Category Archives: Self-Care

It’s Never Too Late To Become A Vegan

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A BIG Thanks goes to Jess Walter for submitting this excellent post!

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about going vegan for years but still haven’t taken the plunge. Maybe you think you’ve waited too long, and worry that it’s too late for you to make the switch. After all, only about 4% of American adults over the age of 55 are vegan or vegetarian — does this small number mean that it’s not a good idea? In a word, no. Older adults have plenty to gain from a plant-based diet. Here’s what you should know about going vegan as a senior.

Eating Made Simple

Many older adults end up adjusting their diets because eating becomes more difficult as we get older. A plant-based diet might be easier to chew than a meat-based one. Though not all vegan foods are healthy, if you maintain a good vegan diet that’s loaded with fruits and veggies, you’ll be sure to get plenty of nutrients while aiding your digestion. Vegan meals are also generally easier to prepare and waste less food, which is why it’s ideal for seniors who’d rather not spend extended amounts of time preparing elaborate meals.

The Perks Of Going Meatless

Aging is inevitable, our bodies will change and decline as we get older. Over time, our immune system will stop functioning properly, our joints will start aching, and our senses will begin to dull. But our diet can hold off the aging process. Research has found that vegans have the most antioxidants in their bodies compared to lacto-ovo vegetarians, pescatarians, semi-vegetarians, and non-vegetarians. Antioxidants protect cells from damage, potentially holding off the signs of aging for longer.

No matter what your diet, it’s important that you consume a varied range of foods. If you ensure that you’re consuming the nutrients your body needs, you can lower the risk of developing many conditions common to seniors. For example, vegans and vegetarians are less likely to have diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high blood pressure, and obesity.

Your Changing Dietary Needs

As we age, our bodies need less calories to function, which means we can easily get our daily calorie requirements from a non-meat diet. However, just because your caloric requirements have decreased doesn’t mean you need less nutrients. Senior vegans should ensure that they’re getting enough vitamins and minerals to keep their bodies healthy.

Thankfully, there are plenty of plant-based sources for the nutrients our bodies need. For example, we can get calcium from soy milk and dark green leafy vegetables. Nuts and legumes are excellent sources of protein. And as you get older, it’s probably a good idea to supplement your diet with doctor-recommended multivitamins suitable for your needs — whether you’re vegan or not.

Do Your Research

Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t go vegan. Switching to a plant-based diet shouldn’t sacrifice your health; in fact, if done right, it should make you even healthier. If you’re seriously considering going vegan, read up on how you can make sure that you’re giving your body all the nutrients it needs.

Shifting to a new diet can be difficult, but you don’t have to rush into things. Start slowly by adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet and lessening your meat intake. And, of course, make sure to set an appointment with your doctor and a nutritionist so you can get advice on how you can safely transition to the vegan lifestyle.

 

Thanks again, Jess! You Rock!!!  Happy Summer, Everyone! ~Nina

Is Lack of Self-Care Ruining Your Mental Health?

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Hello Everyone,

The following article has been generously submitted by Brad Krause, who left the corporate world to help promote the simple notion of self-care. He is the writer and owner behind SelfCaring. A link to his site can be found at the end of this article.

Enjoy!

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When you don’t take care of yourself, your mind and body are left vulnerable. The good news is that you don’t have to drastically change your life in order to reap the benefits of self-care.

A gut feeling

You already know that eating the right foods can make you feel good. The reasons for this are many, including fueling your body well. But one lesser-considered benefit of paying attention to what’s on your plate is gut health. Your intestinal system doesn’t really belong to you. It belongs to the billions and billions of tiny bacteria that live inside your stomach, bacteria like lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and akkermansia. These and other microorganisms need a healthy diet, too. Once you understand all the things that affect your gastrointestinal system, you can add – or take away — foods that help or hinder your health.

The US National Library of Medicine posted a study in 2017 on the gut-brain connection. It’s a long and interesting read, which can be found here. The write-up offers lots of great information, including study results, charts, diagrams, and in-depth explanations, on how the stomach affects the brain. If you don’t have time to read it, a good summary is this: gut dysbiosis, an imbalance of good bacteria, along with systemic inflammation, is linked to severe mental illness.

While there is no simple fix to achieving internal harmony, it starts with the food you eat. For the good bacteria to thrive, it has to have a food source. This comes in the form of prebiotics. Reader’s Digest contributor Charlotte Hilton Andersen explains that foods such as cold potatoes, green bananas, and garlic have gut-boosting properties. These foods and many others should be added to your diet if they’re not already stable menu items.

Sleep away stress 

Even if you get your eating habits under control, there’s still work to be done when it comes to your overall self-care plan. Sleep is another area that tends to get pushed under the rug and neglected due to work, family, and social obligations. But sleep – and especially a lack of it – has significant effects on your mental health, and can cause or worsen anxiety disorders and stress.

Getting enough sleep is one simple and free way to reduce stress and wear and tear on the brain and body. This is crucial for your well-being as well as for your relationships with yourself, friends, and family. Stress is one of the largest contributors to more significant mental health problems in the US, and is undeniably linked to drug and alcohol addiction. Most experts agree that healthy adults should strive for seven hours of sleep every night.

Know your limits

Another important facet of your health is the load you put upon yourself. If you’re a caregiver, you will put everyone else’s needs before your own. You must learn to redirect your energy to places where it matters most, and that starts with you. The simplest way to do this is to get up close and personal with the word “no.” These two letters can empower youto take control of your time so that you can best focus on your health.

Wave goodbye

Finding time to relax is an essential part of your self-care strategy, but you have to relax the rightway to reap the benefits. When you’re on vacation, for example, don’t try to squeeze in every little attraction, but domake a point to sleep in when you can. It doesn’t matter what kind of vacation you take. However, the most relaxing places in the US are usually located near beaches and mountains. Take your vacation time from work. Even if you can only get away for a few long weekends each year, the mental and physical break you receive will offer an opportunity to refresh and recharge so that you can be more efficient upon your return.

The point is that self-care isn’t an indulgence. It’s little actions you take each day – eating well, sleeping, and prioritizing yourself – so that you can achieve and maintain physical and mental wellness.

Thank you so much, Brad! Self-care is so extremely important. It reminds me of being on an airplane and how the flight attendant always reminds the passenger to administer the oxygen mask to oneself first before anyone else. Besides, without adequate sleep, exercise and healthy foods I simply don’t feel and work as well. Thank you again for sharing this excellent article with my readers! 

Here’s a link to Brad’s website: http://selfcaring.info