Choose to Live a Better Life

We are increasingly confronted with choices in our lives. The academic in me wants to explain how this is the result of capitalism, the driving need of the market to give us more choices so we consume more stuff. I’m reminded of this as I reread an article I came across this summer and am using in my globalization class this semester. I love this article for two reasons. First, the ‘shopper’s manifesto’ it proposes offers advice on how and why we should buy fewer clothes, based on a ‘cost-per-wear’ principle.

Essentially, if you buy a pricier item, you’re more likely to wear it more often and it will also last longer because it’s better-made, making the cost-per-wear much less than a less expensive, lower-quality garment. For example, compare a $60 T-shirt that feels and looks good after 100 wears and washings versus a $10 one that only lasts 30 wears and washings. The cost per wear is  much less for the more expensive item.

Second, reading this article reminded me how important it is to simplify my life. In this world of not just fast fashion, but where we have so many consumer options at our fingertips, we end up with so much more stuff than we really need not only to survive, but especially to be happy.

So What about Food?
The same is true for food. In terms of our choices, the better quality stuff we put into our body, the better off we’ll be. This works both literally and figuratively. Eating more wholesome, ‘real’ food makes us feel better and, though it may cost more (which could be money and/or time), it ‘wears’ better on us than low-quality, inexpensive food. Consider the difference between eating homemade vegetable soup and the canned stuff. The up-front cost may be more, especially in preparation time, but the overall cost to your health is much lower than relying on the processed option.

Choose this blueberry lemon poppy seed cake instead of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake.

Choose this blueberry lemon poppy seed cake instead of Harry & David’s blueberry coffee cake: Far fewer calories, and much more satisfying.

As to simplifying your life, the cost-per-wear principle also applies to a healthier lifestyle. Not only does creating fewer options by considering the ‘cost-per-wear’ of what we choose to consume offer physiological benefits, but it also offers psychological benefits. We benefit by figuratively weighing less mentally, so that we have more time to consider the important stuff in our lives, like how we can spend more time eating better, moving more, and recharging.

Choose these peanut butter cup bars instead of a packet of Reese's.

Choose these peanut butter cup bars instead of a packet of Reese’s: Same calories, but much better for you.

So by framing consumption as a choice, we allow ourselves options like choosing to eat more healthful foods, choosing to eat less, choosing to exercise. While having a choice is imperative, having too many choices can have a detrimental effect and lead to decision fatigue. By factoring the cost-per-wear principle, you can simplifying and enrich your life.

P.S. Recipes to come for the cake and bars.

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