Does Your Age Affect Your Nutritional Choices? Ask My Mom.

My mother has brought up an interesting point to me several times regarding my blog. In short, she reads my blog and feels it’s more relevant towards people much younger than she is – a stubborn, hard headed, won’t budge, wonderful loving mother who knows best of 80. She feels that many of my blog entries are pointed to those people who are active. The first time she mentioned that, I thought to myself how much good information I was putting out, and that if she took just one piece of one blog entry and incorporated it into her life that I’d be successful (and she has on several fronts). When she mentioned it again, I really listened and thought a little deeper.

At 53, I make the assumption that I have plenty of life to look forward to (barring “whatever”). I have made the “healthy lifestyle” a hobby of mine (a very strong hobby). A lot of my blogging is based on my nutrition, tying it into how I fuel my body properly to attack my workouts that I do regularly, and to face life at a higher level than others my age. Over the years I have greatly altered my nutritional choices. No longer do I eat pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, and candy (just to name a few). I gave up soda (except with my rum), and currently I am alcohol free during the 12-week body building stage I am doing. My son who is 30 views things differently. His concentration is more on his children and economic future (as it should be). He understands the benefits of the healthy lifestyle, but just like myself at his age, priorities of the family come first by nature. He eats fairly healthy, but isn’t focused on it. So what I consider a “cheat” meal/food that I avoid now, to him may just be a thought like “I probably shouldn’t eat that”. I am assuming this because that’s how I was. I’ve always leaned towards the healthy side of eating, but in no way was I strict with myself. Now being an empty nester for almost a decade, I’ve had more time to devote to researching and living healthy.

My mother, at 80, has an entirely different view. The part where she needs to be on a low sodium low cholesterol diet isn’t necessarily a function of age. But the idea of how far to “compromise” nutrition is viewed much differently at 80 than it is at 53. No need to beat around the bush here. At 80 years old, you are in the twilight of your life. The things you enjoy are greatly reduced due to age. My Mom and Dad can’t drive around the country with a camper and boat in tow like they used to. They don’t jump in the car for a day trip to Mohegan Sun. But what does this have to do with nutrition?

My mother does understand nutrition, and she knows how she should eat based on her current facts of life. But food is enjoyment to her, a true pleasure. Therefore certain foods that I’ll say to avoid, she’ll say she enjoys it too much to give it up. Circumstances arise where comfort food or other “unhealthy choices” present themselves. Age may prevent you from doing many things you used to enjoy, yet food is a constant. At our house we don’t have family barbeques often, but when we do I cook for everyone. When all I’m eating is the chicken and salad, she’ll happily dig into the hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausages. Why? Because for the few years she sees herself on this earth (whether it be 1 or 20), she will only compromise food to a point, because it really makes her happy. She has good balance, and although I may say she could do better, I understand her viewpoint. If she was my age I’d probably tell her she was only using excuses, but I believe at 80 her viewpoint is a reality. Give her credit. She’ll only occasionally indulge by either eating too much food or unhealthy foods. The rest of the time she eats salads and other healthy choices.

I can maneuver nutrition discussions with my mother to health reasons, noting why eating particular foods are either beneficial or harmful. I can remind her of her medical conditions that doctors say require a low sodium low cholesterol approach. There is a wealth of information on the subject of nutrition, and I could post link after link. But not here, not now. I know she’s already mindful of her requirements. What she is doing with food isn’t dangerous, so I don’t feel compelled to make her “see the light”. She already understands and “sees the light”, and has found her healthy lifestyle path, one that works for her. That’s what the premise was for me setting up this blog in the first place – find a healthy lifestyle path that works for you.

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