing them in the Spring and dehydrating them for the year.

Vitamin D

This is of no concern in SHTF as the time in the sun throughout the year will generally give you adequate amounts. Eating the occasional egg also removes any worries about this. Know where the local birds nest and eggs are on the menu in the early Summer.

What Might Be Lacking in a Vegan diet in SHTF?

Top of my list is Vitamin C as I do not live in Florida. There’s no issue at present as trucks and trains bring me lots of oranges but in a long term SHTF I need sources found in Southern Canada.

So wild strawberries and blackberries I will have to find, harvest, and store. But what can I easily grow to cover this one? Orange trees won’t work. Have seeds and grow bell peppers, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and leafy greens. One of the go to foods in SHTF needs to be parsley. Easy to grow, looks like nothing worth plundering, and full of vitamin C and calcium. Most people might add a sprig for decoration or a sprinkle on their slab of meat but as a vegan I can tell you it is awesome chopped up and added to salads and rice. Eat lots of it.


If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “so how do you get your protein?” I would be very rich. My diet is loaded with it and yours is probably in excess if you eat meat. Protein in excess is very bad for the kidneys. Peas, beans, amaranth, millet, and dried pastas are full of it. Eat a wide variety of vegetables and this one is taken care of. I said earlier I would mention vegan ways versus business normal. Well I bet you have tins of tuna and Spam hidden away in your stock pile? Add a tin to a lot of rice and eat over 2-3 days. Before each meal chop up and throw in available greenery. Protein now is not your concern.


A vegan diet without a decent blender (Vitamix or BlendTek) is nearly impossible. I do plan some solar power to use mine but without one preparing food will be a massive time commitment. Cook in bulk and add the greens each meal. Have excellent knives and have the ability to sharpen them every time you use them.

What do you need to know now about vegan diets?

Have seeds and know where you will grow them

Have seeds and know where you will grow them. For me I plan to grow a lot the first season after the first Winter post SHTF. I cannot see much point defending a garden from hungry people. Up here in Southern Canada they will die in the first Winter and afterwards trading and survivors should be friendly.

My main foods stored are vegan with long-lasting tomato sauces, pastes, etc. and pastas (fortified). I have a fair amount of tinned fish and meat as I think sticking to being a vegan in the SHTF would be deadly. Like foreign vacations the vegan diet is great for you but in SHTF won’t be available or would be dangerous. Vegans need lots of different types of intake to stay healthy and that just won’t happen easily in SHTF.

Powered greens and vegan powders are generally very expensive and I can see no use for them at all in SHTF. For me they are not a part of my planning but research them and they might be a bridge for you. I prefer actual real preserved foods than using this sort of thing. Collard, Swiss Chard, and Kale all dehydrate easily under glass in the Summer and can crush up and packed tight into a glass jar. Even without canning this source of green stuff lasts 8-12 months. Have lots of glass jars with air tight lids.

One thing you might not know is that Kale and Swiss Chard and Collard greens come in different varieties. Have a wide selection of types not just one type. Another tip is decent knives and remove the stems and only eat the leaf. Good scissors work very well in preparing leaf vegetables. The stems are very bitter. I think people hate Kale because of this basic preparing error. Kale is actually really tasty.


This is a seed that thinks it is a grain and a good one. It is complete protein and should be part of your pre SHTF garden. Grows tall and has colorful red leaves so put it around your place not just in the vegetable garden. It does well in drought and heat. For fun in SHTF you can pop it and have popcorn around the camp fire. Boil the seeds for a strange but okay porridge or use as a type of pasta/grain.

The leaves are a decent addition to any meal and the root can be eaten if the plant is mature though I have not tried the root. Plant it around the neighborhood as it acts like a weed and no one else will know to eat it in SHTF as red means danger!

Quinoa is a similarly useful crop and I am growing my first this year.

The obvious is the Three Sisters and history is something we all need to focus on. Again my tip is different types of squash, corn, and beans. The more variety the less chance of a crop wipe out and variety is the spice of life.

Anyhow I hope this gave you food for thought

  1. Thanks, Huples. A well laid out article on surviving through vegetables.

    I hope it gives some food for thought to the masses. While a die-hard steak and potatoes kind of guy, I fully expect that canned foodstuffs are unsustainable. Vegetables will be our life source after some months.

