We've spent some time on this blog talking about how much fun you can have via the meetup.com web site. If you search that site, you can probably find raw food meetups near you!? But, a few readers have asked us some follow-ups, such as What should I bring and What should I do if I'd like to host a raw foods meetup

*Attending* Raw Foods Meetups

Okay, so you signed up for a raw foods meetup group, waited patiently for the next event to come round, and now it's time!? But, wait... this is your first such outing. What should you bring

This morning as I was driving from the beautiful Carnegie Mellon University campus to a business meeting outside the city, I had to take a detour at one of Pittsburgh's many bridges. It was a little frustrating because I had hoped to arrive at my destination early enough to grab a green tea at a coffee shop. But, these little delays happen. I'm glad this one did, though, because I soon passed a small yoga studio (called Pratique) where an interesting window decal hangs. It reads: "Yoga is my health insurance."

Many kudos to the clever people at Pratique who apparently crafted this catchy and spot-on message. While this is a raw foods site, not a yoga site, the message is equally apropos here. It essentially means, in my view, that we all have the opportunity to profoundly affect our own health and well being.

In our family, we're currently facing the realistic prospect of taking a literal approach to this concept, dropping formal health coverage! Quite literally, we feel that maintaining a health plan is (almost) a complete waste of money. I'm not posting this to start a debate as to whether those who follow a healthy diet should or should not buy into a plan. (I know all of the related arguments already: Yeah, but what if you cut your arm and need stitches Save that for Facebook or, at least, some other time.) I'm more concerned with reiterating one of our key messages here at Pure Jeevan -- our unwavering ?conviction that physical health and diet are tightly connected. Wendi knows this, I know this, our child knows this, YOU know this... But why doesn't everyone acknowledge it?

In a previous Take the Time Tuesday entry, we introduced you to three fantastic raw food snack companies who have offered to donate samples of their products for our upcoming retreat. If you haven't heard about the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Retreat, yet, there is still some space for you to join us from May 23-25, 2008! We ve set this retreat up so that it s as affordable as possible. There s a significant savings if you sign up early, too, so be sure to check it out!

Each individual attending the retreat will receive a gift basket filled with delicious raw food treats from some truly fantastic companies. Keep an eye on the retreat page to see other companies that will be sharing delicious raw food snacks with those attending the retreat! Today, we'd like you to...

I love this video, in which Wendi interviews our new Portland-based realtor, Bill Futrell. It's a nice interview, but I love the way Wendi's enthusiasm for raw foods rubbed off on Bill almost immediately. There's even a moment in here in which Bill starts talking about Natural Zing. We thought for sure everyone would think we put him up to that, but he did it absolutely spontaneously! So, thanks Bill for helping to support our Snack Sponsor. Anyway, here's what he had to say about Portland, about where we'll fit in, and about his first exposure to raw foods:

One thing I can tell you for sure: Portland is WAY more expensive than Pittsburgh. A year ago, I invested a ton of time reading about low-cost cob houses, straw-bale construction, Earth-ship homes, homes fashioned from "obtanium," thatch roofs, off-the-grid systems, igloos, you name it -- anything DIY-oriented. (Okay, well not igloos; that was a joke. Even though igloos are probably pretty neat-o.) I'm sure we'll get to many of those types of projects one day still. But for now, as you can see, we're going to put down roots in a really great city out West. We're doing it with intention, though, and in harmony with our mission to help ourselves and others obtain the highest levels of health and happiness.

Jim here... Here's part two of a video of Wendi showing how to make raw pasta. (If you did not view part one yet, click here to go there now.) She, with the help of her friend Melissa (of Food Under Foot), prepared a beautiful platter of pastas and some sauces that we all enjoyed when I returned home yesterday for lunch.

We hope this video shows you even more how fun and delicious eating raw foods can be!

Today, we'd like to take the time to introduce some raw athletes who continually inspire others. There is a huge misunderstanding about the need for protein in our bodies, especially within the world of competetive sports. Many believe that without large amounts of protein we can't be strong, we can't build muscle. Raw athletes are proving that a vegan diet not only supplies enough energy to sustain the human body during competition, it also allows them to many times outperform competitors who are half their age.

Who Would Win

Yesterday, we covered the concept of "unsubscribing" from unhealthy practices. This was of course based on the common Internet practice of subscribing and unsubscribing to various things like newsletters and email lists. I receive quite a few of these each day, many raw foods ones and many non-raw ones. Among the non-raw, one that has been interesting to me lately is called the Art of Non-Conformity, penned by Chris Guillebeau. Basically, Chris' site chronicles his adventures in reaching his personal goal -- to travel to every country in the world! Along the way, he writes about all sorts of out-of-the-box things, as the blog name implies.

Today, he posted something that is remarkably insightful and applicable to our subject matter here, even though his context was completely different. The entry, entitled simply "Before and After," discusses the drinking water problems in much of Africa, focusing for the moment on Liberia. Atop the piece (the "before" picture) is a muddy water hole, the only source of drinking water for one village. The next picture (the "after" shot) shows a different, very happy village obtaining fresh, clean water from a newly installed well. Chris closes his article with the following quote: