As you know, we are gearing up for our annual EcoChallenge, a two week event October 15-29th where we challenge you to change one habit that benefits both you and the planet. We often are asked for ideas on “what can I do?” and this week NWEI Board Member and Ziba Design Creative Director Eric Park shared the following article as inspiration for the EcoChallenge. Not sure what to try for two weeks? How about a vegan or vegetarian diet? As Eric says, this article “makes becoming a vegetarian late in life seem like normal behavior change.” For the full article, click here.
Many Boomers and seniors grew up being told, “No dessert until you’ve finished your vegetables.” That parental pronouncement led to spinach hidden in napkins, broccoli smuggled to the dog, and, for some, a lifelong aversion to anything green. But, these days, more and more in this age group are learning that it’s never too late to start eating your veggies. Two and a half million Americans over the age of 55 have made the switch to vegetarianism, and the even-more-extreme version of a plant-based diet—veganism—is going mainstream.
The word “vegan” has steadily increased in Google searches—it is now up to 36 million hits. Chipotle offers vegan burritos. Even White Castle is testing veggie sliders in selected markets. And Kaiser Permanente, the country’s largest HMO, recommends that its members eat a plant-based diet. The vegan trend has also impacted the dairy industry. Cow milk consumption is down, while the sales of soy, almond, and other milk substitutes are up.
It also doesn’t hurt that many famous Boomers have gone vegan, from Bill Clinton and Al Gore to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi. And it’s not only celebrities but regular folks that are eating green to stave off the chronic conditions that plague four out of five people over age 65. Fred Willms, 81, of Medford, Ore., has experienced the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Although he grew up on meat and potatoes, Fred became a vegan at 78 at the urging of a physician who gave him “The China Study,” a book that details the connection between nutrition and diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes…