Will Consuming Less Lead to Better Health?

by Todd Dosenberry on · 11 comments

Hope for the planet
Creative Commons License photo credit: kevin dooley

Consumption… would you be able to give up 80% or more of the things you have, eat and do for a million dollars? What if you were told you were going to die if you didn't? It's difficult for us to change unless there is a huge reward or if something dramatically bad is going to happen if we don't. Can you imagine yourself…

  • Spending a maximum of 10 minutes a day on facebook?
  • Spending a maximum of 20 minutes a day in your email inbox?
  • Selling or giving away 80% of your clothes?
  • Without a car?
  • Never eating wheat again? What about all grains?
  • Saying no to gifts this Christmas? What if you instead asked for love and time with people?
  • Being outside in nature by yourself for 10 hours reflecting on life?
  • Not spending a single second with technology for a 24 hour time period? 48 hours?
  • Engaging in only 2 10-30 minute strength sessions a week yet put on all the muscle you desire?
  • Living in a home with your basic needs and perhaps a few extra strong desires with no clutter?
  • Cooking simple meals and then taking the time to enjoy your food with family or friends?
  • Working at your job for half of the time you do now?

Does any of the above seem possible right now? All of it deals with consumption. All of it deals with health. More often than not, we don't need this or that. With less, we would enjoy life more. We would have more time to spend with those who are important to us. We would have more time for ourselves. We would be less stressed and thus more healthy. I could probably come up with 1,000 or more bullet points and elaborate on them. I'll stick with the ones that came to my mind first. I'll now elaborate on them to show you how all of them have improved or could easily improve my life in some way.

Spending less time on facebook

I have a "good excuse" to spend a lot of my time on facebook during the week. I don't have a job but rather rely on income I receive from my blogs. One of the best ways to market is through facebook. With this being said, I've noticed that when I take a day here and there to limit my time on facebook or even go a day without it, I have something meaningful to publish on my facebook wall when that time comes. When I let myself roam on facebook for an unlimited time period I may not have something useful to say but say it anyway because I'm on facebook. I'd be much better off limiting my time on facebook. I bet you would be too.

Spending less time in my email inbox

I used to spend an hour or so with email on a daily basis. Most of it was junk but I thought I had to deal with it. I've learned over the past few months that spending 10 minutes some days, 30 minutes others while taking some days off entirely, I am much more productive. I tend to work on things that are more important. During this month my eyes have rarely seen my inbox. Instead, I've focused on putting the finishing touches on my ebook, Toadally Primal Smoothies. The official product launch date is December 1 and spending time in my inbox is only hurting me.

Selling most of my clothes

I used to sell American Eagle clothing on eBay. This resulted in me having way too many freaking clothes. I had about 25 polo shirts hanging in my closet! This was absurd to say the least. However, I'm proud to say that I am down to 2 polo shirts! Along with the polo shirts I have sold or given away most of everything else. I simply did not need it and I now have less clutter in my life as a result.

I don't own a car

I sold my car about 2 months ago. It was one of the greatest days of my life. I have not bought a car since and I don't plan on buying one anytime soon. In fact, I'm literally looking to go carless till at least the year 2020. Instead, I'm going to seek out cities where a car is not at all necessary. I'm living in Chicago as I type this. I was in Oahu, Hawaii for 40 days where the bus will literally take you anywhere on the island. There are thousands of cities around the world where walking, riding a bike or taking public transportation is a riot. Life has slowed down for me and I am much more appreciative of life.

I don't eat wheat

Last month I asked you if you were ready to ditch wheat. I don't eat wheat as a normal part of my diet anymore. It used to be the centerpiece but since giving it up my health has improved in many ways. I'll eat the occasional food item that has wheat but this is truly very rare. It's getting easier and easier to say no to any wheat that comes my way. This is actually true with all grains as a matter of fact. Instead, I eat more quality meats (think grass-fed beef) along with more veggies and fruits.

Less Christmas gifts this year

I used to get a lot of gifts for Christmas. It was fun as a kid but it has grown old super fast. I told my mother I did not want any gifts this year. Instead, I simply want to spend quality time with my family. I'd rather have all of us go skiing even though none of us ski. I want love. I don't want gifts. She insists she gets me something but I'm confident it will be less than any Christmas before which I'm looking forward to! I have 3 siblings and we mutually agreed to not buy each other gifts this year. Instead, we will spend quality time when the holidays are here. To be honest, it's a huge relief to realize this.

