I discovered raw food not because I had a plethora of illnesses and this was my last resort. There was nothing wrong with me…
I was fit, my body was in top shape, I never had to worry about what I ate, my parents were knowledgeable in alternative therapies, I had an awesome job in property, I was young, popular, invincible – I was healthy.
Or so I thought.
Looking back at my life now, I can only picture a young girl living in complete denial.
I often ate a tub of ice cream or an entire block of chocolate instead of lunch and dinner, because I figured I should choose one to avoid overeating.
I partied ‘til dawn in clouds of second-hand smoke and thought of it as the best form of exercise.
I thought sleep was overrated.
My whole back was covered in repulsive acne, but who cares because I couldn’t see behind me and at the beach, it was easy to just sunbathe lying on it.
I would often get knife-piercing pain in my stomach, but I was the best long-distance runner I knew, so it didn’t matter.
I didn’t like my own reflection, but I could always grin or pull faces in photos to disguise what I thought was too round a face and too big a nose.
I would be bedridden whenever the seasons changed, but so was everyone else, so there is nothing wrong.
I even thought that a reflexologist who told me to change my diet immediately to save myself from emerging diabetes was mad because, surely, diabetes was only for people who were overweight?
And while others would turn to binging when it came to work- or relationship-related stress, I considered myself lucky for losing interest in eating when I was stressed, because I starved and got slimmer.
It took me a long time to unlearn these stories I’d been telling myself. It took me even longer to realise how well I’d mastered blocking out what needed attention, because of how well I’d blocked out one particular major event in my life…
The year 1999 was one to remember.
I survived my second year as a teenager, my second year in high school was almost over, my Russian accent had begun to sound more Kiwi (believe me, a foreign accent is a big deal when you’re an immigrant at school) and, for the first time, I was allowed to go away with my best friend for our joint birthday celebrations.
It was a rainy day, the road was long and winding, but it didn’t matter because I was with my bestie, we had lollies, hip-hop music to sing along to and the whole back of the car to ourselves.
Nothing was going to stop us from laughing and dancing, not even a safety belt that straps you tightly to your seat. We both pulled our seatbelts over our shoulders and under our arms, so we were secured only around our waists.
The next thing I remember is seeing a four-wheel drive head on, an unimaginable strike of sharp pain in my abdomen, followed by our car quickly filling with smoke and the struggle to open a jammed door, because I couldn’t possibly stay in a car that might blow up like in the movies.
I still have no idea whether it was five minutes or five hours between the car accident and being rushed to Auckland City Hospital by helicopters, although I do remember how fast the emergency crew chopped open my favourite checked blue trousers.
And amidst the uncontrollable pain through my stomach to my back, the haunting repetition of ambulance crew voices shouting something about a fractured spine, I still managed to wish that I was wearing better underwear.
Everyone in both vehicles survived the crash, but no one walked away injury free…
I broke my back and had to wear a full-body brace for four months. I still have a metal plate and screws joining my lower spine. My stomach was so badly bruised and swollen from the seatbelt (which also saved my life) that doctors proposed to remove my pancreas.
To make this hospital stay even more memorable, a catheter burst inside me, spreading an infection through my bladder, all while I was being pumped with an intense dose of morphine, to which my body reacted with intense hives.
My mum and dad went through so much stress and my entire focus turned to recovery, just to see these two favourite faces laughing again.
I tried hard to be a good girl and eat the mashed potatoes, ice cream and jelly they provided as hospital food, but my body would not keep them in. I remember being so angry at it for spewing up anything that went in.
My weight declined, as did all interest in food, until I couldn’t tolerate the thought of it.
Meanwhile, doctors were still waiting on my parents’ decision on whether or not to remove my pancreas.
Knowing that it was a key gland for proper digestion and hormone regulation, my wise family were determined to keep it intact.
We wanted to learn how to help my body to heal, but no one even knew about Google then, and raw food books certainly weren’t known of in the library, so we did what came naturally in the moment of despair- we used intuition.
Mum and dad asked me to imagine different foods and name those that didn’t immediately make me feel nauseous.
There were so many foods I craved, I was literally starving, but the only ones I could entertain of actually keeping in were peppermint tea, high-factor manuka honey and liquidised vegetables.
How clever our bodies are. Even in the most vulnerable state they know exactly what they need to survive.
I know now that my body, being so inflamed and sensitive, asked specifically for peppermint tea for its soothing properties, manuka honey for its antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal protection from hospital bugs, and raw carrot juice for its antioxidants, nutrients and enzymes, to support my healing pancreas.
My body knew that raw foods have the power to heal, it knew exactly which foods had the right nutrition for this healing and it was because of raw foods that I got to keep my pancreas – although I didn’t even realise it at the time.
Fast forward 10 years and it was, again, mum and dad who inspired me to tap onto that intuition and discover a calling within me so deep, it would bring positive meaning to all unfortunate past events. They read raw food expert Victoria Boutenko’s books and literally changed their entire diet overnight.
They got rid of the microwave, espresso machine and all the food in their pantry. They filled clear kitchen benches with alien equipment, the refrigerator with so much colour it looked like a kaleidoscope, and started dehydrating flax crackers as if they were stocking up for 21 December 2012.
It was awesome to see them so enthusiastic about a diet, but it’s not like I was about to start doing the same. After all, as you’ve heard, there was nothing ‘wrong’ with me.
It was also around this time that my husband, Elliot, and I started dating, and I was more interested in showing off my cooking repertoire than rolling energy balls.
But my curiosity was already ignited.
I watched my parents shed weight, start to look younger, glow from within, sleep less and do more exciting things with their days, all with an enormous amount of energy and enthusiasm. I had to get my hands on that book!
