mnmlist: minimalist eating

How does a minimalist eat? Just a few grains of rice each day, perhaps?

There’s no one way, of course, but one thing to consider is whether eating huge amounts of food, super-sized fast food meals and mountains of fried cheesy food that you find at chain restaurants … whether this American style of eating is consistent with the minimalist philosophy.

I say no. A minimalist would more likely eat less, prepare food simply with few ingredients, eat mindfully, and eat sustainably.

Here’s how.

  • Eat less. If you’re overweight, eating less is absolutely the best thing you can do. If you’re underweight, eating less isn’t a good idea. But the Okinawans, reknowned for their incredible health and longetivity, do so well in part because they eat fewer calories than most people. They stop when they’re 80% full. I’ve been doing this with great results. Trick is to cut back on your portions a little at a time, and your stomach slowly grows smaller. It’s not hard if you do it slowly, gradually. Don’t starve yourself, but learn to eat until you’re almost full — after 5 minutes, you’ll realize you really are full.
  • Fewer ingredients. Try three-ingredient recipes (other than spices, oil & water) — there are lots of them on the web. I like oatmeal, nuts & fruit (with cinnamon); black bean chili with tomatoes (and cilantro, cayenne, chiles, salt); black beans & quinoa; soy yogurt, berries & nuts; coconut flakes, fruit & soymilk; apples & almonds. You get the idea.
  • Simple preparation. The above dishes require very little preparation. If you really love cooking, this tip won’t be for you, but for those who normally eat out or eat packaged foods, it’s important to find foods that don’t require a lot of prep time. You want to do little work with few ingredients — just fresh, real food that is flavorful and healthy.
  • Eating mindfully. Instead of eating while you watch TV, try paying attention to each bite, savoring your food and getting the most out of it while eating less.
  • Eating sustainably. A plug for veganism, which is more sustainable than meat and dairy because plants require fewer resources (yes, even fewer than free-range animals). If everyone became vegan, we’d have more than enough food to feed the world, and we’d use fewer resources with less carbon emissions.