“Mum can you buy some more coconut milk and dandelion tea please.
And we are out of muesli, greens and sunflower seeds.”
I’m very proud of my daughter Indigo. At 14 she has embraced healthy foods and living with passion. She is dairy intolerant and despite discovering the deliciousness of yogurt and cheeses a few years back, she just doesn’t want to put up with the eczema and asthma that comes with it. After watching ‘What the Health’ and reading Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar’ book she is also eating less meat and sugar.
A typical day of food for her may be a superfood smoothie and rice porridge topped with nuts and fruit for breakfast, a green salad for lunch and dahl and brown rice for dinner or just simple roast vegetables with pesto. Typical snacks may consist of nuts, gluten free cereals, hummus or avocado on toast, fruit and bananas - lots of bananas!
Teens get a bad rap regarding their diets and junk food habits but not all young people are buying into the status quo. Zephyr and Oisin can debate the merits of wheat free diets, grass-fed beef and vegetable nutrition better that most adults and they are 16 and 13 respectively. Certainly, their mother is a Naturopath, but they enjoy and feel better on organic foods and mountains of fresh vegetables and healthy snack foods. It has given them an amazingly healthy start to life and equipped them with invaluable health knowledge, no matter any future food choices once they leave home, and this is what we as parents need to do – healthily nurture our children.
Another young man at my daughter’s school is a vegan in a traditional Greek family. They have told him they will not cater to his no meat diet but he is sticking with it, despite the difficulties. He recently gave an eloquent and heartfelt speech to his classmates regarding the environmental and ethical reasons against killing animals for food.
My nephew Eli and his partner Amanda put time and energy into eating well with practices like making kimchi at home commonplace. Though out of adolescence now, it was the good food practices he experienced growing up that has guided their current health consciousness. Wil’s favourite food is pizza but it’s also mackerel with lemon cooked in foil and pawpaw with lime. At another friend, Sophie’s house, Indigo says she had the best quinoa she has ever tasted and wants it on the menu. She has got the recipe for her weekly cooking endeavour.
We should take our hats off to these young people who in an age where, surprisingly, eating MacDonald’s is still (?) considered ‘cool’ they are saying no to rubbish food that damages young bodies and contributes to malnutrition.
The Australian Health Survey found Australians are spending half their food budget on junk foods and soft drinks. Professor Amanda Lee from the Sax Institute, says
"Less than four per cent of Australians eat adequate quantities of healthy foods, yet more than 35 per cent of their energy intake comes from discretionary foods and drinks, which provide little nutrition." For teens, who need extra good nutrition due to their rapid growth and development, loading up on sugar, sodium and bad fats means weight gain, high blood pressure, moodiness, constipation, fatigue and concentration problems. Not stuff you need on top of all those adolescent hormones running amuck and finding your way in this mad world!
Teens that are conscious of what they are putting into their bodies and resisting the allure of most junk foods with great strength, need to be celebrated and held up as role-models to other young people who want to change. They are showing strength, fortitude and individualism in an age and at a time of life when this is sorely missing. Healthy eating needs to be made ‘cool’ with the younger generation. These young people are leaders and potential teachers for their peers.
I keep telling Indigo she should write a blog…
#writing #health #teenagers #food