Spending more time outdoors

I've never spent 10 straight hours in nature by myself but I do plan on doing so many times for the rest of my life. Imagine how slow life would go if you did this. Just 2 weeks may seem like a year. It's almost like you add years onto your life. We all complain how short life is. Well, why not slow it down? Why not get off facebook? Why not get outdoors? Why not just sit and reflect? I've definitely taken more time to reflect on my life. I walk a lot more. I'm living in Wrigleyville, Chicago, IL right now with my brother and have a one mile walk to Lake Michigan. It's where I am headed when I finish writing this post.

Technology fast

Have you ever gone 24 hours without technology? What about 48 hours? I'm talking about ditching your cell phone, computer, and anything else that eats up your time. I did this for just over 72 hours a couple months ago. I was on Lake Michigan and had no internet access and no phone reception. I'll admit that there was a TV but I hardly watched it. It was one of the best 3 days of my entire life. I was outside a lot by the lake. What did I do? I spent quality time with my parents and older brother. I read books. I did a cold water plunge in the lake. I ran on the sand. I chatted with my family over a fire. I cooked food and ate it. I reflected. I played Sudoku. Soon, I'll be doing this regularly. Are you ready for a 24 hour technology fast?

Less exercise, more play

I rarely exercise. I want to enjoy life. I also want to be fit. This is why I am a huge fan of bodyweight exercises. To me, it's fun but it's still a great workout. I usually engage in push-ups, pull-ups, squats and planks. I have no routine. I just do! I quit when I want to. I also engage in sprint intervals when I feel like it. Aside from that I may run if I feel up to it. I walk a lot, move around in general, play, dance, etc. Today, exercise is a blast. Do you love your workouts or dread them?

Living with less clutter

I want to see the world. I've been all over the place since the middle of July of this year. I was in Hawaii for 40 days, then back with my parents in Grand Rapids, MI for 2 weeks and am now in Chicago with my brother. I plan on living somewhere in Florida to start 2013. Guess what? All I have is a carry on bag and a backpack. Talk about living without a lot of clutter! Sure, I have some stuff sitting at my parents, where I lived for 23 years, but I plan on selling at least 80% of it. I don't want it. It's clutter and needs to go. I'm not suggesting you live out of a carry on bag, ok?! Why not take baby steps and just de clutter as time goes on? Go take 10 minutes right now. I'll wait…

Cooking simple meals and enjoying food with family and friends

Not much can beat a simple home cooked meal that is enjoyed with family or friends. Can you think of much? I'm not talking about bland meals. I'm talking about simple meals. For example… why not cook up some grass-fed ground beef with a few of your favorite spices? Throw in some apple cider vinegar too. Chop up sweet potatoes into bite sized chucks, throw on some butter, add salt and pepper to taste and throw into a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Feel free to mix the 2 when both are done. This is an incredibly simple, satisfying, nutritious, healthy, delicious meal. Create it with your family or friends and then enjoy it with them. If you are by yourself then take the time to sit, enjoy and reflect. Don't watch TV or read. Eat!

Working less

What if you only had half of the time to work? What would you do? Maybe you would take a few days to organize what you do at work. You would then focus on what is the most important. You would realize that a lot of the stuff you do on a regular basis is 100% unnecessary. I believe MOST people can work less but still get more done. We work way too much. If your boss all of a sudden told you that you only have to work 5 hours a day, 4 days a week, how would you react? I bet you would be ecstatic! You may tear up out of pure joy. As a result, you would become more productive because you would be less stressed and more happy. When I decide to limit my work time I end up doing what's productive and ignore what's not necessary. Life is a lot more fun this way. What do you think about all this? Are you ready to enjoy life instead of stress out about it? Are you ready to get your health back? Maybe there is something that you can add to this list. Please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!


by Todd Dosenberry

Todd Dosenberry, aka "Primal Toad", is a primal enthusiast who is on a lifelong mission to inspiring millions of people. You can find him on his blog, Primal Toad, various social media sites or possibly in your hometown as he is in the midst of a world travel expedition through 2020.
Todd Dosenberry
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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin | Personal Growth November 20, 2011 at 8:32 am

Hey Todd,
It all comes down to simplifying our lives which in the long run will reduce stress and make us feel better emotionally. Less really is more.

