Chaos to Calm

Mastering Perimenopause and Parenting Teens: Insights and Strategies with Jessica Donovan

October 01, 2023 Sarah McLachlan Episode 24
Mastering Perimenopause and Parenting Teens: Insights and Strategies with Jessica Donovan
Chaos to Calm
More Info
Chaos to Calm
Mastering Perimenopause and Parenting Teens: Insights and Strategies with Jessica Donovan
Oct 01, 2023 Episode 24
Sarah McLachlan

Balancing the whirlwind of perimenopause and parenting teens can feel like a daunting challenge. Our guest today, Jessica Donovan, a naturopath and creator of Natural Super Kids, is here to guide us all as we navigate these often choppy waters. Jessica brings her expert knowledge to the table and opens up about her experiences, offering valuable tips on how to maintain our own well-being while caring for our growing teenagers during what is a transitional phase for them and us!

Perimenopause and raising teens are two life stages that can be rather overwhelming individually, let alone when happening at the same time, under one roof! But the key to managing both gracefully and effectively is prioritizing self-care and fostering open communication. Jessica stresses the importance of setting boundaries with our teens, particularly when it comes to their diet and nutrition, without stifling their natural inclination to explore and experiment. Whether it’s dealing with your son’s eating habits during his mountain biking outings or your daughter's snack choices at school, Jessica's insights are sure to provide plenty of food for thought.

Through this enlightening conversation, we discuss available resources, strategies for creating a nourishing home environment, and maintaining healthy relationships with our teens. It's not always an easy ride, but with the right tools and mindset, we can turn the chaos of perimenopause and parenting teens into a calm and rewarding journey. So, tune in and join us in this insightful conversation with Jessica Donovan.

Jessica Donovan is a Naturopath and Mum of two who helps parents raise super kids with healthy food, lifestyle considerations, and natural medicines. She is passionate about educating parents on nourishing their children with real food, helping to boost their health and heal naturally. Jessica combines her extensive naturopathic knowledge with a realistic, empathetic, inspiring, and down-to-earth approach to empower parents to look after themselves and take charge of the well-being of their families through her Natural Super Kids KLUB membership program, you can find out more here https://www.naturalsuperkids.com/nsk-klub-open

  • Free eBook: 3 Breakfast Recipes to Improve Your Kids Mood

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more about Sarah, her services and the Freebies mentioned in this episode at https://www.ThePerimenopauseNaturopath.com.au

  • COMING SOON: Discover how to use food as your most powerful medicine, smoothing hormonal fluctuations and easing perimenopause symptoms naturally. (Yes, you have more options than hormone therapy!) Say goodbye to feeling out of control and hello to feeling more like your old self every day, with PerimenoPOWER (because who wants to pause anyway?!)
  • The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.
  • For more, follow on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Balancing the whirlwind of perimenopause and parenting teens can feel like a daunting challenge. Our guest today, Jessica Donovan, a naturopath and creator of Natural Super Kids, is here to guide us all as we navigate these often choppy waters. Jessica brings her expert knowledge to the table and opens up about her experiences, offering valuable tips on how to maintain our own well-being while caring for our growing teenagers during what is a transitional phase for them and us!

Perimenopause and raising teens are two life stages that can be rather overwhelming individually, let alone when happening at the same time, under one roof! But the key to managing both gracefully and effectively is prioritizing self-care and fostering open communication. Jessica stresses the importance of setting boundaries with our teens, particularly when it comes to their diet and nutrition, without stifling their natural inclination to explore and experiment. Whether it’s dealing with your son’s eating habits during his mountain biking outings or your daughter's snack choices at school, Jessica's insights are sure to provide plenty of food for thought.

Through this enlightening conversation, we discuss available resources, strategies for creating a nourishing home environment, and maintaining healthy relationships with our teens. It's not always an easy ride, but with the right tools and mindset, we can turn the chaos of perimenopause and parenting teens into a calm and rewarding journey. So, tune in and join us in this insightful conversation with Jessica Donovan.

