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An Interview with Vegan Cookbook Author Diana Stobo

October 3, 2010

Trista Cornelius, Contributing Writer

Diana Stobo is a health food expert who lives in Northern California. A classically trained chef, she turned to raw foods 10 years ago to heal chronic pain, lose weight, and feel better. Her transformation began with a list of prohibited foods which included the removal of dairy, wheat, sugar, meat, caffeine, and alcohol from her diet. This year, she published a recipe book titled Get Naked Fast. To Diana, "getting naked" means stripping down and simplifying the nourishment you put in your body. Her "naked" diet includes raw food but has flexibility.

What was your life like before you had your "a-ha" moment?
I was just doing my thing, raising my kids, working, living my life, and accepting my discomforts as normal signs of aging. I ate fairly well, by American standards, and worked out daily to try and keep myself in shape. I was more concerned about my childrenís nutrition than my own, but not educated enough to really know the true value of food. I had thyroid issues and many other ailments but so many of my acquaintances were having similar issues and complaints about not feeling well, I thought it was normal. When I was in the emergency room for a bleeding ulcer, shot up on morphine for the pain, I decided at that moment I was not going to continue living like this. Something had to change.

How did you come up with your list of "noís" and stick with them? What made you believe these particular prohibitions would lead to the healthy body and life you desired?
After the emergency room visit I knew that I didnít want to numb my pain anymore, I wanted to heal it. I immersed myself in nutrition books and comprised a list of foods that were potential culprits to my pain. I experimented with my body to test my theories as I removed the six "noís" from my diet. Within 10 days, I lost 10 pounds, my skin cleared up, and I had amazing amounts of energy. My stomach stopped hurting and eventually my thyroid returned to its normal function.

You say on your website that "Loving your body is loving the planet." Can you elaborate on this? Do you think most Americans love their body? How is our attitude about our bodies linked to our impact on the earth?
I honestly believe that most Americans donít understand their bodies. They want to love their bodies, but they donít know where to begin. There is so much conflicting information that leads us to dead ends and we are conditioned to fail. The phrase "Loving your body is loving the planet", works both ways; "Loving the planet is loving your body". Once we learn to utilize what earth has provided (natural resources, plant life, whole earthen foods, spring water, etc.) we learn to fall in love with our bodies. By eating a vegan diet, one lowers their [food-related] carbon footprint by 80%, even more so if eating raw! I donít mean that to be in a strict tone, I am certainly not 100% anything. Itís just an important bit of information that a lot of people are not aware of.

Youíve been cooking and baking since you were a child. What interested you in cooking and food in the first place? Were you always interested in health and nutrition, or did this follow your "a-ha moment"?
I love food, Iíve always been fascinated by food, health, nutrition, beauty, exercise, and people. Itís no accident that I am doing what I am doing today. My work is a culmination of my lifeís passions. I grew up in a "foodie" family, so focusing on food was natural and instinctual. My mother was a farm girl and self-proclaimed "health food nut" and my Persian father brought his Mediterranean /Middle Eastern flare to food. So, my upbringing was diverse. I dabbled in "raw foods" in my teen years, before it was even considered "raw food."

What is your favorite naked/raw meal and why? Do your husband and children follow the same diet? What are their favorite meals?
Well, I mostly keep it simple. I love smoothies. This wasnít always the case for me, but I have found that I get the most nutrition, the greatest amount of energy, and I really enjoy not weighing my body down with too much food. My children live on smoothies too. Of course we eat meals as well, but I think they would claim smoothies as their favorite food. My husband grew up on meat and potatoes, and if you donít let him know I told you, heís now almost completely vegan. If there is not a green juice waiting for him when he gets home, it can get ugly around here.

If you could recommend just one food-change every American could make to improve his/her life, what would it be and why?
Thatís your easiest question yet...have a green juice! When one is hungry, fatigued or thirsty, a green juice or a green smoothie will provide instant energy, instant satisfaction, and the most uplifting sensation in one's body. People usually turn their nose up to the idea at first, and quickly become "green juice" addicts. Now thatís one addiction we can live with!

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