In my quest for freedom and simplicity, Ive had one constant rival: food. I hate to cook... and I love to eat out. In Thailand, this was no problem. Cheap street food was everywhere. I ate Som Tam at sidewalk cafes. I indulged in cheap restaurant eats.
In fact, in Thailand I rarely thought about money at all. There was always an abundance.
Things arent quite the same in the good ole USA. Budgets are tighter. Everything is more expensive. Especially restaurants.
Dancing on the edge of poverty, Ive been forced to find alternatives... namely, cooking for myself. While Id much rather be dining in cafes.. and sampling SF's incredible selection of restaurants... I am learning a valuable skill. I am, in fact, amazed by how little money I spend now. By sticking with simple foods, Im able to eat plenty without spending much.
Bulk items are my favorite: Brown rice, nutritional yeast, nuts, amaranth. Add some soy sauce, some veggies, maybe a few spices... and you've got a super-cheap AND super-healthy meal. I bought a cheapie rice cooker, so none of this requires much time or effort on my part.
Raw foods are another great choice-- fresh fruit, dried fruit, and nuts require no preparation whatsoever.
Finally, fresh juices provide a super-jolt of nutrition with little time or expense. Just shove a variety of fruits and veggies into the juicer.... and you've got a health-cocktail.
When it comes to living a free and healthy life.. we (drastically) underestimate the importance of basic essentials. How we feed, clothe, and shelter ourselves-- those are core issues. Luxurious houses come with large mortgages.... which necessitate long working hours to pay them. Expensive clothes likewise create an addiction to wage-slavery.
But its not too difficult to bypass these traps. Few of us need more than a small and comfortable room with a bathroom and tiny kitchen. Few of us need more than a small, cheap, used car (and some of us dont need a vehicle at all). None of us "needs" to eat crap processed food.... or dine in expensive restaurants.
Nor do we "need" televisions. Or stereos. Or huge CD/DVD collections. Or high-tech gadgets. These are all superfluous luxuries... and in most cases... they are actually detrimental to a happy, free, enjoyable life.
Thats the paradox of simplicity. Most people think "voluntary simplicity" is synonymous with deprivation. Its quite the opposite. Simplicity frees us. Simplicity enriches our lives and opens MORE possibilities. Simplicity increases our financial flexibility, freedom, and power. Simplicity gives us more time.
And simplicity makes us less dependent on wage slavery.
Less is More.