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Primal Toad November 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Right on!

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suzen November 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

Hi Todd,
I’ve been on a simplify-my-life quest for years now and you are so right – there is a great relief that comes with it. Admittedly it took inheriting my in-laws house FULL of STUFF to get me going. I didn’t want my own kids to go thru what we went thru with the in-laws house of clutter.
I have zero tolerance for clutter and live a minimalistic existence now, though it took awhile to get here. That has carried over to everything. No excesses in anything as well as being a guardian of my time. (This is one thing that gets easier to do the older you get – at 65 I have less time ahead 🙂 so I use my time wisely!)

As for gifts at Xmas, we started a tradition of adopting a family in need with kids for the holidays. We told our kids to make donations to the food pantry as their gift to us. They love doing this. I know I’m hard to buy gifts for because I need/want nothing so this is just the best gift ever – helping other people.

Thank you for this post. I think we all need reminders to look at what we do and have in a very mindful way. Some of our lives are full of all kinds of “obesity”.
SuZen

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Primal Toad November 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm

It does take a while! It most definitely won’t happen overnight. I have been at it for months. I’m amazed where I’m at today but I am always learning!

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Jody - Fit at 54 November 20, 2011 at 11:11 am

There really is a lot to think about here! Money is a big prob right now in my home so we are not really doing a lot or buying a lot so… but all the other things make your really think & especially what you can get out of spending less time on FB & email & yes, the computer in general! 😉

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Primal Toad November 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Money is a big problem in this household too. It can be stressful but a lot of fun too! We all need to make the best of our current situation. Taking it one day at a time relieves most of it!

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Debbie @ Happy Maker November 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Love this Todd. People are what is important not things or food. Food only to stay alive or share with other people. As for Christmas, my thought is, when it comes to remember your last Christmas, what do people remember the most. They remember the people they spent it with. Most people could not even tell you what gifts they received last year, but they can sure remember where they were and who was with them.

Love simplying ones life. I do have to try the 10 hours with nature by myself. Sounds likea great idea.
Blessing to you,
Debbie

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Primal Toad November 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm

That’s a perfect example and you are 100% correct. Memories do not come from opening gifts unless its from white elephant, lol. People remember people. We remember stories. Playing games. I specifically remember playing the card game golf with my family on Thanksgiving last year. This year, its going to be 60 here in West Michigan and so I’ll remember the football game I enjoy with my family this time around!

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Cathy | Treatment Talk November 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Hi Todd,

Great inspiration to simplify. With the holidays approaching we can easily work ourselves into a frenzy, but so unnecessary. When we analyze what we spend our time on, it’s easier to see what we can cut out. I love your list. Making the effort to set priorities and stay focused helps me stay on track and enjoy life more.

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Primal Toad November 21, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Yes we can! My siblings and I have decided to not exchange gifts with each other. Instead, we will be spending more time with each other. One of my 2 sisters just got married 3 weeks ago and another one is getting married in February. Only my brother is left but he has certainly found the love of his life. Then its just me! So, we won’t have much time left with just us. Of course it will get more interesting down the road with nieces and nephews! 🙂

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David Rodwell December 6, 2011 at 11:57 am

Great post, Todd. This post definitely got me thinking! I think I could go on without Facebook (not sure my daughter could) but when I reflect on how much email has changed my ability to communicate with clients and loved ones, I’m not sure I could readjust to snail mail. Technology has a habit of helping us take advancements for granted. I think I could get rid of 80 percent of my clothes, as most of them are just blue jeans and plain colored button ups, but living without a car in Los Angeles is near impossible! Perhaps if I lived in San Francisco or New York, it would be manageable, but those cities are so expensive to live in that I don’t think it would be feasible for my current situation. Again, great post to help reflect on how richly we live our lives right before the holidays when excess is at an all-time high!
David Rodwell´s Last Fabulous Post ..Online credit card usage on the riseMy Profile

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