About the Author
Jessica Porter is the author of The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics. Formerly a private whole foods chef and the manager of The Way to Health Program at the Kushi Institute in Becket, Massachusetts, Jessica is also a certified hypnotherapist, specializing in hypnosis for childbirth.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The term “MILF” means, in slightly more titillating verbiage, “mother with whom I’d like to fornicate.” According to Wikipedia,
“M.I.L.F.” denotes a sexually attractive older female, generally between 30 and 50 in age and not necessarily an actual mother. The term was popularized by the film American Pie (1999), though the origin of the term predates this [as it was] already used for years on the Internet.
These days, “MILF” has become a compliment. While other names for sexy women have remained stuck to the brothel floor, “MILF” has picked itself up, crawled out the door, and marched with pride into the local health food store. That’s because there’s something more to “MILF.” Something almost magical about it. I’ve seen it in the eyes of every woman whom I’ve told about The MILF Diet. First the teensiest bit of shock and then a wonderful expression of joy. “I love it!” they said, time and time again. Nine out of ten women surveyed had good feelings about the term “MILF.”
And then it revealed itself in a flash of neurological lightning: “MILF” is evolutionary. “MILF” acknowledges that women can—and do—stay sexy and vital, and that mothers can turn heads as well. Clean, pure, and the Madonnas of a certain Madonna/whore complex: MOTHERS.
Finally. We MILFs have been waiting for the last two thousand years to get our sexuality back. Ever since Mary played the Immaculate card in Bethlehem, our culture has been struggling with a fundamental split: women are unconsciously perceived as either good girls or good-time girls, either naughty or nice.
What a drag for us MILFs! We knew that our C cups were for fun and function. We knew that we could change a diaper and look smoking hot—just not always at the same time, thank you very much. There was no actual split in us. And, frankly, it’s been painful to constantly—and often unconsciously—have to choose one side of ourselves over the other.
But “MILF” saves the day! Suddenly we can be mothers (or the age of mothers) and be considered frisky in the bedroom. With “MILF” comes the acknowledgment of the complexity and beauty of womanhood.
And what’s best about “MILF” is that the term was generated by men, for men. It’s not some politically correct label we’re trying to shove down their throats. Perhaps the term “MILF” is evidence that a healing is going on in our newly minted males. Maybe it’s because they were brought up by sexy, cool, independent women . . . MILFs themselves. Maybe it’s because there are just some very sexy mothers out there, pushing their carts at Whole Foods. No matter its origins, I’m suggesting we co-opt this term and wear it with pride. Because it reunites sexuality and the great maternal gifts of womanhood, it’s a four-letter word we can get behind.
Okay, okay. “MILF” may not save marriages. Or heal nations. But it does, like the Madonna/whore complex, do its work quietly and subconsciously within the culture. With “MILF” comes a positive, deep, and pleasurable recognition that we women are fantastic in our fecundity, are wired to love deeply, and can be thoroughly naughty in bed. Stuff we knew all along. Finally, the men are figuring it out.
And these days, with yoga classes on every corner and Eckhart Tolle on every bedside table, your average MILF is working on her higher self, too. She is exploring another dimension that takes her personal power to the next level. In this book, we address that plane of consciousness and unite it again, appropriately, with motherhood, sexuality, and the other lovely attributes of MILFiness.
The age of the MILF is upon us, and it’s about freaking time.
How Does a MILF Stay MILFy?
One of the quickest routes to natural MILFiness is through food; by eating whole, natural foods and letting go of processed, crappy “food,” the female body finds its peaceful home again. Extra pounds simply fall away. Inner hardness softens. The plumbing works much better. You step off that horrible emotional roller coaster and a wonderful clarity descends.
Happily, these foods will also significantly reduce your risk of decidedly un-MILFy conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer. Whole grains will leave you feeling energized, yet relaxed and clearheaded. Sea vegetables will make your skin all dewy and your hair stronger and shinier. Bye-bye, tracksuits! Hello, cute tennis outfits! Your DILF won’t know what hit ’im.
But that’s not all; by sticking close to Mother Nature in our food choices, that “witchipoo” intuition we each carry inside becomes sharp, dependable, and loud. You will become more sensitive to vibrations and less a victim of the material world and its follies. You will start working more from the creative right hemisphere of your brain and less from the noisy, logical left. You will find your own inner balance and a whole new dimension to your feminine power. This is cruising at high MILFitude.
