What the Hippies Knew

Everyday Is Earth Day at my house. It’s been that way since before the first Earth Day, 38 years ago. That’s because I was a hippie in my formative years. And I am still. Hippies made natural food and the environment popular.

This is what I learned – and lived –  as a hippie and I still do (mostly) these things today.  I learned:

How Not to Buy Processed Food
There was simply no attraction to plastic or processed. We were not fooled by corporate America and the chemicals they used. “Question Authority!” was a good hippie slogan.

How to Be a Vegetarian
Cooking with beans, grains, nuts, and seeds? Not a problem. We learned about complimentary proteins from Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet.  Our cookbooks were the brown-paper covered vegetarian classics: Tassajara Cooking, The Vegetarian Epicure, The Moosewood Cookbook, Recipes for a Small Planet. “The way to be a cook is to cook,” said the Buddhist monks of Tassajara. And we did.

How to Eat Ethnic Food
Brown rice, miso, tofu, tabbouleh, falafel, curries, raitas, dhal, HEALTHY enchiladas?  Bring ‘em on. Not only did we eat vegetarian ethnic foods, but we wore the native costumes to match!

How to Bake Bread, Grow Sprouts and Make Yogurt
Believe it or not, markets didn’t sell foods we take for granted today. Yogurt was something Europeans ate. Bread was white. Hummus was unheard of, chickpeas too. And so, we baked whole grain bread, first for its health and soon for its taste and we learned that kneading is Zen; we kept fresh sprouts growing in the winter kitchen; and we delighted in our yogurt makers, as we saved money.  Poor consumers were we.

How to Tend a Vegetable Garden
“The way to be a gardener is to garden.” If we lived in the country or even the city, we kept a garden and, in doing so, we learned about soil, sun, water and critters, beneficial insects, companion crops and manure. It was about as local and fresh as it gets.

How to Compost and Put up Food
It goes with gardening: You grow the vegetables, you eat and preserve the vegetables, you return the vegetable scraps to the earth, and the compost becomes next year’s vegetables. We love earth worms. Recycling brings us joy.

Listen, I could go on-and-on, but I have to make a lentil soup. Happy Earth Day-Week everyone!

Your thoughts: How do you practice sustainability? Where did you learn it?

3 thoughts on “What the Hippies Knew

  1. Pingback: My Mondays Are Meatless | Ask Mary RD

  2. When I was a little girl, I stumbled across my mom’s beloved book “The Handbook of Natural Beauty” by Virginia Castleton and it very much shaped my views on beauty products. To this day I still have yet to die my hair (with the exception of some funky colors when I was a teen), don’t really wear make-up and air dry my hair. I also make my own lip gunk by mixing EVOO and organic sugar. It is amazing how many chemicals and crud we put on our skin and hair to make it look good and it just forces us to use more and more to keep up that look. By not using all those harsh products I achieve the look naturally!

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