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To Vegan or Not to Vegan?07/05/2018

Veganism, and other related diets, have been on the rise in recent years. Millennials and parents of young children have adopted these diets as ways to keep themselves, and their families, healthier. But these diets aren't just the newest health fad. Vegetarian, vegan, and pescatarian diets hold quite a lot of benefits for seniors.

Vegan and Vegetarian Diets 

As we age, our bodies require less calories, roughly 1,800 per day rather than the roughly 2,000 a day usually suggested, making a plant-based diet ideal for seniors. Protein and calcium are important nutritional benefits in muscle and bone health for seniors need as they age. Opt for dark leafy greens and orange juice rather than dairy to fulfil your calcium needs. Protein can be introduced through nuts and legumes. For older woman, veganism can greatly lower your risk of heart disease.

Fiber and antioxidant-rich meals are some more of the amazing advantages seniors can receive from a plant-based diet. These benefits result in a lower chance of diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Seniors often suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, typically from less time being spent in the sun. Vitamin D aides in the prevention of ailments such as osteoporosis and heart disease. A great way to reintroduce vitamin D is by adding mushrooms or tofu into your diet. Mushrooms are great grilled or sauteed and added to a pasta. Tofu doesn't have a very strong flavor and typically takes on the flavors of the spices and other foods it is cooked with and is a great meat substitute for many dishes. Tofu and coconut milk can be used for a vegan Butter Chicken:

 

  •  14 oz. roasted tofu cut up into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped up
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala (a mixture of equal parts cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 can of coconut milk (or coconut milk lite), shake up
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 pinch of salt (or salt alternative)
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt or coconut milk yogurt
  • 1 can of tomato puree  

Directions

  • Heat a skillet on medium-high heat, drizzle some olive oil.
  • Sautee chopped onions until golden, add garlic paste.
  • Add tofu and cook ingredients together for roughly 5 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste before pouring in the coconut milk.
  • Add spices and garam masala and let simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Add in yogurt and tomato puree. Turn to low heat and let simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  • Allow to cool. Best served over rice.

 

Pescatarian Diet

For those who want the benefits of a vegan diet without having to completely give up meat, a pescatarian diet is perfect. Pescatarians consume a plant-based and seafood diet. Seafood provides the proteins, iron, and vitamins typically received when eating chicken or red meats. Pescatarian diets can widen food choices greatly than with a vegan diet:

A great plant-based, pescatarian meal that's easy to prepare is a Salmon Pizza: 

 

  • Cut a fillet of salmon into bite size pieces and sautee with a few spices.
  • Once your salmon is ready, add a pesto sauce to the crust, layer with a blend of a vegan Parmesan-Mozzarella alternative.
  • Add salmon to the top of the pizza and sprinkle some more cheese on top.
  • Bake as desired. 

 

 These easy meals produce far less food waste than with a meat-based meal and caregivers and family members can easily help seniors with prep work.

*Seniors should speak with a physician before adopting a more plant-based diet. 

 


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