stones on wet roads
only hurt the feet
when the sky clears
Well into her eighties she was working in the studio from 8.30 to 11.30 each morning. She would then have lunch in her favourite restaurant in Taos, and read at home in the afternoon — Agatha Christie was a favourite author — before going to bed by about 8 o’clock. She never owned a television, and by the time she died had read no newspaper for 50 years.
It was the life she wanted. “I have a very quiet mind,” she said a few years ago. “I worked hard for that. It took a lot of discipline.”"
An blog post by Leo Babauta on mnmlist
This post will strike a nerve with some readers, as many minimalists or aspiring minimalists are die-hard carnivores. They love their meat and don’t want to hear anything against it.
Well, hear me out, please. If you could read to the end of the post before disagreeing, blasting me, or dismissing me, I’d be grateful.
In this post I’ll tell you (briefly) why I chose veganism and how it is the diet I believe is most in line with minimalism.
This is a limited, minimal diet, and yet it can be incredibly satisfying and maximally flavorful. It’s also very healthy, very light, and low on the budget (if you compare it to eating whole foods carnivorously).
A small amount of ingredients. Light on the palate and stomach. Easy to prepare, with a minimum of fuss.
Animals also produce a huge amount of pollution and contribute immensely to greenhouse gases, not to mention the machinery and fuel that’s used to raise, slaughter and transport them … and all the plants needed to feed them. They contribute hugely to deforestation and other environmental problems as well.
Eating only plants cuts that waste to a minimal amount, and is so much better for the environment. Minimalists who care about living lightly and sustainably would do well to research this and consider it.
There is absolutely no need for humans to consume animal products to live a healthy life. Sure, we’ve eaten them for millions of years, but as millions and millions of people have proven, you can eat a vegan diet and be healthy.
And so, the only reason to eat animal products is pleasure — you like the taste and “can’t give it up”. Vegans don’t believe animals should suffer for our pleasure, and becoming vegan means you’re opting out of a society that treats animals with extreme cruelty and pretends it doesn’t happen.
Addendum 1: Obviously this applies to factory farming, but it’s also true of free-range, grass-fed animals. Some vegans (myself included) don’t believe animals are objects that should be used for our pleasure, kept captive and killed, no matter how “humanely” we treat them while alive. This is akin to slavery of a fellow thinking, feeling creature. Animals don’t exist for human benefit — they exist for their own benefit.
Addendum 2: Another justification commonly made is that vegetarians kill plants, and those are living things too. However, they don’t feel and think and suffer in the same way that humans and animals do — they don’t have a central nervous system or brain. It’s a fallacious argument — carnivores have no problem with killing plants, and are only pointing this out to make vegans look inconsistent. If you feel that killing plants is cruel, then I challenge you to live consistently with that belief. Vegans are doing our best to live consistently with ours.
That’s a reality, but in truth, it’s not that hard. I mostly cook my own food, with a minimum of preparation, and so most days I have no problems whatsoever.
More and more restaurants are becoming vegan-friendly, and the ones that aren’t can usually whip up a quick and simple vegetable dish on request. I usually avoid McDonald’s and most fast food anyway. When I go to someone else’s house, I usually bring a dish with me, and friends and family who know me best often will cook a dish for me out of consideration.
So it’s not that hard. My suggestion, if you’re interested, is starting small: try a couple vegan dishes this week, a couple next week, and so on. There’s no need to drastically change overnight, but in time you’ll find that vegan dishes are delicious and the vegan lifestyle is wonderfully minimalist.
Thanks for listening, my friends.
Angie made enchiladas for dinner yesterday, in honour of Apurva's birthday. There were four of us doing the kitchen work, and we found that dinner was surprisingly simple to make, not too time-consuming, and very tasty! Adi baked a cake, so we ended up eating only two enchiladas each, but under normal circumstances I think a person would need a couple more. Here is a rough recipe that makes about 12 enchiladas. This is based entirely on the enchiladas Grishma, Minti and Nikita made -- thanks! ;)
Mix 3 cups of maize flour, 1 cup of atta and add salt to taste. Knead with water as hot as your hands can handle to make a firm dough. Roll it out into tortillas and cook on a tawa.
We used spinach (about 4 cuts, without the stalks), 3 onions , a packet of mushrooms, 3 cobs of sweet corn and a packet of coarsely crumbled tofu. Any combination of vegetables would work, though; cooked beans would make a good addition. Saute everything, add salt to taste, mix up.
Slit crosses in the tops of about 16 tomatoes. Put them in boiling water until the peel begins to wilt. Remove and peel. Grind with about 4 onions and 15 cloves of garlic. Add salt, a little bit of jaggery (syrup) and herbs to taste (we put in dried basil and oregano). Cook.
To assemble the enchiladas:
On a baking tray, heap enough stuffing onto one half of the tortillas, fold over, then top generously with tomato sauce. Bake for about 10 minutes, and they are ready!
On Sunday, for the first time in my life, I was faced with a request for a salary raise.
Rudramma, who has worked at my parents’ house for a long, long time, comes once a week to clean our place. She is an exceptional woman: she works hard and fast, cleaning shelves and hidden spaces without being asked, arranging and organizing as she cleans. I do not mind this because it is only once a week – after she has gone, I put things back where I think they belong!
We discovered early in the year how difficult it is to clean the house regularly after tiring days at school. Having to cook, wash dishes and manage other maintenance is difficult enough. In those first months, it felt like there was always something that needed to be done– the bookshelves to be dusted, or the floor or bathroom or fans to be cleaned! So we decided to have someone come in once a week to ensure that at least one regular, thorough cleaning was done. We preferred her coming in just once a week because we could then pay her a reasonable amount, and we didn’t have to have someone around the house all the time.
So when Rudramma requested a raise, we were already paying far, far above the general hourly rate around here. It is quite likely she was just pushing her luck, as my mother tells me she tends to do. But despite all the rationalization and economic theory, I do not really understand why she should be paid any less than I am. I do not earn very much: what I do earn is more than sufficient for me right now, but it would be only just enough -- perhaps not even enough -- if I had a family. And I live a fairly simple, inexpensive life.
How does one decide how much to pay someone? I do not trust the ‘rates’ – they may be the norm, but what makes them fair? On the other hand, it seems presumptuous to try to calculate how much a person ‘needs’. Then how does one decide? The only solution I have found so far is to pay according to how much I value the service provided. How much would I be willing to spend to have somebody else do this work?
I have so little experience with money that I do not know if this is viable. Insecurities come up – will I save enough, am I paying too much given my own earnings, will people take advantage of me, what is the most sensible thing to do? And there is the other kind of question - is it just conditioning that prevents me from paying more, am I being over-cautious, what is the right thing to do?
Somewhere I sense that perhaps money is something that should be used to give rather than to accumulate. And many moments come with the intense realisation that I must just trust life and what it brings, instead of protecting myself from it.
Since Angie and Adi were unreachable on the phone, I made the decision myself, after a quick consultation with my mother. I took the middle path: raised her wage, but not as much as she had asked for. Her wage is creeping close to ours now, and the next time she asks for a raise, I know I will go through the same whirl of questions!