In this video, Wendi talks with Leela Mata, spiritual leader of the Peaceful Valley Ashram, about her experiences with the raw food diet and a bit about a cob oven structure that was built on the ashram property. This is part 2 of a 5-part series featuring Peaceful Valley Ashram.

Mmmmmmmmm! ?I'm sitting here at my computer eating the Best Organic Fuji Apple Ever. Don't believe me? ?Here's a picture of the apple I'm eating right now:

Looks dee-lish, right? ?(Okay, so maybe it's not the most appetizing pic in the world...) ?Anyway, one interesting thing about this apple is that I bought it (a whole big bag of them, actually) because it was so cheap. (I'm on a relatively tight budget these days.) ?But, if it was so cheap, how could it be so tasty? ?(And organic, too!) Well, that's where the basic law of supply and demand come in. Whenever a crop is at the peak of its season, the supply rises considerably. Instead of the store receiving X number of bushels of apples, they receive 5X or more. So, they slash prices to move that kind of volume.

I wrote on Monday that today (Thursday), we would be discussing mint here -- specifically, harvesting some late-remaining mint from our mint bed (shown above in all its glory) and making something with it. I failed, however, to take into account that it's been getting darker earlier and earlier these days. By the time I was able to get outside and talk about mint, it was just too dark.

So, I thought I'd forego the video, and just write up some minty facts to freshen up your Thursday. To begin, I would highly encourage anyone who is new to gardening, and wants some early success, to experiment with mint (including spearmint, peppermint, and the various varietals available here and there). I can almost guarantee that you'll have some wild (and I do mean wild!) success, and will soon enjoy more mint than the law allows. It's so easily grown, and spreads around so easily (via its root system), that it would almost be considered invasive if it weren't so darned desirable and fragrant. (It's tough to walk past a mint bed without snatching up a leaf, rolling it between your fingers, and inhaling the scent deeply.)

For the past twelve years I've been doing some monthly freelance work for a nonprofit company. I've done other work in addition to the work for this company, but for the past few years I've solely been working with them. The work is sweet---straight-forward desktop publishing for a legal advertising publication. I don't have to read, write, edit, research, or anything else---simply format the pages. The pay is great, too!

Well, I just received a call a few minutes ago notifying me that the publication will no longer be printed. I'm overjoyed for the trees---I wish all publications would go digital. However, since it's going digital, they won't be needing my services much longer.

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

Did you know that, among the handful of programs I continually have running, there is always a dictionary program active on my laptop Oh, sure, there are tons of great web sites out there for looking up words -- and I do use those regularly. But, I just like my handy-dandy dictionary program. It's instant (no waiting for pages to load, etc.), it's ad-free, and it and has a great? -- no, scratch that, a tantalizing! -- thesaurus as well.

Anyway, here's what my trusty friend, the American Heritage Dictionary, has to say about the phrase "will power":

I know this is our Fun-Filled Friday post, but I have to admit that most of today isn't going to be all that much fun. But, this weekend should be very enjoyable! We have some very special guests arriving tomorrow for a SUPER SPECIAL evening tomorrow night! Leela Mata, a beautiful spiritual teacher, has offered to visit my home and hold Satsang here. One of her extremely talented students, Devaki, will be joining her (and bringing a harmonium to play at Satsang!).

A month has gone by since my last health update. At this point, I consider myself healed of lyme disease! In the past I asked the lyme specialist doctor if there's a way to test to see for certain the lyme is gone, but he said there isn't. So, I go on my inner wisdom, which tells me that it's gone and now I simply need to continue healing from all that the lyme brought with it.

We're still not comfortable sharing what we've been learning and doing to help move my body into an even healthier state, but it's obviously working. I've been able to go back to daily living, for the most part, without much assistance at all. I've organized the house again (Jim and KDcaT were busy caring for me and the house wasn't the top priority for the past half a year), caught up on all of the laundry, responded to all of my email that had been piling up, and I've been able to be more social again. The biggest improvements are that I can now prepare my own food without experiencing any pain, and I can dress myself with only minimal assistance at times! BIG improvements!

Today we welcome Leela Mata from the Peaceful Valley Ashram ( for another episode of Pure Jeevan's Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" edition. In this episode, Leela demonstrates how to make a delicious summertime chutney.

Since Marigolds are seasonal, and likely available only in certain areas, please consider them optional. Perhaps substitute another edible flower of your choice (and let us know if you do!). Aside from making this tasty recipe (which we later enjoyed on a salad), Leela also makes some important points about intuitive eating and intuitive recipe creation. Here's the vid:

Welcome to Episode 4 of Know Your Food. Wow, the PEAR episode is here at last! Aren't you thrilled to know that? Of ALL of the fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs, etc. in the knon world, we finally got to the wonderful pear. Well, it's no surprise, when you think about it. After all, sweet, mild pears are usually among the first fruits fed to babies. So, chances are, you were fed them, too, as a toddler. So, let's dig in, shall we?

Pears contain water-soluable fiber (pectin), Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Copper, Potassium, Posphorous, Folic Acid, Niacin, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulphur, Calcium, and more! They lower your blood pressure, releive inflammation, lower cholesterol via pectin, calm the stomach, cool the body, prevent cancer via anti-oxidants, boost your energy via the fructose/glucose, reduce inflammation, help your bones/calcium levels, aid in pregnancies via the folate, and much more. Pears are GREAT for you, so eat them regularly!

Jim's mother, JoAnn, LOVES pasta. I'm sure many of you can relate to that---pasta is a big part of the cooked diet and just about everyone loves it. When going raw, many individuals say they just can't do it because they miss pasta too much. Well, that's no longer a problem. There is a raw way to make pasta and you are going to love it if you haven't experienced it, yet!

As a gift for Mother's Day, we sent a pasta-making tool to JoAnn along with a pasta sauce recipe we created for her (see the Paradisio Pasta Pomodoro entry). To make it easier for her to learn how to create pasta, and to answer some of the emails we've been receiving about the device we used to make the pasta, we have put together a two-part video showing how to make delicious, beautiful raw pastas! You'll learn how to use two different pasta-making devices, as well as how to use a simple vegetable peeler to create delicious noodles!