Can You Survive off of Rice and Beans – 2 Foods for Survival

If you are survivalist you probably have wondered if you can survive off of just rice and beans.  In an emergency situation you’re not going to have a lot of choice as to which foods you can eat especially if you are mobile.   Having just a couple of food choices will mean that you don’t have to carry as much with you allowing you to move faster.  Luckily, the current availability of rice would allow you to stock up on it.  Plus, it is easy to store safely for the long term if need be. 

If your goal to ensure that you have adequate energy to allow you to travel long distances, stocking up on these two foods is advisable.  If you are overweight, you might be interested in knowing that some people consume rice and beans as a fad diet.  Nevertheless, for a survivalist, consuming rice and beans solely for losing weight is not something that I did advise.  I am writing this article for those of us that are wondering if rice and beans will allow us to survive. 

Can you survive off of rice and beans only? You cannot survive on just rice and beans. There are certain vitamins and minerals that you need to survive and rice and beans do not contain all of these nutrients. For instance, the lack of iron and calcium can lead to anemia and osteoporosis.  Furthermore, some rice products have been polished which removes some of the nutritional components. 

Are Beans and Rice Healthy For You?

Consuming only beans and rice is not a perfect diet because of the lack of some nutrients, even though in general, they are healthy foods.

The Port of Springer Nutrition Journal states in a report that they do provide nutrients that are a healthy choice for someone with certain heart disease ailments. Also, rice and beans will aid in maintaining a good sugar level which is important for those of us that have type 2 diabetes.  They concluded that dark red kidney and black beans plus rice reduced glycemic response.  I suggest that you stock up on Bush’s Best organic dark red kidney beans that are available on Amazon by clicking here.   

Nevertheless, the carbs in beans that can slightly increase the production of glucose.  However, you need carbs to complete a diet since carbohydrates help to reduce sudden drops in your glucose levels.

If you start to consume beans that are canned,  you have to be careful because of the high sodium level in some canned beans.   Manufacturers add salt to enhance the taste of the beans according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

If you decide to consume just rice and beans, there are certain things that you can do to make sure that the taste is adequate. As a side note, click here to check out the 24-pound emergency food storage pail of rice offered by Augason Farms on Amazon

Here are some quick tips on how to make your beans more appetizing:

  1. First of all,  you have to rinse them to reduce the sodium level since sodium can possibly increase blood pressure in certain people.
  2. You can add some low sodium salad dressing or low sodium ketchup to your beans and rice.
  3. Adding vegetable oil will also enhance the taste.
  4. You can add unsalted margarine that doesn’t have any trans fats.

By following my above tips, you’re going to make your rice and beans meals more enjoyable without increasing the calorie load.   Your goal is not to fatten up because that would cause problems for you when you’re on the move as a survivalist.  Nevertheless,  you will likely lose some weight if you’re already overweight.  

Can you lose weight eating rice and beans and Still Survive a Long Time?

I feel that you can lose weight by just eating rice and beans because you will feel full faster.  This sensation of feeling full via vegetables is something that was indicated by the CDC. There’s a lot of water and fiber in vegetables and rice and these 2 food items. Nevertheless, they are low in calories which will permit you to consume even fewer calories than before perhaps. 

When you’re combining these food items with physical activity it creates a double whammy situation. You’re going to lose weight and some of that weight is going to be body fat which will cause less strain in your cardiovascular system. The effect of weight on cardiovascular health was highlighted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information

There are a few factors that will affect weight loss when someone is on a rice and beans diet:

  • Your weight loss depends on your age because as you age, your metabolism slows down causing weight loss to become more difficult.
  • If your starting weight is rather high,  it’s going to be easier to lose those extra pounds on this type of diet.
  • Most experts suggest that you exercise 30 minutes a day so that you will lose weight.  Nevertheless, you should couple the exercise with an adequate diet.  I don’t think that’s going to be a stretch for you to exercise on a regular basis if you are a survivalist because you will probably be on the move.
  • If you are stuck in a weight plateau, you will have to be patient because it’s going to take some time to lose an adequate amount of weight especially when you’re getting close to your normal weight level. Just remember that genes and environmental factors can also affect weight loss.
  • If you consume a lot of rice, this could cause you to gain weight since they contain a moderate amount of calories.  In other words,  try to consume reasonable portion sizes.
  • Personally, I used to feel that eating oranges was great because it was a fruit, but if you consume too much of one item it’s going to have an effect on your health in it negative way.

How Long can you Live on Rice only?

Now that we know that you can basically survive off of rice and beans.  What if you’re just trying to survive off of rice only?  Exactly how long would you be able to live?   I managed to find a lab report by Oak Ridge National Lab on Survival diets that helps to this question.

Of course, nobody can say with 100 percent certainty, the expectancy life of an individual, because there are a lot of other factors that come into play.  Although, it is obvious that you could live a lot longer on rice and water than you could solely on rice.

Oak Ridge lab States that during a situation when food stocks are rationed,  you cannot live solely on one food item for an extended period. This is due to a lack of nutrients. You would have to deal with deficiency diseases, plus a degraded immune system. These elements would cause more and more health problems.  Even though rice on the surface seems to be okay although it lacks vitamins A, C, and D.  

You can obtain vitamin D from the ultraviolet rays of the sun but that assuming that you’re in an environment that provides that sort of exposure to sunlight.  So in many cases, if you were to consume solely rice, you’re going to develop a deficiency in vitamin D over the long term.

The Oak Ridge study also highlighted that obtaining rice during an emergency situation may be okay initially until it gets to the point where more of its going to have to be milled. And if you’re consuming rice that has not been enriched, you may develop a thiamine deficiency.  

Brown rice has more nutrients such as iron but also takes a lot longer to cook which will cause problems for a survivalist that needs to more quickly to safer locations.

Besides a healthy combination of nutrients to survive, you also need to consume sodium.   It is recommended that you consume about 5 grams per day of sodium.  There’s sodium in brown rice per 100g, but it’s only 5 milligrams.  You would have to consume over two pounds per day of rice o get the required level of sodium.   You could force down raw rice in order to get 25 grams more sodium,  but the likelihood of following that sort of diet is very low.

What would happen if you were to eat just beans and rice for 30 days

Now that we had explained that you could survive relatively long on just rice and beans, what is the likelihood that you could survive at least 30 days on this diet?  

As a side note, the likelihood of surviving on this diet is greatly reduced if you don’t have access to water.  You need water to survive and you can only survive a few days without any water at all.  There will be some water in the beans because of the high fiber and water. Nevertheless, not enough to sustain you for very long.

The FDA  conducted a study on the water activity measurement for certain foods.  Water activity is the rate of which moisture is absorbed into certain foods.  I thought I could use the conclusions in this study to determine how much moisture was in beans. Even though they had this developed this measurement to determine the likelihood of bacteria of cells via moisture in certain foods.

The FDA stated that paste made from red beans can contain a lot of moisture. It does have a lower water content versus cheese spread,  but some mechanism in red beans does allow moisture to enter into the plant at a higher rate than some other foods that were analyzed in the study. But is this level high enough to sustain a person for longer than 30 days on just rice and beans? I would say that there is a chance, but that it’s much better to have water to consume along with this diet.

If you are middle-aged or older, there’s less of a chance that you would survive solely on rice and beans versus someone that is not aged.    Physical activity is enhanced for a survivalist, and I’m going to assume that during this 30 day period that lots of physical activity will occur that will put you into situations that will compromise your overall health.

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