I thought I'd put another fun week together here at Pure Jeevan while Wendi is away (although, actually, ALL of our weeks are fun-filled here!). This week, I thought I'd discuss herbs, spices, and essential oils. Of course, I can't cover those enormously important (and huge) subjects in-depth over the course of just one week, so I created that little banner (above) so that we can re-use it from time to time.

Herbs are fascinating, aren't they? Sometimes, you don't even consciously know why you use the ones you do but, invariably, there's a reason. Sure, sometimes recipes call for a specific flavor. But, often, there are other reasons as well -- such as to support digestion, or to provide a warming or cooling sensaiton. This type of thing is critical in ayurvedic principles, as we touched on recently on this blog, where the spices could be present for digestive or medicinal purposes, or of course as a preservative.

We're here to inspire you...that's our overall focus here at Pure Jeevan. So, when we ask you what you'd like us to do more of, less of, or to consider doing here on the blog ... we take your responses to heart. Of course, it's impossible to please every single person since we all have different personalities and needs. However, we'll always do our best to create a balance in order to inspire as many individuals as possible.

Below are suggestions for what some of you'd like to see happening here on the blog, along with some responses from us. If you have more suggestions, please send them our way anytime. We read everything that comes in and will always give your suggestions serious consideration.

Here it is, the final stop along our 40-day cross-country tour, Chicago, IL, before returning home to Jim! It's been an incredible time, meeting so many wonderful people, seeing so much natural beauty across the country, deciding where we'll relocate once our home sells, tasting incredible raw foods along the way, and spreading the word about the raw food lifestyle whenever an opportunity presented itself!

Below you'll find the final notes I wrote about our tour, along with some videos and pictures of our final stop in Chicago, Illinois.

We definitely arrived in Chicago refreshed and ready for some adventures. So, we headed directly downtown to search out a new raw food restaurant that our friends Kathy and Danny Living had mentioned to us.

RAW, the newly opened restaurant by Polly Gaza and Carole Jones, is situated inside the Ogilvie Train Station in a recently constructed French Market food court. When we figured out how to get into the market, we were impressed. It's a nice concept and has a fun feeling to it, just strolling along a market place (all while inside a large building housing a train station) that seemed as though it was almost outdoors. When we found the new RAW restaurant, we were thrilled. The colors, decorations, and displays were all very well done. We had to wait a while to talk with the owners, since the restaurant was doing some great business when we arrived. You can see a video we took of the owners, below, and find out more about the restaurant on their web site: Chicago Raw Food. The video was edited down because the sound quality wasn't very good, but you'll hear some inspiring thoughts from Carole about manifesting your dreams and how she and Polly simply manifested the restaurant by beginning with their thoughts. Carole advises: Live Your Passions!

After leaving the restaurant, we headed straight to Borrowed Earth Cafe to visit with our friends Kathy and Danny Living. For those of you who don't already know them, Kathy and Danny are incredibly loving people who are down to earth and doing some incredible things with their lives (manifesting along the same lines that Carole touches on in the video, above, and also inspiring others along the way to live their dreams and treat the planet with kindness). We first met Danny and Kathy last year during a visit to Chicago, and we immediately loved them. If we hadn't met them last year, our route back home during this tour wouldn't have included a stop in Chicago. However, we did meet them and I wanted to spend more time with them so a stop in Chicago was added to our trip itinerary. I love their energy, their soft and gentle loving nature, and to top it off the raw foods they serve in their Borrwed Earth Cafe are delicious. So, KDcat and I were looking forward to spending time with them again (and Jim was sad to miss out on seeing them this time).

When I told Danny and Kathy that we were coming in for a visit during our tour, they asked if we'd be interested in talking to their raw food meetup group. We agreed, of course, and they introduced us to David Hanley, a member of their large group. David hosted us for our stay in Chicago and we had a nice time getting to know him. He's into stairclimb racing, yoga, software development, loves fixing homes (like Jim does), raw foods, and so much more. In his home, David has a massage chair that KDcat really enjoyed a lot. David drove us to our talk at the meetup, where we met with even more incredible people. It was a large group, so we met at a Whole Foods meeting room not very far from the cafe. There were a lot of questions from those attending the talk, which I always enjoy. It's nice to meet so many people who are interested in learning a about ways they can improve their health.