Jessica Donovan is a Naturopath and Mum of two who helps parents raise super kids with healthy food, lifestyle considerations, and natural medicines. She is passionate about educating parents on nourishing their children with real food, helping to boost their health and heal naturally. Jessica combines her extensive naturopathic knowledge with a realistic, empathetic, inspiring, and down-to-earth approach to empower parents to look after themselves and take charge of the well-being of their families through her Natural Super Kids KLUB membership program, you can find out more here https://www.naturalsuperkids.com/nsk-klub-open

  • Free eBook: 3 Breakfast Recipes to Improve Your Kids Mood

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

Find out more about Sarah, her services and the Freebies mentioned in this episode at https://www.ThePerimenopauseNaturopath.com.au

  • COMING SOON: Discover how to use food as your most powerful medicine, smoothing hormonal fluctuations and easing perimenopause symptoms naturally. (Yes, you have more options than hormone therapy!) Say goodbye to feeling out of control and hello to feeling more like your old self every day, with PerimenoPOWER (because who wants to pause anyway?!)
  • The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.
  • For more, follow on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.
Sarah McLachlan:

Hey there, I'm Sarah McLachlan. Thanks for joining me on the Chaos to Calm podcast, a podcast designed for women over 40 who think that changing hormones might be messing with their mood, metabolism and energy and want to change that in a healthy, sustainable and permanent way. Each episode will explore topics related to health and wellness for women in their 40s, like what the heck is happening to your hormones, what to do about it with nutrition, lifestyle and stress management, and inspiring conversations with guests sharing their insights and tips on how to live your best life in your 40s and beyond. So if you're feeling like you're in the midst of a hormonal storm and don't want perimenopause to be horrific, then join me on Chaos to Calm, as I share with you how to make it to menopause without it wrecking your relationships and life. Hey everyone, welcome to Chaos to Calm podcast. I'm your host, Sarah McLachlan.

Sarah McLachlan:

Today I'm going to be joined by Jessica Donovan, who is a naturopath and creator of Natural Super Kids, a membership for parents to help them raise the kids in the healthy way.

Sarah McLachlan:

We are going to take a deep dive into a topic that I think probably lots of us don't think about, but actually has a massive impact on us and our kids, and that is raising teens in perimenopause. Now, what makes it different? Well, those teens going through puberty. We're also going through puberty, but in reverse. So we're going to have a deep dive into the dynamics that that might bring up and how it feels. You know about our kids growing up, the emotions that surprise us, how we look after ourselves, how we look after our teens as well. So stay tuned because Jess is going to give us some great tips all around diet and nutrition for your teens to support puberty and their healthy hormone development. Thanks, jess, for joining me today here on Chaos to Calm. I was wondering if we might start with you just letting us know a bit more about you and how you came to be or birth Natural Super Kids and where you're at now.

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah, sure Gosh big story. So I graduated as a naturopath in the year 2000. So I've been a naturopath for a long time now and you know, fast forward through kind of those initial years of the different jobs and things that I did as a naturopath, I had my babies and then I became really focused in on kids health for personal reasons, really Very relevant. Yeah, that's kind of how it all started. And then I just naturally started attracting more and more kids to my clinical practice and I decided I wanted to kind of spread the word on a bigger, in a bigger way, on a bigger scale, and so I started my business that is current, which is Natural Super Kids, and we're all about empowering and inspiring parents to raise healthy and happy kids and to get to the root cause or the, you know, underlying factors on what might be going on with kids health issues that we see so commonly today. You know the eczema, the allergies, the tummy troubles, the mood and behavioral challenges, the sleep issues. So we kind of, you know, help parents with all of those different things.

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah, and now Natural Super Kids, I like to say, you know, is bigger than me. I have a team of practitioners, we have a membership, the Natural Super Kids Club, where parents get access to everything they need to keep their kids healthy and happy. Yeah, I have my own podcast, which I love. I love sharing information in this way, so that's, that's it in a summary.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, well done, because that's a long history that you can dance there as well, and I wanted to acknowledge that you were doing a membership before people were doing membership. So it's such a great way for parents, so for anyone, to access information, isn't it? Because it's you know yes and get really great ongoing access to you and your team.

