Have any of you seen the movie Wanderlust that came out with Jennifer Aniston and her new boyfriend Justin Theroux? Now, let me start off by saying I loved this movie, and I love Jennifer. However, this movie basicly portrayed vegans as communal living, group sex having, barely dressed hippies who will protest at any given chance. Obviously most people know this is an exageration, however, I still get lots of comments about being a “hippie”. This question usually comes after someone mentions going out for (insert the meat laden, fattening type of food here) something like BBQ. When I politely ask if we might try something a little more veg friendly as I am vegan, I get the question/ statement “oh, I guess you’re a hippie now”.
First of all, I have nothing against hippies, I think they are actually pretty cool, and my parents would openly admit to having been hippies and (still being hippies- although you wouldn’t know it by the multiple homes, BMW’s and memberships at multiple golf clubs). Love you Mom and Dad! That being said, I think anyone who knows me would tell you that I am by no means a hippie. However, they would also tell you that I am a vegan for ethical and health reasons, I am not always perfect at it, I try to buy organic when I can, I enjoy farmers markets, and I love rescuing dogs. Does this mean that I can’t also love David Yurman Jewelry, the color pink, anything sparkly, girly or with a bow? Obviously not. So what do people mean when they say, “so I guess you’ve become a hippie!”? They mean, “I don’t really understand what you are doing, it kind of makes me uncomfortable about my own choices and I am going to throw out this passive-agreesive comment that I know will bother you on some level and make me feel superior to your new weirdness”. Perhaps I am overthinking it a little.
A few months ago I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture by the very talented Dr. Doug Lisle, author of The Pleasure Trap. His book is basicly about food addiction, the difficulty of making healthy changes in your life, and the resistance from others that you will encounter from everyone else in your life. Doug aptly mentions the protein question- i.e., “if you are vegan, WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN???”. When people ask this they are usually not shouting, but Dr. Lisle makes the argument that it is not really a question at all, but a subtle challenge as they are feeling self-conscious, inferior to you and want to show you that they know something and subtly tell you that you are not as superior as your vegan eating might lead you to think. While this lecture was enormously helpful, it also told me that many comments you might get from omnivores have a similar flavor. Hense my annoyance at “The Hippie Question”.
While I myself am not a hippie by any means, despite my husbands jokes of being a “yuppie hippie,” I don’t have anything against them. In fact, I believe a lot of the same things and am greatful to people who fight for the things I believe in and live a life in accordance with their beliefs. However, for better or worse, I don’t consider myself to be a hippie, or at least not yet. I don’t think that you have to be one or the other though either. Meaning either a granola eating, letting your hair go grey, baggy skirt wearing hippie OR a narcissistic, shopahoilic, spoiled, superficial girl. I think that like anything else vegans come in all colors and sizes and mine just happens to be wrapped in a sparkly pink bow.