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A half-baked post on how I eat (and the power of committing)

It’s not just all puns and clickbaiting, I swear. Bear with me.

I’m no dietitian, but I’ve been eating for quite a while. So here are my totally-scientific heuristics based on anecdotal evidence:

The excerpt above comes from Taylor’s essay How I Eat, which I’d recommend reading in full (it only takes about 5 minutes).

Last week, after publishing a post where I briefly mentioned Taylor Troesh and his blog, I reached out to him.

I just wanted to let him know I found his blog interesting, entertaining, and even inspiring. I referred to that post I quoted, because it somehow resonated.

One last thing: I liked your “How I Eat” post. As a matter of fact, that’s quite similar to what I do. I wanted to write about it for almost one year now, but I never got around to actually doing it. It wouldn’t even take long, as I pretty much already know what I want to say (famous last words). But hopefully now that I’ve told you, I will finally commit and get it done by the end of this month.

And so, here I am now. Another week has passed, and of course I haven’t written anything as of yet. But I committed to it, and I knew I was going to do it.

(Little note to self: if you wait for the perfect time, you could wait forever. Life is intrinsically messy, but that’s alright! Accept it, and enjoy.)

Enough with the foreword. I will likely continue to ramble quite a lot anyways, as I am not going to have too much time for ruthless editing today.

Hence, I’ll have to settle for a half-baked post – which was never so fitting.


Although I often joke about being a galactic hitchhiker, this time I won’t be talking about spaceships nor tin cans – I happily leave that to David Bowie.

If you’re a minimalist of sort, you may be already familiar with the concept of capsule wardrobe: owning few clothes that match nicely. Nifty, eh?

The “capsule approach” makes it perfectly fine to pick your clothes at random and still look fabulous. Or to randomly pick your food and still eat healthy.

And so it hit me: a capsule kitchen. Now we’re cooking!

Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t the first one to come up with this idea. After all, web sites on minimalism are plentiful (and not seldom quite bloated, ironically).

Since it was already out there, I didn’t feel the need to echo the same concept with no added value. Also, I want nothing to do with chickenshit minimalism.

(What I mean is, minimalism is such an overloaded and ambiguous term. It’s one of these words that lost practical use, as it fails to convey meaning reliably.)

Also, come to think of it… all I really came up with was a fancier name for salad. So much for my epiphany, I guess.

With that digression out of the way, let’s get back on topic (more or less).

How I eat

I am one of those who tend to fall for the “little ol’ me” bias. For many years, I didn’t know any better than belittling myself and thinking I was unimportant.

Taylor’s blog reminded me once again how wrong I was. And that I myself took massive inspiration from other people’s seemingly mundane tasks or thoughts.

Speaking of which, Leo Babauta’s advice on simplifying eating habits and meals from 2007 has aged pretty well, I dare say.

So yeah, most of what I meant to share has been covered already. However, without further ado, here’s what I do. Whenever I can, I try to:

As a result, I usually stick to a plant-based diet. Just because that makes me feel best. But food is such a complex topic, so I also allow for flexibility.

Only now, as I was writing, it occurred to me: I feel eating is a balancing act of love for the food itself, love for other people, and love for myself.

More practically speaking, that means:

I feel there are many shades of personal responsibility, depending on my own and other people’s levels of agency and awareness in any given circumstance.

Shooting a clueless bird just for the fun of it is wildly different from having to kill a hypothetical bear with bare hands just to feed my hypothetical children.

Choosing food now is not even remotely comparable to choosing food when I was 23. This also helps me not to judge other people for their own choices.

Graciously accepting a piece of cake is not the same as deliberately buying meat or diary, knowing full well what that implies and how many alternatives I have.

Incidentally, that’s why I don’t subscribe to any dietary definition – and I usually don’t even talk about it, unless asked.

Vegan is way too simplistic, and it means different things to different people. It has almost become a dirty word, pretty much like minimalism.

Definitions can be pernicious. They may add to the chaos and misinformation. And they’re essentially useless when they don’t really define anything clearly.

Inventing new terms is equally dangerous – and then I would also risk running into the same exact issues of the whole “capsule kitchen” impasse.

Just today I concocted lovetarian, but a quick search was enough to confirm I was late to the party once again. And its true meaning would remain fuzzy.

So I say no to labels altogether. But then, it’s not easy to answer when people ask me if I’m vegan. I used to reply that, if anything, I eat vegan.

If I said mostly vegan, that would be mostly right. But that may also give the wrong impression that my motivation is flimsy or I don’t care enough.

Depending on who asked, I may take a bit of time to explain. Or a lot. Or none at all. At times I feel it doesn’t really matter, yet I usually say something.

I may just say yes, since when left to my own devices I only eat plant-based food. Or I may just say no, if I want to stress that what I eat is my choice.

But to be perfectly honest, there’s so much I haven’t quite figured out yet.

(And that’s another reason why this post is half-baked. But the first half is just as important as the second one, with due respect to Zeno and his paradoxes).

The power of committing

Choosing is only possible if you commit. And commitment is only possible when you deeply care for something, to the point of making that thing a priority.

Back to the capsule approach – what I really liked is that it saves time and mental energy while negating the chance for any mistakes.

If I want to eat healthy and accordingly to my values, the best I can do is eliminating all the unhealthy and unethical options.

I don’t want to have to exert willpower, which is a losing battle anyways. As Oscar Wilde had it: “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.”

When you only have healthy ingredients to choose from, and you can put them together simply and quickly… well, then you can’t possibly go wrong.

But that takes getting to know yourself, and committing to your own priorities.

I know I can eat a simple meal quite often and still enjoy it fully. (And if I eventually grow really bored of some taste, I can always tweak my menu.)

Some people may be emotionally affected by the hue of their clothes. But I could easily wear the same outfit every day, provided it’s comfy and clean.

And mind you, it’s not that I think looks are unimportant. To quote Oscar Wilde again: “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.”

Make no mistake: my aesthetic sense is finely developed. I nurse a profound admiration for beauty. So don’t get me wrong there.

As a matter of fact, I appreciate those who take time to dress nicely or decorate their environment. I just personally prefer to be more practical.

But that means choosing comfort over looks. It means knowing what I value the most. It means eating more intentionally instead of just merely feeding myself.

Latins would say: ubi maior, minor cessat. And maybe Lord Byron would say something like: I love not food the less, but Nature more.

Now, since I butchered his quote, it is only fair I end this post with his poem:

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.