Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
6 Jun

Teen Goes Primal, Has More Energy for Her Passion

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

real life stories stories 1 2Hi, my name is Lauren and I’m a fourteen-year-old Primal teen. My mom switched to the Primal lifestyle a year and a half ago after reading The Primal Blueprint. I decided to try it with her, not for weight reasons (I’m 5’8” and 120 lbs) but to help with some annoying acne issues and to try to be stronger and healthier.

Since about fourth grade (I’m in eighth now) I have missed around twenty-five days of school each year from colds, ear infections and other minor infections. What should have been little illnesses somehow put me in bed for a week at a time. I ride five days a week, give riding lessons to younger kids, and show once or twice a month, so I was missing things that I love to do and always ended up feeling weak. I also had these small clusters of annoying pimples that wouldn’t go away, no matter how much I washed my face or used drying lotions.

Until a year and a half ago, I ate like most of my friends. Breakfast was something easy to grab, like cereal, a bagel, yogurt, or a muffin. Lunch was whatever school served that day and my mom cooked dinner most nights.

The first two weeks were pretty hard, I missed certain foods, and I felt kind of tired and hungry all the time, but after that, switching wasn’t too bad. Mom makes sure that there are always plenty of snacks around like nuts, fruit, beef jerky, and deviled eggs (my favorite, especially with roasted prosciutto on top). I do miss bread in the morning, so sometimes Mom makes things from coconut flour or almond meal that I love. I take my lunch to school everyday because it’s easier than trying to make a Primal meal from the school lunch line, and dinner is some kind of meat and veggies. Sometimes I want dessert, so I will have dark chocolate or berries with whipped cream. For a treat, Mom will make ice cream sweetened with coconut sugar.

The first thing I noticed is that my pimples went away within a week! I mean totally gone! These pimples had been on my face for months and would not go away and suddenly they disappeared. Sometimes if I eat the wrong things, they come back a little, but never like before.

Also, after the first two weeks passed, I felt stronger and more energetic. Which really helps when I’m at the barn. I always ride my own horse, but I ride other horses at the barn too. I usually give at least six riding lessons a week, so I am in the saddle behind little kids or running along side them on the ground. It’s a long day and takes a ton of energy, but it’s my favorite thing to do in the whole world! I am also raising and training my next horse so I have to take care of her after I finish at the barn.

lauren5

The one thing I hadn’t expected was the change in my health. I didn’t notice it at first, but then after about four months I realized that I hadn’t been sick, not one cold or anything!

lauren4Certain things are harder for me than others, like holidays, parties, sleepovers and traveling to horse shows. I like the foods that I used to eat and sometimes I can’t resist. I haven’t been perfect and a have gotten off track a couple times, but I usually end up sick and my acne comes back, so my mom helps me get going again. She never pushes me, she says it’s my decision if I want to eat this way, but she does everything she can to support me. She says it’s harder for kids to be Primal because they aren’t really in control of what they eat. They don’t get to grocery shop and most other people never ask what kids want to eat, they just assume pizza or fast food will make them happy. I’m learning to make the best choices I can, even in difficult places like gas stations or fast food restaurants, which is usually where we stop when I travel to horse shows with my barn. I want to learn to cook now so that when I go to college, I will be able to stay healthy and fix Primal meals for myself.

I love the Primal lifestyle! It makes me look and feel better and I definitely like being healthier all the time. It might be a little harder for kids because they need an adult in their life help them out, but there is always a way to make it work!

Lauren

Make sure to check back on Tuesday for the very special release of Paleo Girl, a book written specifically for young Primal women!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Great post, Lauren. I’m glad Primal is going so well for you. You have a great mom too.

    Harry Mossman wrote on June 6th, 2014
  2. so great to see young people taking on this lifestyle! Props to you and your mom for making it work! Good luck in the show ring!

    Merky wrote on June 6th, 2014
  3. Great to read your story. I wish I had found the primal lifestyle so early in my life.

