While I was growing up in the Midwest, I had a rich uncle who lived out East in Philadelphia. I didn't know him very well at the time, but would often glean stories via the family grape vines of his business successes. After high school, I attended college in Northeastern Pennsylvania -- Wilkes University -- where, incidentally, I first met Wendi! :-)

Being out there, I got to visit my uncle from time to time, and dine with him and his family. ?Among other things, he was quite the gourmand. I'm not so sure what he'd have thought of raw foods, although I suspect he'd have appreciated the many gourmet efforts.

As this is a holistic web site, it's important that we take time every so often to feature pieces on other aspects of human health besides diet. So, today's subject is unrelated to raw foods, but is directly related to your health. (Don't worry: We'll get back to raw foods on Monday!)

Today I want to share a super-valuable lesson I learned when I was just 21 years old. Back then, Wendi worked within the advertising department of a large newspaper. She helped me meet the paper's photography editor who, in turn, approved an internship for me during my senior year of college. So, several days per week for one semester, I hung out with professional newspaper photographers. It was a lot of fun -- and with real darkrooms, too (as this was way before the age of digital cameras).

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... Back in November of 2010, my friends Joe Prostko, Heather Harris, and I decided to replicate an unusual experiment we'd heard about. Reportedly, some people with health issues had found improvement in their live blood samples after simply grounding themselves for a period of time. We all thought it was interesting enough to try on ourselves, so the above video is the result. ?Since it's 8+ minutes long, I'll spare you any suspense: The results were absolutely inconclusive. (However, we did have fun with it, as you'll see.)

NOTE: The site I'd posted the video on, BlipTV, seems to have gone out of business. Will have to see if I can find the video again and post on youtube.

A worker at our local Food Co Op was talking about making his own dehydrator. I mentioned that I saw a link to a site that told about how to create one and I'd share it with him. When I found the link, just now, I thought maybe some of you might be interested in checking it out, as well.

?The page isn't vegan-friendly (there is ground meat in the one picture), but if you've been wanting a dehydrator and don't want to spend the money on the more expensive ones...this might be a great option.

Jim here... When you consider the agricultural and marketplace practices that affect the food we eat (e.g., pesticide use in the fields, widespread irradiation afterward, and the contamination of produce from various sources -- not to mention some of the disturbing potentialities we face in terms of further governmental intervention into the food chain), it leads one to the conclusion that, if we really want to eat the best food ever, growing it yourself is a great solution. It's also cheaper to grow your own and, in my opinion, more fulfilling than purchasing it (if you have the time and space to manage it, that is).

With all of these concerns (and more) in mind, we've launched a new series of interviews called "Know the Growers" in which I'll be interviewing organic farmers around the world on best practices in the field. Initially, we'll be publishing them every few weeks, most likely. Once we sell our home and are "full-time Pure Jeevan karma yogis," we'll be publishing them weekly (along with resuming our daily video series Know Your Food). I'll be publishing these organic farming interview transcripts on NaturalNews.com under their Citizen Journalist program.

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.

If you ve been a Pure Jeevan family member for a while, you know we don t always focus on food in regards to health. Health isn t only about the food you put into your body; it s about so much more. We are mental, spiritual, emotional, physical beings who thrive best when we have a balance in all those areas of our lives. Humans are, for the most part, social beings. If we lack something as vital as social interaction, we become out of balance. As young children, our primary social interaction is through direct contact with our parents and close family members. As we mature, almost all of us develop friendships with individuals outside of our family s social circle. Friendship is essential in helping us maintain a healthy balanced life.

How we meet friends, and how we interact with them, has been changing over the years as online social media communities have been created. For those living a raw food lifestyle and using the Internet to connect with like-minded others, you have no doubt realized there is a strong and growing virtual raw food community online. It s a large tribe, of sorts, where we are able to wander from website to website, meeting others and creating friendships together. (Be sure to join Pure Jeevan s Facebook page to connect with other Pure Jeevan family members.)

Continuing with our week of ways to keep a sharp mind, let's focus on the one widely accepted indicator for dementia or alzheimer's: heart disease. If one wants to dramatically reduce the chances of brain degredation, the first step to take is keeping the heart healthy.

The key advice most health specialists agree on when it comes to a healthy heart is the reduction (ideally eliminatain) of unhealthy fats in the diet. The unhealthy fats are usually seen as solid fats, like butter, margerine, and shortening. However, it's important to not overlook the fats that are also found in meats. By substituting unhealthy fats with something healthier for your heart (like extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil), as well as transitioning to leaner meats if you are a meat eater, you will be taking some important steps in keeping your heart healthy, as well as your mind.

Jim here... When you're a committed raw foodie, certain activities that most other people consider routine can become somewhat difficult if you don't apply a bit of forethought and planning. Take traveling, for example -- specifically, flying.

What if you're flying out of town -- say, to the Florida Keys (wink, wink) -- and want to make sure you'll have enough to eat during the day-long trip? What if you also want to bring along some staple raw food items as well ? What if some of these are generally refridgerated ? How can you accomplish all of that?