Sarah McLachlan:

So I really like that I think it's such a great way to meet your needs and not burn you out, but also meet the. You know the wide gamut of childhood issues that people might come across.

Jessica Donovan:

So, true, and I love that you say you're doing memberships before memberships or a thing, because it seems like everyone's got a membership- I know it does, doesn't it?

Sarah McLachlan:

I do not have one and I feel left out.

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah it's such a great way to support like more people.

Sarah McLachlan:

as a practitioner, I know I love it. I love a good membership I'm in a few and because it is a really great way to get information and get what's relevant to you and take what you need from a really great resource library, which you've been doing yours for a while now, so I imagine it's really extensive the resources that parents have to draw from.

Jessica Donovan:

Exactly, yeah, we've been running since 2017 the membership, so it's a mature membership. We've learned a lot along the way as to like how to best kind of you know, focus on the community and organize the resources so that they're easy to find for parents as well.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, great, and that I'm gonna segue, maybe clumsily, but everything's organized and easy to find is really great for us all.

Sarah McLachlan:

For, like most of my listeners, as we move into perimenopause and menopause and that menobrain can start to hit where you're focused and attention and trying to remember what you were doing can get a little trickier. Now the reason that you're here today with us is because that is kind of where well, not necessarily what's going on for you, but you are in perimenopause too. Yes, I certainly am, and we would be enjoying that there as well and we were talking about well, a lot of people, I think, don't think about what was probably of early consideration for you, and something I've been talking about with my kids particularly, and my clients as well over time, is that what can arise when you're both essentially going through a similar process in great hormonal change and brain rewiring and things like that. So, apart from being in Perry menopause yourself, then this is how you feel about your children growing up and those emotions too. Now I know that there was. You had some surprises around that and how you felt.

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah, yeah, so I've got a almost 16 year old. My son is almost 16 and a 13 year old and it still sounds like I just it still boggles my mind that I have teenagers already. Like it just goes so quick and I know that we hear that all the time when we've got younger kids like enjoy every moment, it goes so fast, but when you're in it you know it's that whole thing of the days are long, for the years are short. Yes, so it's still. You know, it still surprises me that I have teenagers and yeah, like it's this interesting kind of dynamic, I think, because we are having children older and I mean I wasn't, I was 29 when I had my eldest and then 31, so it's that's kind of pretty average these days, right.

Jessica Donovan:

I was the same same, same ages yeah, right, but it does mean that we are dealing with these these Perry, these Perry menopause years at the same time as we are dealing with teenage years and, like you said that, both huge transitions, you know, on different ends of the spectrum. So, yeah, I mean I feel like I'm still learning teenage parenting, like I feel out of my depth some days and I've been really surprised at the emotions that have come up over probably mostly the last 12 months, because my daughter has just changed so much over the last 12 months, my youngest and you know. Feelings of grief, really like losing that Tight family unit that used to do everything together. Yeah, of losing control, you know as. Yeah, as health practitioners where you know we want the control, yes, I hear you there.

Jessica Donovan:

The screens, like the constant battle about screens and trying to keep them off screens. You know no longer being your kids number one like that's hard to deal with. You know they go to their friends and you know they're going through stuff. I feel like we've got a good relationship. You know an open relationship. I try and be that open mom where they can come to me with, with everything, but I know they're not going to be telling me everything you know. So it's dealing with all of those emotions in the midst of all of the stuff that goes on in Perry menopause and, yeah, that's why I was sort of excited to jump on and have this chat with you today.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, it is. It's funny, isn't it? Because I've got four kids. So my I was similar age two for my first two, but with my last child I was 39. And so I was still breastfeeding her when I was in my early 40s, and so it was for me. I was like, well, I feel like maybe some of these changes are Perry menopause and even my GP was confused because they're like well, it seems like it, but also your breastfeeding I mean, I wasn't breastfeeding a newborn, so it's a little different physiological. Physiologically.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah so confusing and I know there's many women having their children, you know, mid, late 30s, early 40s these days. It's a really real consideration that we need to consider. Yes, something like I mentioned. I've talked about it with my kids. I remember saying to my now 16 year old when she was deep in her changes and I was deep in my changes, it wasn't a great time for us there, but I was like you know my brain, I'm going through similar things as you, but I still have my adult responsibilities. I can't just sleep in or just take the day off. You know, please just give me a little bit of you know, space and grace. Just be kind to me, please. And actually that was like a shock to them. Have you had a similar discussion with your kids like about those things.