    C L Deards wrote on June 6th, 2014
    • To all you readers who wish you had gone Primal in your teens, cheer up. I didn’t go Primal until I was 67, four years ago.

      Harry Mossman wrote on June 6th, 2014
      • This has cheered me up! :)

        Lottie Parfitt-Reid wrote on June 19th, 2014
  4. I think all of us adults here wish that we had gotten on that path at a young age! But, there are also many success stories showing that it’s never too late to start.

    Stick with it Lauren, you will find that it not only promotes a healthier body, but a healthier mind as well. In time, you will be more driven and ambitious than ever before (and you’ll have the energy to accomplish your goals!)

    Great work!

    Jim Martyn wrote on June 6th, 2014
  5. As a parent I think it’s great that your mom takes the approach of giving you the choices and letting the benefits speak for themselves. It’s such a powerful thing to be able to take charge of your health at a young age. I wish I had been given the same opportunity. Glad you are feeling well!

    Michele wrote on June 6th, 2014
  6. Lauren – Congrats for committing to a healthy lifestyle at such a young age! I wish I could go back in time and do the same :)

    Erica wrote on June 6th, 2014
  7. Great job Lauren and high five mom!

    Irene wrote on June 6th, 2014
  8. Wow, really inspiring, and helps me know how to empower and support my kids, who are still much younger. Thanks for telling your story!

    Jenny wrote on June 6th, 2014
  9. I wish I’d had access to this Primal knowledge when I was Fourteen. I feel sure it would have helped with my own acne and other hormonal issues, and in turn would have helped me to be a happier, more confident kid.

    It’s great to see a young person who feels happy and healthy within their life. Well done Lauren!

    Susie wrote on June 6th, 2014
  10. What an inspiring story – thank you! My son is a few years younger than you and wants to be primal (allergies and tummy issues) but isn’t ready to make the leap. I’m going to ask him to read your story.

    Jessica wrote on June 6th, 2014
  11. Awesome Lauren! Great to see someone younger with a success story. I can’t wait to share your story with my daughters.

    John Vangelov wrote on June 6th, 2014
  12. Wish I had discovered this way of life in your age
    You look beautiful and healthy, keep up the good job!

    Gil wrote on June 6th, 2014
  13. Great success story, Lauren! And give your mom an extra hug today. :)

    Four Seasons wrote on June 6th, 2014
  14. Seriously? Primal at 14? Lauren, you may not realize it yet but you are setting yourself up for the BEST life ever! You are so – so ahead of the curve – I wish I was more aware at 14, I started at 40! Best of luck to you and your mom – you guys rock!

    Jess wrote on June 6th, 2014
    • Second best advise for the young:

      As you come into money, buy dividend paying, big blue chip stocks and setup a DRIP. You’d be amazed.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on June 6th, 2014
      • That may be good advice – but inappropriate on this thread.

        shtove wrote on June 7th, 2014
  15. Way to go Lauren! Like other commenters, I, too, wish I had found Primal eating earlier in life. However, as an 8th grade teacher, I am interested in your story on other levels as well. First, I am so happy to see a young teen with such a passion for such a healthy lifestyle. I look at all of the junk my students eat and I worry about their current and future health. I also see why there are so many behavioral problems in schools these days. I am fond of saying that I could solve 80%+ of behavior problems and not a small number of learning problems if someone would let me have 100% control over what my students eat. Sadly, that will never happen, but knowing a student like you is out there gives me hope! I wonder what your friends think of how you eat and the results you’ve gotten? I can only hope that some of your good habits rub off on them too! Keep up the good work – you’re headed for a lifetime of good health!

    Cathy wrote on June 6th, 2014
    • Thank you so much! To answer your question about my friends, they were kind of leery at first until they tried my food and decided that the primal lifestyle was tasty and fun! Whenever a teacher or a visitor asks me why I bring my lunch, I don’t even get a chance to chime in before my friends tell them all about it! They all scream “It’s a lifestyle, not a diet!”