    I think its critical to do more than just understand what foods to grow. Folks need to be finding out what will actually grow in their location, vice assuming, or reading about farming. Working a garden, even a ‘test-dummy’ garden with smaller plots of each to see what grows, what gets scavenged, what is suseptable to common weather events, etc. is critical to success.

    As an example, my family loves fresh asparagus. I found that it will in fact grow well here, and that it acts as a perrenial if you cut it at the right time each year. No replanting. I am a rookie at gardening, but have been working new local friends over for when, how, etc.. on the garden we’re putting in this Spring (practically summer).

    1. Hi Bob,
      Thank you. We’ve had a garden for five years and it was real easy. One tip I have is cover the lawn in tarps in the Fall. In the Spring turning it over was dead easy as the grass was composted. The tarps also kept some kale alive for early Spring eating.
      Oh and grow fast growing vegetables. No need to weed much.
      Every year I try a new vegetable and a new idea. Last year was beans and raised beds. I also waited until July 31st to sow seeds. Crops came and harvesting was about 40-50% down on May sowing but I wanted to see if a second late garden could work.
      This year I’m planting quinoa and trying to make flour in the Fall. I’m also seeing if seven month old potatoes will grow in the local wild areas. Well past what I think would be a good root but I’m keen to see what happens no,
      I’ve had zero luck with sun flowers even though I’d like the seeds and others around me grow them. So they are no longer part of my seed store.

    2. x2 the practice.

      In addition to the list you gave: actual average yield (in “good” years and bad)

      Yield is one of the things that first throws some of my clients when they happily plant 50 radishes at once, 10 peas, and 5 beans, and have a glut of one but struggle to get a meal at a time from the others.

      There are some charts and guidelines for estimating yield, but most base off of modern home-ag practices that include store-bought amendments and treatments. Guides that estimate field crops tend to use Big Ag methods as a basis.
      (If somebody has some that estimate yields for alternative methods that aren’t SFG or name-brand bio-intensive or hydroponics, If you’d share, I’d be grateful.)

      Plus, with some of the guides, I think people may just be pulling numbers out of a MegaBall machine. The ranges of plants to put in some provide are headscratchers, and then there are times they say “1 per person” and the family of four number is 3 or 5 for some things, but then there’s a 7-8 thrown in (just say 2 per person, yeah?). Is a puzzlement.
      Knowing what actual yield is for climate and area will eliminate the puzzlements and head scratching of those guides when it’s big.

      Gardening methods can create big flux in yield. So can water availability/irrigation, so when we’re practicing our gardens, even if we’re just doing a small space with those test plants so we can estimate how much we can/would like to produce annually, we should really do at least our test beds in the way we’ll be growing during/after a lifestyle-altering event.
      : )

      1. Thanks R. Ann,

        I use a part of my garden to mimic SHTF. I keep the hose off it and hand water from a rain barrel spasmodically to mimic SHTF.

        Food guides are a bit useless I find. As you said practice! First year we had so much kale it was crazy. We did not know the leaf vegetables grow back strong! We though one lettuce, collard, kale, etc was the food as that how it seemed when grocery shopping. One to two weeks after chopping them they were back and bigger!

        The part I did not cover was the how to grow. Obviously (I hope) crop rotation and fallow fields with manure/compost are musts

    3. Hunting not vegetables will be your life source. Vegetables require stability to grow anyway. Unless you know how to forage for edible plants hunting would be the best source for food. Vegetables are low nutrition compared to meat anyway.

  2. Most of the vegetarian/vegan people I know suffer from frequent illnesses and are psychologically prone to getting “sick” when they think they have ingested any food product that contained animal fat. From ancient times to the present, the development of the human race has been based upon access to and consumption of animal protein. I once had a vegan boss that would miss work for up to three days at a time simply because he thought his meal had been prepared using animal products.
    Nevertheless, your article is well prepared and written. If/when the SHTF, I’ll eat anything that sustains life, including seeds, nuts and rats. In the meantime, please excuse me while I cook up some spaghetti and meatballs.

