The mono meals ended and I did create that beet pasta with alfredo sauce that I was dreaming about. So, here's the recipe:

BEET PASTA

Beginning today and running all through next week (and even spilling into the following week!), we'll be running videos from the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF East 2009) held in Upper Marlboro, MD, last weekend. If you've never attended a RSF event, you absolutely must. They're the best ever!

Today's installment covers the trip down, during which we stopped to visit Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, a historic spa town visited by the likes of George Washington and other famous folk. Of course, the spring there was in use long before this country was known as America. You can read the basics in this pic:

Happy Friday, everyone! We want to cap off this week with a question: Do you keep a blog We realize that many blogs include blogrolls, but this has been a sticky issue for us here at Pure Jeevan for a few reasons: First and foremost, we LOVE and appreciate each and every one of you so much, and wouldn't want to accidentally exclude anyone!?

We had a wonderful weekend that started with a raw food potluck in our home (through the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup group). There were about twenty people and so many lovely raw food dishes! I haven't checked the camera, yet, but I hope someone remembered to capture some pictures of the food and guests. It was all very yummy, including the beet pasta I made with a cream sauce. I also made some carob peppermint sweets that KDcat formed into bite-sized balls and arranged them on a platter. A friend of mine told me that the people who show up for raw food potlucks tend to be genuinely nice people, and she was right. It was a pleasure meeting everyone and I look forward to next month's meetup.

The rest of our weekend was spent with our guest, Devaki, who just left a few minutes ago to return to the ashram. She played some beautiful music on the harmonium and she and some other lovely guests filled our home with the beauty and energy of Kirtan chanting. Some of the chants were in English, too. I thought I wouldn't like them as much, but they were just as beautiful as the Indian ones. One of my close friends who was here for the Kirtan told me that I was glowing after the chanting! I love the blissful feeling that comes from chanting and meditation.

On special Mondays, you sometimes see a regular feature here on Pure Jeevan's blog called Makin' It Monday. We always have so much fun doing this series, and it's been a huge hit both here on our blog and on YouTube.

We thought of a way to make the special Mondays even more special! Guess how? By seeing YOU in our Makin' It Monday raw food recipe videos! So, here's an open casting call for anyone in the Pure Jeevan family (that's you!) adventurous enough to prepare a raw food recipe on video to be featured in our Makin' It Monday series!

Jim here... An unusual occurrence prompted this post, and I'm unsure as to whether it's significant. I've talked about some of my favorite non-raw items before -- things that were tough to leave behind as I embarked upon this raw foods journey. I think I covered pizza in a relatively recent post.

Corn chips were another. In fact, after Wendi went 100% raw and I more or less began to follow her dietary choices, I clung to corn chips for dear life for quite a long time. I began eating a LOT of salsa in those days. Sometimes, that would be all I'd eat for lunch -- just an entire jar of salsa and a bag of corn chips (though, by then, I'd at least usually buy the organic ones and, quite often, a baked variety of chips as well).

When I finally decided I'd be better off transitioning to an all raw lifestyle, I figured my love affair with corn chips had come to an end. Farewell beautiful chips, I thought. I'll never forget our delicious crunchy time together. And that was that. I never looked back.

But then, at a local raw foods pot luck, I met a raw chef who had more or less perfected a raw corn chip recipe. Could it be , I thought. Has this delicacy returned to me after all, as though via some sweet culinary destiny? Ahh, my friends, that was a glorious day. Chips and salsa had returned to me in an enlightened raw form. I could enjoy them once again, guilt free. And enjoy them I did -- usually using a local shop's "Peruvian Purple Corn" (a living, sproutable, dried corn product).

Alas, fate stepped in once again. "Thou may partake of these crisps any time thou wishest," fate boomed. "Yet, in order to do so, thou must prepare them thine self using thine Vitamix and requiring an enormous flax-sticky mess with extended clean-up time, and thou must have parchment paper available at all times, and thou must exercise great care and patience in using your Excalibur, for these chips must dry for many an hour before ready."

Yeah, it was a bit of a chore to produce them. So, as the novelty of chip making and eating wore off, I slowly decreased the frequency of going through the messy, time-consuming hassle of preparing them. Until yesterday, it had been literally months since I made a batch. But... we'd ordered a few pounds of the corn from Natural Zing lately, and I found myself with some extra time the other night. So...

Now, I'm going to pause for a minute for a tangent on digestion. I know a great majority of people, it seems, complain of various digestive disorders. As a result, we have many raw foodie specialists schooled in the nuances of food combining. Oddly, I never paid much attention to these discussions, nor offered input on these matters, because they simply weren't relevant to me.

In fact, I likened my own digestive system to some kind of nuclear powered garbage disposal. It didn't matter what I ate; digestion wasn't a problem for me. So, for example, I'd routinely finish off heavy meals, and then follow them with a huge slice of juicy watermelon (a major no-no according to common wisdom). It just never bothered me.I always joked that, even though I'd been raw for ages, I could still probably go eat a Big Mac (not that I would) and be unaffected by it.

