Paleo/primal and the elderly

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 08, 2010 at 12:43 AM

My mom turned 87 today. She's in good shape, fortunately, not overweight (too thin if anything) and lives by herself. She does not drive anymore, so grocery shopping is a bit of a challenge, and she stopped cooking years ago and has lived mostly on Lean Cuisine and other crap she can nuke in the microwave. She has seen the benefits of my paleo conversion but despite me somewhat nagging her to ditch the frozen crap she still eats it. Her recent blood work was all "normal" whatever that means. She mentioned a service called http://www.dinewise.com/ and I checked it out. Standard fare, frozen, delivered. It's better than Lean Cuisine etc. and certainly more expensive but she's not hurting for money, though she could not sustain it for the rest of her life which is likely to be quite awhile.

Hm, is there a market for prepared paleo meals?

Anyway, the question: for someone who does not cook and cannot drive, what's the best solution? She has friends and my sisters who can take her shopping, but again, she does not cook anything more than maybe eggs and bacon, which fortunately she eats often even if it's not pastured stuff. It's not that she's frail or mobility-limited, she just will not cook anything more complicated than eggs.

Edit: I live on the opposite side of the US from her, so I can't really do her shopping and cooking ;)



on August 08, 2010
at 02:00 PM

Thanks for the ideas, all.



on August 08, 2010
at 01:13 AM

'Natural flavors' of unknown type, soybean oil, and canola oil? Not exactly the purest of paleo wisdom, but I guess still way better than Lean Cuisine..

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on August 08, 2010
at 09:56 AM

I have an elderly mom, too. She's 84, and lives by herself. I live just a couple of hours away, so I'm able to check in with her on weekends. What I do is this:

I have hired a retired woman to cook for my mom once a week. On Sundays, the woman delivers a week's worth of meals to my mom. My mom just has to take a meal out of the freezer or fridge and heat it up in the over or microwave. This way my mom is getting good, nutritious, whole foods meals. I pay the woman for her time, and I pay for the groceries that she uses for the meals. It's a win-win for everyone. It is probably less expensive than store bought microwave meals.

Another option is to check in with your local Meals on Wheels program. The one closest to my mom offers several different dietary options.

Oh, I should mention that I found the retired woman by posting an ad on Craigslist. I explained what I needed and how much I could pay for the service, making sure that I was offering a very fair price for the service, and had scores of responses. It's a rough economy right now for many people, and having that extra income helps the kind woman that we hired.

Good luck with your mom. Getting old is tough!



on August 08, 2010
at 01:02 AM

Canned food is another option. You just open the can and eat. Meat, veggies, coconut milk, most foods that can be eaten can be bought canned. It's better than lean cuisine, that is for sure! Even though I prefer to eat fresh, I keep canned food around for camping and emergencies. Also, what about other frozen food? I freeze a lot of meats like hamburger, salmon, etc in the freezer. Later, I defrost and just fry em with butter and salt. It's as easy as eggs and bacon. You can also have frozen veggies, frozen berries, etc. Veggies can usually be heated in the microwave. Steaks can be defrosted and either fried or my favorite is to put foil on a baking sheet with the steak on top and jam the steak in the broiler for about 20 minutes. After the steak is done, you just crinkle up the foil and throw it away and most of the mess is already cleaned up! You can also flop a big of veggies next to the steak and they will cook up as well. I like to add a pat of butter onto the veggies to keep them moist and tasty and also the steak juice migrates over and give them a bit of flavor as well. You can do the same with fish fillets. I buy a lot of my frozen stuff from Trader Joes. It takes me less than five minutes to turn on the oven, put the foil on the pan, flop down the slab of steak and maybe a few pieces of broccoli on to the pan, and jam it in the oven. Then I wait 20 minutes and eat. If I can't finish the steak, I either give it to my dog or cut it into cubes and use it for a snack the next day.

Edited to add: I think most places in the US have available various grocery delivery companies that will pick up food from the store for you and delivery it for a fee.


on August 08, 2010
at 01:46 AM

You are able to order online grass-fed sausages and franks, which are easy to just slice and eat or warm up next to the eggs. Some of the sausages are full of offal meat as well.

Check here for example:




on August 08, 2010
at 12:49 AM


You might want to check out Paleo Brand's frozen food line here:


Paleo Brands is joint venture of hard-core Paleo guys Robb Wolf and John Welbourn.



on August 08, 2010
at 01:13 AM

'Natural flavors' of unknown type, soybean oil, and canola oil? Not exactly the purest of paleo wisdom, but I guess still way better than Lean Cuisine..

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