My Teenagers Perspective on Paleo: Guest Blog by Coby Fragoso

*Note from Sarah: Coby.  My oldest son.  My teenage hero and the kid that keeps me sane when his little brothers are driving me crazy.  I wish I could explain to you what Coby means to me but how could I? It’s like trying to explain the vast expanse of the universe, so I won’t even try. Anyway,  I asked Coby a while ago if he would write a blog post and he totally went for it! Below is what he has written; from the heart of a 16 year old, he has shared with you his own personal paleo journey – short and sweet and to the point. Thank you Coby for your honesty and your willingness to put yourself out there in hopes to share with other kids that living this lifestyle can be your own unique experience.   

Coby’s Paleo Perspective

My name is Coby Fragoso, I am sixteen, and I am Sarah Fragoso’s first son. You probably don’t know much about me, but mom has wanted me to make a blog post for a while so here I am! The reason I’m not noticed much, I think, is because it’s my little brothers that look cute on the front cover of my mom’s book. I am still here though, and I have stuff to say too, like my story about being dragged along with this whole paleo thing…

I remember I never really liked bread anyways. I did not like sandwiches, and I didn’t like pizza that much. One thing I miss though is pasta. I loved pasta with all the different types of sauces. But anyways it was weird for the first couple months we started going paleo, and I’ll admit, I didn’t like it. I definitely noticed a change in what we ate and I did not enjoy eating the new food. I thought it was bland and it just did not taste right. I never complained about the food though and I eventually got used to it, or my mom became better at cooking. She never forced me to eat paleo, I just eventually stopped eating food that wasn’t paleo because I felt it was the right thing to do, and at home I didn’t have any other choice.

 A little over a year ago, I actually gave in and got a hamburger on a white bun, and it made me sick. Ever since than I have not touched any thing with gluten. I actually really like not eating things like breads and pastas; it’s something that separates me from everyone, especially at school. People will see me bring things like salami and grapes to school, or order a bun-less burger from Big Chico Burger during lunch, and they will ask me, “why don’t you eat bread?” and I say, “Because I don’t want to.”

For me it really is more of a choice, I could survive if we WERE eating bread and sugar and stuff, but I simply don’t want to. It’s something that makes me insanely different from all the people who think it’s weird to have something as simple as a different hairstyle. I guess it makes me feel rebellious or something. I don’t plan to stop eating paleo ever actually, it’s what feels right to me, and it’s what I want do gosh dangit!

I no longer break out with zits, I’m not as tired anymore during the day, and I never get stomachaches like I used to.  I have never felt better in my life.

My favorite paleo meals include:  My mom’s meatloaf, bacon, Brussels sprouts and bacon, sausage and eggs, omelets, Thai yellow curry, bun-less burgers, dry rub grilled ribeye, and really everything we eat is good.

Comments

  1. Kat says

    It’s great to hear from your point of view, Coby! I have a 13 year old son and a 12 year old daughter, so it helps me understand a bit of where they are coming from. I think my daughter, especially, likes the way eating paleo makes her stand apart from her friends. I try to encourage her not to point out how she is different from other people, but she feels very much the way you do. She likes the ‘rebelliousness’ of going against the traditional nutrition paradigm. I’m going to let my kids read this and I think it will open up a good discussion. I’m so glad you decided to write a post for your mom’s blog.

  2. says

    Coby thanks for taking the time to write this and share your perspective, I hope it helps some other kids that are in the phase of not really liking it still. Even for teens, there are health benefits worth some small sacrifices (break outs is a big one!).

    I love this post; I leave hearing from all the paleo kids!

  3. Hunter Hernandez says

    Hey Coby, Thanks for sharing your story. It feels great to know there are other teens like me out there. I am 16 as well and we started Paleo/Primal last June. I feel great, lost weight and got fit. I get questioned at school a lot too. I was thinking about making a blog for paleo/primal teens since I haven’t seen one. Maybe you should consider making a blog; teens can use support too. Great post. ~ Hunter

    • Coby Fragoso says

      Thank you. Yes I do get questioned a lot, and i’m sure most of them think i’m crazy, but you and I know that this is the right thing. I don’t think I will be making a blog though. I’m to lazy to be able to post different things every day, but I will be posting things occasionally on this blog. Thank you again!

