This is first post in the Crunchy Defined series. I figured the best place to start was to look at just what Crunchy is and what it is not. I hope both crunchies and non-crunchies find this helpful in understanding what it means to be crunchy.

What Is Crunchy

 

I’ve been using the crunchy label for long enough now that I tend to forget it’s a relatively new term and many people have never heard it before, much less understand what makes someone crunchy. I decided to do this series to explain what being crunchy means, why people choose to be crunchy and even include a few interviews of fellow crunchy people.

 

Crunchy is generally a term used to describe a type of parenting style. Although I hardly think that it needs to solely apply to parents. I believe someone without kids can be crunchy as well; they just won’t be practicing some of the crunchy areas that apply to those with children.

 

Being crunchy usually means that the person is someone who doesn’t just go with mainstream ideas and philosophies simply because everyone else does. Now that is not to say that someone who is crunchy doesn’t do mainstream things, sometimes mainstream works. However, it means that (usually) crunchy people are notorious for researching their hearts out. We spend hours reading books, talking with others, and scouring the Internet. Basically we don’t want to do something because everyone else is, we want to research all the options and then make the best decision.

 

To get to the long and short of it, Crunchy people have adjusted the way they live to be more natural. The term “granola”, “hippie”, “natural”, and “green” are sometimes used to describe crunchy people also. There’s a bit of an overlap and for the most part, I think it just depends on what people prefer to be labeled.

 

People who fall under the Crunchy label might practice: (notice the “might”, crunchy is not an all or nothing label)

 

Eats organic
Vegetarian/Vegan/Traditionalist/Whole Foods
Co-sleeping
Chemical free/natural products
Recycles
Composts
Alternative Medicine
None/selective/delayed vaccinating

 

I’m sure there are many others that I’ve left out but you get the general idea.

 

What Crunchy Is Not

 

When I tell others about what I am doing or changing some of them get the wrong message. I simply want to share what I’m learning about. However, often times they take it to mean that I must think that what they are doing (if it’s not what I’m doing) must be the wrong decision.

Ugh. Have we not learned that just because one person does one thing doesn’t mean it’s the correct way for everyone else? Now granted I believe there are some areas that are absolutes; murder for an extreme example. I don’t see that as a “right for me but not for you”. It’s an absolute wrong. However, there are other things that just aren’t so black and white. For example, vegetarian or omnivore; I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with vegetarianism (as long as it’s done right) but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up my steak! More importantly, just because somebody does something different, it doesn’t mean that they are looking down on everyone who does not follow the same practices. Crunchy people are not self-righteous snobs, at least they shouldn’t be.  Generally they are just zealous about their way of life and what they have learned and thus they love to share what they have found out.

 

Crunchy is also not an all or nothing lifestyle. There is no one on earth that is 100% completely crunchy. There is no crunchy nirvana that crunchies strive to obtain.  Crunchy is a progress and it’s a varied progress at that. What’s one crunchy person’s goals might not be another crunchy person’s goal. People have their own ideal crunchy life in mind and even that ideal will probably change over time. For example, I would have never imagined that I would cloth diaper but yet here I am cloth diapering and loving it. It was never my goal but as I researched, I learned about it.

I believe it’s all the researching that makes crunchy lifestyles a never-ending progress. Things change, new toxins are discovered, products are made better, and this is why there is no end point in crunchy. Think about lead, one hundred years ago nobody thought it was toxic; nobody avoided it. Now we know better and we avoid it, get tested for it, and some go through detox because of it. It’s not that the lead was not toxic one hundred years ago, it’s just that we have gotten better at researching and now know better.

 

I hope this has given you a better understanding of what being crunchy is all about. I hope that you also have come away with the understanding that being crunchy is not an all or nothing lifestyle.  Nor are we some group of holier-than-thou’s. Being crunchy is simply about searching for a healthy way to live.