Food! Glorious food! We can’t live without it, but sometimes it can be one of our worst enemies. Food can make you feel wonderful, but some foods can make you feel miserable.
My teenager was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. A long time ago, she zeroed in on the fact that she needed to modify her diet, and steer away from processed food and sugary drinks, in order to become thinner and healthier. She read articles, watched videos, and paid attention in health class at school. Though she was able to lose about 30 pounds through calorie restriction, her diet was not providing her with the adequate energy levels she needed to function properly. She felt bad in general all the time.
One month ago, my teen daughter, Andrea, decided to go with a plant based/vegan diet for a multiple of reasons, not the least of which is her intense love for animals.
Now, I have to admit, I was very skeptical at first.
“Oh, no, here we go,” I thought. It will be really impossible now to find food that she will want to eat. In the past, it has been a little difficult to find food that Andrea can or is willing to eat, mostly because a lot of things give her stomach and digestive issues, especially dairy products.
So how am I going to feed this child now?
For a while, she decided to try the Paleo diet, which includes recommendations for high fat and animal protein consumption along with some inclusion of fruits and vegetables. She had also gotten the idea that a very limited calorie intake was necessary. Not a good combo, especially for a teenager with a high metabolism. She was tired, hungry, and unhappy. I tried coaxing her to do differently, but Andrea has to make up her own mind about things. When she’s had enough, that’s it.
She’d had enough.
During the last month, I have watched Andrea undergo a transformation. She has eaten no meat or fish, no dairy, and very limited eggs. She even gave up the sushi with raw salmon that she loved so much. That’s when I knew she was serious.
Instead of consuming animal products and fat, she has consumed a plant based diet. She eats a lot of food, but it is a lot of veggies and fruit. And I mean a lot.
Her repertoire includes:
- Fresh pineapple
- Canteloupe and honeydew melons
- Ataulfo mangoes (A particular favorite for breakfast) and regular mangoes.
- Medjool dates
- Avocadoes (made into guacamole)
- Corn tortilla chips (Preferably blue corn, paired with the guacamole)
- Asian noodles
- Snow Peas
- Mushrooms (Stir-fried together with teriyaki and the four items above, and served over the rice or noodles)
- Cauliflower (with cocktail sauce dip)
- Celery (with peanut butter)
- Potatoes (mashed with coconut oil, coconut milk, and seasoning)
- Sweet potatoes (Cut into fries and baked with agave nectar, pumpkin spice, and a little brown sugar)
- Vegan pizza (No cheese or meat, but with sauce and lots of veggies. Papa John’s has vegan crust.)
- Coconut milk ice cream
She eats whatever amount of these foods that she wants, with no calorie restrictions at all. She eats when she is hungry, and stops when she is full and satisfied.
The most amazing thing I have observed during the past month, other than how much happier she seems, is the change in her skin.
Andrea has suffered with acne for several years. She has tried numerous “cures” and cleansers, topical treatments, and masks, most of which only made her break out even more. As soon as one blemish would start to heal, it would be replaced by two or three more.
But not now.
After one month with her plant-based eating lifestyle, her skin has begun to clear. Her acne breakouts and cystic acne scars are almost completely healed, with no new ones coming in to replace them. The dark circles under her eyes are diminished, and an extra benefit is that she lost about 3 pounds without even intending to.
I told Andrea toward the beginning of her experiment that if I saw she was not thriving and looking healthy, then she would have to modify her plan of action. But now that I have observed the positive outcome thus far, I have to say she has made a believer out of me.
How important is it to support our teens when they make certain decisions that we might not always agree with in the beginning? Very important. Vital, even. Of course, we as their parents have an obligation to see that our teens’ happiness and overall well-being are achieved. But sometimes our kids may want to try or do things that challenge our own beliefs and persuasions.
And that’s okay.
They are individuals with their own thoughts and ideas about the world, and their place in it. We are here to guide them, but also to support and encourage them, especially when they are doing things that can eventually have a very positive result.
I am happy to support Andrea in her quest for good health and a natural lifestyle. My goal is and always has been for God to bless my children with health and happiness. I want to facilitate that myself as much as I can.
How about you? Have you had any similar issues with your teens? Have they wanted to try things or do things that made you go, “Hmmm” at first? What was your reaction?
Scroll down and leave a comment. I would love to hear about your experiences.
Thanks, and as always,