Ep. 102: Real, Raw and Vibrant Living with Mimi Kirk
In this episode we continue with another guest in our Learn From Our Elders series, where Robyn has curated people who are 65+ and still contributing massively to their own body of work, and to the planet. Today we are very blessed to talk with and learn from the inspiring Mimi Kirk. She was named the “sexiest vegetarian over 50” by PETA. She is an author and speaker who travels the world sharing her story of living a vibrant, healthy, happy life throughout her many decades of life and experience as she now turns 80. She shares so many powerful words of wisdom on healthy eating, thinking, feeling, and living that we can all benefit from, regardless of our circumstances or age.
LINKS AND RESOURCES:
Connect with Mimi: Click Here
Follow Mimi on Facebook: Click Here
Get her book “Raw-Vitalize” : Click Here
Try out her easy and delicious “Seed Cereal” recipe:
Simple Seed Breakfast Bowl
2 heaping tablespoons gluten free organic oats
1 tablespoon each of pumpkin sunflower, hemp, chia, and flax seeds.
You can also add several whole almonds if desired
Mix together in your serving bowl and add almond milk or your favorite non-dairy milk to cover.
Add berries, or other chopped fruits of choice.
A drizzle of maple syrup and that’s it.
Delicious, quick and healthy.
Hey everyone. It’s Robyn Openshaw and Welcome Back to Vibe. It was a great day to talk with a longtime hero of mine. I’ve said a couple of times on the show that I’m looking for mentors. I’m looking for lodestars people who inspire me, who are 20 years older than me. Well, today I interview Mimi Kirk and she’s actually just almost 30 years older than me and in the productive time of her life. She’s a mother and a grandmother. She has a great outlook and mindset that you’re going to hear a lot about in this interview. If you think that we’re just going to talk about Raw Vegan habits that really is kind of a small piece of what we talk about in a really great conversation about what it means to grow older and why we really have the power to slow down the aging process.
And it’s not just the diet that we eat, although she is a best-selling author of “Live Raw”, “Raw Food Recipes for Good Health and Timeless Beauty”. And she talks about a few other books. She has written seven books in her seventies, which is really, really cool all by itself. But she’s been on the media all over the place, she’s been on the covers of tons of national and international magazines, mostly when PETA put out a vote who is the sexiest Vegan alive over the age of 50.
And my friend Joel Kahn who is a, I think a 50 year Vegan, and he’s around 60. I don’t know exactly how old he is, but I think he was gunning hard for that spot. But she didn’t even do anything, she didn’t like try to win it. And she did. And, has just enjoyed quite a late blooming career at the end of some interesting careers that she talks a little bit about, including being widowed at a very young age with four small children. And we’re not talking about in 2018 where there’s lots of opportunity for women. We’re talking, you know, 1960’s. So she’s really inspiring. I think you’re going to enjoy this conversation. Here we go.
So Welcome to the Vibe show, Mimi Kirk,
Thank you so much. I’m really happy to be here Robyn, I’ve known of you for so long through social media, but we’ve never actually met in person and I’m really happy to speak with you today.
Well, me too, because I’ve known of you for a long time. I’ve heard you speak from the stage, the Longevity Event, um, your videos. You were named the sexiest Vegan alive some years ago.
Not quite. It’s the sexiest vegetarian over 50.
That’s it. Well, I still, I think that’s a big deal. I think that’s a big, huge deal. But you know what, I need role models. I mean I’m in my fifties and I’m looking for role models and what I mostly see is kind of a lot of chaos and health complaints and health decline. And so I need people like you. I really wanted to meet you and have a conversation about the fact that you are turning 80 very, very soon and you have written seven books in your seventies. Is that right?
Yes, that’s right.
I mean, holy wow.
That ought to give somebody hope. Right?
That gives me hope! And I need to just have someone to watch. I think we all do. I think we all need someone to, you know, like when we were 11, we have lots of 15 year olds to look to and when we’re 15 we have lots of 20 year olds to look to. Um, when we’re in our fifties we don’t have as many people to look to anymore. So tell us a little about your story. You really credit turning 80 without being on any prescription medications. I mean wow! I’m clapping, if you could see me right now. I’m clapping.
I think that’s really a great thing. That’s what I always like to tell people because I think there’s so much fear around aging. Nobody realizes how much damn fun it is. Seriously. I feel like I can say anything and do anything. I don’t worry about this stuff I worried about in my early years. I’m just having a darn good time and there’s something that happens, that shifts if you are in good health. And that’s the major thing, if you’re not in good health and you turn, you know, 60,70,80, it’s not so great when you’re on not only just on prescription medicines, but if you let the doctors and the media and everyone convince you that at over 50, you’re going downhill.
I look at it completely different. First of all, I wake up, I have no concept of age. I could be 20, I could be 30, anything. I wake up feeling very healthy, no aches and pains. I’ve been living this way for quite some time now. I’ve been a vegetarian for many years, over 40 something years and I went on and off as a vegetarian but mostly on. And then I went vegan when I really understood what the difference was. And I actually only went raw vegan when I was 69 and my blood pressure and cholesterol was high and I went to see my doctor and he gave me a prescription.
And the first thing when I looked at that prescription, I thought my family is on all types of medication. They’ve had cancer, Parkinson’s, diabetes, you know, millions of things in my family. And I thought I’m not going to go in that direction. So I went home and started to research and raw food kept coming up. It didn’t sound very appealing to me because I love, I’m a Foodie and I love to cook. And I thought, uh, I don’t know, this might not work, but I gave it a try. I juiced of course right away. And that was it. And I never went back.