      Lauren Thornberry wrote on June 6th, 2014
      • I think that Mark should make tshirts that say “The Primal Lifestyle is Tasty and Fun!” and put a percentage of the proceeds to your college fund :-)

        Seriously, though, how wonderful that your friends are on board! Having that kind of support from your friends must make things that much easier for you. I hope some of them have had positive results from eating primally.

        I don’t know if you’re in a place where school is already out or not, but enjoy Primal Living and your summer vacation with your horses. And three cheers to your mom, too, for all of her support!

        (And, on a totally unrelated note, since you’re a minor and I’m a teacher, I feel the need to point this out – I noticed that your last name is in your reply to me. I don’t know how careful you’re trying to be to protect your location, online security, and so forth, but I wanted to mention it since your last name isn’t in your success story anywhere.)

        Cathy wrote on June 7th, 2014
    • My daughter is in 5th grade and the crap most kids eat from sun up to sun down is shocking. Soda, “lunchables”, chips, and candy is just normal. My daughter has classmates that bring home packed lunches that are 100% gas station treats and convenience foods. No fresh fruit or vegetables. No milk. No nuts. Nothing that could be harvested or grown Their entire diet is processed fake food and candy. I don’t even know what a desert is to these kids since they start off with a coke and poptarts for breakfast anyway. One parent actually gives their kid a cup of coffee with sugar every morning. Along with the crappy diets comes unrestricted screen time on their pads and phones. So these kids brains are as over stimulated as their bodies are. Bad parenting seems to be a complete lifestyle. Of course these students usually have behavior issues and learning problems.Duh!

      Clay wrote on June 6th, 2014
      • You’re so right Clay! Even though I state the rules at the beginning of the year that there’s no eating in my classroom unless it’s part of an activity (I teach science and math and sometimes we use food to explore principles), I am constantly fighting students who want to eat chips or candy all period long. They are bonkers! And these are middle schoolers who are already, by nature, bonkers. And I am always taking away phones too. Something has to give in the system the way it is now, but I don’t see how that’s going to happen, except one student at a time, like Lauren, because of one parent at a time, like Lauren’s mom and you. And it certainly doesn’t help that in Health class they’re still teaching the SAD Food Pyramid. I hate it when the Health teacher says negative things about red meat and praises whole grains. But, at least whole grains would be a step in the right direction compared with poptarts and coke!

        Cathy wrote on June 7th, 2014
        • I’m a teacher too and I can’t stand the way I see my students eat. I just barely manage to keep my mouth shut, and settle for just bringing in the healthiest snacks possible when I bring them. Seriously…who sends their thirteen-year-old child to school with a large sugary iced coffee and Skittles for breakfast? Or a diet coke with Cheetos? Poverty isn’t an excuse. Yes, it’s an issue with a lot of the families where I work, but sorry – two eggs, a banana/apple, and a cup of water would be cheaper. I give them fruit as much as I can, and I wish I could do more. It’s inspiring to read a story like this from a teenager. It really is.

          Kat wrote on June 7th, 2014
        • “I am constantly fighting students who want to eat chips or candy all period long.”

          Of course they want to eat sugar! For brekkers they had sugared-cereal with skim milk and a glass of juice (and probably not even real juice — just a little something made up for them by Big Food!) , and they’re having a sugar crash! (Alas for the future!!)

          Elenor wrote on June 8th, 2014
  16. Lauren, this is such a great story, and so inspiring. I literally get heartsick when I see the junk we as a country feed our young people, so kudos to both you and your mom. Most teenagers don’t want to listen to anyone over the age of 25, especially if it means no pizza, but maybe they will be inspired by people like you. If you’re on Facebook I hope you post this story and it gets a gazillion shares.

    And equally important, bravo to you for following your passion and sharing it with so many others. You seriously rock!!

