Who’s crunchy? What makes someone crunchy? What does it mean? Truthfully, even the men and women who belong to this community of people often posit that question. Are there definitive criteria? Not-so-much. So what sets them apart from the rest of the population? Being crunchy is a lifestyle choice.
It’s about making health-conscious decisions that support having a safe environment for continual growth and prosperity.
There’s no strict right or wrong way to do it, but proponents of it do share one thing in common: they are making informed choices based on adequate research. Most of the time, the crunchy Mom or Dad will find themselves surrounded by the same groups of people in different sects of their lives.
For example, the parents who research vaccines also tend to be more likely to research food sources, antibiotics and so forth.
Crunchy mommas don’t think they’re better than everyone else. They just want to do better than what the mainstream society and profit industries encourage. They want to have an explanation for their choices and know they’ve been made with sound judgment and substantial facts in mind.
Like anything else, crunchy Moms come in all shapes and sizes. One could almost say that being crunchy exists on a spectrum. Some are just starting out while others have been raised to be the way they are since birth by their own crunchy Mom.
While this certainly isn’t an all-inclusive list that aims to dictate what will or won’t make someone a member of the crunchy community, it’s safe to say the majority of its members are abiding by most, if not all, of the following.
16 They Eat That Placenta
Alright, there might be a few chunks and bits left at the bottom of the glass, but who doesn’t love a placenta smoothie? The answer is: almost everyone. As a self-proclaimed crunchy momma, I still refuse to believe anyone loves the taste of placenta. They might love how well they cover it up in a bundle of kale and pineapple, though.
Other forms of placenta consumption include placenta pâté and adding it to stir frys and other meals that will mask the sometimes musky and metallic flavor. One can always pull a Kim Kardashian and sear it in a pan of its own juices. Alright, Kim didn’t really feed her family her placenta, but it was priceless to watch their faces when they thought they had eaten it.
Encapsulation is the most popular method of repurposing the placenta for consumption. It can be prepared in raw form, which needs to stay in the freezer, but use caution because a lot of women react to this potent form of the organ. The hormonal makeup may be a little too much for some mommas.
The traditional Chinese medicine form is dehydrated and combined with herbs to lessen the blow and is probably more practical for most women.
15 Crunchy Moms Hold Pox Parties
This one is a little controversial and certainly doesn’t apply to all crunchy mommies. Still, many have a broad knowledge of the ill efficacy and poor safety of vaccines. So they opt out and instead encourage the immune system to do its thang. Does that mean they’re out there looking for ways to get their kids sick? No! Of course not, but should the opportunity arise, most will take advantage of it.
You see, it is clinically proven that vaccines do not offer lifelong immunity and they actually have more side effects and cause more deaths than the illnesses their aim to protect against. So if little Timmy down the street comes down with chicken pox, you can bet that his crunchy momma might see that as an opportune time to have a playdate with her other crunchy mom friends.
Contracting the natural chicken pox virus isn’t without risk, but the risks posed by the vaccine are now known to be greater. In lieu of risking neurological damage and death at the hands of the shot — which doesn’t work for everyone and won’t provide lasting immunity for those is does work for — they deal with a week of the itchy skin rash and set their kids up for lifelong immunity.
14 They Love To Babywear
Babywearing is about far more than attachment parenting and trying to raise children who aren’t comfortable more than one foot from their mothers — which isn’t what it’s about at all. Babywearing is about comfort to a degree.
Infants are not born with the ability to comfort themselves, contrary to popular belief. This is one of the major reasons crying it out has come under fire in recent years. Instead, babies are born after spending their entire existence wrapped up and coddled inside their mother’s womb. They aren’t accustomed to being alone or separate from mom, and that’s okay.
The crunchy mom recognizes this; not that other mothers do not, but babywearing is a pretty solid staple of being crunchy. Of course, there are benefits aside from comfort, too.
Babywearing strengthens the vestibular system in developing infants, which is far more important than most people realize in a world where so many kids are being diagnosed with neurobehavioral issues that plague their vestibular sense. This leads to improve motor development and even helps with breathing and balance well into the toddler years.
13 Crunchy Moms Use Homeopathy And Essential Oils
Neither essential oils nor homeopathy are intended to be replacements for modern medicine when it is needed. Rather, they are both considered alternative forms of medicine. There are times when they may warrant appropriate use, but there are times when they might not be enough, too.
There is a common misconception about natural lifestyle parents that touts they resist modern medicine and will put their children in harm’s way just to forego having to go to a hospital or use an antibiotic. Do these parents exist? Yes, but they aren’t a very big part of the crunchy community.
The crunchy mom will notice signs of ear ache in her child and resort to garlic mullein oil and breastmilk in the ear to clear it up. Most ear infections are not severe enough to warrant a prescription from the doctor and thus, pediatricians and family doctors alike resist doling them out now knowing that it will clear on its own. Should it fail to, and the garlic oil and breastmilk treatments don’t work, the vast majority of crunchy moms would be off to the doctor.
12 They Say No To GMOs
Is there anyone left on the planet that hasn’t come into contact with the term GMO yet? Probably not, but I’d be willing to bet a lot of people still don’t understand what it is and why it’s important to know. GMO stands for genetically engineered organisms. When our food is tainted with GMOs, illness is given a new host.
In the nine years following the introduction of GMOs in 1996, one study found that the number of people with at least three forms of chronic illness rose from 7 percent to 13 percent in America. As a result of cross-pollination, even farms that are non-GMO struggle to stay that way.
The studies cited to support the safety of using GMOs are an atrocity all their own. The individuals who profit from Roundup use on crops, like Monsanto, are practically in bed with the people who are overseeing these studies. The entire process is corrupt. GMOs are linked to digestive disorders, autism, infertility, allergies, advanced aging, immune system disorders, organ damage, cancer and more.
11 She Doesn't Want Fluoride In Her Water
Touted as beneficial to the teeth and a necessary component of toothpastes, mouthwash and the very water that we drink, fluoride came to be a household name in the 1940s when it was added to city water supplies across the county.
Even some of our foods and drinks are manufactured with water that contains fluoride. That and the inability to control for the dose any one person receives through the water supply is a potential health hazard.
Fluoride is a drug by classification and has been linked to muscular disorders, impaired thyroid function, cancer, impaired immune systems, infertility, dementia, arthritis, bone fractures and more. The crunchy mom is all too aware that no randomized controlled studies exist on the safety and efficacy of water fluoridation.
Choose fluoride-free — and if you’re smart SLS-free — toothpastes and mouthwashes. If well water isn’t in your future, there is a way to spare yourself. There are household water filters that remove the fluoride from the water supply. There are also reverse osmosis countertop filters which cost far less and are more practical for renters.
10 Crunchy Mamas Do Research!
This is the crux that nearly all other aspects of crunchiness fall unto. If it hasn’t been researched, it’s not crunch-worthy. Crunchy folks know what they are doing and they know why they are doing it. They are never doing something just because the doctor recommends it, and they certainly aren’t just because everyone else is.
What does this research entail exactly? Peer-reviewed studies that can be replicated and are free of conflicts of interest are a good start. If the scientific method wasn’t followed, the crunchy person isn’t terribly interested. These are the folks that you might end up in an argument with on Facebook who can truly hold their own and substantiate their claims with clinical data.
Research truly is the principle that underlies almost all decisions a crunchy momma makes. What is ironic is that many crunchy moms assume they are just making decisions that are well-aligned with living a natural lifestyle. They sometimes happen upon the research that supports their decisions merely as a side effect.
9 She Proudly Co-Sleeps
Co-sleeping actually used to be the norm. It’s not weird or uncomfortable or dangerous. Well, it’s not dangerous when it’s done right. Nowadays, co-sleeping bassinets are all the rage if you aren’t ready to full on bed share. They act as bassinets that boast a convertible side which drops down so that the open side will be flush with the bed.
This acts as a barrier while also leaving an opening for Mom or Dad to sleep right beside baby.
Round about the time when baby nurseries became a booming trend, the baby industry capitalized on this notion and created every style of crib one could possibly drum up to appeal to the masses. Think it’s not an advertising mechanism? Well, you weren’t me when I was trying to find a round crib to turn into a hot air balloon that would fit our son’s World Traveler nursery theme.