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah, I have, and I think it's easier to have these conversations with my daughter. I don't know just the whole female kind of changes are, yeah, like I think my son struggles to understand it and really doesn't want to go too deep into a conversation about my hormones and all of that sort of thing. But yeah, and please just be kind to me, but in reality teenagers are often not very kind to us.

Sarah McLachlan:

They are not. I always joke. They're giant toddlers with a really mean vocabulary.

Jessica Donovan:

And it's more extensive and yeah that's such a good analogy, and I was talking to my husband about the how. You know why teenage parenting is so challenging. You know they have similar tendencies to toddlers. You know teenagers yeah, they're. I don't know. Like my teenagers are quite lazy, like they used to be really helpful around the house and now all of a sudden, oh God, I've got to wash the dishes. What do I have to do this? What do I have to do everything around here? Why don't you do anything around? You know?

Jessica Donovan:

all of that. It's so much harder to be, I guess, like, have empathy, like you would with a toddler who doesn't know better with a teenager. But we do need to and this is something I'm constantly reminding myself that the teenage brain is like the way that it's wired they are very Self-centred. You know, it's not their fault, it's not part of their personality, it's like it's it's normal developmentally. So that really helps me when I, you know, in those moments where I remind myself that yeah, I don't know where I came across the thinking of that.

Sarah McLachlan:

Perhaps it was while I was studying or something like that. But once I had that thought that, all right it's. You know, it's not personal, their brains being rewired, they're really just toddlers and my expectations perhaps need to change to be more like what they were when they were a toddler. From that time on we had a lot less friction and I feel like they. That would be great if people gave us that same. I know, wouldn't that be?

Sarah McLachlan:

nice same grace as well. You know maybe not completely like we're toddlers or even teens, we can't shed all our responsibilities, but just you know, we're so used to juggling so many balls and keeping everything going in the air and having, you know, our brains as women and mums Wearing away doing all the things.

Sarah McLachlan:

I feel like that's the biggest loss and business owners as well like it's yeah, and adding that later to, and that was a big struggle for me as it may be. Similar to you, I was just like my expectation of myself actually needed to adjust.

Jessica Donovan:

Definitely, yes, definitely, I've been been through that as well. We really do need to be kind to ourselves, even if we reminding ourselves I love what you just said about. Wouldn't it be nice if we got treated like toddlers, like we can sort of give ourselves that grace you? Know, because of the changes that we're going through and, like you said, reduce those expectations, so important, I think, in these years.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, yeah, I agree, I think because we're so used to will often mums I'm not used to looking after themselves or prioritizing themselves but it is changing because you know, there's lots of conversations around perimenopause and menopause now, a lot more than they used to be, but because we don't really talk about it or it's just like I feel that women often feel a lot of shame around perimenopause and menopause or something similar to that underlying, and so don't I don't necessarily want to acknowledge it by giving yourself or changing your expectations around yourself and that, but that's so true.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, I think I guess as naturopaths we haven't an advantage that we're always talking to clients or telling them to look after themselves, so at least that conversations in our head.

Jessica Donovan:

Yes, we get reminded, don't we? Yes, yeah, what we need to do when we're having those conversations with clients or, in my case, members.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, yeah, is that? What do you do to look after yourself? Or like do you have you changed the way that you do your business and do life since you've been in perimenopause?