    Lauryn wrote on June 6th, 2014
  17. Thoroughly impressed! I can’t imagine taking control of my health at 14, for me those were the years it was the worse! Amazing story. Someone was just asking me for advice on losing weight and in response to recomending a paleo diet, I heard the normal slew of excuses. Too much work, too boring, too expensive. I’ll be sending them your story. “Here’s a 14 year old girl whose doing it, your 35, you can do it too!

    Congrats. The horseback riding is really cool too!

    Luke wrote on June 6th, 2014
    • Totally agree with you, Luke. No one should have excuses when a 14 year old can take control of her health and eating plan. When I was 14, I was drinking a dozen cans of soda a day, donuts, cookies and fast food EVERY DAY.

      Bravo, Lauren. You are a role model.

      Curtis wrote on June 6th, 2014
  18. I don’t even know you and I’m proud of you, Lauren. :)

    Jennifer wrote on June 6th, 2014
  19. Lauren, you are way ahead of the curve. Not only are you eating well, you are avoiding all those chemicals, additives and sugars that riddle the American diet. Ride madly into the sunset!

    Linda A. Lavid wrote on June 6th, 2014
  20. Wow, Lauren, thank you for such an inspiring post! I love that you’re making great decisions for yourself early on. It will be a great platform to continue to make grounded decisions for the rest of your life. Your family must be so proud.

    UKara wrote on June 6th, 2014
  21. Good job, Lauren!
    I can’t even explain to you how wonderful this will be for you in college and how well your brain responds and functions off the right foods. Keep up the good work and don’t beat yourself up about getting off track sometimes…it sounds like you already know what is working best for you so that will pull you back on track every time. It sounds like you have a wonderful passion for animals and kids- I hope you pursue that as a career- do what you love and never work a day in your life <3

    Katie C. wrote on June 6th, 2014
  22. Great story, Lauren! You are a beautiful young woman with a bright future. You write well, too! Consider starting a blog, Primal Teen, or something like that and then write a book about your experiences. I know that may sound like a tall order but by sharing your experiences, good and bad, and how you dealt with them will help other teens. As a retired teacher, I know many teens and younger kids really struggle with weight and health issues of all types and feel so trapped and depressed. They only get the old worn “eat low fat, exercise more” advice and it doesn’t work for them. Also, other teens will listen to you and not so much to adults. Tell your story, day by day, and not only will you help others, but a book could help fund your college education! I see a bright future for you! Best of luck!

    Laurie wrote on June 6th, 2014
  23. Not only are you on the right dietary path, you also have a hobby/passion that can keep you fit into old age. Not everyone realizes that for ever hour in the saddle, there is plenty of “moving constantly at a slow pace” when caring for horses–cleaning stalls/paddocks, lifting feed bags, grooming, carrying saddles and gear, and walking, walking, walking. My horses are my exercise program. Good for you!

    Rose wrote on June 6th, 2014
  24. I am super excited about this post. With school about to end for the year, my husband and I have started talking about making our house a “junk food free zone”. Our kids are 16 (not twins – my son, his daughter) One is a star athlete, the other dabbles in school sports but really loves her time taking care of horses. They both have been struggling with acne recently and my son really wants to put on more muscle over the summer. His coaches believe he has college football potential but at 6’0 and 160 lbs, he needs to get bigger. He isn’t going to get it from his current diet and he knows it. Lauren’s mom is right that kids are less in control of their diet and since my husband and I do the shopping we have decided that it is as simple as not letting the junk in the door. If they eat crap when they leave the house, that’s on them, but I hope that they will see this post and realize that it’s really simple to plan ahead, take your own food and make better choices at least 80% of the time. Thanks for the inspiring post Lauren!!

    DPetersen wrote on June 6th, 2014
    • I’m 65 & just started Primal eating, wish I did it sooner. You’re right…if I don’t buy it & it’s not in the house…I can’t eat it.

      Su wrote on June 6th, 2014
      • Okay, time for a little confessional… (cause I hope it will help someone).

