You Are What You Eat

During the first week or so of quarantine, after coming to terms that sitting on the couch all day wasn’t going to get me anywhere, I decided to do something unregrettable. I took the initiative to improve my diet.

My motivation came from my acceptance of the fact that I was not a healthy kid. At 5 years old, I distinctly remember myself climbing up my kitchen pantry to get to the cookie jar, conveniently located on the highest shelf of the pantry. As soon as I managed to reach the jar, I vehemently opened the cap and began devouring an absurd amount of cookies.

Recalling this recurring event of mine was ultimately the driving force that made me want to change. When I was reminded of that moment, I convinced my mother to drive me to a grocery store immediately, so I could actually begin something I knew was important for the sake of my own health.

As I walked down the aisle of my local Aldi’s, I was enchanted by the asparagus and avocados. When my mother and I finished our weekly dose of grocery shopping for the family, I got straight to cooking.

I seasoned the asparagus with anything I could find in the kitchen cabinets, and blended up a smoothie from a recipe I found last minute. After creating my masterpiece, I took a bite out of juicy asparagus and drank some of my smoothie, and thought to myself: “Why hasn’t someone told me vegetables and fruits could taste this delicious?” From that point on, I discovered that I could make healthy foods that were tasty while being nutritious at the same time.

As quarantine progressed, my staple meal became any seasoned kind of vegetable or avocado toast with a smoothie as my drink of choice. After long days of sitting on the computer all day from being fully virtual, I still had an adequate amount of energy awake. I saw my skin clear and I felt better mentally.

A notable change I’d like to emphasize is that there are better alternatives for snacking. Before all of this, snacking for me usually consisted of chocolate granola bars, cookies, and fruit snacks; all of which are things that I thought were okay to snack on, until I saw just how much added sugar these snacks have. Nowadays, I usually snack on energizing things like bananas or clementines, which have natural sugar. Other times when I’m feeling really special, I make sure to get my good bacteria by whipping up some Greek yogurt and sugar.

When I became mindful that eating these tasty and nutritious things positively impacted me, I realized I set a precedent for myself. Enjoying the taste of fruits and vegetables right now as a teen would mean I won’t be as picky as an adult. Finding healthier alternatives for snacking as a teen would leave me less susceptible to having common health concerns that adults have right now, such as type 2 diabetes. Basically, by doing these beneficial things for myself as a teen, I knew how much easier things would be for me as an adult.

And this is the exact reason why I believe that teens nowadays should take initiative into improving their diet. I’d say many parents are carefree when it comes to what their children are eating, as many of them believe in the idea that teens can eat whatever they want since they’re young and still growing. It’s a pretty myopic way of looking at it rather than seeing the issue holistically. Parents don’t seem to understand that being careless about what their child eats can lead to them having various dietary concerns in their future years. When parents don’t understand the importance of their children’s health and nutrition, their children don’t as well, which explains why so many children these days are very frivolous when it comes to what they put in their bodies.

Since parents aren’t instructing us to eat healthily, we teenagers need to do so ourselves. I’ll relate this to another topic: homework. In order to receive a grade for it, whether that be on completion or accuracy, you’ve got to complete it. A teacher isn’t constantly going to whisper in your ear telling you to do it, you have to motivate yourself in order for the work to get done. Someone isn’t always telling you what your priorities are, you have to know them and take action into doing them. You either take action or not, just like you make the decision to do your
homework or not. So, in order to prevent dietary issues as an adult, you’re the one that needs to actually start eating healthy. Building the tolerance and discipline to eat healthier now is similar to finishing your homework a week before it’s due. By taking the action now, you have less to worry about in the future. You can step into your future knowing that you’re prepared, and you can fixate on other important things than homework, like your hobbies or creative endeavors. But, you’ll know in the back of your mind that you’re still doing something good for yourself.

I’m not going to go into all the perks of eating healthier, because there’s heaps of evidence out there that eating clementines are better consumed than a cookie. Plus, these pros are different for everyone. But, if there’s one message I’m trying to convey from this, it’s that why wait on something that can be rewarding? Having leisurely time to do anything you want is surely rewarding after completing your homework on time. So, can’t we make that the same with eating healthy? Forcing a lifestyle is not my intention; rather, I’m making a suggestion. It’s honestly your choice, but if you take what I’m saying into consideration, seasoned asparagus with a side smoothie is a good way to start off.