As I read more about minimalism and try to put some practices in my own life, I realize that there are many different facets to it. We look at minimalism traditionally as sparse surroundings and very few objects and belongings. We may even think it to mean living simply, meaning to not indulge in things that we feel are not necessary. We could feel that it means that instead of spending our hard earned money on objects that fill our spaces, we chose our spending to be on experiences that fill our lives and those around us.
As I try to include more minimalism in my own life, I thought that we could caste a net pretty large here and include how we eat. I certainly don’t mean minimal eating as in little or no food, I simply mean to eat food that nourishes us, gives us more than just a fleeting moment of joy, and also enhances the lives of others.
So how do I eat by enhancing the lives of others? I would argue that eating food that is locally produced is absolutely one of the first ways to do that. Shopping at your local farmers’ markets, food co-ops, or even going to your supermarket and buying locally produced food is a place to start. Supporting locally grown food not only enhances your life as nourishment and knowing where it came from, but you also are giving the farmer or person making the food an opportunity to enhance their lives by supporting their passion. Knowing where your food comes from can make you feel like you have some say, in not only what you eat, but also how it is made or grown.
Taking this thought on food one step further, without sounding like I am preaching, I wondered if minimalism is captured in eating as a vegetarian or vegan? I have never been a big meat eater. Even as a kid, we didn’t eat a lot of meat once I became a teenager. My Dad was always battling with his weight and for a long time the only meat in our house was chicken and the occasional turkey on holidays. I stopped eating red meat more years ago than I can remember and for the last 3 or 4 years, I have been vegetarian. I eat extremely little dairy as we buy almond milk (with some lactose issues in our family, this was easy), and I eat the occasional egg (from free run local farms). I tell you this not to shame anyone or to sound like I am doing something everyone should be, but to give you background. For me, eating this way has been my normal. When I started thinking about minimalism with regards to eating and food choices, I think that eating a vegetarian or vegan diet (and I hate that term-diet) just goes so well together.
As minimalists carefully chose what they include in their lives as far as objects and experiences go, why not include food? Typically a vegetarian or vegan way of eating falls in line with minimalism as the food you are eating provides what is necessary for your body to grow and remain healthy. A vegetarian and vegan way of eating also goes further to include the health of the animals that are brought up to be food or produce food for us. A vegetarian and vegan diet also enhances the life of the planet. It is proven that the agricultural sector of our society is costing the planet huge in environmental damage. Without getting into a big debate on global warming and animal activism, even avid meat eaters have to admit that factory farming is not farming as it once was.
I hesitated on posting this as I don’t want to come off as preachy or that what I am doing is better or something you should consider in your own life. I am merely sharing my experience as we try to become more minimalist. The way I see it, to include the way we buy food and eat food, can be incorporated into a minimalist way of life. We are left with buying food that is nourishing us and the lives of those producing it. We are also left with the knowledge that how we are eating is enhancing the lives of animals and the Earth.