Posted on April 25, 2017 by Kacey Roby
“You’ve gotta get serious about it and decide what you want your life to be, what kind of quality of life you want to have.”
Ed Herider is not a personal trainer or life coach – he is a 79-year-old resident at Atria Canyon Creek in Plano, Texas. A year ago, he needed medication to manage his type 2 diabetes. He decided he was carrying too much weight and set a goal to get healthier. Today, he is 47 pounds lighter, he is off the medication (with his doctor’s blessing), and he has dedicated himself to helping others improve their health through lifestyle changes.
Ed is a founding member of his community’s Better This Year Club, a group of active residents who get together once a week to share news and ideas about achieving a healthier lifestyle and enjoying greater well-being. They’re inspired by Atria’s Better This Year framework, a science-backed approach to successful aging based on four key lifestyle choices proven to slow down decline: exercise, nutrition, connection and goals.
“It’s exciting to see a societal shift in the aging population,” Camille Flores, Engage Life Director, said. “Ten years ago, once someone turned 75, they weren’t even imagining being able to feel better as they got older. Now, our residents are taking advantage of opportunities to stay active and try new things. They’re seeing a healthier vision of their future selves.”
Ed has fully embraced the Better This Year approach. After making changes in his own life, which resulted in looking and feeling better, Ed put his particular passion for healthy food and nutrition to work. Now, he’s helping his neighbors understand that “good” and “good for you” aren’t mutually exclusive through his participation in the community’s Food for Thought group, a committee of five residents and executive chef Bernd Schmitt.
“We meet on a monthly basis to look over the menu and share feedback from residents and their preferences for our dining options,” Ed explained. “In addition to our monthly meetings, I meet with chef Bernd personally when I can, and I’m in constant contact with him via email so he can make adjustments as necessary.”
Their collaboration has resulted in menu offerings such as salmon, protein-packed legumes and a greater selection of leafy greens. “We are so blessed to have our chef – he is amazing! And he’s open to receiving our feedback,” Ed added.
Often, it just takes a little encouragement from a friend or someone who has experienced success to inspire us to make different lifestyle choices. “I believe it’s important to be an example to other people,” Ed said. “If we can find a way to get the message across that eating healthier and making simple changes can have big rewards, we’ll find folks not only feeling better physically, but living longer as well. I can’t think of anything better to focus on.”
Atria Canyon Creek residents and staff have shared a few of their favorite recipes below. Enjoy.
Submitted by Rick and Sheila F.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 ears corn, roasted and cut off cob
1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 cup cilantro
3 limes, juiced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper, if desired
(add grilled/shredded chicken for main entrée)
Cook quinoa according to package instructions using vegetable broth. Combine all ingredients.
Almond Crusted Baked Salmon
Submitted by Rick and Sheila F.
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, dill, lemon thyme, etc.)
4 6 oz. salmon fillets
chopped almonds (pistachios, pecans, walnuts also work)
Preheat oven to 400° F. Mix the mustard, zest and herbs and dip fillets in it, then roll in nuts. Bake for 10 minutes, cover and let rest 5 minutes.
Ground Turkey and Spaghetti Squash
Submitted by Camille Flores, Engage Life Director
1 lb. lean ground turkey
half large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach
1 can tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt/pepper to taste
1 spaghetti squash, roasted and seeded
Cook meat until brown, add onion and garlic until cooked. Add canned tomatoes and spinach. Heat until cooked through. Add chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste. Use a fork to scoop out the squash pulp, which will resemble pasta. Serve the meat sauce on top of the spaghetti squash.