I can’t believe it!!! It’s been 40 years since Randy and I have graduated from Lindbergh High School and our reunion is just around the bend!
I know this sounds cliché but it truly seems like JUST yesterday! This is a picture of my date for the senior prom. I think you recognize this guy. The man I’ve been happily married to about 99.9% of the time (let’s face it, life would be boring if it was 100%) for almost the last 35 years!
What I have learned since those formative years are pearls of wisdom based on my life experience, both the ups and (of course) downs of being first a kid, morphing into a young lady then a wife, mother and professional.
So attention students AND parents, grandparents, relatives and friends of students:
1. Don’t fall into the body image compulsion trap!!!! If I have one overriding, deep regret of my adolescence, it was my absolute fixation on my body image.
What an absolute waste of time that compulsion was!!!! In my mind, I was never the perfect weight and I was on a constant merry-go-round of drastic diets to achieve that perfect number on the scale. Two of our kids also struggled with those same body image issues. But thankfully by then, our family chose the health path, not the drastic diet direction. And without being too tough on myself as a kid or a mother, that body image fixation has been and still is a problem for not only adolescent girls and mature women, but increasingly men of all ages too! With women primarily focusing on their weight and men with their muscle tone. The aberrant behaviors that are sometimes the result of these body image obsessions run the gamut from eating disorders to risky behaviors, i.e. unsafe sex, drug use in women and men. And in another nail hammered into the body image obsession coffin, a 2011 Succeed Foundation Body Image Survey of 320 women at 20 British Universities of the average age of 25 years, 30% would trade 1 year of their life for their ideal weight and shape, 26% were willing to sacrifice a portion of their salary, a promotion, an honor’s degree or time with their partner and 46% had been ridiculed or bullied because of their appearance.
I also know the body image compulsion is even more prevalent today because of the absolute media blizzard of the perfect physical physique.
So what can we do today for our kids, ourselves and/or our loved ones to fight this?:
a. Get a Reality Check! Randy, Alisa Kigar and I recently interviewed Naomi Katz about her book Beautiful on radio show “Healthy U” KMEM 100.5 in Memphis, MO. In it she talks about her life work of empowering young women to “REALLY BELIEVE WE ARE OKAY AND COOL THE WAY WE ARE” when it comes to being pressured by peers, the media or our own selves! She talked about one of her assignments she gives to young girls to overcome the unrealistic portrayal of the perfect female body: Take any magazine with a notebook to a coffee shop and look through it for their portrayal of women. Now people-watch for a while. Make two columns in your notebook, one for women that look like your magazine women and one that don’t and check them off as you people watch. The guarantee from Naomi Katz was that less than ½ of the women you saw in the magazine looked like the women you people-watch in real life. Now, make this your reality check, body image assignment. See what you come up with!
b. The right fuel and movement go a long way to putting you in the right frame of mind for learning and good health in adulthood! Always remember why you are in school in the first place: To expand your mind with vast amounts of knowledge so that new doors of opportunity can open for you in the future. You are in a better frame of mind to not only learn this new frontier of information, but can also more easily deeply absorb it for later thought mastication IF you put the right fuel in your body at the right times and the right amount of movement for you. Going on crazy diets, like I did in my youth, is NOT conducive to your mind soaking up all those great foundational learning pearls AND good health in later years. I’ll bet, if you are a little older, you all remember the kid at lunch that ate junky food like there was no tomorrow, yet was thin as a rail. Just remember that outside appearances are truly deceiving! My proof: Here are two pictures of women at the same weight but they tell two very different stories. The lady on the left has healthy muscle and reduced fat with healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars. The lady on the right, again even though registering the same weight, has excess fat, reduced muscle and unhealthy cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugars. This is the internal (telling) difference of healthy vs. junky fuel sources and lifestyle.
A general rule for knowledge-absorbing nutrition and movement is: Eat as close as you can to the earth and avoid the man-made stuff, remembering that breakfast gives your brain the best wake up call, coupled with moving naturally as much and as often as you can, without inflicting pain on yourself. I can speak to this too. Two feet requiring identical tendon transfers later from painful running in my youth is not something you want to pay for later in life like I did!!! Just remember, the key here is balance. Just like the Goldilocks story, not too much, not too little, but just the right amount of fuel and movement for you! For more ideas on nutrition and movement for maximum brain health, see How To Protect Your Brain With Simple Lifestyle Choices .