  4. says

    This is wonderful! I just started reading you blog a couple weeks ago but this post really hit home. I have an 11 year old son and two younger daughters. I started Paleo last summer off and on but just started converting the entire family and household to a paleo diet over the last month. I have consistently had at least one complaint at each dinner meal =) But I have also had quite a few thumbs up. I have heard the same complaints about the food being bland. I have heard them tell me I am getting better at cooking lol. They like my paleo muffins and cookies the best of course =) I was actually asked my sons 5th grade class to bring a grain free snack for the holiday party today. I was so excited!
    Last night was an off night after a stressful day. Hubby brought home taco bell. I was throwing up by 1am. My kids are asking me to make homemade lunches more telling me the school lunches make them feel sick. This is both good and bad lol. Now I have to prepare yet another meal! But I know it’s healthy and their bodies are thanking me.
    One question since I don’t see many large Paleo families… It is very expensive to eat this way with all five of us. Do you have any suggestions on cutting costs? I used to be and still am to some extend an extreme couponer so I loaded the pantrie and freezer with food for months for pennies. But it’s much harder to do this with this diet. I still buy our detergents, toothpaste, body wash, paper products and what little food products I can find coupons for but I cringe everytime I walk through the check stand.

    Thanks!!

    • Lisa says

      There’s a great blog post at robwolf.com about school lunches and the perception that Paleo is expensive.
      http://robbwolf.com/2011/12/07/raising-cave-child-the-school-lunch/
      http://robbwolf.com/2011/09/21/paleo-is-expensive/

      I was a skeptic as well, but what I’ve found is as I actually say no to the processed/packaged stuff and I’m actually just buying veggies, meat, healthy fats, spices, a FEW condiments – that it’s really not more expensive. Now I notice how crazy expensive some of the processed food is. My next goal is to get a big freezer because my friends bought 1/2 cow and it came out to ~3/lb.

      I also found that I just had to stop buying those other things we relied on as regular snacks/quick meals – and when healthy stuff is all that’s in the house, we figure it out. I subscribe to a weekly box of organic local veggies $25/week and then make sure I have meat in the house, I can usually adapt something in Sarah’s cook book to work with what I have in the house. It really works if you follow her book which is so helpful – here’s what to put in your pantry, here’s what to put in your fridge etc. That’s the key is getting the processed crap out and the good stuff in. I stopped buying bread for sandwiches, got a compartment lunch box ( http://www.greenfeet.com/To-Go-Ware-3-Tier-Stainless-Lunch-Box-p/6007-00186-0000.htm ) and now my leftovers from last night are a hot commodity when it comes to the kids packing their lunches. My previous “carb girl” 9yr old packed – meat balls, sweet potatoes, carrots, grapes and almonds in her lunch yesterday. She loves having the three bins and knows one needs to be protein, one veggie, one fruit.
      Best of luck on the adventure. That said, she admittedly still pilfers the junk from her friends lunch boxes… but at least it’s improvement. It’s definitely a conversion process and we’re about 90% there most of the time.

      • Louis says

        Just wanted to leave a quick comment regarding saving money on Paleo. Make sure to check out local ethnic markets, the produce tends to be less expensive than big name supermarkets and health food stores. My partner and I live 5 min away from a Mexican mercado in our neighborhood, we save about 50% buying produce there instead of health food stores, and as a bonus its within walking distance. Exercise+veggies and fruits=happy body

    • SBS says

      A chest freezer is a great investment if you don’t have one yet, and buying grass-fed beef in bulk. We’re in Alberta, so I guess it’s relatively close, but I’m ordering 60 lbs of ground beef and roasts (and some no-sugar jerky) for about 1/2 what I’d pay for grass-fed at Superstore (Superstore, not the health food store…) Also, check out the spice paste packets from Asian Home Gourmet, especially the butter chicken and masala ones. You just stir them into a chicken or shrimp + veggie stir fry, add a can of coconut milk, and voila: yum!
      I find I buy less food when grains are off the table, no impulse purchases of crackers or whatever, so our diet has become simplified, and that makes things easier.

