Men who have made it to “geezer hood” probably ate what their mothers told them during their youth and may have continued down that nutritional path long into maturity. However, more than likely they developed other tastes, some of very questionable value, as more tempting options became known. We asked several geezers their favorite foods today, and were told:
One exceptional geezer from Arizona, age over 110 and named Bernardo LaPallo, credits long life to his father’s longevity, but gives certain foods some of the credit. Along with organic fruits and vegetables, he gives special long life credit to garlic, honey, cinnamon, chocolate, and olive oil. For those of us under 110, it’s not too late to add these to our regular diets.
A consumer web site, “EVERYDAY HEALTH” which specializes in life style and medical issues, has published their seven best foods for men over 50, and this includes mushrooms, tart cherries, eggs, berries, kefir (fermented milk), avocadoes, beans. I must admit, I have never sought kefir in any super market anywhere, but now I am forced to seek it as a budget item.
There are lists upon lists of “best” foods for geezers and all others, so let’s look at one more list. This one comes from “SAGA”, a British magazine covering topics of daily living. Their list includes tomatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, avocadoes, broccoli, eggs, turkey breast, almonds, salmon, grass fed beef.
There are many more opportunities to discover that we may be missing some essential foods, and each of these lists mentioned above has a paragraph summarizing their desirability, so if you want more detail, search the web and take a look for yourself. You may be amazed at the value found in certain foods that you have either enjoyed or avoided.
Many geezers and their partners are fortunate enough to be enjoying their senior life in some type of institutional living where much of their food is provided daily. MORRISON COMMUNITY LIVING and BATEMAN COMMUNITY LIVING,, based in Atlanta, GA, provide food and health services for over 450 such senior living institutions nationwide. Morrison employs thousands of essential kitchen and dining room staffers from senior managers to waiters and waitresses. Visiting their web site, there are several hundred job openings across the country, including waiters jobs in Wilmington, NC paying $4-$12 per hour, executive chef jobs in Scottsdale, AZ paying $31K-$58K, plus a huge variety of such jobs nationwide.
Speaking with a DINING SERVICE DIRECTOR, a CHEF, and a DIETICIAN in one continuing care community, there is much to learn about the care and feeding of the geezer crowd. These three have been together for several years, with the Director at the same community for 20 years. A one sentence summary of their mission as I interpret it, is to “provide the variety of food that residents enjoy and that offers solid nutritional value.” While fried chicken is the most popular offering with ice cream a popular option, menus include a sought after variety of healthful and desired items. Every meal includes several choices, many of which have been requested by the residents who enjoy independent living.
In communities with full continuing care, some residents have lost their independence and are living in nursing facilities. Since this requires a wide degree of diet assistance, a special dietician trained in the complexities of special diet needs is an essential part of dining service. With a full house of patients needing special diets, the dietician mentioned in the previous paragraph, told me that she “has found a home” offering this continuing and non-stop service for those who depend on her.
Institutional food needs not only to satisfy the residents, but be within the budget of the residents and the management. There will be an occasional main meal with the luxury of standing rib roast, but more likely the options will be more modest and budget wise, similar to what the residents might have prepared for themselves before moving to the senior community.
Meal planning is regularly done on 4 week cycles and is geared by color and offerings to the seasons. Both balance and color are geared to seasonal offerings—and if a particular item doesn’t match what the residents expect, the objections will be loud and clear. Residents also are alert to flavoring elements such as sodium and demand food low in certain flavors, spices, and additives. Morrison management has 18,000 recipes available, so there ALWAYS is an item that can be available to residents. So let’s not hear any complaints about the lack of variety at breakfast, lunch or dinner!
THE WHOLE FOODS DIET, published in book form in 2017 by the Whole Foods Market, has various pieces of information relative to longevity and diet. Mentioning several, the book refers to many food studies by Dan Buettner who created the “Blue Zone” and determined from his studies of the worlds’ longest living people is that “they eat a plant based diet and eat meat only as a condiment or celebration”. Michael Greger, MD, had a grandmother who had multiple heart surgeries at the Pritikin Longevity Center in the late 1970’s and was declared beyond medical help at age 65, but then switched to a plant based diet and lived another thirty years! . Her grandson became a believer that food is medicine!
One more illustration from the book “Genius Foods” by Max Lugavere, is loaded with science related to our diet, but contends that our “health spans” are not keeping up with our “life spans”. “Health spans” means that we are free of disability, have better mood, and free of chronic disease as long as possible. “Life spans” are extended through uses of modern medical treatment to overcome the ravages of old age illnesses. He then goes on to promote the essentials of diet that puts a final exclamation point to the mission of this post that all us geezers can learn sooner rather than too late that what we eat and drink can give our later years strong and desirable “HEALTH SPANS”!