Mimi Kirk eats a plant-based diet, including raw foods and has written a book titled Live Raw: Raw Food Recipes for Good Health and Timeless Beauty. She was also selected as one of PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarians – at the age of 70! Now she is 73 years old. What follows is an interview with her.
What caused you to stop eating animals at about the age of 32?
One day while eating a slice of deli roast beef, I thought I took a bite out of the back of my hand.
I looked down at my hand, and it was the first time I made the connection to flesh. Animal flesh. I think I was more sensitive to this after I started meditating at 30. I went home and told my children we were not eating animals anymore. They were happy to go along with it. I didn’t cut out cheese or dairy at the time because I didn’t understand how horrible animals were treated then. But anyone who stops eating animals really must include cheese and dairy along with wearing fur or leather.
In your YouTube video, you mentioned getting B12 and Vitamin D levels checked, how often do you do that?
I get a check up once a year and that is when I have my levels checked
What are some of your favorite foods?
Greens for sure. Parsley or kale salads, I love juicing and smoothies, but I also enjoy more light gourmet raw foods. The great thing is that I love to prepare raw food and have always loved international dishes, so I just taught myself to use the right spices and duplicate most cooked international foods into raw dishes. I love to eat and and enjoy sharing meals with others, so I have lots of favorites as long as itís not processed, organic, raw and straight from the earth Iím enjoying it.
Do you like to try new vegan or vegetarian restaurants?
I really love to eat at new raw, vegan or vegetarian restaurants. It’s such a pleasure because I prepare food at home most of the time, so to eat other chef’s foods is a treat. I also enjoy the ambiance in these places. I run into so many friends when I eat at raw food restaurants. I don’t eat soy products, so I still have to be careful if the restaurant is not all raw.† One of the pleasures of these restaurants is that I believe a lot of care goes into a meal. From where the food is purchased, how it’s prepared to how it is plated for service. I just think the food has a lot of love going into it.
What are your common protein sources?
I get a lot of protein from greens, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and sprouting. These all seem to work for me, Iím not protein deficient in any way.
What are your typical iron sources?
I adore parsley, kale, dandelion greens, dried apricots, avocado, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, tahini, flax seeds and hemp seeds just to name a few.
Do you exercise daily, and what kind of exercise do you prefer?
I’m working on this all the time to get better and more consistent. Today I found a local yoga studio and joined, so Iím quite happy about that. Aside from yoga, I love qigong, kettlebells, walking and some TRX work. I’m planning on adding some more strength training. I just love to stretch.
How much of your plant-based diet choice is based on concern for animals and what is happening to the planet such as climate change?
I feel the animals come first and have always felt that way, the health aspect came way after my compassion for animals.
I’ve been concerned about planet change for many years, before it was so popular. In 1989 I created, published and edited an environmental newspaper in Los Angeles called “The City Planet”.
It was a free paper and 40k were printed monthly. The paper was very popular and they were gone off the stands immediately each month. It was supported by environmentally concerned advertisers. I closed the company to simplify my life and moved to Taos New Mexico.† So, I am, and have been for many years, concerned about the state of the world and climate change. More is being done now than in all the years past, so I have a more positive feeling than I did years ago, but Iím still very concerned. I believe the only power we have is to make personal changes. Stop eating animals, grow a garden, recycle, compost, drive a fuel efficient car, and support environmental organizations.
Do you meditate or do yoga or Tai chi?
As I mentioned, I started meditating at 32. I’ve been lucky in my life to have had two living gurus.
Swami Prabhavananda, of Vedanta, and swami muktananda, of siddah foundation, whom I studied with in the states and in India. I mediated for many years and for many hours a day. Currently I meditate on and off, but it is always with me and I feel it continues to better my life and connect me with my true self. I just signed up for yoga classes and found out my local library has tai chi classes weekly, so I will be doing adding that to my life. I actually love qigong, but will be happy to have a tai chi class close by.
What sources of information do you use for learning about health and plant-based diets?
Years ago, before computers and Google, I could only find some info in books, but now I can search the world for information. I love reading everything, but listen to what feels right for me. There is a lot of contradictory info, so it takes lots of research, and experimenting and learning what works personally. I feel I know a lot with all the reading I do and have done for many years.
Do you have many vegetarian or vegan friends?
Yes, most Iíve met are from my Facebook pages. My boyfriend is vegetarian and raw vegan most of the time. My two daughters eat this way also most of the time, and I think Iíve convinced
many people in my circle of friends to give up eating animals or at least cut back.
What are some of your favorite fruits or vegetables?
I’ve mentioned my love for all dark greens, and as for fruit, I love cherimoya, crazy for berries of all kinds, banana, mango, papaya, watermelon, pomegranate, apricots, and actually its hard to narrow it down as I love summer when we have an abundance of peaches, and nectarines. I guess Iíve never met a fruit I didn’t like. I feel lucky to be in California where we have so many beautiful organic fruits. I love to shop at farmers markets and find growers who care about the soil and the quality of organic produce.
What kind of grains do you like?
I sprout grains and my favorite is wild rice. But I like quinoa or buckwheat also. Here is my trick for wild rice, which I use for raw burgers, tabouli. Stuffing for grape leaves and sweet red pepper. Ok, so here is the trick. 1 cup wild rice poured into a tall mason jar. Fill with pure water. Put the lid on, place in the bottom of dehydrator, turn on to 105-110 leave it in throughout the night, and in the morning, its sprouted and ready for rinsing. It’s quite amazing and so delicious.
What kind of work have you done over the years, and are you working now or retired?
Movie and TV extra for various productions including the original Star Trek. Designed clothes for movie and TV productions. Raised money for charitable organizations. Started an environmental newspaper. Started a cowgirls board game and products company that is still running today. Author of Live Raw: Raw Food Recipes for Good Health and Timeless Beauty.† Lectures† and coaches a few private clients.
Image Credit: Mimi Kirk