Friday, January 9, 2015

Simple Living Checklist For A Working Pinay: On Meals And Cooking

With regards to setting standard on simple living as presented in the past article, the introduction to Water Sprite's simple living checklist, the ways on eating meals and handling cooking routines are no exemption. The Water Sprite wanted to re-emphasize that her basis on coming up with the succeeding checklist has been her deepest concern for health, economics, and environment.

The proceeding is about simple living checklist, on Water Sprite's point of view, particularly on ways of cooking and preparing daily meals. First, refer to Simple Living Checklist Part I and notice that she has drawn simple living check #1 up to check #7. Hence, it was just appropriate to continue with the previous number and so the following checklist items were identified as simple living check #8 up to check #17:
Photo: Healthy Meal as acknowledged [here]

Simple Living Check #8: Bringing packed lunch to work

Being a working girl, the packed lunch was on top  of the list because the Water Sprite spent most of her time at work. It was proven to be economical and besides, it simplified her life by not having to think of which meal to buy when seeing array of dishes displayed in the cafeteria's set of menu. By the way, it has always been difficult for her to choose which meal to take when buying at shops because she became the only vegetarian in the world of meat eating nation, the Philippines. Most of those food they sell have meat in it. That felt awful on Water Sprite's side.

Guilt: Not enough time to prepare, not enough time to buy ingredients.

Solution: Enhance time management; the Water Sprite needs to consider proper schedule in shopping for ingredients, and too, cooking or food preparation time must be included in her daily routine.

Simple Living Check #9: Eating mostly fruits and vegetables

The Water Sprite could not be a Water Sprite without being a vegetarian. Most people despised someone who happened to be vegetarian, thinking that frugality came into extreme to the extent that they did not enjoy life anymore. How cruel the world has been with judgement like that! If only they knew, the economic reason for turning into vegetarian was just secondary to Water Sprite. She has embraced such lifestyle, most importantly, because she was convinced that eating healthy is the best approach to enjoy life. The savings on money out of buying only fruits and vegetables (especially those in season) just became an added value to staying safe and disease free. It just so happened that fruits and vegetables came cheaper compared to serving meat dishes every meal.  Questioning the dietary values and debating on it is beyond the scope of this article, so let's make it simpler (*giggles).

How could meat dishes be more expensive? One may ask, and the answer is obvious. Every meat dish came with several other more ingredients and seasoning, and sometimes may need marination which makes the process more complicated. Moreover, the cost of fuel spent in cooking meat is higher compared to that of vegetable dish.

Simple Living Check #10: Drinking water instead of soda (softdrinks) and other synthetic, artificially flavored beverages

Another strong point which says living a healthy life is cheap! Who would want to spend money on products that potentially bring harm to one's health? Well, not the Water Sprite.

In this case, a relatively huge water jug was always an item every time she stepped out of the house to either go to work or go some places.

Simple Living Check #11: Avoiding the use of disposable plates, cups, forks and spoons

Providing plastic, disposable eating paraphernalia had been practiced by fast food chains, and soon followed by smaller businesses like the cafeteria at work. The Water Sprite wanted to contribute to keeping the earth at its natural state by refusing to use such items. Quite a small move by a simple individual but who knows, it could make a difference.

When those disposables were at her table top, she would take it home, wash it and reuse (or recycle).

Simple Living Check #12: Finishing every meal properly

This means the Water Sprite's plate only contain food servings enough for just one meal sitting. She avoided leftovers that would eventually turn into wastes. 

Simple Living Check #13: Double the size of dishes to cook

It could be more economical to double the size of dish to cook. The first half meant for immediate consumption while the second half would be stored in the freezer for another meal in the coming couple of days. Such practice reduced the expense on fuel (or electricity) which also resulted to increase in time spent on some other important things.

Guilt: There were times when the Water Sprite was too tired to cook for herself which is sad actually.

Solution: She simply has no idea (*grins).

Simple Living Check #14: Minimal fried dish consumption

Vegetable dishes rarely require frying but, the Water Sprite occasionally considered fish on meals which sometimes tastes good when fried. Both stir frying and deep frying actually were costly. Stir frying resulted to more fuel consumption while deep frying meant more cooking oil consumption. Frying made cooking rather complicated with respect to time and money spent. Frying however, could just be easily skipped as far as the Water Sprite is concerned because steaming or braising made dishes taste really good, on both vegetables and fishes.

Simple Living Check #15: No artificial seasoning and coloring

A big NO for artificial seasoning and coloring because it could be very dangerous to one's health. The Water Sprite rather chose herbs and natural spices to make her food tasty.

Simple Living Check #16: No processed foods

Processed foods were made to push consumerism. The food on every table could be cheaper without such packaged and labeled products. Industries had to add on cost on logistics, production, and marketing before these stuff reach our homes, not to mention the cost spent on research of these products were seriously being funded. The Water Sprite was intuitively convinced that processed foods were made to be expensive while declining health benefits.

It could be wiser to buy only locally available food and ingredients. This way, the Water Sprite could end up with eating only fresh and organic (hopefully) produce while supporting livelihood of local residents. A great help to humanity in general.

Guilt: Sometimes the Water Sprite was tempted to buy sardines, instant noodles, packed snack chips,  salty nuts, and other similar food items.

Solution: Store more fruits, oatmeals, and other healthier snacks.

Simple Living Check #17: Less sugar, less salt

Being a vegetarian, the Water Sprite's level of taste with respect to sweetness and saltiness became way too far different from the rest, among her associations. Her taste buds had adapted the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables. The more she consumed vegetables, the less needed to take heavy carbohydrates like rice. Reduced carbohydrates meant lower craving for salt.

Therefore, the Water Sprite saved money as she rarely needs to buy sugar and salt. A half kilo of sugar as well as a pint of salt stayed for many months in her home.

Well, there goes the 10 checklist items for simple living with regards to Water Sprite's ways on cooking and eating her food. It has always been a joy for the Water Sprite to share her thoughts and humble approach to living. She hoped you are feeling so good...


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