And I really feel this was a raw vegan lifestyle. I do eat some vegan cooked foods, but mostly raw vegan and it has kept me healthy. And I went back to my doctor six months later and my blood pressure and cholesterol were normal. So I’m a huge fan of eating this way and living life in a very open way, which I’d like to talk about down the line with you, of the other things that I do that I feel to keep myself healthy.
Yeah. Because we don’t often talk to someone who’s 80 years old who’s as mentally sharp. You know, I think we just accept that cognitive decline is part of our seventies. Don’t you think that most people just accept it?
Right, I think so too. I’m looking for the ninety year old’s, that’s who’s going to be my model, I’m looking for the yoga teacher and she is like 100 or something. Those are my inspirations. But I do feel I inspire people. For one reason I walk straight. My boyfriend’s 20 years younger. I traveled the world internationally. Nothing stops me being my age. Even when I hear my age I laugh because I can’t, I have no connection to it. 80 is not what I ever thought 80 would be like.
So I know after 50 the mental decline comes because of all this stuff that is said in the media and that’s what I feel, I mean, look at the TV. How many commercials do you see where they show regular people and they say, ask your doctor for this pill or that pill? And they make you think that as everybody ages they’re going to need an arsenal of medication and prescription drugs. And it hasn’t been that way for me and I don’t think that has to be that way for anybody.
The other thing I do, which is, uh, you know, within the last decade I would say is I really understand that it’s not about the genes, it’s about our cells. And our cells have an amazing memory. In fact, they regenerate all the time. They could degenerate when they turn over and the more cells you lose, the faster you age. So I’m a big proponent of working with your cells, mentally. So I talk to my cells all the time. I go into like a little meditation before I go to bed at night and when I wake up in the morning. When I wake up, before I open my eyes and I talked to my cells and tell them to return to their natural position.
And there’s been proof, in fact, a woman won an award of for working with the cells and showing that you can grow your telomeres back. Telomeres, are the little tops of your cells. And when they disappear, which comes from, you know, bad choices of eating, from stress and all the things we do in normal life. You lose those and then you start losing more of your cells. You want to keep as many healthy as you can, but you can regenerate them. And so the way you eat, the way you think, the way you work with your body all does that.
It’s like if you throw negativity out there for any reason about yourself or anything else, you get that back. You know, triple fold. It’s very hard on your body and it’s hard on your cells. The more positive you can be, the more your cells react to that. I can feel them dancing around when I talk to them. They know I love them and they know I appreciate that they’re taking good care of me. And I know it sounds kind of woo woo to people to do that, but I really believe the mind and the body are so connected that you can shift lots of things in your body. If I get a sore hip or something happens and when I’m working out, I talk to my body and I can disappear things. It’s worked for me. It’s not something that I’m waiting for it to happen. It’s working for me on a daily basis to work with my cells.
Also, the other thing recently I’ve just been writing my last book was about herbal teas and they’re cold brew teas. And the interesting thing is is that our body is 70 percent or more water and there’s been tests done on water to show the crystals in the water. If you talk positive to your water, Dr. Emoto is the man who ran these tests, he has written several books. So if our body is made up with that much water and he showed crystals with water that was talked to positively and music was played and so forth, and then the other water in a vessel was played hardcore music and told the water was ugly and all these negative things.
And then he tested the water. And the crystals in the water on the positive message were beautiful and clear and the others were very dark and uneven. So he’s done many tests to show that water holds memory. So if our body is that much water, what do you think happens when you say something negative about yourself? The water in your body also picks that up. Does this sound too strange to you?
No. It doesn’t. And I’m familiar with Dr. Emoto’s work, which is heavily criticized. But yeah, I mean, setting aside the controversies about whether his work was reliable, and duplicatable, I think we should mention because my audience is largely women, and you and I are well down the path in later adulthood. I was telling a friend yesterday that women look in the mirror, find what’s wrong, have this negative self-talk all the time, criticize themselves constantly, constantly, constantly. I was talking, it was a high school friend of mine I went to lunch with and he was telling me the only thing that bugs me about my mom who is in her eighties, he goes, is that she is constantly on a diet. And she’s super thin and she’s constantly trying to become something as long as I’ve known her that she isn’t.
And I think we could talk all day about how the culture does that to us. But as women we become, and, I’m curious what you think about this, because I’m making a strong statement here. Um, I think we become healthy and happy to the extent that we interrupt that constant self-criticism that is for some reason programmed in us very young. The awful things girls do to each other in elementary school and junior high just, we’ve got to deprogram ourselves and we have to decide to be happy in this body, this body that is the only body we will have and love that body. I mean we only miss treat things we don’t value. Right?
Absolutely. And I was in the film industry for many years, so I’ve watched some celebrities who when they get to a certain age, they don’t get as much work. So what they do is they go out to try to look younger. And they get a lot of plastic surgery. Well, I’m not against anybody looking good and if people feel they want to do something that’s their choice. But I have wrinkles on my face. I feel I look very pretty. I look in the mirror and I love the way I look. I don’t want to change that. Yes, it would be nice to look the way I feel which is like twenty five, but it’s not there and I just love that about myself. So I know that because of me being satisfied with myself and not trying to make myself look younger, I look the way I feel.
