Let me tell you about my teenage years.
Wait, I’m not sure that I can. I think I slept through them. Yep, thinking about it now, that’s definitely what happened.
You might think that’s because I needed the sleep to grow and develop and yes, like all sprouting teens a little extra sleep was needed. But this was different. The kind of tiredness I am referring to would fall upon me when I was mid-way through a sentence.
Looking back, I can see now that what I suffered from was common among many teenagers. Patrick Holford calls it ‘The Blood Sugar Blues’, which is a result of too much sugar in the diet, exhausting your internal organs. In Patrick’s book, The Optimum Nutrition Bible, he states, “As a consequence your energy level drops, you lose concentration, get confused, suffer from bouts of brain fog, fall asleep after meals, get irritable, freak out, cannot sleep, cannot wake up, sweat too much, get headaches…”
I ticked every box.
Sad really, especially since I needed to be awake to study. Beavered away in my study den, I didn’t see the harm in catching some z’s every now and then. I thought the tired spells would pass and to help my body along, I continually refuelled on sugary snacks, which only perpetuated the problem.
These nanna naps didn’t just happen in the privacy of my own room. They also happened at school. The culprit for my completely unhinged blood sugar being the school canteen. I distinctly remember snacking on donuts and cakes in recess and then curling up at the back of the class for some much needed slumber. The day this little routine backfired was when I made the mistake of falling asleep at the front of the classroom. I awoke to find the teacher flogging my back with a ruler.
I fell asleep so much during my final years of high school that my step-mum conducted random face examinations to see if I’d been napping. There were lots of ways she could tell if I’d been sleeping, for example, if she suddenly called my name and I ran down the steps to meet her with a post-stick note stuck to my head, or if she suddenly barged in to my room to find drool all over my notes and a semi coherent teenager rearranging her hair. Either way, the game was up.
If only I had known about the crash and burn effect of a highly refined diet back when I was a teen, I might actually remember what happened.
If I could do it all again:
· I would not keep a 2-litre container of tomato sauce under the dining room table to drown my nightly meals in.
· I would not eat a whole container of ice cream each weekend in an attempt to supress the uncertainty about boys, friends and life in general.
· I would have eaten more meat to help control sweet cravings, instead of letting the movie Babe influence my food choices.
But there is no point dwelling on the past. It is what it is. So it’s best to stay awake, learn from it and move on.
Text © Jessica Rosman 2015
Quote from The Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford, p 256