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah, definitely. And perimenopause is so strange, right, because it's not like a definitive, like okay, now I am. It feels like this sort of slow, slow transition.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yes, definitely.

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah, I mean I think like I'm 45. So over the last couple of years I think it's like based on where my business is at as well like I've got a team now and so I've gotten much better at giving myself permission to work less. I now do a four day work week Most weeks, unless we're in a, you know, busy launch period or something that I have Fridays off and that's my day to myself. You know, go out for lunch with some girlfriends or go for a hike with my husband, or like just read a book on the couch like I would never have done that, you know, even three, four, five years ago like to sit down in the middle of the week on the couch and read a book. I mean, I still struggle with it a little bit, but I give myself permission to rest more, not just sleep more. Yes, rest more. That has been probably the biggest sort of thing for me.

Jessica Donovan:

Also, you know the foundations eating well. I feel like the things that I'm encouraging my teenagers to do to kind of keep their hormones balanced and support themselves through this transition period are very similar to the things that we need as perimenopause. Women like more protein in our diet, more healthy fats in our diet, less sugar, less refined carbohydrates. So I'm really big. I really notice if I don't have enough, if I don't have protein at every meal. Yeah, and I notice it with my kids as well. You know I'm always harping on to them about where's the protein?

Sarah McLachlan:

Yes, I love it. Even my nine year old is like, well, here's what I'm having, and this is the protein in it. I was like, oh, you do listen. It's so good, but it's so important, so important, so important for everyone.

Jessica Donovan:

I mean really, if we think about the ups and downs of perimenopause and the ups and downs of the teenage years, like protein is the one thing that really helps to keep us sort of stable, our blood sugar stable, our mood stable, our energy more stable, our focus more stable. So, yeah, that's huge for me, and moving my body regularly, like I've always been an exercise I used to be a an aerobics instructor.

Sarah McLachlan:

I was never really into sport, but I got something I didn't know about you. Oh yes.

Jessica Donovan:

Remember the Tybo. I don't know if you remember the Tybo days I do classes.

Jessica Donovan:

I was in my element at the front of those classes, jumping around. So I've always been into fitness and the way that I do fitness has very much changed. I'm definitely not jumping around anymore. I love yoga even. I used to be, quite, you know, active, intense yoga. Now I love restorative in yoga, the slower yogas, but I still sort of do it. I'm very much into sort of strength training now. Perfect, yeah, I just do a 30 minute online workout every morning and it usually involves weights, and then I go for a walk in the afternoon, like if I don't get my one yoga class a week, my strength workout done in the morning and then a walk At the end of the day yeah, and that like probably feels like a lot to a lot of people, but it's literally, you know, an hour out of my day and because I sit in front of a computer, it's important for sure so important and the walk at the end of the day it really helps to like it puts a full stop on my work day.

Jessica Donovan:

Yes, and then lets me go into kind of mom family mode.

Sarah McLachlan:

It's a really great way to do that with those transitions. I was just listening to the Imperfects podcast and I know I am a new listener, but their psychologist was talking about helping us process stress, which you know. As you know, we get lots of hormones and chemicals moving in our body when we're responding to stress or stressors in our life and as cave people, we would have seen a stressor like a tiger coming at us. We would have run away from the tiger and then that helps. You know, you stop running that's the end point and you reconnect with your family. Hugs, celebrations yeah, you made it back alive, but we don't do that these days. And she was saying how important or how good it can be to have that full stop to your day. That does involve some movement. So, yeah, it's really interesting that that's what you notice as well. Like when I used to do student clinic, I used to come home and change my clothes. That was my full stop as well.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yes, and I like to go for a walk when I can at the end of my workday as well. It's really important, so really good for your stress hormones, as well as making that transition between modes which so many people so busy you probably agree, they so so busy these days, especially moms. They don't realize the importance or feel like they have time to do those. Put the full stops in the day.

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah, and we do need to prioritize these things. I mean, I will admit I'm in a lucky situation where my husband works in the business as well, so we're both at home and he takes care of dinner during the week, so I can finish work, go for a walk and come home. You know, I know not everyone has that luxury, but I think there are certainly little things, even if it's like a five or 10 minutes.

