My Green Mom Manifesto (AKA I'm not Really a Hippie)

When I was nine years old, my family moved to Washington state. While we fully embraced mandatory curbside recycling, we still held quite a few of the practices of the "eccentric" locals at arms length. Things like eating organic and buying local. We called them the "crazy hippies", "tree huggers" or "the earthy crunchy granola types." They did things like wear [almost always] non-stylish clothes from organic fibers, didn't shop at Walmart, bought organic whole grain foods, used [what seemed to be] sub-par beauty and sanitation products, ate flaxseeds, wore birkenstocks and planted trees. They extolled the virtues of mud and natural "unprocessed" things.

To illustrate how different my family was from these people: when we were learning about "junk food" in elementary school and how things like boxed mac & cheese, corn dogs, spam and hot dogs were processed "junk foods" that you should only eat on occasion, I was left wondering 'Well then what do you eat? That's what I would call dinner.' We were a white bread eating, high fructose corn syrup consuming, walmart shopping, plastic everything family.

My journey has been gradual. When I first moved out of my mom's house to go to college, I met friends whom I regarded as relatively normal people who ate whole grain bread products and drank soy milk.

"How can this be?" I thought. "That's hippie food. Normal people don't eat that stuff."

While reading Eating For Life with my youth pastor's wife, I started learning about the difference between processed and whole grain foods and decided to try them myself. I was a vegetarian so already ate a lot of vegetables but found when I moved to whole grain pastas and bread, using butter and olive oil instead of margarine and cooking a lot of my food myself instead of always eating at McDonalds and Taco Bell or ordering pizza....I felt great. It's amazing how you go through life never knowing how awful you feel until you feel better. This is exactly what happened to me.

Nearly a decade later, I'm a mom who uses cloth diapers and glass bottles. I bring my own bags to the grocery store. We use non-toxic cleaning agents and avoid phthalates when we can. We're using a modified vaccine schedule instead of the one pushed by the CDC. We agree with Dr. Sears' approach to "night parenting" and it's how we taught our son to sleep on his own. My son was exclusively breastfed (or bottle fed expressed breast milk) until he started real, whole foods. When we started solids (or the pureed goop they call "solids"), we skipped the over-processed white "rice" cereal and jumped straight into pureed fruits and veggies like avocados, mashed bananas and pureed sweet potatoes that we made at home. We invest in organic and non-Genetically Modified foods for both the health of our family and to support farmers who are doing things right.

When people find out that we do these things, I can see them write me off as one of those people who I used to write off. They think I'm fighting the way real Americans do things in vain. They think I prefer ineffective, more arduous ways of doing things that surely must cost more. They think I'm a hippie. But really?
I am SO not a hippie.
I like food that tastes good. I shower regularly. I don't own a single pair of Birkenstocks or hemp clothing. And I (at least occasionally) shop at Walmart.

So can we agree to be friends?

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