Articles, Caroline Sutherland

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Raising Healthy Teenagers

By: Caroline Sutherland

I raised two teenage daughters and enjoyed my time as a hands-on mother very much. How I managed to raise my daughters without any major negative consequences is a miracle. I believe that I modeled for my girls what it means to be healthy and to enjoy cooking and feeding my family well. I learned this from my own mother and I passed it on to my children.

But, it can be a challenge to reach today’s teenager regarding the effects of food and the environment. Teachers tell me about their frustrations with students who consume excessive amounts of soft drinks, sweets and “energy drinks” and then they detract from valuable class time with inappropriate behavior and inattentiveness.

In my clinical experience, we often saw desperate parents who had brought their teenager to the clinic for any kind of help that might shed light on their child’s behavior and learning problems. Under these circumstances, it was often difficult find a compliant teenager who was willing to stay on track with dietary manipulation or supplementation. There had to be a motivating factor. Vanity often played a vital role in this regard.

Teenagers are frequently consumed with their appearance, namely their skin and their weight. Usually when a teenager ceased the consumption of sugars and dairy products, their skin would improve dramatically. As well, most teenagers have been exposed to antibiotics – some of them since childhood, for ear-infections and respiratory infections. Often due to exposures to antibiotics, the normal flora in the digestive tract can become imbalanced and Candida yeast can be responsible for a teenager’s constant desire for sweets in any form.

I remember a man bringing a photograph of his son Ryan to one of my lectures. I looked at this boy with his toothy grin and baseball cap – a personable looking fellow, but his face was covered in spots. Fortunately, I had seen this kind of picture many times in the clinic. Ryan’s father was surprised to hear that the mere avoidance of sugars in any form, as well as fruit juices and the elimination of dairy products for a few short weeks might bring about results. He went home and passed on the information to Ryan. The report later was that Ryan’s skin was clearing nicely and would only erupt if he drank milk or consumed sugars in excess. One again, the body knew what to do.

In the case of overweight teenagers, the same principles that apply to adults apply to them. Identify the food allergies, leave them out of the teenager’s diet for a fourteen to thirty-day experiment and have them eat heartily from all remaining foods. In most cases, the weight will drop right off – even without exercise. On rare occasions, hormonal imbalances may be part of a teenager’s weight problem, and these will need careful correction, but in most cases, weight is related to sensitivities to common foods.

A woman came to me for a consultation. After her assessment, she showed me a picture of her teenage daughter, Sheila, who aspired to be a concert pianist. This girl, a child prodigy, was very self-conscious about her weight, especially when she had to be in front of an audience during her many piano recitals. Sheila had tried calorie counting, liquid diets, celebrity diets, fasting, and exercising, to no avail. As soon as she stopped consuming the offending foods to which her immune system reacted, namely dairy products and sugar, the weight dropped off effortlessly.

On an emotional level, when you observe a teenager’s life, it can be fraught with many changes and pressures such as peer pressure, parental pressures, boyfriend/girlfriend issues, low self-confidence, and fear of the future. The immune system of a teenager - unless they are the happy-go-lucky, hang-loose types - must be under constant attack. You might want to try my CD Motivation and Confidence for Teenagers which helps to re-scrip the subconscious with positive affirmations and another CD that I’ve created called Ace Those Exams – which helps with examination pressure and getting better grades.

My suggestion for parents is to wait until your teenager is twenty-five years of age. Then they will be begging for your assistance!  In the meantime, do what you can, leave pertinent information around the house, say as little as possible, love them lots, and when they come to you asking for help, you can conduct a short “let’s see what happens” test. Following this experiment, when your teenager’s body becomes the laboratory, they will have much better idea of what they are doing to themselves.

Caroline Sutherland has been a medical intuitive for nearly three decades, she is the author of The Body Knows – How to tune into Your Body and Improve Your Health, The Body Knows Diet – Cracking the Weight Loss Code, The Body Knows About Hormones and her latest release, The Body Knows … How To Stay Young. Listen to Caroline on Hay House or one of her free Monday Night teleconferences or visit online at

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