    1. Hi Bolofia,
      Awesome response and had me laughing. If any vegan tells you eating any normal animal sourced food in small amounts means they are sick for three days then I think the issue is not the meat!
      Vegetarians tend to be sickly. It’s just not a good diet. Strangely enough full on vegan is, I think, healthier. As a vegetarian I lived off Timmies bagels with cheese. The two of us ate three large bricks of cheese a week. Being vegan costs more time and money but for me it is healthy. In fact I’m about 40 lbs over weight.
      There are a lot of athletes who are vegan so it can be healthy. The SAD alternative is very unhealthy ( Standard American Diet)
      In SHTF I’m joining you in the calorie quest but the amount of those tins needs to be really spread out. Use a couple of table spoons worth per person per meal. More is excreted generally.
      Bon Appetite!

      1. Being vegan costs more time and money – another myth and ignorance .. eating meat is just a cultural thing ..people are always afraid of break with culture and traditions ..

    2. I have been a vegetarian for 25 years, and am now 50, I am never sick, the only time I had any issues is when I ate too many bagels and bread products. They make me fat and give me headaches.. Processed breads are my nemesis.. I have never been healthier than when I dated a vegan chef, she knew how to make good stuff.. In a SHTF scenario, I will eat what I must.. But if you don’t know what to eat besides meat or how to produce jerky and other the meats that won’t spoil it will be tough for everyone.. The moron zombies that walk among us will hunt the last deer, squirrel, rabbit the neighbors, cats and dogs and then eat the neighbors.. I am not looking forward to dealing with them… The most unhealthy people are not raw vegans, it is the macrobiotic crowd.. They cooked everything, killed the enzymes and destroyed the nutrient value of their food.. they did tend towards hypochondria.. I would look at them and think, maybe you should try something else because you look like shit..
      I make sure to eat some cheese to keep up the ability to deal with animal fats, simply for the SHTF scenario.
      Good luck and God bless!

    3. Most of the vegetarian/vegan people I know suffer from frequent illnesses and are psychologically prone to getting “sick” when they think they have ingested any food product that contained animal fat. – really? keep eating meet .. eat a lot .. good luck

    4. Being vegan for many years, being in my mid 60’s, I have to say..I never get sick, I’m healthy and happy, I rarely take any pills, last time I took an ibuprofen was over two years ago for an infected tooth. That’s me, but also, my friends who are vegan (or vegetarian) never get sick either. It’s just a much healthier lifestyle.

      1. SEE!!!! Those veggies rot your teeth!!!!!! I have met a lot of very sick vegans and there are no facts to support their longevity over a diet that uses all of the teeth in your mouth for their genetically intended purpose. I am happy that you have had such a good run and hope it continues but 2 samplings, or a few across the population is the stuff of MSM claims. Fats are an important component of any survival diet when you are constantly active to survive. The average Iowa farmer in the 1930’s walked the equivalent of 125 miles a week doing their chores, tending their business. Technology has changed that but not the nutritional needs of the body to fuel itself for constant physical activity.

  3. Oh, a tip on rats. Avoid the ‘city’ rats. Too much nasty in their systems. Country rats are the ticket.

    Personally, today I’ve decided to investigate whether prairie dogs can be eaten. I’m assuming so, but honestly, everyone out here hunts them as vermin, and would never think to eat one.

    1. Hi Bob,
      I think they can be eaten but avoid the spine and brains. I’ve decent rural access to mice, squirrel, and rat. I’d not eat spines and brains of any animal due to worries about prion diseases.

  4. My concern would be taking in enough total calories post SHTF to sustain the level of activity required. Outside of beans and nuts I don’t know of too many calorie dense vegetables.

    1. Absolutely in the short term trying to stay vegan would cause calorie depletion. I eat a ton right now!
      In the long term I think it would cause nutritional losses even if you get the calorie sorted. That’s why I am planning to hunt and trap in SHTF.
      In terms of calories I am using pine bark and maple/birch sap as a main sugar source for when the beets and potatoes are low
      For stocks there’s plenty of carbs in rice and wheat. The calorie part Year One is fine for me but Day One I am looking to be as self sufficient as possible. Those 5 gallon buckets are needed if I get sick not to keep using so I can pretend SHTF hasn’t really happened

    2. If you can grow them or have other access – try peanuts. They are calorie dense and provide a reasonable level of protein. Stock up on peanut butter.

