By Jane K. Myers
The high environmental cost of raising animals for food, combined with the effects of climate change, is leading many, including Erickson Living, to place a greater reliance on edible plants. Some concerned individuals have cut out red meats, some have also given up fish and fowl, and an esteemed 20% of the US population adheres to an entirely plant-based diet.
Fortunately, edible plants provide all the nutrients the human body needs and contain no saturated fat, an enemy of old arteries. In addition, plants are the only source of fiber, one of the least discussed essentials for health. Fiber is required for the proper functioning of the digestive system and helps prevent cancer, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, diverticulitis, and other bowel problems. The recommended daily allowance for fiber is 25 to 35 grams.
Some worry about getting adequate protein without animal products, but eating 2000 calories (the RDA standard daily intake) of a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains provides 50 grams of protein. The RDA is 46 grams for women and 56 for men.
Residents interested in sustaining the planet but not quite ready to commit to eating only plants will find vegetarian and some vegan options in all the dining rooms. Tofu and tempeh, high-protein soy products, are also available for the asking. A good way to check on the ingredients and food values of menu items is through MyNutrition, available on MyErickson and at mynutrition.erickson.com.
For more information about Earth Friendly Dining, come to an informational meeting at 11:30 am on Wednesday, November 8 in the Montgomery Station classroom.