Monday, November 21, 2011

Cut the Fat, Live "Lean"

Wow! When I made an innocent little post on facebook this morning I had no idea of the feedback, the great feedback, I would get! The post was a simple question of whether or not I should keep a mortar and pestle that I've owned for over 10 years but never used.

Of course I bought it with the intention of using it, but I've long gotten over having to toast and grind my own spices, or make my own "authentic" pesto or salsa, etc. I've opted for the convenience of the spice grinder or food processor....two pieces of equipment I use regularly....unlike the mortar and pestle. To my surprise the votes to keep it were so enthusiastic that it got me thinking....

Here I am wondering about this mortar and pestle that I've never used (so far) and it's taking up some small but valuable real estate in my mental space now that I'm starting to look at things, at owning too many things, in a different light. In the past month, or so, I've gone through every room and closet in my house for the first, the biggest, and in my opinion the easiest edit. Now for the small stuff.... It seems however the mortar and pestle will survive...this time.

This reminded me of how it's not the mortar and pestle that is creating the problem of too much stuff. I have many other things that add to the problem and to blame this one little item (s) as the culprit is like blaming too many carrot sticks for the reason you are overweight! If you look at how much extra food is making or keeping you overweight, then you have to look at all of it!

If you have that extra 5 lb (or less) it may be that daily pumpkin spice latte, or that bowl of cereal you eat late every night. But if you've got some weight to lose (30, 40, 50lbs +) then it's the pumpkin latte and walnut scone, it's the lg burrito or sandwich for lunch, it's the handfuls(s) of M & M's from a co workers desk, it's the late dinner of "drive through" and the ice cream in front of the TV. It's not the extra carrot sticks, or the white versus whole wheat bread or tortilla, the whole cream or half and half in your coffee, the low fat shredded cheddar versus the full fat cheddar on your burrito, the cob salad versus the Mediterranean salad, etc..
.. It's more than likely not that "one" thing. It's an accumulation of "things"...lots of things!

So, here I am and I'd like to decide which items to keep in my home that will help me create the kind of life that is filled with things that add value, or fill a need, whether that's a practical need or an emotional things I feel are beautiful to look at, or things that bring happy memories. I want to cut the "fat" and live in a lean home and have a lean life. And to me the feeling of living lean provides me with space and choice to take off in so many different directions as I chose.

Imagine that same feeling with your body. A "lean" body. I'm not talking about being "skinny" or deprived. I'm talking about eating those foods that add value, fill a need AND make you happy. There are so many food choices and I trust that everybody can find foods and meals that are conducive to a "lean" lifestyle that fill these requirements. It's all that other "stuff"...that mindless, useless crap (food) that we collect (eat) that we don't need and half the time don't really want.

The mortar and pestle just may be my 2 pieces of caramel candy everyday that bring me some joy with my coffee, and I can rest assured that I can cut the fat of "give away samples" at Costco and Whole Foods. I can "cut" out the bagels a well intending coworker brought as well as the food my kids left on their plates that just seems too good to simply "throw away"!

Pick and chose. Not everything has to go. Keep the stuff (food) that aligns with the vision of your life, the vision of your body, the way you want your body to look and perform. If you are an all or nothing person then knock yourself out, but sometimes just making some "trade-offs" will give you the relief you need to help reinforce the lifestyle you truly want. Free, light, lean, healthy, fit, agile, ready for anything life throws your way. Don't weigh yourself down, and you can interpret that any way you want to.

picture above; I've decided that it is not my mortar and pestle holding me back from a clean, useful, organized kitchen. I am "trading" this crap I rummaged from a kitchen drawer and cabinet that somehow made the last "cut"...but not this one! A electric tea kettle that has seen better days....two of the four squeeze bottles I never use (Fawn uses hers all the time....that's why I'm keeping "officially" professional, lol!), one of two candy thermometers (?) a couple of wine bottle openers (leaving two), and some knives that we've owned since we got married but never use (24 year anniversary in one more week! Yay!), and really....who uses corn cob forks "thingies" anymore?


Anonymous said...

I stole a phrase from Mercedes Benz "The best or nothing" it's a bit extreme, but living in a studio apt. will do that to you. It's so freeing not to have excess stuff everywhere! Thanks for sharing!!!

Tracy Reifkind said...

GG...I remember you! Welcome and thank you for your comment!

Part of my dream is to live in a small apt....I would need two bedrooms for us and the other to use as a closet! But I would give up the idea of a closet for a place for my granddaughter to stay and visit!

Maribel said...

You don't know how many times I've eaten food that I don't even enjoy just because it's there. It's food clutter!

By the way, I have that exact same tea kettle. I use it daily.

Diana said...

I have those "exact" corn cob holders!! I actually do use 'em, but only in the summer when the corn is at it's best! They were actually my grandmothers, I also have her egg's that great turquoise blue color from the 50's.

Yes, I do suffer from "emotional" attachment to items! NO, you will not see me on Hoarders!

Hanneke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hanneke said...

I like what you are doing lately.

Three years ago my husband lost his construction company in the downturn of the economy. He was out of work for a while. Then he found a job in northern Canada. I had to give up a million dollar plus home and move to a small two bedroom basement apartment.

There is a lot to say about this, things are going well now.
I used to say that I lost everything. This is not true I still have everything that I need..

Tracy Reifkind said...


"food clutter" it!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Who, our age, doesn't have those exact corn cob holders? They are classics! I haven't used them in forever, and considering the amount of corn I bought this year, if this wasn't the year then it's never going to be!

Gotta hang on to the turquoise egg separator though!

Tracy Reifkind said...


My first reaction to reading your comment was to get goosebumps....and my second was "lucky you!"

Not because you had to go through giving up a million dollar home, but because you have everything you need!

Hanneke said...

The shock that I'm not really over yet is moving from Chicago to Canada. But it keeps me 'hungry' and full of plans. Learning to accept what is and work on what will be is another great challenge.

Roland said...

A wonderful post.

Of course, I also have those corn holders (I'm 44), which I took from my mom's kitchen drawer when I moved out. One year, when my son found them in MY drawer, he insisted that we have corn that night. So, we have used them once.

I've moved five times in the past four years, and each time donate more and more things and never replace them. I'm happy with less.

My wife just moved here from Bulgaria, with just her two bags. She is happy, too.

Tracy Reifkind said...


Great comment, thank you!

Dreaded corn holders! You made an important point about NOT replacing stuff you get rid of! But man, if I had to edit down to two bags? Goodness, that would be life changing, no doubt.