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THE INC. LIFE

I Haven’t Emptied My Garbage in Over a Year

Avoiding packaged food has improved life more than anything. My diet tastes better, costs less, and is more convenient, healthy, and social than ever.

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BY Joshua Spodek - 16 Jun 2018

I Haven't Emptied My Garbage in Over a Year

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

My diet is more delicious than ever.

It costs less.

I spend less time preparing and cleaning.

I eat more while losing unwanted fat, effortlessly.

I'm more social, inviting people over more.

People invite me to cook at their places more.

I've visited the farm and met the farmers growing most of my food.

Wait, what does food have to do with garbage?

Wait, should that be impossible?!?

Saving money, saving time, eating more, effortlessly losing fat, tasting delicious?

That combination goes against nearly everything I've read about food.

You know why? Because most of what I read about food I read on food packaging.

If you don't mind stepping into my kitchen with me, here's a video I made showing over one year's worth of garbage.

<iframesrc="https://www.youtube.com/embed/L0Ud7gqcIMg?rel=0" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">

Food: delicious versus packaged

Avoiding packaged food, which I've done for over 3 years--here's the back story--creates two results:

  1. You cut your garbage (in my case by at least 95%)
  2. You end up eating fresh vegetables and fruit, which are delicious

I should elaborate on result #2.

The transition took effort that was more than worth it

When I first challenged myself to avoid packaged food--for a week the first time--I didn't think I could make it. That's why I challenged myself.

To grow and learn. That's the foundation of leadership.

Also to live by my environmental values, which paying for and producing all that garbage was keeping me from.

It's what I call integrity--how you act when no one is looking.

My siblings and I grew up cooking, so I knew how, but never entirely from scratch. I'd bet in my entire life before 3 years ago, I never had a meal without some packaged food.

So I didn't know what to do. We in the Inc. community look forward to challenges based on our values since we know they develop us. I did anyway.

It was hard. Unable to base meals as I used to, I was stuck mostly steaming fresh vegetables and boiling legumes (which I bought from the bulk section with my own reusable containers). Also fresh fruit and nuts (also bulk).

In other words, I ate bland for about 6 months.

The promised land

I don't like bland, I do like delicious, and I don't like sacrificing my integrity.

So I practiced and learned to make my food delicious without packaging. By 6 months I was making food I enjoyed. By about a year it tasted good enough to share.

Now look at this page of reviews. People say things like

The result of his work is inspiring. The flavors are as personal and diverse as is the experience of sourcing, preparation, and serving. Josh has mastered a number of vegetable stew dishes with a range of flavors and textures that in a way reflect his worldview.

The reviewers aren't only friends. I've had business meetings over home cooking. I've been invited to cook for social events. People are surprised to see I produced no garbage.

Believe in yourself

3 years ago I wouldn't have believed I could cook this delicious nor produce this little waste. Definitely not both at once.

What are we leaders and entrepreneurs here for if not to learn, grow, and live by our values? Are we here to give up on what we care about because it's hard?

I'm not special. Anyone could do what I did.

The only barriers to entry are your limiting beliefs.

Eating healthy and delicious doesn't cost more money. Not knowing how to cook costs more money.

Same with time and other resources.

Why I do it, then and now

I don't like that I was born into a polluted world and I don't want to pollute it more for others.

Looking back, I'm glad environmental concern prompted me to challenge myself to live by my values. Sacrificing your values for convenience, knowing you're polluting the air, land, and sea we share eats you up inside. At least it did with me.

Living by your values, however challenging, restores your peace of mind. In fact, the more challenging, the more restorative and invigorating.

But I continue for different reasons. Secondarily, to save money and time. To spend more time with friends, family, and farmers.

But mainly. . .

because the food tastes so good!

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