Martha Stewart. A New Jersey native. An all around domestic guru. She’s known for being the go to source for throwing a party (catering to decorations), mastering the perfect soufflé, and being the domestic goddess. So, when I was invited to a Princeton HealthCare System event where Stewart would be speaking about her 79th book entitled, Living the Good Long Life: A Practical Guide to Caring for Yourself and Others, I knew this may be my chance to ask her some burning food questions.
At 71, Stewart has shown no signs of slowing down. Her recent release of this book coincides with her JCPenny launch of “Martha’s Pantry” and her announcement that she will be joining popular dating site Match.com. She continues to be one of the ‘go to’ women for baking, cooking, organizing, and countless other activities. So how does she do it? She eats well and exercises every day, which is one of Living the Good Long Life’s pillars of health.
Waiting to meet Stewart, I practice my yogi breathing in order to stay relaxed. I made sure my shirt was pressed and then realized I had worn jeans (jeans to meet Martha Stewart!) Before I could berate myself anymore about the jean fiasco, another journalist and I were ushered into the backroom where Stewart was sitting on the couch, reading over her notes for the session ahead. I was pleasantly surprised to see that as soon as we walked in, she immediately welcomed us with a warm smile.
Different from her previous books, Stewart’s latest book started after she made a pledge to the Clinton Global Initiative and opened the Martha Stewart Center for Living in 2008. She realized the subject of aging was scary, but in need of attention, so she started researching and writing what would become Living the Good Long Life. The book covers countless topics on aging including my favorite part, what to eat. However, eating healthy has become an obstacle for countless people and therefore a major health threat.
“It’s harder and harder to find good/organic food” and it’s “very expensive” and even “elusive” to some people said Stewart. For example, on her way from NYC to the event, she found it difficult to stop somewhere quick for a meal where the food was healthy and organic. “And this is New Jersey!” exclaimed Stewart. So how does one stay healthy?
“Learn how to cook good, simple meals. Supermarkets have healthy foods such as rice, beans, and grains that aren’t expensive. Also, buy in season. Many people don’t buy butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or acorn squash because they don’t know how to cook it.” Learning how to cook these inexpensive and very nutritious vegetables is an important part of keeping yourself and your family healthy.
I was also surprised to find out that Stewart frequents her local ‘mercado’ to buy her coconuts for $1 instead of buying the $5 coconut water found in most grocery stores. With just one dollar, she gets fresh coconut water, which she prefers, and gets to eat the flesh! Your local ethnic food store is a great place to find deals on spices and fresh fruit, not just coconuts.
Stewart’s main recommendation was making sure people understand that eating healthy can be simple and easy. It’s just a matter of learning a few more recipes and being creative with food shopping. Living the Good Life offers easy and nutritious recipes such as baked sweet potatoes with toasted nuts and oranges, brown rice with black beans and avocado, white bean salad with spicy roasted tomatoes and broccoli. There are also a few recipes for juices and smoothies. Stewart starts her morning off with a green juice concoction. That particular morning it included spinach, cucumber, parsley, ginger, oranges, and mint (the oranges and mint came from her greenhouse at her farm). She recommended that I get a juicer as well after telling me that she recently gave a juicer to her assistant, who exclaimed that she was a huge fan already. I told her it was on my list, but that it would probably have to wait because my boss wasn’t Martha Stewart!
Along with easy recipes, Living the Good Long Life provides insight into how to live your own ‘good long life’ by exercising, staying mentally active, understanding the effects of aging, and of course eating healthy.
“Food is the most powerful-and fundamental – tool we have for leading a full, healthy, and happy life. “ ~ Living the Good Long Life
Melissa Beveridge is a freelance journalist and editor, focusing on great food, healthy living, and wellness. Her passion for eating and living well embodies her writing. A lover of all things Jersey, she is also an avid traveler, always looking to discover those hidden culinary gems everywhere she goes. Her musings can be found on her blog mbeewell.wordpress.com.