Let's stay sharp by learning about brain power! Did you know that the less exercise your brain receives through reading, learning new things (like you do here on our blog!), playing games, and contemplating puzzles the more it is likely to become weak and not serve you well into your centenarian years? Scientists have been trying to figure out ways to improve the brain's function and have learned a lot, but are still uncertain what causes Alzheimer's Disease, or any other form of Dementia.

If you ve ever known someone who suffers with a loss of mental capabilities, you know how sad and sometimes scary that can be. Last week, Jim posted a blog that touched a bit on the subject of Alzheimer s Disease. He wrote in that article, ?I want better than just a small chance that I ll live healthfully for a full lifespan. I want to stack the aging deck in my favor. ?Eating a healthy, raw food diet is something Jim was hoping to use in order to stack the deck in his favor of a life free of memory loss and full of vibrant health.

Back when we ate cooked foods (especially way back when our menu was not exclusively vegan), parmesan cheese seemed to be a staple of our existence (especially for Jim). We'd sprinkle it liberally on pasta dishes, salads, soups, and more.

As is typical for many raw foodies, you often realize after going raw that it was not always necessarily the food itself that you craved (no matter what it was); often it was simply the texture, the spices, the various flavors and tastes, etc. And that realization leads raw chefs to wonder whether the same experience can be recreated using only raw ingredients.

Today we bring you the last of our personal video interviews conducted while at the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF East 2009). I'll have one other highlight reel to run next week, just to round out this series by showing some of the additional ambience there.

So, we've finally come to the "infamous Viktoras video"! I smiled as I wrote that because it was quite the topic of discussion around our camp site. You see, one of my fellow campers, Bethany Hagensen, was with me as we interviewed Viktoras (she filmed the interview, in fact) -- and, well... let's just say he strayed a bit from the expected raw food subject matter. I was worried that poor Bethany would be scarred for life after witnessing the discussion, but she did seem to get a good laugh out of it, and I suppose she's fully old enough to attend an R-rated movie.

[Sorry, we lost the pic in a web update... will repost if we find it!]

Last night, Jim ate the first warm food he's had in over a year! I created a dinner that was placed in the dehydrator for about an hour before it was served. This dish is delicious at room temperature, also, but I thought it might be more special if I served it a bit warm. Jim thought it was a nice change to the colder temperatures of the smoothies he's been practically living on!

Here's the recipe, if you think you'd like to try it.

Jim here... During one of our marathon sessions at a Border's book store, I recall reading somewhere about the notion of a fruit's "intention" to be eaten. It's been a few years since I've read that, but I immediately resonated with the notion that many fruits, nuts, vegetables, and seeds are actually evolved to be eaten by other living beings and, therefore, to consume them (or their fruits and seeds) is to participate in a wonderfully nonviolent act that is in perfect harmony with a kind of primordial Earthen symbiosis. Whether these plants, vines, trees, etc. feel a conscious intention to have their fruit eaten by others is a matter of metaphysical conjecture. But, within the context of discussing vegetarianism, the argument is certainly relevant and fairly strong.

If you walk up to a farm animal, it may be impossible to estimate what's going through its mind, but I feel intuitively that it isn't, "Please kill me and eat my flesh." In other words, there's no "intention" present in that scenario. On the other hand, it's very easy to imagine that a tree produces fruit, knowingly or not, in order to produce offspring. Throughout the entire evolution of that tree, part of that reproductive process has involved animals (including humans) eating the fruit and then "redistributing" (which is a nice way of putting it, I suppose) the seeds naturally.

I am very fair-skinned, with light eyes and medium-colored hair. For as long as I can remember, the sun made me feel ill. The older I got, the sicker I'd feel. I felt uncomfortable in the heat, my skin would feel all prickly, I got horrible headaches, and sometimes I even got sick to my stomach. I've always loved being out in nature, but on really sunny days, it bothered me and I'd try to stay in/near the woods and the shade.

Ahh, yes... Ginkgo Biloba. What a distinctive tree, don't you think? So easy to identify, and so many reported health benefits. This one belongs to a neighbor that seems to have an affinity with Asian landscaping motifs. They also have gorgeous bamboo growing in their yard, and other Asian elements. I would have liked to have harvested some leaves to dry for some Ginkgo tea, but the owner wasn't around to ask. Perhaps some other time.

I am extremely thankful for sleep. I can't imagine striving to sleep only four hours a night. Jim always says he wishes he didn't have to sleep, that he's wasting his life when he sleeps. For me, I've always loved sleeping. I feel so great after I wake up. Not only that, I thoroughly enjoy dreaming. I wouldn't want to miss out on the amazing dream life I've been able to enjoy while I sleep.

Here's some coconutty video footage from our Florida Keys excursion. First up is some footage of Randesh, from www.TheGuana.com, who obtains fresh coconuts for Charlie Wilson's Key West restaurant, Help Yourself (see yesterday's blog post).Notice that Randesh uses a proper piece of equipment -- a large machete (or cutlass) -- which makes short, easy work of opening these precious gifts of nature! In the video footage following that, you'll see how comically difficult it is to open a young coconut when you lack the proper equipment. We actually went out looking for a machete, but could only find a large chef's knife at a local K-Mart. Yep, they were sold out of machetes! (Ironically, the chef's knife -- the heaviest one the store had -- cost about $17, while plain old machetes run just $10 or so at most hardware stores. Next time we'll keep looking...)

I ordered a case of organic, fresh-picked, perfectly ripe oranges!! Yay! They were shipped in less than 24 hours of my order and they should arrive soon! I asked for some grapefruits in there, too, even though I haven't really liked the taste of them in the past. I'm thinking that fresh ones will taste a lot better--not to mention that I never tried an organic one before. If I still don't like them, Jim and KDcat will eat them. ;-)

If you want to check out the grove from where I ordered them, here's a link: http://www.flnaturalcitrus.com/. I emailed with Dave, who was very nice. It's fun to get to know the people you are getting your food from, isn't it? This past spring, summer, and fall we were members of a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. The produce was amazing and it was so fun to actually see pictures of the farm workers and hear about the daily ins and outs of life on the farm. If you've never heard about a CSA, maybe you'll want to see if you have one in your local area this coming spring.

Tomorrow I'll finally be posting about the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat that I organized. I took a few days to myself after the event, and then I needed to catch up on a lot of things (which included formatting an almost 150-page publication). It's hard to believe that two weeks have passed, already, since the retreat ended.

I have a lot of photos from the event! Some of the guests prefer to remain anonymous, however, so I can't share all of them with you. However, there are a lot that I can still post on a public page for you to view! I'm waiting to receive some more images from the ashram's camera. Once I have them, I'll be able to complete the photos pages and share images from that wonderful weekend.

BIG THANKS to one of the guests, Angel, who happily took my camera and captured images that weekend. I am extremely grateful that she did, and I'm also impressed with her creative gift with photography! The image she captured of another guest, Faye, is absolutely beautiful! I'm looking forward to sharing the pics with all of you!