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Dear Mark: Primal Advice for High Schoolers

It’s a question that frequently comes my way. Teenagers, who have found MDA and jump on board with the PB, have their brand of difficulties going Primal: skeptical – if not disapproving – parents, decidedly un-Primal school lunches and social outings, team fast food stops, etc. How does a high schooler go Primal when his/her family isn’t? What does the choice mean for navigating other areas of teen life?

Dear Mark,

I’m 17 and have been trying to switch over to the PB, but some areas are harder right now than others. I’m really getting into the workout ideas and love the simplicity of your Primal Blueprint Fitness ebook program. For me, the eating part is the most complicated. My parents are unsure about the diet and don’t offer much support for the choices I make with the PB. I think they believe it’s just a phase that I’ll give up if they just wait long enough. The social thing is a little bit of a challenge, and don’t get me started on the McDonald’s runs my basketball team makes every time we have an away game. Do you have any suggestions for those of us in high school? By the way, your site is great. I’ve even got some of my friends reading it now. Grok on!

Thanks to Dan for this week’s question. First off, to all the MDA high schoolers out there, kudos for taking charge of your health. You have the chance to benefit from your choice your entire life – a responsibility that truly deserves a big hats off.

That said, I recognize the kinds of hurdles my younger readers can face making a Primal transition [1]. When you live under your parents’ roof and direction (not to mention financial umbrella), implementing some parts of the PB can be tricky. It certainly takes more work and thought. As in Dan’s case, the food issue seems to present the most problems. Although teenagers’ lives usually allow enough freedom to influence their own sleep [2] schedule as well as outside/workout time, meals are another ball of wax.

Modern Family

Parents generally want the healthiest life for their child, and many are naturally suspicious of diet “fads [3]” their kids appear to latch onto. (A number of us probably experimented with some novel diet or food obsession at one time during our teen years.) Nonetheless, there’s obviously a difference between the latest grapefruit cleanse and the Primal Blueprint [4] – a cornucopia of taste and nutrition harkening back to the tradition of primeval families everywhere. (Doesn’t that sound convincing?) Speaking from the position of a parent myself – whose son goes by his own vegetarian version of a Primal diet, I can vouch for the power of good conversation and thoughtful initiative. I know I better understood my son’s perspective – and he understood my concerns.

School Menus

Ah, school. Even after you win over the most cautious-minded mother, there’s the truly epic quest to revolutionize the school lunch menu [12]. (Anyone game?) While you’re trying to persuade the administration, there’s plenty you can do to keep Primal.

Social Scene

The social scene will likely offer more temptation than pushback. Although you might get verbal support from your friends, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for them to give up late night pizza runs. You might find yourself sitting back while others dig in, but there’s no reason to skip the outings all together.

Have ideas for the teenage PBers among us? Other questions or concerns to raise? Be sure to share your comments and tips. Thanks again to all the high schooler readers out there. Keep in touch and Grok on!