Where did you mushroom journey begin?
I was inspired by the healing power of mushrooms in 2011, I was sitting in a theatre in Toronto listening to David Avocado Wolf speak about Chaga. That was the beginning, the doors of perception shifted. I'll never forget that exact moment. In the years that followed I started to forage for mushrooms like chaga and reishi, brew their tea and in 2016 started using reishi therapeutically which was a profound turning point in my healing journey.
What is your mushroom spirit animal and why?
Reishi is the mushroom that healed me and I feel such kinship her, the Queen of medicinal mushrooms. Revered for immortality, brilliant rainbow of the forest, supportive to the adrenal glands, nurturing and supportive while also bringing vigor and strength.
Quote that you live by?
"I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world. I may not complete this last one but I will give myself to it. I circle around God, around the primordial tower. I’ve been circling for thousands of years and I still don’t know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song?"
Tell us one of your favorite facts that captivated you with the fungi world.
Fungi literally are the answer. They heal and transform our world in countless ways. They've been doing so, and will continue doing so, with or without us. Diving into mycology was like a wakeup call.
Fungi are at the helm of all life: soil, decomposition, regeneration, medicine, spirituality, ceremony, cooperation, remediation, atmosphere. Fungi sit at the intersection of life and death with an intelligence and fearlessness that I remain captivated and in awe of.
What is your favorite mushroom pun or funny joke?
Fungal by nature :)
Tell us about yourself.
Tonya Papanikolov (B.Sc, CNP) is a Holistic Nutritionist, educator, entrepreneur and yogi. Tonya has been on a healing journey since she was 16 years old and has devoted her life’s work to helping others heal through functional nutrition and integrative lifestyle.
Tonya educates on holistic wellness, mycotherapy and using food as medicine through 1:1 healing sessions, workshops, and retreats. Tonya has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Nutraceutical Sciences and is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner. Tonya is the founder and CEO of Rainbo. Her first-hand healing experience with fungi began in 2011 which sparked her passion, reverence and belief in the magic of mushrooms. Since 2018, Tonya has been building the Rainbo brand and product line of dietary supplements and functional foods. Rainbo's mushrooms are grown locally and sustainably in Canada with love and healing intention. When she's not working on Rainbo, you can find Tonya in a forest foraging, hiking, or finding inspiration, creativity and energy through her practices of cooking, writing, reading and meditation. Tonya and her work have been featured in The New York Times, Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The Zoe Report, and she has worked with Ryerson University, Nike, Idea Couture, Free People, Jenni Kayne and more. You can follow and connect with Tonya on Instagram, LinkedIn and Rainbo's Instagram.
What is your brand's story?
Born from a spore-like-dream in 2018, Rainbo was founded by Tonya Papanikolov and is rooted in her education, passion and vision for healing people and the planet with fungi.
Tonya’s experience growing up with IBS, food allergies and sensitivities, combined with an inherent calling to help people led her to obtain her Bachelors of Science in nutrition. This formed her holistic view of the nutritional and wellness worlds and belief in the healing power of food as medicine. After remarkable healing through natural and Eastern modalities she became a Certified Nutritional Practitioner so that she could help others heal through natural means and empower them with information and personalized support.
In 2017, Tonya launched The Well Woman, a platform and consulting practice to inspire, guide and educate clients on holistic health. Through this, Tonya built a loyal and engaged community as well as an extensive international network within the wellness community.
Tonya began using medicinal mushrooms in 2012. As she continued on her entrepreneurial and healing journey, she kept returning to the therapeutic power she had personally experienced with Reishi mushroom. With curiosity and self- directed study, she dove into the wonderfully curious world of mycology and the use of fungi as medicine. In short order, she was guided to build Rainbo and is now on a mission to get people and the planet healthier with fungi.