And the sex? Well, sex changes, too. The MILF diet will bring you back home to your body. Every single buzzing cell of it. So instead of focusing on the finish, you will relish the journey again. Rubbing up against your DILF will blow your mind, because by merely being in his presence, open and MILFy, your opposite energy fields collide and start their fireworks. Remember, you radiate a powerful, womanly, nourishing force. Your very essence makes a man feel strong and alive.
To stay MILFy is to keep a certain feminine je ne sais quoi alive and kicking. And yet, that mysterious element may not be so mysterious. In Chinese philosophy, the feminine principle is called yin, a soft and receptive force. In the West, the closest we come to describing the feminine might be Mother Nature, as we acknowledge her uniquely female qualities.
Natural femininity exists—perfectly intact—inside of you. You don’t need to chant about it, or wear the right fertility amulet, or even understand it in an intellectual way. This energy is you. You are it. By being born with a set of ovaries, a uterus, and a functional set of boobs, you are a card-carrying member of the Yin Club, and head pom-pom waver on Mother Nature’s cheerleading squad.
In Taoist thought, opposite (yet complementary) forces come together to make all things. Although we in the West recognize sets of opposites like sperm and egg, man and woman, oil and vinegar, we tend to reduce them to their material, mechanical components. We love to whip out the microscope and analyze them, reducing them further to ittier and bittier parts. But in the East, each member of any duality is thought to be backed by a fundamental force of nature: yin or yang. To the Eastern mind, everything can be seen through this lens of yin and yang. And if that language is too weird, let’s swap it for “expansion and contraction.” For instance, plants expand in the summer and contract in the winter. The tide rolls in and the tide rolls out. At this very moment, your heart is expanding and contracting. Ditto your lungs. All these rhythms are created by the natural attraction between these two opposite forces, which are at play on every level of existence.
No matter where we look, we continually find layer after layer of this duality—more expanded elements connecting with more contracted elements—whether it’s electrons balancing protons, hydrogen meeting oxygen, or Fred Astaire spinning Ginger Rogers. This simple, elegant dance is taking place in, around, and throughout our bodies every moment of the day.
So, if men and women make up one of the great, dynamic, and mysterious dualities of nature, we—as MILFs—are governed by one side of the energy spectrum. We represent, if you will, the more expanded side of things: Our bodies are naturally softer. We get fat more easily. Our breasts and butts and hips are lovely and expanded. We open and expand to receive a lover. We expand to grow babies and we expand even more to give birth to them. And once the little darlings are born, we expand, emotionally and psychically—again and again and again—to make room for them and give them what they need.
In terms of communication, we express ourselves more easily and, whereas men can at times seem linear, analytical, or locked up inside themselves (contracted), women are generally bursting forth (expanded) with feelings, or words, or heartfelt advice for a friend.
Even science is showing that men’s and women’s brains are significantly different; men tend to stay a little more stuck in their left hemisphere, while the female connects back and forth between hemispheres more quickly and easily. With larger deep limbic systems, we tend to be more connected to our feelings, to other people, and to our internal worlds. We are sensitive creatures, easily bruised, and all our estrogen makes us eager to diffuse tension. Whereas men are coded to defend and protect (contract), we women bond and connect (expand)—that’s our thing. Of course, we all have access to both sides of the spectrum (men express love; women can defend), but, just as it’s naturally easier to write with one of your hands than the other, each gender has its dominant mode.1
And these natural feminine gifts are powerful; one could argue that the world needs more of them these days. It is connection that makes a strong family, a healthy neighborhood, or a united world. It is this feminine principle that forges communication, empathy, and love. A woman in touch with her natural femininity creates a space for others to be welcomed and received. She helps people to grow into themselves. She nourishes and supports.
