Today, a 2-year supply of protein powder arrived at my house. 40 pounds of pea protein in a bag arrived at my door and really, I couldn’t be happier. It may seem kind of strange but this purchase represents a combination of personal identities that I really value.
The economist in me marvels at the efficiency of the purchase. By buying this product in bulk I reduced the cost of one serving of protein powder (30 grams) to about 23 cents. When I use Orgain each serving costs more and has less protein (about $1.25 for 21 grams) and even using a plain soy protein from Trader Joe’s costs about 40 cents (and was discontinued).
So, if I have one serving of powder per day I will save $340 per year over Orgain. But, this isn’t just money I’m saving because I can reinvest that into my future. I can put that money into a retirement account or buy bitcoin with it. Or maybe that just means I’ll take some extra time off each year. There is just such beauty in the efficiency of lower prices, it is literally saving moments of my life to spend on other things instead. Time is money and I just bought more time.
The stoic in me loves that I’m resisting the urge to focus on taste instead of nutritional needs. Part of being human is our ability to resist our carnal urges and do what is best for us in the long term. Sure, the protein powder doesn’t taste great by itself (though, mixing it with some cocoa and peanut butter powder or some fruit helps with that), but the point of food isn’t always to taste good, sometimes it is just to provide fuel and nutrients. There is value in making our lives simple and not always celebrating with rich food. Sure, there are times when a great meal is deserved, but those meals are even more enjoyable when they are rare. Food is a tool for human happiness and we shouldn’t let our hunger define our behavior. Balance in all things, but we primarily should eat to live, not live to eat.
The minimalist in me loves removing one more unnecessary decision from my life. I don’t need to worry about purchasing a major meal component for two years. That decision is made already. I enjoy the fact that I eat the same balanced meals every day, it is beautiful to me. For the same reason, I love only wearing the same jeans and t-shirts every day. My nutrition, like my clothing, can go on autopilot. I don’t need to keep up with trends or worry what other people think, instead I do what is healthy for me.
Putting decisions on autopilot helps make me a better person and more productive. It frees up mind space to write and create and enjoy the beauty of the world. A dollar saved on food is a dollar spent on adventures. Actually, I wonder what other food I can buy in bulk to save money and time. I think I can get my food and social costs down from about $300 per month to $200 per month. If I do that I put another $1,200 in my pocket each year. Yeah, that’s a good goal.
Here are the purchases I make regularly and it looks like there are some opportunities for savings:
- Fresh produce (bananas, broccoli, onions, garlic, potatoes, spinach, kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots) – I buy these weekly and probably can’t get them in bulk but I can start growing some of them in the garden to save some dollars, and gardening is fun
- Frozen vegetables and berries – These I could buy in bulk (probably) but it would require a new freezer. I have to run the price of the freezer and increased electricity costs to see if this is justified… probably not.
- Seeds and Nuts (almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and brazil nuts) – These could probably be purchased in bulk and frozen to save some money if there is freezer space
- Legumes and Rice (black beans, brown rice, kidney beans, brown lentils, pinto beans, red lentils) – I think this is the biggest opportunity for savings, I’d need some air tight containers
- Spices (many) – probably not much savings here, I buy spices at the local Latin American market for $1 for several months supply
- Nut milk (soy, almond, cashew… whatever is on sale) – Probably not any savings here 🙁
- Supplements (creatine, beta alanine, taurine, ginseng, bacopa, choline, l-theanine, 5-HTP) – this is probably the best opportunity for savings, purchasing as a bulk powder instead of pills is super cheap, just need an airtight container to hold things in a cool, dry, dark place.
- Non-edibles (toilet paper, dog food, paper towels, soap, toothpaste, etc) – I already purchase most of these in bulk using Prime Subscription so there is some good savings but it is worth revisiting.
Which brings me to my final identity that all this appeals to… self-experimentation. Life is about seeing what you are capable of and pushing the limits. Running marathons and living on pennies and climbing mountains and taking psychedelic drugs is part of the human experiences. Pushing ourselves to the limits and taking risks is how we truly live. It may seem silly to get all of this out of a purchase of protein powder, but each action we take reflects our life philosophy and those actions can either be explicit and analyzed or they can be unreasoned and based on primal drives.