YOU ARE YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: Movement, Motivation and Mindset for Active Seniors

Energy Bite 128 – Eat a “Flexitarian” Diet and Live Longer

Sometimes it is reassuring to have something that works for me confirmed (or at least acknowledged) by science, or at least “some science” as suggested in an article by the Consumers Union, published in the Washington Post this morning. The headline reads: A Semi-vegetarian Diet is a Health Plus,  and that “ …flexitarians — those who make plant foods the star of their diets, with meat, fish, dairy and eggs playing a supporting role — are healthier than frequent meat eaters …”. It seems that you can get the benefits of a vegetarian diet and still eat meat, as long as you cut back on the meat and ramp up the veggies (sound familiar). I wrote a while back about how I lost thirty pounds over a six month period by cutting back a little bit on the meat, and ramping up the veggies and fruits.

I’m a big fan of vegetables. I just don’t like a lot of them. I sometimes cringe when we have broccoli or asparagus. Brussels sprouts are a once every two years “treat”. I eat them because my wife tells me to. But I find beans, peas, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes (don’t get technical here please), even greens, much more palatable than before. And fruits have become a twice a day treat.

I never knew I liked squash. But forty years ago my wife Edie seduced me with acorn squash roasted with brown sugar and butter, and that’s become almost a craving ever since. Now I enjoy butternut squash roasted with olive oil, garlic and rosemary. I even tolerate zucchini. Yellow squash is edible when dressed up with olive oil, herbs and Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper. Who’d have thought?

When I was growing up, my mother used to boil the green beans, peas, carrots and other veggies, until they were totally tasteless and mushy. I never got over that. But it’s amazing what olive oil and herbs can do to spice up the basic taste of tasteless vegetables, particularly when they are steamed or roasted. I’m still working on it. I know, a lot of you love the taste of vegetables.

Too old to change? The Consumer’s Union article in the Washington Post suggests that changing your overall diet after age 50 can really make a difference. “It’s never too early or too late to embrace a healthier lifestyle” says a medical professional quoted in the article. He goes on to say, “The benefits come quickly and continue to accrue with time.”

As for you and me, I still like my steaks, just not as large and not as often. I eat more chicken. Some of you may not eat meat at all. Some embrace the “Paleo Diet” and include bacon and other animal fats. The “science” is still all over the place as to what is really best.

The point is that cutting back on meat and upping the veggies has been a real boon to my own health, weight, and certainly my Personal Energy. There’s no guarantee that it will result in a longer life, but I’m feeling better physically and mentally too. I sleep better knowing that I’m eating far more healthfully than ever before.

Having thirty pounds less to drag around helps too. Try it, you might like it.

Thank you for reading.

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