For the past year:

— I haven’t had any eggs, meat, fish or seafood. As well as coffee, alcohol, any kind of soda or snacks. I did eat chocolate, though, but no more than once a month. And a couple of times I fell for Lay’s chips with a crab flavour… I’m a human for God’s sake. I haven’t had drinks with sugar, including juice in packages — only fresh squeezed juice;
— less milk, cheese, tea (only herbal), salt, and I almost replaced sugar with honey.

Also, for the past six months I have tried to control my consumer behavior:

— So, I had to keep myself from buying anything that costs more than $200. I was allowed to buy it only if I could name five solid reasons to do so. And only a new laptop, headphones and a bed came to my life that way. Last one I got hard, because it is not so easy to think of four more reasons if the first one is — because we need something to sleep on. What else do you need in order to buy a bed? =) And I have to confess that new headphones got only two solid reasons.
— never went to a shop without my shopping-list. Especially to IKEA, in my case!
— no make-up. I gave away all my cosmetics except for body cream and face oil. Note for girls — coconut oil can change your life, seriously. You can use it on face or body, you can cook with it, your hands will say «thanks» if you spread it on them. Absolutely love it!
— no new clothes, except when it is absolutely necessary, like warm underwear for very cold winter in Russia. But I did buy one warm dress for special occasion. When I was buying that dress I was a bit worried that maybe I don’t really need it and it is my consumer behavior talking in me. But I calmed down when I saw that one of the girls in that shop bought five dresses at once and said that one of them was for her home-party and it fits the interior so much. What?! Interior? Nevermind…

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Photo-session without makeup by Katya Nomad

What did I learn from it?

Food.

Less sugar and salt can really help you to feel an actual taste of food.
Another discovery was oatmeal! Who would guess that it will open up in front of me with such soft taste of sweetness crossed with this alive texture. The trick is to buy the one which you need to cook at least for 15 minutes. Forget about this quick-cooking weirdos. Healthy food is tasty, but if it is real food, not a product of marketing.

The flip side of this coin is addiction. I was literally addicted to sugar. I was capable to realize it only after one week of no sugar at all. So the next time I felt that my body «wants» something to eat, I was able to figure out whether it was something real or just another addiction.

Almost the same was with coffee and tea — addictions. These drinks made me stressed, it was difficult to focus and I was always in a rush, even if I didn’t need to. Plus, it is a social behavior when in order to fit in I need to follow some sort of social rules. Everybody drinks coffee or cocktails, so I needed to do it, too. I don’t want to dig deeper into it. Here is an interesting story about that. You can read it on my friend Tobias’ blog — about how he gave up coffee and alcohol for 15 months.

Moreover, it is hard to understand how to feed your body. When you don’t eat meat, seafood and fish you need to make sure that you replace these products properly. All these bad or good carbs, vitamins, calories… Too much of too complicated information, and on the top — it is the biggest fail — dietology is the most conflicting science ever. I found many interesting researches that lead to contradictory conclusions. Anyhow, dietology does have some main rules, which can be applicable on the big scale for our society. It is not so hard to understand how to keep balance with your food (among carbs, fat and protein), but the quality of products became my main concern. So hard to buy some nice fruits and vegetables. In these supermarkets apples don’t have any scent. And not only apples, but all fruits and vegetables are the same — flavourless. Nuts are a nightmare as well. During this summer, for the first time in my life, I tried fresh walnuts and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t had that chance before. All I ate from shops or markets in my past was rubbish comparing to them.

To sum up the food topic I have to say that it takes a lot of will and effort to educate yourself in terms of right nutrition. Another challenge is to choose what to believe in and understand how to listen to your body and realize what is essential for it and what turns out to be just an addiction. If you have your own discoveries about food, would be great if you can share them in comments ;)

Consumerism has been bothering me for the past five years. It happened when I started working as a project manager and became a part of the world of advertisement. It was another valuable education, where I started to understand how commercials and marketing can manipulate our behavior. It is ridiculous to say that when I came back to Moscow almost two years ago, with all these baggage of knowledge, I was still capable to spend almost $4000 in a month on myself only. On what? Clothes, gadgets, food, new services, restaurants, movies… I could continue the list. Then I started thinking, that the more I earned, the more I spent. It was like a trap where you had to work harder, because you needed to buy a new car, a big apartment, fancy jewelry, fashion clothes. But why? So that people can see you have money or what? That they can feel safe and you can be a part of their circle? But I don’t want them to feel safe. I don’t like to wear high heels or fashion dresses. I don’t like to wear my makeup every day and try to remove it every evening. I don’t want to be placed in a box which we name a flat and call it my home. I don’t want to own a car, because it is crazy to spend half of your day in a traffic jam. I don’t need all of this in order to fit in. Furthermore, I don’t need this to feel happy, to help others, to be with my family, to love and be loved. I don’t need all of this, so I can finally feel myself free!

And I proved it to myself. Me and my boyfriend lowered our expenses down to $1000 for two people per month. I quit my job and left the world of marketing. I started to build an educational project. I became happier! Now I have more time for myself, I do what I really want to do, try new things, have new experience. I don’t need to prove to anyone that I am good enough for them. Finally I became one step closer to awareness and true freedom.

Please, be aware, that I am not telling you to do the same. I just want you to think if you are living your life like you want it or like someone told you to live.
And be careful, awareness is just the beginning ;)


Photo: photo-session without makeup by Katya Nomad

 

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