      It’s kind of like asking for my Bootcamp classes to be part of my Xmas present instead of shoes…sigh…it’ll pay off in the end (I hope!)

      • Crystal says

        I’m sure such things do not exists everywhere but here in my area of VT we have a produce “house” which carry’s all the regular veggies, regular fruit and exotic fruit with a local dairy section. It’s way cheaper to buy produce through them then it is at a grocery store. It’s not organic and not always local but the price difference is amazing…maybe one of these is hiding out in your area!?! Good luck!

  5. Heather says

    What a great idea and post! Thank you for sharing your story, Coby! I have 2 daughters, 11 and 14 and I will have them read this. They have been eating paleo for about a month. One daughter is pretty committed and one not so much. I appreciate hearing your point of view.

  6. Maryann says

    Coby…thank you for your post! It really does help to hear from a teenager as I’m trying to take my husband and kids paleo with me (with a good bit of resistance). I’m only a couple of months into it myself but have already noticed the same changes you mentioned and am hoping the ‘clear skin’ angle will convince my daughters as they get older! Thanks again…to you and your mom!

  7. says

    When are you going to open that “Paleo Cafe” Coby? I’d love to do something here in Chico too! Spread the word in your school on getting off of gluten! Keep being a crusader!

    Merry Christmas!

  8. Sara says

    Good to hear from you, Coby! Wonderful post about a teenager’s perspective. You’re setting a great example for kids of all ages, including adults and hopefully we’ll hear more from you in the future.

  9. Marcy says

    I am so glad you wrote this, Coby. My 9-year-old son has been waiting to hear this perspective, and he can totally relate to the things you have said. And now he knows he’s not the “only one” who has been through the ups and downs of his parents going paleo. ;)

  10. Amy says

    Great post and a unique perspective. When I was reading it all I could think was how lucky you’re going to be later in life when you don’t have all of the chronic diseases that other people are going to have – I wish I had known about paleo when I was your age!

    • Kimberly says

      Good for you, Coby. This is a well-written and timely post. You are actively involved in protecting your own health and fitness at a time when the standard diets of many teens and kids are setting them up for illness now and later. Not only are you smart for seeing the benefits, you’re showing that you take much more responsibility for your own future than most adults. Your brothers may well be eating Paleo-style because they want to be like you, as well. I do hope you open that restaurant! That just sounds yummy.
      To the parents posting who are working to get their kids eating Paleo – hurray for you also! Had I been eating like this as a teen, I could have avoided many years of illness and fatigue. It does seem expensive up-front, but factor in the costs of chronic illness in terms of exhaustion, nutrient malabsorption, and endocrine imbalance and it quickly swings around.
      Sarah- you don’t even know how great your site is. I’m on here all the time for recipes, inspiration, and laughs. Great job with this and for the work you do for your terrific family. Thank you, thank you!

  11. says

    Well said Coby! I think its awesome that you are 100% on board with this paleo thing at such a young age. I’m young at 23 years old and am incredible grateful to say I have been living this way for 20 months. I’ve had my ups and downs like we all have. That’s the thing though. It’s a life long journey. You said you will be paleo for life. Right on brother!

  12. says

    thanks for sharing! i like hearing about a teen’s perspective on the paleo diet. and i like how bacon came up twice in your list of favorite foods!

  13. Jen says

    So nice to hear about high school students taking charge of their health! I am a high school teacher and basketball coach in Detroit, and it was a big victory to me when I convinced my players to replace their pre-practice snack of flaming hot cheetos with a piece of fruit! They told me that they already feel better from cutting junk and having fruits and nuts as snacks. Now if only Coby could go on tour and teach other high school students about eating right :)

  14. says

    Wow, this is a serendipitous contrast to the latest post on the Wheat Belly blog (http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2011/12/pizza-face-how-wheat-can-ruin-an-otherwise-perfectly-fine-teenager/) which cites things that a traditional grain-based diet can do to a body that is especially irritating for teenagers. Two of the main things listed there are acne and sleepiness/fatigue. And here you are, the proof of the paleo-pudding, giving us the counter-point :D Thank you for sharing!

  15. Cobi says

    Hey Coby,
    My name is Cobi too…I have always known you were there in your mom’s book…how could I not notice, we share the same name. Your family is inspiring to me, I have lived by your cookbook ever since it came out…thank you.
    Keep on keepin’ on and thanks for your post! My son is only 3 but your words give me hope for his coolness for eating healthfully in HS :)

  16. Coby Fragoso says

    I just want to say thank you to everyone. All of the support is great and I love all the positive comments! I will write another blog post once I stop being lazy (Hahaha fat chance) and think of something interesting to write about.
    Happy Holidays!
    –Coby

  17. Rachel Zanger says

    Great post Coby! Loved to hear your perspective. You are awesome! I especially loved the part where you said, “I eventually got used to it, or my mom became better at cooking”. ha! Made me laugh. Miss you guys and hopefully we can see you soon. :) -Rachel

  18. Wenchypoo says

    I wish I had you to listen to back I was young, “rebellious”, and suffering from food allergies! Hey Mom–is there some way we could set up a place for the kids of Paleo to blog, just the kids? Maybe a Cave Cubs site or something?

    I bet kids reading stuff from other kids will affect the childhood obesity problem better than anything Michelle Obama creates, or has a hand in. After all, look what the raw-food-eating teens did with their book (Eating Without Heating), and identifying other kids who also ate raw, or wanted to eat raw, and now had a book to show their parents?

    A “Cave Cubs” blog/website/whatever may get parents interested in the lifestyle through their kids–at the very least, it would be a lifeline for kids who choose to do Paleo.

  19. Tiffany says

    Coby –
    Thanks for posting! I think that it is awesome that you find eating paleo to be rebellious! I think that my 11 year old daughter is finally finding the positive side of being different by eating paleo as well…recently she had to document her meals for Health class and was able to confidently explain why her food lacked the entire bottom of the food pyramid! I’m pretty sure that was a new one for the teacher! Now, let’s see what happens in Home Ec class when she has to make pizza, quesadillas and other “standard” teen fare!
    Thanks again…looking forward to another post in the future!

  20. Laura B says

    Thanks for sharing Coby! My minime is only 5 right now, I hope she grows up to like paleo as much I do! It’s nice to hear that you really enjoy how you eat and live.

    Great Sonic sweatshirt too, I love it!

  21. Bree says

    Hi Coby! I find you to be an inspiration! It’s hard enough to be an adult and struggle with what my friends think of me ‘Eating Paleo’…I couldn’t imagine being a teenager and doing it! Keep that great head on your shoulders and never succomb to that peer pressure–never sacrifice your health! Great work!

  22. Staci says

    Sharing this with my 16yo daughter. She will enjoy this, ” I guess it makes me feel rebellious or something.” Thanks for writing it!

  23. Joy says

    Thanks, Coby, for sharing a teen’s point of view. I read your blog to my oldest son who is 14. I’m hoping it inspired him. I’m stuggling a bit with my youngest son too, who is 13. Keep up the blogging & encouraging others!

  24. Veronica says

    Great post! I was going to mention about your son’s clear skin. Our family is on week 4 on Paleo. I noticed our oldest has fewer breakouts. Just awesome, and so great I decided to hace my whole family on Paleo. Thanks for all your yummy ideas! On another note, I am almost a size 8. I started the Paleo diet with a size 14/16. It took me 6 months to get where I am, but I feel phenomenal!

  25. Kathy says

    Coby, thanks for writing. I am wondering how things work out for you when you go out with friends. Do they ever give you a hard time? It seems you are pretty confident so you might not worry about being left out from hanging with the guys, but my son, 17, feels like he’d be left behind when everyone goes out for “those meals that I shouldn’t know about”. He has trouble with his stomach every day and I just want him to feel better. I prepare paleo for everyone, but he will usually add other stuff. Did you feel pressured to go paleo? Should I push harder?

