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How to help an elderly vegetarian?

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  • How to help an elderly vegetarian?

    There are so many knowledgeable people on this list that I would like to seek your help. One of my favorite people is an elderly vegetarian. There is no chance whatsoever that she is going to change this diet, as her choice to live this way was made for moral reasons (which I respect altho' I do not agree with the reasoning behind her views). (By the way, with all due respect, I would appreciate it if anyone tempted to criticize her vegetarianism would refrain. This is a person who deserves great respect and whose accomplishments are impressive by any standard -- a person with international stature in her field. Like I said, she isn't going to change and has sound reasons for her choices from her own point of view.)

    To go on, she is 84 and generally in good health for a person that age. But I am worried about her in the next few years in particular. Lately she has become more moody when tired (early in the morning, late at night) and her memory is slipping a bit. So far, my idea of supplements she might want to take is short and simple:

    1. Vitamin B12 in sublingual or nasal form (from what I have read, it is typically not absorbed in the stomach)
    2. Vitamin D3 (blood levels should be checked -- she lives in Seattle, so sunshine is out of the question)
    3. Omega 3's -- but the problem here is that animal sources are the only good ones, if I have that right, since the vegetable O3 sources are not very usable by the human body. Is this correct? I have read it in various places, but after overdosing on CW for so many years, I think checking in with PB members is indicated for any question on nutrition.

    Any suggestions or ideas would be welcome. Thank you!

  • #2
    Check out I found it to be a great resource while I was vegan, and as I was transitioning out of that diet. One reason I like this site is that unlike many vegan sites, it actually acknowledges that vegans and vegetarians will have difficulty getting all the nutrients they need, and provides very detailed information about what and how much to supplement.
    We must learn to do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility
    -Sparrowhawk, The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. LeGuin


    • #3
      This is a good topic. I hope to see some good responses.

      I was thinking about asking about the same thing this morning. Last night I was talking to a good friend whose young nephew is staying with her for the summer and he's not eating enough. The other thing is, the kid has already made up his mind to be a vegan. We don't want to argue with him about that right now.

      I wanted to see if I could get the kid interested in PB, but it's so heavily on the meat-eating side it might just turn him away.

      I already wrote my friend back and suggested that the kid still needs to learn macronutrients, and as far as fats, think about cheese, avocados, nuts, and olives. I curious what else people have to say~!


      • #4
        Originally posted by DFH View Post
        ... think about cheese,
        Won't work for vegans. But pastured dairy is a great source of nutrition if it fits in the plan. Vitamin K2 comes to mind as perhaps the most important.



        • #5
          Thank you! Will do.


          • #6
            Are you not able to bring the subject up with her. Would she get a blood test to test some of her levels - B12 and D for example. Tell her that even meat eaters can be deficient nothing to do with her vegetarianism.