I first came across Annette Larkins’story a few years ago and I was stunned.
Not only did she look 30 years younger than her age, but the energy and radiance coming from the photos were giving me the sense of joy anyone would love to experience themselves. I truly believe that the distant future of us as humans is not simply veganism, but rather raw frutarianism. I know it may take many generations for our cells to re-program from the processed foods they have been used to, yet shifting to purer sources of energy for our bodies and minds is inevitable. It makes me happy to see some of us are there already, and this is why I would love to present to you
This interview, which is a perfect illustration of what life at 70 would be if we changed our eating habits and lifestyle
1) Annette, you are probably the healthiest-looking 70-year old I’ve ever seen. You positively glow and your skin and body are that of a 30-40 year old. Of course, when you look that well-preserved, people are gonna want to know your secrets!
I know you get asked this all the time, and that it varies from day to day and from week to week and probably even month to month, but you could please give us a general idea of what you typically eat on a daily basis for breakfast, lunch and dinner? How many meals per day and how big are they?
Yes, my eating habits do vary—I do not have a regimented way of eating, and most of the time I do not pay strict attention to what I eat at any particular meal; that is of course, within the ramifications of my consumption of a healthy, non-cooked, plant based diet consisting of fruits, nuts, vegetables and seeds. Also, the amount of meals I consume daily varies—it depends on my appetite weather I eat one, two, or three meals a day, and the clock does not dictate when I eat—except I try to avoid eating late at night. My personal evolution demands that I generally do not eat before noon. I am not advising this for anyone else; I am not, as a rule, hungry before then. Most times I will begin with juice of some kind—either green or whatever my taste desires. I may then have a big salad. For dinner I may have another salad with additional greens of some kind: collards, spinach or kale, for example. Included in this fundamental bill of fare are nuts, avocados, soaked wild rice, sprouted legumes, and or sprouted bulgur wheat.
2) When I called you, you were on the treadmill, so clearly exercise is an important part of your daily routine. Care to share with us what your workouts look like?
Well, even though I basically do the same exercises, I may vary the order. For example: I descend and ascend my spiral staircase until I have accumulated 100 floors (once down and once up equals one floor)—I may do them consecutively or break them up throughout the day. In my downstairs gym, I walk on my treadmill for about five (5) miles—sometimes in order to break up the monotony, I do the treadmill before the stairs. Between what I just described, along with dancing, gardening, and miscellaneous activity, I average eight (8) miles a day. I have a tracker that records my activity—I average about 15 or 16 thousand steps a day!
3) You grow a lot of your own food. What do you grow and how did you get started with that?
I grow bananas, mulberries, mangos, noni, lettuce, collards, spinach, mustards, turnips, lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetable plants. Additionally, there are the herbs like basil, mint, parsley, rosemary, and cilantro. I also sprout various seeds such as alfalfa, garbanzos, lentils and broccoli, to name a few. Of course there are wheatgrass, buckwheat lettuce, and sunflower greens. Years ago I decided that I wanted to have some control over the quality and kinds of food that I ingested and digested; so, I decided that one way to do that would be to start a garden.
4) Your mother and your grandmother both passed away young, so clearly genetics are not what has caused your exceptional health and longevity? What caused you to turn to raw foods? What else do you feel has contributed to your health and longevity?
Yes, I speak about my family history in my booklet Journey To Health. My mother died at 47 and my grandmother at 36, both of breast cancer. I believe their lifestyle and eating habits contributed to an early demise; however, when I became a vegetarian in 1963, it was not to avoid the same fate as my predecessors (I tell the story in the above mentioned booklet); nevertheless, the benefits derived from becoming a vegetarian, encouraged me to seek more improvements. Through reading, I encountered material that led me onto the path of living foods as a way of continuing to augment healthy living, and by that time, it was, indeed, to avoid the fate of my predecessors
5) I love the fact that you wrote in your first book that you took many years to transition. You seem to have a very patient attitude with both yourself and others with regards to making health changes. Could you tell us about your philosophy with this, how long you transitioned to raw and the wonderful journey that your beloved husband is on now with his own transitioning process?
The saying is that “Patience is a virtue.” It behooves us to be more patient with others as well as with ourselves. It has taken many of us a lifetime to firmly establish the wrongs that befall us; we must understand that it may take some time to undo these wrongs. There were different time frames for different phases in my transition, and I would have to really think about each of them, but it suffices to say that I took the time that was needed in order to get to the next step. Everyone does not arrive at the same place at the same time when it comes to lifestyle changes. Yes, my husband, after many years, has made some recent changes that have enriched his life, and although he is not completely raw, he has made improvements that are encouraging him to remain on the path as much as possible. Old habits are difficult to break, but if we work at replacing the bad ones with good ones, they, too, (the good habits) will be difficult to break. I am proud that my husband has decided to come aboard as much as he can. He is definitely enjoying the ride.
6) What advice would you give to those who are out there seeking to look and feel better and are confused with all the myriads of diets and health advice out there? Clearly, what you are doing is working and so your wisdom carries a lot of weight in terms of being listened to. Tell us about the books you’ve written, videos you’ve made and shows you’ve been on over the years to promote raw foods.
