Today, for Thankful Thursday, I want to focus on a raw food related subject: Raw Recipe Books! Without the many mouthwatering, visually appetizing recipes that have been created and published, I don't know if I'd still be living a raw food lifestyle at this time.

About two years ago, when I made the decision to transition into a raw food diet, there were some fantastic raw food recipe books available. A few years before that, when I tried raw for the first time with a dear friend of mine, there were books available but none of them were truly gourmet meals. It's amazing how much things change in just a few years! The newer books are filled with colorful pictures of the most visually stimulating foods, which never looked like simple chopped up veggies arranged nicely on a plate. We have a page with many raw recipe books listed, if you'd like to see some of the ones that are available.

"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!).

Hi everyone! ?We wanted to announce plans for a raw food picnic / potluck / meetup next Saturday, September 19th, at noon, in Berkeley Springs, WV at Berkeley Springs State Park (link to map), a wonderful natural healing destination about half-way between Pittsburgh and D.C. Wendi was just talking with Rawbin from the Capital Area (D.C.) raw food meetup and we all thought that a combo Pittsburgh / D.C. meetup might be fun. So, we all planned something right on the spot!

Berkeley Springs is a really nice (but small) public park in West Virginia about half-way between Pittsburgh and D.C.I traveled there a few weeks back with Melissa, Dave, Ella, and Bethany on the way to Raw Spririt East. We had a super time soaking in the spring water and checking out all of the cool alternative shops. (I did a write-up here on Pure Jeevan a few weeks ago and posted some video of the place).

***** DISCLAIMER: As with all of our posts here at Pure Jeevan, and particularly those tagged with a new term, "Nadi Balance," please refer to the disclaimer that runs at the bottom of all Pure Jeevan pages. Wendi and Jim are health researchers, educators, and extreme self-experimenters, not doctors. ******

Nadi Balance: Part V

Yesterday we talked about stress eating and I suggested coming up with a plan for ways you can deal with stressful situations in the future, before mindlessly turning to food for stress relief. I even said maybe it was okay to eat a gallon of ice cream if that's what makes you feel better. A healthy lifestyle isn't only about the foods we put into our mouths; it's about overall health (body, mind, spirit, emotions) and the decisions we make regarding our overall health on a daily basis.

Many times, individuals who struggle the most when trying to eat a healthy diet are the ones who have other aspects of their lives keeping them from attaining the healthy lifestyle they're desiring so much. For them, working on their diet may not be the best approach to overall health. If eating something we know is healthy for our bodies, something we know looks and tastes great, is difficult to do then there's something bigger going on in our lives than just food. If that's the case, it's important to figure out what's going on.

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.

On this lovely Valentine's Day, I am focusing on how thankful I am for LOVE! I'm not into the whole this-is-the-day-you-are-supposed-to-show-love thing, though. I think love is something that should always be around, felt, and shared. Every day is a new day to express the love you have in so many varied ways, why hold it back for one special day a year?

Yahoo recently ran a photo series on their "omg!" channel entitled "Celebrity Slim-Down Secrets." It actually has a nice set of before and after photos of celebrities who have lost weight. The set is here.Featured are Kelly Osbourne, Seth Rogen, Jennifer Hudson, Jerry Ferrara, Kirstie Alley, John Goodman, Jordin Sparks, Jason Segel, Drew Carey, Sara Rue, amd Kevin James. ?Most reported using personal trainers, changing up their diets, and getting more exercise (or some variation of those three).

We didn't read any reports of raw food diets in the story, but looking at before and after pictures is probably always a good idea, if only for visual inspiration. It's nice to see a broad range of people turning their health around, too. Some are younger celebs; others in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. So, it's nice to know that major changes are possible at any age.

You rarely hear us talk about our daughter here on the blog. Some of you have noticed and asked questions about her through email. I'd like to tell you why we don't write about her very much, because there's something to be learned from it.

First, I usually don't like to write about people unless I get their permission. This is especially true when my daughter is concerned. I respect her privacy if she chooses for me to not share things about her life. Years ago when I knew I wanted to create the Pure Jeevan site, I talked with Jim and our daughter about it. I said it was something I felt drawn to do, that I felt it could help a lot of people, but I wanted it to be a family site if it's something they were interested in doing along with me. Jim agreed to help me at the time, but didn't fully embrace Pure Jeevan himself (now, however, he has become a very active part of this site and all of our projects). Our daughter, however, said from the very beginning that she didn't want any part of it.

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

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

Today we bring you the last of our personal video interviews conducted while at the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF East 2009). I'll have one other highlight reel to run next week, just to round out this series by showing some of the additional ambience there.

So, we've finally come to the "infamous Viktoras video"! I smiled as I wrote that because it was quite the topic of discussion around our camp site. You see, one of my fellow campers, Bethany Hagensen, was with me as we interviewed Viktoras (she filmed the interview, in fact) -- and, well... let's just say he strayed a bit from the expected raw food subject matter. I was worried that poor Bethany would be scarred for life after witnessing the discussion, but she did seem to get a good laugh out of it, and I suppose she's fully old enough to attend an R-rated movie.