Let Me Introduce You To My Not So Green Side

As much as I strive to make my life and the lives of my family more eco-friendly every day, I’m far from perfect. A post by Lynnae over at Being Frugal, who is one of my fellow ElevenMoms, really made me take stock of the things I do in my life that aren’t very green and why I continue to do them. So on the off chance any of you think I’m some sort of green saint, I just wanted to fess up about some of these things and request your help with changing them.

1. I eat a lot of processed sugar


I can’t help myself. I have an insatiable sweet tooth, particular when it comes to cupcakes, cookies and Starbucks’ Java Chip Frappuccino ice cream. So though I don’t eat red meat and stick only to lean poultry and fish, if I find high fructose corn syrup on a label, I’ll probably still buy that food product. It’s a terrible habit that I’m trying really hard to keep my daughter from picking up, but she’s starting to develop a sweet tooth too. I need to fix that before she becomes like me.

2. I’m still a bit addicted to shopping


I have come a long, long way in the past several years, and I have seriously reduced what used to be my rampant consumerism. Not so long ago, if there was a name brand on something, I wanted it. Now, I’m a lot more conscious of the way I shop and the things I buy. But if I set foot in a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s store, it’s really hard for me to walk away without a cute purse (that I know I don’t need) or a pair of shoes (that were probably made in some factory in China paying ridiculously low wages). What I’ve been doing is staying as far away from stores and malls as possible if I don’t absolutely need something. And even then, I try to shop used or green first.

3. I’ve got a LOT to learn about green fashion


I’m a full-figured woman, and it’s hard enough trying to find clothes that don’t fit like a tent. If I add to that criteria the fact that I want those clothes to be sustainably made, and I’ve narrowed my choices down to almost nothing. It’s much easier finding sustainable fashion for my daughter and husband. Over the past 8 months or so, I’ve lost a lot of weight. About 40 pounds, to be more specific. That means I’m finally within fitting range of “regular” sizes and no longer have to shop exclusively in the plus size department. This has opened up my choices some, but there are still very few eco fashion lines that go up to a true size XL or 16. And if they do, their price tags are often too prohibitive for me. The clothing shown above is from Mountains of the Moon. Some of their pieces go up to XL, but they’re in the price range of investment pieces. That’s not a bad thing — just a fact.

If you know of any great lines that make larger sizes in eco fashion, I’d love to hear about them. I’ve been using Green Grechen’s list of plus sized eco-friendly fashion as my holy grail, but I’d love to find more options, especially now that 95% of my wardrobe is too big. I have been shopping at secondhand stores to lessen my environmental impact, but I’d still like something new every now and then.

4. For our personal care, it’s tough to stay green


My husband and I made the decision about a year ago to use Dr. Bronner’s pure castile liquid soaps as our primary products. We use them for bathing, cleaning and even washing our hair. I’ve also found a lot of great handmade organic soaps that I love and have started buying regularly. Beyond that, we’re having trouble finding safer, more natural products to use for everything else. Organic lotions are entirely too expensive for our budget. Between my hubby, my daughter and myself, an 8 oz. bottle of lotion would last a week. Maybe. Probably closer to 4 or 5 days. Olive oil leaves us too oily, and pure shea butter is just as expensive as the organic lotions. It’s tough to spend $15-20 every week on a single bottle of lotion.

Toothpaste is next in line, although we recently found that Walmart is carrying natural toothpaste by Tom’s of Maine and we plan to try it. Last on the list is hair conditioners. Same problem. A small bottle of natural conditioner costs too much to put them on our regular shopping lists. My daughter’s thick, kinky natural hair and my own with a similar texture require a lot of conditioner each time we wash. I have been finding some Carol’s Daughter products at TJ Maxx (when I dare to go in there) for incredibly low prices, but there’s no guarantee I’ll continue to find them there, and last time I checked, they were nowhere to be found. What products have you found to be effective, and where do you buy your products?

5. I want to go vegan, but I’m too picky about food

To put it simply, I love chicken. I stopped eating red meat and pork more than 10 years ago, but it’s hard for me to imagine what I’d eat if I were to switch to a vegan diet, or even a vegetarian. I’m terribly picky when it comes to food (except for sweets, of course), and I’m not too big on vegetables. It’s really hard for me, psychologically, to try new foods. I can’t bring myself to try tofu even though my husband is an incredible cook who does amazing things with it (think curries and herb-infused tofu soups). I don’t even like the idea of veggie burgers. So for now, I’m still eating my eggs, turkey bacon, fried chicken and turkey burgers, though I’m feeling more and more guilty about that as the days pass.

Those are five of the areas of my life where I need the most help turning over a new green leaf. I’m certain there are others, but lets just keep it simple for today. These confessions are a huge part of why I wanted to start Green & Gorgeous — so I could feel my way through the solutions with the help of anyone out there who chooses to join me for the journey.

So if you have found a solution to any of these problems that has worked for you and your family, by all means, share it in the comments, and lets figure this out together!

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By jennae

Hi! I'm Jennae Petersen and I'm the eco diva who had the bright idea to share my journey toward green living with the blogosphere. Some of you may know me as the founder of Green Your Decor, my blog about eco-friendly home decor, as a Walmart Mom, from Twitter or from my organic cotton t-shirt line Differently Clothing. Stick around for a while!


  1. I think all of us in one way or another have a ways to go. I think you have to focus on what you have improved over the past year, two years, etc from where you were before.

    You also have to realize you cant do EVERYTHING. I know I cant go vegan. I tried and it wasnt healthy for ME. The best I can do is reduce meat intake and dont buy/eat factory farmed meat, eggs, etc. I only buy pastured eggs, grass feed beef (though it rare for me to eat beef) pastured chicken, non-endangered fish, etc. I dont eat any sugars (even natural) because my health and waistline cant tolerate it. 🙂
    .-= Carla | Green and Chic´s last blog ..Giveaway: Win SIX Clean+Green Eco-Friendly Pet Cleaning Products =-.

  2. I really enjoyed your article and appreciate your honesty because I often feel quilt about having an eco-shop while knowing I am not as green as I could be. I am successfully working on going vegetarian but it’s so hard to imagine going completely vegan due to my love of good cheese. I do agree with Carla that you have to focus on the improvements you made and how far you have come. I know that even though I have a long way to go that I have made several green improvements in my life and I continue to educate myself on what I can do to live a greener life.

    p.s. Eco brand Ideo carries size XL that truly fits a size 14-16.

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