Benefits of a Vegan Diet as a Senior — Bonus Recipe from the Team at Wesley Enhanced Living

Now that you’ve reached your golden years, you have the perfect opportunity to explore many new lifestyle options, including switching to a vegan diet. Perhaps your doctor has told you to back off from the sweets and add more vegetables to your meals, or that you need to lose weight or lower your cholesterol or blood sugar levels. Instead of looking at these changes as restraints, consider them valuable opportunities to lead a longer, happier and healthier life. 

At Wesley Enhanced Living retirement communities, we have a full staff of culinary and nutrition professionals to assist with all your dining needs, including support for specialized diets and nutritional requirements. 

4 Benefits of Choosing a Vegan Diet

You can make the necessary changes now to take hold of your senior years, and you may even feel better than you did when you were twenty! Here are just a few benefits you may experience if you adopt a vegan diet:

  1. The aging process slows down. There is a part of our DNA called telomeres that shorten as we grow older. The shorter they are, the older we look. Plant-based diets help increase the production of telomerase, an enzyme that help rebuild the length of telomeres, thereby reducing the aging process.
  2. It lowers the development of age-related diseases. Our Western diet has led to the increase of cancer and diabetes. Eliminating meat, sugar, and dairy has the potential to decrease your risk of developing these diseases.
  3. Your meaty middle will reduce. Growing older also means your metabolism slows down, and you do not need as many calories. Increasing your vegetable and fiber intake satisfies your hunger pains. You will feel fuller and avoid consuming sugary or unnecessary meals. You may see some weight reduction.
  4. Your energy levels may increase. Decreasing the amounts of unhealthy foods and giving your body what it truly needs, may result in energy to burn. When you are looking for adventures, you need to keep your energy levels up.

As with any change to your diet, please consult with a medical professional to ensure that all of your nutritional needs are being addressed.

BONUS: Yummy vegan recipe adapted from Eating Well

Need an easy and quick meatless dinner idea? This vegan recipe for grilled cauliflower steaks with butter beans and almond pesto take just 25 minutes to prepare. It is full of a host of nutrients, and, as a bonus, is gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, and vegan.

By Hallie L. Klocek, MPH RD LDN

Ingredient List:

  • 5 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided, plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • Zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 large heads cauliflower
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans no-salt-added butter beans, rinsed
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat grill (or griddle/pan) to medium heat.
  2. Pulse almonds, 4 tablespoons parsley, basil, chives, lemon zest and juice, 2 tablespoons oil and ¼ teaspoon salt in a food processor until finely ground.  If pesto is too coarse, add a little extra olive oil.
  3. Place cauliflower heads on a cutting board, stem-side down. Using a large knife, cut two ½-inch-thick slices from the center of each head to make 4 “steaks.” (Reserve the remaining cauliflower for another use.) Brush the steaks with 2 tablespoons oil. Combine paprika, garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture on both sides of the steaks.
  4. Grill the cauliflower steaks, turning once, until tender and nicely charred, about 10-15 minutes total. (Keep an eye on them, you don’t want them to get too soft or mushy. They should cook through and soften, but still maintain their shape.)
  5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until the shallots start to soften, about 1 minute. Add beans, water, pepper and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar and the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.
  6. Serve the cauliflower steaks over the beans, and top with the pesto and any leftover fresh herbs, as desired.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 1 cauliflower steak, ¾ cup beans and approximately 2 tablespoons pesto

Per Serving (approximate): 430 calories; 27 grams fat (3 g saturated); 10 grams fiber; 35 grams carbohydrates; 14 grams protein; 3 grams sugar; 670 mg sodium.

Embrace Retirement and Live Free with Help from Wesley Enhanced Living

Hold onto your retirement dreams with vigor by embracing a healthier diet and making new memories with us at Wesley Enhanced Living. Our seniors enjoy independent living, personal care, as well as, other levels of assistance. Avoid shrinking from the best years of your life when you can blossom now!

Wesley Enhanced Living provides high-quality senior retirement communities for you or your loved ones.  Contact one of our Philadelphia area locations and find out why our seniors love where they live. Our staff is happy to discuss your elder’s needs or your own, give you a tour and inform you of our range of services.

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