Almond butter gluten free English muffins with berries! #vegan #breakfast ???? by @like_minimal
In this article I want to discuss how minimalism relates to food on a global level as well as how minimalism relates to food on a personal level.
If you asked two people to define minimalism, you might get two slightly different answers.
The people I’ve met who consider themselves to be minimalists or aspiring minimalists seem to personalize the definition to suit their needs. I do the same.
If you’re asking me (which you’re not really, but I’ll tell you anyway), minimalism is letting go of the things, responsibilities, ideas, relationships, and habits that don’t help me accomplish what I want to in this life.
It’s about making time, space, and energy for what I truly care about by removing the excess.
I think many people’s definitions, while varied, are on the same plane with similar intentions.
I’m attracted to this concept because, as I like to say, “a junky life is hard.” I just quoted myself. That’s ok. This is the internet.
Food is something every human needs to live. Humans live on the earth. The earth produces food. Humans use the earth’s resources to mass produce this food (and also to create Frankenfood).
Humans also have decided that other beings on the planet shall be food. In different parts of the world, the beings that are considered food are also different. These living beings are treated as food commodities and therefore mass produced as well.
So let’s talk about minimalism and food on a global level.
Minimalism & Food on a Global Level
Been loving making this #simple #vegan #coconut #curry lately! Recipe in bio ???? by @like_minimal
Let’s think about what minimalism might mean for the earth. The earth must be a minimalist. Not a pretentious one with only five things and white walls, obviously. There are like a trillion people here.
So the earth is a minimalist. The earth wants to let go of the things, responsibilities, ideas, relationships, and habits that don’t help it accomplish what it wants to.
What do you think the earth wants to accomplish? I think it wants to support healthy life indefinitely.
As I see it, the only way the earth can support healthy life indefinitely is if the air is clean, the water is clean and existent, the animals are happy and healthy, and the human animals are happy and healthy.
Unfortunately, humans have gained control over the well being of the planet, and at this moment the earth doesn’t seem to be able to accomplish its goals effectively.
Many humans are focusing on their own goals, like making money, to the extent that supporting the lives of all earth’s inhabitants in a healthy way is not a priority. People are left to go hungry. Animals are tortured and slaughtered. Forests are eliminated. Air quality is decimated. Water is polluted.
The natural balance of life on earth is thrown off when we take too much from it, murder its inhabitants, and give it harmful emissions and garbage in return.
The life it supports gets sick, is treated with no dignity, and resources become scarce.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a report titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” stating that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the combined exhaust from all transportation.
An article called “The Future of Food” by Jonathan Foley for National Geographic Magazine states, “It would be far easier to feed nine billion people by 2050 if more of the crops we grew ended up in human stomachs. Today only 55 percent of the world’s crop calories feed people directly; the rest are fed to livestock (about 36 percent) or turned into biofuels and industrial products (roughly 9 percent).
Though many of us consume meat, dairy, and eggs from animals raised on feedlots, only a fraction of the calories in feed given to livestock make their way into the meat and milk that we consume. For every 100 calories of grain we feed animals, we get only about 40 new calories of milk, 22 calories of eggs, 12 of chicken, 10 of pork, or 3 of beef.”
According to Arjen Y. Hoekstra, professor of Water Management at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, it takes anywhere from 2500 to 5000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, while it only takes 30 gallons per pound of potatoes, 102 gallons per pound of bananas, 403 gallons per pound of rice, and 154 gallons per pound of wheat bread.
Ok, so the earth is not able to support all of the human life on this planet, let alone animal and plant life, because people are focused on other things like making money off of the lives and resources the earth has created.
Doesn’t sound very minimalist to me.
Minimalism & Food on a Personal Level
Pizza! #vegan #pizzariabeddia by @like_minimal
In the same way we adapt the minimalism concept to reflect our values and goals, I can only assume each of us has a unique view on how minimalism relates to food on a personal level. I’ll tell you about how the two relate for me.
In this article, I’m discussing minimalism as letting go of the things, responsibilities, ideas, relationships, and habits that don’t help me accomplish what I want to in this life.
What do I personally want to accomplish in this life?
My values include wellness, compassion, and environmental sustainability and responsibility.
What I want to accomplish relates to these values. I want to be healthy and happy while helping other people, nonhuman animals, and the environment be healthy and happy as well. Pretty straight forward.
In the spirit of minimalism, I’ve been removing the excess junk in my life, physically and otherwise, in order to focus my time and attention on these goals.
This looks like doing a lot of learning, buying less things, committing to less things, focusing on how much waste I produce, examining fast fashion practices, and making YouTube videos about these topics, etc.
And yet, if there was ever a topic so intertwined with wellness, compassion, and environmental sustainability and responsibility, it’s food.
I’ll tell you why.
Food and Wellness
Lunch today was quinoa pasta with sweet potatoes, green beans, garlic, basil, nutritional yeast, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. #whatveganseat #healthyfood by @like_minimal
I’d like to think we’ve all heard the Hippocrates quote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
The food we eat plays a major role in our state of health. If one wanted to feel a sustained boost of energy, strength, and brainpower, would you recommend one eat a donut or a big bowl of fruit?
I’d pick the fruit for sure. If I wanted to taste something disgustingly rich and delicious and take a nap after, I’d go for the donut. And sometimes I do! (Vegan of course, but I’ll get to that soon.)
