This woman is 70. Believe it.
Mimi Kirk is PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian Woman Over 50 of 2009. She’s been a vegetarian for the last 40 of her 70 years and a raw vegan for a year and a half. An active lady who travels often, most recently around the US, Mimi occasionally stops by her home in Ramona, Cali., to tend her luscious garden and answer e-mails from jaw-dropped bloggers like SuperVegan’s. (Hey, higher powers, would ya let me look half this good at 70?)
SuperVegan: I couldn’t stop smiling when I watched your interview with San Diego’s local news channel; you are radiant, glowing, and positively sexy. When Dan Plante asked why you became vegetarian at 30 years old, you said you started to think that you didn’t want to eat animals. Did any particular event inspire you to cut meat from your diet?
Mimi Kirk: I was eating some sliced deli roast beef, and I had the realization that I was eating flesh. It turned me off so much that I couldn’t even talk about it. I immediately stopped eating meat. In the next day or so, while cooking meat for my children, I smelled this acid-like smell, and that was it; I couldn’t cook it anymore. I told [my children] that they were vegetarians, at least at home. Then I educated myself and saw some films on the inhumane treatment of animals and it convinced me further. I must mention I was meditating at this time and all my senses were heightened to all living things.
SV: When did you switch to a vegan diet?
MK: I’ve been vegan on and off for 40 years. Cheese was hard to give up at that time, as were eggs, but I didn’t eat products that had meat [or] gelatin.
SV: And why did you go raw?
MK: My blood pressure was up and I didn’t want to take medication, so I looked into different diet lifestyles. I knew immediately raw was the right way to go. It all made sense — live food in its natural state or with enzymes in tact had to be good for you. I thought, “Why didn’t I know about this before?” I dropped my cholesterol 26 points and my blood pressure is about under control. But the main thing is that I feel amazingly young, happy, and full of vitality. No aches and pains that had just started to creep up on me. I wake up every day feeling younger than the day before.
SV: Are there any cooked foods you miss?
MK: At first, yes, but I’ve learned to prepare food to satisfy all the taste sensations I’m looking for. I make raw bread, cream cheese, pasta, lasagna, amazing desserts like raw cheesecake, chocolate candy, fruit pies, corn chips — just about anything I might crave. The funny thing is that I’ve always been a foodie, loving to eat at restaurants where the best chefs are, traveling around the world trying new things. Now I’m a raw foodie and still doing the same thing, eating at raw restaurants like Pure Food and Wine in New York, Grezzo in Boston, and many other gourmet raw food restaurants. Only now, when the meal is finished, I don’t feel guilty that I overate or ate food that wasn’t so good for me. I’m lively and light.
SV: You mentioned green smoothies in a few interviews. Is there a recipe you could share with us?
MK: They are different daily, but one would be apple, pineapple, celery, cucumber, spinach, some spring water added. About 60 percent fruit is good with 40 percent greens.
SV: How has your life changed, if at all, since you won the PETA contest?
Mimi’s garden at her home in Ramona, Cali.
MK: My Facebook page has grown from 100 family members and friends to around 1,200 in one month. I answer questions from people asking for my secrets of longevity and health. I’m asked questions about being with a younger boyfriend and for my tips on dating. I’m asked what I eat for each meal and for recipes. I’m just about finished with my book, which will tell a little about my life and my health tips, including some recipes. I hope to have it finished by the end of the year. People have been so kind and so interested in what I do to stay healthy and younger-looking.
At World Vegetarian Day in Golden Gate Park, I was recognized in the ladies room. I’m recognized from interviews on TV and newspaper photos, and in my town I’m recognized in the market and post office. I’ve given several interviews and really enjoy sharing my views. Best of all, people tell me I’ve inspired them to take better care of their health by eating better. People have told me they are encouraged to try a vegetarian or raw lifestyle. They send my video interviews to their parents and grandparents to encourage them to eat healthier. This experience of being voted the sexiest vegetarian over 50 has given me the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.
Mimi, right, on Star Trek
SV: I noticed you have an IMDB page with Rhoda and Mary Tyler Moore credits. What roles did you play on those shows? Any other notable Hollywood work?
MK: I had several small rolls on both Mary’s and Valerie Harper’s shows. I was Mary’s stand-in and designed clothes for Valerie on Rhoda, and I was their assistant also. The famous scarves Valerie wore were ones I made and wore myself. When they adopted this look for Rhoda I stopped wearing them and just wrapped them on her head for filming the show. I worked on many shows as an extra (17 years in the biz) and had small parts on some. Way back before movies and TV, in 1957, I was a show girl in Las Vegas. Not a dancer, but one of the tall “book-ends” that wore elaborate costumes and very large headdress. When I started working in films in 1968 it was after my husband was killed in a plane crash and I went back to work to support my children. My youngest was not quite a year old at that time. I never had the desire to be an actress, just the desire to support my family.
SV: What else did you do before taking off to travel?
MK: A year ago in August I sold my company that I created and operated for 10 years called Side Saddle. I invented a board game called Cowgirls Ride the Trail of Truth. I also wrote a book called Cowgirl Spirit. The board game is really amazing, for women 18-118. It’s a gals’ night out game with questions that run the gamut of women’s lives, with categories from sex and body to family and friends, and so on. It was written up in over 300 magazines and newspapers and on TV interviews from 1998 on.
I published and edited The City Planet, the environmental newspaper for a greater Los Angeles, 1989-90; had a jewelry design company (and also made jewelry for Valerie on Rhoda), 1983-86; was a assistant conductor and promoter for a personal growth workshop; ran the household for a billionaire family, creating many very large and successful fund-raisers for non-profits…and more.
SV: Anything else you want our readers to know?
MK: I truly feel that eating raw/vegan and living foods is like a miracle. All the raw food people I know feel the same way. It makes you feel young, look younger, feel vibrant, and just feel happy. I also love the fact that my two daughters are raw foodists now. I’ve introduced many friends and people I meet along the way to this way of eating. I believe that having optimum health as you age is really important.
SV: Thanks, Mimi! And happy belated birthday! (That’s right, she’s 71 now.)