Jessica Donovan:

You know there's so many minutes that we waste scrolling on social media or whatever it might be that we can, you know we really need to use those little little bits of time to get in. I think movement, that I don't think there's any time that you regret moving your body.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, that's true. Even if it's a dance or something like that's the thing, like proper track on and have a dance in the kitchen, you know, or wherever, it doesn't have to be a big investment of time or a grand event or a fair. So I think that's good to remember that as well, self-care doesn't necessarily have to just be those big things. Of course I love a good facial and a massage too, and I regularly have those as part of my self-care toolkit but those daily habits and behaviors that are really important.

Jessica Donovan:

It really is. They trump any sort of yeah like day spa appointment, don't they? Because they're lovely but we can't have them often enough to keep us in balance.

Sarah McLachlan:

No one. The sad reality too is, depending on the age of your kids, it might take you more effort to get everything organized, to go off and do it, and then you get the onslaught when you get back as well. So I did want to touch on as well too, because you mentioned that. You know you're in a position where you can. You know your husband's there and I just wanted to say that, like, my husband doesn't work in my business but he is a tradie so he finishes early. So often he'll come home and do the after school driving. We home school.

Sarah McLachlan:

So I don't know. I said after school. They do activities after school with other kids as well. So he'll do that driving, or sometimes he'll cook, like Mondays he usually cooked dinner while I'm with my clients late on Monday night. So I think it's about you know working towards what you can do or where you can find those ways to make things happen. And you know we've both taken it to another level and they helped our business, designed our businesses, around that so that we can do it.

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah, that team effort is so important, like, and you know, for single parents out there that don't have that support at home, like even thinking about ways that you can, you know, swap with a friend or you know those sorts of things, so that you can get that break or that time to yourself. But, like you were saying, you know you can just put some music on in the lounge and like dance around or have a skipping rope out the back and out in the backyard, and every time you feel like that kind of stress rising, you can go out and just do a minute of skipping. Like there are ways that you can implement it sort of at home if you can't leave. But yeah, I mean, I don't know, I wouldn't be able to do this, this stage of life, without the support of my husband, and I think that's a really important conversation that needs needs to be had as well.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, it's definitely great having someone who's on the same page as you as well, like coming in terms of parenting and understanding what those teams need from us or what we need as well. So I recently did an episode for partners being a good ally in perimenopause, because you know often when you get dismissed or diminished or you know just dismissed as it's just your hormones or whatever but, yeah, we can hold rational thoughts and have feelings or at the same time.

Jessica Donovan:

That's right. Things just happen to be, just you know, heightened at certain times. For me anyway, like at certain times of the month, doesn't mean that it's yeah whether that it needs to be dismissed or should be dismissed. It's yeah, like they can work sort of hand in hand, can't they? Yeah, for sure.

Sarah McLachlan:

And so you mentioned before, jess, a little bit about diet or what you like your kids to prioritise there. Do you have some other? And that was protein. And I think in the context of I don't know about your teens, but when they get a job and they start to be able to buy their own food and stuff, even when they come from a naturopath home, it's confronting. But you know we can't control it, we can't change it. They have to explore and experiment too and you know, like my 16 year old is works for a fast food company but doesn't eat their food after the initial experimentation decided they didn't like the impact on their skin or how they felt so that's.

Sarah McLachlan:

you know that's good, but yeah, so protein really important in the context of high carb and snacks and chips and all those soft drinks the things that teens tend to gravitate towards. What other tips can you give the listeners for their parenting teens?

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah, so I think you brought up a really good point. We do have to kind of pick our battles and I like to focus on the things that I do have control over. So my son, he's a really keen mountain biker, which I love. Like he's out in nature riding his bike, he lives for it. That's what he sort of does in his spare time. But it does mean that they're catching the train out, like to the mountain bike trails, and he doesn't like taking lunch with him because he doesn't like holding. You know they're flying down mountains and blah, blah, blah, all the excuses.

