We sat down to chat with Mimi Kirk - a female entrepreneur and Vegan based in San Diego. She is a raw food chef and author of numerous books such as Raw-Vitalize and Live Raw Around the World. We were able to chat about building a personal brand, raw veganism, and being a female entrepreneur.
CE: You’ve been a vegan for over 40 years before it was cool to live a plant-based lifestyle. How did veganism come into your life in the first place?
Mimi: I started in my early 30s. I’m 80 now. I started out as a vegetarian and it was strictly for the animals. I was eating some roast beef one day and I took a bite of it and I thought I bit the back of my hand. It was the first time I ever realized I was eating flesh. It never occurred to me. I was meditating for over a year and it connected me to everything. That’s why all of a sudden I realized something. I went home and told my kids that we aren’t eating meat anymore. If they wanted it, they can eat it outside at a restaurant but I couldn’t cook it. I didn’t understand that cheese, dairy, and all of that was connected with the same situation. I realized I was still harming animals. It was a transition. At first it was about the animals, then it was the planet, and then it was about my health. I didn’t even think about my health.
"If the food is good, everyone will eat it."
CE: You’ve written multiple books on raw veganism, including Raw-Vitalize that you wrote with your youngest daughter Mia. Do you have any advice to families introducing raw veganism into their diets?
Mimi: I’ve been raw for a little over ten years. You don’t have to make a big thing out of it by saying it’s raw. Just make a lasagna with zucchini noodles and vegan cheeses or raw cheeses. Then make it the way you would normally make a lasagna. Layer it up with mushrooms or spinach or black olives. If you’re making good food, no one complains.
I wrote seven books in my 70s. I wrote Raw-Vitalize with my daughter. She’s busy all day and night. She wanted me to help her put together some recipes and that’s how Raw-Vitalize started. I said let’s do some recipes using a blender and a food processor and let’s make it easy for people to make quick meals to take to work with them. The recipes in my book are quick, very simple and healthy.
CE: Raw veganism relies heavily on cooking in the kitchen. What are some kitchen appliances that are crucial to make this a sustainable lifestyle?
Mimi: I have everything because I’m into it. A blender is really important because then you can make smoothies, cheese sauce, and so many things. I also really like my food processor. You could also buy a very inexpensive tool to make spaghetti - a spiralizer for zucchini noodles. When you get into it, you’ll want a dehydrator for things like bars. I make a portobello mushroom marinated in a soy sauce mixture then I stuff it with basil pesto then I put it in the dehydrator. It’s raw, but it feels like you’re eating a cooked mushroom.
CE: As a female entrepreneur, when did you realize that you could make your lifestyle a lucrative business?
Mimi: I was on a local television show after winning “Sexiest Vegetarian over 50.” As soon as word came out that I won this award, I had 100 people on my Facebook page that are just family and friends. Two days later, there was 1500 people. It just grew. Then all of a sudden it started to build and build without me having to do anything. This all happened within a ten year span. Four or five years ago, I was already popular. I had a few books in different languages. That kept spreading out. Then I started doing videos. I have a huge following on YouTube. When you do that, people all over the world can watch you. Then people repost my videos and they repost it. YouTube videos are good for whoever wants to do anything. You have to put yourself out there. It’s so easy today with social media because it’s all free.
"Back in the 70s, we were the oddballs. We were called 'the hippie family.'”
CE: You’ve seen the evolution of veganism throughout your entire career, including seeing vegan products making a huge impact in the mass grocery market in the last few years. Where do you see the future of veganism going at this point?
Mimi: It’s moving very quickly. There’s more and more vegetarians and vegans. It took so long. You can tell how fast everything is moving because you can see the big manufacturers putting food out there that is vegan. It’ll say “non-gmo” or “gluten-free.” We’re changing. The world we’re going to see ahead is going to be very different. I feel very positive that things are going to go in the right direction. I feel very good about it.
CE: Final question…. Do you have a favorite Love + Chew flavor?
Mimi: Well I like anything with chocolate in it- so my favorite is the Mocha Chip flavor. Anything with chocolate or chocolate chips in it, I’m in!
We hope you enjoyed this installment of Profiles. Please enjoy free shipping on LoveandChew.com until 6/4 with code MIMI