Eat healthy – what what does it really mean? Part of aging well is eating well. Have the dietary sins of our past destined us for health problems even if we find nutritional salvation now? What about all the candies with red dye # 10 and all the chemical additives we consumed before they were discredited or removed? I am certainly not a nutritionist and here I point a finger towards my disclaimer section.
This is simply a discussion of should/ would you change your diet to help ward off destructive ailments like diabetes , heart disease. Maybe a change in what you eat will change how you feel. I think just like rehabilitation, it is never too late to try to effect good change.
The National Geographic Studies on the Blue Zones, ( communities with the greatest number of centenarians) by Dan Buettner well documents their life long eating patterns. They eat very little meat and a plant based diet that is actually limited often to what they take from the ground themselves. It is a very idealistic nutritional bubble where you don’t eat fast food because there isn’t any ( except for those steadfast people in Loma Linda CA). Their own garden and root crops sustain them and isolate them from what food manufacturing can do to food. The newest book out, The Blue Zones Solution is full of hearty healthy recipes. It also documents the inspiring story of actually changing whole community’s patterns of eating behavior. Know which city had ( as in past tense) the highest of obesity?
Having become an almost complete vegetarian ( now the term is flexitarian?) 5 years ago, the recipes appeal to me. I know that even just black beans, onions and spices are a simple splendid way to have good food. I do not want to preach anti meat and methane on the planet statistics. It is a hard transition for many people and you have to balance out your protein or those B12 shots are painful! But isn’t eating better simply eating less of bad things and more of the good stuff?
And there are aging in place advantages in that you can make many vegetarian dishes in quantity and freeze for later. Almond milk lasts a lot longer. That translates to fewer trips to the grocery store. And although there are many new deliver to home services, drive thru pickup your order stores – you still have to get plan ahead if you are going to eat a well balanced diet.
Instead of worrying about the old fear that as old people we will end of eating cat food, please realize a can of black beans costs the same as the equal weight of cat food. A can of black beans for example will have 7-8 grams of protein! Now buying organic produce puts you in the other category of more expensive but once you try it it is hard to go back.
After tasting chemicals for most of our lives you have to give yourself a break from it to know the difference. I worry about that losing our sense of taste as we age thing. Not looking forward to that, so I am savoring the present. In a future blog post I will share my own personal ten rules of eating well.
What does this have to with aging in place?. It has to do with trying to avoid the most common chronic illness of diabetes and heart disease. I think our generation will live longer because the handwriting was on the wall sooner and hopefully we have been living nutritionally better longer. As they say it is never too late to make a change.