Antibiotics…the Looming Superbug Crisis and the Way Out of It

January 9th, 2014 by Tonya Zavasta


The End of Antibiotics

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we are on far edge of the antibiotic era as we know it. Antibiotics no longer work against harmful bacteria in more and more cases. If even such an organization as the CDC gives us this warning, the situation must be getting truly serious. Read the rest of this entry »

Arguments Against the Raw Food Diet: Opposing the Opposition

October 4th, 2013 by Tonya Zavasta

Tomato under the magnifying glassArgument 1: “Cooking Makes Beta-Carotene and Lycopene More Available.”

Take the ordinary carrot or your basic tomato, as examples. Conventional nutritional science says: Cooking carrots makes their beta-carotene more available for the body to absorb—‘bio-availability,’ it’s called. Cooking tomatoes makes the antioxidant lycopene five times more available.

And so what? If you were eating only one carrot a week, that bio-availability issue would be a big deal. But don’t forget the obvious: Raw foodists eat raw foods. Lots of raw foods. Including carrots and tomatoes. The fruits and vegetables in our diet deliver abundant beta-carotene. The proof is literally staring us in a face. (Enough, indeed, to impart a faintly orange-ish skin undertone, which adds a measure of attractiveness and apparent health, in the view of many. I have written about carotenoids and skin color in this blog article. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Recognize a Raw Foodist at First Sight?

January 13th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta

Ten Biomarkers of a Long-Term Raw Foodist

Raw vs Cooked

It’s my experience that over a period of several years, raw foods literally make you a different specimen. Just as there are biomarkers of “normal” aging, so, I submit, there are identifiable biomarkers of a healthy long-term raw foodist which you can recognize simply by observing a person who follows a truly 100% raw food lifestyle.

Before I present the list of visual characteristics I must clarify what I mean by raw foodist. Since in my mind raw foods and daily exercise are inseparable, by the term raw foodist I mean a person who eats no cooked food, lives almost exclusively on raw fruits, vegetables, greens, nuts and seeds, and who follows a regular exercise routine.

Years of observation in numerous yoga studios and during my lecture tours lead me to identify the signs I describe below. My sample is neither scientific, nor is it exhaustive, of course. I don’t claim that these biomarkers admit of no exceptions, but I have noted again and again these signs of a raw foodist.

Near-ideal weight. Usually, a long term raw food practitioner is very near his or her ideal weight. If you reach a plateau in losing weight, you need another upgrade in diet, moving toward a more simple raw whole foods menu or increasing your physical activity.

Graceful movement. A long term raw foodist has a certain youthful grace. He is lithe and limber. “Move like a young person”—a fuzzy concept, but you’ll notice it when you see it. It’s not the same as people in their 40s and 50s who are in relatively great shape “for their age.” There is a fundamental difference you simply can’t fake.

Golden skin tone. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables gives you a certain golden skin tone—even without sunlight, and better than any lotion or makeup can deliver. A study by Dr. Ian Stephen of the University of Nottingham, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, showed that people who eat several portions of fruit and veggies daily show a more golden skin color, thanks to carotenoids.

This change in skin color is most obvious in the palms of the hands and feet, even if you do not eat carrots. Carotenoids are present in most raw plant foods, not necessary orange in color, even in greens. If you regularly drink large amounts of carrot juice your skin tone can reach an almost orange appearance, so personally I stay away from carrot juice.

Sleek face, no puffiness. The raw food diet is a low-sodium diet. In the body, water follows salt. Get rid of that extra salt, and the extra water leaves with it. As a result, you get sleeker contours. And this becomes obvious first in your face.

Clear eyes. You’ll see in the long-term raw foodist none of the cloudiness often present in the eyes of “older” people. The eyes seem brighter, more alert, more present in the moment. To me, a raw foodist’s eyes can thus seem more “child-like,” possessed of a certain innocence and healthy joy.

Healthy, long fingernails. Nails are the reflection of your past health history. The body regards fingernails as rather less essential to survival than most of its other parts. Thus the nails are the last in line for nutrients, and get them, in effect, only when there’s a surplus. Genetics might alter this situation a little, but after age forty or so, this factor loses its impact and the foods you eat make all the difference.

Absence of liver spots on the hands. This is true even for raw foodists over 50. Liver spots are common at middle age and beyond. They occur most often on areas with the greatest sun exposure, especially the backs of hands. The pigmentation is initiated in damaged membrane material within the cells. The formation of age pigment takes place not only on the skin, but also throughout the whole body—liver, heart, skeletal muscles, and adrenal glands. But its build-up is most pronounced in the brain cells. And yes, age-related pigment accumulation is associated with Alzheimer’s. The fact that a long term raw foodist doesn’t have liver spots is an indication he or she is aging at a much lower rate.

