I'm still doing my nine-day mono meals for Navratri. Since it's Makin' It Monday, instead of actually makin' a recipe, I'm dreamin' about it! After talking with my sweet friend Melissa, I thought I wanted to eat spinach pie when I end my mono meals. She was talking about it, shared how she was going to create it, and my mind was filling with the image of spinach pie, the smell and taste of it, and I wanted it right then.But, we don't have any spinach in the house right now. Since I end my mono meals after tomorrow's lunch, and don't have time to buy spinach at the food co-op, I decided to dream some more about what I'll be eating for tomorrow's dinner.

Then it came to me. I want beet pasta! Not just any beet pasta, but beet pasta topped with a creamy alfredo sauce! I picture it in my mind; I can imagine the taste of it, the texture, and it's so delicious. I think I want something green with it, too. Perhaps I'll start with a small salad. Ooh! Yes, that's what I'll do!

On this lovely Valentine's Day, I am focusing on how thankful I am for LOVE! I'm not into the whole this-is-the-day-you-are-supposed-to-show-love thing, though. I think love is something that should always be around, felt, and shared. Every day is a new day to express the love you have in so many varied ways, why hold it back for one special day a year?

This recipe is an adaptation of one from "Rawvolution", by Matt Amsden. As of this point in time, "Rawvolution" is my favorite recipe book. Most of the recipes are high in sodium and fat, but very satisfying for those who are used to eating cooked foods.

Egg-less Egg Salad

Did you know that approximately 70% of your muscle, 80% of your blood is water, and 85% of your brain is made up of water? When we are born, we are nearly 90% water by weight, and as we age we lose more and more water (think of a grape slowly shriveling up into a dried raisin).

If you consume 100% fresh raw foods (with none that have been dried or dehydrated in any way), your body is receiving the cleanest, most pure water possible and you probably don't experience a lot of thirst. The less fresh foods an individual consumes, the more their needs for water increases.

I want to admit something to all of you: Sometimes I still cry because of how people treated me when I was obese. Because I stuffed all of my "negative" emotions deep inside my entire life, it's going to take some time to fully release them. I'm working on it, however, and making tremendous progress with healing myself on all levels. I'm not telling you these things so you'll feel sorry for me, however. I'm telling you because I am thankful for all the pain I endured. It shaped me (in more ways than just my physical appearance) into the person I am today.

Even though it sounds strange, and somehow wrong to feel this way, I'm thankful that I was obese. I'm thankful for all of the experiences during my life, even the extremely painful, traumatic ones. Maybe if I was a different kind of person I would wish that those things didn't happen to me. However, I am using those experiences in positive ways. They've helped me understand people even better, and to understand myself on a deeper level, as well. When people reach out to me it's not only because I'm an approachable person, it's because they sense that I understand them--and they're right. I DO understand them. I understand you. My experiences, coupled with my gift of empathy, help me relate to you in a way that maybe not everyone else is able to do.

For some odd reason, I've had the privilege of "doing Thanksgiving" with a lot of different friends and families over the years. Because of this, and of course just from talking with others and reading things others have posted, I'm fairly certain that Thanksgiving means different things to different people.For some, it's their favorite annual holiday and fills them with joyous memories of Thanksgivings past and incredible anticipation of Thanksgivings to come. Some historian friends of mine seem fascinated by the historical aspects of the holiday -- the whole story of the pilgrims, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, I've actually encountered a few people who take offense at the very idea of this holiday (and they've got some convincing reasons to protest the wider celebrations)!

While all holidays are certainly "food-centric" by tradition, it's arguable that no other holiday (at least here in America) can match Thanksgiving's reputation in terms of feasting. It's kind of funny when you think about it because many holidays (or, "holy days") are actually traditionally observed by abstaining from food. So, there are fasts, and feasts. I think the majority view, based on my own sampling of various friend and family traditions, seems to be: It's mostly about having a huge meal. Yes, there is certainly an undercurrent of being thankful out there. A few families I've been with have had traditional, almost ceremonial, activities that went along with the meal (e.g., going around the room, taking turns stating what you're grateful for).

When you're young and learning the letters of the alphabet, anything that starts with the same letter as your name becomes really special. Well, ever since I was a child and saw a Winnebago RV with the giant "W" on the side, I've been enchanted with the idea of one day owning one and traveling the world (at that age, I didn't realize I'd have to cross oceans to see everything).

If you've been following us for a while, you'll know that I was bringing that vision to life. It took years of convincing, but Jim was finally ready for such an adventure and together we began making plans. For more than two years we've been preparing to tour the country, while teaching about raw foods along the way. Our lives changed so dramatically when we found a way to heal our bodies (and more), a way that can also help others, and we just couldn't sit still. We feel called to spread the word about the raw food diet so others can at least hear that there's another way, that there's something different to try in their quest for health. I knew that crossing the country in an RV, planting the seeds about a raw food diet along the way, would be an efficient way of spreading the word.

The lovely Bunny Berry (see yesterday's post congratulating her) has cooked up created an amazing and fun community to encourage others to take a 100-Day Raw Food Challenge!

Before we moved to Portland, Oregon, land of all things fresh and organic within walking distance, we had to drive quite a distance to reach the food co-op (the only place that had a good selection of organic produce and other raw food necessities). So, we only went shopping about once a week. It took a lot of trial and error to find ways to keep our weekly produce fresh for about a week.

We learned which fruits and vegetables stay fresh the longest, and which go bad the fastest. Based on this, we stocked the refrigerator accordingly (and used up the produce accordingly, as well). The fruits and veggies that stayed fresh the longest were stored in the backs of the shelves (things like carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, etc.). Next we stored the greens that lasted a pretty good amount of time (like kale and collards). And in the front of the shelves and in the door, we stored the more delicate greens (like lettuces and herbs).

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

It's not much longer before I'll be serving all kinds of delicious foods to those attending the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat! I've been working on the recipes and taking pictures to include with the bound materials going home with everyone attending the retreat.