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.

I'm still doing my nine-day mono meals for Navratri. Since it's Makin' It Monday, instead of actually makin' a recipe, I'm dreamin' about it! After talking with my sweet friend Melissa, I thought I wanted to eat spinach pie when I end my mono meals. She was talking about it, shared how she was going to create it, and my mind was filling with the image of spinach pie, the smell and taste of it, and I wanted it right then.But, we don't have any spinach in the house right now. Since I end my mono meals after tomorrow's lunch, and don't have time to buy spinach at the food co-op, I decided to dream some more about what I'll be eating for tomorrow's dinner.

Then it came to me. I want beet pasta! Not just any beet pasta, but beet pasta topped with a creamy alfredo sauce! I picture it in my mind; I can imagine the taste of it, the texture, and it's so delicious. I think I want something green with it, too. Perhaps I'll start with a small salad. Ooh! Yes, that's what I'll do!

Here it is, the new year. I've never been excited about the end of one year and the beginning of the next, but this time it's different.So many things have changed in our lives here at Pure Jeevan, bringing us to this point in time--a time that we are ready for and fully embrace. This year is going to be RAWmazing!

Many plans and projects have been started over the past few years, and this is the year that will see many of them fully blossom. The beauty of these projects is that they are about so much more than just us, or just you, our lovely readers. Our mission is to help as many people as possible to wake up from a life that's only partially being lived.We believe there are many tools that can be used to fully wake up and embrace life; one of them is eating a raw food diet. We raw foodists know that there is a lot more to life than what we've been taught to believe and expect, and many of us are helping others learn this beautiful fact. We are shaking up many of the core beliefs on which most of us have based our lives. I strongly believe that many of us in the raw food movement can say: We Are The Ones! We are the ones who are here to make positive changes, to help others fully embrace life, and to have fun, fun, fun! Why waste even one more day of your precious life doing something you don't enjoy doing? It's time to have fun, to feel the love that exists within and all around us, and to help others experience the same! So, are you in ?Do you want to join us on this grand adventure of creating a blissful life for not only ourselves, but for the rest of the world, as well?

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.

Greetings, everyone! ?We've been away from regular blogging for what seems an *eternity*. When we left the airwaves, the raw food world was at total peace with itself -- bliss, harmony, sister- and brotherhood. Aside from rare, gentle disagreements among raw vegans on issues such as whether raw chocolate was mineral-rich or potentially taxing to your body's store of minerals, things were pretty much business as usual.

And then we moved away and took a little time off to regroup .. ?and NOW look at the state of the raw food zeitgeist: (1) long-term raw foodists just about everyhwere are now "eating a little bit of cooked food," (2) an enormous schism has emerged after the seemingly improbable development of many long-term vegans returning to meat eating, (3) informational summits and online meetings have been replaced by debates, and (4) let's face it, the supplements being discussed and sold are getting, well, much *weirder* than ever!

Rita Romano, author of the widely available book Dining in the Raw and executive chef for many years at the Hippocrates Health Institute, is a true pioneer of the raw movement. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to visit with her and her two lovely Boston Terriers, Angel and Oreo. Here's PART TWO of our talk with her:

I receive many questions from our readers, and I am very happy to respond. I truly love helping others, but I don't do it just for them.When I was younger, many times I thought I was performing selfless acts of kindness whenever I'd help others. However, now I realize I am experiencing pleasure by helping others. I find it very rewarding, as though I am fulfilling my purpose in life.

Do you know what your life's purpose is? Do you believe there is such a thing These aren't rhetorical questions; I'm really interested in hearing your response. Well, I've known my life's purpose (actually, I have more than one) from a very young age, but it wasn't until recently that I began living it more fully. My purpose in life is to love others---to connect with others through an immensely deep and genuine love.One way I've found for spreading my love and realizing my purpose is by helping others.

When I answer questions for our readers, I speak from my heart. I think it's important to realize, however, that the answers we receive from others are *their* answers to similar questions. Maybe their answers will work for us, but maybe they won't.I've stressed this many times, but it never hurts to repeat it: Listen to others, hear what they have to share, but mostly listen to your own inner voice. We all have the answers deep within ourselves, even if we can't always hear them very well.

Let's continue this video cavalcade with a very quickly made video basically peeking inside Karyn's Raw in Chicago. I didn't really have an opportunity to spend a good deal of leisurely time there, as I did with two other Chicago area restaurants, so this video is *very* basic, and not at all thorough in terms of what is offered there. But, if you're not from Chicago and have no other way to see it, perhaps its interesting to take a quick (just 3+ min) look. Here's the video:

Here's a rare question a Pure Jeevan family member recently asked:

I eliminated 100lbs on raw food, but I've been "stuck" for the last year. I feel absolutely amazing when I can stick to raw food, but it's sooo hard when time is limited!

First, congratulations on your success with the raw food lifestyle! You must be feeling like a new person, even though you feel a bit stuck right now.

Continuing with our Taco Week, here's a quick and easy (and delicious) salsa recipe. You can really have a lot of fun with salsa, and can get highly experimental if you like. Almost anything tastes great in salsa. This one is fairly basic, so feel free to spruce it up with some of your favorite ingredients. Let us know in the comments section some of your favorite variations so you may inspire others!