Tag Archives: vegan diet

It’s Never Too Late To Become A Vegan



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

What Your Doctor May Not Know


The following is a conversation between a lawyer and his expert witness, a cardiothoracic surgeon. My close friend is the lawyer, so he relayed this story to me yesterday that he’d had after taking the doctors deposition for the case he’s working on. Here is a recording of the conversation that came up after their meeting. This is what he told me.


two-men-talkingTwo men talking

The conversation started with me asking him, since he’s from California, if he’d heard that Kaiser Permanente is now recommending a Plant-Based diet as a nutritional approach to health care. He rolled his eyes and said, “Oh, another diet!” I said, not trying to p.. this guy off since he’s my expert witness and a very smart man, “It seems like a pretty compelling approach to health.” He said, “All these diets have fairly serious health consequences when you eliminate certain proteins and minerals out of your regular consumption.” I said, “Well, I’ve started a whole foods plant-based diet six months ago and I’ve been reading quite a bit of information and studies about this diet approach to health.” I asked him, “Have you ever read “The China Study” by Dr. T. Colin Campbell? He said, “No!” I briefly explained it to him, the scope of it. “The study doesn’t reach any specific opinions, but the findings paint a pretty compelling picture of diet impact on primarily cancer. However, the author of The China Study, utilizing that study as the foundation, draws on a number of other peer reviewed studies and articles, as well as overwhelming anecdotal information from a multitude of physicians to reach opinions and conclusions regarding diet. Not only cancer and heart disease, but diabetes, osteoporosis and a variety of other serious health maladies. Clearly, the only significant vitamin that may be lacking from a strict plant-based diet is vitamin B12.”


The-China-StudyThe China Study 


He said, “Really? You’re telling me that this study documents that you don’t need meat or dairy for adequate protein?” I said, “Yes, clearly! There is without question more and better protein found in various beans and vegetables than in meat and dairy without the serious medical health effects from meat and dairy!” I then told him that I was seeing you and about your involvement with PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) and how you had introduced me to this diet, plus had made all of these delicious meals for me, making it somewhat easier for me to make this switch to a whole foods plant-based vegan diet! 


BeefFatSpillPCRM600Go Vegan!


Then he said, “It’s frightening! Here I am a cardiothoracic surgeon and I have literally no education or training in nutrition. We get nothing in medical school about nutrition and you’re a lawyer who has read some important nutritional studies and who’s smart enough to understand the body’s nutritional needs and how it can be accommodated with diet and you’re telling me something I’ve never heard before after 30 years of cardiothoracic surgery, which is pretty much at the top of the food chain in medicine!” Then I (lawyer) discussed with him the documentary, Forks Over Knives and brought up Dr. Esselstyn, whom he’d never heard of, but he was certainly familiar with the Cleveland Clinic. He made notes about both and said he would watch and read.

preventandreverseDr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.


He said that, “In medicine we tend to address all of these issues with medications. High blood pressure pills, cholesterol pills, Beta blockers, Ace inhibitors, etc.” He did say that in his personal life his wife had been cutting him back to one serving of meat per week. However, he didn’t see chicken and pork as serious as red meat. I said, “Well, that’s not really so! They are just, if not more problematic! They are still animal protein and also high in saturated fat and cholesterol.” Further, I told him that in America, 78% of antibiotics are being given to farm animals, so we are screwing up our ability to respond to serious infections down the line.” He agreed.

On a final note, from me: The next time you see a medical doctor, before putting your life and trust into their hands, you might want to keep this conversation in mind. It certainly is compelling and food for thought! I hope that you will share it! Here’s to hoping that more doctors will educate themselves further on nutrition and health!

Vegan Christmas Horror Story


Stories started rolling in after my previous post on “Vegan Holiday Self-Defense.” Warning, this post contains more “choice words” than I’ve ever posted in the past two years. If this will offend you, please don’t read on. I have borrowed a few fun pictures off the internet to make my point! The story I’m about to share is an extreme case of what can happen to someone following a plant-based vegan diet. I hope this story doesn’t deter anyone from going on a plant-based diet. Most people are becoming a lot more informed about the health benefits of a vegan diet thanks to films like, “Forks Over Knives” and people like Bill Clinton and Ellen DeGeneres going vegan! However, we need to be able to address and shed some light on the negativity that can occur from uninformed and downright nasty behavior. Here’s what a friend shared:


Nina, I had a horror story from the other day. Christmas lunch with my partners family. I was told to make a vegan main to bring, ok no worries, but when we got there his mother told us that because we thought we were special we were not allowed to eat the meat eaters veggie sides and she even took food off my daughters plate in front of everyone! Then had a go at me for being inconsiderate and next time to make a separate whole meal. It was hideous. I’ve made a decision that that is the last time and as much as I love my partner, who went mute during the whole thing, I’m never putting my kids and I through it again with them. Every year has been difficult.


woman-dealing-with-mother-in-lawWoman dealing with her mother-in-law


My friend, who was beside me while I was reading this, responded to how he would have dealt with this scenario. He’s a lawyer and is used to dealing with difficult people! He immediately responded, “That is the rudest and most inconsiderate thing I’ve ever encountered. We will be taking our leave now!” Then I’d taken the kids and left! I hope your partner supports you in this…even if it is his mother! This is beyond normal, my friend! As I mentioned in my post, I have cut off family members from my life because I refuse to be abused! If people can’t tolerate differences you don’t need to associate with them! If my mother had done this to my partner I would have told her immediately that she was out of line! So sorry!!!



