Wendi tells a funny story sometimes about a woman she'd met who was considering undergoing gastric bypass surgery to help her lose weight. When Wendi asked the woman whether she'd consider changing her diet to a raw foods regimen, she responded with something like, "Oh, no, that's too radical."

This is really what it's come to in society; having part of your digestive system surgically altered (in a profound, irreversible, dangerous, and invasive way) is no more than some nonchalant, consequence-free elective decision ... while eating more salads is viewed as "radical."

As many of you know, Kevin and Annmarie Gianni (of Renegade Health) have now started their RV tour, for which they selected Pittsburgh as their official kick-off location. While here, we at Pure Jeevan took a special ride in "The Kale Whale," their veggie-oil-powered RV. Inside, we enjoyed a comfortable ride (which included hanging out with Johnny 5 -- their cat -- and drinking some hot tea prepared right there in the Kale Whale). Outside, we endured the freezing cold temperatures of Pittsburgh while pumping filtered used veggie oil into special holding tanks in the RV. Here is some video footage from our Kale Whale encounter!

Q. I recently read the following on Dr. Micahel Eades' (dr. protein power) blog & would appreciate your opinion:

Have you any comments on the RAW FOOD movement and particularly Dr. Cousens claim of a ?cure ?

Dr. Eades' response:

I don t know anything about Dr. Cousens. I do know that people in the raw food movement seem to believe the raw foods deliver ?natural? enzymes unaltered by cooking to the GI tract to help it do its work. Problem is these ?natural? enzymes are made of protein and are denatured (the same alteration process as cooking does with heat) as soon as they hit the stomach acid. The fact that proteins can t make it through the stomach without being completely altered is why diabetics can t take insulin pills and have to get their insulin via injection. Insulin is a protein, just as enzymes are, and it can t make it through the stomach without being denatured.

For some odd reason, I've had the privilege of "doing Thanksgiving" with a lot of different friends and families over the years. Because of this, and of course just from talking with others and reading things others have posted, I'm fairly certain that Thanksgiving means different things to different people.For some, it's their favorite annual holiday and fills them with joyous memories of Thanksgivings past and incredible anticipation of Thanksgivings to come. Some historian friends of mine seem fascinated by the historical aspects of the holiday -- the whole story of the pilgrims, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, I've actually encountered a few people who take offense at the very idea of this holiday (and they've got some convincing reasons to protest the wider celebrations)!

While all holidays are certainly "food-centric" by tradition, it's arguable that no other holiday (at least here in America) can match Thanksgiving's reputation in terms of feasting. It's kind of funny when you think about it because many holidays (or, "holy days") are actually traditionally observed by abstaining from food. So, there are fasts, and feasts. I think the majority view, based on my own sampling of various friend and family traditions, seems to be: It's mostly about having a huge meal. Yes, there is certainly an undercurrent of being thankful out there. A few families I've been with have had traditional, almost ceremonial, activities that went along with the meal (e.g., going around the room, taking turns stating what you're grateful for).

Jim here... Wow, did you read yesterday's post ? Wendi is away for a month starting today. That's like a year in Internet time, right?

So, I guess I have the blog to myself for a while. So strange... I mean, I helped her set it up back in late '07, contributed numerous articles and a lot of behind-the-scenes time along the way, and then got really involved here (regularly -- daily, even) about a year ago. But, I never "had the keys" all to myself for a long spell. I feel as though I've been entrusted with something important, you know ? I must control that strange compulsion within me to, you know, run a silly cat video or something. But, I'll resist and keep things on-point. (LOL)

Jim here... Recently, a commenter on this blog, Lannette, mentioned being a cardiac rehab nurse. For some reason, reading this set my wheels spinning in various directions, among them onto the topic of meat consumption in the world. To begin, I'd like to recap something I'd said in response to her:

... it *astounds* me how people joke about heart health where I work. People around here routinely return from medical exams and actually adopt rather mischievous grins when they reveal how high their bad cholesterol levels are. It's like they're saying, "I know meat and dairy are bad for me, but I'm going to keep on eating it anyway. Isn't that funny ??!!!" Ummm, no. It's sad. They laugh it off as though there could be no possible future reckoning for them. It's reminiscent, IMHO, of Dr. Viktor Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning," in which he describes a psychological phenomenon he termed the "delusion of reprieve." For anyone unfamiliar w/ that, the term describes the phenomenon via which those faced with certain death (or near certain death) mentally construct some way out of it. They are deluded into believing that they'll have a reprieve from the inevitable. So, it's exactly the same to me -- these people see the heart attacks coming. They simply refuse to do anything about it, refuse to change their habits, deny what their blood work says to them. Why? Because they think "I'll be okay. Sure, this leads to heart disease in most people, but not in *me* because I'm a strong guy, I'm macho, I'm not as fat as some other person here, etc." Mostly, it's the meat, I think. It's got a powerful hold on our society...

So, today I wanted to write a little bit on the topic of meat consumption. This is an enormous issue, in my opinion. If you're reading this, it likely means you're already at least a vegetarian, so I do not need to quote you any saddening statistics on the horrors of the meat industry. In fact, before writing this, I decided to visit the PETA web site quickly in order to glean a few slaughterhouse facts. But, in no time, I became markedly depressed, so I'll largely avoid focusing on specific negative imagery here.

Yesterday's smoothie was superlatively tasty, eh? It was clearly something out of Elvis' more energetic younger years, I think. You're probably wondering: "How does one follow an Elvis smoothie?!" I know ... it'll be tough to do.

This has been floating around the web for a day or two, but for those who haven't seen it, here's former President Bill Clinton talking about his plant-based diet, and what he hopes to gain through it. How amazing to see an *American president* discussing this sort of thing!! Who'd have ever imagined this (considering the strength of the beef and dairy lobbies in this country)?

Stories like this give me hope that the world will become more health conscious -- and will begin to understand that things like irradiation, GMO technology, pesticides, and all of the scary discussion floating around about the "Codex" are all unnatural, unsustainable, and unhealthy for us and for the planet. All you need is love -- and delicious organic foods! Glad to see Bill Clinton advocating this.

Today's Jim's birthday!

This photo is from Saturday night. We had a sleepover birthday party to celebrate Jim's big day. The Pure Jeevan home was filled with loving friends, amazing raw food dishes, and vibrations from some fun group drumming!

Happy, happy birthday, Jim! May all your wishes come true and your life always be filled with health, love, laughter, and friendships! I love you!

Here's an older post, from August 2008, about modifying one's diet to experiment with attaining even greater health. ?I know the before/after pics, alone, are inspirational enough to live a raw vegan lifestyle!

*blows kisses to everyone*


Jim here... Anyone else like a good funky beat ? Who's familiar with Kool & the Gang's 1973 classic, "Jungle Boogie"? Surely a lot of people know that awesome tune. If you do, recall some of the main lyrics: "Get Down Get Down, Get Down Get Down!" That's the tune I want you to keep in mind as you read this post. Hear the drums, the bassline, the electric guitar, the horn section, the voices, the phrasing, the overall dynamics of that distinctive groove. Consider how magically it all comes together.

So, Wendi called me this morning and said, "Why don't you put a blog post up about your new challenge "