Day 6: Today is the final day of placing extra focus on the feminine qualities attributed to Goddess Lakshmi. For me, going within, shining light on the things that aren't so clear, the things that I've been avoiding, or the things that have been completely invisible is something I've revisited off and on my entire life. It's something that I often recommend to friends and family, as well. It's what has allowed me to continually improve my life (both physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually), and something I'll always consider vital.

The more we search within for answers, the more we'll learn about our true selves. The more we understand ourselves, the more authentic we become in our interactions with others. The more authentic we are with others, the more others can feel comfortable around us. The more others become comfortable around us, the more they can experience their own authentic selves. And the more others experience their true selves, the more we all wake up and truly begin living a life of beauty, grace, vibrancy, and love.

Did you know that, among the handful of programs I continually have running, there is always a dictionary program active on my laptop Oh, sure, there are tons of great web sites out there for looking up words -- and I do use those regularly. But, I just like my handy-dandy dictionary program. It's instant (no waiting for pages to load, etc.), it's ad-free, and it and has a great? -- no, scratch that, a tantalizing! -- thesaurus as well.

Anyway, here's what my trusty friend, the American Heritage Dictionary, has to say about the phrase "will power":

Many people have asked us about the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF): What is it? When is it? Where is it? Will we be going ? So, we wanted to take a moment to answer those questions.

Quick note: Jim here... So strikingly pervasive is the "winter blues of 2010" that I suspect many of my friends will think this is about them. But, it's just some thoughts, really -- not in response to anything or anyone in particular. (In fact, if anything, it's in response to something related to our dog, which we'll no doubt write about at some point.)

I sense that there is a useful blog post on the topic of "raw during tough times." However, after pondering the topic at length, I'm just not exactly sure what to say about it. I do know that quite a lot of people come to feel disappointed in themselves for straying from the healthiest path. It's a story I've read over and over on raw web sites and blogs, perhaps more frequently in the winter. It starts out the same: Someone goes raw, gets all fired up about it, and soon starts feeling youthful and vibrant again. The high lasts for a while, but then ... something happens. They slip back to cooked foods -- or worse, to junk foods. Sometimes the process repeats itself for years.

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!

Today we'd like to introduce you to one of the sweetest, most creative, and passionate raw foodists we know. She's petite, pretty, pleasant, powerful! She continually shares her knowledge about the raw food lifestyle with others and educates many individuals about our human rights when it comes to the foods we grow and consume. She's up on the latest regulatory activities relating to health and diet issues going on within the US government, and speaks out when our rights are in jeopardy of being taken away.

Take the Time to Meet... Rhio!

Do you need to be 100% raw to release excess weight and regain your health There's no difinitive answer for that question because we are all unique. Sure, our bodies function pretty much the same way, but there are still enough differences that make it difficult to answer a question like that for it to be true for every single individual.

Most of us have heard of, or know, someone who doesn't eat a healthy diet, who smokes cigarettes and/or drinks alcohol, doesn't get enough rest, and also lives a stressful life---yet that person still has a healthy body and is over 80 years old. People like that seem to have resiliency built into their genes. Sure, who knows how long a person with such resilient genes could live or how vibrant a life that person could enjoy with a healtheir lifestyle. But, the fact remains that it seems no matter what a person's lifestyle is like, if you are born with resilient genes you are pretty much invincible to most illnesses.

A majority of the population isn't born with such impressively hardy genes, however. Most bodies can withstand the stresses of an unhealthy lifestyle until middle age. At that point, however, the body begins to show signs of ill health (excess weight gain, aches and pains, and the start of many diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure). For a majority of those individuals, some healthy lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. Many individuals regain their health simply by changing their diets to include less fat and more vegetables, and by increasing their amount of exercise. Sure, it's a bit of work to make such changes, but if many people are committed to improving their health those simple changes can make a drastic difference in their lives.

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As we'll show over the course of this week, the Raw Spirit Festival is about much more than just delicious, nutritious raw food. In fact, there's usually so many fun things taking place simultaneously while you're there that it's easy to forget about the foods completely!

I'd been there an entire day before realizing that there was a raw food court on site. (Mostly, I'd been dining on fruit I'd brought along and had stored in a cooler in my tent!). Thankfully, I did eventually discover the food court, and it was really something special. To call it a "food court" is almost demeaning, as that phrase brings to mind bland "mall food" restaurants that serve up mostly fast food fare. At the RSF, you're treated with many delicious options, which can make choosing a place to dine rather difficult!

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).

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:

Hey everyone! It's nice to be more or less back in the swing of things again after an unexpectedly long stay in Chicago last week. You know, staying an extra three days on a trip isn't so bad, though. I imagine that if we had known that we were staying six days instead of three, we probably would have packed way too much. So, there are definitely advantages to unexpected happennings!

Anyway, here's another look into a Chicago-area raw food restaurant. This time, we were able to sit down with the owners, Danny & Kathy Living. The video starts with some footage of some gourmet raw dishes (a raw burrito, a raw falafel, and a raw dessert), and then gets into the interviews.