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).

As promised, here's another question I'd like to openly address here instead of via Wendi's email system. This one also comes up from time to time, and I told this person to watch out for my two cents on this issue. So, here it is. The reader asks:

... During your transtioning to a raw food diet & the loss of so much weight, what if any exercising were you doing along the way

What better way to start our Fun-Filled Friday than by celebrating Jim's birthday ! He worked for half the day and now he's home for a long weekend. So far we've had a nice lunch (cashew/macadamia cheese with red peppers and celery) and birthday pie (mango and pineapple!) after singing "Happy Birthday" to him! This evening we'll have veggie stir-not-fry, since that's what Jim has requested. I prepared it earlier and it's in the dehydrator to marinade and get a bit warm.

I'm not sure I'm getting enough carbs 'cuz I eat very little grains or beans and I am always worried of overdoing fruit.

Well, rest assured that if you are consuming enough calories with your diet, and not exclusively eating fats and proteins, you are most likely getting enough carbohydrates. Carbohydrates exist in just about anything you can eat. By simply eating enough food during the day, you can easily meet your body's carbohydrate requirements.

There are two classifications of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Grains and beans fall under the complex category, while fruits fall under the simple category.

Every day I receive countless emails filled with questions about the raw food diet, my own success with reducing nearly 100 pounds and regaining health, and pleas for help by many who feel like they've hit bottom and there's no way up. Some emails have me in tears, because I can completely relate to what many of you are going through. I feel your pain, frustration, desperation.

One thing I've always been good at is listening, truly listening to what others are saying (and being an empath allows me to know what some are saying, even when they many times aren't verbalizing it). Another thing I've always been good at is intuitively knowing how to help others who are asking for advice. Jim used to joke that he wanted me to go into business running an advice column because ever since he's known me, I've been the person everyone comes to for help and advice. So, when I receive so many emails asking for help, it feels natural for me to reach out and connect with those needing help. It's what I do best well, that and spreading love!

So it's time to continue that discussion on the aforementioned fringe one percent -- those people who will not accept your conscious intention to pursue your own health via this path. Please keep in mind during this discussion that we're only discussing just that one percent, not people in general. So, this is, I hope, relatively rare.

To begin, I'd like to stress a few points:

Angela Stokes, well known and loved by many in the Raw Food Community, was interviewed on CNN back in September. The story was so popular that it has been mentioned on CNN, again! So, I'm reposting my original blog entry about the interview, below, for anyone who missed the interview or this blog entry.

Below you can see the interview of Angela Stokes that originally ran on CNN:

In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part one, focusing on Tim VanOrden's take on this issue.

When alternatives to the Standard American Diet are discussed, protein is on everyone's mind. There are many reasons why someone might want to eat a plant based diet, whether for allergy concerns, health reasons, or more variety. But nagging doubts often come up;? Are plant proteins adequate for athletes and body builders ? Are they really the preferred protein source of the human body ? Are they better than animal based protein or are they just consumed for environmental reasons ? To answer these questions, why not ask the experts:? triathletes, professional dancers, bodybuilders and extreme sport racers ? Here are the answers from some of the most competitive athletes in their respective fields.

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... I have about 3 free minutes this afternoon to post here, so please bear with me as I type this post as fast as humanly possible. Okay, here's a fascinating video we shot last night. For anyone unfamiliar with live blood cell analysis, definitely check out this video. What they do is take a small drop of your blood (via a painless finger prick) and magnify it like 80 kajillion times. Then, they show you a real-time picture of what's going on in your blood.

Two main points from this:?