    3. Veggies aren’t calorie foods. Spuds aren’t bad, sweets right behind them, turnips are pretty low. Sweet corn is okay, but the starchier corn gets, the more calorie dense (for most).
      The grains and psuedo grains are where calories are most dense, and some of them have higher amounts of proteins than others, and they’re what really changed the number of populations and weights. They’re hard to come by in a foraging diet and they’re still low in the fats needed to process some vitamins for the most part.
      BOSS and peanuts are two fat-oil producers with affordable presses and raw-eating options.

      It actually takes a fair amount of space to produce a vegan diet to include fats and oils at the calories of field laborer’s consumption.
      For non-vegans, the ability to raise some of their fats in eggs and some of their proteins in rabbits (rabbits are quiet and can overwinter on some types of silage, or weeds grown in windowsills even in Alaska and Ottawa) may make a HUGE difference (like, reduce by 1/4 to 1/2 the amount of space needed).
      : )

      1. Hi R,

        I think there was a chat recently on oil as food in SHTF. One of mine? I’m going senile. Must be the diet 😉

        My stored oil is virgin or extra virgin coconut oil as it basically never goes rancid. Bird’s eggs are my current option in SHTF as cannot have chickens but maybe when I retire?

        I did not mention yams (sweet potatoes) but they are a must grow i think. I’ve had a lot of success with potatoes but not much in storing them. The storage of the harvest is a critical thing and practice for me is ongoing with that. I can use canning but I am trying to SHTF proof myself with none powered alternatives.

        Thanks as ever

  5. Hey, H,
    You mentioned Vit. C.
    It’s actually in all kinds of stuff, not just the tropicals.

    Highbush cranberry viburnum, black and red aronia (chokeBerry), chokeCherry (prunus vir…), and gooseberry aren’t overly recognizable. Grapes and wild grapes may be.
    Wild, mock/Indian/French, and all three types of domestic strawberries have varying recognition by passersby, but the leaves are a decent to okay source in a tea, too, if they get the berries.

    Dark leafy greens (wild or gardened in micronutrient-rich soil), both types of broccoli, brussel sprouts, cantaloupe, watermelon, bell peppers, tomatoes, and green peas and pea sprouts are all good sources of Vit. C.

    There is an Alaskan sweet potato and several of my Canadian friends grow sweets, so there are varieties out there for that, too, and not too many of your neighbors are likely to recognize a sweet potato vine (plus, edible leaves once established and you can take the end tips).

    Nettle and pine-tip tea are really excellent sources.

    1. Hi R.

      As ever great tips from yourself. If you have not written a book on farming post SHTF you should and I’d buy two copies!

      Very true about Vit C. I mentioned it as people really think Oranges and Grapefruits. With a vegan diet I eat more than enough to cover it in my diet and post SHTF I reckon I’ll be okay with the leafy vegetables and pine tea.

      Good idea about wild grapes. Maybe I’ll plant some in the areas

    2. Don’t forget the rose hips! Harvest and dry the rose hips in the fall, and you’ll have vitamin C teaballs all year round. Wild roses grow plentifully up here in the zone 4 mountains, so I assume they grow well in Canada too.

      1. I’ll have to look into this one. In the Fall there’s lots of blue berries up here if you don’t mind wrestling bear

    1. Thanks CSA,

      Possibly but for me survival means being willing, able, and quick to learn how to adapt. As I said vegan goes out the window for me as I plan traps Day Two but I do think most of us will be enjoying a mainly vegan diet post SHTF.

      I considered using “plant strong” instead of “vegan” for the article but that would dishonest. There is a lot of politics attached to the word vegan but I happen to feel it is not a religion nor for everyone. Works for me and mine but I am not you. I hope it did not come off as pushing the diet as I did not intend that at all.

      If the limitation is ignoring how vegans do it before SHTF you could end up making errors in SHTF( i.e. overly relying on spinach as your main green and overlooking seed grains) if your background and viewpoint is meat and potatoes. I am big on animal rights but I have the skills and the equipment to hunt and render wild meat and I am going to use those.

      I looked at my vegan choice and did serious thinking about SHTF. Clearly it is a busted flush to attempt it in almost all scenarios. As I sort of mentioned in the article I think the more serious limitation is people storing food and intending to eat like nothing much has happened. Eating one to two tins of meat a day with rice/beans/potatoes, and one to two vegetables. Hunting a bit but maintaining the calorie count and type/style of ‘normal’ eating after ‘normal’ has gone.


