As Pure Jeevan blog readers probably know, we're big fans of running ongoing series. A good blog can never have too many, really. So today we mark the official kick-off of another super series. We're calling these articles "Pure Jeevan Guides."

Guides to what , you may ask. Well, to various topics of interest to raw foodies, of course!

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!

Jim here... It's been nearly half a year since we posted a long meditation on living patiently, noting the unique, sometimes-at-odds dovetail that exists between (1) experiencing the zen of patience and (2) living the electrically charged life of raw foods. While we're STILL living with the same patience we talked about, I have to admit there have been times when we've been in not-so pleasant touch with some real frustration about getting our home sold and finally moving on to all of the exciting stuff we have planned for us and for you.

Wendi and I are absolutely ecstatic about taking our raw foods message to the next level -- and not just "next level" meaning more a few more blog posts and videos, but a true quantum leap in terms of our immersion into this world and commitment to advocating the lifestyle. It just gets a little tough, even when practicing patience, to be kind of stuck in the starting gate.

Driving to work today, we noticed that McDonald's has launched its latest product aimed at the health-conscious demographic. In case you haven't heard, you can now purchase fruit smoothies at Mickey D's! Sounds like real progress, right? Well, let's take a closer look and see if they're really as healthy as they sound.

McDonald's is not exactly known as a healthfood destination. After all, a typical lunch at the Golden Arches these days might well include something like an Angus Bacon & Cheese, Large Fries, and a Large Coke. ?Together, that's 1,600 calories, 64 grams of fat, and 2,400 mg of sodium, 99% of which is from highly cooked, highly processed, non-organic, factory-farmed, nutrition-barren source materials . (Add on another 75 calories and 550 more mg of sodium if you plan to go through, say, five packets of ketchup along with those fries.) (Source) And, some people eat that daily!

Here's another brief video from our travels. Since time for editing is limited, I think I'll just run some more of the shorter vids this week and then get into the longer, more in-depth interviews next week. So, this is a short, fun conversation I had with Steve, who tends the raw juice and smoothie bar at Cousin's Incredible Vitality raw restaurant in Chicago. Here's the vid:

Before officially starting the new year, I'd like to acknowledge the changes and growth that took place over the past year. It was a whirlwind of changes, sometimes so dizzying that I wondered what I was doing and occasionally questioned whether, or not, I was making mistakes with my life. I followed my intuition, however, and it served me well. I'm here today, remembering the past year and ready to announce plans for this new year that has just begun. It's a beautiful life, isn't it Even when things seem dark and like there is a lot of pain, there is a tremendous amount of potential for new growth and a brighter life than ever imagined.

I ended 2008, perched on a summit and ready to take flight. Before I fly, however, I'm standing still for a bit and enjoying the view. I feel like the entire past year consisted of climbing to higher and higher plateaus of an enormous mountain. While climbing to each new plateau I stumbled, held on for dear life, saw amazing things, and became stronger.When reaching each new plateau, I'd spread my wings and leap, circling the mountain's circumference. But, I wasn't strong enough to fly straight to the peak. It was a year of gradual growth and change -- and I found myself becoming stronger and stronger as I reached the summit.I'm certainly not the same person who started this climb. I have transformed into a more genuine version of myself, a younger and stronger woman emerging from a lifetime of guilt and fear. As I stand on this summit, I feel youthful and invigorated. What lies ahead may be unknown to me, but I know it's within my ability to fly to the highest heights of ANY mountain, to see and do and experience ALL that I desire. It's going to be an incredible future and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!

In recognizing all of the accomplishments of 2008, I think it's important to admit that it wasn't one steady climb to the point I'm at today.The few years prior to 2008 were almost like my training in mountain climbing. Last year there were a lot of tears shed, along with a releasing of physical and emotional baggage that was still clinging to me. I openly shared what I was going through, however, after learning that keeping things inside was slowly killing my spirit. I think if I had to sum up 2008 in just one sentence it would be: In finally releasing everything, I woke up as my true self.

Jim here... We had a whirlwind weekend last weekend when the uber-talented couple Rhio and Leigh came to Pittsburgh for a three-day visit. As many of you probably know, Rhio is a well-known pioneer of the raw food movement, having written one of the definitive books on raw foods, Hooked on Raw. She's also the host of a popular Internet radio show of the same name, for which Leigh serves as primary engineer and co-host. Both have extensive backgrounds in music, as well, which is fitting for such a colorful, vibrant couple.

Saturday, Rhio gave a two-part presentation to a capacity crowd at a local coffee shop / art gallery.Part One was a demonstration on making raw dairy-free yogurt using almonds (a technique demonstrated, I believe, on her new DVD, "What's NOT Cookin' in Rhio's Kitchen " -- available soon on her web site at www.rawfoodinfo.com). According to the yogurt eaters in the crowd (of which I'm not one -- never went in for much dairy), the recipe mimics yogurt perfectly! So, if you're a raw foodie who misses dairy yogurt, you're definitely going to want to connect wth Rhio to learn the technique.