When I progressed into Hellenismos, I had no idea how much my life would change. I figured my religious practice would change and maybe my ideology. I was sure I would start to see the world a little differently. When I asked for questions, someone wishing to remain anonymous asked me something along the lines of: 'what are the little things that make you feel like a Hellenist?'. I love this question because it are actually the little things that have made the biggest impact on my life.

I titled this post with yoghurt for a reason; as I have posted before, I have some food intolerance issues, which means that in order to take in all dietary necessities, I need a very balanced meal plan. Because bread is off of the table for me, butter automatically is as well, and believe it or not, these were two of my main sources of calcium. Like most Dutch kids I know, I grew up on milk; I used to have two to three glasses a day but, in the spirit of sharing how the little things have changed my life, I gave up milk a good while back because drinking milk was something the ancient Hellenes frowned upon. Giving up milk felt like the right thing to do, even though it isn't a religious practice per se. It's a way for me to connect to the culture I am invested in. It also means that I am now sorely lacking a steady source of calcium and other good things that come with it, like vitamin D. So recently, I introduced a daily breakfast bowl of yoghurt to my diet.

Yoghurt is milk to which a bacteria--Lactobacillus bulgaricus--has been added. Roman historian Pliny the Elder (who lived a little after we entered the AD era) may have written about yoghurt saying:

"[T]he barbarous nations ... understand how to thicken milk and form therefrom an acrid kind of milk with a pleasant flavour".

There are no Hellenic sources to either support or negate that the ancient Hellenes might have enjoyed it so for now, this is Recon enough for me and stops me from having to add another dietary supplement to my diet.

In another example, I have spoken before about putting up or at least tying my hair before going out, as a religious but also as a cultural nod to the ancient Hellenes. The point is that no one but my partner--and perhaps close family/family friends whom are not within the scope of sexual relations material--can see me with my hair unbound. This works great in theory, but there are some difficulties; what about sleep-overs? Vacations with a group of people? And the one I encountered just this week: going to the spa. It might seen counter intuitive, but while I'm sitting stark naked on a wooden bench in an oven, I only feel uncomfortable if my hair comes undone. In general, the spa isn't a problem, but washing your bun afterward because there is no individual shower area? That's the point where you realize you are doing something other people aren't.

Winter time poses another interesting dilemma. I have shared before how my altar is in my bedroom and that my girlfriend's work makes her keep odd hours, so there are plenty of days I really need to leave the house before she even wakes up. I try to do my morning rituals in the morning, but that isn't always possible because I don't want to wake my girl, and frankly, I like doing them alone or at least out loud. In the summer that means I can postpone them until after dinner if I have to, but even now, if I haven't done them before four PM, I have a problem.

This post is basically to say that religion is all-encompassing and it will become part of your entire life if you let it. Honestly, that is the best part. We are modern people, dealing with modern issues, but we are trying to relate to Gods and culture(s) from a very different and distant past. We deal with everything that comes our way the best we can and in the end, we find a place where we are comfortable, and happy, and blessedly religious. The little things that make me feel like a Hellenist are the ones where I am -reminded- I am a Hellenist; the things that make me realize who I am and who I worship are outside of the norm but so very beautiful. That is what I love so much about my religion.