Perhaps you’ve heard of her, or perhaps you haven’t. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard of people like Mimi Kirk. Those who look and act years younger than their biological age dictates they should. People who radiate an inner beauty and vitality that inspire those around them. Mimi Kirk is one such person.
Although I’ve never met Ms. Kirk in person, I became a fan when I saw her interviewed last year. She’s become quite a celebrity in her own right, even more so now at the ripe, young age of 72.
Having just added raw green smoothies to my diet, I was thrilled to see her advocate for these treats. Of course, Mimi doesn’t stop at green smoothies. She’s quick to point out that raw foods can include anything from lasagna to cheesecake as well. Raw versions, however, are far more nutritious than their baked counterparts.
Fortunately for us, Mimi Kirk is publishing her first book! Titled, Live Raw, the book is scheduled for release in May or early June. I know I’ll be in line for its release, but until then, Mimi was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer some questions…
You’ve been vegetarian since you were 30, but started a raw vegan diet in 2008. What inspired you to make that move?
I gained weight, showing off my cooking skills for my boyfriend. My blood pressure was up along with my cholesterol, and I started feeling arthritic pain in my joints. I knew I could do better with my eating so I started searching for something.
Within 2 weeks of eating a raw, vegan plant-based diet, I could tell this was the answer. I was right. I lost the extra pounds, never felt arthritic pain again, brought my cholesterol down 26 points and I’m keeping my blood pressure regulated. I gained tremendous energy and even felt it took years off the way I looked.
What is your favorite part of living a raw lifestyle?
Everything! Really, I love the art of preparing raw food; I love the raw food friends I’ve met; I love knowing I’m giving myself fresh, organic plant-based food eaten as close to nature as possible. Eating this way…just feels right in every way.
Although you’ve received much attention for your amazing looks, you advocate that true beauty comes from inside. Can you elaborate on that?
We all age so if you’re interested in your looks, start early by eating raw vegan food. There’s nothing wrong with trying to look good, but what use is it if you don’t feel healthy? Beauty is energy of sorts. I think true beauty has nothing to do with the lines on one’s face; it has to do with being a compassionate person towards animals and humans alike. It is being non-judgmental, caring for the planet, and being a loving person. Being happy with oneself radiates on the outside. One can be beautiful at any age, especially if she has a smile on her face.
Do you have any particular products you like to use to maintain your youthful glow?
I use coconut oil on my skin, which makes my skin so soft. I also use shea butter soap.
Not everyone will feel that a raw lifestyle is for them. How do you recommend people incorporate raw foods into their diets and what are the benefits of doing so?
Eating raw food is a personal choice, for sure. I do believe everyone should incorporate more raw food into their diets, and it’s not difficult at all. Starting with a daily green drink or smoothie is the first step. Apples, cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, lemon and ginger can really help one’s health and digestion. A large salad for lunch. Then, if you must have cooked foods, eat lightly steamed veggies and quinoa. Stay away from animal products, including cheese.
The reason for eating raw food is this: once food is cooked or processed, even though some vitamins and minerals still exist, enzymes are destroyed when food is heated over 115 degrees. Enzymes are vital for digestion. Cooked and processed foods are enzyme-deficient. If food sits in your stomach/colon, it has time to ferment. This is how a host of diseases start. Enzymes help the blood do their job without stress. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at digestion so we must eat enzyme-rich fruits and vegetables.
In addition to diet, how do you live a healthy lifestyle?
I walk 4-6 days a week for 40 minutes. I recently started strength training with kettlebells. I stretch using a TRX, and I practice a little qigong and yoga. I try to get some sort of exercise daily even if its doing squats with my hand on the sink when in the kitchen. I used to exercise on and off for many years, but now I feel it’s very important for a healthy, long life. I believe sleep is also very important and get 7-9 hours a night.
I love working in my fantastic garden! Of course, I’m always researching on the Internet and have very interesting and involved friends, so I’m always learning. I’m in a relationship with a man 19 years my junior. We’ve been together almost nine years.
What can we expect to find in your book?
My book is called, LIVE RAW. My publishers tell me it will be released late May or June. It’s at the printers so I just have to be patient, but I’m very excited! I will be selling it on my website and it will be at all major bookstores. I plan on doing a book tour, signings, speaking engagements, and raw food demos. Many of my Facebook friends are setting up events for me, as they want me to come to their cities. It should be fun to meet some of my friends in person! I would like to do as many in-person events as possible.
It’s basically a raw food recipe book with tips on healthy living, things I’ve learned over the years to keep one healthy and youthful. I also tell some of my life experiences.
I’m a real foodie and love to take standard cooked recipes that were once favorites and turn them in to healthy raw food delights. There are 120 recipes with amazing photos (my boyfriend was the photographer). The recipes include smoothies, breakfast, main courses, salads, soups, 3-5 day detox, “mocktails” and, of course, some really fantastic desserts!
Do you have a favorite raw recipe you can share with Better Off Well readers?
One of my many favorites:
Stuffed Portobello Mushroom with Basil Pesto
A beautiful presentation for company and the preparation is deliciously quick. The only time spent, is when the mushrooms are in the dehydrator getting warmed up.
These mushrooms will be plump, juicy and tender after heated. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can set your oven on the lowest heat and leave the door open. The thing to remember is that to keep the enzymes and nutrients in tact, keep temperature at 105-115 degrees.
If using this dish as a starter course, use baby Portobellos.
Portobello Stuffed Mushrooms
For 2 people
2 large Portobello mushrooms—or 6-8 baby Portobello’s
4 tablespoons coconut aminos, Tamari or Nama Shoyu
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 recipe of raw basil made by using
Makes 1 Cup
1 1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil (depending how oily you like it)
Place walnuts in the food processor, pulse in the food processor. Do not make them too fine; you just want to chop them a bit.
Add basil and garlic to the processor and pulse to break and mix the ingredients.
Scrape down sides with a rubber spatula and gently pulse again. Be sure not to over-work the mixture. Add the salt and pepper and slowly add olive oil while the processor is running. I pulse the whole time to make sure it’s the proper texture, which is semi-smooth.
With a damp paper towel, clean mushroom caps and remove stems.
Marinate mushroom caps and stems in 3 tbs olive oil and 2 tbs of Tamari or Nama Shoyu.
Turn mushrooms over to coat well with oil mixture.
Choose two small salad plates that fit your dehydrator shelf. Or if using baby Portobellos, use baking dish.
Place one mushroom, filling side up, on each plate and reserve remaining oil mixture.
Fill mushroom caps with a generous amount of pesto mixture, smoothing as you go, usually 2 heaping tbs or more.
Add thin slice of tomato to top the pesto or fresh chopped tomatoes. Pour the remaining oil mixture on top, or if none left, put a dash of Tamari or Nama Shoyu on top.
Put the dishes on 2 trays of your dehydrator and dehydrate at 110 degrees for 1-2 hours depending how thick the mushrooms are. Mushrooms are done when outside rim turns dark.
Before serving, squeeze fresh lemon on top.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, Mimi! We look forward to the release of your book, and wish you the best in all your future endeavors!
Mimi and boyfriend, Mike Mendell