That evening, we shared with David the generous amounts of raw foods that Kathy and Danny had sent home with us for the evening. We enjoyed things like Borrowed Earth's World Famous Salad, Burrito Loco, Sweet Potato Quesadilla, a green smoothie, some cheese cake, and the most incredible raw apple pie I've ever tasted. I'm not kidding about that statement, either. I used to consider myself queen of the apple pie back when I baked my foods, and this raw apple pie that Kathy and Danny have created was even more delicious than my best baked apple pie. If you don't believe me, it's worth a trip to Chicago just to check it out! Absolutely DELICIOUS! Maybe if enough people ask, Kathy and Danny will share the recipe with all of you through one of our special guest chef editions of Makin' It Monday!

Before leaving Chicago and heading toward home, we stopped by Borrowed Earth Cafe once more to spend a little extra time with Kathy and Danny. We had great fun together and as much as KDcat and I were looking forward to being with Jim again, we wished we had more time to spend with Kathy and Danny. While there, we talked a lot about the power of intention and creating our futures. Danny also brought out some tuning forks and balanced my energy using them. Let me tell you, that was some powerful healing he was doing. After he was done, I felt euphoric and grounded all at the same time. I was filled with even more love than I normally feel flowing within and without my body. Wow! When I told Jim about it, we agreed that we'd like to learn more about tuning forks, too.

Danny and Kathy are always a wealth of knowledge and inspiration and I was sad to leave their company. Before going, they sent us out the door with even more delicious raw foods to feed us until we returned home. There was even some leftover to share with Jim when we arrived home the following evening!

Below, you'll see a video we took while visiting Borrowed Earth Cafe last year during our visit to Chicago. You can see in this video how incredibly sweet Kathy and Danny are, but you can tell even better by meeting them in person, yourself. If you're in the Chicago, IL, area, be sure to stop by and introduce yourself to them!

So, that ends our tour! After Chicago we headed back to Pittsburgh to be reunited with Jim. The next time we cross the country, we'll be doing it together as a family. Being apart like we did it this time (which was necessary for budgetary reasons) took away from some of the fun we could have all experienced together.

Again, it was such a joy meeting so many of you as we visited different cities and states. Thanks, again, to everyone who hosted us and showed us a great time in your little part of the country! It's a trip we'll never forget, and one that will always bring fond memories to mind.

Lots of love to all of you,

Wendi

XOXOXO

p.s. Don't forget to show support of our Trip Snack Sponsor, Natural Zing, who made the snack portion of this trip possible! Thanks, again, Helen and Jeff! We love you both!

We hope you ll check out our generous snack sponsor for the trip, Natural Zing, who made our travels extra enjoyable! They have the best selection of raw food snacks, supplies, and appliances for a raw food lifestyle!

Yesterday was a ton of fun, wasn't it? Sam loves all of the comments, so if you haven't viewed her video, please do -- and let her know how much you enjoyed it!? For today, we just wanted to announce the addition of a permanent new button along the right sidebar of our blog. As you can see, it links to this post from a few weeks back when we first announced a call for guest raw chefs. There, you'll find the details on hosting a segment of Makin' It Monday, just like Sam did.

By the way, just last week, we passed a noteworthy milestone that we didn't mention -- our 500th blog post here at Pure Jeevan. That's a lot of raw foods coverage, right ! Well, we're really still getting started when it comes to the level of information and inspiration we're planning for Pure Jeevan -- so it's great to add new features like this now, as we're able to. Of course, once our home sells and we're finally able to move on to the next phase of our lives, we envision Pure Jeevan exploding with more content than ever before. What fun it'll be to be able to devote ourselves full-time to spreading the word about raw foods!

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

In some wonderfully literary sense, there must be some kind of unique metaphor that could be constructed around the process by which cabbage turns to kimchi. Personal growth is not always easy, as any success technologist will surely tell you; ?there's a lot of doubt and oozing and off-gassing involved -- and yet, the final product is surprisingly pleasing to the palate.

Yes, it's time for us to update you on our first-ever kimchi experiment. If you want the short version:? I believe we have been successful! For those of you with a few more minutes, I'll share some of the lurid details. Highlights of our experiment included:

We're super excited to devote the rest to the week to featuring a variety of answers to the question "Are Raw Foodists Crazy " If you're just now tuning in, please read the back story and introduction to this, as posted yesterday. ?But, for now, let's get on with posting a few responses. We have at least 10 different ones to share this week, from a number of friends of Pure Jeevan. Some are short, humorous quips, others longer essays. Enjoy!! :-)

Markus Rothkranz

Las Vegas, NV

The superlatively captivating, one-and-only Bif Naked has been a superstar rock and roll icon, performer, diva, composer, acclaimed actress, sought-after voice-over artist, gifted poet / writer, and even cartoonist(!) for years. But, did you know she's also a raw vegan !