Some crunchy moms bed share instead of co-sleeping. I’m one of them. I wouldn’t say I was always crunchy. That happened as I got older and a little wiser. The more open-minded I was and more keen on research I became, the crunchier I got, I guess.
However, even way back to 2003 and my first birth — which was medicated — I bed shared. There is nothing sweeter than holding your baby all night and waking up with them in your arms.
8 Some Crunchy Moms Are Anti-Vax
Crunchy moms come in different forms. Not all refuse to vaccinate. Some follow the recommended vaccine schedule. Others delay and space vaccines, giving their child only one at a time and holding off until three to five years old. The theory on waiting is that the blood brain barrier will be closed and the risk of injury gets smaller.
Spacing vaccines is done so fewer toxins are being administered at once and should a reaction occur, it would be easy to pinpoint which vaccine did it.
Crunchy parents who don’t vaccinate have once again done their research. They have found studies touting the safety of vaccines aren’t truly double-blind. They've read somewhere a claim that more people are being killed by vaccines than by the measles, mumps and so on.
They may have also read personal accounts from people who have had terrible reactions to vaccines which have cause a host of problems from skin disorders to brain damage. Add to this the upheaval that news from films like Vaxxed bring to the table. Point blank, they feel they know too much to vaccinate.
7 Crunchy Moms Are Breastfeeders
Let me start off by prefacing that many, many women are lied to by doctors, lactation consultants and the like when they are told they can’t breastfeed. Some naturally assume this on their own when things get rocky, too. Only 2 percent of women are truly unable to breastfeed. The crunchy mom knows this.
Even with a low supply, you can breastfeed with supplementation if you aren’t able to increase it via feeding, pumping, supplements, or medications.
In lieu of being able to breastfeed, donor milk is an amazing option that most crunchy moms would jump at being able to use before succumbing to formula. Babies who are breastfed have better developed immune systems and suffer from fewer incidences of illness. If donor milk is truly unavailable, goat’s milk-based formula that can be ordered online is the next best thing.
They have also been shown to have higher IQs later in life and produce more income. Some studies have shown IQ rates as much as 7.5 points higher in breastfed babies when compared to formula-fed. Another touted a greater number of years in school and a 20 percent higher income level for people who were breastfed for at least one year.
Once again, the crunchy mom just can’t just turn her cheek to the benefits of breastfeeding, or the bonding it brings.
6 Crunchy Moms Use Cloth Nappies
By the time I was preparing to have my second baby boy last year, I was taken aback by the number of women I saw in my parenting groups that were opting for cloth diapers. I felt a little clueless at first, and when I joined some groups specifically designated to cloth nappies, I was completely overwhelmed.
Pockets, All-In-Ones, Covers, Flips, All-In-Twos and so forth, I proved that an old — okay I’m not that old — dog can learn new tricks. I also learned why so many mommas, many of them crunchy, chose cloth over sposies. First and foremost, have you ever looked up the ingredients in disposable diapers? Yikes! Endocrine disruptors galore. They’re also terrible for the environment.
After I ordered by first few diapers, a trio of Kawaii newborn pockets with bamboo inserts, I was hooked. Then the buying started. I definitely recommend buying several styles and brands from others — yes, used, they can be cleaned — until you get a feel for what you want.
Also, proceed with caution; buying fluff is as much an addiction as wanting to see it on their cute little butts. I actually just got new diapers in the mail yesterday!
5 She Loves Her Diva Cup
For the foreseeable future, pads and tampons are going to rule the world of menstruation. Most of the women I end up discussing the menstrual cup or cloth pads with are entirely unaware that there are even other options.
I’ve met girls who are just starting their periods and already aware of the menstrual cup. However, I’ve also met post-menopausal women who spent every decade of their reproductive years hating tampons and paper pads and had no clue there was anything else.
The first person to suggest cups to me was one of my friends who is not what most would call crunchy. So there might just be a little crunch in all of us.
Many who forego pads and tampons after years of use are shocked to find their periods improve. The cramps they had for decades seem to vanish. Their flow lightens and their whole period is over a day sooner than normal. Think I’m joking? Try some cups and see what happens. What do you have to lose if not your cramps?
