As raw foods enthusiasts for many years, Wendi and I have had the pleasure of patronizing raw food restaurants literally from coast to coast. Between us, we've been blessed to have sampled a more diverse spread of raw gourmet foods than have most people. (We hope that many others get to do this as well!)

From time to time in anyone's raw journey, it seems inevitable that thoughts crop up about opening a raw restaurant. For some, it's likely no more than a passing fantasy; for others, it may well become a firm business goal. We believe this is a fine and noble goal -- one that we'd like to see more people accomplish!

I'd like to talk with you about diet and experimenting. I've been learning about natural healing and foods/health since I was a very young woman. Somewhere along the line I knew that what I was eating was either making me feel better, or worse, and that food was related to health (it was more than just to fuel the body). It was with this knowledge that I stepped into the realm of natural healing and stumbled around for most of my life.I've learned about vegetarianism, herbs, the negative effects of dairy on the body, veganism, essential oils, Ayurveda, harmful chemicals in and around our foods, and so very much more. I don't claim to be an expert on any of these topics, they are just part of my overall bank of knowledge and experiences from which I pull to live as healthy as possible.

You rarely hear us talk about our daughter here on the blog. Some of you have noticed and asked questions about her through email. I'd like to tell you why we don't write about her very much, because there's something to be learned from it.

First, I usually don't like to write about people unless I get their permission. This is especially true when my daughter is concerned. I respect her privacy if she chooses for me to not share things about her life. Years ago when I knew I wanted to create the Pure Jeevan site, I talked with Jim and our daughter about it. I said it was something I felt drawn to do, that I felt it could help a lot of people, but I wanted it to be a family site if it's something they were interested in doing along with me. Jim agreed to help me at the time, but didn't fully embrace Pure Jeevan himself (now, however, he has become a very active part of this site and all of our projects). Our daughter, however, said from the very beginning that she didn't want any part of it.

For many people, a change in diet is largely a mental issue. You *decide* that you're going to do something different, and then commit to it. You may shop a little differently than before, but quite often that is the extent of any action taken (other than preparing and eating the new foods rather than the old ones).For many, the commitment aspect is the trickiest part. ?Books could be written on this subject alone (and we're sure we've discussed this at length here on the blog).

Today we want to share a super-easy tip to help with the commitment side of this: Keep your fruits and vegetables VISIBLE.

Today I'd like to do something different for Makin' It Monday. I'll tell you what we've eaten today, but I want to hear what's been happening in YOUR kitchen!

This morning I sliced up three bananas, drizzled them with some agave, sprinked a bit of Himalayan crystal salt on them, and then topped them with hemp seeds and sprouted flax seeds with cranberries and gogi berries. I love this breakfast because it feels like I'm eating something a bit complex and more filling than simply eating the bananas plain (which is how I almost always eat them). KDcat had a bowl of oatmeal (not raw), and Jim had a few pieces of fruit.

Jim here... An unusual occurrence prompted this post, and I'm unsure as to whether it's significant. I've talked about some of my favorite non-raw items before -- things that were tough to leave behind as I embarked upon this raw foods journey. I think I covered pizza in a relatively recent post.

Corn chips were another. In fact, after Wendi went 100% raw and I more or less began to follow her dietary choices, I clung to corn chips for dear life for quite a long time. I began eating a LOT of salsa in those days. Sometimes, that would be all I'd eat for lunch -- just an entire jar of salsa and a bag of corn chips (though, by then, I'd at least usually buy the organic ones and, quite often, a baked variety of chips as well).

When I finally decided I'd be better off transitioning to an all raw lifestyle, I figured my love affair with corn chips had come to an end. Farewell beautiful chips, I thought. I'll never forget our delicious crunchy time together. And that was that. I never looked back.

But then, at a local raw foods pot luck, I met a raw chef who had more or less perfected a raw corn chip recipe. Could it be , I thought. Has this delicacy returned to me after all, as though via some sweet culinary destiny? Ahh, my friends, that was a glorious day. Chips and salsa had returned to me in an enlightened raw form. I could enjoy them once again, guilt free. And enjoy them I did -- usually using a local shop's "Peruvian Purple Corn" (a living, sproutable, dried corn product).

