A Conversation with Mariel Hemingway
Her Sustainable Tips for Healthy Choices
The actress, yoga enthusiast and author shares ways to eat well and achieve balance in our busy lives. This month Natural Awakenings speaks with Mariel Hemingway about her personal journey to achieving a healthy and happy life. The veteran actress has practiced and taught yoga for 20 years and avidly pursues avenues of sustainable living and holistic health. Her most recent books include Mariel’s Kitchen: Simple Ingredients for a Delicious and Satisfying Life and Mariel Hemingway's Healthy Living From the Inside Out.
In Mariel’s Kitchen, you stress the importance of local seasonal eating. What do you consider an ideal meal?
It’s important to connect nature with food—knowing where foods come from, knowing about local farms and farmers’ markets. My perfect meal is something that is very simple, fresh and seasonal. The key is to use the right ingredients, a little olive oil and herbs. One of my favorites is searing fish so that it is raw on the inside and serving it with a wonderful aioli or fruit salsa and a lightly steamed, seasonal vegetable.
You are a big advocate of organic food, which can be pricey for families on tight budgets. How can healthy eating be accessible to all?
It’s about choices. When people want to eat healthier and believe organic is too expensive, I ask them to consider how many times they buy café coffee or order out. When you start to look at food and how you live your life as a method of preventive medicine, it becomes obvious that getting sick [due to poor nutrition and a weak immune system] is a lot more expensive.
How did you come up with the concept for your health snack, Blisscuits?
My mother had cancer when I was a child, and I was her primary caregiver, so I saw what chemotherapy and radiation did to her. When my ex-husband was diagnosed with cancer, I created the cookies as part of a healthy, holistic lifestyle that could help heal him. They are gluten- and sugar-free and healthful. He is now 11 years in remission and well because he made many good choices. Another reason I developed Blisscuits was to feed my daughters as they were growing up in a world of unhealthy snacks.
How has food influenced your life?
My mother went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to learn how to cook. My family was crazy about food; growing up, I was obsessive about food and used it to fill a hole and replace love. I fasted and tried all kinds of diets, which eventually shut down my thyroid. I wound up needing to go to such extremes in order to find my center; now I’m privileged to be able to help other people find theirs. What I have realized is that instead of serving as a substitute for love, food should come from love as an expression of sharing and giving.
You juggle many responsibilities and roles in your personal and professional life. What advice can you offer readers for achieving balance in their lives?
You must make time for what’s most important to you. Ask yourself questions so that you can find places where you can pull back and reset your priorities. How much television do you watch? Are you taking time to exercise? Do you take five minutes to close your eyes, breathe and listen to internal whispers? It’s often the everyday places, people and things of value that work to keep you connected and balanced.
What projects are you working on that you’d like to share?
I’m currently producing a film based on my grandfather’s book [referring to Ernest Hemingway], A Moveable Feast, and an environment-focused television show with my boyfriend and business partner, Bobby Williams, shot in amazingly beautiful places. It will start filming in the United States, but we plan to shoot internationally, starting with Costa Rica. Bobby and I are also writing a book, Be You Now.
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Giovanna Aguilar is a freelance writer based in New York City. Reach her at.