It was when I read ‘Green for Life’ and the collection of testimonials from people who had reversed all manner of illnesses (from diabetes, heart conditions, obesity, asthma, chronic fatigue and cancer) with raw food that I made an important connection – that I had also healed my body, all those years ago, with raw food.
It occurred to me that if we can heal disease with raw food, surely we can prevent it too. Now we’re talking!
What I read in Boutenko’s book made sense – as soon as you apply heat to foods, they shrivel up, vitamins and minerals diminish, antioxidants and proteins are halved and enzymes vital for digestion die entirely. Our bodies then spend all their efforts on digesting the mineral-depleted foods and leave us with little energy for anything else.
What didn’t make sense is why so few people knew about the raw power of plants.
And in this I found my calling.
I immediately began making green smoothies for our breakfast. I loved to cook and experiment with foods, so was in no hurry to change our meals, but my taste buds began to long for more greens throughout the day.
Without even thinking about it, I reached for a salad instead of a sandwich at lunchtime and filled half our dinner plates with fresh raw vegetables.
I thought I had really lost it the day I salivated over spinach at a supermarket and came home without commercial chocolate.
I was loving the new flavours our fresh diet had to offer, as well as all the benefits I detected- increased energy, focus and intuition, glowing skin and sparkling eyes, healing acne, and strong hair and nails. Most of all, I loved how much fun I was having in the kitchen.
With so much attention paid to feeling awesome, it wasn’t until later that I realised how my painful stomach cramps never returned, my headaches had diminished, my teeth stopped getting cavities, and how flu and colds became a thing of the past.
I knew I couldn’t keep all of this to myself, so as soon as we moved to London, I went knocking on yoga centre and restaurant doors offering to run lunchtime classes, got kitted up with equipment, started blogging recipes, selling green smoothies and raw chocolate at market stalls, joined raw food networking groups and attended any health-related workshop I could find.
I began coaching clients. This allowed me to witness the countless benefits of raw foods among athletes, expectant mothers, young professionals and the newly retired.
Yet, I wanted to go deeper.
My intention was never to transform the world’s diet to eating all raw, I simply wanted to raise awareness of the benefit of eating plants and my mission became helping people to experience the incredible vitality I was thriving with.
I really wanted for everyone to feel in control of their own energy and health again.
I really really wanted to help others tap into that time of youth when they felt invincible, free and full of joy. I wanted them to know how possible it is to feel like that all the time!
I longed for people to break free from the hypnosis that the traditional medicine, dairy industry and government bodies put us under.
I dreamed of a world where people didn’t have to suffer and where they believed that vibrant health was their birth-right.
So badly I wished for people to feel ALIVE again.
I knew that all of this was pretty BIG and that I couldn’t do it on my own. The thing is I didn’t know where to begin either. So, I did what I knew works - I sat my butt down on a meditation cushion and literally asked to be shown the way.
What happened right after- changed everything.
I opened myself up for possibilities and asked for a clear sign. By the time I heard of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition from three different people in the week right after my meditation, I knew it was the sign I couldn’t ignore.
I was still paying off my student loan for the Bachelor of Property so wasn’t into the idea of getting into more debt. But, all signs pointed towards going for it, so I borrowed from my parents and enrolled on the year-long journey of online education.
I thought I was just signing up to qualify as a Holistic Health Coach and be a better counsellor to my current clients, so they can experience everything I dreamed up for them, but I got so much more.
The same year that I was getting my mind blown from all the powerful realisations and my neck muscles exercised from all the nodding, while listening to lectures on my iPhone, was the year some pretty wonderful things were happening in the background..
I remained open for miracles and then after five years together, Elliot proposed.
I remained open for miracles and met with my dream publisher, who would later publish my book.
I remained open for miracles and began coaching a dream client, with whom I would soon open my café.
I remained open for miracles and became IIN’s chosen ambassador, which meant that I had the power to offer my readers some amazing discounts to this life-changing course, getting more and more people to spread the ripple effect.
Suddenly my big dream didn’t seem so far-fetched.
The thing is- I didn’t have to work hard to ‘remain open’. The beauty of the program is that on top of teaching you how to be the best coach to your clients and especially to yourself, it teaches you about nutrition, bio-individuality and how some diets work for some and why not for others, but more importantly, it teaches you how to manifest.
The entire course is designed to help you be the healthiest person you know and to live your very best life. Guiding you to remain open for miracles and manifest dreams into reality is very much on the agenda!
So, if you even for a second thought that this course might-be-just-ever-so-slightly-a-tiny-bit interesting, I invite you to do the following:
- Register your name and email below or here so I can forward you a FREE sample class and a FREE copy of my eBook ‘One Day Raw- a Beginner’s Guide to Living Foods’.
- Add 2PM EST / 7PM GMT Friday 20thApril to your calendar and watch me LIVE as I visit the IIN offices in New York! (I’ll send you a direct link to this FB Live on the day)
- Remain open for miracles.
And, if you feel this is YOUR sign to do the course and you are ready to register for the next class beginning 7th MAY, then here’s what you’ll get as a BONUS for registering:
- A 25% discount or an interest-free payment plan.
- A FREE copy of my eBook ‘Purified-Your Complete 7 Day Detox Program’.
- A parcel in the mail containing my book ‘The Uncook Book- The Essential Guide to a Raw Food Lifestyle’, and a collection of Tanya’s dehydrated snacks- BBQ Spiced Activated Nuts, Detox Dust Activated Seeds, Cheezy Kale Chips, Coconut Chips and Coconut Jerky.
To qualify for all the bonuses, call my friends at IIN on (877) 733-1628 for US or +1 (212) 730-5433 for International and be sure to mention my name (Tanya Maher). Ask them if you can start on May 7th and I’ll be in touch with the rest!
Wow that wasn’t a long post at all. Haha.