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Raw Talk with Rawvana

More than 51,000 Instagram followers and 10,000 YouTube subscribers will recognize this 24-year-old Chula Vista resident, Yovana Mendoza, as “Rawvana”


Yovana Mendoza, Rawvana

When was “Rawvana” born? A little over a year ago, I’d been living a toxic lifestyle, drinking almost every day and smoking about five cigarettes a day. I was a big party animal.

What made you start eating raw and vegan? In January 2013, I decided to stay two weeks at the Optimum Health Institute, a detox center in Lemon Grove. I went cold turkey. No alcohol or smoking. Food-wise, I went completely raw. I did try cooked foods again—but they didn’t sit well in my stomach. I didn’t feel the same as when I ate only raw.

Okay: Juice or smoothie? With juices, you’re extracting the juice from the fruits and vegetables, and removing the fiber. With the blender, you get the fiber, the sugar, the water, and the nutrients. I like both, but in the long run, a smoothie is better because the fiber helps our digestion.

What are your go-to gadgets? There are two types of juicers. The fast juicer is fast, but it keeps out more. It’s great for carrots, apples, cucumber, celery—foods that are higher in water content. I recommend a Breville, and an Omega VRT330 for a slow juicer. For a blender, I love the Vitamix. You can put literally anything in there.

Where else can your fans find you? I make recipes on the Univision TV channel every month for the morning news, Despierta San Diego.

You’re fluent in both English and Spanish. Do you feel there’s a special need in the Hispanic community? Mexico ranks number one for the most obese country. People are eating tacos and refried beans. Many of them don’t know the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables.

Do you recommend a raw vegan diet for everyone? When you’re eating raw foods you’re eating living foods. Raw foods are easily digested by the body, which means you will have increased energy and you will think clearer. I recommend it for optimum health, even if someone is not interested in doing it 100 percent.

What’s a good tip for beginners? If you’re interested in eating more healthfully, try replacing one meal a day with a smoothie or with fruit. I always recommend doing it for breakfast because it’s easy and a great way to start the day.

Post-Workout Smoothie

Post-Workout Smoothie

(makes about 32 ounces and 600 calories)

Blend the following ingredients:

• 3 bananas
• 1 cup blueberries
• 2–3 dates* 
• 1 strip of kale, without the stem
• 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds** (Look for them at Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, or Whole Foods)
• 1 cup of water

*Dates are a great source of fiber and sweeten any smoothie.
**Hemp seeds have the perfect balance of essential fatty acids

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