I'm still working on the dishes that will be served at the upcoming 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat (only 2 spots left!). Today, I worked on the Sandwich Fixin's that will be served for lunch on one of the retreat days.

Yesterday we talked about attending raw food meetups / potlucks. Today we'll focus on...

*Hosting* Raw Foods Meetups

There are two main ways to host a raw foods meetup. The first would be through the meetup.com web site. If there is no raw foods meetup in your area, you're going to need to launch one. (See the Meetup web site for details.) If there is a group, you'll need to sign up and get to know the moderator, as you'll need to announce your meetup through that person.

I receive many questions from our readers, and I am very happy to respond. I truly love helping others, but I don't do it just for them.When I was younger, many times I thought I was performing selfless acts of kindness whenever I'd help others. However, now I realize I am experiencing pleasure by helping others. I find it very rewarding, as though I am fulfilling my purpose in life.

Do you know what your life's purpose is? Do you believe there is such a thing These aren't rhetorical questions; I'm really interested in hearing your response. Well, I've known my life's purpose (actually, I have more than one) from a very young age, but it wasn't until recently that I began living it more fully. My purpose in life is to love others---to connect with others through an immensely deep and genuine love.One way I've found for spreading my love and realizing my purpose is by helping others.

When I answer questions for our readers, I speak from my heart. I think it's important to realize, however, that the answers we receive from others are *their* answers to similar questions. Maybe their answers will work for us, but maybe they won't.I've stressed this many times, but it never hurts to repeat it: Listen to others, hear what they have to share, but mostly listen to your own inner voice. We all have the answers deep within ourselves, even if we can't always hear them very well.

?To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

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

Since our child was exposed to a large variety of vegetables and fruits at a young age, she has always enjoyed consuming them in myriad ways. When children's exposure to fruits and veggies has been limited, however, they don't always like consuming things that are so different from what they've grown accustomed to eating (and this many times carries into adulthood).

It's vital that children be exposed to a variety of foods, as often as possible, while growing up. For the vast majority of children, however, that has not been the case. Packaged, processed, and fast foods are a standard part of our society; we don't think twice about serving such foods to our children. Everyone is doing it, it's affordable and convenient, and they like it!

When I first decided to try a raw food diet again (I had sampled it for about three months a few years before going completely raw), I wanted to do it in a way to prove that it either does or doesn t work. The best way to do that, I figured, was through consistent blood tests. So, that s what I did. I have continued to document my path to health with regular blood tests. Many of you know that the results have been remarkable. My dramatic shift in weight is the most obvious to others, but there were equally impressive changes going on inside my body, as well.

It has been about a year since my last blood work was done, so I knew I should schedule an appointment to get the testing done soon (since I want to keep the tests somewhat yearly). I tend to always put the testing off, however. As much as I m curious about the results, the truth is that I m terrified of needles. Over the past few months, I was continuing to put this yearly testing off, but something has spurred me to get it done sooner than later.

So it's time to continue that discussion on the aforementioned fringe one percent -- those people who will not accept your conscious intention to pursue your own health via this path. Please keep in mind during this discussion that we're only discussing just that one percent, not people in general. So, this is, I hope, relatively rare.

To begin, I'd like to stress a few points:

"... a warrior's life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is a warrior's sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death."
~ Dan Millman, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

During some "highway philosophization" (my term for pondering everything and anything while driving) this afternoon, I eventually began to think rather deeply about human aggression, and specifically about how people hurt other people. Mainly, I was thinking about individual aggreession, although, as a group, humans are unfortunately rather prone to it.Wikipedia maintains a list of ongoing conflicts (i.e., wars), in fact. According to that page, there are seven major wars happenning right now and 15 additional significant ones. Of course, there are scores of unlisted ones ongoing as well, most of which the average person has never heard about.

And here's the conclusion of Wendi's San Francisco travelogue:

That evening we met up with Carolyn, a long-time friend since college, who was our lovely host for a few days. Carolyn has a gift with cats, which was a real treat for KDcat to see. Do you know how you can teach dogs to sit and give kisses? Well, Carolyn has taught one of her rescued cats to do the same thing! He *really* sits and *really* gives kisses on command! WOW!

Carolyn showed us all around the San Franciso and Berkeley areas, bringing KDcat to a thrift shop (she's been having fun popping into random thrift shops to see what she can find) and a fun shop called Ancient Ways, stopping by some Indian shops so I could pick up some more bindis and some ground coriander for a dish I made while visiting, checking out the Berkeley campus area, and taking us shopping for organic foods.

Jim thought it was important for me to update everyone about my health, especially since so many of you have been sending emails, etc., and I haven't responded.

I do appreciate all the love and concern (thank you all so VERY much!), but it's painful for me to type for very long. This update is going to most likely bring about some more pain, but I don't want you to keep worrying about me and my health. So, I'll share what's been going on.

There's an antibiotic that will decrease the pain temporarily if you have Lyme disease (it won't help the pain if it's caused by anything else), and I was able to obtain some of it. So far, today is day five on it. And here's some great news: The pain started lessening on day three -- the aches completely gone, leaving only sharp pains when I move my joints in certain ways. I'll be on this antibiotic (and possibly some others for "co-infections" that sometimes come with Lyme, but I won't know until more blood tests are done and the Lyme specialist reviews the results).

You know that old saying about a picture being worth a thousand words? Well, today we want to add a thousand words to your daily informational intake.

Take the time to meet