Follow my regular postings on why and what I’m getting involved with in the growing movement known as ''Minimalism” and for some insight into why and how I think it’s the best alternative way forward for many other people too. There will be some surprises - not least to myself - because the existing lifestyles of much of the population cannot continue at the present uncontrolled rate of consumption, waste and destruction... our Mother Earth simply cannot sustain it!

Friday, 19 November 2010

#02 - Unravelling the mess

eat slow... more go

Following on from my breakfast with a difference, the first thing I did after I’d eaten, washed the empty bowl and that accidentally grabbed utensil, was to log-on to my favourite web-name vendor GoDaddy and for $11.99 register “” having found it was still available after a quick search on their site. I knew I had to do it. I didn’t need an inner voice or confirmation from an on-line discussion group. There was no hesitation – and to paraphrase (but with a contrary meaning) a line by Waylon Payne playing Jerry Lee Lewis in the Johnny Cash film “Walk The Line” – I just did it... I didn’t think about it... I didn’t think about doing it... I didn’t even think about thinking about doing it...

Then I discovered that Joe Kita writing on Core Performance went one step further and used smaller plates and bowls as well as smaller spoons to down-size his weight – with no other dietary measures necessary. He also has interesting statistics from the “American Journal of Preventive Medicine” amongst which are that people who ate less from smaller bowls actually thought that they had consumed more. And when compared with short, wide tumblers, that narrower ‘highball’ drinks glasses were filled with a third less volume of alcohol by baristas... with their customers not complaining of short measures.

However, as a result I didn’t crave for a mid-morning snack such as a slice of warm buttered toast... nor a fresh croissant from the boulangerie across the road... nor a bar of chocolate always positioned next to the check-out counter wherever I shop and buy and wait and pay. And I didn’t drop into the bar for my regular large, strong jolt of espresso.

In fact I had enough energy to take me through to beyond the regular lunchtime hour when, and only when, I felt hungry again. I’d painlessly adjusted to and adopted one small step in the process of simplifying my life, and it felt good... really good... really, really good... and I had a hunger for more!

This to me seems a very sensible way of eating... to consume sustenance only when one is hungry, rather than feeding when one is not actually hungry but at fixed times which have to conveniently fit in with the established but restrictive nine-to-five office working hours ritual.

I should point out that in rural France where I chose to live a more gentle life with my wife a decade ago, regular lunchtime hours are from 12-30 to 2-30 or 3-00. Yes, up to two and a half hours for lunch. But any workers and shopkeepers will start earlier in the day and continue to 7-30 in the evening... so a lengthy lunch-break will allow traditional preparation and consumption of a proper meal rather than the modern Western trend of office staff dashing out for a plastic wrapped sandwich, polystyrene pack of salad, plus a chemical-filled cold or caffeine-fueled hot drink – and returning 20 minutes later to their computer cubicle and eating whilst continuing to ‘punch-in those data numbers’ – the latter, in a way, now seeming only a little worse than what I was doing with my pre-dawn breakfasts and web surfing. 

However, I definitely felt a ‘whoosh’... I felt I was on a new path going in a new direction... and I felt great! I had made a commitment to ‘minimalism’ in a very short period of time that I hope will change my life for ever! I may be entering my ‘third age’ but it’s never too late to start a new life. Too many people go into a rapid decline when they retire... so why retire, in the conventional sense of the word, when you deserve a real break for a change?

What I experienced will make me more awake, more active and undoubtedly more productive. Those are the immediate benefits to this ‘eat slow - more go’ approach. I’ll also certainly decrease the measurement of my waistline, as well as increase the amount of money in my pocket... so I’ll be able to afford a pair of slimmer jeans. Win-win!
You may think this isn’t for you... it’s too simple... or it won’t fit in with your metabolism... or it isn’t manly enough for your lifestyle. But being so simple it’s surely be worth a try. After all, if it’s simple it can hardly be difficult, can it?

However, there lies the rub. It’s more than simply eating with a smaller spoon.

the decision...
Emmet Fox posted his 7-Day Mental Diet on "The Art of Creative Relationship" recently that challenged readers to think, speak and be absolutely positively for 7 days continuously. But if at any time during that relatively short period, in the lifetime of things, there was a single negative thought, word or action that was not instantly batted away by a positive one, you had to go back to the beginning and start over again on another 7-day period. Sounds easy doesn’t it – if you’re a meditating monk!

Well, there’s good reason to try things which are seemingly impossible at first sight. Without exploration across the stormy oceans and inhospitable continents in past centuries where would we be today? Without learning difficult subjects at school where would our lack of extra knowledge have left us? Without jogging that first short fun-run how many would have attempted the full marathon and surpassed the pain threshold with pleasure and pride? Without tackling that exposed rock face as the climbing rope’s leader where would our confidence be now?

The list can go on and on... it’s all about taking that first step towards something better. Not better on an established scale of one-to-ten, or with an award to pin on your chest, but something better with one’s personal state of well-being.


  1. Hi Ed,

    Nice post - very positive. I'll bookmark it - a cure to boredom as well. May i ask where in Touraine do you live ?



  2. Salut Marc... have been in and around Preuilly-sur-Claise for a decade. It's at the lower tip of the Indre-et-Loire where the département meets Indre and Vienne. Wonderfully friendly people, pure French spoken so I can understand more than I thought as well as being reasonably well understood... and a very gentle way of life too.