Why a holistic approach?
I think the better question is…Why would you NOT take a holistic approach at any age? And yes, definitely and especially at age 80! At age 85..60…65…See my point? Any age!
What exactly is a holistic approach?
For those of you who might be a little unfamiliar with the term “holistic” in terms of medicine…Holistic defined simply means not just treating the symptoms of the disease, but looking at the treatment of the whole entire person.
So what does that mean to me?
The word in itself, might conjure up images of new age gurus or strange alternative methods of wellness. Here’s a tip that I found helped me way back when…When you think holistic…basically…think “Healthi-er” and that’s a good thing at any age!
A holistic approach to eating simply can mean making healthier food choices.
Me personally, I love the term “Healthi-er”. It’s something about the “-er”…Seems to reframe everything and make it “doable”! Changes seem smaller, less overwhelming and easy to implement.
Why Make Holistic Food Changes?
Again, why would you not make holistic/ healthier food changes?
A Proper diet and a healthy lifestyle go hand in hand but for the elderly community it seems almost imperative.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adults over the 65 are at a larger risk for disease and diagnosis as a result of their unhealthy diet. A majority of these diseases are a result of that improper diet. This is not necessarily the best news….However, if you take another look with your new holistic/ health-ier “eyes”…You see, there is Hope! The food you eat can actually make a difference in how you feel!
Proper nutrition can help you combat chronic diseases that become more common as you age.
Also, in the golden years, your appetite and energy levels do shift. Not feeling hungry or not wanting to prepare meals can mean your nutrition suffers. A lack of variety in their diet and a reduced food intake can cause serious nutrient, vitamin and mineral deficiencies which are needed for energy production, immune function and our bone health.
Obviously, check with your Doctor, first and foremost. Testing might be needed. Supplements might be helpful.
According to the National Resource Center on Nutrition, as many as one million seniors in the United States who live in their own homes rather than in institutions suffer from under-nutrition.
There are also foods choices you can make right now that can improve your nutrient health.
How to Make Holistic Healthier Food Choices?
That’s easy! Ever hear of the K.I.S.S. technique? Keep it super simple…one food at a time! At this point we are going for healthier, not a complete meal-by-meal overhaul.
It’s similar to a technique that I share with my clients called crowding out. As you slowly start to add in the healthier foods, you slowly start removing the unhealthier foods thus, crowding them out.
It’s all about small changes and healthier choices.
I started out the in the exact same position as most of you making one healthier food choice at a time. I did not know it at the time, but I had started my own variation of the classic elimination diet…getting rid of anything and everything that made me sick. Here’s my example…First, I removed potatoes from my diet. Next, I removed anything deep fried. Next, processed foods were quick to go and so on and so on. Until, basically everything was gone! I was left with 3..maybe 4 foods…
That was my Oprah “Aha” or “Oh, crap!” moment! I had better figure this food thing out!”. My education began and I started becoming an expert all about me. I started asking questions, researching and learning everything that I could. I went on to formal education and became a certified Health Coach in 2017. A graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
What Is a Health Coach?
A Health Coach is a supportive mentor and wellness expert. In my case, I help clients feel their best through food and lifestyle changes by creating a personalized wellness program that meets their needs.
How to Make Healthier Food Choices If don’t control the menu?
Making healthier choices can be a little more difficult if you are in an assisted living facility and have a set menu or have limited choices. In these cases, you make the best choice possible.
I’ve included menus from 3 different assisted living facilities to provide a quick snapshot into the menus offered at various facilities and how to make better health choices at each one. Let’s get started…
Start with some healthy basics…
Foods high in Protein – Eggs, Almonds, Poultry, Oats, Cottage Cheese, Greek Yogurt, Broccoli, Lean Beef & Tuna
Peanut butter on whole wheat bread makes for a simple lunch high in protein. Try to keep hard-boiled eggs visible in the refrigerator for a quick and easy high-protein snack. A small rotisserie chicken is always good to also have on hand.
Benefits of Protein – Protein makes up the building blocks of organs, muscles, skin, hormones and pretty much everything that matters in your body. Protein also repairs and replaces damaged tissue, builds strength which allows you to function independently. You really want to eat high-quality protein at every meal.
According to an article published by the University of Arkansas, you should keep your protein intake to 15 to 20 percent of your total calorie intake. If you want to get really specific, 1.5 grams of protein per 2.2 pounds of your body weight.
Foods High in the Omega-3 Fatty Acids – This includes fatty fish such as Salmon, Albacore Tuna, Lake Trout and Mackerel. Walnuts and Flaxseed are also another good sources of omega-3.
Buy canned albacore tuna…stir in some mayonnaise or add smoked salmon to your breakfast plate.
Benefits of Omega-3’s – Omega-3’s fatty acids are an essential nutrient your body needs and is found in very few foods. Omega 3 fatty acid can reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acid can quite possibly benefit your overall health including reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and/or other types of cognitive conditions, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Also check with your Doctor. Supplemenst might be an option.
Foods High in Calcium – Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Fortified Orange Juice and Salmon
Benefits of Calcium –
As we age, on average by the age of eight years old, 70% of women have osteoporosis, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The risk also rises in elderly men. Low calcium combined with low vitamin D levels can contribute to osteoporosis.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, four glasses of milk per day can meet your calcium daily needs. Also adding yogurt, cheese, fortified orange juice, salmon and calcium-fortified cereals great choices.
Food High in Vitamin D – Salmon, Tuna, fortified milk and orange juice and also egg yolks.
A glass of milk or orange juice and scrambled eggs would be a great way to start you day and meet your vitamin D needs.
Benefits of Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium. You need adequate levels to help meet you vitamin D needs. Spending 5 to 30 minutes in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily can help absorb vitamin D
If for any reason I still have not convinced you that the food you can directly impact your life, I’ve included a picture and a link to a before and after pic of me.
In the before picture obviously, you see massive weight…I see disease, chronic inflammation and physical pain.
In the after picture is see joy, happiness and living life all because I changed he way I ate..
I’m living proof that food has direct impact on not only how you feel, but your entire life!
Robyn Roknipour is an Author, Speaker and Educator. She is a Certified Health & Wellness Coach, a Certified Bariatric Coach and a Transformational Pioneer. Robyn Roknipour is the owner of a private health coaching practice and founder of Transformations 258 and www.howilost258lbs.com. Her book, “Food, Body, Heal” scheduled for upcoming release shares her personal transformation with an underlying theme of inspiring others to begin their own transformation leading to their best life.