Zaley: more than just a Bennett
On the Orcutt Academy High School campus, Bennett is a last name often found synonymous with legendary, healthy, and vegan. Josh and Heather Bennett are a married couple who work as teacher and administrator, respectively. The name also belongs to two whiz-kids at the school: senior Kaden and sophomore Zaley. This bunch is known for their atypically healthy lifestyle, one which Zaley knows particularly well.
Contrary to popular belief, Zaley didn’t grow up as that kid in the corner eating broccoli and kale at lunchtime. The turning point in her health was when her parents discovered her intolerance to lactose/dairy products after months of Zaley being sick. Life changed from then on, and the whole family slowly started their adventure into a life of veganism.
Zaley herself doesn’t remember much about the transition, but knows that it has since transformed her entire family and life dynamic. On a day to day basis, her attention centers around three basic things: eating right, education, and volleyball.
As for her diet, Zaley enjoys a variety of nutritious and delicious foods. A favorite of hers is vegan-style tacos, loaded with jackfruit as the meat substitute and your typical additions like pico de gallo and salsa. She enjoys a good salad here and there, but ultimately nothing beats a thick, cheesy lasagna. Typical snacks for her are various types of veggies, her favorites being cucumber and carrots. Overall, this health-conscious teen tries to avoid processed foods with too many sugars.
In addition to diet, Zaley is very committed to exercising on a daily basis. On the days without volleyball training, she can be seen riding her bike, often for 5 plus miles, or running around the neighborhood.
She said, “Exercising is not necessarily something I do for fun. I don’t enjoy running or physically stressing my body, but the aftermath makes it addicting. Feeling my mind and body come alive because of all the chemical reactions that exercise leads to is amazing.”
Maintaining mental and physical health is a guiding factor in Zaley’s everyday choices. With a supportive family by her side, healthy living also reflects in other areas of her life- such as schooling. While Zaley takes a stand with the majority of teenagers who don’t like school, she chooses to make the best of a free education. Her grades back up a 4.00 GPA, no easy feat for a year-round athlete and ASB member.
All around, this young Bennett finds herself continuously working towards self improvement in every aspect of life. We could all learn a thing or two from her work ethic and health values.
In her own words, “What we do each day really matters. Prioritizing is key, and finding the balance between the things a person wants and needs to do is defining.” We could all take this advice and learn from great healthy people like Zaley and the Bennett’s.