I am a self professed, flag-waving Hippie. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I have rather a number of fave topics when it comes to being “green”, “natural”, and a “hippie”. There are certain things I cave on. Hair color for one. I absolutely refuse to go gray. Therefore, environmental nightmare that it is, I color my hair. I still use store-bought conditioners (occasionally, I do make my own shampoo), I buy bar soap. Only because I have yet to make it successfully. I don’t purchase spiffy soaps, just Ivory. It’s cheap, easy on the skin, and doesn’t have a lot of crap in it.
In thinking about what to touch on for topics, I was inspired by an old poster that I once had. “How to be Happy, In Spite of Yourself” (see my personal blog at www.hippieways.com – Happy Hippies posting to read the full article).
Occasionally, I get a WHOLE day from work. Not very often, but when I do, I like to take myself out for coffee at the local Esso (small town restaurants – sorry, no cappie machine in these parts). I haul along my daytimer and misc. writing devices and just scratch away for a couple of hours. There are generally two or three people to chat with and I make a few notes and contemplate life and other issues.
In this post, I would like to expound on the virtues of being a bit of a “hippie”. No single definition really suits, but if taking life to a simple, natural, chemical free existence makes you a hippie, then so be it. So, here goes:
HOW TO BE HIPPIE IN SPITE OF YOURSELF
1. Choose organic. Whenever possible, or practical – take the organic route. It’s just plain better for you.
2. Learn to cook!! So many people that I come across every day have NO idea how to feed themselves. They depend on packaged foods and in doing so are not only damaging themselves, but the environment as well. Remember – Betty Crocker is a fictional character! Just like Barbie. I wish anyone luck picking Duncan or Hines out of a crowd. Real food is fabulous! Learn how to make it.
3. Shop and eat local. You not only support local businesses, you save yourself a lot of driving, fuel, stress and travel mugs full of really bad coffee. Unless there’s no way around it, stick to your own backyard.
4. Appreciate granola. There has never been a single case of death by overdose of granola. EVER! It’s low fat, high fiber and healthy by default. There’s no real need to wonder what’s on the label. It’s versatile – snack on it, sprinkle it on peanut butter and toast, stir it into yogurt.
5. Grow a few vegetables. Could be in window boxes, patio planters, a small patch in front of your place. You don’t need to go grand scale. Harvesting your own snack straight from the plant has a unique way of becoming highly addictive.
6. Buy only products that contain ZERO chemicals. This is mostly likely the hardest one. Read labels, understand what you’re paying for, and what the potential hazards are. There ARE good “green” products out there, just make sure you’re not fooled by big manufacturers trying to market garbage as “green”.
7. Recycle! NOT a difficult concept. Bottle depot, newspaper bins, cardboard bins. Just about EVERY town has ‘em. Most larger cities even have curbside collection of recycling. When you buy something (peanut butter is a GREAT example) try to make sure you can re-purpose the packaging. Given the choice between a clear plastic jar or an opaque one, get the clear one. They’re more useful later on.
8. Learn to clean without chemicals. NOT a tough one, really. Unless you are a total germophobe (in which case, get some help for that) you CAN have a clean house without noxious chemicals of any sort. Your grand-parents did it! They didn’t drop dead from NOT having scrubbing bubbles. Baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar are GREAT cleaners. There’s TONS of recipes out there for making your own cleaning products. Try it – your health AND your bank account will thank you.
9. Mindfully part with your money. This could be a difficult concept for some. I too suffer an instant gratification gene that rears up from time to time. The MUST have bug does hit all of us at one time or another. In my case, it’s more a matter of not having a ton of cash to throw around, so my purchasing decisions are made carefully. I see SO many that seem to have HUGE sums of money to toss away on seemingly needless things. Prime example: What on earth does a 5′ 6″ man, and an even smaller woman NEED an $80,000 diesel SUV for? I’m not saying that everyone should run out an buy a hybrid vehicle with extra room for a composter, but c’mon – be reasonable.
10. Everyday eat at least FIVE (5) things that don’t NEED labels. A handful of almonds, a salad, grapes, asparagus. Think about it – when’s the last time you saw a “Nutrition Facts” label stuck to an apple??
NONE of the above noted ideas have any unhealthy side effects. You will NOT have a driving desire to run out and buy hemp rope sandals or tie-dyed T-Shirts. You will not be attacked by flower children singing Kumbyah. You may however, find that you have a couple of bucks to part with at the local bakery. You could possibly develop relationships with local farmers or merchants…all sorts of strange things could happen.