Within the raw food community, a controversy seems to have been brewing for the better part of a year! The topic: Agave nectar (also called agave syrup). Surely by now most people know what agave nectar is. For anyone who doesn't, it's a thick liquid sweetener made from, you guessed it, the agave plant.

In general, the production of tasty agave nectar involves heating the plant to a certain temperature (which varies widely according to which manufacturer is making it and which species of agave is used). The extent of this heating constitutes a significant part of the controversy (as most raw foodists believe that heating any food over a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 105 and 118 degrees fahrenheit, renders it "dead").

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Jim here... Wow, it's Monday, April 27! Let's do something different today: Let's celebrate Monday instead of bemoaning this day that represents the taditional start of the dreaded work week. Why? Because it's our sincere hope that whatever you do in your work week is a labor of love. And, if you're not quite there yet, then celebrate the fact that you WILL be there sometime soon. For us, it means another week of working to inspire you to achieve optimal health -- and that's not "work" at all; it's actually FUN!

So, without further adieu, let's jump into this week's fun. Our good friends Melissa and Dave Sokulski have launched a site recently called FoodUnderFoot ("unleash the energy of wild edibles"). Even in it's young seedling state, I think it's already a fascinating site, and promises to become an encyclopedic web destination for anyone interested in foraging wild edibles. So, check them out for some informative info and valuable freebies, too!

We're loosley going to be picking up some of the ongoing themes we used to cover here on the blog. For the Take the Time Tuesday theme, we asked our readers to take the time to meet or learn about an individual, product, company, etc., that we think may be of interest to you. For today's entry, I'd like you to:

Take the time to meet...

Wow, so much happened in Chicago that it's taking literally weeks to show it all to you!? But, hey, it's also a lot of fun to share this stuff. Wasn't that a great talk yesterday with Kathy and Danny Living !? If you haven't seen it, definitely scroll down and watch!

Here's another one for you. Meet Hatice Yavuz, co-owner along with Chef Mehmet Ak of Cousin's Incredible Vitality, another great raw destination in the Windy City. "Hatice" is a Turkish name, in case you're wondering. The "c" is pronounced like a "j" -- so, her name sounds like "huh-TEE-jay." Our interview with her ran a little long, so I'm going to have to break it into two parts. Here's part one:

So, did you like Part One yesterday ? Pretty great, right ? Well, today we present Part Two, in which Wendi takes the interview into a more up-close and personal place. In this audio, Kevin shares details about:

  • the first interview he ever conducted
  • what he wanted to be when he grew up
  • what his family thinks of his raw lifestyle
  • his tattoo, Joseph Campbell, and thoughts on life and death
  • spirituality, religion, and guilt
  • the book that opened his mind to a deeper connection
  • running and spirituality
  • his typical day / routine
  • his business expanding
  • what "systems" are and how he uses them
  • the shocking truth about his teen years
  • recent personal development programs he's listening to
  • "taking 1%, applying it, and moving on"
  • mentors and influences
  • the books that shaped his life
  • making shifts in friendships
  • his thoughts on "The Secret"
  • whether he thinks he can do more push-ups than Gabriel Cousens
  • why there was a donkey at his wedding
  • his biggest wish (it's a beautiful one!)

So, what are you waiting for ? Listen NOW!!

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!).

This Thursday I want to give a special "Thank You" to Kevin Gianni. He was on my list for a Take the Time Tuesday introduction, but I didn't want to wait until then to tell you about him. I've been following Kevin's work on the Internet since he hosted The Raw Food World Summit last year. You can tell when you hear him speak that he's a genuinely nice, intelligent, caring person. He's honestly listening to what people are saying, trying to absorb the plethora of health information that's available. He asks a lot of interesting questions, too. He then takes what he has learned, condenses it, and shares the knowledge with the rest of the world. He does all of the hard work for us! For this, I wanted to give a special thanks to him.

A Pure Jeevan family members asks:

How do I eat dandelions? I heard they are good for me, but I tasted one and they are so bitter. I don't know how I could ever eat them, even if they are supposed to be so good for me. Can you help

First, congratulations on being so open-minded when it comes to trying new things! Too many people never move far away from their comfort zones, especially when it comes to diet, and they miss out on a lot. So, good for you to at least consider and then try dandelion greens!

 

Is cacao dangerous or is it a super food? Anyone who's been learning about raw foods knows about raw cacao (check out a recent episode of Know Your Food: Cacao). It's raw chocolate without all the processing and additives normally included in the chocolate bars many buy from standard grocery stores. In its raw form, cacao has different nutritional components than typical processed chocolate. Many claim that raw chocolate is filled with mega doses of nutrients, making it a super food, and therefore extremely healthy for the human body. Others claim that even in its raw state, cacao is a stimulant that taxes the human body and cacao is more like a poison than a food. I've heard murmurs about negative effects of cacao for many years, but that was always subdued by the vociferous praise of cacao.

Recently, my friend Kevin Gianni (The Renegade Health Show) spoke out about cacao and his experiences with it. Kevin is well known in the raw food community, so his words came as a shock to many people. He explained in his video (below) that he developed a rash on his stomach. After much investigating and diet changes, he came to the conclusion that cacao was causing the rash (eliminating the cacao caused his skin to clear). He also stated that cacao had been stripping his body of vital minerals. Kevin pointed out that he was simply sharing his own experience with cacao, possibly shedding some light on a subject that may need to be further investigated. He advised others to take a look at their own reactions to the food, to see if they are experiencing any problems.

I don't have time to write a real blog post, but wanted to pass along this information for anyone who eats Halloween candy, or knows of others who do. Please note that I am not the kind of person to spread false warnings. I completely trust Mike Adams as a Health Reporter and all around wonderful person. He would not spread false news...he looks into every bit of information available before sharing what he's learned with everyone else.

Mike has issued a warning about Halloween Candy. Please go to his site to find out more about it: NaturalNews.com

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I'll leave you with an old Halloween picture of me before I started eating raw foods. Halloween used to be the day I'd dress up and feel okay being myself, because I was in costume. It's funny to me that this year I feel no need to cover up in order to be myself. Halloween is still my favorite holiday, however!