Friday, February 20, 2015

Fight the Man! Or the label. or the advertisement. Or at least go down kicking and screaming.

Ever since I was young I rebelled.
 I don’t know if it was something genetic that made me want to cut my hair, wear big baggy shirts and avoid anything pink, or if it was the big poster I had on my wall that said “Dare to be different” and showed a rainbow spotted, boa-wearing Dalmatian among a bunch of boring (but still cute) black and white Dalmatians.
Regardless of where it came from, I have held onto this rebellion throughout my childhood, adolescence and teenage years and into my adulthood…and I think it’s done me some good. As I’ve started to sink into a more stable lifestyle, I’ve begun to take notice of things that advertisements and pop-culture seem to be force feeding us. But these are things that I’ve long avoided or not listened to, and as a result been more connected, inspired by and in touch with my environment. Here’s some examples of things I ignore:
-Expiration dates-
Ever since my first dumpster diving experience in college, I’ve been willing to dig into things that are well past their expiration date. I’ll admit, I was pretty hesitant that first night, looking at the pile of goodies we had just rescued from metal chambers of festering goo in big as they were laid out on my friend’s dorm room kitchen table. But then we cooked it into a great feast, and enjoyed not having to pay for any of it, and it was great! Since then I have eaten my fair share of long past expired stuff. Usually my rule is that as long as it looks like it should and tastes like it should, I’ll eat it. Now, I’ve admittedly eaten my fair share of things that didn’t taste like they should, but weren’t quite bad enough to get rid of…and you know what? I’m still here. I haven’t had food poisoning since two years before I first dumpster dived.
And my immune system has lived up to the many tests I put it through. Years ago, I left some takeout food on the counter all night only to find it in the morning. “Should we throw it away?” I asked my fiancé hesitantly. I knew that sitting out at higher than room temperature in our Texas home would be the perfect place for bacteria to breed, but I didn't want to throw away at least another meal's worth of a delicious meal we didn’t have to cook ourselves. “Naw!” we decided. “We’ve eaten enough funky stuff. If that didn’t hurt us, this won’t.” We were right. I don’t know how much science there is behind the idea that the more funky things you eat, the better your immune system…but there certainly lies some truth.

I can’t tell you how many people question my protein consumption when I tell them that I’m vegetarian or vegan. I guess this gets a lot deeper into full on diets, than just one aspect of eating, but it usually stems from protein. I’m an active adult. I work out with weights or bodyweight exercises 5-6 times a week. But I don’t crave a juicy steak after a long stint at the gym (I don’t think I’ve ever had steak actually). I don’t need to add 4 spoonfuls of some processed powder to my smoothies to feel satiated in the morning, or to put on muscle. (Which I think is in part due to my genetics). Part of this is because, although getting tone and lookin' hot is in my daily workout goals- I'm not trying to become a tan, oiled body builder with muscles on my muscles. All these magazines touting protein are for people who wanna get huge, and therefore put scoops of "whey protein isolate" into any beverage they consume. I just want to be a healthy adult. Therefore, I don't believe it's necessary to eat one fraction of a food that might be good for me (protein isolate, ie. isolated protein, ie. protein without all of the other things that help it digest and process in your body). I get plenty of protein because I eat REAL good.  There’s protein in broccoli, and in rice, and in wheat, and in beans, and in nuts and in SO many of the things I eat, that no… I don’t need to supplement my diet…because I’m not one of those vegan that just eats potato chips and granola bars. And as Amil so beautifully explained- I don’t believe my body would benefit from eating a piece of flesh that has been decaying since it was slaughtered. Pass the broccoli.

Super simple homemade protein bars

I had a very awkward encounter with a curious young girl last summer where I work. We have open stall showers, as we have for decades, and we believe that it’s a great educational tool to get girls more comfortable with their bodies. However, I didn’t expect to be the educational tool one afternoon when a young girl stared at me while I showered, questioning certain, uh… choices I’ve made, and clearly appreciating having a real live example of what a woman looks like. Ever the educator, I answered her inquiries to the best of my ability, hoping she would at least look away as I dried off (She didn't. She still stared, unblinking. Awkward).
Her biggest curiosity was why I don’t shave my armpits, or my legs, to which I responded, “why would I?” I’m not a swimmer, so I don’t need to shave to go faster. I can’t even think of another reason why it would be logical to shave. Maybe really bad b/o? Or being really sensitive to hair? (But I would think shaving would be worse). Women simply think it’s necessary to shave their armpits and legs because in 1915 the first sleeveless dress became popular, and in the '20's razor companies startedadvertising for shaved arms and targeting razors for women.. Men and women bought into it and ta-da- more and more money went to the razor industry. I haven’t bought a razor in at least 5 years (even the straight razor I gave my fiancé was a hand-me-down of sorts) and I certainly haven’t used one in as long. The idea of shaving is just as bizarre to me now as not shaving probably is to many of my readers. 

I always liked the idea behind not shaving, but wasn't motivated to actually stop until my college friend Harley started flaunting the cutest little arm pit fuzz.

What societal ideals do you ignore? Whether proudly or in shame... we all do things our own way, at least a little bit.

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