But modern eating has messed with us. With the dubious “luxury” of convenience foods, we are ingesting decidedly unnatural chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and stabilizers. By eating animal products at every meal, day in and day out, we’re developing a dull insulation of saturated fat and stressing out our internal organs. Thanks to the factory farming of livestock, our bodies have been bombarded with excess hormones that interrupt the delicate balance of our own endocrine systems. With white sugar creeping into everything, our immune systems are weakening, our bones are becoming brittle, and we can be reduced to emotional wrecks by the loss of a good parking spot. Caffeine—the most popular drug on the planet—is messing with our hearts and our precious fertility and making us wrinkly and anxiety-ridden. Some of us are becoming too hard: rigid, tight, and aggressive—sort of like men. Other women are getting weak—physically and emotionally—and becoming needy and dependent. But many of us indulge in all extremes, so we’re a mixed bag of weird vibes; angry and weepy, arrogant and scared.
Because the MILF diet is made up of whole foods, cooked according to simple, natural principles, it will bring your body, mind, and spirit back into balance. You will begin to connect with the fundamental rhythms of your body, the seasons, and the natural world.
If you have a hard time connecting with your sensitivity and inner softness, this diet will help you stop and smell the roses. If you give endlessly and feel as if you’re disappearing, MILFy foods will help you rediscover that line between yourself and others, and you will begin to dance it happily. Nature is continually seeking balance; you should be, too. As you cook MILFier foods for your family, you will begin to wield an ancient womanly power. You will begin to create a stronger, saner, and happier world.
But don’t worry. The MILF diet won’t render you Birkenstocked (unless that’s your thing), nor will you grow your hair too long with a bad case of the frizzies. By realigning with this energy, you will become more beautiful, powerful, and ridiculously alive than you’ve ever been. And finally, by eating this way, you will start to turn back the clock; your skin will glow, you will drop pounds effortlessly, and you will have the energy of a teenager. Instead of Father Time having his way with you, you will turn on your stiletto and deliver him a saucy little slap in the face.
Long live the MILF.
What Is the MILF Diet?
The MILF diet is designed to help you stay balanced, happy, and healthy by helping you harmonize with nature. It includes the following:
Whole grains: It begins with organic whole grains. Brown rice, millet, quinoa, whole oats, barley, spelt, and other cereal grains, in their whole, unpolished form, make up the center of the diet. Packed with slow-burning complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, these lovely graceful seeds keep the body feeling both energized and relaxed. Whole-grain products, like bread and pasta, are totally legal, but take a backseat to the whole grains themselves.
Vegetables: Grains are balanced by lots and lots of vegetables. And in order to support her feeling truly balanced, the MILF selects a variety of vegetables that grow in various ways: upward-growing leafy greens like kale, collard greens, and bok choy (rich in chlorophyll, calcium, vitamin K, and other nutrients); round vegetables such as onions, squash, and cabbage (sweeter, full of complex carbohydrates and antioxidants); and downward-growing root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and burdock (satisfying, grounding, and also rich in minerals and vitamins). Ideally, vegetables are organic, locally grown, and eaten in season.
Proteins: For protein, the MILF diet reaches in the plant-based direction, but not exclusively. Beans such as kidney, pinto, adzuki, garbanzo, lentil, and Great Northern, along with soybeans and their products (tofu, tempeh), make up the greatest source of protein in the MILF diet. Nuts and seeds play an important role by adding protein, as well as a satisfying richness, and can be made into butters or sauces or just sprinkled on dishes.
The MILF diet can be practiced vegan-style but doesn’t have to be. In terms of meat, the diet leans toward white-fleshed fish, because it is easily digested and lower in fat (and therefore lower in toxins). No food is a strict no-no on the MILF diet, because every MILF is a free agent, encouraged to explore her body’s relationship to all foods; but for the purposes of her optimum health, the suggested serving of fish is one or two servings per week, if any.
Sea vegetables: The MILF diet also harvests plants from the sea: sea vegetables such as nori, wakame, and arame play a consistent and important role in the MILF diet. Rich in easily absorbed minerals, sea vegetables build stronger bones and hair and beautify the skin. They even perform quite magical acts like discharging heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from the body.
Natural sweets: Because girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, the MILF diet does not wag its finger at sweets. Using sweeteners that are high in complex carbohydrates, like rice syrup and barley malt, MILFs stay satisfied without experiencing all the nasty problems associated with white, refined sugar. From natural sweeteners come cookies, pies, cakes, and creamy desserts. Fruit and fruit juices keep the average MILF sweet and happy as well.