I have blonde hair, of course I color my hair otherwise it’d be grey. But, I dress and I do everything about the way I feel inside, not how I look outside. So for me, I think if you can’t love yourself and be satisfied, as you mentioned with your body, which is changing all the time, we’re not going to have that 20 year old body.
Uh, I actually don’t like exercising. I’ve just recently started Pilates, which I love. And I’ve done yoga throughout my life and I walk. But I’ve never been an exercise person and I would like to recommend that to anybody. I think it’s important. It’s one of the things I wish I would have paid more attention to. But I never think it’s too late. So now I can feel my muscular body coming back by doing Pilates. But I ate well and that was a big part of it, a really big part of it.
And now I’m catching up and doing exercise. But you want to feel good. The mirror is not always the right way to see yourself. In fact, it’s harmful in many ways. Like the woman who’s already thin and she keeps dieting. And women who can’t be satisfied with a face-lift, so she keeps getting more. And young girls starting at 30 to get Botox in their lips or whatever they need because the doctor’s convince them if they do it early then they won’t see any difference as they age, it will be much better for them as they age and people will not notice that they’re getting a little surgery here and there.
Society is leading young girls down the wrong path. We’ve always known that we can’t, you know, the models in magazines are not always the most positive thing for young girls to see. And it’s not good for women in their fifties to see. So you get a line on your face, you gotta let it go. There’s so much more to getting aged, you know, we don’t have to. We get older but we don’t have to age. I feel like I’m, of course I’m getting older, but you don’t have to age. And that comes from the mind really, not the body.
Yeah. I love that. I’ve gotten a lot of lines around my eyes just the last couple of years, you know, I was white knuckling it heading into 50 and then I decided, why am I doing this? I was so stressed out about turning 40. We’re all so afraid of aging like you said. And so I decided to really lean into 50 and like celebrate it and be stoked about it. And I think everything that you’ve just said is a good segue to this question. I read this amazing article in the Atlantic a few months ago that my best friend since seventh grade, had shared with me, and it’s called “The U Curve of Happiness”. And it talked about, it’s a very long article and it talks about all the research out there that people in their fifties are extremely happy compared to people in their forties.
People in their forties, like 48 I think, is like the low point in general of a person’s life. They’re starting to head into taking care of elder parents. The kids are getting old enough that they’re doing annoying things that frustrate us and that wasn’t what we had planned for our children. And you know, we’ve had to gut it out in our career to that point. We aren’t on that downhill slope. We get to enjoy, you know, um, a lot of discretionary income or a little bit of discretionary income as the case may be. But I’m extrapolating a little bit on why maybe 48 is sort of the low point.
And then people get happier. People get almost miraculously happier. And the studies have been across the board all over the world. They’ve controlled for income, they’ve controlled for race, they’ve controlled for gender and across the board, even with animals at similar, you know, the animal equivalent of the human age in the fifties, people get a lot happier. And every time there’s a study that comes out saying people in their fifties and sixties and seventies are the happiest people of all of us. The researchers don’t believe it. And people reading it don’t believe it. They’re like, no, no, no, no, no. We don’t want to age. We don’t want to have lines on our face. We don’t want to have gray hair that can’t possibly be a happy state.
Would you talk a little bit about why you find that in the fifties, sixties, seventies, now you’re heading into a new decade. You’ve already outlived the average human being and you’re super sharp and still super productive. Why are we happier and what do we have to do to make sure that we’re in that number that are dramatically happier even as we age?
Well, first of all, we have to face the fact that we are going to age, it’s just going to happen. No matter what you do and no matter how many face lifts you get or how much you freeze your body or no matter how thin you get or how much liposuction you have or anything else, you’re still going age. It’s just going to happen. So, you can either accept it and go forward and make a great life for yourself or you could try to fight it, which is impossible and be depressed when you look in the mirror, and do everything you can to try to reverse it, that’s not going to happen. I want to just slow down the aging process as far as I felt, you know, health wise, but not everything else because all the rest of the stuff that comes with it is so darn good.
So you know, in your early days you remember how insecure you were about, you know, meeting a guy or finding the one that you want. Or how you compared yourself to other women and also things that happened in your early age or your career that you worked so hard at that maybe didn’t happen. And you have to make a shift in your life to do something else. All kinds of things happen in your thirties and forties, and then all of a sudden this panic when you hit 50 that you didn’t accomplish what you wanted to. You have to trust everything that happened. Everything’s for a reason. I really believe it. You have to trust your life, and look at it and enjoy it. And that is one thing I’ve done. I love my life.
I’m very silly. I like to have fun and laugh and I’m very silly with my friends, since I have to say, I have mostly younger friends, I don’t know have any friends that are older than me. I’m the youngest and I mean, like my girlfriends are like in their thirties and then my grandchildren are too basically almost, one is in their thirties. I’m the mother of four and grandchildren of seven. I have a great relationship with my family. They are all very inspired by me. They talk about the all the time. They think I’m amazing.
And it took me a while to see that. But when I visited one of my sisters in the senior home, I saw what could happen, if you think wrong and you eat wrong and you don’t take care of yourself. I saw every time I went back to visit all the people who passed away early, they were in their sixties and seventies many of them. And the lifestyle that they lead when everything was taken away from them that they used to do for themselves, and when they move into a home, they do everything for you. You can’t be lazy!