2. Popularity comes and goes BUT you will never have this particular opportunity for knowledge in your life again! I remember those days in high school. You don’t really realize it at the time, but those days just represent a mere blip on your timeline of life. And while it is very important to build social relationships in those formative years for they represent a template for your foundational adult relationships, aspiring to the fickle popularity prize is not. So don’t cloud your mind with that rickety goal of popularity, in public or in social media for you are definitely, in the end, going to come up empty. Instead, take every learning opportunity as a gift to receive. Yes, I also mean those classes you think you will NEVER have any use for in the grown-up world. Case in point, geometry:
Geometry allows people to think in shapes and sizes. Knowing about different shapes and their sizes allows the mind to visualize new things by building with the learned shapes. Geometry can aid in bringing together both sides of the brain. The left side of the brain is the logic-driven, technical side, while the right side is the creative and artistic side. Most people have a dominant right brain or left brain. Geometry can help combine both to create a perfect symmetry between the two sides.
3. It’s not too early to think about honing the interests you love today into the job you’ll love in the future! I’ve made it my personal mission in life, wherever I go, to ask any young adult I encounter, what they’d like to do as a life-long career. If they don’t have an answer, I always ask them what their passions are. Some of the kids I ask are truly startled, like they have never even entertained a career thought for the future. I truly believe it’s never too early to start thinking of your passions because you can take advantage of any learning opportunity that comes your way to further fan those educational flames. Do you love to cook and love history, math, science and the arts? Then maybe a chef career is in your future. These two chefs are kidding around but they are both amazing chefs to the Nth degree: Chef Fatima Perez Andres, owner of the tapas restaurant La Atrevida Taperia in Valladolid, Spain on the left and Chef Helen Peralta, instructor at Indian Hills Community College on the right.
Do you love to learn new languages? Then maybe a court interpreter is in your future. Adriana Mireya Benavides is such a professional interpreter in Laredo, Texas. She is a freelance District Court interpreter that gives immigrants a much needed voice in court.
JUST REMEMBER: THE SKY IS THE LIMIT! THE ONLY LIMITATION TO YOUR FUTURE IS YOU AND EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO THAT FUTURE!!!
RECAP: Advice Based On Lessons Learned From The Class Of ’76:
- Don’t fall into the body image compulsion trap!!!!
- Popularity comes and goes BUT you will never have this particular opportunity for knowledge in your life again!
- It’s not too early to think about honing the interests you love today into the job you’ll love in the future!
Now, another fun assignment: Indulge in this summertime gourmet (and yes, healthy) meal of shrimp kebobs and my recipe for a fresh-from-the-farmer’s-market salad. I promise, you will have to check and recheck your surroundings. You’ll really believe you are devouring a fancy bistro meal!!!!
Shrimp Kebob With
Green Bean Peach Salad
Materials and Ingredients:
4 wooden skewers
Griddle pan with grill indentations
½ lb. raw de-shelled shrimp (large)
¼ cup olive oil (not EVOO)
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp. lemon juice
Salt & Pepper to Taste
3 sprigs parsley
Shrimp Kebob Procedure:
- Soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes.
- Remove veins, rinse and pat dry.
- Peel and chop the garlic finely. Chop parsley finely.
- Thread the shrimps onto the skewers, 6 should fit nicely. Thread through meatiest part then go thru tail.
- Mix the garlic, lemon juice, parsley, olive oil and seasoning and pour over the prawns. Marinate for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat griddle pan. Place the kebobs in the pan, and make sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on the size, until the shrimp turn pink.
- Place kebobs on a warmed plate.
*Recipe from Escoffier
1 lb. green beans
½ cup diced peaches (or cantaloupe, whatever is on hand and in season)
1 small red onion-small dice
2 cloves garlic-minced
1 tsp. olive oil
1 large red pepper
½ cup of cooked and cooled amaranth (or any ancient grain of our choice)
2 T. EVOO
1 T. orange blossom vinegar (or orange juice)
1-2 tsp. Dijon grainy mustard
salt & pepper
½ cup diced feta
2 T. roasted pumpkin seeds
Basil leaves cut chiffonade for garnish
- Boil a pot of water and put green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain green beans in colander. Have bowl of ice water ready to immediately put green beans in, to stop the cooking process. Put green beans and diced peaches in the fridge.
- Saute diced red onion and minced garlic in olive oil until soft.
- Set the oven to broil and put the red pepper on the top shelf. The pepper is done when all sides are blackened. Take the pepper out and peel off the outer skin. De-seed the pepper and cut into small dice.
- Mix together 2 T. EVOO, vinegar and Dijon mustard. Mix in the sautéed onion, garlic, amaranth and red pepper.
- Mix together the diced onion/amaranth/pepper mixture with the green beans and cantaloupe. Sprinkle with diced feta, roasted pumpkin seeds and chiffonade of basil. Serve with shrimp kebobs.