Living Raw with Mimi Kirk

6 years ago by

The saying goes “you are what you eat” – which, when looking at Mimi Kirk, makes perfect sense. Vibrant, fresh, colorful – she emanates wellness. You see, Mimi is a 78 year old (yes, you heard that correctly) raw vegan, chef, and author of Live Raw. Her primarily raw, fully plant based diet has worked wonders on her health & wellness, physical existence, spirituality, and so much more. We had the opportunity to capture her in the kitchen and learn about her raw journey and all of the amazing benefits that have come along with it.

mimi kirk marianna jamadi garance dore photo

How long have you been a raw vegan?
I’ve been a vegetarian/vegan for the better part of 40 years, going off at times for short periods. I became a raw vegan nine years ago.

You’re a chef and an author now – have you always worked in these areas or did it evolve with your health journey?
I was always a good cook, but being a trained chef and author happened after I turned 70 and won PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Sexiest Vegetarian Over 50 contest.

As a whole, what does wellness mean to you?
Everything. At my age not being on prescription medication, traveling the world carrying my own suitcase, independence, feeling decades younger than my age just can’t be beat.

I’ve heard you say that, although you’re 78 now (which is incredible, by the way!), you’re just getting younger – can you elaborate on that feeling?
Because of my good health I feel my mental attitude is very positive. I am happy waking up every day. Actually I never think of my age until I pass a mirror, and still I can enjoy the person I see and the face I grew to accept just the way it is. Self-love definitely plays a roll in the passing of time.

Speaking of getting younger…do you have any youth secrets you can share with us? What are the best reverse aging things we can and should be doing?
First is to not worry about aging. Take it from me; it’s nothing to be fearful of. Quite the opposite, as there are so many wonderful things about the process. One good thing is you stop worrying about every little thing. You recognize your strengths, and make peace with your weaknesses. So what if you have a few lines on your face and gravity is letting you know that time is passing. Health is what’s important. Love is what’s important, and loving yourself enough to give up foods that do not add to your liveliness. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits. Organic is best. Don’t let age stand in the way of anything you want to do. Feel ageless and think ageless. Don’t hold grudges, stop stressing and show love and compassion for all living things. Life is exactly what you make of it. The mind and body are connected. If you say and think negative things, you become a magnet to negativity. If you say and think positive things you become a magnet to positive energy in your life. It’s all up to you.

How does the food you eat directly correlate to your physical aspects – hair, nails, skin, etc. ?
Many people my age are dealing with thinning hair. Mine is still thick and new hair is growing in constantly. My nails are really strong and grow so quickly I can hardly believe it. Because I’m a chef I prefer having very short nails and one week after they are trimmed they are sprouting up again. I never have breakouts and my skin feels hydrated and soft.

mimi kirk marianna jamadi garance dore photo

Can you tell me a little bit about your upbringing – was health and wellness always important to you?
My mom was an average cook and believed we should have meat at every meal. My favorite food was mashed potatoes and vegetables. I was always happy when summer came around and we had lots of fruit in the house. When frozen food entered the markets, my mom thought the little aluminum trays with proportioned compartments was the perfect meal and we had that once a week. Most meals were repeated week after week with the exact same vegetables. Peas were always served with salmon patties. Corn was served with chicken, and string beans served with meat. I became aware of health when my children were born, as I wanted to make sure they had the best food. At this time I started reading about the subject and started a holistic approach towards wellness.

What was the turning point in your life that made you realize you wanted to go raw?
I met my long time boyfriend and started cooking what he liked to eat…the standard American diet. I soon began to eat what I prepared for him and in a couple years gained twenty-two pounds. I wasn’t feeling well and went for my annual check up. My doctor handed me a prescription for high blood pressure and cholesterol. I had been feeling some arthritis pains in my joints for several months as well. Since my family’s health history is not very good, I started to research what I could do naturally to cure these issues. Raw food kept coming up in my research. I love to cook and love to eat so raw food did not sound like something I would enjoy, but for my health sake I decide to give it a try. Six months later back to my doctor and everything was normal without taking medicine. I lost the gained weight, my blood pressure remains the same and I haven’t had an arthritic pain since. Now my boyfriend eats pretty much like I do.

What was the process of shifting to this lifestyle? Was it an “all at once” transition or more gradual? What was the first thing you did?
It was an all at once transition. I was working on correcting my health issues so I didn’t feel I had time to wait or move slowly. I fell for raw food and I’ve never looked back.

