Karyn Calabrese says that 38 years ago she was a pot-smokin’ vegetarian.
But when she watched her mother, grandmother and greatgrandmother die young and overweight, she began to adjust her lifestyle to avoid meeting a similar fate. Using her body and her kitchen as her laboratories, Karyn experimented with food, exercise and alternative health treatments to fine-tune a lifestyle that defies aging. Did we mention she’s 61? A staunch practitioner of a raw diet and regular detoxification,Karyn is the personification of clean living and she’s turned her lifestyle into an empire. Karyn’s Cooked in River North offers “sexychic” vegetarian cuisine, while Karyn’s Fresh Corner & Karyn’s Inner Beauty Center in Lincoln Park houses a gourmet raw food restaurant, a raw café and a wellness center all under one roof. Devoted to spreading the gospel of living well, Karyn’s Inner Beauty Center offers classes in ballet, yoga and food preparation, a four-week detoxification program and alternative healing services. In addition, beginning later this month, Karyn shares the wisdom by blogging for www.tcwmag.com. As Karyn puts it, “I’m just here to give you information that’s worked for me for 38 years.”
Why raw foods? The whole point is enzymes and oxygen. Enzymes are the spark of life; when they’re gone, you die. Heating food destroys
enzymes and oxygen. Your body has to use its store of enzymes to break
it down. Raw foods add enzymes. Animals in the wild don’t get arthritis
or cancer or tuberculosis because they’re eating raw. Humans are the only
animals that voluntarily fire their food. If you eat cooked food, take lots
Tell us about detoxing. I believe cleaning out the old stuff on a regular basis is the most important component to staying youthful and vital. If you’re not assimilating food and eliminating what you don’t need, it’s going to rot and putrefy. That’s why people are sick, tired, aging and dying too soon. The human body’s meant to last a couple hundred years. People dying at 60, 70, 80 is a travesty.
What does detoxing entail? It’s cutting out certain foods, adding
supplements and alkalizing. You know the acid-alkaline scale? You want
your body to be alkaline because acidity is what causes problems. Cancer
loves acid. If you eat a high-protein diet, you become pretty acidic. Detoxing helps restore balance to your body, improve digestion and find a
new level of health and wellness. It’s gentle and pretty easy.
You live a clean life. Why do you detox? I drive behind buses, I get
my clothes dry-cleaned, I have stress, I live in this world. The negative
gravitational pull can draw you in the wrong direction. That’s why you have to keep detoxing. That’s why I do it – to stay on track.
How do you know it works? I haven’t been to a doctor in 35 years.
I know that you get new cells every seven years and new tissue every
three months so the body’s in an ongoing process of recycling. If you
keep giving it the right materials, it’s going to be healthy. I wouldn’t
recommend that for anybody else, but I have no commercial medicine in my house. I went through menopause with no symptoms whatsoever and I don’t know what illness is.
What’s your take on Western medicine? We’re taught to take a pill,
get it cut out, get it burned out. We’re trained not to listen to our
bodies, but we know how to take care of ourselves. We’ve just forgotten
and we’re frightened to do it. We’re animals, we’re instinctual. But there’s a McDonald’s and a Starbucks on every corner so we forget what’s right.
Isn’t it hard to do ‘what’s right’? People think it’s harder than it is.Get started with a good smoothie. Then have a salad for lunch, and do
the best you can for dinner. If you start doing it every day it becomes a
priority. You don’t go from A to Z overnight. It’s a process.
It seems like eating healthy is so rigid. You have to find your own
best journey, what’s best for you. If it feels right, put it on. If it doesn’t,just let it pass on by. People get in trouble trying to live up other people’s standards. There are no tables for living. You don’t do the same things every day. Why would you need the same amount of water or
protein every day?
What’s your best advice for getting started? The first rule is you
must make yourself number one. That’s difficult because everything else seems more important - your job, children, husband, wife – but without your health none of those things matter. If you make yourself number one, then you’re able to do so much more. I’m living proof. I find out about all these therapies for myself, but look at all the people I’ve been able to help because of it. It’s all about self-love. When you love yourself, you can love everybody around you.
What do you do for your workouts? I have a trampoline, a Power
Plate,a ballet barre,a Pilates reformer and an upside-down machine at
home. The trampoline is one of the most perfect exercises you can do.
It’s great for lymph drainage. I’ve been doing it for 30 years, 15 minutes
a day. That’s equivalent to running three miles. I do yoga every day,
and I pray and meditate every day of my life. I believe my direct contact
with God is everything.
How do you pamper yourself? I put all my money into my bathroom.
I have a sauna, a steam room and a Japanese soaking tub in my house. Some people need a glass of wine; I need a steam and a sauna every day. And I bathe in salt water – it remineralizes your bones. I do a spa day every Sunday at home.
Any thoughts on cosmetic surgery? I’m 61. I haven’t had Botox or
surgery. If you look closely at my face you’ll see I have lines, which I’m
proud of. Everything on your face shows what’s going on internally
– your adrenals, kidneys, liver and intestines. I want to see what’s going
on so I don’t mask it.
You really defy aging. Just because the axis of the world went around one more time doesn’t mean we’re supposed grow older. I plan on looking exactly like this when I’m 80. I won’t allow my husband to buy me
a senior citizen ticket for anything, even if he buys one for himself. I
don’t need to save three dollars just because I’ve been on this planet
longer. But they start sending you that AARP shit at 50. They tell you
you’re old and wear you down.
You have such a wonderful attitude! I have a chain that says ‘I am
blessed.’ My whole life hasn’t been this way. My mother was married five times and three of her husbands raped me. I was gang-raped by five guys and hung up to die. I was physically abused in my first marriage. I’ve been homeless and without food for my children three times in my life. But I’ve always felt special. Some people might call it conceit or ego, but I’ve always felt blessed. I have no fear. I know I’ll always be rescued if I need it.