Today, for Thankful Thursday, I want to focus on a raw food related subject: Raw Recipe Books! Without the many mouthwatering, visually appetizing recipes that have been created and published, I don't know if I'd still be living a raw food lifestyle at this time.

About two years ago, when I made the decision to transition into a raw food diet, there were some fantastic raw food recipe books available. A few years before that, when I tried raw for the first time with a dear friend of mine, there were books available but none of them were truly gourmet meals. It's amazing how much things change in just a few years! The newer books are filled with colorful pictures of the most visually stimulating foods, which never looked like simple chopped up veggies arranged nicely on a plate. We have a page with many raw recipe books listed, if you'd like to see some of the ones that are available.

For my Fun-Filled Friday and this entire weekend, I'm going to do something fun that I rarely get to do. What is it? It's nothing...literally NOTHING! What's the fun in doing nothing? Well, to be honest I think it's impossible to do nothing. If you decide to stay in bed all weekend, doing nothing, you are really doing something--staying in bed all weekend. Right?

So, what will my nothing include? Who knows! That's the beauty of doing nothing---I have no preset plans, no expectations of myself or others, nothing at all! I have lots of things to do, of course, but I'm not doing any of them this weekend (no working on Pure Jeevan activities, no cleaning the house or doing laundry, no working on the computer, no organizing future plans/activities, no fancy meal preparations, etc.).

The new Vitamix container arrived within two days (they knew we were hard core Vitamix users and put the container in the mail the day we ordered it to replace the broken one). So, what was the first thing we made in our shiny new container (after washing it, of course)? A DELICIOUS coconut smoothie!

Two years ago, we were putting the final touches on launching the Pure Jeevan web site and blog. (While the blog archives show material dating back to 2006, the material from '06 and '07 is all pulled from Wendi's "Going Raw" journal, which was kept on another site. We pulled it into this site when we launched it to give those starting out on raw an inside look at one person's experiences in transitioning to a raw food diet.)

This is Part II of a two-parter on raw food restaurants. Yesterday, we listed a half-dozen challenges that one might face when opening a raw restaurant. Today, we're focusing in on the more enjoyable side -- the potential advantages that opening raw restaurants offer over their cooked-food counterparts.

Let's dive into it... Here are six things we believe are advantages!

Jim here... Thought I'd post a pic from Wendi's birthday last Friday. Shown above is the "birthday cake" -- more of a birthday treat, really. If it looks decent to you, here's the recipe:

The "cake" part:

Isn't it high time we incorporate more Internet phenomena into our daily lives? Okay, maybe not everything (reminding myself that certain others aren't always amused when I say "BRB" instead of "I'll be right back.") But, I really do think there are some conceptual web ideas out there that could benefit us if applied more often.

Since Pure Jeevan specializes in raw food weight loss, we receive a lot of questions about what is required in order to lose excess weight. Many individuals want to know if they need to go on a 100% raw food diet in order to release excess weight.

The answer is, "No, you do not need to switch to a 100% raw food diet in order to lose weight." If you're asking if a 100% raw food diet works better for losing weight than slowly transitioning and increasing your raw food intake, the answer is still, "No."

We've got three incredible posts coming your way this week, and we're going to get started right here and NOW with a one-hour interview with the incredible Kevin Gianni. As most of you know, we postponed our RV Tour recently.As part of that, we'd planned to stage a fun event related to the All Raw Directory.We'd planned to air this interview with Kevin (conducted back in December 2008) for that event.

Fast-forward to today and we realize that, like our raw RV Tour, our All Raw Directory promotion will have to wait. It's funny how things trickle down like that. But, all is not lost. This is still an incredible interview -- and guess what ! It's only part one of a two-part interview, as well as a special super-fun surprise we'll be announcing on Friday. We promise: No one in the raw food community will want to miss Friday's post. All we'll say now is that it's a truly unique, limited opportunity unlike anything you've seen here before! Trust us: You couldn't possibly guess what it is!

Jim here... As you may have noticed, Pure Jeevan was offline for the past week. I wish this absence had been for some pleasant reason that I could now write about. But, in truth, it was because my mother passed away last Thursday afternoon. It's not easy to write about so soon afterward; we're all painfully unprepared to describe my mother using the past tense. Her passing still just doesn't seem real to me or to anyone who knew her.She was without a doubt a remarkably beautiful, happy, and loving person who, for 65+ years, really made a difference in a lot of people's lives.

Beyond her ties to Wendi, KDcat, and me, she was also known to some Pure Jeevan family members as well as others in the raw food community. She appeared here just a few months ago to share a raw hummus recipe. And, I know she had visited and/or joined a few other raw foods sites during the past two years. She really did have an interest in it, and always loved her veggies and a good salad. In fact, she was one of those people who actually ate fairly healthfully, relatively speaking, yet still faced serious health challenges.

What have we been doing lately? Well, one of the highlights would be getting the first and second stages of the All Raw Directory up and running. We have many different stages planned for the future, enhancing the directory as time permits. It's a pretty exciting project, so be sure to become a member of the directory and continually contribute to its growth. It's a fantastic resource for all of us!