So powerful was my stomach acid that, admittedly, I sometimes privately *worried* whether this might mean something was wrong with me. I mean, shouldn't some of the things I was eating make me sick? Was it "good" to not be made sick by what is generally regarded as poor food combining choices? Do people commonly suffer from problems of efficiency as well as deficiency ? I still do not really know the answer to these questions, and suspect the answer is rather complicated, anyway. Fortunately, it doesn't matter now because...

Something finally made me sick!? I'm laughing now about that, but I spent most of the evening in terrible stomach pain after having over-indulged in some of those (in)famous raw purple corn chips.

So, what happened ? That's an interesting question for me. Here are some possibilities: (1) Perhaps my hyper-active digestive system *was* in fact a problem, and now it's beginning to normalize. Perhaps, had I been healthier all along, I would have been made sick by some of my food choices, but now my health is improving!? (2) Perhaps it's a fluke and I simply shouldn't have eaten mass quantities of corn and flax so late at night. (3) Perhaps my body is improving in its ability to communicate with me, and/or that I'm getting better at listening, and that the message here is that corn is not something my body gains nourishment from -- at least, not in this dried-reprocessed-redried form. After all, some leading raw food authorities, like Gabriel Cousens, aren't fans of corn (even fresh corn!).

Oh sure, there may be other explanations (e.g., "a bad batch of corn"). But, I'm actually most interested in #3, above. Even though this is an extreme example (more intense than it needed to be), I'd like to think that I'm getting better at knowing what I'm being nourished from and what I am not. I'd like to think that this is a latent sense that can be developed, much like our ability to know things by feeling and intuition rather via pure rationality all the time.

But, with food, I think it's a matter of inventorying your physical sensations head to toe, and also as a whole. How is the food you're eating making you feel? Do you feel satisfied or still hungry? Do you feel light or is the food sitting kind of heavily? Do you feel energized or dragged down? How's your mental clarity? Do you feel spacey or more grounded? Do you feel noticeably happier or more sad than before? How are all of these things mapping out over time? Is your weight moving in a positive direction for you? Are your illnesses improving? Food is medicine, after all; it has all of these effects and many more!

For now, I think I can safely check purple corn off of my own personal list of foods that make me feel good. I suspect my old assertion about "being able to eat a Big Mac without any side effects" no longer applies -- and maybe this is a good thing. I think perhaps it signals some progress in my journey toward optimal health.

In any case, I think this kind of purposeful introspection is healthy, and something we should all strive to do more often.How about you? Had any similar experiences? What have you learned from them?

Original Comments

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

On April 15, 2009, essie wrote:

"My biggest problems are starches... I grew up with them so they are emotional comfort foods."

Well, it's great that you already understand that your desire for starches is mostly coming from an emotional connection with those foods. You're already much more aware of your body and its cravings than many others who are trying to lose weight.

If you have a strong connection with starches, then go ahead and eat them in the beginning of your journey to better health. Simply start by adding more and more fresh, raw, water-rich fruits and vegetables. The more you consume healthy fruits and vegetables, the more your body will begin to crave them (no kidding!! You will actually one day crave a salad as much as you're craving starches right now!).

What better way to start our Fun-Filled Friday than by celebrating Jim's birthday ! He worked for half the day and now he's home for a long weekend. So far we've had a nice lunch (cashew/macadamia cheese with red peppers and celery) and birthday pie (mango and pineapple!) after singing "Happy Birthday" to him! This evening we'll have veggie stir-not-fry, since that's what Jim has requested. I prepared it earlier and it's in the dehydrator to marinade and get a bit warm.

"An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory." ~ Friedrich Engels

When people talk about goals and planning, two distinct camps tend to emerge, in my experience:? (1) the "aim then fire" types, and (2) the "fire then aim" types.? I've used those specific terms for a reason, and will return to them in a bit. But, let's look at the two types, and relate them to the way in which one might approach raw foods.

Wendi's initial observation about Santa Rosa was that, at first glance, it seemed similar to many of the places they'd visited in Oregon. However, once the sun came out, she said you could feel that California sunshine starting to warm up your body. This is Northern CA, so it's not overly hot; it is, however, much sunnier and a bit warmer than the parts of Oregon they visited.

Wendi and KDcat were hosted by a lovely couple, Shea Lynn Baird and Stephen Barlow (and their adorable dog, Bella, pictured above). You might be familiarwith Shea already, as she and her husband launched the popular Monday Night Live series, broadcast Monday nights from Cafe Gratitude. Shea is a long-term raw foodist, so Wendi interviewed her and asked some questions about what she's been doing. It's a really great, highly interesting interview. Wendi also asked Shea to offer some helpful advice for our Pure Jeevan family members. I think everyone will enjoy the video: