The story of the month for October 2009 comes from Tanya Kay of

I learned about Tonya and her journey with fitness and nutrition through some online research. I realized that she is an inspirational role model not only where health and fitness are concerned, but also where compassionate living and environmental sustainability is concerned. Added to that, she is also a talented professional dancer and actress. In fact, Tonya seems to have many talents, and her vibrant energy and zest for life is so admirable.

Tonya’s story touches upon many important areas that can help us on our own journeys into health and wellness, as well as more conscious living. I am delighted to share Tonya’s story, which can be a powerful catalyst for your personal journey. Tonya’s story is not so much even about hope, but about realizing the magnificence of the human being, especially when we look within and let nature guide us.

Here is Tonya sharing her story of “evolving wellness” with us:

Area(s) of My Health and Wellness that Needed Change

The transition from cooked vegan to raw vegan is astounding. And I didn’t really think it would be. But with that shift alone, I, like every raw foodist I know, experienced a plethora of health miracles. And I do not use the word “miracle” lightly, if ever at all.

The most significant health challenge I’ve overcome, which I certainly consider a miracle, is the ability to remain off medications for manic depression successfully. I took 7 years of toxic medications for my Bipolar diagnosis, struggling inside as a vegan, knowing that nothing was being cured and these chemicals were detrimental to my long term health. I felt like a human physiological failure and wondered if I wasn’t cheating nature’s survival-of-the-fittest natural selection theory.

Raw foods was not the cure for manic depression – don’t get me wrong. But it was the support and foundation that I needed to get clean, clear and continue doing the work of finding true mental/emotional/physical health. I’ve been medication-free for 7 years this year, (as long as I was on them initially!) so I feel like every day now that I am medication-free now is a stroke on a blank canvass for me.

I also had acne which affected my self-esteem as a cooked vegan. Now my skin glows with life and beauty. I love my complexion!

Finally, I had a stubborn pre-cancerous condition on my cervix that after surgery, only worsened to my and the doctors’ confusion and discontent. I went raw, the pre-cancerous condition ceased progress, and over the next 2 years, actually reversed until my pap smears consistently came back clean and clear.

Remember, these miracles happened during my transition from cooked vegan to raw vegan. Fresh, local, organic produce is so much easier than visiting a doctor and paying for health insurance. I don’t see a doctor anymore. Or a healer. I eat raw food.

Strategies I Implemented & Their Results

My personal health goals always focus on mental and emotional health. Physically, a life of continued athleticism and physical play keeps me feeling pain-free and full of energy.

My focus is entirely on quantity and quality of sleep, observing automatic thought patterns and reprogramming them with more useful ones when necessary, keeping my emotions quickly expressed and well communicated, and reshaping the dream. The dream is my/our future. My dream is a big health responsibility.

How My Changes Benefitted Me

My faith in humanity has skyrocketed since being introduced to raw foods. I was never a conspiracy theorist, finding the time I spent surmising “Their” intentional sabotage of my happiness quite exhausting and eventually incapacitating. Instead, I’ve always placed my attention on what I desire more, than what I’m suspicious of.

Since going raw, I’ve met so many other people up to big things: demanding organic produce, reducing personal waste, volunteering with endangered wildlife, producing conscious media, developing alternative fuels, perfecting Love and their ability to receive it.

I am inspired within our raw community – I have faith that we matter, we are making a difference, and even if the goal of “changing the world” is never tangibly actualized, I enjoy getting to meet these people and surround myself with what I see at he pioneers of a new way. Each individual’s journey is vitally important and matters. I have faith in people.

Next Steps on My Health and Wellness Journey

My goals are to find out how good it can get! Even though I am raw and off medications now, doesn’t mean that I think I’m at the top of health and happiness. I think it is the attitude that keeps people young, really.

If every day I hope to find out how I can feel better than ever before, and believe it is possible, and strive towards it, then I’m growing and learning and expanding and getting some plain and simple fun out of life.

That’s my philosophy in general. A sense of humor and discord is essential to being a healthy human in my opinion.

On a very specific scale, I am focusing on past athletic injuries now, reinventing themselves and teaching myself how to become even wiser as a dancer and athlete to heal naturally and experience injury less. I really do feel that if I believe and behave as if my body is getting stronger and more intelligent every day, then it truly is. I wouldn’t go back to my teen age years for anything! Right now is when I’ve felt the best in my life and surely I will keep living that way!

Wisdom & Inspiration for Others

For those whom are on medications of any kind, I empathize with you, because I know what it feels like to feel like something “went wrong” with your humanness.

I know what it’s like to be a part of a system that is set up to prescribe rather than treat. And I know what it is like to need a solution so immediately, that all health ideals don’t really matter in that time of survivalism.

My advice is that your journey is not over. I do not know if you should go off meds or if you should eat more hemp seeds or if you exercise enough. But what I do know is there is never a bad time to get healthy.

If you are going to be on medications for whatever reason, you might as well get healthy while you are doing it. Not because raw food and exercise will cure you of this or that. But because treating your body and spirit gently and with respect feels good and you might as well get that out of life, no matter what medication you are on right now.

Continue the exploration and the journey. And keep health in the forefront of your mind.

Blow kisses to health. Make love to health. Celebrate health.

This is your intimate, gnostic relationship!