Starting a new diet at an advanced age can be daunting, but going vegan can actually be quite easy and beneficial for seniors. The vegan diet has been shown to improve heart health, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer and promote weight loss, among other things. If you’re a senior considering going vegan, here are four tips to get you started.
If you’re used to eating a lot of animal products, it may be difficult to go cold turkey and eliminate them all at once. Instead, try gradually transitioning to a vegan diet by cutting out one animal product at a time.
For example, start by eliminating red meat, then poultry, then fish, and finally dairy and eggs.
Have the cook at home or at your senior living facility replace these with vegan options like beans, tofu, seitan, tempeh, lentils, or plant-based burgers.
Get Enough Protein
Protein is essential for seniors, as it helps to preserve muscle mass and prevent frailty.
It’s possible to not get enough protein on a vegan diet, especially if you’re not eating enough calories or variety.
Make sure to eat plenty of high-protein plant-based foods such as tofu, tempeh, lentils, beans, quinoa, nuts, and seeds. You can also get protein from green leafy vegetables, but you’ll need to eat more of them to get the same amount as you would from a protein-rich food.
How many servings of protein you need depends on your weight and activity level, but most seniors need at least 0.5 grams per pound of body weight daily.
Focus on Healthy Fats
There are two types of fat-saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are found in animal products such as butter, cheese, milk, and meat, while unsaturated fats are found in plant-based oils like olive oil, avocado oil, and nut butters.
Unsaturated fats are the healthier option and can help to improve cholesterol levels, while saturated fats can raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.
This is another major reason why a vegan diet is beneficial for seniors. So when going vegan, be sure to get healthy fats from sources like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. These foods will help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Find a Support Group
Making any major lifestyle change can be difficult, so it’s important to have a supportive network to help you through the process.
Reach out to friends or family members who are already vegan or vegetarian. They can offer tips and advice on making the transition.
You can also look for online support groups or meetups in your area. This can be a great way to meet like-minded people and make new friends.
Going vegan is a major lifestyle change, but it’s one that can be very beneficial for seniors. By following these tips, you can make the transition easily and enjoy all the benefits that a vegan diet has to offer.