Beings that the idea, concept, and means of carrying out an “Alternative” lifestyle starts getting complicated really very quickly, I figured I would take some time to talk about it, and how exactly the way I am choosing to live my life is alternative.
“Alternative” lifestyles and culture, is anything and everything that doesn’t line up with what the mainstream culture and lifestyle is. Examples of this include: Indie, Punk, Goth, Emo, Green, Hippie and Hipster. Each of these differ and stray away from the mainstream culture and societal norms. While I don’t identify wholly with any of these subcultures or lifestyles, over the last year, I have definitely adopted more of what I would consider “Historical” way of life. This way of life includes parts of the green, hippie and hipster subcultures.
I adhere to a completely dairy free, limited gluten, limited eggs (I am intolerant to dairy, and sensitive to Gluten and Eggs that aren’t in baked products) and reduced sugar diet. I had picked up a really bad stomach bug 5 years ago, that has since changed what foods my body will tolerate. Due to these intolerances, a lot of what I could eat are what fall within the clean eating category. Clean Eating is all about drinking plenty of water, eating a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables (I prefer local to boot), as well as lean protein, some carbs but limit the refined flours and limiting sugar (especially refined sugar). Before I had to start this way of life, I loved history, especially women’s history and the history of the American West. I am especially fascinated with more the social and day to day lives of those who lived between 1850 and 1965 in the Rocky Mountain states on west. The landscape is a lot more rugged, harsh and unforgiving that one bad winter or with someone who doesn’t know how to be self sufficient and if they made it, it would have been very hard. Over the years, I have learned that some of my distant family members came out west over the Oregon trail, and at least one set of my great grandparents were homesteaders. Having that in my own personal history makes it no surprise to me, why I want to, and feel the need to do more living off the land, growing as much of my own fruit and vegetables that I can. What I can’t grow, I want to buy as much locally grown as possible.
I am also one of these people who is just so done with all the synthetic chemicals that we use to clean, and that are in the foods we eat. It’s no wonder, and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone why all the rates of diseases are through the roof, and why so many people have “sensitive” skin, its because of all the chemicals that are in the products we now use and take for granted every day. I know that is one thing that I am now personally leery of is all the chemicals in the food, and in the products we use to clean our bodies and our clothes. I am by no means an environmentalist, but all these chemicals and all the garbage we produce is not good for the planet. I know this is partially the Portlander in me coming out, who is now used to sorting true garbage, recycling, and compost that is just what we do.
Being more environmentally conscious and “green”, definitely goes back to where I was raised and the alternative / green lifestyle that is very prominent here in Portland. This is one of the things that Portland is known for, and yes there are parts of the city that are more “green” than other parts of the city.
My food intolerances and sensitivities forced me to dive head first into clean eating and the “alternative” lifestyle. My body’s needs has forced me to embrace a part of this city that I knew existed from a young age, but really didn’t have much to do with until I was an adult. Initially I “converted” or “crossed over” because I had to, but as I did more research, and learned more about it, I have come to embrace it more. Will I be doing all my grocery shopping at Whole Foods, New Seasons, Trader Joe’s or the natural section of the grocery store? No. I do frequent them a whole lot more now.
Living here, where I am only a couple hours if even that from the Ocean, and depending on where I am in the valley, I can see both the coast range mountains and the cascade range mountains at the same time. Here, where we grow so much amazing fruit and vegetables, vineyards for wine, hops fields for making beer, as well as orchards all over the place, This part of Oregon is one of the best (or in my opinion THE BEST) growing regions in the country. Not to mention that the coast is the best place in the country for making cheese, butter, ice cream (Not to mention southern Oregon as well for Umpqua Ice Cream), and yogurt. Even though I can no longer eat the dairy products, I still know they are good from having been able to eat them all through my growing up years.