        My big downfall is Cheezits…(Horrible non-food I know!) Mostly I’m pretty good with my diet, but every once in a while, I’m shopping when I have already exhausted my day’s supply of willpower (turns out we only have so much in a day). Anyway, I TRY to schedule my tour around Costco to start near the Cheezits, so I can keep myself talked out of them by the time I finish… Doesn’t always work… {sigh}

        So, this past week I’ve read the new book “The Big Fat Surprise” — about which Mike Eades commented: even if you have read every primal/paleo/low carb book out there (as he has, as I have, as some of you have), you still *need* to read this book! And oh man! Was he ever right!! (His cover blurb: “This meticulously researched book thoroughly dismantles the current dietary dogma that fat–particularly saturated fat–is bad for us. Teicholz brings to life the key personalities in the field and uncovers how nutritional science has gotten it so wrong. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this journalistic tour de force. I read it twice: once for the information and again just for the writing.” (Michael R. Eades, M.D., author of the New York Times bestseller “Protein Power”) — and he also wrote a whole review of the book on his blog.)

        Anyway — having read the book, I took the (gallon-sized {wince}) ziploc-bag-and-a-half I had left from the monstrous-sized Costco Cheezit box, and put them out for the raccoons! (Yes, I’m evil, I’m sort-of poisoning raccoons…) And, as the bags sat by the door for two days (long walk to the forest to dump them), I would look at the bright orange little drug-squares and every addicted little neuron would cry: “oh, SO good, eat just a few?” and then I would remember Teicholz describing how Big Food is scrambling to create (and then is using!) ANY kind of replacement for trans fat — and (amazingly): “nope, I’m just not willing to eat Cheezits!” The horror of what they’re putting into ‘cheat’ foods today counterbalances the draw of the cheat! (Amazing!)

        Please let me second Mike Eades’ recommendation: hit up Mark’s Amazon link (he has one, right?) and read this book!

        Elenor wrote on June 8th, 2014
  25. Very impressive Lauren. It is really inspiring to see such a yoing person take control of their life and prepare for the future. Congrats for forgoing the fastfood. Feeling great is far more rewarding than any sweet I have ever eaten.

    Michael Chekanski wrote on June 6th, 2014
  26. Great job Lauren! Let’s continue to get parents to keep the crap out of the cupboards. No excuses.
    Grokette on.

    Nocona wrote on June 6th, 2014
  27. And you write better than most adults! Give your English teachers (and probably Mom, too), a pat on the back.

    Jim Haas wrote on June 6th, 2014
  28. That is really something- you go girl! When you see the film Fed Up- you will be even more grateful to your mom. I cried several times in the movie seeing young people so unhealthy and feeling hopeless about their future. Thank you for taking the time to write up your story – it is very inspirational, especially for young people to read. I will have my 14-year-old daughter read it as soon as I’m done typing ;)

    Trixie wrote on June 6th, 2014
  29. Way to go, Lauren! You are an inspiration! (And you sure lucked out in the mom department!)

    Sanas wrote on June 6th, 2014
  30. Really neat post, Lauren. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    I’m interested to hear what your peer group thinks of primal. As you lead by example, are any of your friends or barn-mates taking notice, and showing an interest?

    I know from my participation in another board with a lot of teens/early-20s people who are doing low-carb / high fat diets (not necessarily primal, but close), that this type of eating helps not only skin conditions and energy levels, but also can be a huge help for folks who struggle with anxiety and depression. You didn’t mention mental health concerns in your post, but I’m wondering if you’ve noticed that you feel calmer and more upbeat in general.

    And what could be more primal than interacting with horses every day? Talk about staying connected to nature and other creatures…plus such a great full-body workout.

    Your mom sounds super cool, too.

    Liz wrote on June 6th, 2014
  31. Hi Lauren, I love horses too. Don’t they smell great? Like crushed tea bags or something. Anyway, with regard to pizza, I just scrape the toppings off and eat that part. I feel a little weird because the crust is the bulk of it but if I am offered a slice I guess it’s mine to pick over.

