Author Topic: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement  (Read 3412 times)

SachaFiscal

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I've been thinking about health care costs and worrying that they will increase at a rate faster than my investments will grow and create a failure scenario.  Given a lack of good health, going back to work to cover costs becomes difficult or impossible.  My worst nightmare is getting some sort of brain degenerative disease (e.g. Alzheimers, dementia)

It seems like even with health insurance, many drugs/procedures used to treat common diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes may not be covered or only partially covered. And they may not even work that well.

I saw this video recently about plant-based diets and how they may significantly reduce risks of some of the major diseases we face in the west. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rNY7xKyGCQ

Since then, I've been trying to reduce my intake of animal products (eventually to the point of eliminating them).  Taking some supplements for the things that a plant-based diet doesn't provide in sufficient quantities (b12, omega 3, Vitamin D, etc). Also trying to reduce and eventually eliminate alcohol intake.

Anyone else trying to reduce the risk of health costs in retirement by adopting this sort of lifestyle?

tobitonic

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2016, 05:57:03 PM »
We follow the approaches outlined in the Blue Zones books, but not specifically for reducing retirement health costs; it's just a good way to live. And it goes beyond eating well; it also involves moving naturally, having a strong sense of purpose, and connecting with others.

Nmeofthast8

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2016, 07:19:27 PM »
I've been eating a plant based diet for over a year now for various reasons including health in the later years. My doctor seems very happy with the results and I feel much better. The Western diet is leading the world to a bad place. In addition to going vegetarian, I am attempting to cut out all added sugar. The sugar has been a lot harder to give compared to the meat.

Good luck!

bonjourliz

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2016, 07:22:49 PM »
DH has been following the ornish diet for 10yrs now, following heart attacks and a triple bypass at age 29.  It's been great for him, in all respects.  And the more we learn about it, the more convinced we are that it is the healthiest way to eat (or live really, as its more than just diet) for reasons behind heart health.  Bonus that it's also very economical.

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ketchup

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2016, 07:42:43 PM »
Sugar (in any added form) is probably the biggest and most-agreed-upon dietary elimination/reduction that will likely lead to increased longevity and decreased risk of degenerative diseases.  Trans fats and shitty nutrient-sparse high-omega-6 oils (corn, soybean, canola, etc.) are probably second on the list.

Also, the more vegetables you eat, the better.  I don't think anyone can argue that.

And cook from scratch at home.  And walk daily.

Beyond that is up to you.  There's all kinds of groups that claim their way of eating is the best.  You've got the China Study/Forks over Knives posse (T. Colin Campbell and co.), vegan, raw vegan, fruitarian, high-alkaline, low-fat, no-fat, low-carb, no-carb, slow-carb, paleo/primal, perfect health diet, Weston A Price, and loads of others.  Every one of them contradicting at least half of the others.

Figure out what makes sense to you from there, but I'd start with no sugar or high-omega-6 oils, and upping your vegetable intake.  That alone puts you ahead of 90% of Americans sadly.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2016, 08:00:03 PM by ketchup »

SachaFiscal

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2016, 07:59:05 PM »
We follow the approaches outlined in the Blue Zones books, but not specifically for reducing retirement health costs; it's just a good way to live. And it goes beyond eating well; it also involves moving naturally, having a strong sense of purpose, and connecting with others.

This sounds really interesting!  I think I remember reading an article about this a while back but never read any of the books.  Maybe I'll check them out.  I am trying to meditate more regularly (unsuccessfully at the moment) and exercise regularly (successful at the moment). I'd like to be generally more active but I have a desk job so that limits what I can do during the weekdays.  After FIRE I'm hopeful I'll be able to change that pattern of sitting for most of the day.

I'm still working on the community part.  That seems to be the hardest part.  I feel like it's harder to connect with people on a regular basis as I get older or maybe as people get absorbed more by technology and home entertainment (myself included).


mikefixac

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2016, 08:51:34 PM »
I'm in agreement with you.

This doctor backs up everything he says with studies, in fact most of his talk is reading directly from studies.

Someone earlier mentioned Dr Ornish. I also recommend Dr McDougall, healthpromoting.com, and Chef AJ on Youtube.