    • Coby Fragoso says

      Of course my friends like to joke about it, but they understand that this is how I eat. I never feel left out or pressured when I go out with my friends, heck I even went with them to a pizza place for lunch once, but I just avoid eating the bad stuff (salad instead of pizza). I almost always bring my own lunch, but you can eat paleo at almost every eating place. I go to big Chico burger all the time, and I get the student special with no bun and no cheese. If your son’s friends’ are really giving him such a hard time, perhaps he should get new friends. I try to be as positive as possible about it, and I was never pressured to go paleo. I went paleo when I wanted too, so maybe your son has not chosen that path yet. If you keep that “other stuff” out of the house, it will be harder for him to eat that way, and he will feel the difference. Also don’t give him lunch money if he is obviously going to spend it on junk. I wish the best for you and your son, happy holidays.

  26. says

    Well said, Coby! Sarah’s book was the first one I bought when I went Paleo, and with 3 teens in my house, I DID notice the pics of you in there and have been waiting to hear from you about what it’s like from a teen perspective. My daughter has daily stomach problems, as well as anemia and dizzy spells, and I know it’s her poor diet and “carb-loading” meals, but can’t seem to get her to see the light of day on this issue. I’d love to hear more from you in the near future–maybe some ideas on your “go-to” snacks and decent take-out choices when you’re out with friends. My teens are major snackers, and I can’t seem to get them to feel full enough between meals to stop the snacking (which is always the bad stuff).

  27. Liv says

    Hey Coby :)
    I’m 14, and my family has been paleo for about 2 years. I cut out grains & gluten for about a month, and then gave in. I have not been paleo since. I was wondering if you had any tips or something for me :). I know a big problem for me is inspiration. During lunch at school, people think my whole family is weird for eating the food we eat. They think my parents are starving me to death :/.
    Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Liv,

      Just starting taking your Paleo lunch again. If your friends say anything about it, just smile and tell them how delicious it is. Always say positive things. Eventually, they will stop talking about it. If you don’t make a fuss about it, they probably won’t make a fuss about it either.

    • Coby Fragoso says

      Hey Liv,
      I wont lie, my friends think my parents are starving me too, but the most important thing is to be proud of who you are and what you do. If people ask you why you don’t eat wheat, just say “Because wheat sucks.” Also just like what Jen says, tell them how great the food is and how great you feel! I love eating this way because it makes me so different from everyone. People try to be “normal,” but I realized, what is normal? Normal, I believe, is being yourself. I want you to try paleo again, and this time try to stick to it. If people are really bugging you, just don’t hang out with them. Eating this way now will ensure your good health for the future.

  28. says

    Thanks for sharing this perspective, Sarah and Coby! I can definitely relate to the getting sick after reintroducing gluten into your diet again! For me , it was pizza at a friend’s house… and I’m never doing that again! :)

  29. L Kotraba says

    This is awesome!! Simple & honest.
    I really sheds light on the fact that Paleo doesn’t have to be hard or scary. it’s simple everyday choices that pay off!
    Thanks!

  30. Coby Fragoso says

    Of course my friends like to joke about it, but they understand that this is how I eat. I never feel left out or pressured when I go out with my friends, heck I even went with them to a pizza place for lunch once, but I just avoid eating the bad stuff (salad instead of pizza). I almost always bring my own lunch, but you can eat paleo at almost every eating place. I go to big Chico burger all the time, and I get the student special with no bun and no cheese. If your son’s friends’ are really giving him such a hard time, perhaps he should get new friends. I try to be as positive as possible about it, and I was never pressured to go paleo. I went paleo when I wanted too, so maybe your son has not chosen that path yet. If you keep that “other stuff” out of the house, it will be harder for him to eat that way, and he will feel the difference. Also don’t give him lunch money if he is obviously going to spend it on junk. I wish the best for you and your son, happy holidays.

  31. Nicole says

    Thanks so much Coby, I have taken the last 3 months to ease into the Paleo lifestyle, but am now ready to have my family join me. Surprisingly, it is my 15 yo son that is the most enthusiastic as he wants to become healthier. It is great to hear your perspective on the lifestyle change. My son will be further encouraged by your words.

  32. Beth says

    It’s inspiring to see a young man promote his health and positive perspective of the paleo diet. It just shows that anybody can do it, no matter how young or old. All you need is to want it!