In my everyday life, I’m going for the fruit. I’m going for the healthier plant foods that allow me the energy and stamina to do the things I want to do.
The food we eat affects our energy level as well as our physical health. Two great resources I recommend to anyone trying to understand what foods are truly good for health and longevity include “How Not To Die” by Dr. Michael Greger and “The Blue Zones” by Dan Buettner, sponsored by National Geographic. Both resources are based on research.
If you’re short on time, I’ll recommend you take a look at a video I made about figuring out what food is actually healthy, as there is contradicting information all over the place. The video can be found here:
If you’re really short on time, I’ll just tell you what both resources advocate. Dr. Greger and “The Blue Zones” have both found that avoiding meat, animal products, and processed foods is the best thing you can do for your health.
Eating a diet high in whole plant foods can help us minimize our medical bills, pill prescriptions, and ultimately save money, all while prolonging and improving the quality of our lives.
These plant foods include fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds.
Let me remind you that much of the world’s grain is being fed to animals who are being raised for slaughter, for human consumption. Eating the grain before it’s fed to an animal would save water, time, suffering, and would feed more humans in a more healthful way.
Food and Compassion
#vegan #lunch by @like_minimal
Compassion as defined by dictionary.com is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”
First of all, I hope every one of you reading this has compassion for yourself. I hope you treat your mental and physical health with the utmost respect by eating the healthiest foods you can.
Secondly, as I strive to be compassionate in every area of my life, I make compassionate food choices, not just for myself, but for the planet and the nonhuman animals we share it with.
Lucky for me, eating compassionately for my own well being completely aligns with eating compassionately for the sake of nonhuman animals and our environment.
There is no need for animals or the planet to suffer from the horrors of the animal agriculture system when I can get every vitamin, mineral, and nutrient I need from plants and a B12 pill. I can get all the good stuff without the saturated fat, cholesterol, heart disease, and other ailments that come with eating meat and animal products.
By eating this way, I minimize my own suffering as well as the suffering of the environment and nonhuman animals enslaved for meat and dairy production.
Food and Environmental Responsibility and Sustainability
Lunch! #simple #healthy #vegan by @like_minimal
This topic is the same on a global level as it is for me on a personal level, so I’ll just do a quick recap.
Growing and producing plant foods requires less water and produces less greenhouse gas emissions.
Growing and producing plant foods for human consumption is more efficient and minimal than growing and producing plant foods to feed to animals who will later be slaughtered and eaten by humans.
When you choose to eat plant foods you choose health for yourself.
When you choose to eat plant foods you choose health for nonhuman animals, which are the majority of animals on this planet.
When you choose to eat plant foods you choose health for the planet.
Eating plants is responsible and sustainable.
Food, Time, and Money
#gazpacho is my favorite #summertime meal ???????? by @like_minimal
There’s one more piece of this picture I’d like to discuss.
When it comes to food and minimalism, I see a few ways of looking at how we spend our money and time on food.
Some of us might want to simplify our food and food habits in order to spend as little time preparing it as possible, creating more time for other things. These people might see food as fuel and hold a more utilitarian perspective. With this outlook, one might eat simply and limit going out to eat or other activities that promote food as entertainment.
Some of us might want to minimize the amount of money we spend on food in order to have more money for other things. This might look like going out to eat less and purchasing the less expensive healthy foods like potatoes, rice, other grains, beans, and frozen veggies.
Some of us might want to minimize other areas of our lives so that we have more time and money to spend on food and food experiences. We might hold off on buying new shoes or unnecessary household items so that we can more comfortably purchase higher priced food items like the almighty goji berries or organic exotic fruits. We might hold off on buying other things so that we can go out to eat once a week or maybe even more frequently.
As for me, I consider food a high priority. I try to keep a budget for each week and make the most of it by buying legumes, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds from the bulk bins at the grocery store, where the items are generally cheaper because they aren’t packaged.
I give myself more leeway in the produce section, as I think fresh fruits and veggies are an important part of a human diet. I try not to buy more than I will eat before it goes bad, and will gravitate towards the less expensive produce items like bananas and sweet potatoes.
Here is a video I made about minimalism and food and sticking to a $50/week budget:
I like dining out but am trying to limit how frequently I do to once or twice a month in an attempt to save money.
When considering minimalism and food, it makes sense to look at what minimalism means and how it applies to the production of food, the effects of the production of food, the effects of the food on our health as well as on our time and our wallets.
Eating plant foods means minimizing the negative effects of the food system on our planet, on the animals who share it with us, and on our health as humans.
Eating plant foods can also be done in a way in which we minimize the amount of money we spend on food each week if that’s our goal. It can be done in a way in which we minimize the amount of time we spend on food and food preparation if that’s our goal.
All in all, if you’re asking me (which you’re not but I’ll tell you anyway), minimalism and food means plants.
Foley, Jonathan. “The Future of Food.” National Geographic. National Geographic Magazine, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2016.
Jackson, Nicole, Megan Konar, and Arjen Hoekstra. “The Water Footprint of Food.” Sustainability 7.6 (2015): 6435-456. Web. 14 Aug. 2016.
“Livestock’s Long Shadow.” FAO. Food and Agricultural Organization, 2006. Web. 14 Aug. 2016.