I’ve noticed a bit of a stigma around a raw / vegan lifestyle in that people tend to think you miss out on animal based foods that we’re so used to eating. The food you make and eat seems, on the contrary, to be very abundant – can you talk a little about abundance and fulfillment in this lifestyle?
Once you learn to prepare raw food you can make anything your taste buds desire. Breads, cheese, crackers, sweets, pizza, lasagna and just about any food can be altered to a raw recipe. It all tastes amazing and makes me feel nourished so I have no desire for other foods. I like the idea that I can have such delicious food and not worry about diet and counting calories and I know I’m getting all the nutrients my body needs. On occasion I will eat a cooked vegan meal.

mimi kirk marianna jamadi garance dore photo


Other than animal products, what’s the biggest thing we should avoid for overall health and wellness?
Processed foods, excess sugar, carbonated sodas, anger, resentment and fear.

Do you have any habits or rituals you maintain?
Lemon and water on arising. Green juice almost daily, turmeric and ginger daily and walking at least 40 minutes every day. I floss and wash my face every night. I’m a big fan of coconut oil and slather my body with it after my bath. I try to oil pull for my teeth and gums a couple times a week.

How does your diet translate to other aspects of your life? Beauty routine, social life, etc.
I use products not tested on animals and chemical free. My social life is filled with the most amazing people who are conscious about the world and mindful about what they eat. I have an enormous amount of vegan and organic friends around the world including many raw vegans. I also have friends not so conscious about what they eat, but I love them for who they are.

What role does balance play in your diet and lifestyle? What is the key to maintaining it?
Balance is a tightrope walk. I always say, it’s not what you do some of the time, it’s what you do most of the time that counts. Balance is important but life is like flying a plane. You are always making adjustments to keep on course. Don’t be hard on yourself if you happen to get off course, just make a little adjustment and you are flying straight again for a little while. Balance is about constant adjusting.

Does spirituality play any role in your life? – If so, how has shifting to a raw vegan impacted your spirituality?
It’s because of my spiritually I became a vegan. I started meditating at age 30 shortly after I was widowed. It opened up something I never experienced before and that was my soul connection. I felt in meditation that everything was connected and everything was energy. One day I realized eating animals was not what I was meant to do. It felt barbaric, like it would feel eating my domesticated animal. Since then I’ve met all kinds of animals that are loving beings, they all have feelings and love to be petted and scratched. The abuse they go through is so unnecessary since a plant-based diet is actually the healthiest way to eat.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned through living this particular way?
I’m peaceful in my heart knowing that I don’t have to kill to eat. I feel like a very strong woman, but a gentle person at the same time. Killing, war, hate, and bigotry is not the way I want to live my life and I hope some day the world will understand that these actions are not the answers to peace.

What has this lifestyle taught you about yourself?
That I’m here for something more than myself. I believe I’m here to make a difference in the lives of others.

What would you tell someone considering changing their lifestyle to a mostly raw, plant based diet?
Unless you are ill, you can transition slowly. Start with a green juice daily, get rid of everything in your pantry that is processed or contain chemicals. Buy fresh organic fruits and vegetables and learn to make a few go to raw vegan meals. Maybe start with a raw breakfast and lunch and have a cooked vegan dinner. Then you will see how good raw food makes you feel and it will be an easy transformation.

mimi kirk marianna jamadi garance dore photo

Thank you Mimi! | YoungOnRawFood.com | @youngonrawfood


Add yours
  • Cette femme est sublime ! J’aimerais être comme elle au même age !

    Amélie – Charles Ray and Coco

  • I loved this interview about a person choosing a different path. In the same spirit, I would love to read the interview of Emerson Fry, the founder of the cloth brand.

  • Merci pour cette interview!
    J’adore les réponses de la question sur les antidotes à l’âge. Que du positif dans son discours. C’est comme ça qu’on devrait tous vivre, en paix, sans stress et toujours voir les choses du bon côté…
    Bises, belle journée

    Julie, Petite and So What?

  • Très inspirante !
    “Let Food Be thy Medicine”, citation bien connue, retrouvée sur une pancarte d’un resto vegan à Tulum que j’ai prise en photo et postée hier sur ma page Instagram. On peut dire que cet article résonne fort en moi !
    Merci pour cette entrevue qui fait du bien :)

  • These interviews lately have been so amazing! This woman nails it. “Don’t hold grudges, stop stressing and show love and compassion for all living things.”

  • Mimi:

    I love you.
    You are what I wish to embody when I finally totally “grow up”.

    Thank you.