My boyfriend and I just moved into a new home and it’s got lots of stairs, which we love. People say, “Oh my God, you’re 80 and you got stairs in your house. Why did you do that?” Because I don’t want to think about if I can’t walk up and down the stairs. It’s so healthy to do that. So don’t think you have to give up the things that you love. And as I mentioned, as long as you’re healthy, but just think about the fact, if you don’t take good care of yourself and you’re not healthy, you’re not going to feel good. It is going to make you feel older. If you get out of the chair and every time you have to hold onto the handles and go “ugghhh” and make a noise, when you get up, you’re being old. Can you get up and down off the floor? You have to do all the things that you can to not think old. And honestly that is why I’m sure I am this way, the way I am, is because I don’t think of myself an old person and I don’t pay attention, other people I see that are in their eighties and I see what’s going on, I can’t compare myself to them in any way at all.
So I like to go out and speak to people and say, look, this is not some weird thing and because my family had good genes because they didn’t. I’ve lost all, I only have one living sister. My family all died young from heart attacks and all kinds of other things like leukemia and my one sister that is alive has had cancer twice. And my other sister had cancer and diabetes and so you know, my family’s had their share of health issues. So this is not somebody who grew up with a clean slate as far as genes go.
I think Epigenetics, which is the new way of thinking about living long has to do with the mind and the body and the cells. It’s all the stuff that you can control. And you know, I’m sure Robyn, that you’ve done this with, you know how to manifest things. So if you are someone who knows how to manifest, you can manifest your good health as well. And that’s what I think I do. But I’m having the time of my life. I really am. I love, I’m having so much fun. And that’s my, that is my goal. My passion is to make a difference in people’s life and to have as much fun as possible.
So when I wake up every day I think about I’m going to have a good time. I’m not going to let things bother me, which I don’t even have to do anymore because now it’s automatic. I laugh at things that used to bother me. Something that would happen that I would normally be, “okay, I got to handle this and take care of it and make it work” and you know, doing this control thing, but now I just laugh. I say, “Oh my God, this is so silly”. And it is silly. It is all ridiculous, the things we worry about, the things we stress over. That is silly to me.
When it’s your health issue, then you want to see what you can do, it is a little more serious. You have to take a look and see how you can reverse it without just letting the doctors give you prescriptions, and all the things that they do that they think will work for you. So no, I just am laughing all the time. I can’t tell you how much fun I’m having. So I know it’s my mind and body connection that is doing it.
Yeah. So much of what you have said, is about mindset. You know, I probably thought that we were going to talk more about like, what does Mimi eat every day? What vegetables do you eat? How do you prepare them? And I do want to ask you that question in a minute, but correct me if I’m wrong, but I hear you saying the reason people are happier in their fifties, sixties, seventies, uh, may be because they’ve learned how to let go of the dumb stuff that doesn’t matter. Is that part of it?
Yeah, I really think that’s the truth. When you look back at all of the stuff you worried about, you can’t even remember half of it. I mean, I was a widowed mom at 29 and I had four children and I was worried about how I was going to feed them. There was no insurance. My husband was killed in a private plane. There was nothing to take care of me. And I was a stay at home mom for like about seven years at that point. And I had to go out and support my kids. And I realized I had a lot of strength and that I could do anything I set my mind to. And when I was 30 I started meditating and that even opened me up so much more to life. And what this is about. So at 30 I really had a lot of consciousness.
And it was about that time that I became a vegetarian and I told my kids we weren’t going to eat meat, you know, I wasn’t going to cook it at home and if we went out to eat, if they wanted to eat it they could. But I gave them the reason why, which was all for the animals. So at a very early age I had this kind of other consciousness. And still I went through all this stuff of what most people go through, stress and worrying about how to support my kids and could I put a meal on the table and what was I going to do and just like everyone else. And once I started to realize that life was meant to be and that I was to look at things differently and the meditation really helped that, I think that was a huge part to get that gift so early, uh, that, that this was going to be the life I had. And I could either make something great of it or I could make something not so great of it.
And so I made that decision early on to do that, so I think that’s healthy. But still I went through the normal things that everybody else goes through, losing family members and parents and loved ones, getting divorced, you know married and divorced, all of that. I’ve just lived a normal life. It wasn’t like I came from a wealthy family or anything, but my positive attitude really turned my life around. I feel like I can have anything I want. So what I want is I want to be healthy. If I have to choose anything I want in this whole world, it would be to be healthy and to have my family be healthy. That’s why it’s so important to me.
And what does the other stuff mean? I mean what is stuff, so you lose things or you break things or lost your favorite earring or your diamond ring fell off? You know, stuff like that. Okay. That’s just material stuff. It has nothing to do with reality of what makes you feel good. So you can’t base your life on exterior things. You have to really go within and know that’s where the gifts are, within you, doing what you love, being kind to people, being generous as you can possibly be with everyone around you. And just showing people love, no prejudice and just knowing we’re all human beings, all of us go through the same things in life. Nobody, you know, has it any different when you look right down to it. So we have to keep people’s, uh, I say we have to keep their birthday candle alive, the light going of their birthday candle inside of them. So we try to make people feel good and it makes us feel good.
There might’ve been about 30 truth bombs in that and I love all of them and they all resonate with me. I’m just getting to the age where I’m realizing that I will continue to be happier and happier as I let more stuff go. And I talk about that as the big life lesson of being a single mom of four kids myself and uh, starting a business with no business degree. I’m actually, I’m afraid of spreadsheets, like, I actually have a fear of spreadsheets and lots of other things to do with running a business. But you know, I read the Blue Zones recently, like I knew quite a bit about them. And you know, all five of the blue zones, eat like Mimi eats, right? 90 to 100 percent plant based. All whole foods basically.
