Most paleo success stories are about unhealthy, overweight adults who fixed their lives up by switching to the paleo diet. I’ve also shared my paleo success story and my husband Eric has written about his paleo journey. I decided it was time we had a different take on going paleo. So, I interviewed Natalie, my oldest daughter, 14 years old, about her experience with paleo…
(photo by Selma Al-Faqih)
How long have you been eating paleo?
Probably about 9 months- a year.
What did you eat prior to your family finding the paleo lifestyle?
Well even before we went paleo, my family was always considered “healthier” than my other friends. Especially because one night I had so much spinach (not by choice) that my tongue turned green. It was hard to get my normal color back. I was eating a PB&J sandwich every day for lunch at school but it was with whole wheat bread (which we found out isn’t as healthy as we thought) and after school I had one sliced tomato with salt and oregano (I still do!) , we had pasta sometimes and pizza (yum!). It’s a little bit hard to remember what we ate. I mean, I focus so much on the things that are my favorite foods that it’s hard to remember the stuff I don’t like as much.
What is your favorite food?
During the transition, my favorite foods didn’t change but now I just can’t eat them very often. Like cheese pizza, French fries, my dad’s homemade chocolate chip cookies, bread, Honey Nut Cheerios, corn empanadas, quesadillas and tortellini.
What do you do when you go out with your friends to the food court at the mall?
Most of the time I just get whatever I want. But the times when I was being more strict with myself I got frozen lemonade and french fries.
Do you notice a difference when you eat SAD (Standard American Diet) food?
Well, I get more cranky and my acne gets A LOT worse!
What would you say is the hardest thing about eating real food?
Probably the amount of organ meat. I like meat but I’m pretty picky about it. Also, when I go to my friend’s house for a sleepover, the food that used to fill me up until the next meal time barely holds me for an hour. It turns me into an eating machine. In the end I feel full, but empty. Like full of food, but empty of nutrients that make me feel…relaxed. You’ll understand if you experience it.
Would you say you’re an 80/20 (80% paleo/20% non paleo), more or less?
Yes. I eat paleo at home but on the weekends when I go out I choose what I want. Recently I’ve been 100% paleo to prepare and recover from my surgery but after 5 more months I’m going back to my old ways.
What changes have you noticed since adopting this lifestyle?
I noticed that when I eat clean my acne goes away. Just vanishes. It’s pretty amazing actually. And sometimes I put coconut oil on my face, which also helps. With that combo, my face is softer than all my friends who have their fancy moisturizers.
Do you think you’ll continue eating this way when you’re an adult? Why or why not?
I don’t think I can decide right now. I can barely decide what I want to wear to the mall. I think I’ll probably be 80/20 because I know the dangers of gluten and dairy but on the other hand, it’s so hard to resist.
What would you say to another teenager whose thinking about going paleo whether for weight, health or clearer skin? Is it worth it or should they run the other way?
I think it’s worth it but I know it’s really hard so I would say try your best and see the results YOU get. Everybody’s different. Besides, you don’t have anything to lose, and you can always let yourself have a treat!
Want to learn more about how to transition your family to paleo? Read my eBook Paleo Made Easy. It contains practical advice for busy families, shopping tips, answers to pretty much every paleo lifestyle question, and 45+ paleo recipes! Learn more here.
Leave a comment for Natalie if this was helpful and please feel free to share!
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16 thoughts on “Paleo Success Stories: Interview with 14-y.o. Paleo Teen”
Your Experience mean a lot for me, I will suggest my teen daughter exactly follow you. Your family is really proud of you. Thanks for sharing your real story.
I’m 14 years old, I went through a low carbohydrate diet throughout the summer going into freshman year. It’s basically the Paleo diet, but I drank milk and ate unflavored greek yogurt. Instead of eating fruit (which contains some sugar) I ate more vegetables. My face cleared up and I felt so much healthier. If anyone has acne or just wants to be a healthier person, they should DEFINITELY try it out. Now I’m in my first year of High School, and I need to gain weight for wrestling to get to the top of my weight class. I have to eat school lunches because my parents can’t pack food (it’s hard to eat healthy at school). If you go lower carb, and do exercise, you will for sure lose weight. However, like stated in this article, it is very hard to transition. The first few nights you will crave bagels, ice cream, toast etc. But if you can stick with it, you will benefit so, so much. I recommend this diet to everyone. My dad has been on this diet for 5 years, and he’s 50. He went from not being able to do a pushup because of his shoulder that has been causing pain to being able to do over 30. It’s your body, but if you decide to try out this diet for even a week, you will see the results.
Wow, Ezra. That’s incredible. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m sure you’re an inspiration to your peers as well as your family. – Sylvie
This is an old post, I see. Loved hearing from Natalie, wondering how she’s doing at 17! Would love to see a current photo. She looks SO much like my granddaughter who is just starting Paleo for health reasons. Thank you!
Thank you so much for giving you experience. I’ve just started paleo as well with my mom and I am so excited to see the changes paleo will give us I the future.
Thank you Colette! I’m excited for you!
I am a teenager about the same age and I’m seriously thinking of adopting paleo. This really helped me decide if I can do it or not. Thank you so much!
I loved reading this. Congratulations to your whole family for your success. I loved this honest approach to a healthy diet!
Thank you so much Katherine! That means a lot 🙂
Great, honest perspective!!
Thank you Nisha!
Thanks for sharing, Natalie! 🙂
Hey Natalie! Thank you so much for your input. It makes a real difference to see it from your perspective. xo
Loved it! and she forgot to say that she also likes ricotta ravioli.
Was her photo taken after or before the surgery?
before, and she’d like to add Pringles to the list too..