Accelerated Aging Strikes Again: Maria Rodale on aging gracefully.

Maria Rodale’s main concerns are healing the planet, feeding the world, and keeping us safe. She is a third generation family owner and CEO of Rodale Inc., a publishing company that has played a key role in the growth of the American organic movement. She is also an author; her most recent book, Organic Manifesto, is a handbook to all things organic. You can read her interview with Women Of Green here, where she talks about about misconceptions, the South Beach Diet, and the changing landscape of organics in the United States.

I often write about studies that are finding that genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are now found in almost all our processed foods including non-organic corn and soy, cause accelerated aging. Recently I read about a new study that shows that soda, specifically the phosphorous in soda, causes accelerated aging too.

For a culture that is so obsessed with youth, I find it ironic that we are not only accelerating aging with our bad behaviors, but that the current generation of youth will be the first generation of children who won’t live as long as their parents (namely us, who have done this to them and to ourselves).

When I think of aging well, I think of Catherine Deneuve. Why her? Years ago I read that she said a woman has to decide between her face and her buttocks when it comes to aging well. Her premise was that if you want a beautiful face, you must let your buttocks be full. If you want small buttocks, your face is going to sag. I just watched her in a wonderfully atmospheric and really great movie called Changing Times (with my all-time favorite, Gerard Depardieu).

Some women have naturally small buttocks and beautiful faces. Like Robin Wright, who is most famous for her classic performance in The Princess Bride, one of the best movies of all time, if you ask me. In a recent issue of People, she’s photographed without any makeup on, and says, “the more wrinkles you have, you don’t want to wear makeup; it sits in the wrinkles and you see them more.” I agree, and noticed that on my own face. She’s only 44.

At 48, people don’t tell me I look “so young” anymore. I do have my mother’s good skin (although it’s reddish from all my outdoor activities). My grey hair probably distracts them so they don’t focus on my face, anyway. However, when people have told me I look younger than I am over the years, my response has always been “it’s all the organic butter.” I’m joking, but I’m also not joking. Because now we know that nonorganic foods DO accelerate aging. And like Catherine Deneuve, I’ve chosen not to fixate on the size of my buttocks.

Life is still good. And hopefully, long. And definitely, organic.

Maria’s links:

Maria Rodale is the CEO and Chairman of Rodale Inc., the world’s leading multimedia publisher of advice and information about health, wellness, and the environment, and the largest independent book publisher in the United States. Rodale reaches tens of millions of people worldwide through magazines like Prevention, Men’s Health, and Women’s Health; through books like The South Beach Diet and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth; and with the content-rich web sites that complement its publications. Maria is Editor-in-Chief of the company’s newest online venture,, which features the latest news about healthy living on a healthy planet.

Maria is the author of three books: It’s My Pleasure, written with her daughter Maya Rodale, Betty’s Book of Laundry Secrets, and Maria Rodale’s Organic Gardening.

In 2004, Maria received the National Audubon Society’s “Rachel Carson Award” for “Working to Ensure a Healthy Environment for Future Generations.” In 2007 she received the United Nations Population Fund’s “Award for the Health and Dignity of Women.”

Maria lives in an ecologically-friendly house in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with her husband and three children.

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