But one thing that really strikes me about the Blue Zones when I dug into it deeper and then was, you know, paying attention to Jason Prall’s, The Longevity Project, and he went to some of the Blue Zones, was that, you know, we take our elders and here they’ve had decades of life experience, they’ve got all this wisdom. They know how to laugh at stuff that doesn’t matter that we in our thirties, we have no idea how to do, most of us, myself included, and then we put them out to pasture. We put them in these weird little homes and we retire them. Like the ultimate is to retire. And then all these people are retired and they become super miserable.
And you’ve had a really late explosion to your career. I mean, you know, I’ve heard you on the live stage in your seventies, you’ve been on “The Doctors”, you’ve been on “Dr. Oz”. You’ve been on “Steve Harvey”, “Rachel Ray”, all the major networks, and I feel like as key, if not more key to the plant based whole foods diet, is being productive in your late life and all those Blue Zones, you know, they, the people in their nineties and over a hundred played a role in the family, like they tell a story about this gentleman who was like 99 years old and his job on Sunday was to go to the market and buy these specific things and make these specific dishes for the dinner that his daughters would put together.
And it’s interesting like how long life is very tied to for a man, does he have daughters? Because daughters generally step in and care for their elders quite well. Um, but I wonder what you have to say about that. Like what role because you’re clearly happy. You’ve said that several times. You said very early in this conversation you said that people should “know how much damn fun it is”, is what you said. What is your productivity level and the fact that you’re still contributing and creating as you turn 80, what does that have to do with how young you feel?
I think it’s everything honestly, because if I wasn’t productive and doing things that I love, it shifts, we do different things than you did in your earlier life. You don’t know and you’ve got to be open to whatever comes your way. I mean, honestly, when I was 69 and I was voted the sexiest vegetarian over 50, I had just sold a business that I ran for 10 years, very successful. And I sold the company. I said, well, I’m 70, I probably should retire. My boyfriend is 20 years younger. He is retired for quite some time and I thought, well maybe we should just have fun and you know, not have to work anymore. It was hard for me to sell the company because I really loved it.
But I sold the company. And then within, I don’t know, probably two weeks, I get voted the sexiest vegetarian over 50. And all of a sudden I get really popular because someone my age, I was 70 when I won this contest, is like, you know, wins the contest when there’s all 50 year olds in there. So, the media started coming at me and this was through PETA. It was a nationwide contest. And so they were setting up all these interviews and then I find myself on television and then my Facebook, which was put together just for my family and friends of about 100 people. And within two days it was at 1500. Now it’s at a cap. I got probably 250,000 followers. I’m not really sure. There’s a lot. But millions of people see my YouTube videos, millions.
And it kept growing and growing. And then I was putting recipes out on my Facebook page and then people said, “why don’t you do a book?” Well that’s nothing I ever thought of. They said, “you should do a book”. So then I said, well maybe I should try that. So, I wrote a proposal and a friend of mine who’s an agent and she said, well, I’d be happy to, I think you’re amazing, I’d be happy to give her your proposal. And I got a call the next day after she got it. So all of a sudden my retirement turned into something completely that I never expected that I was going to be doing this in my seventies.
But, that I think is about staying open and positive. I did know that my life was always going to be good. I had this feeling I didn’t have to worry that I was going to be fine no matter what. I raised my kids. I did that job, I started businesses, I did that, sold them, and I was always able to do it. So why would I think that something terrible, was going to happen. I didn’t want to even think about that. I only thought good was going to happen. And then this comes my way. I fell into this basically. I really did. But I know I did because I was open and that was uh, you know, that was the big part of it is that I was open. And you must be too because you have that in your name. So I’m sure you’re open as well.
And I think that’s what did it. And then when I caught onto it, when I really caught on that I was responsible for the way I thought in the way my life is going to go forward. It just became magic for me. I lived for almost four years, six months a year, my husband, my boyfriend and I, my husband, we’ve been together 16 years but we’re not married, but I call him my husband still. We lived in Spain, in Majorca, Spain for six months out of the year, three months here in San Diego and three months there it was like a dream come true being able to live there. And it happened because I was traveling in Europe so much doing events.
And I don’t seek out work, people come to me, so I always have speaking engagements, where I’m asked to do as keynote speaking and you know, I’m going to start doing some more in house. Um, I think when this last book is finished, I’m going to do some more in house classes. Because I really want to teach people not just how to eat healthy and how to think healthy, and it is a combination of that. And trusting that what comes in front of you is what’s supposed to happen for you. So you can look at it anyway you want. When something shows up that you think might be negative, how can you, what can you do about that? Instead of saying it’s a problem, it’s something that you can do something about. It’s a challenge. So that word, challenge, is very motivating. Problem is very debilitating.
So that’s how I look at things. When things come in to my life, I go, this is a challenge. We’ll see what I can do. So it’s really a positive outlook. And again, I want to go back and say, I’ve said it many times in this talk with you, is that you need to stay healthy. If you’re sick and at the doctor’s office a couple times a week and you’re on medication, which doesn’t make you feel good and you’ve handed over your health power to somebody else to take care of you, instead of figuring out how you can take your own health back and take care of yourself. I mean, you know when you’re eating food that’s not good for you. You know when you’re thinking things that aren’t good for you. This is your life, you have control, more than you think, much more than the doctors have.
