American Seniors’ high-stress levels and poor diet is the path to degenerative diseases and premature death.

For the past twelve years, I worked for a company called Symbria Alliance, as a certified Senior FitnessInstructor and also as a Yoga Therapist in private practice. I am a Tai Chi Master as well as a Yogi Therapist who has mastered the Science of Yoga. I’ve become skillful at using the Chi (or energy, prana) and breath to work with people who have degenerative diseases and writing a prescription of exercise tailored to the need of each individual. These exercises help to prevent further deterioration. I have taught senior fitness classes all over the city and suburbs of Chicago at one time numbering twenty-five a week or a hundred classes per month. These included people in the 55 to 95 years age range. One of my fitness classes was in a senior facility in Chinatown. I studied and then taught Tai Chi and breathing exercises to Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese participants. I also teach Yoga, aerobics and weight and strength training. For the record, I have done this more as a duty to my fellow man and to obtain experience working with older folks. I have not benefited much monetarily, but have learned a great deal and also have received a certificate as a Senior Fitness Instructor, I was also given an opportunity to use my knowledge as a Yogi practitioner. I quickly discovered that American seniors are faced with an epidemic of degenerative diseases. I learned early on *after the death of my grandfather* that life is precious and that one more day of life on earth is more important than the any money one can acquire – as in the Buddhist saying, “Unseen virtue has its rewards.”

Many Americans are dying in middle age. “But is does not have to be that way”, claims Bon Colbert, M B, in his book ‘Toxic Relief; Restore health and energy through fasting and detoxification.” Many seniors who eat a standard American diet are consuming, fast food, fried food, too much meat, processed fats and foods, sugar and not enough fruits and vegetables. The average American consumes 11,250 pounds of sugar during his or her lifetime. That adds up to a truckload! This includes white bread,, crackers,, bagels,, pasta and cereals high in sugar. Add other unhealthy processed foods such as such as com or potato chips and white rice. The fatty meats like T-bone steaks, ribs, bacon, pork chops, pork chitlins and also eggs and cheese add saturated and hydrogenated fats. Processed vegetable fats are often found in salad dressings, nut butters, many cooking oils and mayonnaise as well. Now for dessert! Pies, cakes, cookies, sweet rolls; chocolates* fudge, brownies, doughnuts, candy, ice cream and popsicles. These are bad choices for seniors to eat. They become overfed and undernourished. As Don Colbert M.D. claims, “dead food has no nutritional value”. We have an epidemic of heart disease,, arteriosclerosis,, hypertension,, diabetes,, cancer, allergies, obesity, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, Lupus, liver disease and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Seniors are getting hip and knee replacements and kidney transplants all too often. For many of these seniors, conventional medication will not help enough. Diet and exercise is the best prevention of these diseases and we need to take an active part in maintaining our health, Seniors are dying too young at an alarming rate.

We didn’t always eat this way. Former generations were some of the healthiest on the planet.

Seniors need more education about nourishing themselves in a healthy manner; They need to discard bad habits to live healthier, longer lives.- We have to change our thinking. Why, for instance, do we eat? It should not only be about taste and pleasure but what will fuel and restore the body. We must put our health first. It hurts me to see all these seniors go to their graves eating this American diet. We must change these habits now for the generation to come.