We’ve just added a new magazine subscription: Living Without. It’s designed for those with special dietary needs and provides gluten-free, diary-free, and allergy-appropriate recipes and advice.
The food-sensitive demographic has only recently merited significant concern from publishers, at least to the extent that everyone–personally affected or not–now sees popular books and websites confirming their existence and suggesting how we can assist our loved ones to manage their nutritional issues.
The larger concept of living without (often in the guise of simplifying or re-prioritizing) has ebbed and flowed but persisted in literature for decades. Think Walden, Simplify Your Life, Not Buying It, Toxic Success–How to Stop Striving and Start Thriving. Our library catalog even has a subject heading for “simplicity”. Currently, the second-floor book display towers are spotlighting books on eco-friendly living, another facet of the purposeful living mindset.
Even popular novels echo the theme. In Helen Fielding’s bestselling Bridget Jones’ Diary from a few years back, Bridget’s real problem wasn’t poor choices in romance–it was the lack of a true aim in life, along with lots of social clutter. Believing that happiness=weight loss, she daily noted her efforts to limit smoking and fat intake with ratings: “exc.”, “v.g.”, etc.
At least this venture helped Bridget to clarify which pursuits ultimately weren’t life-enhancing. Readers can sympathize with Bridget’s attempts to resist the daily slate of complicated and sometimes unhealthful add-ons. Fast food outlets invite us to upgrade, top, supplement, and garnish our selections; electronics vendors offer “must-have” apps and gadgets faster than we can learn or finance them. No wonder we sometimes relish opportunities to limit our choices. Glance over our book towers or search “simplicity” and see if you aren’t prompted to exclaim “V.G.!”