Fermented foods: Finally, the MILF diet includes fermented foods, in the forms of unpasteurized pickles, soy sauce, and miso. Natural fermentation helps build immune-boosting intestinal flora and adds digestive enzymes to the mix. Like sea vegetables, miso is a total superfood with rich nutritional benefits and tumor-inhibiting properties. Using the basic ingredients of the MILF diet, many supplemental dishes can be concocted; whether it’s a bean dip, a creamy vegetable spread, or a luscious pesto sauce, whole foods can form the base for all the foods that make life delicious, fun, and celebratory.
The MILF diet is easily made kosher and gluten-free and fits within the Weight Watchers PointsPlus program.
How to Use This Book
Now, I know some of you out there are what we like to call type A’s, and it is your nature to start a new regime at once and to do it perfectly. God bless you. I have spent many years of my life and trillions of neurons trying to be like you. But no matter how many lists I make, they end up crumpled and carrot juice–stained in the giant purse I call my car. My journey has been slower, and messier, than those of most type A’s. I like to feel things out a bit, be convinced that the water is safe, and then step in, toe by toe.
Luckily for us, both approaches work. But just so you know, this book is laid out in a very particular way: The first third of The MILF Diet contains information that is designed to appeal to your intuition. In it, we will consider the big picture and how nature, your body, and food work together. The right hemisphere of your brain—the more holistic one—will love it. This section will introduce lots of new ideas and will engage your intuition. The front of the book should, fingers crossed, get you all inspired to eat good food.
Meanwhile, the hard facts—about the deleterious effects of extreme foods and the nutritional benefits of your new MILFy foods—are all at the back, in the last third of the book. There you will find the scientific stuff, translated by Yours Truly, and it should satisfy both the left hemisphere of your brain and your sexy inner librarian. The back of the book should make you feel very good about what you’re doing because the jury is in: this way of eating works, on every level.
I’ve kept the right- and left-brain stuff separated because each side of your brain has a very different way of processing information, and both sides deserve their own time and space. The middle of the book contains all the recipes and the practical tips on how to do this and that.
For you type A’s, if you want to get some brown rice on the stove ASAP, then go straight to this recipe. Cleanse your kitchen of the bad stuff, stock it to the brim with the good, and get cracking. You will also find the specifics of the MILF diet, a shopping list, and other practical tips. All the recipes are sorted by category, so you’re good there, and I have no doubt you will be feeling some results within a few days. And when that happens, be sure to read on detox and changes you might encounter. You’ll need that if you dive in fast. And I hope, as you experience profound physical shifts, you will come back to the beginning of the book and start to see the bigger picture of your exciting adventure. Having this perspective will help you to sustain your practice.|For the meanderers like me, I encourage you to sit back and enjoy the ride. I have designed a gentle path for you that is doable and allows for reflection and integration. Remember, this is not a normal “diet”; it is a way of eating that will transform your life from the cells on up, and meandering is a perfectly respectable way to approach it. You will find that whole grains and vegetables, charged with the vital oomph of life, will push you along your journey.
And in terms of the practical, let me make it clear to the meanderers and the A’s from the beginning: If you do nothing more than introduce whole grains and more vegetables into your and your family’s diet on a regular basis, you will have turned your lives around. You will feel better, look better, and begin moving in nature’s direction. That’s it. You can toss this book, or use it as a doorstop, or shove it under the butt of a toddler at the dinner table, and I will still be overjoyed knowing that you’ve let the magic of whole grains and vegetables into your life. They are that powerful.
Take your time and do some thinking, feeling, and experimenting as you read this book. Pick it up, put it down, and be sure to pick it up again. Let your heart crawl into it and your intuition judge it. The MILF Diet is designed to open you up and reveal the ocean of power inside of you; but remember that every ocean comes in waves, is governed by the moon, and is a beautiful, sparkling collection of single drops.
Non credo means, in Latin, “I do not believe.” And I recommend that. Please, please, please, don’t believe a word I say just because I say it. I am not a doctor, nor a nutritionist. Heck, I’m not even a mother.
But waaaaay more important than those things . . . I am not you.
