Marilu Henner has been sharing her health and wellness knowledge with the world for over 30 years now. You know Marilu as an award winning actress, New York Times best-selling author of eight books, founder of marilu.com, recent Celebrity Apprentice participant and Broadway show veteran ~ I wish I had seen her rock the Roxie Hart role! Marilu is also a proud mom and wife. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to come in contact with Marilu you’ll notice a few things: she’s brimming with charisma, she has endless passion and energy, she is a virtual encyclopedia on nutrition, health and wellness topics, she’s sincere as can be and she does everything with “gusto”! (Gusto is step ten in THM, for the newbies out there.)
My Total Health Makeover. Marilu’s best-selling book, Total Health Makeover (THM), published in 1998, inspired me to experiment with a vegan diet ten years ago. Food combining, living with ‘gusto’, abstaining from dairy, embracing organic foods and a plant-based diet, having a ‘clean’ palate, removing chemicals from your home and diet, skin brushing, really ‘chewing’ your food, vegan cooking and digestive wellness issues are all topics that were put on my radar thanks to Marilu. I even discovered Josie’s, one of my all-time fave veg-friendly organic restaurants in NYC, thanks to Marilu. But it was her anti-milk crusade that impacted me the most. I remember reading Marilu joke about the celebrity milk mustache ads, “I want to do one: “Not Milk.” Instead of “Got Milk?” I was shocked. I had never heard anyone protest that dairy could be anything but ‘healthy’. Marilu opened my eyes in so many ways. The floating light bulb above my head is bright yellow thanks to Marilu.
Read Marilu’s inspiring Veggie Girl Power interview…
Long Time Marilu Fan. As stated, I bought Marilu’s THM book back in 1998 and have been a fan ever since. I even attended a book signing (with my mom, ha!) back in Los Angeles in 2000. I was just a freshman in college at the time, so meeting Marilu in person made my year. It’s always interesting to meet one of your idols in person, and often times the experience can be disappointing. But not with Marilu. She was even more vibrant, lively, friendly, down to earth, energetic and intelligent than I imagined she would be. Marilu doesn’t just talk and write about healthy habits, this woman is a living breathing example of what a wellness-focused life can do for you.
Read the Book. I often get asked: “I’m just starting to explore veganism and wellness in general, what books should I read?” My answer is always the same: You must read Marilu’s Total Health Makeover, Rory Freedman’s Skinny Bitch and read Rebecca Wood’s The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia ~ cover to cover. Then we can talk recipe books from there… See my entire list of books that I own and love here.
Marilu.com. I was thrilled when Marilu started her website Marilu.com. It is really more that a site, it’s online community of folks interested in bettering their lives through health and wellness. The message boards are jam-packed with FAQ’s and comments pertaining to Marilu’s books. Marilu also hosts online chats with her members and teaches online classes. If you are looking to join a supportive community devoted to wellness or if you just want to ‘learn more’ about health, check out Marilu.com. It is awesome.
And now onto Marilu’s interview….
About The “Veggie Girl Power” Interview. This series celebrates female trailblazers who inspire us! Featured Ladies were chosen for their unstoppable “Veggie Girl Power”, aka a female with experience, wisdom, creativity, skills, heart, worldliness, passion, grace, drive, dedication and personality! Each question is ‘filed’ under one of these VGP characteristics.
Each featured lady was chosen for her significant contribution towards making this world a more beautifully vegan-friendly place.
Q1. Name and ‘title’.
Marilu Henner, Award winning actress, New York Times best-selling author of eight books, founder of marilu.com, mom of two young teenage boys, and wife of one fabulous man!
Q2. DRIVE: Yawn, sunrise, what is the first food/drink you reach for to start your “Veggie Girl Power” day?
Marilu: I begin each day with eight ounces of fresh clean water, sipped slowly while skin brushing for at least two minutes!
Q3. HEART: As a “Veggie Girl Power” trailblazer you inspire so many girls/women, who or what was your inspiration at the start of your journey to today?
Marilu: Losing my parents in their fifties (my father of a heart attack at fifty-two, and my mom of arthritis at fifty-eight) changed my life forever. Their untimely deaths propelled me to take action and alter everything about my lifestyle. I became a student of health and my own in-house experiment after talking to nutritionists and doctors, going to bookstores and medical libraries, taking human anatomy classes, and reading over 400 books on the subject of food and health.
Q4. EXPERIENCE: When people ask you why you ‘went VEG’ what is your usual answer?
Marilu: After all the research I did, how could I ignore the truth? Meat and dairy kill! A plant-based diet is better for everything: humans, animals, and the environment.
Q5. WORLDLINESS: Celebration dinner out, where do you go?
Marilu: It depends on what city I’m in. I love Pure Food & Wine in NYC; Millennium in San Francisco; Sages in Salt Lake City; Sublime in Fort Lauderdale; and in LA, Veggie Grill, Real Food Daily, M Café, and, especially, my own kitchen with lots of family and friends!
No matter what city I’m visiting, or where I’m going, I check out happycow.com and healthydiningfinder.com to find the best veg*n restaurants in that area. That’s how I even discovered soy cheese pizza at the rim of Grand Canyon!
Q6. CREATIVITY: “You can judge a veggie girl by her beverage”…what are your favorite juice/smoothie recipes?
Marilu: I am not usually a juice/smoothie girl. I rather prefer to eat the whole fruit, because I like my body having to work on digesting the entire food. At least four times a week, I’ll have a “water is my only beverage” day!
Q7. DEDICATION: Are there any foods or food brands that you simply couldn’t live without?