Jessica Donovan:

So they are often buying fast food for lunch and there's nothing I can do about it. You know I try and say why don't you go to the supermarket and grab a salad? Or he did get into the Caesar salads from Aldi for a while, but you know all the other kids are going to whatever, maccas, kfc, and so you know I've learned to just let go of that and just focus on the times when I do have control. So I'll make sure he has a good breakfast, I'll make sure he has a good dinner when he gets home, and then I let go of the rest and the other thing that we really need to understand is like the teenage brain is dopamine hungry, like the dopamine receptors are increased, so they are wired for. Their brains are wired for those short term rewards, which is why they make silly decisions sometimes.

Jessica Donovan:

But junk food is another one of those things, as well as like social media, that give them those dopamine. So it's actually really hard physiologically for them to avoid, you know, those sorts of food. So I think that's important to understand. And the other thing, like so, as well as like the protein in the diet and just trying to keep sugar and refined carbohydrates down as much as possible, you know making sure that you've got good food that they can choose from. And you're like my son's now at a trade school. So he's, you know, working towards an apprenticeship, which is great. He's loving it there, but he's like refusing to take veggie sticks.

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah for example. You know it's not the vibe mum here at like I can imagine, I'm like okay, that's fine, but I'm still going to cut you up veggie sticks and you can have those when you get home from school. So we just find like workarounds. Sometimes they sit in the fridge for a few days and it doesn't you know because I forget to remind him. He said to me yesterday I baked this kind of coconut flour Sultana cake and he's like can't you just make normal food? He said well, something in a packet.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, gosh.

Jessica Donovan:

So it does get really tricky, but I so I try and bake normal package it up then. No, I just put it in a paper bag. I'm like, just deal with it. Yeah, yeah, then I'll mix that up with some, you know, healthy ish, muesli bars, or so I'll just try and keep him happy as much as possible, but then also add in the good stuff because he likes eating it. It's just the work, I don't know what what other people might say or how it looks.

Sarah McLachlan:

Well, I think that's the thing with being a teen too, isn't it? It's about figuring out where you fit in the world and you kind of don't necessarily want to stand out no and too far and be yeah at that target. So, exactly, yeah, I have empathy, but also I would like it if they had their vegetables.

Jessica Donovan:

I know my daughter will still take her vegetables. So I'm like holding on to that because, yeah, she says actually a lot of girls in her year, she's in year eight don't eat at all at school.

Sarah McLachlan:

Oh gosh yeah.

Jessica Donovan:

With the girls that I'm seeing. So her group of friends sit down, they eat their lunch so I'm just like you know and she'll take her veggie sticks and that sort of thing. So it's just terrible like the culture at schools. And then there's obviously canteens that stock a lot of rubbish as well. So, yeah, focusing on what you know, what you can get in, and I like to focus on, like what we can add in, rather than like don't have these and don't have that.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yes, me too. Yeah. Yeah, it's much easier when you're adding and it crowds out the other stuff, but it doesn't trigger that inner child to say you can't tell me what to do Exactly, don't tell me I can't eat that, I'm just going to do it more.

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah, and we do lose that control over you know, as kids get older. But there's also a few nutrients that I really like to focus on in the teen years, and the great thing about these nutrients is that they are, like, beneficial for both males and females, as they're kind of going through those changes. So magnesium is the first one, and you know magnesium is so great, for I'm sure you've talked about magnesium on this podcast.

Sarah McLachlan:

Well, I haven't actually talked about a specific nutrient, but yeah, that's across the ages. I always say to my clients I haven't met a person yet who would not benefit from magnesium in their life.

Jessica Donovan:

And I certainly know magnesium is helping me get through the perimenopause.

Sarah McLachlan:

Me too, yeah, for sure yeah.

