At Living Light we are always totally amazed at what our graduates accomplish in the world. They are motivated, resourceful, dedicated, and ready to make a difference! Here is a sample of what two of our students, each of whom has chosen her own way of exploring our curriculum, have been able to accomplish with tools and information they have acquired at our school.
Whether you have completed all of the Gourmet Raw Food Chef Certification™ training and all of the advanced classes, or are just starting out on your raw food journey, we are proud to say that our graduates make healthy living delicious all over the world. We hope to include a regular feature on our graduates accomplishments and inspiring stories in upcoming newsletters, and we'll also create a special webpage with information about their accomplishments in conjunction with the launch of our Chef Referral services this month!
Tina Jo Stephens
Chef Tina Jo began her raw vegan journey back in 1999 when a friend suggested a vegan detox program to help alleviate debilitating ovarian and uterine cysts. Having reached a dead end with conventional western medicine and desperate to find relief, Tina Jo attended her first detoxification program through Karyn Calabrese at Karyn’s in Chicago, Illinois. That was the first step to a life changing experience.
"I’d tried everything - that is, every western drug and test available to womankind. It never occurred to me it could be my diet causing such havoc in my body!" Tina Jo was so amazed at how good she felt after that first detox that she decided a raw diet was definitely worth pursuing. The change from the Standard American Diet to raw veganism not only cured her of the ovarian cysts and tumors but seemed to be just what she needed to free herself from a history of emotional eating which had led to recurring bouts of anorexia and bulimia for a decade.
“I believe it was through the power of living foods that I learned to nourish my body, mind and spirit rather than just feeding emotions - finally allowing me to lay my food addictions to rest.”
Chef Tina Jo knew in her heart that a diet of primarily raw vegan whole foods was right for her. Although she felt her best with a primarily raw diet she would occasionally find herself slipping back into old familiar habits and her body would let her know it didn’t like it.
“I’d feel a massive energy drop or get sick. When I was high to 100% percent raw, I felt and looked great! I knew the benefits of raw food - I lived it. So why couldn’t I stick with raw?”
It wasn’t willpower, she realized, it was boredom! She needed to learn a new way to prepare meals. She needed to bring back the fun she used to have in the kitchen!!
Chef Tina Jo literally grew up in the kitchen, as many Italian children do!
“We did our homework, played games, did our hair, ate, cooked, and even bathed in the kitchen sink.”
Tina Jo grew to love that big old farm house sink. It was the best seat in the house to watch her mother prepare the family meal.
“I was small and it was big, so we were a perfect match! In fact, I would beg my mother to put me in the sink where I would sit perched upon a pillow watching magic unfold in our kitchen.”
Her mother was one of those cooks who never measured anything. She would just add a pinch of this and a handful of that tasting everything until it reached perfection. As Tina Jo grew too big for the sink she became her mother’s assistant chef.
“I was fascinated by the incredible meals she would create with no recipes. I would ask her how much salt or sugar to add and her response would always be: 'Just add until it tastes good.' “
It was those fond childhood memories that eventually led Chef Tina Jo to the renown Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Ft. Bragg, California where she was able to merge her creative passion with a raw vegan diet.
“I was so excited to bring fun back into the kitchen! Raw vegan does not have to be boring! Upon graduation I decided that I HAD to get this message out there!”
Today, Chef Tina Jo is a highly respected Gourmet Raw Vegan Chef, Author, Speaker, and Coach known internationally for her humor and down-to-earth approach to raw veganism. Chef Tina Jo, along with her TV show Splendor in the Raw, has been awarded Top 10 Best Show, Best Chef, and Best Website in the Best of Raw 2009 Awards. She has made it her life’s mission to bring super delicious, fresh, simple, fun, affordable raw vegan food to the mainstream.
Through her books, DVDs, and programs, Tina Jo is teaching Americans how to make healthy lifestyles DELICIOUS, bringing live whole foods back to the dinner table one dinner plate at a time.
“I’m thrilled to share with you what I’ve learned: my love of food, the kitchen, and the fun that you can have with both. Only my view is a little different now – I’m no longer IN the sink and I’m no longer COOKING food – but it’s just as much fun and tastes just as great! I have even managed to learn the art of measurements and writing down my recipes which was tough because I am definitely my mother’s daughter!”
A few words about Tina Jo’s Charities
Chef Tina Jo has a small ranch in Baja California where she grows her own organic veggies that feeds her family along with several friends and neighbors! Her other passion is animals! Chef Tina Jo has created a haven for rescued animals, including dogs, cats, horses, goats, and even a mule! Her latest additions include a horse that was so mistreated that he was covered in sores and was 300 pounds underweight, a 7-week old chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy who was born with a severe visual impairment, and an ancient deaf and blind mule who was turned out by her impoverished owner to fend for herself. A substantial percent of the income generated by Chef Tina Jo goes toward rescuing and caring for her own growing flock as well as some of her favorite animal charities.