Someone sent me these questions a while back for their blog. I thought you might like seeing my answers, but more importantly, answering the questions for yourself. I learned a few things about myself doing this. – VM
Do you have a general life philosophy that helps you balance your life and spirit? What is it? Life is a spiritual adventure and we are expressions of the Divine. There is meaning and purpose to everything. If I had to label myself, I guess I’m a yogic Christian with a dash of Buddhism and Jainism in the mix. I believe in reincarnation and karma and I take a stab at following the teachings of Jesus.
What kinds of activities do you do to stay in that balance? I have a spiritual practice every morning. Before my feet touch the floor, I note ten things I’m grateful for; I “cast my burdens” (i.e., turn over to God those situations that are perplexing me at that moment); and I do a few affirmations. Then I meditate for twenty minutes and head for the gym.
What are some of your favorite “power foods” for health and vitality? Fresh vegetable juice—especially green juice with apple and lemon—tops my list. Also big salads, raw soups (blended—cream of tomato is my favorite, with the “cream” coming from avocado), smoothies with some greens tossed in.
What’s the one vice or habit you’d like to change? I’m not very disciplined in the evening. My husband and I stay in too many nights watching TV. We live in the most exciting city on the planet, so I think that watching TV here of all places has to be some borderline sin.
What’s the best piece of advice or wisdom you’ve ever gotten regarding living a balanced, juicy life? Who gave it to you? The woman who pretty much raised me (she was hired as a nanny since my parents both worked, but she was a kind of guardian angel in human guise) told me: “There are two kinds of women in the world: work horses and race horses. You decide which one you want to be.” That’s stayed with me my whole life to remind me to give self-care a priority.
What’s your favorite kind of tea? Earl Grey. There’s something about that bergamot that takes me back to living in London fresh out of high school when everything was magical and new. And my book Creating a Charmed Life is quoted on boxes of Celestial Seasonings “Victorian Earl Grey,” so I buy the stuff by the case. For afternoon and evening when I don’t drink black tea, ginger and licorice are both nice.
Tell us about a thing you do/eat/buy to stay healthier and feeling more alive that people question you the most about. People ask most about my vegan diet. They want to know about protein and calcium and energy. I answer some of their questions in my books—The Love-Powered Diet especially—but the short answer is that I love how I eat and how I feel. I used to be overweight and tired and sluggish, and now I feel light and free. Plus I’m so grateful that my diet doesn’t hurt or kill any animals. I’ve been to a slaughterhouse and an egg factory, and I just don’t want to support what goes on there.
Do you get massages and/or other bodywork? How often? Oh, yes. I love bodywork. I go to Chinatown every week or two for reflexology (they do serious, Asian, dig-in-like-you-mean-it reflexology, and the prices are very low). Before the New Age Health Spa in the Catskills closed, I spoke there every few months and I’d get a Shiatsu treatment and shirodara, the lovely Ayurvedic treatment with the warm oil stream to the third eye—so relaxing. Now, it’s mostly the chair massage guy at the nail salon and whatever facial Groupon is in the file.
What’s the kookiest thing you’ve ever done for your health? Oh, my gosh. Once I saw these guys who claimed to diagnose your future illnesses by putting a sensor on your finger and hooking it up to a computer. The report claimed that I had totally bizarre stuff like leprosy and bubonic plague. The fellow said, “Well, it doesn’t really mean leprosy.” And I thought: “Yeah, it really means I’ve been had.”
Do you try to buy products that have fewer potential toxins in them like parabens, sulfates, etc.? Faves to share? Absolutely. Dr. Hauschka is my tip-top favorite line. It’s pricey, but I do use their cleansing milk, deodorant, and sun block regularly.
What’s a piece of advice you find yourself giving people again and again? I shock people with food/weight problems by carrying the banner for three meals a day. I know the conventional wisdom is grazing and mini-meals, but if you’re a compulsive eater, starting to eat is not the problem, it’s stopping. If you only start three times a day, you only have to stop three times a day. And that time in between meals gives you the chance to learn to sit with your feelings and make contact with your Higher Power.
Which books, poems, or quotes most inspire you? Books: The Game of Life and How to Play It (Florence Scovel Shinn), Invitation to a Great Experiment (Thomas E. Powers), and A Most Surprising Song (Louann Stahl). Poem: “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” (Wordsworth). Quotes: “At the center of peace I stand. Nothing can harm me here” from Yogananda (I’ve loved this one forever). And an anonymous one someone sent me a while back: “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
What did someone tell you early in life that you still life by? “There are two kinds of women in the world: work horses and race horses. You decide which one you want to be.”—Adelene Clarke DeSoto