    Vanessa wrote on June 6th, 2014
  32. Awesome story! I also will have to sprinkle my devil eggs with prosciutto (now that’s a tasty idea!)

    Monica.

    MonicaP wrote on June 6th, 2014
  33. So, so cool. You are an inspiration!

    Marie wrote on June 6th, 2014
  34. Lauren,

    What a great inspiration you are! And that horse is gorgeous!

    Mountaingirl wrote on June 6th, 2014
  35. Lauren,

    You are an inspiration!
    And, that horse is gorgeous!

    Mountaingirl wrote on June 6th, 2014
  36. I wish you could could get my son and his mother to read your story. He plays water polo on a very competitive team. Let’s just say he is the most insulin resistant looking boy on the starting lineup. That’s because his mom thinks a bag of kettle corn and a monster energy drink are performance foods. He is addicted to processed snack shack goodies and complains about migraines. His best game was when he had halibut ceviche between games he sugar crashes in games after kettle corn or pizza and unlimited Dr. Pepper refills. Lauren, you are an inspiration to your peers if they would only listen to their bodies instead colorful packaging and instant “glucogratification” from sweets.

    Jack Lea Mason wrote on June 6th, 2014
  37. Way to go Lauren!! I can identify: we change one thing, then find improvements we did not expect. Like, “my dental health is better? Sweet!” “I have not been sick for years? Sweet!” “I have more energy? Awesome.”

    You might enjoy extending that to your horse, too. I have been doing so as much as I can for a long time now, and love it — because I love horses in general, and my horse in particular.

    Here’s some of what you can do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR9ehtTrp0c

    And this guy is absolutely amazing, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5ZmDkhqhW8 Shows what happens when you follow the nature of the horse.

    And I hope this brings tears to your eyes and amazes you as much as it does me and did the audience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yU6H0pMAgPE

    Look up the book Feed Your Horse Like a Horse by Dr. Juliet Getty and the book Paddock Paradise by Jaime Jackson. And check out Soul of a Horse by Joe Camp; it’s a good short read, well worth your time.

    Good luck with your horse. Hope you continue riding all your life. Horses are worth it. Riding is worth it. The companionship and the peace and serenity is like no other. Irreplacable.

    Michael Gold wrote on June 6th, 2014
    • No idea about horses. My brother has the most amazingly simple advice for dealing with his dog.

      He stopped feeding soy based nuggets or whatever. Replaced with chicken legs and stripped carcasses. Not cooked chicken – just raw – so no problem with choking bones. It’s cheaper than the processed stuff. He freezes it and chucks it out in the garden for the dog to deal with as it wishes.

      The dog is leaner and less aggressive – more balanced in its mood. And the crap is less … crap.

      shtove wrote on June 7th, 2014
  38. Really awesome story! Thanks for sharing!

    Ara wrote on June 7th, 2014
  39. Great work Lauren! I am going to share your story with my 15 year old daughter who is also trying hard to stay on the paleo path. She loves horses too and spends a lot of time training hers. I think she will find you very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

    Maxine wrote on June 7th, 2014
  40. Really wonderful to hear your story, Lauren. It’s great that paleo is helping you to make the very best of yourself when you obviously have so much passion for life already.
    It seems that unhealthy life choices around food and exercise have held many people back from achieving their goals without them even realising what they could do to help themselves. They didn’t know that the standard advice was keeping them sick and unable to help themselves. You are way ahead on this curve.
    As with other comments, I also hope you are able to spread your story far and wide and share paleo with your peers. This would be the next level of success and would result in a brighter future for so many people. It also gives me hope that maybe what I am doing when eating paleo will rub off on my twelve year old stepson and allow him to start making better decisions for himself! Your story has inspired me to try and be more inspirational to him.
    I wish you every success with your horse riding and am sure you will be a great success in this sport you enjoy so much!

    Autumn wrote on June 7th, 2014

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!