Alas, fate stepped in once again. "Thou may partake of these crisps any time thou wishest," fate boomed. "Yet, in order to do so, thou must prepare them thine self using thine Vitamix and requiring an enormous flax-sticky mess with extended clean-up time, and thou must have parchment paper available at all times, and thou must exercise great care and patience in using your Excalibur, for these chips must dry for many an hour before ready."

Yeah, it was a bit of a chore to produce them. So, as the novelty of chip making and eating wore off, I slowly decreased the frequency of going through the messy, time-consuming hassle of preparing them. Until yesterday, it had been literally months since I made a batch. But... we'd ordered a few pounds of the corn from Natural Zing lately, and I found myself with some extra time the other night. So...

Now, I'm going to pause for a minute for a tangent on digestion. I know a great majority of people, it seems, complain of various digestive disorders. As a result, we have many raw foodie specialists schooled in the nuances of food combining. Oddly, I never paid much attention to these discussions, nor offered input on these matters, because they simply weren't relevant to me.

In fact, I likened my own digestive system to some kind of nuclear powered garbage disposal. It didn't matter what I ate; digestion wasn't a problem for me. So, for example, I'd routinely finish off heavy meals, and then follow them with a huge slice of juicy watermelon (a major no-no according to common wisdom). It just never bothered me.I always joked that, even though I'd been raw for ages, I could still probably go eat a Big Mac (not that I would) and be unaffected by it.

So powerful was my stomach acid that, admittedly, I sometimes privately *worried* whether this might mean something was wrong with me. I mean, shouldn't some of the things I was eating make me sick? Was it "good" to not be made sick by what is generally regarded as poor food combining choices? Do people commonly suffer from problems of efficiency as well as deficiency ? I still do not really know the answer to these questions, and suspect the answer is rather complicated, anyway. Fortunately, it doesn't matter now because...

Something finally made me sick!? I'm laughing now about that, but I spent most of the evening in terrible stomach pain after having over-indulged in some of those (in)famous raw purple corn chips.

So, what happened ? That's an interesting question for me. Here are some possibilities: (1) Perhaps my hyper-active digestive system *was* in fact a problem, and now it's beginning to normalize. Perhaps, had I been healthier all along, I would have been made sick by some of my food choices, but now my health is improving!? (2) Perhaps it's a fluke and I simply shouldn't have eaten mass quantities of corn and flax so late at night. (3) Perhaps my body is improving in its ability to communicate with me, and/or that I'm getting better at listening, and that the message here is that corn is not something my body gains nourishment from -- at least, not in this dried-reprocessed-redried form. After all, some leading raw food authorities, like Gabriel Cousens, aren't fans of corn (even fresh corn!).

Oh sure, there may be other explanations (e.g., "a bad batch of corn"). But, I'm actually most interested in #3, above. Even though this is an extreme example (more intense than it needed to be), I'd like to think that I'm getting better at knowing what I'm being nourished from and what I am not. I'd like to think that this is a latent sense that can be developed, much like our ability to know things by feeling and intuition rather via pure rationality all the time.

But, with food, I think it's a matter of inventorying your physical sensations head to toe, and also as a whole. How is the food you're eating making you feel? Do you feel satisfied or still hungry? Do you feel light or is the food sitting kind of heavily? Do you feel energized or dragged down? How's your mental clarity? Do you feel spacey or more grounded? Do you feel noticeably happier or more sad than before? How are all of these things mapping out over time? Is your weight moving in a positive direction for you? Are your illnesses improving? Food is medicine, after all; it has all of these effects and many more!

For now, I think I can safely check purple corn off of my own personal list of foods that make me feel good. I suspect my old assertion about "being able to eat a Big Mac without any side effects" no longer applies -- and maybe this is a good thing. I think perhaps it signals some progress in my journey toward optimal health.