You do have control. No matter what you have, there’s something you can do to turn it, to twist it and make it more positive. I can’t tell you how many people I know have been told they have cancer. They were going to die within three months and they’re still alive and it’s five years later, seven years later, they’re still here. Why do you think that happened? Some of them didn’t take any chemo. They changed the way they thought and the way they ate and knew that their life needed a big change. And I’ve seen it happen over and over and over.
One of my dear friends, someone who might be listening, is Valerie Harper. I worked for Valerie Harper. I designed her clothes on the show. I used to stand in for Mary Tyler Moore years ago, we looked very much alike during the seventies. And when Valerie got her show, I went over and I started those scarfs that she became very famous for. I don’t know how old you have to be to know who she is, but if anybody’s older they’ll know her. But she called me to tell me she had three months to live. She had cancer, lung cancer, but it was in the brain. And uh, she’s still alive. I just talked to her a few days ago. It’s five years later and she has a very strong will to be here. And uh, and appreciated that whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen. But she did everything she could drank juices, drank teas, did some stuff the doctor said. But I know she’s still here because of her attitude. What a strong willed person she is.
So we have control, mind and body, scientific proof for this that mind and body are connected. This is not some woo woo thing, it’s scientific proof that mind and body are connected. There’s a hospital, the Cleveland Hospital, a friend of mine was in there and he just told me he had to go in for some surgery and he told me that before they took him into surgery, they made him go to a class. And the class was how to think positive before you go into surgery. That is so astounding to me that the Cleveland Hospital, a big place like that, gets it, that the mind and body are connected. You can’t go in with fear. You have to go in with a positive attitude. And they had that. They had this class in the hospital. This is really groundbreaking to me and very exciting.
And I had just sent some emails about positive thinking because his dad was ill, and I said, you know, he needs somebody to work with them. He’s been in the hospital for such a long time, he needs somebody to work with him, to show him that he can do some things on his own. And then this came up and he said, I would never thought anything about it unless you had sent me those emails and I read them. And now I know, now I’m going into this class. So I think that’s pretty cool. Things are changing, but we have to be in that, um, uh, we have to be part of that change. We have to look things up and try to read and talk to people who are positive. And do what you’re doing, putting on a podcast so people can learn things. I mean, this is all important work you’re doing. And I know it’s important work I’m going to help change people and whoever we help change in some way or inspire in some way, they might inspire another five people.
So I think things are turning around. I’m very hopeful that we’re getting more educated and see things differently. A better way to eat, better way to think. I think it’s all happening. You could tell because the manufacturers of food, they’re coming out with things that they never had before. Every time I look up and I see, you know, cauliflower rice or spiralized Zucchini in a market already prepared for people, it just makes me laugh so much. This has been going on and now they know that there’s money in it. So at least you know, it’s starting to happen when you see the manufacturers, who want to make money of course, but now they know that this is a requirement out here. So I think good things are happening. I feel very positive about that.
I do too. And if I’m getting one thing from you, it’s that, Okay, widowed with four small children 50 years ago, not exactly after there had been all these trailblazers, all these women starting businesses and no glass ceiling anymore, and you know, women can do so much, so you had a hard row to hoe, but you said that from very early you always expected to win. You always have expected positive outcomes. And I think that all by itself is really inspiring.
Your children, if my math serves, are older than me. So your children are like throughout their fifties, I believe. I’d love to hear anything you have to say about what it’s been like to watch your kids not eat a plant based whole foods diet and you know, what the consequences of eating a crappy diet are. And I actually really want to go there as maybe one of our last questions about what your diet looks like because, you know, my audience has got to be sick of me talking about this, it’s been just a little hobby of mine in the past year is to ask all of our nutrition expert guests who have really made a name for themselves out there, who have had a very healthy life, or they’re researchers or they’re very famous physicians. I want to know from them if they feel like I do, kind of nervous about the big stepping back that we’ve had, where 20 years ago, there’s so much talk about raw foods, so many people starting to eat a more plant based diet and there are, and I mean two thirds of the world is vegetarian or Vegan.
But the big fads right now are the meat-eaters fads. There’s a meat eaters diet. There’s a ketogenic diet, that the way most people do it is to just, you know, go to “Carl’s Jr” and take the bun and pickles off and you can do this healthy diet at “Carl’s Jr.” or “Wise Guys” or whatever the burger places are. But we’ll talk next about what your diet looks like on a daily basis. But I’d love to know what it’s like for you to watch your children and grandchildren making choices you don’t love. And what do you do about it? How do you stay in their lives, be a resource to them but not be critical? Like how have you handled that? I’m sure your children and grandchildren aren’t all, you know, headed towards being the sexiest vegan alive at the age of 70. Right?
No, that’s a really great question. I love that question because of course I’ve dealt with that. Early on, I mentioned we were vegetarians at home because all my kids said. “Oh fine”. They understood that we didn’t harm animals. But then of course when they got on their own, so at this point they are all in their fifties, all my kids are in their fifties. And my youngest daughter, we wrote a book together called “Raw-Vitalize”, which is a 21 day raw food plan. We wrote it together because, she’s been eating raw food for quite some time and she got off, which everybody does. She has two kids, a single mom with two kids raising them on her own, and very busy. She’s a executive director of a preschool and she’s a very, very active life. And so she got off and gained all this weight.
