A few months ago, I came across this post by Joanne who blogs at Help! My Teenager has Coeliac Disease. It was all about Erica Brahan, blogger at Edible Attitudes and author of the book A Teenager’s Perspective on Food Restrictions.
Erica is an American teenager with a great many dietary restrictions. She’s written a book aimed at other teenagers who are also grappling with dietary issues. The teenage years are still quite a way away for my kids, but I’ve often wondered how teenagers and their parents deal with dietary issues. It’s a different ball game entirely, I suspect.
Then I was contacted by Erica, inviting me to review her book. I have to say, I was very happy to do so.
It’s a fantastic concept. We’ve all heard tales of teenagers being unwilling to listen to their parents and we all remember our own teen years and how much we just wanted to fit in. So as a parent, what do you do? As a teenager, how do you find support?
Well, I’d start with this book.
Erica has dealt with chronic health issues for years. Now in college (university), she wrote and published the book earlier this year while still in high school. Erica’s own health issues include food and environmental sensitivities, cystic acne and chronic joint pain and inflammation. She is becoming increasingly successful at controlling her symptoms through food restrictions and now follows a diet largely consisting of meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables. One of her challenges is to reintroduce a wider range of foods without her symptoms returning.
The book is written as a sharing of experience rather than a guide. There are some helpful worksheets throughout to assist you or your teenager clarify thoughts and feelings. Chapters include Erica’s own story, how to keep motivated, school issues, social issues (for example dating and choosing a college), advice and valuable testimonials from other food-restricted teens.
Of course, I loved the recipe chapter – it was great to see so much creativity with so may restrictions, and I appreciated the glossary so that I could get a hold on the terms and phrases used throughout.
The best bit, though, was Erica’s straight-shooting message to her reader to step up, take responsibility for mind, body and soul and just get on with it. And really, that’s what it all boils down to. Those are the key life skills that we hope that all of our food-restricted kids can garner in order to prosper into great people.
Erica’s book is thoughtful and articulate. There is attention to detail which is impressive and it was a pleasure to read. The concept of teenager communicating to teenager is a great idea and there must be many exasperated parents out there who would love this resource. It also shows a get-up-and-go and self-determination that can only indicate exciting times ahead for Erica. I’m looking forward to reading all about it!
My copy of A Teenager’s Perspective on Food Restrictions was provided to me by Erica Brahan. All opinions are my own.