In any case, I think this kind of purposeful introspection is healthy, and something we should all strive to do more often.How about you? Had any similar experiences? What have you learned from them?

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On April 15, 2009, essie wrote:

If you've been following us for some time, you'll know that we are continually working on projects that will either serve our raw food community or educate others about the health benefits of a raw food lifestyle. If you are new here, or just getting to know us, you can read a summary of what we accomplished last year and a summary of the projects we're currently working on. We're serious about our goal to inspire others to learn about and embrace the raw food lifestyle and community. I've always been someone who helps others, who senses in what direction they are headed and then offers inspiration to keep them moving. I love the work we do as Pure Jeevan and it is extremely rewarding to receive so much gratitude from many of you. But, guess what? Sometimes I get tired!

Sure, some of you may be saying, "But, wait! People who eat raw foods are supposed to be power houses of energy -- able to continually keep active and never run out of steam." Well, that is very true. So, I take it back. I'm not really "tired" like I said -- my body is able to wake up in the morning, easily fall asleep in the evening, and go about its daily work without feeling like it's run down.However, I am feeling like I need a rest from all that I've been doing. Maybe I don't need to sleep hours and hours, because my body isn't truly tired. None of my being is truly tired -- my body, mind, spirit, and emotions are feeling great, actually.

However, I still feel like I need a break from my routine. On top of that, I've been feeling uncomfortable in the cold weather even more this year than I did last year. It hurts all the way down, deep inside my bones. I feel like it will take a lifetime to thaw from the cold I've been feeling here in Pittsburgh. The sun rarely shines, and the snow and ice are brutal on someone eating only raw foods. My instincts told me two years ago that it was time to move to a warmer, sunnier climate, but that hasn't happened yet (even though we are patiently working on it, as Jim pointed out in an earlier post).

There are many things to be thankful for in this life, but for our very first Thankful Thursday entry we'd like to stress how thankful we are for the vibrant health we now have. Consuming only fresh, organic raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds has allowed our bodies to heal from the inside out. For this we will forever be thankful. In fact, we are so thankful that we are here, as Pure Jeevan, to spread the word about how raw, life-filled foods can bring you renewed health!

Persimmons are a tad unusual, aren't they? Perhaps they're simply uncommon. After all, few major grocers carry them regularly (at least, not in our area). But, occasionally, they crop up as a specialty, limited-quantity offering. That's more or less how we obtained some recently. Wendi *loves* them, so we quickly snatched up a few at our local co-op last week. Here's the vid (below). Note the strange lack of a video still image. I'm not sure if it's a YouTube glitch, or if I made some sort of error in rendering. But, the video works just fine, so you'll just have to take a small leap of faith here and click that play btton! [UPDATE: Nevermind, YouTube fixed it.]

Thanks again to Bethany Hagensen and Janet McKee for being our special guests for this episode. Once again, the link to their documentary, "Bethany's Story," is

Today we welcome Leela Mata from the Peaceful Valley Ashram ( for another episode of Pure Jeevan's Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" edition. In this episode, Leela demonstrates how to make a delicious summertime chutney.

Since Marigolds are seasonal, and likely available only in certain areas, please consider them optional. Perhaps substitute another edible flower of your choice (and let us know if you do!). Aside from making this tasty recipe (which we later enjoyed on a salad), Leela also makes some important points about intuitive eating and intuitive recipe creation. Here's the vid:

Jim here... Certainly, we're all familiar with the old saw, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink," right ? So often, the life of a raw foodie is perfectly captured by that saying. We are, of course, the ones leading our equine brothers and sisters to the sweet trough of raw foods, just as others coaxed us into the barn for our first drink.

Have You Been Led To This Post ??

So, what is this post It's a big old horse trough to which, if you're a raw foodie, you can lead others. Or, if you're someone unfamiliar with raw foods, and have been sent here by another, what you'll find below is the water. No one can make you drink it. And, please don't be offended at my comparing you to a horse because (1) we're all horses, (2) this is all just my strange opinion, and (3) horses are beautiful, magical beings! Being compared to a horse is a compliment!