Your mother or father may be a vegetarian or a flexitarian, or a vegan by choice or chance. Those who have chosen to be vegetarian often discover conflict among some family members, physicians and home care agencies.
The debate about the food pyramid is still strong among many in the healthcare industry. Many believe a well-balanced diet should include meat, dairy, fruit, vegetables, and grain. However, some studies have shown red meat may be difficult for the mature digestive systems and dairy products may cause intestinal discomfort. Eggs, although known for high protein value, may also contribute to high cholesterol.
Preparing Healthy Vegan Meals
Nutritionists note that many older parents have taken to a vegetarian diet by chance rather than choice. Vegetarian diet plans use beans as the protein source rather than meat. When preparing a vegetarian meal, caregivers may choose tofu, nuts, whole grains, and eggs. This provides your mother or father with their protein equivalents to the meat that you may think they should be eating but they have either chosen not to or for health reasons cannot eat.
However, if a vegetarian diet is not an option, a flexitarian meal plan may work for them. What this provide is the addition of meat, chicken, and fish in their diet, while still consuming mostly plant based foods including fresh vegetables and fruits. It’s also good to add small amounts of fish or chicken that are easily digestible to the meal plan for additional flavor and protein, especially if dairy and eggs are increasing intestinal or cholesterol problems.
If your parent turns vegan late in life, this may cause drastic changes to their digestive system, and unless it is for medical reasons, should be carefully planned. Although veganism is healthy, it is imperative that seniors get the proper nutrients to maintain their health. A vegan diet is entirely meat-free. That means no meat products are consumed or used in the processing. All the vitamins are natural. Some of the items that will not be part of the diet include eggs, butter, milk from cows, or bees honey.
Get Help from a Caregiver
If your parent lives in or around the Fort Myers, FL area, our caregivers are more than willing to help support a vegan diet. By preparing healthy, nutritious meals that meet your loved one’s preferences, we can help them stay healthy and happy at home.