The misconception that vegan nutrition is restrictive, radical, unhealthy, boring or worse, is based on ignorance, misinformation, and maybe even fear.
Truth is, this healthful nutrition encompasses an incredible abundance of plant-based foods that are tasty and flavorful, colorful and fragrant, and an excellent source of fiber.
My Vegan Food Pyramid makes this point well.
Yes, contrary to stubbornly persistent opinion, there is also plenty of muscle-building protein and healthy fats in a vegan diet.
But the most important key to senior health and longevity is the nutrient density of plant-based foods.
Only these foods contain phytochemicals (phyton = plant) - thousands of them - that, along with vitamins and minerals, provide your body with all the vital life-supporting nutrients.
Just one example - In a wide variety of vegan foods you will find better sources of calcium than any dairy product can give you.
No matter what the celebrities with a white milky mustache would have you believe...
Vegan nutrition - whether you start trying it (Meatless Monday comes to mind), leaning into it, or adopting this most healthy of all diets - you will be part of a growing movement. Here is why…
If Google Trends (March 2013) says that
“public interest in a vegan diet is higher than ever before” -
it’s a statement to pay attention to.
But wait, there’s more…
In 2012, the Vegetarian Resource Group commissioned a study which found that 2.5 percent of the U.S. population identify as vegan.
As recently as 2009 the number was 1 percent. The percentage may seem small, but the number of vegans has more than doubled in these three years.
That is not only a meaningful trend, but also tremendously encouraging for many reasons. I’ll get into these more thoroughly as this website continues to grow.
As the author of this page and founder of SeniorHealthSuccess.com, I’m also vegan.
Make that ‘veganist’ - someone who leans into the vegan nutrition and lifestyle.
The author who recently coined that
word is Kathy Freston. She wrote a real nice book about the vegan
lifestyle, titled "Veganist."
I live the vegan lifestyle as best I can -- enjoying all the wonderful benefits of vegan nutrition.
Having said that, I encourage you to learn as much about vegan nutrition as you can, as there are so very many life-saving and life-extending benefits that veganism provides.
Or take the shortcut. How to be vegan doesn't really require years of study. I did that for you.
By the way, the frequently asked question "Where do vegans get their protein?" is answered on the page about Vegan Protein...
I mentioned it on my page about Anti-aging Diet, but will say it again right here -- even SMALL changes in your nutritional lifestyle result in HUGE benefits to your senior health!
According to recent studies, vegan nutrition offers a variety of health benefits, such as reversal of heart disease, lower rates of obesity, and improved diabetes.
Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, osteoarthritis, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease - all these can very likely be prevented by adhering to a whole foods, plant-based diet.
The chronic diseases just mentioned are of special concern to seniors - or older adults - if you prefer.
Why? Because it is this segment of the population - yes, baby boomers too - that is mostly afflicted with these diseases.
And it’s a shame, as all of them can be prevented or reversed through changes in diet and exercise.
But since you’re still young at heart, you know that it is NOT TOO LATE to start implementing changes in your diet.
Start with ‘leaning into’ a vegan nutrition lifestyle…
You may have heard that vegans don’t get enough vitamin B12. Some may not. Most do take supplemental B12.
Many non-vegans - those consuming lots of animal products - take antacids for acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion - all due to the SAD diet.
Deficiency of vitamin B12 (because of lack of adequate stomach acid) is such a growing problem in the older adult population that I devoted a separate page to the topic.
Antacids seriously interfere with the absorption of B12. So...
I advise all people over the age of 50, on any diet, to use fortified foods or supplements as their B12 sources, as these forms are better absorbed by many seniors than animal-based products.
As we grow older, seniors (you and me) develop deficiency of this vital vitamin due to diminishing absorption in the intestinal system.
By the way, the enormous benefits to the environment resulting from the reduction or elimination of meat consumption will be dealt with in a different topic on this site.
Leaning into vegan nutrition - if not adopting it wholeheartedly - is a highly beneficial way to keep your body in as youthful a condition as you would like.
The benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet are convincing and undeniable.
And should not be ignored any longer…
I am fully aware that - especially for you as a senior with many years of cultural conditioning and lots of misinformation - it may not be easy to let go of so many ingrained and long-held beliefs.
But we’re talking about your life here. Your life deserves to be healthy and fulfilling. I said it before, and I say it again - IT IS NEVER TOO LATE.
Changing your nutrition - step by step - to allow your body to heal will be absolutely worth your while and effort. Besides, eating vegan is great fun!
Let me add an important note here.
Don't change to a vegan diet only to replace animal products with meat substitutes and other processed foods.
Yes, meat replacements can greatly help in transitioning from the SAD diet, because they ameliorate the "cravings" for the animal-based kind.
If you continue to eat an otherwise unhealthy diet - you will not get truly healthy.
Living on French fries and cola may be vegan - but it is killing you.
Vegan nutrition entails a great variety of wonderful whole foods, all plant-based.
To help you with this I created an "EASY Vegan Recipes" section.
It's easy to get used to eating healthy. Millions do it.
For some, however, old habits and convictions may be a bit challenging to overcome.
Please, go to Health Behavior Change or Health Coaching to find out how you can simply and easily acquire the skills to live an extended and highly fulfilling life - by adopting, or leaning into, vegan nutrition.
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