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Needs vs. wants, and online ordering.

First of all, I need to thank thank thank Averie and her post that introduced iherb to me. I made an order on Wednesday, and despite the products being in the States, and me living in Japan, mid-Sunday afternoon I heard a knock-knock-knock and there they were. Wowza! Add to that speed, ridiculously cheap shipping, and no customs mangling, and I am truly one happy camper. I am fully stocked up on cocoa beans, cocoa nibs, yerba mate, steel cut oats, calcium/magnesium, and my favourite shampoo. And I am sheepishly already dreaming about what I want to order next. Iherb you rock my world. And Averie, words can`t express my gratitude.

I often think it is silly that while living in Japan, I still feel the need to eat/order foods and products from home. Do I need them? No. Can I create healthy meals without them? Yes. But do I want them? Yesiree. Do they make me happy? Yep--as far as finding happiness in material objects and foods go.>

I have been happily embracing my macrobiotics love lately. The products I can get here at my local grocery store are made for macrobiotics (obviously, as its founders were Japanese and based a lot of their foods/recipes on Japanese food). Seaweed, miso, pickles, fish, sesame galore. Thanks to these local foods my macrobiotic quest is much easier (below is a shot of a typical meal these days for me).

But, I have been known on occasion *cough cough* to enjoy things of the cocoa-variety. And when I do, I like to avoid two things: dairy, and lots of sugar. This means that I can`t buy any Japanese chocolate or cocoa. On the rare occasion I do find chocolate dark enough for my bitter-chocolate-love needs, it always has milk powder in it. So, I resort to ordering online pure cocoa powder, cocoa beans/nibs, and dark chocolate. Yes, I can find some foreign dark chocolate here. Lately, my bar of choice is the Lindt 99% dark bar, BUT, it runs at the sick price of about $7 CAD here. And it`s only a 50g bar. Way too expensive. So, this is where iherb and vitacost come in handy. So far, in my opinion, iherb is much better and is way cheaper for shipping overseasβ€”but unlike vitacost, it does not carry any chocolate in bar form.

My other vice is everything coconut. Coconut milk, coconut oil, and unsweetened dried coconut. I like `em all. And they are all hard to find in good quality, over here.

(((as a side note, in case you didn`t guess, cocoa and coconut are both NOT macrobiotic. According to yin/yang principles, they are very very yin. Macrobiotic guidelines suggest eating foods which are balanced--not too yin or too yang. I used to be much more black and white. If I was eating macrobiotics, then that was that. I was either all in or all out. Right now I am testing my abilities to incorporate macrobiotics into my lifestyle in a way that doesn`t leave me missing out on some of life`s good things, like chocolate. Moderation, moderation, moderation. I feel that if high quality dark chocolate, and some coconut oil are the worst of my deviations, then I`m okay with that.)))

Another thing hard to get here is oats of any kind. Whole oats would be my no1 choice, but they are pretty impossible to order online. Any oats I want, rolled or steel cut, I have to resort to ordering.

So where is all this going you ask? Well, back to the online ordering topic. I do not need oats. I do not need chocolate *gasp* and I do not need coconut. Do you feel justified in ordering / purchasing product, even if in fact it isn`t absolutely necessary? I mean, prepare yourself for a mass generalization here, but we could probably all be perfectly fine and healthy eating regular things from the regular grocery store (as long are you shop the periphery, mind you). High-quality chocolate, coconut oil, vitamins, cocoa beans, maca powder, probiotics, unsulphured nuts and seeds are all quite pricey.

I personally feel that food and what I am putting into my body is a good place to spend money. If this means resorting to ordering steel cut oats, cocoa beans, or unsweetend dark chocolate from overseas, then I`m okay with it. I try to save money in other ways, like buying local produce and rice at the store – here it is WAY cheaper than buying regular stuff. I also try to do fun things that don`t cost much, like going for bike rides, or having tea dates at home with my guy. I don`t drink, barely ever go out to see movies, don`t eat out often due to my intolerances/food preferences, and don`t buy many clothes or beauty products. Instead, I order yerba mate, and raw cacao nibs. So there.

How about you? Where do you spend your money? If you have lived somewhere else for awhile, did you try to find foods from back home, or did you jump head first into what you could find at your local store?