The Secret to Being a Super Thrifty, Skinny, and Socially-Conscious Humanitarian: Buy Less Food

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One third.

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That’s how much of the world’s food we waste.

If that wasted food went to people that need it, world hunger would be over.

Surprise to no one, the greatest source of wasted food is North America. Through shortages, recessions, and rising unemployment rates, we continue to waste like there is no tomorrow.

We are a culture completely obsessed with food. As of 3/18/14, there are nearly twenty-four million posts on instagram tagged #foodporn. There is an entire channel dedicated to food. The hotdog eating record is sixty-nine dogs in three minutes. This video of a man eating four chipotle burritos in three minutes has over one million views.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to enjoy food, it is fantastic to love what you eat and feel happy eating it. I think that can look like eating a big bowl of ice cream or a massive order of deep fried magic, but I don’t think that’s what it usually looks like.

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Our obsession with food stems from a larger problem: we are terrible at moderation. We make that clear with our waistbands, television dimensions, and impressive debts to credit card companies. We have trouble saying ‘no’.

More than that, we put too much of our worth into what we own, and that translates into wasteful excess.

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This isn’t a problem that will be solved overnight, but the solution begins with individual commitment to change. We have to accept that we are not alone on this earth, and our decisions radically affect each other.

It’s simple: buy what you need and order what you’ll eat.

We don’t need a five pound bacon burger to enjoy and savor our food. So order the smaller dish, resist the second (or third, or fourth) appetizer, and actually eat your leftovers.

It takes energy, water, and land to create what you consume, so consume consciously please.

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Four Ways to Love Yourself on Valentine’s Day

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February 14th can be tough on single folks. The shameless public displays of affection and bouquets of flowers that aren’t for you can get a lady down.

If V-Day is killing your vibe, do these things:

Celebrate. You have the ability to do whatever you damn well please so use that power to dance wildly to Jason Derulo’s ‘Ridin’ Solo’ (or something equally fun and single-affirming).

Take yourself on a date. Do something you’ve always wanted to do like eat Singaporean food or listen to live jazz. It is really empowering to do things alone. It feels brave, and it also confronts the silly myth that life is on hold until you have a sig.

Unplug. Turn off your phone and computer. Go on a walk, cuddle up with tea and a book, hike a mountain. Give your body and brain a rest from the screens we constantly have in front of our faces.

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Give. Buy a flower for someone who is going through a rough time. Buy coffee for the person behind you. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Valentine’s isn’t a popular public service holiday, but why shouldn’t it be? Love and service are undeniably connected.

Regardless of your relationship status, celebrate love, in every and all forms it exists in your life.

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The Value of Vulnerability

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Until recently, when women told me they didn’t have other lady friends, I took it as a sign to run away as quickly as possible.

“Women are so catty!”

“Men are so much easier!”

“I just don’t get girls!”

My eyes glazed over and all I heard was insecurity.

We are cultured to compete with one another, which makes avoidance of friendships with other women the easiest route to success. Befriending people, and dealing with all that entails, is tough.

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People make messes of their lives that you have to see them through, go through break ups and ramble about them too much, disagree with your politics.

Friendships can also do funny things to you. You tell someone that embarrassing childhood story you’ve never told a soul and suddenly feel lighter. You find a space to share how hard work has been and how life isn’t turning out how you’d planned. You start crying out of nowhere and by some magic they don’t get up and walk away.

On the worst days, Sartre is right, and Hell is other people, and you have to spend your day off helping the girl from your Pilates class who’s obsessed with her cat move across town.

But there are days that friendships are so incredibly important and uplifting.

I’m pretty sure vulnerability is the key to keeping friendships good. And so far I’ve learned that that looks like these things:

Honesty with yourself, with the other person, with reality. If you are incredibly angry, or lonely, or you just fell on your face (metaphorically or literally), you’ve got to fess up. Otherwise, walls will build, and you aren’t vulnerable anymore.

Self-Love, an appreciation for who you are, what you do, and how you contribute to this earth. You don’t feel the need to compete or break others down when you feel confident in who you are.

Empathy, the ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s circumstance is vital to being open and receptive.

Celebrating the successes of the people you love. It is really brave to do this, and sometimes takes practice, especially when things in your own life aren’t fantastic.

Vulnerability isn’t just a feel-good sentiment, it has a powerful impact on your entire existence:

Learning all of this has changed my perspective drastically. Now, when women tell me they don’t get women, I try to convince them to get coffee with me. I try to understand, love, appreciate, and celebrate them. I try to show them we don’t have to be the worst things people say about us.

How To Grow Your Gratitude

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You go to a few yoga classes or read a spiritual book, and the word ‘gratitude’ will eventually show up. The idea to be thankful for the good things in our lives is tied to all major spiritual ideologies and religious schemas.

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Okay. Be thankful. It’s a simple enough task, but how do we integrate gratitude into our daily lives?

There are workout buddies for exercise junkies and book clubs for voracious readers, so I propose a new kind of accountability: gratitude partners for those looking to better engage in thankfulness.

Every day over the past six months, my friend Emmy and I text one another five things we are grateful for.

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Emmy and I being supremely grateful for one other.

The things can be momentous (I passed my boards, the cyst was benign, I made it home on the treacherous icy roads alive) or simple (big comfy wool sweaters, sweet potatoes, postcards from old friends).

Going off the mantra “you should meditate 30 minutes a day, unless you don’t have time to meditate, then you should meditate an hour”, the harder or more frustrating the day, the longer the gratitude list. The days the cat peed on the floor, the friend let you down, you are exhausted, overworked, sick: list twenty things you’re grateful for.

This simple practice has done more than make me happy for the things I have. It has moderated my entire perspective on life. When things work out, I am grateful, but not elated or so tied to the success of whatever that thing is. When things fail, don’t work out, or otherwise disappoint me, I feel far less attached to them, because I still ate that fantastic sweet potato, I still have love and health and really good coffee in my life.

This Melody Beattie quote lives on my to-do chalkboard, an it is one of my favorite reminders that gratitude permeates our whole lives, if we let it.

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So it is my humble suggestion that you find someone to help encourage appreciation every single day, and watch it change everything.