No Nonsense Tips to Avoid Falling Off the Raw Food Wagon

February 25th, 2013 by Tonya Zavasta

Tips for avoiding falling offA reader asked: “How can I go 100 percent raw? I keep falling back. A guru mantra from you will definitely help.”

I don’t know of a sacred verbal formula that will keep all bad food at bay. But I do know some simple steps that will definitely help.

Experience tells me this…at those times when we reach for that piece of forbidden food, it’s usually because we have let ourselves completely—if briefly—forget the reasons why we wanted to eliminate unhealthy foods in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

The Real Truth about Cosmetic Preservatives…or What’s Wrong with Honeysuckle?

February 22nd, 2013 by Tonya Zavasta


The main difference among face creams and formulas is whether they’re oil-based or water-based.  Most day creams and moisturizers are water-based. Do not insist that your favorite water-based cream “has no preservatives.” Why not? Because it doesRead the rest of this entry »

Chewing Your Juice: What it Can Do for Your Health and Beauty

January 6th, 2013 by Tonya Zavasta

Tonya Chewing a SmoothieI have been vegetarian since 1995 and 100 percent raw since 1997. I have tried many practices in my health journey, enjoyed many successes along the way, tripped over a few failures, and achieved some remarkable results. But if you ask me what has been the single most beneficial constant throughout my health journey, there’d be exactly one answer: juicing. Read the rest of this entry »

Why You Need to Soak Your Nuts

December 26th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta

Raw Nuts










A reader wrote: I don’t understand the value of soaking raw nuts before eating. Nuts have such mild flavor to begin with—aren’t we just watering that flavor down?

Enzyme Inhibitors

Tree nuts and seeds are highly concentrated fat and protein, given by nature to ensure that an actively growing sprout will have all the nourishment it needs. Just like any other raw foods, nuts and seeds contain enzymes. We want the benefit of those enzymes, and that’s one reason we choose to eat food without subjecting it to intense heat. However, till the germination conditions for nuts and seeds are met—like moist soil, or in our case a soaking process—the enzymes in most nuts and seeds stay dormant, held hostage by so-called enzyme inhibitors (another brilliant natural mechanism to ensure the proliferation of the species). Read the rest of this entry »

Radish Flowers and Zucchini Leaves

December 22nd, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta

This simple garnish can be used as a plate decoration, or as part of a fruit and vegetable arrangement. Radishes are easy to find year round, cost very little, are very versatile and look very festive as part of any holiday decoration.  You can make these carvings a few days in advance and store them in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge until ready to display.

For this composition you will need 2-3 radishes, 1 zucchini (or a cucumber), 2 cranberries, a sharp paring knife, and a bowl of icy cold water for soaking the carvings.

Radish Flowers

Flower # 1: Radish Flat Top Flower. (Steps 1-3 on the picture)

  • Choose a big round radish.
  • Cut off the top part (green stem) about 5 mm.
  • With the knife, chip into checkerboard pattern top, positioning the knife at about 45 degree angle towards the center of each groove.
  • Visually divide the radish into 5 petals. Going around the sides of the radish make a slanted cut down, aiming towards the base of the flower to make the first petal. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Make the second petal the same way, also cutting through the first petal (it creates a small petal). Make 5 petals in total. The last cut will also go through petals 1 and 4 simultaneously.
  • Place the radish flower into a bowl of ice-cold water to open up the petals a little. It will take about 30 minutes.


Flower # 2: Radish Chrysanthemum Flower. (Steps 4-5 on the picture)

  • Choose a big round radish.
  • Cut off the root and stem end of the radish.
  • Use a knife to make vertical cuts almost down to the stem end. Be careful not to cut all the way through.
  • Make the next set of vertical cuts perpendicular to the first.
  • Place the radish flower into a bowl of ice-cold water to open up the petals. It will take about 30 minutes.


Flower # 3: Radish Zigzag Flower with Cranberry Center. (Steps 6-8 on the picture)

  • Choose a big round radish. It will make 2 flowers.
  • Using a knife, cut in a zigzag manner towards the middle of the radish all around, making sure the tip of the knife reaches the middle of the radish, and all the cuts meet up.
  • Remove the top. If the halves don’t easily separate, run the knife over the same cuts again, inserting it a little deeper.
  • Using the tip of the knife, carve out a hole in the middle big enough for a cranberry.
  • Place the radish flower into a bowl of ice-cold water to open up the petals. It will take about 30 minutes.
  • Insert a cranberry into the center when ready to garnish.

Zucchini Leaves (makes 2 or 3):

Zucchini Leaves

  • Choose a zucchini with dark smooth skin.
  • Cut it diagonally into sections about 2-2.5 inches long. Then cut each section in half lengthwise. Each section will provide 2 leaf diamond-shaped pieces.
  • Hollow out the bulk of the white flesh with the help of a knife.
  • Trim each piece to shape it like a leaf.
  • On the green side, cut a groove to represent the mid-rib, and then cut diagonal grooves to represent the veins.
  • Cut notches around the edges of the leaf.

When ready to display, arrange your carvings on a plate, or in any other arrangement of your choice. Enjoy your food creations!

Cosmetic Labels: What’s In Those Jars?

December 7th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta

Cosmetic jarsMost cosmetics, as it happens, fall within the FDA’s legal purview. Back in 1977, legislation on labeling cosmetics took effect. But how effective is that labeling legislation?

Most of us have more or less come to trust ingredients labeling. We’ve gotten thoroughly used to it in the labeling of foods. Most take for granted that, on a cosmetics label, the ingredients will be listed in their order of predominance in the product. We assume that the ingredient listed first is the one present in greatest quantity, the second listed is the one having the second largest percentage, and so on. But it isn’t necessarily so. Read the rest of this entry »

Chlorogenic Acid: The Weight Loss World’s Latest Miracle?

December 4th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta

Green Coffee BeansHe’s America’s most popular doctor, with millions of “patients” taking his advice via the TV airwaves. We’re talking, of course about Dr. Oz. Well lately, the good doctor is touting yet another magic pill—this time the “Magic Weight Loss Cure for Every Body Type.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Dancer’s Solution to Osteoporosis

November 23rd, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta

Dance ClassHearing the word “osteoporosis” often brings on fear, especially for middle-aged women who’ve lost weight, whether deliberately or otherwise. But it can affect anyone at any age. The usual advice—Take something for it—in this case is calcium. Take calcium supplements and drink milk, they say. Read the rest of this entry »

Laugh Your Way to Health

November 5th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta

LaughterIf people only knew the healing power of laughter and joy, many of our fine doctors would be out of business. -Catherine Ponder

I have a distant memory of a Russian song, with a chorus that goes something like this: According to the research done in Paris, in order to live long, you’ve got to smile a minimum of 17 minutes a day.

Gosh, those lyrics don’t translate well at all, do they? But the concept does. Read the rest of this entry »

How Many Calories are in Raw Foods?

October 24th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta

It’s widely believed that raw food doesn’t give enough energy. So how much energy do raw foods provide? Food energy is usually expressed in food calories. So, how many calories are in “unprocessed raw foods” such as bananas, carrots, soaked almonds, pistachios, and the like? Read the rest of this entry »

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