Survival Foods: Can You Live On Just One?

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If you’re reading this, you’ve likely seen at least one article listing foods that you should have in your survival stockpile because you’re interested in it. But … what if you only had the option of living on one food?

You’re stuck after a SHTF scenario with one crop and nothing else but it, other than water. Is there one food that you could live on? Let’s talk about that.

There are two factors to consider since we’re already assuming that you have one single food in a large enough quantity to survive on. That’s a pretty big hurdle in and of itself. Some people might think they wouldn’t make it. Would you?

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But say you do have one food only. Those two factors are nutrients and food fatigue.

We’ll address nutrients first.

Macronutrients aren’t optional

Your body requires three macronutrients to keep the balance and live: fat, protein, carbs, fiber, and water. If you don’t eat carbs and fat, your body will start consuming first its own fat, then muscle tissue.

Your heart is a muscle, so this is bad. Especially if the meat is particularly lean, like rabbit.


If you don’t eat fat, your organs will shut down. Your gall bladder, for example, requires a certain amount of fat just to function. Something like 40 percent of your brain is fat, and lack of fat, particularly essential fatty acids such as omega-3, and an overabundance of carbs have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. So, eat fat.


If you don’t eat protein, your muscles will degrade, and your body won’t be able to heal and generate new cells. There are 20 amino acids that are the building blocks of protein, and 9 of them are essential – our bodies can’t make them so we have to eat them.

Other Nutrients

Not only do you need these macronutrients, you also need micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

For example, if you don’t get any vitamin C, you’ll have scurvy inside of a month. Listing all of these wouldn’t just be another article; it would be a book.

Here’s a chart to help you out. In addition, you also need about 40 grams of fiber to keep your digestive tract and cardiovascular system healthy.

Food Fatigue

There are documented cases where entire villages have starved to death with readily available food within access. A good example of this is rice. Your body gets so tired of eating only one type of food for a long period of time, especially if it’s only prepared one way, that it will literally make you sick rather than allow you to eat any more of it.

This could be because it’s lacking nutrients that the food is missing, or it has an overabundance of the nutrients in the food because it can’t process them due to missing necessary macronutrients or micronutrients. For whatever reason, it’s a reality.

That being said, there are places on the planet where people survive almost solely on one food, usually rice. Maybe the key word is “almost.”

Is There a Perfect Food?

So, knowing what we know now, is there one food that provides all of the nutrients in adequate amounts that you need to survive? No. There are some that are close, but none of them meet all of your needs.

So which ones are the closest to perfect?


People have survived solely, or almost solely, on potatoes for centuries. For instance, during the Irish potato famine, the impoverished portion of Irish citizens lived off of potatoes and, when available, milk.

And the Scots will joke and tell you that a hundred years ago, their diet was potatoes, milk, oatmeal, and kale. Nutritionally, you could survive quite well off of that combination.

Also, there was Andrew Taylor. For the entire year of 2016, he lived on a potato diet, but there were a few caveats. He ate both white and sweet potatoes because just one or the other didn’t provide the nutrients he needed, and he occasionally threw in some tomato sauce, soy milk, salt, and herbs, and he took a B12 supplement. He did well, but it still wasn’t technically an all-potato diet.

They provide protein, carbs, and, especially if you combine the two, all of the macro- and micronutrients you need, except for molybdenum, which you can get from oatmeal. White potatoes are lacking in vitamins C and A, too, and calcium, which is where the kale and milk comes in.


Milk, especially fermented milk (aka yogurt, kefir, sour cream, some cheeses) is pretty darned close to perfect, too. Actually, human milk is the perfect food but that’s probably way outside the realm of reality, so we’re not even going there. Other milks, though, are still good.

You could meet your protein, fat, and carbohydrate needs, but it has zero vitamin C or iron. It’s missing several minerals, too. So, you couldn’t live off of milk.


Serious superfood here. Plenty of fiber and vitamins A, B6, and C – as a matter of fact, just one cup gives you 134 percent of your daily value of C. It even has protein, but you’d have to eat twenty cups a day to get enough protein, and then it’s not complete.

There’s no fat to speak of, and it only has 33 calories – 2 grams of carbs – so you’d have to eat at least 30 cups a day to meet minimal requirements. It’s also missing several micronutrients. So, no.

Your body is a complicated machine. Saying that you could feel it one food is sort of like saying as long as you keep the air checked in your tires, your car will run just fine. It’s just not the same.

Could you survive off of one food? Yes. If you had to, I’d go with potatoes. But if you have to do it long-term, you’re going to be suffering from vitamin and mineral deficiencies within a couple of months.

Do yourself a favor: stockpile a variety of foods. Make sure you have plenty of beans, rice, flour, and sources of vitamin C, because that’s a serious one that will have rapid negative results. You do not want to develop scurvy.

Think ahead and plan your survival! You never know when a disaster will hit!

Is there a food that you think may be complete enough to survive on long-term? If so, please tell us about it in the comments section below and get a dialogue going.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.