Although Mimi Kirk has been a vegetarian since the 1970’s, and later became vegan, it wasn’t until her late 60’s that she began eating a raw diet. In 2007, she found out her blood pressure was high and she was experiencing arthritis in her hands. She was also about 20 pounds heavier than the weight she had been for most of her life. Kirk began her raw diet with a juice cleanse and never looked back. Now 73, she has lost 20 pounds, no longer suffers from arthritis and has energy all day long. She was recently named PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian over 50.
Kirk recently published a recipe book called Live Raw: Raw Food Recipes for Good Health and Timeless Beauty. All of the recipes are both vegan and are raw, which means that none of the foods are cooked at high temperatures. Supporters of the raw diet argue that this preserves enzymes and other healthy nutrients. Kirk told DietsInReview that she has a love for cooking and created all of the recipes herself. More than recipes, the book also provides a nutritional guide to raw foods, which helps readers understand which kinds of foods they need to be eating every day. The book also includes advice for aging gracefully.
For Kirk, one of the great benefits of a raw diet is the ability to eat as much as she wants without worrying about gaining weight. I was surprised to discover the diversity of foods included in Live Raw, from pizza and cashew parmesan to blackberry cheesecake and ice cream sandwiches. In fact, juices and smoothies make up an important part of any raw diet, because it can be a challenge to get enough calories and vitamins otherwise.
Live Raw includes a cleanse, but you don’t necessarily have to use the cleanse to start a raw diet. For those who wish to incorporate more raw food into their diet, Kirk recommends starting by drinking a green juice every day. While she prefers the smoother texture provided by a juicer, beginners can start by making smoothies until they decide to invest in more equipment.
Kirk is dedicated to a vegan lifestyle for ethical and spiritual reasons, but she has created recipes that even non-vegetarians can enjoy. Obviously, many people find a raw diet too restrictive to fit into their lifestyles. However, you can get many benefits from eating raw foods without going 100 percent raw. Even if you’re just looking for new ways to eat your fruits and veggies, this book is full of creative and healthy recipes. Kirk writes that she wants to dispel negative attitudes about aging with her book, and writes: “I believe we can heal ourselves and stay healthy well into our later years with good nutrition, exercise, positive attitude, love, and compassion.”
June 1st, 2011