s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe
You've read 3 of 10 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
You've read 6 of 10 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
We hope you've enjoyed reading your 10 free articles this month.
Continue reading with unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you!
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month, and support community journalism!
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for your interest in award-winning community journalism! To get more of it, why not subscribe?
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month, and support community journalism!
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Take the next step by subscribing today!
Starting at just 99 cents per month, you can keep reading Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app, and support local journalism!
Already a subscriber?

Toolin’ Around Town: Petaluma’s Eleanor Goodman has built her life around healthy choices

X

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

X

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Although she doesn’t consider herself a trendsetter, Eleanor Goodman’s health-conscious lifestyle supports her belief that no matter what age we are, we can do almost anything we choose.

And being in the best of health is one of those choices.

“There’s nothing to stop us from doing anything. Just go do it,” said the energetic, free-spirited 87-year-old, the mother of Rachel Berliner, a co-founder of Amy’s Kitchen, the highly successful, Petaluma-based frozen food company.

Striving to be well is instrumental in Goodman’s quest to live a long, active and fruitful life, and to protect herself from the diseases of aging while enjoying lasting vitality and mental acuity. While that seems like a mouthful, it’s a summary of many small tastes of wisdom and preventive measures she’s taken from every aspect of her life and put into everything she knows.

An ardent world traveler who’s been to distant corners of the globe, including Asia, Africa, India and Europe, Goodman is a 33-year resident of Petaluma, although that could change at any time.

“What I love about Petaluma is its welcoming presence and great sense of tolerance,” said the Brooklyn native, who once sailed to Africa aboard a freighter. “But I could live almost anywhere. I’ve often been in countries where I’d love to stay forever.”

Goodman relocated to Southern California when she was 16, and several years later met and married Floyd Humphrey, the father of her children Joel and Rachel. As a young mother she attended Long Beach colleges before earning her Master’s Degree in library science from UCLA.

She developed an interest in healthy eating and natural healing many years ago, and has devoted her life to challenging the belief that as you age your health deteriorates.

“I’m saying that’s not necessarily true. We don’t know our potential,” said Goodman, who eschews pharmaceuticals and displays none of the ailments associated with aging. “People expect to be sick,” she says. “They accept it.”

To the contrary, Goodman is mobile and pain-free, and loves climbing the stairs leading to her home, often skipping a step and taking them two at a time. She practices Feldenkrais, an exercise therapy that is said to reorganize connections between the brain and body to improve movement and psychological state. Its gentle, mindful approach is thought to bring new awareness and possibility into one’s life, to reduce pain and improve well-being.

But even when healthy, life isn’t always great, Goodman allowed.

“Occasionally you’ve got to wallow. Life does suck at times,” she acknowledged. “I’m focused on breaking bad patterns and eliminating toxins. I’m on a limited-sugar diet and trying to improve my living situation by de-cluttering my kitchen.

“Right now,” she added, borrowing a line from French philosopher Voltaire, “I’m tending my own garden.”

She moved to Petaluma in 1985, to be closer to her daughter and son-in-law, Rachel and Andy Berliner. One evening, while the three of them were mulling over choices on what to do for income, they realized there weren’t any nourishing organic convenience foods available for health-conscious people, who are sometimes too busy to cook. They came up the idea of producing a healthy version of some of their favorite foods, like chicken potpie and cheese enchiladas, and their plans quickly mushroomed.

Following the birth of the Berliner’s daughter, Amy, in 1987, Goodman suggested they call their new venture, Amy’s Kitchen, after her granddaughter. With an expanding product line and proper marketing Amy’s Kitchen turned their penchant for healthy eating into a highly acclaimed business filling an important void in vegetarian and organic fast food products.

“We were in the right place at just the right time,” said Goodman, who until recently wrote the colorful descriptions and origins of the organic ingredients printed on each package of Amy’s products. “Nobody had ever thought of it before. We were the first.”

When Amy’s Drive Thru opened in Rohnert Park in 2015, she was there, welcoming guests, posing for selfies with admiring customers, and showing the kids where the crayons are kept. She’s planning on doing the same when Amy’s opens a drive thru in Corte Madera later this year.

Energized by a relentlessly positive attitude, Goodman, grandmother of three and great-grandmother of two, answers to no one.

“My time is my own,” she said. “Whenever I’m sleepy, I nap. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I just get up. With the differences in time, I might call my friend in Thailand or my spiritual guide in India.” She’s been writing bits and pieces of her memoir for years, and enjoys doing things spontaneously, like visiting the legendary Sonoma Mountain mystery spot, Gravity Hill.

“I continue to learn something new every minute,” Goodman said. “They say I’m living my second childhood.”

(Harlan Osborne’s column ‘Toolin’ Around Town’ runs every other week. You can contact him at harlan@comcast.net)