Emily Morrow may seem normal, but one glance at her thrifted clothes and iconic bottle of homemade kombucha confirms she’s certainly not mainstream.
“I would describe myself as a very regular mom. I guess not like a mainstream mom, though,” Morrow told The Federalist. “I just have an interest in holistic living and I’m also a very sarcastic person, so I can see the humor in the choices that I make.”
Morrow is the star of @reallyverycrunchy, one of the most followed holistic social media accounts. Her humor-filled spin on the natural lifestyle she embraces earned her more than 1 million followers across TikTok and Instagram since the accounts’ creation in 2022.
“It just feels hilarious and surreal because I am the most awkward person ever and also the most average mom. Just a mom just making fun of her life,” Morrow said.
Corporate media accuse viral advocates of natural living like Morrow of “radicalizing” vulnerable new parents with dangerous, “anti-science” information. In reality, influencers like Morrow just want everyone to learn how to think for and laugh at themselves.
Underneath the quirky facade she puts on her internet shorts is a woman inspiring her followers to think for themselves, evaluate what they are putting in their bodies, and prioritize how they are spending their time with their families.
“It should never be about somebody making the wrong choice. Just about you making the right choice for your family,” Morrow said.
The Morrows first stumbled upon the crunchy lifestyle during their mission to save money on food. At the time, the Morrows were living in an RV and trying to calculate how to maximize their nutrients while keeping the grocery bill low.
“I read somewhere that if you only buy processed foods that have five ingredients or less, then it cuts out a lot of the stuff that you eat. Really, that was more of like a money-saving thing for me than a healthy eating thing. But it made me start looking at ingredients, which sparked my interest in, ‘Why are there so many crazy ingredients in the food I’m eating? What is this?’” Morrow said.
When the Morrows had children they “had to make decisions for,” they then decided to commit to a holistic life.
In late 2021, the Morrows realized Emily’s passion for healthy living and Jason’s interest in content creation could be harnessed to create online humor. The couple went to work writing, filming, and producing videos exaggerating and mocking Morrow’s affinity for eating veggies off of the vine, toad husbandry, and sharing the healing power of breastmilk.
The Morrows started out with a small goal: make and post one satirical video every day in 2022.
“By our eighth video, the one about crunchy mom at a birthday party, that one went viral, and then it kind of went crazy from there,” Jason said.
“If you’re crunchy, you can laugh at it. If you know someone who’s crunchy, you can laugh at it. If you hate crunchy people, you can laugh at it because it is sort of outside looking in how you feel like crunchy people are,” Morrow said.
In addition to portraying herself in the now every other day skits, Morrow plays characters based on stereotypes — some truer than others — and how they react in countercultural situations.
“Juniper’s mom,” an overzealous woman who scoffs when Morrow falls short of ultimate crunch, is rivaled by “silky mom,” a sugar-loving woman in a Coca-Cola tee who is always on the hunt for her kids’ iPads. Well-meaning but nicotine-addicted “Aunt Claudia” occasionally makes an appearance in the shorts, as does barefooted “Shady,” a dealer who sells coveted health goods such as unpasteurized raw milk and elderberry syrup to crunchy moms.
After a few well-received appearances in early videos, Jason also started playing himself, a well-read husband who lovingly tolerates his wife’s odd, organic-inspired antics like oil pulling and ribbon dancing by moonlight.
“The people who really get it realize that it’s Emily’s self-deprecating humor. She’s making fun of herself and then turning it up about three or four notches,” Jason said.
Trading Toxins For Truth
Going viral prompted Morrow’s followers to beg for more content and even more advice about how they can embrace more natural living. That’s exactly what Morrow plans to share in her upcoming book, which will be published by HarperCollins in one year.
“It’s basically going to be a tongue-in-cheek guide to being really very crunchy,” Morrow said.
Morrow said the book’s tagline, “Removing toxins from your life without adding them to your personality,” is a nod to how hostile the crunchy world can be, especially to newcomers.
“One thing that I think, in general, the holistic community fails at is they get so judgmental,” Emily said.
Committing to a non-mainstream lifestyle can get expensive, overwhelming, and even induce worry about making the healthiest choices possible. That is why Morrow said anyone interested in becoming crunchier should make “one little decision at a time.”
“Don’t allow it to consume you with anxiety, because anxiety is far more harmful than the silky or non-crunchy choices that you would be making,” Morrow said.
The best place to start, according to Morrow, is to “evaluate your habits and ask yourself why.”
“Start questioning why you’re doing what you’re doing and what exactly you’re doing,” Morrow said. “For example, food. What food are you eating? Where did it come from? What are the ingredients? And why do you feel good about eating it? That’s going to be different for everybody.”
Morrow also said eliminating screens and teaching kids life skills like cooking is a great place to start.
“It’s cool to see your kids learn new things,” Morrow said.
Contrary to what her “crunchy or not” series may suggest, Morrow said there’s no “right” way to explore how to live a happy, healthy, intentional life.
“People make a big show out of their choices. You can quietly make decisions. If somebody is curious, they can ask you why. And you can answer without it being full of shame,” Morrow said. “If you want someone to support the decisions you’re making for your family, you have to do the same for them. Even if you don’t agree with what they’re doing, as far as crunchy toys, or feeding their kids Cheetos, or whatever. It’s really none of your business.”