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Brenda recently asked if we still prepare meals. Many readers who left comments said they still enjoyed cooking; a few said they didn’t, and someone said she didn’t see the point. That really touched me. In my mind, eating well is an act of awareness and love. 

Maybe we are at a point in life where we no longer have family to cook for, but we still have ourselves. To quote Joan Rivers, “What am I? Chopped liver?” No, no we are not.

Now is not the time to give up eating well. Our nutritional needs are more important than ever.

We can simplify it, sure. But quit, no. Cheap snacks, low-quality carbs and starches, skipping meals, and relying on protein shakes are not the answer. Frozen dinners like Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice are both a bad choice.

  1. We need more protein to maintain muscle which diminishes with age.
  2. We need to minimize our bone loss.
  3. We can slow down the development of cataracts.
  4. We can avoid and/or relieve depression.

All of this can be done with a Mediterranean-style diet and moderate exercise. Simple and fresh!

PROTEIN: I’ve been reading articles on protein requirements as we age and go through menopause. In a study published in 2017, the people who ate the least amount of protein were also the people who had difficulty walking and climbing stairs. While everyone attributes this to “getting older,” in fact, it’s a combination of aging, sedentary lifestyle and diet. We can do something about two of the three! 

I found this excellent article on protein by Kaiser Health News, plus here’s a helpful list of foods by serving size, calories and amount of protein. You might want to print it and put it on your refrigerator  as a handy reference.

BONE LOSS: I know I sound like a broken record,  but exercise! Move, walk, dance, jog, lift weights, (no, you will not look like a body-builder) canoe, kayak, swim laps, yoga, Pilates.

Cut-out the things that rob calcium from your bones: phosphates in soft drinks, too much alcohol (more than 7 drinks per week), too much salt, too much caffeine. We need approximately 1,200 mg of calcium daily, and food is the best source for stronger bones.

CATARACTS/EYE HEALTH: A diet that’s good for your body is good for your eyes. Orange Is the “New Green” here. Beta carotene, found in carrots, is also found in sweet potatoes, kale, turnip and mustard greens, spinach and butternut squash. Vitamin C may also be beneficial in slowing cataract progression. The American Optometric Association recommends at least 250mg per day.  

DEPRESSION: Research shows a diet high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish and unprocessed lean meat can prevent depression. And an unhealthy diet high in processed and refined foods increases our risk.

We are living longer, and I am sure we want to feel well enough to enjoy being here. We can affect that with our food choices. Last thought: If you smoke, please make the choice to quit. You’re important!

XO Donna

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Donna O’Klock spent 35 years in the beauty business, talking, teaching, and learning. These days, she’d “rather write than talk. It’s better that way because I can edit.” She writes two blogs, and, and is the author of  Sick and Tired & Sexy: Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness.

Austin, Texas, has been her home since 1978, but she and her fiancé have downsized and are traveling the country in their RV.

20 thoughts on “FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD”

  1. Donna, this is excellent! I’ll print the link as well as your post! Great information and great motivation. Thank you! Just the kick I needed.

  2. Yes, Donna. I am with you. I love going to the farm to buy my produce and meats,trying different simple recipes. Eating well is joyful.

  3. Very interesting! My husband and I are empty nesters so eat out quite a bit, but I still love to cook the occasional meal. When we recently went to the Dr both of our cholesterol levels were high so we’re trying to make a conscious effort to eat better. We went on a shopping spree and bought a lot of lean meats and stocked up. We visit the farmer’s market just to stock on fresh veggies & fruits for the week. We’re also trying to exercise more. We’ll see if it helps!

    • It seems that you’re doing everything right, Rena! I look forward to hearing how you are progressing. I’ve always followed the 80/20 rule… eat consciously 80% of the time and allow myself splurges 20% of the time so I don’t ever feel deprived.

  4. Great post Donna! We need all the reminders! Since retiring, my partner and I have made it a priority to exercise and eat well, much more than when we were working. Now we have the time to do all the things that will serve us well for many years to come. Thanks for doing the research for us and including the chart. Printed!

    • You are so welcome, Janelle! There’s an old saying that we teach what we most need to learn… I’m still learning, too.

  5. Thanks so much for this post and the accompanying Kaiser article. At 74 I do a lot to keep my body functioning and to correct my scoliosis – gym 3 times a week, scolio-Pilates and deep tissue work, and starting Nia dance, but I have not been building as much muscle as I would like. Perhaps the secret is not eating enough protein. I am inspired. I love my diet, but I will try adding more protein to it. Thanks again, Sheila-Merle.

    • You’re very welcome, I hope it does the trick, Sheila-Merle! So happy to hear from another Nia-phyte… don’t you absolutely love it! I began doing it in the early 90s when my best girlfriend opened the first Nia studio in Austin. It has served my body/mind/spirit well for all that time!

  6. Did you get a lid lift? You look startled, the way whites show all around your iris. Or did you botox too heavily perhaps? Cute haircut though.

    • Rude and completely off topic! Please reserve your judgmental beauty comments for when the article is actually about beauty. Until then, take your seat at the lunch table with your mean girl BFFs, order a big salad with lots of protein, and comment in about 35 years when you may have something relevant to say.

  7. Great advice! I hear this as well, tired of cooking, don’t like to cook etc. It is a gift to your body, mind and spirit to put the good stuff in.

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