Only you live within your body and can feel its strengths and limits. Only you can experience the lovely peaceful ride of whole grains and other natural foods. Only you can find out if yin and yang make any sense. When it comes to exploring the physical world, all our lovely lady talk can get us only so far. At some point, it’s between you and your fork.
And, hey, while you’re at it, why not apply a little non credo to doctors, nutritionists, and other mothers, as well? I’m not suggesting that you disrespect them or reject their suggestions, only that you recognize the inherent limits of “expertise” coming from the outside. No matter how many degrees they have, the so-called authorities will never live inside your body and hear your precious intuition. They cannot chew your food for you. Nor feel the lovely tug of your heart. It is both a privilege and a responsibility to live in a body—constantly being created and uncreated by nature—and only you can decide what feels right, what needs to be released, and what remains to be discovered.
And if it seems daring to question external authority, remember this: the MILF diet is only asking you to get closer to nature. That’s it. No funky pills. No crazy regimens. The MILF diet is based on the fact that Mother Nature has always provided for you and that—if you lean on her—you will strengthen yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s not rocket science . . .
I grew up on TV dinners and Tang crystals. At six, I was caught stealing chocolate cupcakes from the family refrigerator, and I pathetically pleaded my case by saying, “I needed one.” For my eleventh birthday, my mother’s gift to me was two tubs of Baskin-Robbins ice cream (Rocky Road and Pink Bubblegum)—the huge ones they scoop from at the store. I am not the groovy child of peaceniks who grew up thinking raisins were a treat.
Around the age of thirteen, I started to worry about my weight. Not because I felt fat, but because I stood on the scale one day, and the number I saw was not, funnily enough, the one they kept mentioning in Vogue. I panicked and started my first diet. I think I lost seven pounds . . . and gained twelve.
So I tried harder. More diets ensued, and more pounds snuck on. Noisy aerobics classes—a form of torture unique to the 1980s—were endured. Over time, I started to gain some real weight. I became deeply miserable, doing kicks and jumps in the exact opposite direction of my truth. But that’s what I had to do, right? I didn’t care if I was happy as long as I was SKINNY!
Fast-forward to college graduation. With a head full of expensive ideas, I still couldn’t handle food like a normal person. I felt like I had earned a BA in bingeing. Having moved to Manhattan, surrounded by all-night corner markets and twenty-four-hour delis, I was a mess. I looked in the mirror one day, peered into my dead eyes, and thought, “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.”
I signed up for a healthy cooking class, almost as a lark. It seemed ridiculous that I would even cook, let alone cook actual food, but something got me there. I arrived in the room, sweaty and tired, and with more contempt than a normal twentysomething should have, I crossed my arms and waited to see what the ridiculous hippies were up to.
The first thing I noticed was that the class didn’t concentrate on weight loss. Or calories. Or even nutritional science. This class explored the basics of the energetics of food: Is it cooling or warming? Does it grow in the spring or the fall? Is it whole or is it processed? I heard a commonsense approach that a child could have understood and my grandmothers would have applauded. The teacher talked about eating to harmonize with the seasons—longer cooking in winter, lighter dishes in summer. She extolled the virtues of eating what grows nearby. Not murdering a dish with seasoning. She even questioned the wisdom of drinking milk. Huh?
And she was so serene! As she moved from task to task, there was a fluidity to it all that was strangely hypnotic. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her knife going through the squash . . . the seeds getting spooned out . . . the flame being carefully raised.
Weirdly, she handled food as if it had a spirit. As if it was more than the sum of its parts calculated on some nutrition fact sheet. As if each carrot, or bean, or freakin’ grain of barley contained some magical code from Mother Nature that we were supposed to crack—first with our mouths and then with our souls.
And it wasn’t lost on me that she was thin. Not crazy thin, like eating-disorder skinny, just I’m-exactly-the-way-I-should-be-in-the-economy-of-the-universe thin. Her whole body fit into the flow, in this weird, natural way.
I had no previous template for this type of creature. She defied every diet book I had ever read. She was not bouncing up and down in a Lycra bodysuit. She didn’t have a scrunched-up, sweaty face and she wasn’t yelling at me to “Feel the burn!!!” She was just there, doing her thing, all thin and beautiful and serene. I guess, looking back on her now, she was a kind of MILF.
I hated her.