  6. My original title for this was “Vegan foods in the apocalypse”. I am not at all saying a vegan diet in SHTF is desirable. I am saying having an idea of how to grow, prepare, and cook a mainly vegan diet in SHTF is desirable. Hope this clears up any confusion

    1. I changed the title to spawn debate which I think has happened beautifully and in my mind doesn’t alter the focus of what you wrote Huples. There are pros and cons which you (and the commenters) have illustrated nicely. I think in a SHTF we will all need to be flexible and your choices above offer a great alternative option and perspective for us all.

      1. Thanks Pat,
        I have no issue with it and just wanted to be crystal clear I’m not suggesting everyone quit eating meat in SHTF
        Thank you for all the work you do here. May I suggest you do an article showing how you put all this together? Not on topic but I’d be interested

          1. Yes. I’d find it interesting. I’ve no clue what you all do other than editing and doing a lot of work on raw articles

            1. Huples,

              Not sure if that is worthy of an entire article although other prepper bloggers have written the “How to create a Prepper Blog” piece in the past but I will give you a little background into the site.

              I started the Prepper Journal back in January of 2013. Back then I didn’t have a contest for people to write articles. I wrote almost all of them on this site for a couple of years. I have written 506 so far and you can read them all if you go to

              It was a lot of hard work and dedication that lead me to this point and last year alone we had over 3.8 million views. Naturally it didn’t start out like that, but I grew this blog slowly and my articles paved the way for things like the contest which I have used very prominently in the recent months.

              Recently I am more of an editor, but I still write the occasional piece. I started the contest as a way for alternative voices and to help me with the workload as I still hold a regular job. My time was very short here in the recent past with some side activities that occupied a large amount of my time. Now that is over so I may start writing again more often when I feel the muse prompting me. I do have to admit that is less often these days since so much of what I had to say has been said by me already to some extent.

              Of course the contest continues and I still want to do that. In that role, it is largely editing but there is a lot more. I manage advertisers, answer emails, conduct interviews and try to keep spreading the message of Prepping to as many people as possible.

              Thank you for your part in this big project and for helping me keep informing people who are interested. None of it would be possible without people reading the blog.


              1. Thanks Pat. I had no idea you had so many views.

                I find this site the best of the many no matter what ranking charts claim. I like the magazine style and that many writers go btl to further it. I find the commentators mainly solidly prepared on the topics which is challenging but very much a bonus.

                I write my pieces usually at 3am on night shift which is why typos and grammar gets messed up ( my excuse and I’m sticking to it). I don’t actually do it for the prizes as I am a DINK but to keep my hand in writing. I have done a fair number for nursing journals over the years but my career is winding down and it does not excite me as it once did. The prizes are great btw and keep them up.

                I cannot say I have read all your articles but a fair number.

                Not sure I’d be interested in the forum. These comment sections kind of work that way?

                Happy Prepping


            1. The forum was a grand idea that didn’t really take off. The software I was using was costly and it really slowed the site down. We had a lot of people sign-up, but then didn’t do anything. I may revisit it later and just set up a legitimate forum but there are already several out there so I question if that would be a good use of resources.

    2. Huples, I didn’t see anything preachy in the piece. It sounded like an honest monologue from a vegan on how to find key vitamins in plants.

      I’m stealing much of it for a chapter in “The big book of knowledge” on Nutrition. For the record, its a binder on my bookshelf, not some form of publication.

  7. So basically, the vegan diet is incomplete and unnatural. It requires a high degree of civilization to maintain the diet.

    1. meat is a rotten animal flesh that is super unnatural and disgusting your jaws rotates like herbivore animals: cows camels giraffes.. you people don’t know anything about veganism i have been vegan for 20 years and never got a health issues. no flus, no anemia this article is jsut BS to sell their rations .. preppers blogs are a scam

  8. Another great feature of a plant based diet is post SHTF you won’t be competing with every gun toting yahoo who thinks he’s going to be living off of Bambi steaks. Most will starve the first winter as game will quickly become scarce. Meanwhile if you know how to forage plants ignored and unrecognized by 99% of the population, you will do just fine.

Join the conversation

Related Posts