I have all of Tonya Zavasta’s books and have been inspired by her writing and her life story of overcoming a disability that she’s had from birth. If you would like to learn more about her story, you can purchase her books at www.beautifulonraw.com and she’s got some great articles on there as well.
I have met Tonya when she gave a presentation at a raw food potluck in Salt Lake City Utah. She was glowing at age 51.
(1) Do you grow your own food? If not, where do you usually buy your food?
Answer: Because we travel most of the time, we aren’t able to grow our own food. We like to shop at Whole Foods quality vendor. And wherever we are, we buy only organic if at all possible.
(2) What does a typical day look like for you? What do you eat and when? When do you go to bed and when do you get up? What about exercise—what type and how often?
In this video I show what I eat on a typical day. I’ll start the day with vegetable juice and a handful of raw soaked nuts. Then I have some fruit or a green smoothie later, depending on when I exercise. I’ll have my main meal around 2:00 PM—usually a salad. I try never to miss a Bikram yoga session, and during periods when I’m working on my hip issues, I often take two sessions a day. If I make sure I’m in bed before ten at night, I’m up between 3:00 -3:30 AM feeling blissful, energetic and ready to go.
(3) Do you have any pets? If so, what do you feed them?
Answer: We haven’t any pets, actually, because of our nomadic lifestyle. If I ever do have one, I’d love the challenge of figuring out the best nutritional plan for one!
(4) How much do you spend on food each week?
Answer: Between us, Nick and I spend about $180 a week on both of us. You know, people often presume we have to spend a lot, because we’re raw food enthusiasts, and because we travel. And $180 isn’t much—I know lots of couples, eating raw and eating cooked, who spend a lot more. But even on that amount, we’re not “economizing”—not in the sense of cutting corners. And, again, we do try to buy certified organic whenever we can. And we eat well.
(5) What advice would you give someone to overcome seemingly
Answer: There is always a solution to every problem, but sometimes you have to get creative. Be determined. Educate yourself. Be diligent. Read everything you can get their hands—especially about others who’ve overcome similar issues. If they can do it, so can you!
(6) How do you handle cravings? Detox? Transitioning?
There’s always a suitable raw substitute for any illicit thing you find yourself craving. And that, in turn, means there’s always a way you can indulge without guilt. Cravings, though, usually diminish after your body becomes healthy and fully cleansed. But you never know when some craving will come, so be prepared and always have a good raw substitute ready.
(7) How would you like to see the world different, food- and health-wise?
Answer: How wonderful it would be if organic and natural farming were the norm once again. How great it would be if a raw food diet were the mainstream, and children were taught from an early age about proper methods of eating and caring for the body. Our whole cultural paradigm on diet and health needs to be revamped. I believe the raw food movement is standing poised, ready to serve as a catalyst for that to happen.
(8) What are some of your hobbies, outside of health and fitness?
Answer: Believe it or not, I’m currently taking belly-dancing classes. I spent much of my life barely able to walk, let alone dance. The art of dance is something I have always wanted to learn and let me tell you: I’m having a fabulous time!
(9) Who inspires you and why?
Answer: When I began my raw food journey, I read The Miracle of Fasting by Paul Bragg, and it was a revelation. I saw there a vision—something I wanted. And I had to have it. I’d call Paul Bragg’s book life-changing.
(10) What does your son eat now? Has he changed? How does he view your eating now that you are aging more gracefully than his peers’ mothers?
Answer: He is vegan. He likes to cook vegan dishes and have friends over for dinner. We have some common tastes, and some differences, of course. We’ve become good friends, and we love to compare notes.
(11) In your book Your Right to Be Beautiful, you mention that our outward
appearance is a reflection of what’s going on inside of our bodies. Can you give specifics?
Answer: To put it in simple terms, when your eliminative organs—your skin, lungs, bowels, kidneys, and lymph system—get overwhelmed, it can show up in myriad ways. Skin rashes, breakouts, wrinkles, dandruff, puffy under-eye bags, pot belly, liver spots, skin that’s dehydrated or thin—a lot of the things our culture tells us to take simply as signs of “aging” or of being vaguely “out of shape” are really symptoms of things going on inside.