Thankfully, most of my family in Denmark has been the most accommodating, making me vegan and raw vegan food when I’ve come for a visit! That said, I never go to someone’s house making judgments about what they’re eating – or bring up why meat eating is horrible at the table – and if they bring it up, I will say this is not the time for that discussion. If they ask what they can make for me, I ask for something simple, like a baked potato! We all have to remember that we didn’t become veggie lovers overnight & that most of us used to eat these meat products! She wrote this in response:


Nina, your family sounds very progressive!  Mines coming around too and now provide a meal which is great, especially after seeing how healthy and strong we are getting. My partners family are just very ‘old school’ and see making choices that are different as being hippy or communist or rebellious. We’ve never been evangelist about our choices and gone on about it at all, but have given good reasons if asked. I rejected meat at 16, 26 years ago, so am very practiced in general. This last experience really topped it though!


No kidding!


MIL Devil

Then I had to ask my new friend, “Did this conversation come about without there being any lead up discussion about your opinions about veganism or non-animal products?” I asked her this because you know that there are people out there who want to put their beliefs in your face at the most inopportune times, such as a holiday gathering around food! I didn’t think this was the case, but I had to ask!  Here’s her response:


Yep. The kids and I kept it all very ‘normal’ and made little fuss but expressed our choice which from day one which opened us up to ridicule and hidden beef stock and shredded chicken etc. my partner would just eat it and not complain, he’s not strong with his family who as a result still have family functions at steak houses where there’s literally nothing he can eat. If we stayed with his parents, I’d be doing the cooking for us, which quickly ended up with me cooking in general and cleaning up, which I put a stop to this year. We have given broad minded and intelligent reasons for our choices but over roaring laughter and rolling eyes. My partner wants me to just take it and be nice, but after years of it, esp earlier this week, I’ve had enough. Copped it enough from my own family who luckily now provide a meal.


bitchymoms-300x188For those “special people” in our lives!

My mother would have responded the exact same way your partner did. In Danish, we have this saying that goes something like this, “Man bør spille gode miner til slet spil!”, which is about pretending to be okay, smiling, and being polite while others are downright rude or disrespectful to your face…or behind your back! It’s about putting up a false facade! The Danish dictionary has this translation, “Put a good face on it.” I’ve personally never understood this logic nor agreed with this saying! I know that many people have a difficult time dealing with family members, especially this time of the year, and how to best handle scenarios like these! Whatever their reasons for this negative behavior: jealousy, needing someone in the family to be “the black sheep”, disrespect, mental illness and/or some emotional disorder (please keep in mind that some of the people around you might be suffering from bipolar disorder without you even knowing it) or just simply need to have someone to gossip about! My friend asked me, “Have you ever noticed how some people seem to get satisfaction out of being difficult?” Absolutely! And, I have finally drawn the line in my own life and said, “Enough!”, so you’re certainly not alone! When my Dad was alive and I shared with him – that I didn’t plan to see these people again, he said to me, “I think you can live without that!” Sure can! Who needs these crazy makers? 



What is called for is assertive behavior! This needs to be practiced and if you can afford it, seeking the help of a professional may also help. NO, I’m not talking about hiring a “gun for hire” to take out your possible future mother-in-law out!  Here is a suggestion of something you could say to your partner’s mother the next time you talk to her:


“You know, I’m not trying to change you. I’m not trying to make it so that you can’t eat your foods, but you seem unwilling to accept what I believe is appropriate and reasonable choices for my family and you have also chosen to do it in a mean spirited fashion. We won’t be dining with you any more! I’m sorry it has come to this!”


mother-in-law note

Thank you again for sharing your horror story with all of us! This is truly beyond normal and appropriate behavior! Thankfully, as more people become aware of all the benefits to a whole foods plant-based diet some of these myths and misconceptions will disappear! Another thing to keep in mind is that there are really only two responses to anything on this planet…Love or fear! Your partner’s mother has reacted and is operating from a totally fear based place! Beneath it all, she is afraid…even if she is rolling her eyes and laughing!

One final note for you, dear friend



Much Happiness to you, your partner and children!


PS. In Buddhism, we chant for the happiness of others. As a practicing Buddhist…believe it or not, I still chant/pray for those people I no longer associate with and for their ongoing happiness! 

Please feel free to drop us a note about how you would handle a situation like this or if you’ve ever been in a similar situation!