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What Do I Eat?

Published: (August, 2022)

What Do I Eat?

1. What Do I Eat in a Day?

Tonya, what do you eat in a typical day? People often ask me this question. They add: Will you do a video for us, showing what you eat?

There are plenty of videos like that on YouTube from raw-food advocates. You usually get a slim woman, standing beside a kitchen countertop stacked with heaps of fruits and vegetables, edible roots, melons, greens, nuts, seeds, and the requisite huge bowel of salad. And I’m left to wonder: How’s this gigantic smorgasbord going to fit in that tiny tummy?

Our stomach, I’m sure you’ve heard, is about the size of a fist. According to the picture on the left, it might be a little more than a fist. It can triple or quadruple that volume during a big meal, but usually it returns to its original size once food has passed into the small intestine.

But chow down this way regularly, and that stomach will stay stretched. Big portions, I believe, is a common reason for a distended stomach.

I’ve long been reluctant to do any equivalent of a "What Do I Eat in a Day" video. One reason: in my case, you won’t find any big piles of beautiful produce. My daily munch just never creates that horn-of-plenty, nature’s bounty kind of look. My meager meals, I’ve feared, would disappoint a lot of viewers. I’ve even anticipated getting my share of concerned questions from the uninformed: Are you getting enough calories?

I never count calories. But I’m mindful not to overstretch my stomach. To that end, I keep each of my meals small in volume: a little more than two fists of volume is my usual max. 

No video today. But if you’re willing to read, here are my basic meals…

Breakfast…I always have a glass of vegetable juice along with a handful of nuts or seeds, soaked the night before.

Lunch…I usually have a glass of banana hemp smoothie.

Dinner…For this last meal, around at 2 p.m. (yes, on most days, I practice Intermittent Fasting—check out my book Quantum Eating), I’ll have a salad with raw dressing. The salad is simple (see the openning picture), but I do experiment when it comes to dressings.

Lately, my favorite dressing has become a nut butter made from Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, or both. You can buy it or make it using nut oil extraction machines. This dressing can add plenty of calories to your meal plan. Usually, I add about 1 or 2 tablespoons of nut butter to my salad.

If you need to gain weight, add three or four tablespoons to your salad, and I can almost guarantee you'll begin gaining weight. The flip side of the message: If you tend to gain weight, stay away from nut butter. Try different dressings on my website instead.

Snacks…Fruits and berries between my meals. For example, I can easily eat 1 pound (0.45kg) of blue berries, or peaches, or figs, or pomegranates, or other fruits, depending on the season. I always try to consume them during the first part of the day.

Some detail-minded person asks: How many calories are in my daily meals? Honestly, I don’t actually know. Never bothered to count. Nor do I fret about ratios of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in my meals—it all just seems to work out.

Am I, indeed, getting enough calories? Were I training to tackle Mt. Kilimanjaro, I cannot tell. But for purposes of doing my housework, running the business, and my daily yoga and fitness classes, my body tells me I’m doing it just right. I’ve been eating pretty much the same basic meals since I went raw in my late thirties. My own twenty-plus years of raw living is a better indicator, to me, than all the advice I can get from “experts.”

This doesn’t mean I’m some kind of “expert” myself. If you find something in me worth emulating, let it be my willingness to experiment and to find what‘s best for me. Do the same: find the ideal meal plan for you.

Don’t try to replicate someone else’s meal plan. Fact is, all raw plant foods are good. I eat what I like on any day. You need to eat what you like.

You’ll make it long term, only if you enjoy it. (That’s why I never give out meal plans—only recipe ideas.) Our digestive systems, our health, our past eating habits, and our present food preferences are vastly different. There’s no way one person's plan can be relied on to work for another.

2. Where Do I Get B12?

Here's an email I received:

I’ve read that your diet contains raw eggs. Perhaps you could write an article about this choice. I’m eating a raw vegan diet but notice that my nails are grooved and weak and my energy is not as high as it could be.

I’m thinking the trouble might be a lack of protein, although I do include chia, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds in my diet. So, I'm wondering why you choose to add a raw egg rather than use plant protein found in plants. And I’d also like to know the way you eat your raw eggs.

That is correct. On some days I might add one or two raw eggs to my banana hemp smoothie. See the picture  above. It’s actually not for the sake of protein that I include raw eggs in my diet. You’re right to imply that there’s plenty of protein found in plants. The reason I try to include one whole raw egg in my morning smoothie is vitamin B12. It’s a real issue.

YouTube is full of horror stories about strict vegans getting into serious health troubles because of B12 deficiency. I was given this warning soon after my first book was published, and I listened. Supplements do work for some but not for others. I didn’t want to take a risk. Hence…raw eggs. And for all this time, I’ve never experienced a deficiency issue. No less important, I’ve enjoyed total peace of mind, knowing I wouldn’t have that deficiency.

If anyone would care to shoot me an email, saying I violate the hen’s civil rights by seizing their eggs, or that I thieve their property, please don’t. I invite you instead to look on the positive side: I haven’t eaten any meat in over twenty-five years myself. And in all that time, I’ve been encouraging thousands of others to do the same.

However, I do very much care about my readers’ health. Thus, I must point out the entirely real danger of B12 deficiency, and what I see as a healthy way to combat it, even if it offends the sacredness of others’ desire to live strictly and rigidly on plant food only. In any way, please read this article carefully: Vitamin B-12 Controversy.

3. Cheeks and Jowls: Don't Let 'Em Sag!⁠

A young face has a sharply defined angle, about 90 degrees, from chin to neck. Older faces, by contrast, exhibit a loss of sharpness in that angle. It becomes more obtuse. With that sharpness gone, the attractiveness of the face is also gone.⁠

With daily use of our Cheek & Chin Push Up Sling you will prevent the appearance of jowls and sagging skin under your chin—important for keeping your whole face attractive. ⁠

How to use it: Watch my short video above...I take a shoelace or string, thread it through the sling’s openings, and tie the ends on the top of my head. I’ve been using this string method from the get-go and find it comfortable and effective.