Tuesday, April 08, 2014

How Thyroid Disease Changed My Shopping Habits

Recently my Facebook feed was full of people sharing an anti-union video from a big box retailer. The industry I work in is represented by unions so several people were sharing the video vowing to "think harder" about where they shop and questioning the choices of the actors in the video.

I used to shop Super Big Box. Several years ago friends called them out on FB for supporting an antiunion or anti-GLBT  candidate or cause vowing to "think harder" about where they shopped. Back then I didn't think I could stop shopping at Super Big Box. Like anyone else I could go into Super Big Box only needing a couple things and end spending $80 on a cart full of stuff.

But it got me thinking about my shopping habits, which radically changed when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's. Actually that isn't completely true,  they had been changing before I was diagnosed. See the thing about having hypothyroid disease is that it makes you tired. Unbelievably tired.

Before I knew what was wrong all I knew is that I was tired. Too tired to drive to the nearby Super Big Box to get groceries. Too tired to trek across a huge parking lot and make my way through the sprawling grocery section. Too tired to walk through the other sections- pets, health and beauty, and get other things I might need. Too overwhelmed by all the choices. By the time I got home from shopping and putting away my groceries I was exhausted and needed a nap.

I actually started shopping at a local grocery chain that was probably more expensive because it was less exhausting for me. The thing is, I knew it was more expensive but it was worth the extra expense not to feel as tired as I felt after going to Super Big. The stores are probably the same distance from my house- about 15-20 minutes but this smaller grocery store was all I could manage. I no longer had to walk what probably amounted to an entire city block to get to and from my car. I didn't have to push a massive cart around because they have smaller carts.

When I was diagnosed with thyroid disease I decided the best investment I could make was joining a CSA. This year I did a winter CSA as well. Let me tell you kids, when you get a giant box full of vegetables that you've already paid for the week before a major holiday plus you get recipe and meal plans from your CSA's Pinterest board and newsletter it takes some of the stress away.

After my first summer of CSA membership I decided to join a co-op. Like the local grocery chain my co-op is pretty small compared to Super Big Box. I had been eating a mostly gluten free diet by then so it seemed like a good plan. Like the local grocery chain my co-op is nice, and small. The parking lot is nice and manageable and the carts are small. Because co-ops are all about organic, non-gmo, healthy, free range, fair trade, grass fed goodness the selection is different from Super Big Box and that is nice I am not overwhelmed by all the choices. After my first year of co-op membership I earned back my membership fee in profit sharing.

I don't go to Super Big much anymore. I get almost everything at my co-op and the cats get their stuff at the neighborhood pet store. When I pick up the occasional item at Super Big Box I often find that the gluten free, grass fed, organic items are slightly more expensive then they are at my co-op and they never go on sale. I suspect that they know that they can charge a premium for these items and that they do. In addition these are the items that go out of stock more often. There is nothing more frustrating than crossing a giant parking lot, pushing an oversized cart around and having no gluten free waffles to show for it.

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