Jun 8, 2010

The Life of a Teenager on a ‘Real Food’ Diet

This article is written by Jessica Lipe, daughter of Mike and Lisa Lipe, whose family has been on a real food journey for about five years.
Early in the morning it’s time for fresh eggs from the back yard scrambled with newly picked greens. Toss in a few organic onions and you have breakfast. Lunch rolls around and the tantalizing aroma of pizza floods your senses in the cafeteria as you munch on lettuce, chicken, broccoli sprouts, and homemade lacto-fermented mayo, between homemade sprouted wheat bread. Dinner time! Its fresh liver and gravy with a side of lacto-fermented veggies. The choices of the veggies: Sauerkraut, pickles, or Kimchi. The pickles are the most bearable, so that ends up on your plate.

Five years ago, I would never have come near these meals with a ten foot pole. Now it’s nothing new. Eat it, or go hungry. Even if liver seems like the most detestable food you could ever eat, it really is good for you and after the initial disgust, quiet tasty, and a favorite meal for me and my family. But five years ago, things were different. And if you go back another five years, you’ll find cereal in our cabinet decked with sugar, sweets in the cupboard, and 1% milk in the fridge. You might even find me on the floor, curled up with violent stomach spasms. Those happened often, and were to be expected. This was uncomfortable and most annoying, not to mention painful. The years pass, and they remain, but finally Mom discovers a new way to eat. Bit by bit, our eating habits morph into ‘real food’, my brother and I protesting all the way. Even, now, the idea of eating brains or lamb fries terrify us, but those have yet to make the dinner table.

But now, with 11 years of stomach problems, they have all but disappeared in the five years I’ve been on ‘real food’. Raw milk replaced the 1%, eggs and healthy homemade smoothies took over the cereal, and the cupboards were bare of sweets and candies. What a shock to my brother's and my poor, sugar addicted taste buds. But don’t give up hope, we learned to adapt. We tried things we thought were disgusting, and to our surprised grew to like them. Sometimes the first taste was as bad as we expected it to be, but after multiple tastes, decided we could deal with it, and, eventually, grew to like it.

For example, Kombucha. This is a fermented Chinese tea that I wanted nothing to do with, but now, I drink it like most teens consume soda. Speaking of soda, I can’t stand the stuff! It makes my throat burn if I drink it, as it should everyone’s, but people have it so often, they just don’t notice anymore.

Parents, you brave ones who are trying to get your teens, or even spouses on this diet, take comfort. Tell your family it’s this or nothing; it worked on my brother and me. There were a few nights we went hungry, but eventually, our parents prevailed. Now don’t think that your teens will like everything you put before them, but I don’t regret changing my diet at all. I feel stronger and healthier and have more energy.

If I ever eat processed foods, I feel drained, and have a crabby attitude. I still struggle with avoiding sweets, they really are yummy, but sometimes, my stomach will react to that food, and my mind promptly decides that this ‘real food’ is much better. I enjoy Mom’s recipes (more often then not) and plan to get them for myself once I start a family.

Jessica Lipe, age 16

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  1. beautifully written---you are an inspiration to me and my family! thanks for sharing...

  2. Thank you Mrs. Fiser. Glad to be of help. :)

  3. Thanks. I needed that encouragement. My 15-year-old is very supportive, but the rest of my children are struggling with the changes we're making to our diet. Hopefully one day they'll appreciate it.



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