She said, “I gotta get back”. So I said, well, let’s put together something. Well, let’s both do this for two weeks. And then we said, oh, this is a really good idea. I called my agent. I said, look, we’re going to do just a little book ourselves, just a little eBook. And she said well, I’d better ask your publishers because you know, they might not want that to happen. And then of course when she told them, they said, “No, we want a book from you”. So my daughter and I wrote a book together called: “Raw-Vitalize”. It’s a way to learn how to cook raw food. I think all my books I really think are great. I still think my first book is amazing. They’re all really good. I’ve a juice book out. But “Raw-Vitalize” it’s very simple. No dehydrator, or anything, so they’re very easy meals. Anybody can fix it and families seem to love it. So it’s been a very successful book.
And so she eats very healthy. She eats raw foods and she eats vegan food. My other daughter, Lisa, who’s my oldest daughter, she’s a very healthy eater. She’s a big person about organic, which I am too, but organic is more important to her than anything else. She does eat some fish sometimes. Um, she understands the animal thing and then sometimes she doesn’t feel right about eating it, but she’s pretty much, I would say besides, I can’t call her a Vegan because she does eat fish and an egg on occasion. But she eats very, very healthy and always organic.
My oldest son, he’s a very big athlete. He runs, you know, he’s gonna be 60, and he’s running marathons and all kinds of things. He’s very healthy with juices and superfoods and all of that. But he eats everything. But he’s in amazing shape and very healthy. He’s never been one that thought about the animal stuff as much. He’s thought about his health more than anything. So I’m very happy that they all are that way.
As far as my grandchildren go is so amazing because I used to talk to them about the animal thing, thinking that they would when they were little, that they started saying, “well, wait, I love animals. I don’t want to kill them to eat. I didn’t know that, hamburgers came from a cow. And I didn’t know that bacon was from a pig”, you know, when they were little, I was bringing things up to them.
But I’ve never felt that you can force anybody or put anybody down for what they do. I sit at the table, people eat meat, they know how I eat. I don’t tell people what to do. It’s their choice. They have to make their own choice. Where I feel is the most important is that I do everything for myself and be an inspiration because they can see I’m healthy. Then they ask me, “Well, what are you doing?” So my grand kids come around all the time to say, “What should I do about this?” They even say, well, my friend has some illnesses or something. Can you give me some ideas? What I can tell her? So they respect so completely what I do. And they’re trying to eat healthier themselves and take care of any health problems that they might have. And they have more things going on than I do, my grand kids, because they don’t always take care of themselves. But they’re trying to learn and they’re slowly moving in that direction.
So I do think that you can’t change anybody else. If you do it and somebody wants to do it and they see you’re looking good for your age. Or you’re healthy, then they’ll say, well, maybe I should do what you’re doing. You know, maybe you should tell me what you’re doing. So yeah, I think it’s hard for your kids. Of course, I don’t want to see them eat animals, that’s the main thing. I don’t get it. I don’t want to see it. But if they’re doing that, if any of them do that, that is totally their choice. They know what to do. They all know it. They all have my books. They all make that kind of food. But I do think that they’re healthier than most people. They’re not junk food eaters, only on occasion, my grandkids will jump for something. But, I think they’re doing very well.
And I’m just here to do me. I’m an experimentation and it’s working. I can’t wait to see what my 80’s are like. Honestly, I’m so excited to see how my experiment in my own body is working in my eighties. It’s going to be so fascinating. I just thought that the other day, this is so fascinating. I’m going to be 80. Can I do this? Can I continue this in my eighties. Well, yeah, why not? This is going to be so great. I can’t wait til my 90th birthday. What are my 90’s going to be like? You just have to do it for yourself. You can only make decisions for yourself. My boyfriend was a meat eater when I met him and then when I said, “I just can’t cook meat for you anymore.” He said, “Well, that’s okay, I love vegetables.” He doesn’t cook so he’s happy with anything I make and he doesn’t eat meat, he’s a Vegan basically. Vegetarian when we go out sometimes, but at home he’s a Vegan.
So, it’s pretty fantastic how people around me, my best friends, neighbors, people have picked up on this and made changes because they see how healthy I am. I have amazing energy. I have kind of boundless energy. They always say you’ve got more, they always say I’ve got more energy than them. And my son told me the other day, he said, I talk about you to all my friends all the time. I’m so proud of you. What you’ve done, what kind of good health you’re in. They’re very, very happy I’m in good health. We’re very close. And, as you know, when you raise your kids yourself, you’re the mom and the dad, so you really tie in a very close relationship to your kids. So, that’s my family story. Now do you want to know what I eat?
Yes. I want to know what do you and your boyfriend eat during the day? Do you eat a lot of starch? Do you eat a ton of Greens? Do you drink green smoothies? What is your Vegan Day look like?
Well, green smoothies are always on the list. I would say we have them either every day or several days a week, maybe miss a day or two. And on those days sometimes he’s in the mood for what I call from my “Raw-Vitalize” book, he’s in the mood for a seed breakfast. So what I do is I put like two heaping tablespoons of gluten free oats in a bowl and then I put a tablespoon of flax seed, a tablespoon of flaxseed meal you can put in some Chia seeds, a tablespoon of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds and I put some fresh fruit on it and I make almond milk and I use that on top of it and mix that all together and I drizzle a little bit of, the only sugar that we use in the house is maple syrup, so I put a little bit of that on top and it’s a seed breakfast. It takes minutes. I have the jars already packed. When the family comes or when company stays over, I put those jars on the table in the morning and everybody can make themselves breakfast within minutes. It’s one of our favorite, favorite breakfasts.
