I have been dealing with my health struggles for years, and while I have never had a blasè attitude toward any of it, I also can’t claim to have been overly invested in or mindful of my choices.
And then the babies came.
In all likelihood, I’ve been silently suffering from diabetes for a number of years now, but it took becoming pregnant to truly bring it to my attention. We’re all familiar with the 28-week glucose test during which expectant mothers are given the drink that is promised to taste “just like orange soda”(it doesn’t). Well, my results were so high that my doctors didn’t even bother with the standard follow-up test; I was just put straight on insulin for the duration of the pregnancy. While I was considered “high-risk”, the pregnancy and labor and delivery were largely uneventful. Such was the case again 9 months later when I began a 2nd pregnancy. This time my doctors didn’t even wait until week 28 and I was instead put on insulin again from day one of my first office visit. And again, I was considered “high risk” and had to be monitored twice weekly, which I’m glad for, for the “just to be sure” sake of it. But really, the pregnancy was fine, and so was the delivery and baby.
But it did change me. Whereas before, I never really even had any symptoms (or at least none that were strong enough to make me take notice), after delivery it’s as if it no longer matters what I eat. I can have a freakin’ piece of lettuce and a sip of water and yet my glucose readings will skyrocket. Trying to control my numbers is now a major challenge, and for the first time I’m seriously starting to feel the effects of the disease: the crushing fatigue, excessive thirst, headaches, blurry vision, tingly limbs…it has absolutely been enough to scare me into wanting to do something about this. I have these poor, innocent babes here now and it’s my job to be healthy enough to take care of them. So I must get better and I must do better, there are no other options. I figure, what better time in life than infancy to start off fresh and introduce good habits so that it just simply becomes a way of life for them without even trying?
So that’s the goal: better, healthier eating choices. Greener, cleaner products. I’ve begun little by little in trying to replace household items and necessities with more natural, organic, and eco-friendly alternatives. The journey has actually been quite enjoyable. I’ve loved recycling items since I first learned the 3R’s back in grade school. I’ve always abhorred plastic bags and was on a reusable tote bandwagon long before its recent rise in trendiness (although I admit I’ve still not gotten any better about leaving them in the car and having to go retrieve prior to checking out). I’m actually giddy with anticipation on moving soon and having more room to garden and compost. And I wish I could consider a hybrid or electric car, but alas, these are items that are not quite within my price range at this time.
And there-in lies my biggest issue with this whole ‘going green’ thing–it’s just so freaking expensive! I love that we have stores now such as Whole Foods and online venues such as AbesMarket.com, but I hate the designer prices. And my next biggest gripe: while “biodegradable” is my new favorite word, the bottom line is that I still need my products to work. deodorants, laundry detergents, chocolate…these are but a few items on which I’m unable to compromise on quality just because they may be “all natural”. Luckily, I’ve found some good eco laundry products already. Deodorant and chocolate, not so much.
Because this change is so important to me, I’ve (begrudgingly) accepted the price-jacking and will opt for the “better-for-you” item at $.50 to $1 more than the leading brand, but even that is about all that I can do. I just can’t afford to do my entire grocery and household shopping at Whole Foods. But with every new day and every new shopping trip, I find more and more healthy, functional, and reasonably priced items. It truly excites me to see the expansion and availability of these options. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey of buying, trying, and testing to see which products hold up. It feels like I’ve hit the lottery each time that I get a hubs-and-babies “thumbs-up” on a new eco household item or food and am able to rid the house forever of its over-processed and artificial predecessor. Here’s hoping for many more of these green badges of honor!