I went to New Seasons today to get some butter oil and fermented cod liver oil supplements to perhaps try to heal the cavities that have started forming on Charlotte's teeth. I was talking to the lady that works in the section and I found myself making all sorts of excuses for myself and apologizing. I caught myself apologizing again yesterday to the guy working at Lush when I started to explain how I wash my face and hair. He was trying to sell me skin products. I just wanted a mask made of fresh ingredients since I didn't have the fortitude to go make one myself.
I find that with this whole "enlightened" way of living, I feel the need to excuse myself from mainstream ways of doing things. I've been washing my hair with baking soda and unfiltered apple cider vinegar since last summer. People think it's weird. My hair has never felt so naturally healthy. Now with this diet stuff I'm starting to be one of those people that Portlandia makes fun of. Literally.
I went to Gustavs last week for a small happy hour dinner and found myself asking the waiter if the dairy came from grass fed cows. He started laughing and said he felt like he was in an episode of Portlandia. Then he wanted to know too. So we did some research and discovered that the dairy that Gustavs uses for its recipes comes from a supplier that sources products from several different local farms. The good news is that it was local and thus contributing to our local economy as well as using fewer fossil fuels to transport it. The bad news was that there was no real way to ascertain whether the cows were grass fed, which farms were supplying the products, or how much processing the products underwent. Because it was a supplier the cost of the product was being split between farms and the middle men. I got the spätzle alfredo anyway.
I've been reading the Omnivore's Dilemma on my kindle and the more I read the more strongly I feel about what I eat. I have decided that I don't want to be a vegan. I don't really think I have the strength. I am a conscientious consumer of foods. And being such casts an entirely different perception on me than being a vegetarian or vegan would. It could just be me, but I get the impression that vegetarians and vegans have sort of forged a name for themselves. When they object to eating something simply stating that they are veggie is enough to satisfy the curiosity of those who would judge them for being "picky". But if I reject meat or I want to know where my food comes from and I'm just a regular normal polyvore, I must have a superiority complex.
The long and short of it is that I do. I want to be superior. But not over other people. I want to be superior for myself and my family.
Being someone who is rather immersed in the various facets of Portland "culture" I know first-hand what this kind of superiority looks like. At my birth center potlucks most of the food is a spread of grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. It seems pretentious. But these are not pretentious people. And yet they are because they want better for themselves.
It's a hard line to walk. I don't want to always be apologizing for caring about what I put in my body and in my baby's body and I don't want to be preachy, but I also don't want to be a pushover that just goes with the status quo. The truth is that it matters. But the reality is that people really just don't know what they're eating and they don't care because it's so easy not to care.
I'm not going to be an evangelist for whole food living, but I will do my best to live better. I don't have a solution for how to deal with the skeptical looks I get when I feel the need to "come clean" about how I wash my hair. I'm sure I will come to some conclusion though. In the meantime, this vein of eating has been paying off. I'm down a couple pounds in the last few weeks. The bad news is that my knee has decided I shouldn't start exercising again and has been requiring the occasional ice pack to keep from being swollen and sore. More on this later though.
Go forth and educate yourself about your food. You'll hate me because you'll know how I feel, but you'll thank me too!