  33. says

    Hi, Coby. I was wondering if you have a hard time staying full? We’ve been eating Paleo for over a year, but my kids eat WAY more food than they used to, which is fine. But I have to admit, I’m a bit freaked about the teenage years and keeping them satiated. What are your “go to” snacks to fill you up and keep you full? What advice do you have for a mom of [future] teenagers to keep them full? Thanks for your post!

  34. NicoleK says

    Thank you for this!! So wonderful to hear the perspective of the non-adults! I love that it was Coby’s choice. (haha! my family doesn’t have any say =) … My husband recently suggested that, like him, our son start the LDA shots (low dose allergen) so if he does get gluten his reaction isn’t as bad… and he might be able to partake from time to time. I’m 100% against this because of the mixed message it sends… I did, however, agree to let my 2nd grader make the call — and he declined. He explained that he is really proud of all the healthy food he eats and he wants to make sure he has no excuses. He loves how his classmates gather around each day to see what is in his lunchbox =) I was so proud of him!!!! This conversation happened the same day as this post… Thank you for this post. It allows me to trust that my son truly is enjoying this lifestyle we’ve adopted!!!

  35. says

    Hi Coby,
    what a wonderful young man you are. Your mom is blessed to have a son like you. Smart beyong your years. I am in the process of starting the Paleo eating way, simple because I am too heavy and so is my husband. A friend and colleague told me about this way of eating and she lost like 31 pounds due to her glutten issue. She looks great and says she feels great as well. Needless to say I am going to start and get healthy as well as gaining the great attitude you have. My oldest son stopped eating meat last May and has loss of lot of weight, not that he needed to in my eyes but he says meat made him feel bad both physically and mentally, so he stop like cold turkey. My husband on the other had per is doctor has been taken off of all red meat, no pork,hot dogs, etc and not processed meat. I find it difficult to cook for him but I see these great receipes that inspire me and now your story.
    Thanks Coby , keep up the great attitude. Ann

  36. Renee says

    My 16-year-old daughter and her friend just started a Whole30 today after watching me complete one in January, then switch to a Paleo lifestyle. She likes all the stuff I eat, but she also likes her pasta, toast, sandwiches, ice cream, etc. so it will be challenging and is used to being able to eat whatever she wants. I forwarded her your post which gave her extra motivation. She’s a swimmer in good shape but decided her diet could be better. Thanks for your post!

  37. says

    So very sweet, innocent and honest. I wish that I could get my family members to see this perspective! It’s very hard for people to change and it is inspiring to see Coby come to these decisions on his own. Thanks for sharing!

  38. Sara says

    Cool! This is a great perspective to have–there’s a lot of talk about why we SHOULD go paleo from some heavy-hitting academic types, and lots of testimonials from those who lived through serious illness before finding the lifestyle… which is all great, but it’s so nice to hear such a simple, basic explanation of why someone would choose paleo. (Also, awesome to hear the key word “choice”!) And good job for not being a brat about the new food, I’m sure your Mom appreciates it!

  39. Carrie says

    Aww I love this post! Coby reminds me of my son Cody (also 16…he even resembles him a bit…same hair!) I love the honesty of this post, and found it very encouraging for me in getting my family on board with a (modified) Paleo diet (we do eat gluten-free breads and rice at the moment.) Great article, Coby, you “rebel”! :-)

  40. MomLadyOR says

    Thanks Coby for writing this! Great job! I’m going to share with my 14 yo. He’s been gluten & dairy free for 9 months now and I think he’s gotten over the questions and weird looks, but I’m sure he’d love to have company! :) Do you or Sarah know if there is a teen FB group page or forum for gluten free or paleo eating? I haven’t really explained paleo to my boys (but guess I should as that’s what they’re eating!). It’s great to have a support group for me, and I’m sure my son would benefit from his own group too. Thanks!

  41. says

    Thank you Sarah and Coby for this great post. Reminds me again of my resolve to eventually involve the entire family to paleo sooner or later. I have too young kids, a 3 year and 4 year old respectively. They are picky eaters, but I believe that eventually paleo in order to be sustainable and successful ought to be a family lifestyle. Thanks Coby for inspiring me to push through with my plans to raise up Paleo kids as well.

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