How come vegetarian nutrition is now being talked about everywhere you go?
Is it because the vegetarian lifestyle has finally been established as healthy, perfectly adequate, and appropriate for all age groups, including the senior population?
I think the vegetarian diet is much more than “appropriate” - it’s lifesaving.
The truth is plainly visible - Americans are now the world’s sickest, most overweight and even obese, overmedicated and malnourished people.
Nearly 70 percent of older Americans are overweight and obese.
I’m not making this up. These are recent numbers from the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Plus, the #1 cause of death in this nation is heart disease -- which is clearly a foodborne disease -- despite what the processed food industry wants you to believe.
In light of these facts people are looking for alternative solutions to a problem that is getting worse every day of every year.
Look no further…
There is plenty of evidence that vegetarians have a lower body mass index (BMI) and much lower rates of obesity.
Evidence shows that they have lower blood cholesterol, blood sugar, and homocysteine levels.
Evidence shows that they have lower risk of hypertension, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease.
Evidence suggests lower incidence of depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and some forms of cancer.
Who are these people?
Originally, vegetarians were living on a purely plant-based diet.
Over time, this definition was watered down to include fish and seafood (pescetarians), dairy and eggs (lacto-ovo-vegetarians), and other processed, edible substances.
For more on the different types of vegetarians click here.
Even some people who eat the flesh of several kinds of animals (chicken, turkey) - but no “red meat” - now might call themselves vegetarians.
I wonder about “the other white meat” - pork… Where does that fit in?
Today, only vegans are true and pure vegetarians.
Vegetarians consume mainly a plant-strong diet.
The emphasis is on nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds. Yes, mushrooms, berries, tubers, too.
Therefore, a well-planned vegetarian diet provides what your body needs for healthy function --
As mentioned before, some vegetarians (lacto-ovo) consume too much unhealthy fat and cholesterol from dairy and eggs.
Others include the occasional or not so occasional meat. They shouldn’t consider themselves vegetarians.
To be clear -- I am not a proponent of the “watered-down” version of vegetarianism.
Having said that, I very much promote a dietary lifestyle which leads you, my fellow senior, away from the disease-causing and life-shortening Standard American Diet (SAD).
Every time you replace animal products - yes, that includes cold cuts and sausages - with plant-based whole foods, you do your body a huge favor.
Only plant foods have phytonutrients - thousands of them. And every one of them does your body a whole lot of good.
Moving toward a more healthful lifestyle can be a challenge.
Older adults may look back on decades of poor dietary habits, cultural and societal conditioning, and… because science was unaware - ignorance.
“Leaning into” vegetarian nutrition can be your path to a healthier, more fulfilling, and longer life.
Progress, not perfection…
And if you ultimately adopt a vegetarian diet whole-heartedly… the benefits are all yours.
You may see the many benefits that wholesome vegetarian nutrition offers, but you may be unsure what a “well-planned” plant-based diet is.
Let me add an important note here.
Some people change to a vegetarian diet only to replace animal foods with meat substitutes and other processed food items, but continue to eat an otherwise unhealthy diet (see SAD diet above).
They will not get truly healthy.
You can replace (I have done it) animal products with soy-based foods to make an easier transition - AND increase the intake of fresh plant-based whole foods at the same time.
True vegetarian nutrition entails a great variety of wonderful whole foods, all plant-based. It is easy to get used to eating healthy. Millions do it.
Health Coaching is a proven, highly successful tool for achieving health behavior changes. Nutrition planning is a vital part of making such changes.
You deserve optimal health in your senior life.
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