Good luck and congratulations, you're on a wonderful path.

elaine amj

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Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2016, 09:21:52 PM »
Sugar (in any added form) is probably the biggest and most-agreed-upon dietary elimination/reduction that will likely lead to increased longevity and decreased risk of degenerative diseases.  Trans fats and shitty nutrient-sparse high-omega-6 oils (corn, soybean, canola, etc.) are probably second on the list.

Also, the more vegetables you eat, the better.  I don't think anyone can argue that.

And cook from scratch at home.  And walk daily.

Beyond that is up to you.  There's all kinds of groups that claim their way of eating is the best.  You've got the China Study/Forks over Knives posse (T. Colin Campbell and co.), vegan, raw vegan, fruitarian, high-alkaline, low-fat, no-fat, low-carb, no-carb, slow-carb, paleo/primal, perfect health diet, Weston A Price, and loads of others.  Every one of them contradicting at least half of the others.

Figure out what makes sense to you from there, but I'd start with no sugar or high-omega-6 oils, and upping your vegetable intake.  That alone puts you ahead of 90% of Americans sadly.

I agree :)

There's so much out there. DH cobbled many of them together which has meant mostly vegan (seafood is ok) plus no sugar. Oh and no MSG. Or soy sauce. Or grains (we are Asian - rice is a staple) or potatoes, bread, etc. Do u know just how hard it is to cook within that? But I managed. When he asked me to cut out tofu, I did put my foot down and said no although I did cut back on the frequency of tofu.

He lost a lot of weight he didn't need to lose and continues to drop weight (also due to other stuff). My point is - it is very hard for a 5'11 male to get enough calories from the above diet and we still haven't found the balance. Although nuts helped. But he eventually got tired of eating so many nuts (unsalted and raw of course). He's also had trouble with low blood pressure because he eats so little sodium (no added salt). It helps when he eats more shrimp.

I tease him that he better stop "researching" or he'll be surviving on grass! (As long as it is organic).

For me, I now eat a lot of vegetables, less sugar, less salt, and cook from scratch the majority of the time. I eat junk occasionally (still more than is good for me I am sure) and enjoy small amounts of meat. Makes sense to me! I don't know about the grass fed, hormone-free meat yet. The price turns me off.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2016, 09:24:09 PM by elaine amj »

mozar

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2016, 09:06:25 PM »
I don't think people have to go so far as not eating potatoes or bread. I eat pita pockets and tortillas still and lots of roasted potatoes. Because I have an office job I have to eat and feel full during the day (otherwise I might pass out before I get home), I can't graze and eat salad all day like I really want to. So I eat some grains and potatoes. My doctor hasn't complained.

YogiKitti

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2016, 10:10:16 PM »
I love Dr. Gregor! I also suggest reading his book. My husband and I went plant based a year and a half ago and am really glad we did. Everything we thought about nutrition was wrong and I'm so glad to know the truth now.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2016, 09:23:23 AM »
I've been vegetarian for many years, and tried veganism for a while too. There is no doubt about it, if you follow healthful vegetarianism it is worlds better for you than the standard american diet.

BUT...and this is a huge BUT...vegetarianism can be JUST AS UNHEALTHY as a regular diet. Many veggies live off tons of grains and mock-meat type foods, so while their saturated fat intake may be low, their blood sugar levels and insulin resistance may still be crappy. Domino's cheese pizza is vegetarian. Ice cream is vegetarian. Candies are often vegetarian. Chocolate soymilk has just as much sugar in it as regular chocolate milk. If you go plant-based, it should be fruit/veggie based, not processed grain based. Your protein sources should be the real deal - tofu, beans, lentils, etc - not vegetarian hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and fake meats. If you find yourself eating pasta/grain heavy dinners 3+ times a week, you might have a problem with balance in the diet. Most of the studies showing benefits of vegetarianism follow vegetarian cultures/groups who traditionally eat a very whole foods based diet anyway, not the processed vegetarianism diets often found now in middle class Western industrialized nations.

