my thoughts on rations - my thoughts on rations
For some reason, a few months ago, I became fascinated with World War II.

First, I watched a mini series based on The Diary of Anne Frank.* Then I read a book about the rationing system in Britain during the war.

Soon my fascination moved from World War II to rationing. I started wondering how I could apply it to my own life. (Seriously. This is how my mind works.)

one chocolate bar a month

I enjoy some dark chocolate almost every day. I used to have a couple of pieces out of habit. But whenever I gave myself more than a small square, I noticed that I would eat the other pieces quickly until I was left with just one. Then I would savor that final piece of chocolate.

Hmm . . . what if I had just a single piece of chocolate and savored it from the very beginning?

So I decided that I’d only buy one organic, fair-trade chocolate bar a month (I like this one). I divide the bar into smaller squares. Some days I might want two pieces, some days no chocolate at all. But once it’s gone, it’s gone. No more buying chocolate until the next month.

making disposables less disposable

I’ve written before about how I’m trying to be more earth-friendly, but I still use some disposable products.

In order to curb my use of these items, I’ve enforced . . . rationing!

I haven’t made the switch to using reusable cloths for napkins or kitchen clean up, so I’ve decided to ration my paper towel use. No more than one roll a month.

I buy disposable heads for my Preserve razor. I make one blade last the entire month.

I also have a box of plastic sandwich bags on hand. I’m trying to make that one box last the whole year. Since I mostly use my reusable containers when I take food and snacks to go, this should be easy.

Rest assured, I haven’t gone so far as to ration toilet paper or to monitor my guests’ use of it.

more fun with rationing!

Want to bring the excitement of rationing into your life? Here are some more ideas:

  • Trying to cut back on meat? dairy? eggs? Give yourself a weekly ration. Meat was heavily rationed during the war. Since you’re buying a smaller amount, perhaps you could afford to buy the ethically treated, grass-fed variety instead. Same goes for organic dairy and eggs too.
  • Too much sugar in your life? Try making a cup or two of sugar last a whole month.
  • Using disposables for all your cleaning needs? Use less, reuse more and don’t clean as often!
  • Eating too much pasta? Buy a box of your favorite kind once a month. Fine, two boxes.
  • Going nuts over nuts? Make one cup last a week. Try a different kind the next week. Repeat.

And this list doesn’t even cover other rationing that occurred during the war on such things as clothing and gasoline.

Some people may consider this deprivation. Is it really? I could come up with a pretty long list of what I would consider deprivation and using a single roll of paper towels wouldn’t make the cut.

But if all this talk of rationing has got you wanting to eat a whole bag of potato chips, don’t fret. Next week I’ll write about luxuries!

* If you should ever find yourself in Amsterdam, consider a visit to The Anne Frank House. Very moving.

Good read: Leo Babauta of Zen Habits fame wrote a thought-provoking post on savoring.