Another is, Apple Sunrise. Which is apples chopped up in the food processor. They’re very sweet and nothing else. You can put some banana and chop it up and I will sprinkle some seeds on that with some almond milk or I make Chia pudding for breakfast, which is delicious with all kinds of fruit. So those are the kinds of breakfasts. And then lunch we always try to have a big salad. Either we’re going to have it at dinner or we’re going to have it at lunch, but I make with everything in it and there’s like hundreds of ways to make salads with different dressings that are healthy from Thai salads to Quinoa if we cook that and have like a Buddha bowl or something with the steamed vegetables at night we eat a cook meal.
Otherwise it’s all the amazing dishes I make. From lasagnas, to pizzas, to crackers, to cookies, to desserts. I’m telling you, raw food is so delicious. If you learn to make it right, it’s unbelievable. So many people who have got the “Raw-Vitalize” book, there’s a “Raw-Vitalize” book club on Facebook and people got the book and then they joined the club and everybody posted pictures and talk about what they’re doing and they get a lot of support on the 21 day program. It’s heartwarming to hear how many fabulous things that happen to people’s health from doing that for 21 days and how they learn to cook and how they’ve adapted to use their own creativity and taken some of my foods and upped the ante, which is what that book is about.
It’s all basic and easy to do and if you want to throw in something else and change it up, then you finally learned to cook raw food, or un-cook, once you get the knowledge to cook enough different meals, you don’t even think about making anything else. It’s just like if somebody was making, you know, a chicken dinner, and now they gotta make raw food, that’s what they make it’s so easy for them. But it’s a process to learn it. That’s why this 21 days is really, I think is a good way to learn it, but within a year of making raw foods, quite a bit of it, you will know how to do it and then it becomes so easy.
My refrigerator just has stuff that I could put together things in two seconds. I’ve got some Zucchini in there. I can make spiralized-Zucchini and um, make a red sauce, throw them in there, no time at all. Or I use garlic and some olive oil and some pine nuts and black olives, that makes a great dressing. I can make a cheesy dressing by using nutritional yeast, which is not raw, but it’s very good for Omega 3’s and B vitamins. So I make a cheesy sauce with some cashews and that and some fresh herbs from the garden and I can put that on the pasta. And it’s amazing how fast food can go if you’re making raw food this way, once you learn it.
Well, I would love to link to your books, including “Raw-Vitalize” in our show notes. And can I get your seed breakfast recipe to put it in the show notes?
Absolutely. Yeah. Anybody can make that breakfast it’s really good. A lot of people are allergic to nuts so this takes care of all of that.
Right. When we heal our gut, we don’t need to be allergic to nuts and seeds.
Yeah. No, the allergies all go away when you’re eating, your body starts to adjust. You know, I hear honestly, hundreds of stories. I get letters, every week, lots of letters, every week from people who reverse their health and their family’s health and their kids love the food. They’ve made them some of the desserts and now they say “Oh, I want a smoothie every day”. That smoothie, you talk about greens, and yes, a lot of Greens are really important.
My basic smoothie, my basic drink, you can do it as a smoothie, but I actually like to juice. But it’s celery and cucumber, spinach, some Kale leaves a little lemon and an apple if I want something sweet. And that is a basic drink to start with. And you can do it in your blender and use coconut water in there or some tea that you made. Let’s say that you make a green tea and you put that in there, a cold brew tea, you don’t have to boil the water, you can just put the bags in the jar and put it in the refrigerator overnight. That’s the newest book I’m writing, and you can put that green tea in there. It’s one of the healthiest things that you can do is have green tea every day. Put that Into your smoothie instead of just plain water or juice or anything sweet. And that is an amazing drink.
In fact, I made one this morning that I hadn’t before and I’m going to go have another one when we hang up. So I could drink two big jars a day of a green drink and sip it throughout the day. Plus the teas and I feel very hydrated and very healthy. And so whatever food I eat, it’s usually something more hydrating, like all the Greens and vegetables that are totally hydrating. So yeah, I’m planning on a wild and crazy eighties.
I love it will tell us where we can learn more about you and find you on social media.
Well, the best place is, I do have a website it’s: youngonrawfood.com. I post my videos there and on YouTube, but I’m not as active to answer people there. I answer people on my Facebook pages all the time. You can message me. I have three Facebook pages. Two are personal. They say Mimi Kirk. And then there’s one that’ll be like a group, Mimi Kirk-author. And if you find that one, that’s the one I’m most active on because it’s the largest body of people that follow me there. Anybody can join that.
And the other place is if you’re really interested in learning more about raw food, try joining the Facebook page, Raw-Vitalize Book Club. And that is a really nice group of people. It’s just amazing how fast that grew when the book came out and continues to grow and people are very helpful there. Nobody is nasty to anyone because they’re transitioning or anything. They’re very, very nice and very positive. But, I would find me on my fan page, I call it. My personal page, and my other pages were full so I can’t accept anybody, and that’s why I opened up the fan page.
People are always saying, you got to go check out Marilyn Diamond and you got to check out Mimi Kirk, you’re always the two. And so I just want to thank you. I think your work is marvelous. I think you should always keep in your mind that you’re not just doing this because you want to enjoy great health. I know that you do. I know that you’re super, super aware of your following and that people like me are watching and inspired and we need you. So thank you so much for being on my show today, Mimi.
Thank you for inviting me. I was very happy to talk with you.