Early in 2009, I remember reading about her breast cancer diagnosis. The story both intrigued and haunted the raw world: ?How could a raw foodie get cancer ! We're supposed to be impervious to such things, right !

Getting Lyme Disease after regaining my health on the raw foods diet was a tough thing to accept. How could a body cure itself with a raw food diet, yet then fail to even recognize and destroy the Lyme bacteria? So many individuals have recovered from awful diseases, including cancer, by eating a raw food diet. Why, as a raw foodist, has my body been unable to easily eliminate this lyme disease?

I know Jim and I weren't the only ones wondering this. Many of you have voiced concerns, as well. Questions have been asked about how healthy my raw diet has actually been. Have I been cheating and eating cooked foods? Have I been eating too many packaged raw food snacks? Am I drinking alcohol? What have I been doing *wrong* with my diet in order for this to happen in my body? Here are some answers:

Today's post isn't specifically about raw foods. But, we wanted to post a few videos highlighting some interesting research by an Italian doctor named Tullio Simoncini, who just might be onto something HUGE! Dr. Simoncini treats certain cancer patients with ordinary sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), based on his premise that cancer is a fungal problem and that a solution of baking soda is anti-fungal. Naturally, he's been vilified by the medical establishment for making such a seemingly simplistic claim. But, what if he's right?

Here at Pure Jeevan, we're very much into health research -- not so much with an aim to cure any specific disease or ailment, but rather to understand ways in which our bodies can become what we like to call unbalanced, as well as the ways in which we might return our bodies to proper balance, when necessary. In this way, I suppose that we, like many in the natural health world, feel that the body is amazingly capable of healing itself (in many circumstances) as long as the body is able to find a favorable state from which it can properly do what it naturally wants to -- which is to return the body to an optimal state of health.

Medical doctors don't buy into this theory very much. ?However, it's certainly ironic how, where certain areas of standard medical practice are concerned, what I described above is exactly what doctors do. Take something like a broken bone, for example. A doctor does not normally attempt to surgically repair the bone itself. Rather, the standard and time-honored practice is to set the bone (say, with a cast), and then to let your body heal the break naturally, on its own, making those skeletal connections as only the imponderably complex, ever-evolving wisdom of the human body can facilitate. (True, doctors do often intervene these days with surgery for broken bones. But, their aim there is mainly to position the bones for proper healing, and/or to do things like insert pins in an attempt to improve functionality after healing. Either way, the procedure here still relies on the body's ability to eventually heal the problem.) Standard medical knowledge in this area is without question outstanding -- and this is why most people in the natural health world have little problem with going to see a medical doctor for emergency treatment.

Mmmmmmmmm! ?I'm sitting here at my computer eating the Best Organic Fuji Apple Ever. Don't believe me? ?Here's a picture of the apple I'm eating right now:

Looks dee-lish, right? ?(Okay, so maybe it's not the most appetizing pic in the world...) ?Anyway, one interesting thing about this apple is that I bought it (a whole big bag of them, actually) because it was so cheap. (I'm on a relatively tight budget these days.) ?But, if it was so cheap, how could it be so tasty? ?(And organic, too!) Well, that's where the basic law of supply and demand come in. Whenever a crop is at the peak of its season, the supply rises considerably. Instead of the store receiving X number of bushels of apples, they receive 5X or more. So, they slash prices to move that kind of volume.

A few years ago, my dear friend Melissa and I decided to split the cost and order a raw food home study course (then known as The Dr. Ann Wigmore Program).Let me tell you, this was not a cheap program that we purchased, but at that time there wasn't as much free information available on the Internet like we now have.

Was it worth the cost? Well, kind of. Since we had both been reading and learning so much about raw foods (she had actually been raw for a long time many years before), much of the information wasn't new to us. However, if someone was newly learning about raw foods, the program would probably have been fantastic. The quality of the materials we received wasn't great (photocopies of photocopies that were sometimes difficult to read, and some videos that were blurry or difficult to hear), but at least we had a lot of information at our fingertips.