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!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

#04 - See through your spread

with less on your bread

I ended the last posting saying, “Most people don’t know about ‘minimalism’ yet, and many of the others who should know better don’t quite know what to do about it.”

That’s a bit accusatory, I know, and I realise that when we speak openly about others whom we’re never likely to meet we should take care to also recognise the same problems and ignorance within ourselves.

For example, I can’t talk with any experience or authority about being overweight... because I’ve never been in that situation. My leanish figure has always been so because of a) running around like a blue-arsed fly most of the time and b) having a squeamishness at the sight of animal fat.

My ‘running around’ stems from being one of several war babies (WW2) in our northern UK city suburban road in which, in the 1950s, there were no cars parked so frantic games of hide-and-seek, riding around like crazy on our tricycles, screaming around on metal-wheeled roller-skates playing hockey with our dad’s walking sticks and a wooden ball pinched from the fairground coconut-stall, nipping into peoples’ gardens to collect the empty milk bottles from their doorsteps and running after the electric milk-float to clatter them into the metal crates, running after the dozen or so police horses – that used to exercise down our road daily – with shovels to be first collect the steaming plops of horse manure for the roses in our mums’ and dads’ gardens... and that was before I took up cross-country running at school, converting to a fixie bike for the extra exercise (and to be different from the other boys) in my mid-teens, and progressed to running full marathons until at the Veteran stage I was still doing them in 3–25... you name it, I/we did it.

My dislike of animal fat reflects the childhood horror every other Friday evening when my Polish father returned home from his factory work with a pig’s head and a couple of trotters – which after being cooked with cabbage, onions and garlic produced a smell that made me feel sick and a sight that made me almost faint.

So it goes without saying that I prefer vegetables to animals... for preparing in the kitchen and for eating from the plate. I’ve also spent many years growing them so have no qualms about pulling them out of the earth and chopping their heads off... although I do that with a feeling of love, thankfulness and sympathy because they are ‘live’ things.

But I’m a bit of an oddball not eating meat. Yup, being a vegetarian still causes many – an easy majority – of people to give one sneering looks and smirks when they know your preference because it’s a contradiction to their own comfortable, established way of living.

However, many of them complain about piling on the pounds – especially in the winter months – and regard me as a weakling because I’m thinner. They cannot – or refuse to – understand, that if they simply cut down slightly on every portion they would eventually arrive at a palatable solution without noticing any difference in the short term.

Whenever I’ve seen TV and magazine commercials for butter, margarine, jam, cheese, fish and meat pates, etc., the products are always layered on the slice of bread or biscuit cracker with extraordinarily generous helpings which to most starving people in the world would be more than a two or three days nourishment, not simply an in-between-meal snack... and not with anything like the same quality or variety.

Thinking that my own waistband might tighten slightly as winter descends and the occasional comfort food is consumed, I’ve decided on a personal rule of thumb to ward off the extra calories and kilograms... it is to “see through the spread”. If I want a slice of bread with soya margarine, the spread has to be thin enough to see the colour, grain and texture of the bread through the spread. And if I want some jam on it – hey, why not occasionally – then the colour, grain and texture of the bread still has to show through both additional layers.

not only but also...
I’m always keen to mention important people whose simpler life-style practices and inspirational writings attract a big, dedicated following. So here are two beautiful people I’m following... both write in a very readable way and give you more than enough to think about every time they do so. Click and enjoy!

Amber Zuckswert of EpicSelf is a professional modern/ballet dancer, the creator of Virtual Pilates, and a globe trotting environmentalist wrapped into one tall package.

And Niels Hermus at Life is a bucket with a theory to create your own kick-ass lifestyle, drop by drop. He makes a lot of sense!

Not directly related to this post – perhaps more to my last one – but I found a really cool “iQuit Stop Smoking Counter” which measures smoking cessation and the length of time one has stopped smoking, the money one saved and the extra period of life gained! What happens with your body if you quit smoking? The Healing Begins!

I’ve put the “iQuit Stop Smoking Counter” gadget in the sidebar to this weblog, which after keying-in dates, numbers of cigarettes and price per packet, on the iQuit website, updates in real time some shocking statistics. I’ve programmed my gadget to calculate from when I gave up smoking the last time in 2006... but I’m thinking of placing a second gadget above it running from when I gave up smoking 30 years before. What I would have saved in money, and extended my life in months if not years would be very revealing and shocking.

You can use the app on a web page, on an iPhone, iPad or iTouch and download it here... Quit Smoking Counter.

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