But I couldn’t hate the food. I didn’t expect it, but the stuff she cooked tasted amazing—yes, even better than Baskin-Robbins. The meal consisted of brown rice cooked with chestnuts, a sweet-and-sour bean stew, a couple of simple yet elegant vegetable dishes, and a lovely, fruity pudding. It left me feeling light, clean, and yet totally satisfied. Miraculously, after all those years of junk, my body could still recognize real food. I went home with my sarcasm bruised.
I took my sweet time getting into it. I was a little too cool to be roasting seeds and buying barley malt. But my body—and, I suppose, my spirit—couldn’t forget how peaceful and calm she was. How warm and relaxed the room had been. How well I’d felt after eating the food. Slowly but surely, I started my experiments: buying a pressure cooker and burning some rice. Trying strange new vegetables. Daring to make miso soup from scratch.
It became obvious, very quickly, that these natural foods had power. Suddenly, I knew where my colon was and felt its happy wave. Certain foods made me break out in a sweat, while others gave me tons of energy. Still others helped me lose weight more easily than ever before. And when I journeyed back to my regular fare—the ice cream and the sugary baked goods—I just felt crummy. Worse than ever, in fact. As if something inside of me was curling up to die.
Over the next few months, I bought cookbooks and started really digging into this way of eating. My life began to revolve around food again, but now it was in a positive, empowering way. Although my diet sometimes swayed between old and new habits, with every vicissitude, I was learning things about my body and its relationship to what I put inside it. And I wasn’t just learning with my head; as my appetite for healthy food increased, I developed a sixth sense about what I needed. If I just relaxed and let go in the kitchen, I could feel a palpable pull from within my body toward certain foods and seasonings and cooking styles. One day, I was attracted to red foods, the next day to green: “This should be steamed . . . no, sautéed!” My inner compass was bringing me to balance, again and again, and I had never felt anything like it in my life. My bigwig university hadn’t taught that.
And over time, I started to lose weight. Although it took me a while to develop some real consistency with my new way of eating—I didn’t get off the roller coaster overnight—this time, when I came back to my “diet,” instead of some crazy deprivation-based calorie-counting nightmare, it was a return to satisfying, nutritious foods that made me feel strangely balanced. Returning to them felt like coming home to my body. And I discovered the happy paradox that the foods that made me feel full and satisfied were also the ones that were making me smaller.
Although I was delighted with the weight loss, I came to see that it was the least dramatic of the changes taking place inside of me: whereas I had felt scared and lost inside, I was now feeling peaceful and strangely whole. I realize now that the whole grains, rich in complex carbohydrates, were stabilizing my blood sugar and their B vitamins were calming my nervous system. Previously harsh and quick to judge, I was now quick to forgive and even laugh things off. Turns out that, with fewer toxins in my body, I was happier and more relaxed. I knew I was in some serious New Age trouble when a beloved ceramic bowl fell from the top of my refrigerator, shattering on the kitchen floor, and what passed through my mind was simply: “Bowl dropping.” No anger. No anxiety. Whoa.
I was in deep.
I would walk down the streets of New York feeling a sort of stupid happiness, not brought about by anything in particular, just an essential buoyancy that came from eating foods that supported my vitality. The wellness I was experiencing went beyond my ego or events in my life. I was simply availing myself of good fuel . . . principally whole grains, which boost serotonin levels in the brain. I wanted to hold up a sign: “Grain for the Brain!” They have that much power.
Of course, I had to wrestle with all of this in therapy. I wasn’t exactly ready to learn that my deepest happiness came from the next meal. Didn’t I have to have a fancy car? The perfect boyfriend? At least more money? But meal after meal, it became clear that not only were whole foods determining my mental and emotional states, they were actually pushing my life forward. Causing me to make healthy choices. Forcing me to grow.
I started embracing my spirituality, which was downright weird, having come from a family that looked down on faith as a crutch for the weak-minded. But I was feeling a real pull toward a higher plane of perception—one that transcended the duality of the material world. I began to perceive—in trippy little moments—that everything was connected. I didn’t realize it then, but the foods—whole and created not in factories, but by nature—were helping me to feel a part of the Bigger Picture.
