Chapter VI: Minimalism and Your Diet
“Minimalism means not trying to improve perfection.” That includes diet. ~Bryant McGill
It might seem strange to combine minimalism and diet, but if you are getting rid of physical clutter, you might as well go all the way and take food out of your life that is unhealthy for you. Being a true minimalist does mean turning toward a diet of little meat or becoming a vegetarian.
A minimalist does not complicate their diet any more than they complicate their life. They do have a few essential rules the follow to stay minimally and healthy.
Food that consists mostly of plants and unprocessed food is definitely good for anyone – minimalist or materialist. Eat an abundance of vegetables like avocados, spinach, broccoli, and anything else that is green. These foods will make you feel wonderful. Put fish, nuts and seeds into your minimalist/everyday diet. Keep the portions on the small side, or minimal.
Completely eliminate from your diet, breads, pastas, sugar, gluten and meat that is not fish, avoid bottom feeding seafood like shrimp and crab, and stay away from most dairy products. Do not purchase or eat anything that is processed or packaged. If you are contemplating a minimalist lifestyle think about giving up those candy bars and sugary sodas. A minimalist believes that you need less protein than you think.
Fasting is great if you are a minimalist. Dogmatic minimalists eat only two meals a day and stay away from snacks. During the fast a minimalist diet is water, herbal, tea or black coffee. You definitely will lose weight. A minimalist diet does not include breakfast.
This is contrary to dietary recommendations. Breakfast is the fuel of the day. Whether you are a minimalist or not, never skip breakfast.
Keep your sugars to a minimum and your water and liquids to a maximum. With a minimalist diet you do need to take supplements. Multivitamins, vitamin B-complex and fish oil will need to be purchased so make sure you have the resources on hand to buy these ingredients for your minimalist diet.
Exercise is on the schedule of a minimalist. Minimalists don’t spend a great deal of time, effort or focus on exercising. They walk since waking allows plenty of time to think and de-stress. They sometimes work out for fifteen minutes. Minimalists are not concerned about building vanity muscles, they are only concerned with how they feel in the moment.
If you have a gym pass, keep it simple and use it. You don’t have to follow the minimalist ideal of exercise; do what you think is best for your own lifestyle and body.
Sleep is important to a minimalists, just like it is important for anyone. A minimalist tends to sleep less because they only need five or six hours of sleep. Do get as much sleep as your body requires and turn of the alarm clock. You don’t have a stressful job anyway, so why hurry and get up.
Less stress is the result of a minimalist diet, sleep, exercise, and lifestyle. You can tell a minimalist because they do not shallow breathe, never frown, and make an effort to be aware of the triggers that bring on stress. Minimalists learn to change their breathing patterns when they feel overwhelmed. One trick to being less stressed? Look in the mirror and smile at yourself.
Steps to a Minimalist Diet, Even if you are not a Minimalist
Apply minimalism to your diet by:
Minimizing portions. Eat small portions. Eat half your meal when at restaurants and use smaller plats at home. Avoid second helpings. This is a great way to control your food, but somewhat wasteful. Eat half your meal when at restaurants and throw away the rest? Maybe just order less. What about second portions at thanksgiving or family dinners? Do you really want to insult your relatives by not taking a second helping? And really, what does not taking a second helping have to do with minimalist living?
Minimize eating unhealthy food. This is actually good advice. Reduce the extra sour cream and bacon on baked potatoes and eat the skin. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Avoid snacking. Choose very small portions when snacking. If you have a minimalist near you when you are snacking take after them and eat only one nut. This idea is somewhat sarcastic, but when you are minimalist snacking, it is a great idea to follow the “less is more” mantra.
Water should be everyone beverage of choice. Drink more water and cut down on the sodas, sugary fruit juices, and caffeinated drinks. This is great advice for anyone living a material or a minimalist life.
Empty calories have no nutrition. Avoid them. Applying minimalism to foods and drinks means eliminating toxins and junk including artificially flavored or colored beverage (West, 2015).
Eat when hungry. Schedules are obsessive and make your life complicated. Simplify your life and eat only when you are hungry. “If the tank is still left with fuel, minimalists are simply not obsessed with filling it up. They know Eco is the trend, they wait till it’s nearly empty, then get it refilled” (Xuan, 2011).
Stop when you are full. Whenever they eat, a minimalist won’t stuff themselves. Their motto is enough is enough.
There are tasty foods everywhere you look. You can never eat them all and a minimalist will not want to get involved in craving foods. They pass up great looking food to keep themselves simple. Nice idea, but if you love food, it is okay to indulge once in a while.
When a minimalist eats, they eat with full attention to detail. They savor the flavors and textures and eat slowly and joyfully. They experience their food rather just fill themselves up. Nothing is eaten in a hurry. What a great premise! Eat for enjoyment rather than gorging yourself.
A full and tight stomach is something that a minimalist will not tolerate. Minimalists keep themselves light in food, as well as their furnishings, thoughts and emotions.
Minimalists claim that by simplifying their lives they have more time to get into shape. No matter what lifestyle you are living, getting into shape is a need rather than a want; it is not “a should, but a must.” Use minimalistic principles to get rid of life’s excess so you can focus on what’s important. Take this same motto to heart.