Marilu: I’m only addicted to my Sunday Farmers Market and the beautiful organic food I find there. I do however always have a box of Organic Food Bar’s Active Greens in my car for those days when I need a little something on the go. (And okay, I do keep a bag of Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies – peanut butter chocolate chip – in my freezer!)
Q8. WISDOM: What is a favorite life tip or quote of wisdom that you have shared with the world?
Marilu: After writing eight books and teaching monthly classes at Marilu.com for ten years, you can imagine I’ve gathered and shared a lot of “wisdom!” One thing I’ve learned over the years is: “The key to your life is how you deal with Plan B.” You can aim for Plan A. You can arrange for Plan A. But “Plan B” is what actually happens to you. It’s your resilience in being able to roll with the punches and move on to Plan B that really makes your life. If something doesn’t work out, you can’t automatically think that something bad has happened. You never know why things happen the way they do, but that’s life. That’s how it unfolds. When faced with Plan B, don’t feel you have to be dragged kicking and screaming into it because, sometimes, “Plan B” is so much better. This is definitely the number one theory I live by. It all comes down to resilience.
After educating myself to the wonders of a plant-based diet, Plan B meant that Plan A, my old SAD (Standard American Diet) way of eating, was out. I could not continue to do what everyone else did, no matter how uncomfortable it was to change (You can imagine being vegan back in 1979!). But let me tell you, Plan B in terms of my diet was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, and, consequently, the best thing I can pass on to anyone else that will listen.
Q9. SKILLS: And equally important, what is one of your yummiest recipes you have shared with the world?
Marilu: I love to take recipes and THM (Total Health Makeover) them, as in no meat, no dairy, no sugar. Here is a twist on a recipe from the late great City Restaurant, and it’s one that non-vegans and even kids crave when they come to my house!
SPICY COLD SOBA NOODLE
1/3 cup Tamari/soy sauce
1 Tablespoon molasses
¼ cup sesame oil
¼ cup Tahini
1 Tablespoon barley malt
2 Tablespoons chili oil (or to taste if you don’t like it spicy)
3 Tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
½ bunch scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
Salt to taste
½ pound soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
1. Place soy sauce in pan over high heat and reduce by half. Turn heat to low, stir in molasses, and warm briefly. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add sesame oil, tahini, barley malt, chili oil, vinegar, and scallions, and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt, if desired.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid bowl. Add noodles, bring back to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they just begin to soften, about 3 minutes. (Soba noodles can overcook very quickly, so stay nearby.)
3. Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Drain noodles, plunge in ice water, and drain again. Place in a colander and rinse well under cold running water. Combine noodles and sauce, toss well, and chill.
Q10. PASSION: What is the one message that you try to project to your fans and those you inspire?
Marilu: You have one body. That’s it. It’s not a car. There are no trade-ins. Hopefully, your body will carry you throughout a long and healthy life, and that’s why it’s best to make healthy choices you can live with every day. Try to see your life through the prism of health. And as we say at Marilu.com, it’s about “Progress not Perfection!”
Q11. PERSONALITY: Who would you award the “Veggie Girl (or Guy) Power” label to? And what have you learned from them?
Marilu: Dr. Neil Barnard for creating PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine). He’s great at getting the word out, and he looks so damn good doing it!
Q12. GRACE: How do you respond to negative comments from critics, in real life or on the web?
Marilu:I’ve been doing this for a long time, over thirty years, so I look forward to criticism! I have plenty of retorts! LOL! I’ve seen trends come and go (Atkins – once a decade) but it’s hard to argue with the healing power of fruits and vegetables. Negative comments don’t bother me because I’ve never minded being the odd person out or the dissenting vote.
When a member at marilu.com is worried about comments or criticism, I tell them to “Imagine yourself with this little coat of “Teflon” so that the slings and arrows of others bounce right off of you. Just smile, nod, and move on with the knowing awareness that you’re going to look a lot better than they do in a few years!”
I’ve been smiling, nodding, and moving on for a long time!
Bonus Question: Yes or no-do you think veg*n diets will ever be the majority and not the minority?
Marilu: Because we live in a world of brats (I even wrote a book called I Refuse To Raise A Brat) most people are slaves to their palates, which have been destroyed from endless years of food abuse – too much salt, too much sugar, too much animal protein, too much animal fat!
I think the world is definitely changing, and it’s certainly a lot more accepting of a veg*n lifestyle than it was thirty years ago. But do I think that the majority of the world will embrace it? Hmmmm… Uhhhhh…. It is my hope, certainly, but not my expectation. Unless people can stop being brats and give up the “I want what I want when I want it” mentality, I’m afraid we’re not going to see the majority become totally veg’n in the next ten years. But in the long run, if we want to survive as a species on this wonderful planet, we had all better move towards a plant based diet sooner rather than later!
Did you know? Here are a few upcoming and current projects that Marilu is working on:
*Three books in the works (wow!)
* her one-woman show
* three TV projects in development
* the subject of a 60 Minutes piece
* teaching classes on marilu.com
Marilu says: “…and even doing the hair and makeup for my boys’ school plays! All of the above are on the agenda for this month, as well as my being wife to my fabulous husband, and mom and chauffeur to my two young rambitious (their word!) teenage boys!”
www.marilu.com – For online classes and blog
Marilu on Facebook
Marilu on Twitter
…you can even “Cruise with Marilu” (Dr. Neil Barnard, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and more wellness gurus on board) on the “Holistic Holiday at Sea” vegetarian cruise this March.
Good Link: My blog post on a clean vs. dull palate: “Marilu Henner’s Apple Experiment.”
Don’t miss the next lady in the VGP series…the awesome Rory Freedman, the Skinny Bitch herself! Posts Sunday Oct 25th…