Ayurvedic Wisdom for Common Teen Imbalances

March 15, 2010

We are in full swing preparing for our March session of Shanti Generations’s Youth Peacemakers Training at Yogaglo. This month, we are thrilled to have Felicia Tomasko coming in as our special guest expert on Ayurveda. Mrs. Tomasko has a rich background on Yogic and Ayurvedic studies and is also the editor-in-chief  of LA Yoga and Ayurveda Magazine. In advance of this months workshop, Felicia published an informative article on nutrition tips from Ayurveda for helping teens find balance. With her permission, I have printed the full article here.

Ayurveda for a Fussy Teen

Written by Felicia M. Tomasko, RN
Throughout our lives, we experience times of increased vulnerability, change and even confusion. One of the most intense of these are the teenage years, puberty and the transition from childhood to adulthood.

According to Ayurveda, birth through the early twenties is the time of life dominated by the kapha dosha, the energies of water and earth. Just like the expansive period of new growth in the springtime, the kapha season of the year, our youth is characterized by years of rapid growth. To support this, it seems as though kids (and especially teenagers) ravenously eat – particularly high-fat, high-carb comfort foods.

These natural cravings can provide information as to what is actually needed. Carbohydrates give energy; healthy fats and oils are necessary for building the nervous, endocrine and immune systems and make up the building blocks for hormones and neurotransmitters. Good quality proteins, minerals and vitamins are also necessary. This is particularly true for teens. For example, studies show that the calcium intake and overall dietary habits of teenage girls are vitally important for building the bone density that will be crucial throughout her life.

While we may wonder what to do, here are a few Ayurvedic suggestions:

  • Offer high-quality complex carbohydrates to satisfy the need for sweet, building foods without turning to refined sugars: quinoa, brown rice, millet, oats, barley and buckwheat. Try mixtures of these. Sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkin are also satisfying and healthy.
  • Encourage calcium intake. Sesame seeds are a good source of calcium, and the condiment gomasio, which contains ground sesame seeds, is a good way to sprinkle the seeds on everything.
  • Healthy, high-quality oils rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids satisfy the body’s needs for fats and may diminish the cravings for highly refined, low quality but high-fat foods like chips or cheeses. Flax, borage, avocado, walnut, purslane, almond, chia and Salba are a few of these.
  • Reduce soda pops, particularly those with phosphoric acid, which leaches calcium and other minerals from the body, and caffeine, which wreaks havoc with mood and the nervous system.
  • If pizza just can’t be avoided, try varieties with a whole-grain crust, no cheese or vegan cheese alternatives (soy, though, is also congesting). A cup of ginger tea or powdered ginger, ground black pepper and even cinnamon all help to reduce mucus.

For more suggestions, check out our e-newsletter, Living LA YOGA (sign-up online) or write edit@layogamagazine.com and let us know what’s worked for you.

Felicia M. Tomasko, RN will be teaching Ayurveda for Youth in the Shanti Generation’s Youth Peacemakers’ Training, March 27 at Yogaglo in Santa Monica: shantigeneration.com.

Click here to  link to the article on LA Yoga and Ayurveda Magazines website.

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One Response to “Ayurvedic Wisdom for Common Teen Imbalances”

  1. Aruna Says:

    These sound like great tips for everyone! There was a time when Pizza Pizza had ginger as a free topping on pizza. It was really tasty. They stopped offering it, but I still like to add grated ginger on my home made pizzas.


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