Spring time doesn’t lend itself to many serious pursuits. Especially if you have just completed the hardest 8 years of your life and getting ready to start the next undoubtedly harder chapter in a couple of months time. Forgive me if I feel a little too contented, not to say lazy.
Notwithstanding my reluctance to google, pubmed and otherwise research the fascinating topics of health and nutrition, I have been quite active in different endevours, namely spring cleaning. If you are anything like me you normally completely ignore housework, bar essential chores like washing the dishes and killing spiders (I live in Australia, remember?). And once in a blue moon something crazy takes over your mind and you turn into a lean mean cleaning machine. Nothing will stand in my way. I must have missed out on the sentimental gene since I’m totally ruthless in getting rid of stuff and clutter, no matter how many heartstrings it may pull.
Spring cleaning is very Paleo. Truly. Stuff can weigh you down. Consumerism is not Paleo. Not to say that I turn my nose at nice bits of luxury which civilization has kindly provided. As far as I’m concerned, if our brains were intelligent enough to invent spa baths and hair dryers it would be an insult to evolution not to use them.
At the same time i find myself buying and using less and less Stuff. Forget low fat yoghurt, muesli and pasta. This is way beyond food, just like Paleo is way beyond diet. I’ve compiled a little list of the things I don’t use, don’t buy and don’t need.
1. Face cream: because high saturated fat intake from natural sources keeps my skin supple and smooth.
2. Body lotion: no more puzzling in the aisle if I need moisturising, replenishing, firming or revitalising (what does it even mean???). Because coconut oil does all the above.
3. Hand cream/foot cream/eye cream/pimple cream/lip cream and any other body part cream: because unlike what cosmeceutical companies would like us to believe, our skin is pretty much the same everywhere, and coconut oil really does the job and smells absolutely divine to boot.
Many women would appreciate the above points: it is truly liberating not to get caught up in the world of the latest REVOLUTIONARY anti-wrinkle collagenX-retino-oxy-revivo-intensiv serum with elastoZ pigments which cost $30 for a 30mL jar. And for the guys out there: imagine the amount of money your wife or girlfriend is NOT spending. I know it’s hard to comprehend since most of you were never actually aware how much we used to buy but you get the picture…
4. High heels: controversy here! Glamour is seriously underrated and I’m far from a Birkenstock®-clad hippy chick. I still do wear heels occasionally but my feet are so used to flats or barefoot now that it almost seems a shame to encase them in uncomfortable shoes. These days I’m more likely to compromise on platforms.
5. Toaster: this home staple is gathering dust in my top cupboard. Obviously we don’t eat bread. And we don’t keep it for visitors either because we care about friends and their health. Ditto bread bin. I still remember thinking about buying a bread making machine once. *shudder*
6. Sunscreen : that’s a big one. Living in the country with the highest skin cancer prevalence in the world understandably makes one a little nervous about sun exposure. My reading on vitamin D (which I started long before any dietary change) convinced me that our sun-fearing hysteria has done us more harm than good. Even IF (a big IF) sunscreens are harmless and IF (another big IF) the sun indeed causes skin cancer, the consequences of vitamin D deficiency outweigh the risk of having a mole cut out.
7. Antibacterial soap/carry on sanitiser: my background is in microbiology and I respect bugs and do not underestimate them. I’m meticulous about washing my hands in the hospital. At home we use normal soap and my daughter is expected to wash her hands if visibly dirty or before meals. Otherwise I am happy for her to receive adequate exposure to ubiquitous organisms and develop healthy resistance.
8. Surface spray/shower cleaner/oven cleaner: you already know what I think about cleaning. “Bam! And the dirt is gone!” tends to leave me cold. Just use soap and water.
9. Antihistamines/paracetamol/cough drops/diclofenac (Voltaren) cream Disclaimer: if you need it, if it was prescribed to you for a reason, if you use it properly medications are good, no, great. But the combination of clever advertising, fix-it-now attitude and the lack of education on side effects have contributed to our pop-a-pill culture. No medications are benign. Don’t avoid them because they are a product of evil pharmaceutical companies and the government is watching you through the television. Just use wisely.
10. Metamucil: I’ll leave that one for you to figure out.
Funny thing happens when you start using critical thinking on a daily basis: you become impervious to bullshit. Advertising doesn’t work on me: give me your best sell and I still just don’t NEED that Stuff. Although I’m not planning to give up my creature comforts and go to live in a tent just yet.
What am I not giving up? Shampoo, mascara, lip gloss, perfume, anything from Apple™, my car and restaurants.
How much Stuff is in your life? Does it weigh you down? Have you found your minimalistic approach? What have you chucked out and what are you happy to keep?