The Birth of the MILF Diet
After a few years of eating this way, I moved to Massachusetts to study whole foods cooking more deeply. At the school I attended, I met students and teachers equally as immersed in this lovely new reality. They confirmed for me what I had experienced, and the scientific truth behind it, and assured me it was only the beginning of the positive changes to come. I saw in all of them the elegance of my first cooking teacher and I felt the same peace emanating from their bodies. They laughed easily. I could sense that they weren’t weighed down by tons of gunk, physically or emotionally; and that seemed pretty cool.
I paid special attention to the women and noted a few interesting things: First, they were naturally thin. Every single one of them. And none of them was babbling mindlessly about calories, or self-control, or cardio workouts. Second, they were beautiful. Okay, maybe they weren’t all genetic goddesses (I’m certainly not), but they all had glowing skin, beautiful hair, sparkly eyes, and a lovely poise that women in this modern world seem to be losing.
They were strong, but never pushy. Instead of relying on their personalities, their power issued forth, gently and invisibly, from deep inside . . . more a vibrational strength that I sensed with my body. And perhaps most important, although these ladies were cooking a lot, they were the furthest thing from “Stepford wives,” or cowed domestic slaves. It became clear to me that by cooking, simply cooking, they were actually running the joint. On every level. These ladies were wise and deep and strong in a way that was totally new to me.
Not to mention sexy. This wasn’t a chaste home economics class. Because sex was considered a healthy part of a healthy life, the topic was discussed with a certain nonchalance. It made sense; everyone was fully in their bodies. There was no sludginess around their midsections. No hiding out from the energy. If good sex is about one’s central nervous system responding with a certain electricity to its opposite pole in a loved one, these people were simply givers and receivers of clear signals. Good-quality minerals—from whole grains, vegetables, and especially sea vegetables—plus a lack of insulating saturated fat kept their bodies sensitive and highly charged; their antennae were working.
But it wasn’t sleazy. Like the female power deep inside each woman, the energy was just there. Part of life. Just as a plant contains seeds, we contain sexuality. Yes, pleasurable and powerful and potentially life-giving, but, really, no big deal in the grand scheme of things. Nothing to be ashamed of or get all freaked out about. Sex was just part of the yin and yang of being alive.
And, boy, were these ladies alive, reproductively speaking. Some of them had five children. Others eight. I have a friend in Alaska who’s been eating whole, natural foods since she was six, and now—at my age—she has thirteen children. Of course, I’m not advocating that kind of reproduction; it’s hard to argue for it in today’s world. But the fact that these women had the energy and vitality to conceive, gestate, birth, nurse, cook for, and wrangle multiple children was a testament to the power of the food. And, honest to God, they were happy, enjoying that stupid happiness I had stumbled upon in Manhattan. Finally, these supermoms even looked good—all a-sparkle with the life force.
Because I entered this world in my mid-twenties, I wasn’t paying much attention to the signs of aging; that just wasn’t on my radar. I was much more interested in how I felt, looking good, and forging a career path. But ten years later, things changed. You know you’ve crossed the Rubicon into middle age when you start to notice other women’s skin; you detect that discoloration, that roughness, or that wrinkle. Sure enough, in my late thirties, I began to pay attention to the little gifties of time showing up not just on my face, but on the faces of all of my friends. My gaze went from their eyes to the crow’s-feet emerging next to them.
But the results of my surveys were not uniform across the board; my friends eating a standard American diet were looking a little tired. Their skin seemed duller, and they issued universal complaints about the difficulty they had losing weight. Some of them were on medications for depression, or anxiety, while others had a hard time sleeping. As we all aged, talk turned to fertility, breast cancer, and bone health. Many of my friends seemed to be checking out of their bodies, as if their midsections were stiff and simply structurally functional—something to keep their legs and arms attached to. Yes, there were those MILFier ones, usually those who worked out a lot, but often they carried a taut tension in their bodies that exhausted everyone around them.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, it turns out my observations had some backup; processed foods, laden with chemicals and preservatives, as well as meat, sugar, and caffeine, were taking their toll on my friends’ health and vitality. They were losing their natural balance.
On the other hand, my lady friends eating whole, natural, predominantly plant-based foods were simply looking better. They had ridiculous amounts of energy while remaining soft and flexible. Sure, they might have gained a wrinkle or two, but their inner lights had just gotten brighter with age. And the electricity of life—their sexuality or womanhood—still pulsed through them. You could just feel it. They were, in a word, MILFy.