4 Crunchy Moms Are All For Extended Rear Facing
Ah, car seat safety. There’s nothing that infuriates the crunchy mom faster than seeing someone with their one-year old facing the front seat. It’s so crucial that the hospital won’t let you leave without seeing the car seat installed properly first.
This safeguard is important because many babies are injured or killed each year in automobile accidents that weren’t strapped in correctly. Likewise, babies are often turned to the forward-facing position far too early in life.
In fact, the regulations have finally caught up with the research and now many states are mandating that parents keep their children facing the rear of the car until at least two years. Alright, the regulations are a little slow, but they’re getting there. Not every state had made it a law, but parents can research for themselves and choose to extend the period of time that their little one is rear-facing.
In addition, know that while a lot of states are saying two years, the research shows it’s actually safest up to four years old. A study comparing two year olds who were rear facing to those facing forward noted the rear-facing group was five times safer. Stick to the facts, not opinions; that’s what crunchy moms do.
3 She's All For Natural Childbirth
Every crunchy Mom definitely does not abide by this ritual. Natural childbirth isn’t for everyone. I hate to say that, but it isn’t. If you can’t get out of your own head and prepare for a natural birth in advance, it’s not terribly likely to go over well. Not every woman is at a place in her life where she knows how to harness that kind of control over herself.
Likewise, not every woman knows how to let go and trust her body well enough to endure childbirth naturally, either. That’s okay.
That being said, not every woman who opts for natural childbirth is crunchy. Many are not. A lot of women prefer natural childbirth simply because they hate drugs, had a bad experience with the epidural, or feel that birth was intended to be natural and that medicating it takes away the experience altogether.
Crunchy mommas that choose natural childbirth may also share some of those reasons. However, they also likely have some statistics to back up their point of view. Natural childbirths are typically shorter in duration with fewer interventions and negative complications. They’re also less likely to tear during pushing or need forceps or a vacuum to deliver their babies.
Opiate medications used as pain relief during labor are linked to problems with breastfeeding, trouble regulating infant temperature and inhibition of letdown in mom.
2 Crunchy Moms Do Homesteading
This one is still a work in progress for me. Each year, I learn how to keep plants alive. I’m still learning. My black thumb and I look forward to the day when we can primarily live off of our own produce part of the year.
I am constantly envious of my crunchy mom friends whose crops are thriving while I’m trying to pluck five healthy cherry tomatoes from my garden vines, but hey, who’s counting?
Homesteading is about more than just what your garden grows, though. It’s about being self-sufficient and on a much more extreme level than produce. Canning my vegetables and making marinara sauce is as far as I’ve gotten on this and it might be all I ever desire to do.
I am re-training my mind to be patient enough for sewing, something I had no interest in for 15 years until I suddenly had to make my own breast pads and baby bowties last year.
Homesteading includes more than textiles, too. A lot of crunchy moms will make their own lotions — often out of breastmilk — and soaps. Even shampoo can be made at home. I did spend the better part of a year making our laundry detergent.
It wasn’t a terrible experience, but I wasn’t digging all the experimentation it was taking to get it right for our whites, and homemade detergent and cloth diapers do not mix. So, we’re back to the bottled stuff for now. Sorry, crunchy friends!
1 She's Into Oral Health
This actually has nothing to do with cheese, which is delicious, and I say that as someone who considers herself to be fairly crunchy — there’s that word again. I’m talking about your pearly whites. I tossed my white strips and bleach trays long ago for more environmentally safe and health conscious methods of teeth whitening. Yes, peroxide is an option, but it’s not the best one.
Activated charcoal is. No, not the syrup kind that you keep on hand in case your baby swallows something with a Mr. Yuck sticker on it. It’s the same thing and can indeed turn your stomach if ingested, though, so use with that in mind. You can usually find activated charcoal powder at health food and supplement stores.
Dip a wet toothbrush into the powder or dump the contents of a capsule onto the toothbrush. Then scrub for a minute or two.
Rinse your mouth really well when you’re done. Word to the wise: Try not to get powder everywhere. A crunchy mom could lose her mind trying to clean it up. Try to remember: crunchy does not mean judgy. If a mom is calling names and shaming you, that’s judging. If they’re simply saying there’s a better way, that’s educating. Don’t get it twisted.