Wow, I'm having a tough time keeping up with our fearless travelers! I thought I'd break their San Francisco adventures up into FOUR smaller posts made from Wendi's personal travelogue. I'll try to address everything they did chronoligically. There will be a video in this posts, videos in the next post, and a picture set at the end! Here's what she had to say about their first stop in Frisco:

For our San Francisco/Berkeley visit, we first met up with a college friend, Pete Guinosso, at Cafe Gratitude. It was fun catching up, and Pete treated KDcat and I to our meals. While at the table, I labeled Pete as the "Quote Man" because he had a fantastic book of quotes he has been collecting. He periodically read from it as our conversations brought specific quotes to mind. It was a beautiful collection of poems, which Pete said is his second book and is filling up quickly.

Cafe Gratitude lived up to its reputation of having a great vibe with pleasant servers and fantastic raw foods. I wondered, however, why there isn't a dish called "I am Love." (There is a drink called "I am Loved," but I was interested in one that claimed I AM Love. Maybe they'll come up with one for my next visit!) After leaving Cafe Gratitude, I have to admit I wasn't overly grateful to find a $40 parking ticket waiting on the rental car. OUCH! We kept the car parked there (since it was already ticketed), and Pete showed us around the Berkeley shopping area. It was a fun stroll on a beautiful sunny, California day.

We're into soft foods and treats these days, because Jim recently had a wisdom tooth extracted (KDcat insists he is less wise for having done so). We've been having a lot of fruit smoothies! I made a big mistake and created a smoothie with a grapefruit for the juicy part (I normally only use oranges). I don't care for grapefruit, because the bitter part just isn't appealing to me. However, I thought for sure that bananas and frozen berries would override the bitter taste of the grapefruit. It didn't, so I added some agave to the mixture and blended it again. Nope--still bitter. So, I asked Jim to taste it (he LOVES grapefruit) and he thought it was fantastic. He consumed the entire pitcher of the bitter concoction.

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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!

Hey there, everyone! Thanks for visiting Pure Jeevan. We want our welcome article, for now, to be this article on Vitamix blenders. There are certainly a few essential elements (e.g. good knives, cutting boards, a good food processor, etc.) to any raw food kitchen, and one of them is an awesome high-speed blender. Yes, there are many great blenders in the world, and yes there are a few decent top-of-the-line models on par with Vita-Mix. But, at the end of the day, our recommendation is the Vita-Mix (and yes, it's better than Blendtec, in our view). Here's a crazy video Jim did a while back for a Vitamix contest:

Note: That "free shipping" code, below, is no longer active. We'll let you know when we get a new free shipping code. For now, we hope you enjoy the video. :-)

We purchased ours 15+ years ago, and have subjected it to at least daily use (if not many times per day most of the time!) -- and it's still going strong. If you don't understand why a Vita-Mix is different from even a high-end blender from a department store, it's basically the sheer power. These things can pulverize pretty much anything -- time after time, without blowing out the motor. For example, you can make ultra-thick, healthy, raw ice creams day after day all summer long, and the machine will keep on working for years (and, in our case, we're almost ready to say "decades").

We used to be an affiliate w/ them, and are reapplying to be one. For now, we hope you like the video, above.

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.

Below are two variations of the same issue: I'm too tired and don't have enough time to be healthy. The irony, of course, is that the more raw foods you eat, the more energy (and therefore time) you have!

By the end of the day I am so exhausted I'd rather not eat than go in the kitchen & try making something raw.

How do I stay raw with all the food prep and my lack of time and life's pressures

Within the raw food community, a controversy seems to have been brewing for the better part of a year! The topic: Agave nectar (also called agave syrup). Surely by now most people know what agave nectar is. For anyone who doesn't, it's a thick liquid sweetener made from, you guessed it, the agave plant.

In general, the production of tasty agave nectar involves heating the plant to a certain temperature (which varies widely according to which manufacturer is making it and which species of agave is used). The extent of this heating constitutes a significant part of the controversy (as most raw foodists believe that heating any food over a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 105 and 118 degrees fahrenheit, renders it "dead").

I was sitting here today thinking about all of you, our lovely online friends who visit this blog. You follow what's going on with us, learn from us, find inspiration in the things we share, and even offer support to us in many ways.

Some of you reach out by leaving comments, many of you send emails, and a larger majority of you are quiet friends who haven't made contact with us, yet. Each and every one of you means so very much to me (and to Jim, too).

We don't keep this blog for ourselves; we keep it for all of you. It is our desire to share all that we've been through, and what we've learned, in order to help you with your own journey. Most of all, however, my personal desire is to inspire you to live the life you truly want to be living (in more ways than just through what you eat).

With love in my heart, I present this gift to the entire raw and living foods community:

Original Comments

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

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.

Jim here... When you're a committed raw foodie, certain activities that most other people consider routine can become somewhat difficult if you don't apply a bit of forethought and planning. Take traveling, for example -- specifically, flying.

What if you're flying out of town -- say, to the Florida Keys (wink, wink) -- and want to make sure you'll have enough to eat during the day-long trip? What if you also want to bring along some staple raw food items as well ? What if some of these are generally refridgerated ? How can you accomplish all of that?