  • On aimerait savoir ce que mange le chien. Sinon c’est intéressant de voir des femmes plus âgées ici. Personnellement j’ai 50 ans et j’ai changé beaucoup d’habitudes pour garder la santé (sport, vie saine etc…) mais je ne crois pas que le régime crudivore végétalien soit à encourager. Je suis plutôt adepte du manger de tout en quantité raisonnable, mais zéro junk food et j’ai la chance de vivre dans un endroit très riche en légumes et denrées bios (French Alps).
    Ce qui m’intéresse en ce moment est de comprendre d’où viennent les modes alimentaires et comment elles deviennent des bizness (comme le véganisme actuellement). Sur le plan sociologique j’imagine qu’il s’agit de garder une action possible sur son existence, et la façon de manger peut devenir une “patrie” singulière sur laquelle régner et à l’intérieur de laquelle on peut agir.. Ainsi les alicaments deviendraient cette nourriture qui soigne aussi bien que la tradition allopathique (la médecine actuelle).
    Tous ces sujets sont passionnants, mais on a encore peu de recul pour considérer l’histoire des régimes alimentaires en milieu sur-développé.

  • Merci Liz pour ce commentaire plein de bon sens.
    Je ne crois pas particulièrement à la cuisine crue et vegane (j’ai déjà essayé, ne mangeant que ça pendant 2 semaines, et je sais qu’à long terme, ce n’est pas pour moi, ne serait-ce que parce que c’est impossiblement long à préparer). Et oui, un regard plus critique sur les modes et régimes alimentaires serait le bienvenu.

  • Hello Caroline,
    Oui il faut bien connaitre la diététique pour jouer à se soigner par les régimes alimentaires. Avoir à disposition tous les aliments alternatifs pour remplacer ce qu’on enlève. Il y a de plus tant d’écoles diététiques qu’il est délicat de balancer des modèles ultra rigides sans en faire l’histoire ou la critique. Le régime crudivore est très agressif pour le système digestif c’est déjà un premier point. Ensuite pour l’aspect miraculeux d’une maladie qu’on soignerait en mangeant, bah voilà quoi. Quelle maladie, quelle gravité ? Etc…
    Oui la façon de manger sainement est importante à prendre en compte mais “le mieux est l’ennemi du bien” en diététique, ne pas jouer les apprentis sorciers avec des solutions radicales est toujours préférable. Partir de ce qu’on peut améliorer petit à petit dans les équilibres et les quantités serait déjà formidable pour la majorité d’entre nous.

  • J’adore le tournant pris par le blog depuis septembre, à l’image de nos vies, source d’inspiration pour vivre mieux à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur ! Encore bravo !

  • Hello !
    Merci pour cet article. Portrait passionnant d’une femme inspirante, qui semble si jeune!


  • Magnifique, la femme, le portrait…
    Je suis encore scotchée à mon écran.
    Merci !

  • Congratulations, this is a very thorough interview! A very inspiring person!
    I would like to raise one issue, which is not addressed: the budget. How much does it cost to have a healthy life? It seems to me that it is a luxury.

  • Actually being vegetarian/vegan is much less expensive than eating meat and fish : consider the price per kg of lentils, chickpeas… compared to beef or poultry. And you also need 200g of legumes/cereal to replace your animal protein intake and the rest of your portion is veggies and fruit. And if you have a big appetite you can rise the quantity of legumes/cereals as they are more “filling” than veggies.

  • It is extremely expensive. Really good quality food is out of my price range. Maybe the trick is to have better food, but to eat less? But then, a healthy lifestyle is about more then eating, thank fully.

  • She’s gorgeous! And really embodies the knowledge that eating what is best for the body is also what is best for the planet. Brava! :)

  • Really love seeing the diversity of age, color, shape, and style in the last several posts. So refreshing. Keep it up!! XO

  • Yes ! Enfin une vegan chez Garance et sous un jour positif ! Les temps changent et vite ! ????

    Je suis végane depuis 3 ans maintenant (végé depuis 5), ça a changé ma vie, tout simplement. En plus d’être pleine d’énergie et de me sentir bien au quotidien, j’ai le cœur plus apaisé parce que j’essaye vraiment de vivre en accordance avec mes principes et de limiter mon impact écologique!
    Go Vegan ????????????




  • Mimi, I want to be you when I grow up!
    Loved this interview, thank you x

  • Oh I love her! Such a wonderful story.

  • mademoiselle mauve September, 21 2016, 2:07 / Reply

    impressionnant ! superbe itw

  • Superbe femme ! de toute beauté !

  • Well done, Natalie. This is the first story in hell of a long time on Garance Dore that is worth reading. More stories like Mimi’s please.
    I fell off my chair reading her age. What an inspiring woman to look up to.
    Thank you, Natalie, for writing about her.

  • What a beautiful, amazing, inspirational women!

  • Faire attention quand on adopte le régime crudivore et végétalien : y aller progressivement, genre sur une année, et surtout faire des analyses périodiques pour prévenir les carences alimentaires qui peuvent se produire.
    A part ce petit bémol, chacun fait ce qu’il lui plaît en ce domaine, finalement assez personnel.

  • C’est fabuleux pour ceux qui y arrivent…dans mon cas malheureusement ça manque cruellement de fromage.

  • Bonjour !

    Merci pour cet article génial et touchant ! Merci merci.

  • Une femme super intéressante, super lumineuse ! Je vais chercher si elle a fait un livre de recettes.
    Merci de nous présenter une femme non jeune et qui vit complètement dans l’époque actuelle, de mettre la lumière sur une femme avec ses rides et sans lifting, ça permet de se projeter, merci de continuer ! :D
    Et j’adore la tête du chien qui pose !
    De mon côté je mange de moins en moins de viande ou poisson, sauf quand ma maladie des intestins me fatigue trop => plein de protéines pour les cellules qui se déchirent. Je mange à tendance végétarienne et n’ai pas envie d’enlever les oeufs (aaahh les oeufs frais de ferme, c’est génial !!) ni les laitages (d’alpage avec des animaux qui mangent de l’herbe et des fleurs, car les industriels ne passent pas). Je travaille à supprimer la nourriture qui tue les autres moi aussi, y compris l’huile de palme (plus de foret pour les singes et les autres) etc. Et manger cru (et local, stop à l’avocat à tout va), c’est vrai que c’est ce qui me nourrit le mieux : pas de fringale, plus de calme.

  • Quel formidable témoignage qui donne de l’espoir! Une femme magnifique qui vit de manière positive chaque instant sans se plaindre! Qu’est ce que j’aimerais arriver à cet état d’esprit, c’est un travail quotidien pour éviter ce qu’elle ne fait pas “peur, colère, ressentiment” et ce que je peux faire souvent hélas. Merci pour cette interview très intéressante.

  • J’aime beaucoup l’evolution de ce blog depuis la rentree, les articles sont interessants et le focus n’est plus uniquement
    “fashion.” Bravo a l’equipe GD !

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for featuring such an incredibly inspiring woman ! Mimi is a wonder. Her attitude toward age, health, and love are so refreshing — much like Garance!! xx

  • Thank you for this, for sharing the profile of a healthy, beautiful older woman. As much as I love all of your profiles, I find so many of them to be such younger women, that I don’t take the time to read them. So, finding this was a special gift today.

  • Lisa Walker September, 21 2016, 1:40 / Reply

    Oh, Mimi I love you! And Lisa, too XO So fun to see you here! XO

  • Lisa Walker September, 21 2016, 1:41 / Reply

    And looking gorgeous!

  • Ok, now we’re talkin’. Beautiful, amazing, inspirational.

  • This is a lovely interview with a beautiful woman, and I was delighted to read it. I would say, though, and speaking from experience, that following a restricted diet like raw veganism can be an easy path toward an eating disorder. If you have Mimi’s maturity and self-awareness, I am sure this is neither a concern nor a pitfall.


  • The diet and eating well can make you feel healthier, but the big card is always genetics. Organic or raw food (now is impossible because of the polution) can improve your health, but in like as higher as 10%, but your genes is what will make you look younger, have more energy, be happy or thin or heavier no matter what your diet you follow.

  • So honest – great post. Thanks dear!

  • an amazing wonderful woman

  • This is a fantastic post – thank you. We should probably strive to be her now .. not when we hit 70.

  • Great interview. I have a question though. After this interview there is section buy the story in which there is a shoes made by leather. Nobody who call themselves vegan would wear leather shoes. That is just absurd.
    As vegan myself I would be very grateful if you could recommend some great, good quality VEGAN sandals. Hope to find it soon in your blog.

  • Love this article and interview. It’s great to see inspiring women of all ages on your blog.
    The only thing is I would’ve loved to have one recipe! After reading the interview I’m inspired to try.

  • Je rencontre de plus de plus de personnes s’alimentant ainsi et même si je ne pense pas vouloir l’appliquer complètement, j’y puise déjà quelques idées.

  • Wow! What an inspiration. She has such vitality…when I think of what 78 years old looks like, she is not the picture I imagine – I’m inspired to try some vegan, raw meals after reading this post. Thank you, Garance!

  • Merci beaucoup pour cet article, je le mets tout de suite en mémoire pour venir le lire régulièrement, tout comme l’article sur Norma qui date déjà de quelques années.

  • Thank you for this inspiring article!!! Thanks to this story I went for a beautiful two mile walk with my husband and Romeo, our Labrador. Also pulled out my green drink from the back of my pantry and put it on my counter for tomorrow morning. I love this blog! Thank you so much!

  • I loved reading this! I am currently considering making the change to being vegetarian and possibly, later a vegan. I am educating myself on how to do so and this was a great article to read with such an inspiring woman.

    Love from Australia! xx

  • Super article très inspirant!!!

  • This is really inspiring and motivating. I love raw food and its potential. Can I translate this article into Italian – for my website – giving you credits?

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