Jessica Donovan:

Well, it's got that beautiful calming effect on our nervous system and through the teenage years it helps to support, like, healthy progesterone production for females. It can really help to reduce period pain if girls are getting those sort of heavy, painful periods and it also helps to promote clearance of excess hormones through the liver. So both testosterone and estrogen. So magnesium has so many benefits, great for those cramps that teenagers can get as they're growing really fast. The next one is B6, vitamin B6, which works really well with magnesium. They both really help to support the happy hormone production in the brain. So things like serotonin and GABA, which have a calming sort of positive effect on our teenager's mood. And yeah, b6 is really important for healthy progesterone production for girls as well through the teenage years. And then the third one is zinc. So I think zinc is more known through the teenage kind of puberty years for boys, but it's really beneficial for girls as well.

Jessica Donovan:

So zinc really supports all growth and development. It promotes sort of healthy hormone levels and particularly the testosterone and the androgens more of those sort of male hormones and zinc's really great for a healthy mood and really good for skin as well. So any teenagers that are struggling with skin issues and acne, zinc can be a really good one. So I love the combination of magnesium, B6 and zinc and I tend I give those all together in one tablet to my kids, so it's nice and easy, because that's the other thing.

Sarah McLachlan:

Getting compliance is can be tricky. It has to be really easy and yeah, I always try to choose the path of least resistance. Well, for me in my life as well, as my kids there as well. But yeah, sometimes I find those things I like to keep non-negotiable If I can.

Jessica Donovan:

Yeah, because we, like you know you were mentioning before about like our brain changes through perimenopause and how you know it can be hard to remember things and keep on track of things. So it's one thing for us to remember our own supplements and things we need to do for our wellbeing, but then we're needing to constantly remind our teenagers. So if you can just get in a good habit and I find like putting it, selling it to them based on what their interests are, yes, definitely, or what benefit you know it's easier if it's skin related or something often isn't it or you know painful periods.

Sarah McLachlan:

That's a motivating factor to get rid of Definitely and for my son.

Jessica Donovan:

I talk about magnesium being, you know, really good for his muscle recovery after he's been mounted back to me. So yeah, finding those things that are going to, you know, pick their interest, and so they can have that intrinsic motivation, so we don't have to be constantly on their backs about taking things.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, because who wants to be doing that? Not me, not you, I'm sure, I don't want to be the nagger.

Jessica Donovan:

Yes, they only see us as the nagger, no matter what we do. So yeah, that's true.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, that's it. Thank you so much, Jess, for sharing how you've, you know, felt during this time and transition for you and your kids as well, and some of those those great tips around food and nutrition that people can easily implement at home. Did you have anything that you wanted to say before we finish up today? Anything we've missed?

Jessica Donovan:

It was really good to chat to you. I might give you the link to so you can pop it in in the show notes. I've got a free ebook. It's just three breakfast recipes to support your kids' mood and behaviour, and these breakfast recipes are really good for the teenage years as well. So that's something for free that I'd love your listeners to be able to access, and, of course, they're their breakfast recipes that have protein in them. So, yeah, that's a really good start.

Sarah McLachlan:

Yeah, I will. So I will put that in the show notes alongside your contact details and a bit more about you there as well, jess, so people can look where to find you on the internet. So thank you once again for sharing your time with us today and helping us understand a bit more about what our teens need, and it's been a great conversation. It's something I actually really passionate about, too, is that recognising the situation that we may be in these days, having our kids a bit older, and what we can do about it. It's always something that we can do.

Jessica Donovan:

Thank you. Thanks so much for having me, you're welcome.

Sarah McLachlan:

It's really common for women over 40 to experience the chaos of changing hormones, mood, metabolism and energy. But I hope you know now that common doesn't have to equal normal for you or them. You can help others understand they aren't alone in feeling this way and that perimenopause doesn't have to be horrific by subscribing, leaving a review and sharing this podcast with other women in their 40s and beyond. Thanks so much for listening and sharing your time with me today in this chaos to calm conversation.

Raising Teens in Perimenopause
Navigating Perimenopause and Parenting Teens
Self-Care and Support in Managing Stress
Parenting Tips for Teens' Nutrition
Managing Perimenopause for Women Over 40