I leaned on my MILF friends to write this book. They all gave me tips, recipes, and their very real wisdom about living a MILFy life, feeding their kids, and even insights into their sex lives. Some of them have been eating this way for over forty years, while others are relative newbies. The vast majority of them are mothers, but a couple of them are not. They range in age from thirty to eighty-three, so I’ve thrown a GILF or two in there. I even had the opportunity to photograph a handful of them, and I consider them models for living sane, peaceful, and happy lives in this world that tells us that to age is to decay, that women shrivel and disappear. Well, these ladies aren’t disappearing, on any level. Whole foods keep them vibrant and sexy. You’ll see that in their photographs.
I also noticed a pronounced difference in how each group of women thought about their health; those eating conventional foods seemed caught up in the powerlessness of Western medicine: if you’re unlucky, you get “struck” by something. It was just a matter of good fortune and ardent crossing of fingers to avoid some nasty disease. But women who had studied whole foods cooking felt more confident; they knew the medicinal properties of many foods and applied them as needed. Because their intuitions were sharp, and their bodies’ signals strong, they knew better when they felt out of balance, and generally treated themselves by tweaking their diets. Not only did they have a much greater feeling of control over their health, they were not, in fact, falling prey to as many colds, allergies, and aches and pains as my other girlfriends. I saw no pills when I snooped in their medicine cabinets. It seemed that, by sticking close to nature, they were staying in the flow of life.
But before I go on, let me clarify: I’m not trying to suggest that the world divides itself between two groups of women—good and bad, right and wrong. I have been blessed with a ridiculous number of female friends and I cherish each and every one of them deeply, no matter what they eat. Because of my own struggles with food, I’ve felt the sting of judgment and the futility of someone giving me advice about what I put in my mouth. Therefore, I follow a policy of never wagging my finger at a friend’s cheeseburger—unless I want to wreck a perfectly good relationship. No, as far as I’m concerned, the eighteen inches between a woman’s hand and her mouth is a sacred space as personal as certain erogenous zones. I deal in information, not judgment. We all have to explore to find out what works for us.
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t observed the overall trends I’m describing. They are consistent and obvious. Just as someone who lives in a green, wooded area is going to get more oxygen than a downtown city-dweller, these are simple physical realities. When people eat fresh, clean, unprocessed food, they tend to feel better—and often look better—than someone who regularly eats out of a box. Period.
And just as moving from the city to the country will bring you fresher air at any age, altering the course of your food journey pays off no matter how old you are; women I’ve known who started eating MILFy foods in their forties, their fifties, and even their sixties looked and felt better very quickly. After just a couple of weeks of eating whole grains, they increased their energy dramatically. With a few servings of sea vegetables, their skin started to glow. A nice, soft peace began to emanate from their beings. After reducing their consumption of meat and dairy, years of tension and heaviness and sludge fell away. It’s never too late to MILFify.
Since I got turned on to this stuff, I’ve been a private chef, written books, and traveled far and wide teaching about this way of eating. I’m not going to pretend that this is a panacea, nor that the MILF diet is going to appeal to everyone. If anything, nature shows us that different creatures need different things and that rigid adherence to any dogma can lead to big problems. Using whole food, your intelligence, and your intuition, you need to find out what’s right for you. But I will say that, with only incredibly rare exceptions, when someone tells me she’s gone in the MILFy direction, it’s followed by an enthusiastic report about the ways in which she started to feel, and look, better. Quickly. And that the benefits keep right on coming.
And those women I’ve been observing for the last twenty years? The ones with kids hanging off them while they stir their soups? One thing I know for sure: those chicks don’t age. They just don’t.
I wrote this book for all the women out there who want to crack the code.
Here’s to our great adventure.
1. If you find these gender generalizations simplistic, or even offensive, I understand; I did, too, for quite a while. And, yes, what I’ve written—although it represents a big picture—does not make room for the complexities of each individual. Like any other woman, I resist being pigeonholed. Fear not. It’s okay to let all this energy gobbledygook go. Feel free to explore the MILF diet because it will make you healthier, happier, and sexier. Aren’t those reasons enough?