(12) What do you see yourself doing in 20 years? 40 years? 60 years?
Answer: I imagine myself doing pretty much the same things in the next 20 to 40 years that I’m doing now: writing, teaching, speaking and, yes, dancing. But I suspect dancing will be the dominant theme—I’ve got to make up for these last 52 years!
(13) What changes has your husband noticed when he upgraded his diet?
Answer: Nick has done a tremendous job of improving his diet. The single most noticeable improvement is his 70-pound weight loss. Also—and this is quite delightful—his skin glows, and even women have begun to ask his secrets.
(14) In Quantum Eating you mention that the intelligence within live plants “talks” to our cells…can you elaborate on that?
Answer: Your body is really an information system. Your cells are constantly “talking” to each other through all sorts of messenger molecules. When you consume foods in their raw states, which quantum physics reveals are organized on an atomic level, they join your own network of messenger molecules, thus adding life and, in effect, superior intelligence to the constant dialogue between the cells. Cooked food does not have this intelligence network because it has been destroyed by heat and the breakdown of constituent molecules.
(15) How long would you say that it takes to switch fully over to Quantum Eating? How long did it take you?
Answer: The whole process took me about two-to-three years. But everyone is unique. The transition is necessarily a gradual, gentle process. Keyword: process. It’s not a Nike commercial—you can’t “just do it.” One vital factor: You must be in tune with your body and be willing to listen to its messages. If you force it, you’ll fail. But respect the process, respect your body’s lessons, and you’ll succeed.
(16) What do you think are the ill effects that come from overeating…anything, including raw food?
Answer: In summary, it’s simple: Overeating is overtaxing. Overeating leaves your body no alternative but to grow old fast. I believe you will age worse by overeating—even raw food—than you would by eating cooked food. It’s that detrimental!
(17) What do you think about sun bathing?
Answer: Gotta have it! Sunbathing is vital. I always sunbathe in the gentle rays of the morning sun for about twenty to thirty minutes on every sunny day. Sunlight is a nutrient like any other, and you have to treat it with respect. The body can do amazing things with sunlight, but overexposure is never a good thing.
(18) What can someone do if, when they switch to raw, they notice their hair
Answer: First thing: Don’t panic. This hair loss is a result of a drastic change in diet—another reason to make your transition to raw a gradual one. Including seaweed in your diet every day is most beneficial. Keep juicing, be patient, and increase the circulation to the scalp through brushing, applying scalp tonic, or using the Violet Ray.
(19) When I met you, I remarked on your long, beautiful nails. Any foods you
think contribute to this?
Answer: Your nails do bear witness to your past dietary preferances. Once you’ve been very healthy for, say, six months to a year, your nails will improve dramatically. Massaging castor oil into your nails will help you along.
(20) You mention in your books that you grew up as an atheist in Russia and
when you came to America, you changed your mind. You have schooling in mathematics and science and are very analytical. What changed your mind?
Answer: Forgive that I’m going to put this in a peculiar metaphor: It’s as if raw foods clear your fiber-optic channel to God and keep it unobstructed. Somehow, you just cannot avoid growing spiritually.
(21) What do you feel is the most important element for health?
Answer: Can’t say there’s just one, so I’m going to go with three: food that’s low in quantity…raw in quality…and consumed in the first part of the day—the three most vital elements of Quantum Eating.
(22) When you look back on your life so far, what are you most proud of?
Answer: I came to this lifestyle with a number of physical problems—some pretty serious. I resolved them all—or, better: A well managed raw food lifestyle solved them all. And, in the process, I’ve learned the best secrets of health and anti-aging and have been able to pass them to those who would listen. Interesting question you’ve asked. If I had a quibble with your question, it would be that word proud. The truth is, I’m mostly just grateful.