Glowing skin. You’ll see in many raw foodists a clear, dewy complexion, usually the result of regular juicing. Unfortunately, this sign doesn’t always show itself, even for super-healthy eaters. Why? Old, dry, dull skin cells are not getting sloughed off the surface. Good skin care is essential to see this raw food biomarker shine for you.

No “opposite sex resemblance.” As men and women age—prematurely, more often than not—and certain hormones become imbalanced or deficient, a strange phenomenon often takes place. Men and women actually begin to strongly resemble the opposite sex. You’ve seen them…women whose broadening bodies and faces take on a vaguely masculine look…and men whose appearance loses its masculine edge, softening to a kind of vaguely feminine look. This, I believe, is one major reason that it’s challenging to find attractiveness in people over forty. They begin to lose those distinguishing feminine and masculine features so prevalent during younger years when hormones are at their peak. The raw food lifestyle is very beneficial for balancing your hormone levels and keeping you attractive.

No need for eyeglasses for up-close reading. This characteristic is prevalent, but not universal. Obviously, it can only be observed in people over 40. And a person might still wear glasses for other reasons, such as myopia (near-sightedness). The mainstream opinion is that presbyopia (age-related inability to focus on nearby objects) happens to all and cannot be prevented. We all know people who have never worn glasses and had perfect eyesight, but after age 40, they can no longer read small print. For a good many raw foodists this condition never sets in or is significantly delayed.

Overall, long-term raw foodists look different. People always want to take a second glance. So here you go—ten more reasons to go raw!

The Science of Raw Foods

November 6th, 2011 by Tonya Zavasta

I recently attended the 2011 Calorie Restriction Society Conference in Las Vegas and had occasion to discuss with Dr. Luigi Fontana (MD, Ph.D, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Sciences, Center of Human Nutrition, at Washington University) some exciting studies he has been involved in. Read the rest of this entry »

Calorie Restriction: What Nutritional Science is Missing

October 16th, 2010 by Tonya Zavasta

Tonya Zavasta“Impossible!” some people challenge me: “You can’t live on so few calories.” But quite clearly, I do.

My Personal Experience

On average, one burns 750–850 calories in a 90-minute Bikram yoga class. Since I often take two classes a day, I may well burn 1500 calories a day just from yoga classes, before we begin counting up everything else. I consume approximately 1200 to 1400 calories daily, and my weight stays constant. This might seem impossible to a nutritional scientist. Some nutritionists would calculate that I must be wasting away. However, in the words of Mr. Churchill, “The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” I’m not only living but also thriving on a calorie-restricted diet. Read the rest of this entry »

Does a 100 Percent Raw Vegan Diet Work?

February 10th, 2010 by Tonya Zavasta

I received this email recently:

Some raw food leaders are “coming out” that they are a little non
vegan here and there or a bit “cooked” during the winter. I have
been trying this too. I am very happy with the couple of needed
pounds I put on and with my new level of energy. I would be
interested to hear if you have treated this ground as well, Tonya.
I will still love you if you have!
Read the rest of this entry »

Fibrocystic Breasts and Raw Foods

January 29th, 2010 by Tonya Zavasta

Breast ExamIt was a lump. Small—about the size of a soybean. I was a young Russian girl, about thirteen, when my breasts  developed. And it was then I discovered it, there in my left breast. I never told any doctor. Years passed before I even mentioned it to my mother. We came to America in 1991. I was thirty three and that’s when I had my first mammogram. My doctor became very concerned about my lump. She kept insisting I repeat the test again and again. Then she suggested an ultrasound.

This was my first and last mammogram. Since I knew I’d be sent for re-testing again and again, after that first time, I avoided mammograms. My thinking: The lump had been there for years—even if the cancer were there, mightn’t all that vigorous squeezing only tend to spread it? Read the rest of this entry »

Raw Food Livestyle and Oxalic Acid Consumption

January 29th, 2009 by Tonya Zavasta

Some people on the raw food diet express concern about consuming excess quantities of oxalic acid from sources such as spinach, swiss chard and beets. Read the rest of this entry »

Raw Foods vs Supplements

December 13th, 2008 by Tonya Zavasta

The myth is that it is virtually impossible to eat enough food to get all the nutrients the body needs on a daily basis, so taking multivitamin supplements is the healthy alternative for maintaining health and preventing disease. This idea is not true if you are on the raw food diet. Read the rest of this entry »

Benefits of Green Smoothies and Puddings

December 8th, 2008 by Tonya Zavasta

Green vegetable smoothieConsuming more greens in our daily diets is one of the vital things we can do for our health. Yet many people find it hard to consume the quantity of green leafy vegetables they need each day, and those on raw foods diet are no exception.

Your answer is simple: green smoothies and puddings made in a top quality, purpose-made blender—one that has served me well is the Vita-Mix. Read the rest of this entry »

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