Personally, I do not believe that vegetarianism or veganism are that much better for you than if you eat a whole foods diet that happens to include meat and fish. As someone who has explored many types of dietary lifestyles, the biggest health issue seems to be over consumption of sugar and processed foods, not one particular type of food group.

It is also important to understand that while vegetarianism has many benefits, much of the science is exaggerated or espoused by those who also follow the diet for very strict moral reasons. So scrutinize what you read - vegetarian groups often twist or exaggerate findings, or withhold information on other diets that include meat/fish, because it is in their best interests to do so. I am a huge fan of animal welfare, but the information pushed is often more propaganda than nuanced scientific discussions. Perfect example is the fact that the groups never talk about the sheer scale of mass killing caused by the soy industry, even though it is a well documented fact that soy production costs billions of animal lives every year. A block of tofu shipped from California is probably more environmentally damaging and morally dubious than the pastured pork raised and slaughtered by your neighbor down the road. But pro-veg groups can't discuss this because so many vegetarians rely heavily on soy, and because some members might take to eating locally grown meat every now and then if they think it is less damaging than buying a block of tofu. Both would be detrimental to their message and recruitment efforts, so they just don't discuss it. The same thing happens with scientific findings surrounding saturated fat and meat consumption.

Basically, if you are getting your science from a group that's entire mission and reason for existing is vegetarianism, then you might not be getting the true story. Just as you wouldn't trust the Cattleman's Association for an objective analysis of the benefits and risks of eating beef, don't trust a pro-vegetarian group to give you the objective truth about the benefits and risks of vegetarianism.


« Last Edit: May 31, 2016, 09:38:55 AM by little_brown_dog »

GuitarStv

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2016, 09:38:25 AM »
I've always figured that following proper diet and staying fit is an important part of living a happy and comfortable life.

I'd second what some of the other posters are saying though.  Eating lots of fruit and veggies are good for you.  Following a proper diet is good for you.  You can be healthy or unhealthy on a vegetarian diet.  You can be healthy if you take the right nutritional supplements on a vegan diet, or you can have all kinds of problems if you don't.

We eat meat two or three times a week at the moment and follow a pretty well balanced diet overall.  I'll have a beer every couple months, but no other alcohol.  Caffeine maybe once a week.  I've been incorporating more plant based foods into my diet because the research seems to point that generally it's healthier to do so.  The idea of eliminating all animal products entirely doesn't have enough science backing it at the moment to be credible though.

SachaFiscal

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2016, 10:46:44 PM »
I'm in agreement with you.

This doctor backs up everything he says with studies, in fact most of his talk is reading directly from studies.

Someone earlier mentioned Dr Ornish. I also recommend Dr McDougall, healthpromoting.com, and Chef AJ on Youtube.

Good luck and congratulations, you're on a wonderful path.


I came across healthpromoting.com a few weeks ago. I think I may want to try a supervised water fast with them someday. Have you tried a supervised water fast at their facility?

SachaFiscal

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Re: Plant-based diet to reduce health care risks in retirement
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2016, 11:04:06 PM »
I love Dr. Gregor! I also suggest reading his book. My husband and I went plant based a year and a half ago and am really glad we did. Everything we thought about nutrition was wrong and I'm so glad to know the truth now.

Okay I'll check out the book.  I wasn't sure if it had much more info than the video. I've been watching his videos on nutritionfacts.org and I like his unique presentation style. Kinda nerdy but I like that. I'm already feeling better just reducing dairy to once a week. I've also cut down alcohol to once a week.  I went for a walk the other day and where I am usually huffing and puffing going uphill, I didn't feel winded at all.

 I try to eat two large meals a day with some kind of grain, beans/lentils, and vegetables.  Sometimes I'll add some nuts or avocado if I'm really missing the fatty cheese I used to eat. I'm still eating corn and whole wheat tortillas but trying to eat more brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, etc. instead.  Instead of sugary sweets I have fruit for dessert (grapes, pears, pomegranate seeds, etc).  I'm really full and satisfied after eating this way probably because of the fiber. I'm still eating oil and salt but I try to stay away from fried foods as much as possible.

My goal is to try to eat this way 6 days a week for the next four months, then get blood work done to check cholesterol (I have high cholesterol).