Has anyone had success with a 17 year old?


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I am starting my first "real" W30 on January 27th.  I was strict paleo for about 6 months and was full of energy and felt fantastic.  I am not even sure why I strayed from that type of diet, and now feel that dairy and suger are going to KILL me.  I have been gluten free for over 2 years but i really believe that with W30 I will finally heal.


My 17 year old daughter had to go off her ADHD meds back at Thanksgiving due to depression and racing heart issues - it was her choice to do this, not her doctors advice.  She felt like she needed more and more drugs for depression, poor sleeping, migrains etc.  I agreed to the trial and so far, she has straight A's, only one teacher complaint about too much talking all year (that happened even ON ADHD meds) and she is managing to get to her part time job on time without me having to watch her schedule.  This is all amazing, however, the more I read, the more I think that the temper tantrums, migrains and constipation and even the actual ADHD symptoms are being caused by her diet. 


I would do anything to get her to WANT to do this W30 with me.  Has anyone had any success in this area with a teen that drives and works and makes their own decisions?


Thank you!!

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Talk to her about it. Explain WHY you think it will help. She's practically a legal adult, so she needs to be on board too. Let her drive the bus - discuss the idea of paleo-ified foods with her, and let her decide if technically compliant foods that remind her of foods she shouldn't have (pizza, desserts, etc.) are off-limits.


Look through cookbooks and have her help choose meals. That way she has a say, and it's not making food into a giant power struggle. Even if she doesn't want to do a Whole 30, she might be open to adding in new meals to start with (she might freak out like she won't have anything she can eat, so that might help her understand there is delicious food out there) and making her own decisions about when she isn't at home.

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She sounds like she is already taking control of her condition and deciding what she needs / wants to get a balance she is comfortable with in her life. Have you talked to her about food (in a non-controlling way!)? Would she be open to reading ISWF? I'm always amazed that other people don't take the interest in food that I do -- I have diabetic friends who don't know what GI or GL even is. (How can you not know that? Especially if you HAVE blood sugar issues!). My son has all kinds of issues with allergies and asthma and I can't wait for him to be old enough to be making decisions about how to reduce his medication through a mixture of diet and possibly alternative therapies ... but (in my opinion) it needs to be his decision and he's too young to do that at the moment. He's too young for acupuncture right now, and I am not prepared to make him cut dairy out of his diet until he is willing to do it. (Whole host of other stuff going on there that is totally off topic!)


It's a decision she HAS to make for herself: the best you can do is talk to her about it, give her access to resources to help her make her own decision and model healthy eating and talk about what you are doing and why and how it makes you feel.


Good luck!

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Make sure she knows you're happy with her progress off the meds. It sounds like she has applied a lot of discipline for a healthy goal, which is very impressive in a teen her age :D


The thing to watch out for is the power struggle, if she feels she's being forced/nagged/critqued, it won't work. Teens are trying to find their identity (separate from their parents), so rebellion is pretty much built in :) Teens often get plenty of food critique socially, so home can be a haven away from that kind of pressure.


Has she shown any interest previously in paleo or better eating?


Whole30 might be a bit daunting for some teens, depending on peer activities and their workplace. Some adults find it hard to say no to non-compliant things, teens are more likely to be bullied for it (not just from teens, from adults too).


Any improvement in diet is a positive :) While paleofied foods are not Whole30, if they're leaps and bounds above what she's eating now, go with what works. Primal might also be easier to adjust to than paleo.


Get some paper cookbooks with pictures and ask her opinion on recipes, maybe cook some things together (even if you can't eat some of them). Teens like to feel adult, so try asking for help with a recipe you've never made before, or ask her opinion on how to prep something faster, or how to alter a recipe to take out something you both don't like.


Don't panic if she also eats bad stuff not at home and good stuff at home. If she feels sick after being out all the time, she'll figure it out.


Omega 3 supplements would be really good, but it would need to be her choice to take them.


On the inspiration front, bloggers like 17 year old Joshua (Slim Palate blog) http://www.thekitchn.com/meet-joshua-weissman-of-slim-palate-185528 (he gets a lot of press, there are loads of articles about him and guest posts on other blogs) 

Robb Wolf also has an article on ADHD & Ritalin http://robbwolf.com/2012/11/23/adhd-ritalin-deficiency/

A paleo cookbook writer's son posted: http://everydaypaleo.com/my-teenagers-perspective-on-paleo-guest-blog-by-coby-fragoso/

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Awesome responses, everyone, thank you for your time!   


I wanted to update on what has happened over the past week.  My daughter's boyfriend (who works out at 5:00am four days a week - at 17??) has decided he wants to go Paleo - just out of the blue started asking me about Whole 30.  We discussed the differences and he decided that Paleo is the most sensible program for a teen!  What a blessing!  So I am doing Whole 30 and they are doing full Paleo - They can eat whatever I put in the fridge with a blue lid on it & my noncompliant husband gets stuff with a red lid on it. The "red food" will be hidden in the bottom drawer so we don't have to look at it - LOL - along with a cupboard shelf for him out of the way of the "blue food" area.  He is on board to support us all and has promised to keep the leftover pizza in his TRUCK instead of in the kitchen.


Praxis, you are so right...better is good, perfect may not be attainable for her.  Here's to BETTER!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not sure how to get my 17 year old to do his homework, much less give up Kraft Mac and Cheese :-) Sounds like your daughter is making some choices that are pretty healthy. Maybe she needs to take her changes bit by bit and if she sees what you're doing, and has that super healthy boyfriend, she may just choose to make a diet change too. But I find that at 17, you can't really make them do anything... anyway, I can't! A lot of people connect diet with depression and other mental health issues. You might want to ask her, with her along, doctor about diet choices that might help and see if Whole 30 or Paleo fit his or her advice.

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