With the amount of written material and spoken verbiage regarding the subject, it certainly can be confusing, but in spite of all that is read and heard, my advice is that although there are certain universal truths (it makes sense that nourishment is depleted through the firing or cooking of foods), it is of the utmost importance that we pay attention to and know ourselves. In other words, how do we react to what we consume internally? What happens when we apply something externally to our skin? We are basically the same, yet in many ways so different.
The booklets Journey To Health and Journey To Health 2 describe my personal journey and offer inspiration to those seeking their own journey to health. The DVD Annette’s Raw Kitchen is instructional in that it shows how to prepare delicious, mouth-watering non-cooked foods; it is also entertaining—I do everything except tap dance in order to make it a fun- kitchen experience.
7) How important do you feel healthy fats are to our health? How often do you include them?
I think that healthy fats are important and although there is, now, a controversy about olive oil, until I feel the need to exclude it, I shall continue to use it. Again I am not held to a regiment; I eat it when I have the desire to do so.
8) Do you count calories? If so, do you know how much you eat a day? If not, why do you feel it’s not important?
I do not count calories per se; I try not to overindulge in foods that I know are high in caloric value—foods like nuts—even good foods may be detrimental if overdone. I don’t think it is important to rigidly count calories because if one is active enough and eats sensibly, there is no need to calculate them.
9) Do you do any other health activities like message, acupuncture, etc, for your health and beauty?
Although I do not presently engage in any of the therapies you mentioned, I think that they are very beneficial.
10) You mention in your book that you eat sprouts frequently. Which sprouts are your personal favorites and why do you feel sprouts are important to our health?
Again, it is difficult to tie me down to specifics where eating is concerned. It depends on my mood as to what my favorite sprouts are. All sprouts are important because as I mention in the first booklet–Living foods include tiny succulent sprouts, germinated from seeds. Even during refrigeration they continue to grow at a minute level; so, when we eat them, we are eating living foods.
11) You mentioned that your son is transitioning to raw. How is he doing with that? Did he have any particular health challenges? Are people being inspired by the TV segment they did when you turned 70 or are they just shrugging it off as another fad?
My son is presently doing well with his transitioning to raw. He has always been a hypochondriac; so it is difficult to know what real health challenges he has had. There was an addiction from which he suffered, which raw foods helped to eradicate, but I will write about that in Journey To Health 3.
In answer to your question about the impact of the segment when I turned 70—people worldwide have shown a great interest in my lifestyle, and they continue to comment on how inspiring I am.
Do they think that it is another fad?
On the contrary, they think that it all makes perfect sense that if we go back, as much as we can, to basics, we will be the better for it!
12) Have you noticed ANY age-related difficulties such as declining eyesight, aches and pains, etc? Do you have any experiences to share of people reversing poor health/premature aging when they make upgrades to their diet and lifestyle?
I do not require reading glasses yet. I do not suffer from arthritis or any of the aches and pains that I often hear many of my contemporaries complaining about.
My thought is that reversal of poor eating habits along with the inclusion of both mental and physical exercise will more often than not generate positive results.
13) How was menopause for you? Any typical symptoms of hot flashes, etc, or was it a smooth process?
I often tell the story that when I reached menopausal age, I one day realized that I had not had a menstrual period for two or three months. Concerned that I might be pregnant, I went to the doctor’s office to be tested. Since the test results were negative, I concluded that it must have been menopause. The cessation of my monthly period was the only sign that I ever had!
14) In addition to diet and exercise, what other lifestyle factors would you say are important to good health?
I believe in getting enough rest and sunshine, and having a positive attitude helps tremendously.
15) How important do you feel it is to manage our thoughts and moods for good health?
One can become physically ill or physically well by the way one thinks; so, being proactive is paramount to a healthy being.
16) What do you feel contributes most to premature aging and declining health? In other words, if people had only a few changes to make, which are the “biggies” that you feel that they should start with first that would make the biggest difference?
The first effort should be to detoxify the body, and after detoxification, one should strive to consume the most nutritional substances available to use as fuel for energy and sustainability.
Ageless Raw Vegan Reveals Her Secrets In An Electrifying Interview (She’s 74)
17) There have been anecdotal reports from Ann Wigmore about wheatgrass reversing grey hair by her and some of her followers. Have you known of anyone that this has happened to?
No, I do not know of anyone personally. In my case, I think that it may have slowed down the graying, but there has not been a reversal. That could be because I don’t use as much wheatgrass as Doctor Ann did.
18) What types of skin and hair care products do you use?
I produce much of my own products using essential oils, bee’s wax, glycerin, and herbs.
19) What are your thoughts on fruit? Many in the Ann Wigmore group feel that fruit sugar contributes to cancer. What are your thoughts on this?
Not being a scientist, the only comment I presently have on the subject is that I eat a fair amount of fruits and will continue to do so unless I experience a problem indicating that fruit is the culprit.
Dea is passionate about pursuing gentle, pure living in all its forms. She’s a veg and fruit foodie, who loves to explore the healing properties of plant-based foods and then fully indulge in their sun-filled taste. She believes that “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”