30 Aug A year of living without
I am doing this for the same reasons Leo writes, below:
“It’s my way of finding out what’s truly necessary, of simplifying my life, of making room for other things.
I’m testing the boundaries of my needs. It’s good to test your personal boundaries now and then (or, if you’re me, all the time).
So what’s the Year of Living Without?
Each month, I’ll go the whole month without one thing I do every day. Something that I tend to not want to give up, for various reasons.
I’ll give up something for a month, then evaluate whether it was something I enjoyed giving up, whether it’s worth leaving it out of my life, or if I want to put it back in after the month’s over. The next month, I’ll try giving up something else.”
So what’s my list? Read on…
Month 1: Coffee. I love everything about coffee – the warmth, the texture, the taste, the culture, cafés, and the buzz it leaves me with. But when I drink coffee for long periods (weeks, months) I get red in the face, often get sick, feel more tired in the middle of the day, and most recently, I’ve started to break out on my forehead. Is it solely caused by coffee? I’m not sure, but cutting it out this month will help me figure out what is changing my skin. Replacement habit: tea, water (lots of it!), and green juices.
Month 2: Gluten. Who doesn’t love a piece of warm baguette made with organic ingredients? Living in Montreal’s Mile End has me positioned close by to many of the city’s best bakeries. As with coffee, could my love for dough be causing my skin to break out? We’ll see. Replacement habit: rice crackers.
Month 3: Sugar. Such a sweet tooth I have! Eating anything with sugar keeps me wanting more. This includes avoiding anything that has even organic cane sugar listed as an ingredient. Replacement habit: dried and fresh fruits, honey.
Month 4: Mascara. This is the scariest one of them all for me. The only make up I use is mascara, and I’ve been using it for 15 years, and although in photos it may not show, I think it makes a big difference in the way I look. However, I don’t like the idea of cosmetics that can be toxic so close to my eyes. Replacement habit: organic, vegan and cruelty free eye liner.
Month 5: Meat. I don’t buy or cook meat for myself, and in general I don’t eat much of it, but I don’t push my plate away and turn my nose up when someone (mostly family members) serve me a dish with meat in it. In recent years, my flexi attitude has me eating it more than in the past few years. Replacement habit: tofu.
Month 6: Buying anything new. I apologize in advance to all who receive Christmas gifts from me. This intention includes acquiring free items from my sponsors, as I consider it still a form of consuming even if I’m not paying. Replacement habit: making my gifts, giving away some of my possessions.
Month 7: Facebook and Instagram. How easy it is to get lost in the abyss of Facebook and Instagram. Do I ever log off feeling good about myself? Even if I logged in to check how many likes I got on a certain status and felt satisfied with the number, I log off feeling empty. Replacement habit: creating content for my website, discovering interesting blogs via Twitter.
Month 8: Dairy. Much like meat, I don’t buy it for myself, and in general I don’t eat much dairy, but when a plate of cheese, nuts and fruit are in my vicinity, I’m on it like white on rice. Replacement habit: nuts, in particular shoyu almonds.
Month 9: Snacking late in the evening. As a yoga teacher, I often teach in the evenings, sometimes finishing as late as 9:30pm, after which I am still wide awake at 10pm, eat a large snack at 10:15pm, go to bed feeling full, and wake up sluggish. Replacement habit: eat between my classes at 7pm.
Month 10: Eating at the computer. I know, I know… Bad habit of mine. I do this once a day and it is during my late afternoon snack. Unfortunately, doing so doesn’t allow me to know exactly when I’m full, nor do I fully enjoy my food. Replacement habit: mindful eating in my quiet kitchen.
Month 11: Alcohol exceeding one glass of wine per week. Drinking wine at dinner makes me feel sophisticated, something I don’t always feel after wearing tight yoga clothes all day, every day. Yet again, is it the wine that is effecting my skin? I’ll let you know. Replacement habit: sparkling water with lemon.
Month 12: Opening emails as they come in. When I work on my laptop, a Gmail window is constantly open, and even if I’m in the middle of something, if I see a notification, I can’t help myself but to check it. This is the same with the badge number on my phone. Replacement habit: check emails only on my laptop for 30 minutes every two hours.
I am both nervous and excited for this challenge, which means that it is probably a good thing! I look forward to sharing my discoveries with you. You can stay up to date by searching for the category “Living Freely” on my site.
What are you willing to live without?