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development of many long-term vegans returning to meat eating, (3) informational summits and online meetings have been replaced by debates, and (4) let's face it, the supplements being discussed and sold are getting, well, much *weirder* than ever!

Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will - his personal responsibility. ~Albert Einstein.

Jim here with another wonderful edition of Weird Wednesday. Here's something I find a little weird about food (and, I apologize in advance if this comes off a little preachy).

See, I work in an office and sit rather close to the corporate kitchenette. Routinely, people bring in junk food to set out for everyone -- cookies, donuts, cakes, pastries, pies, candy bars, nut rolls, cheesecakes, summer sausages, cheese cubes, fondues, etc. The thought seems to be that, in putting these things out for everyone, you're showing you care for them.Offering large servings of concentrated fats and refined sugar is viewed as a favor, as an altruistic service for your fellow coworkers. But this odd fact isn't even the weird aspect of my post (although, now that I think of it, that is pretty weird).

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.

Driving to work today, we noticed that McDonald's has launched its latest product aimed at the health-conscious demographic. In case you haven't heard, you can now purchase fruit smoothies at Mickey D's! Sounds like real progress, right? Well, let's take a closer look and see if they're really as healthy as they sound.

McDonald's is not exactly known as a healthfood destination. After all, a typical lunch at the Golden Arches these days might well include something like an Angus Bacon & Cheese, Large Fries, and a Large Coke. ?Together, that's 1,600 calories, 64 grams of fat, and 2,400 mg of sodium, 99% of which is from highly cooked, highly processed, non-organic, factory-farmed, nutrition-barren source materials . (Add on another 75 calories and 550 more mg of sodium if you plan to go through, say, five packets of ketchup along with those fries.) (Source) And, some people eat that daily!

So far, so good, with the mono-meal fasting for Navratri! I mentioned that I'll be sharing an almost diary-like blog entry at the end of each day, to share things with all of you. Well, today's diary entry is quite long. I do share a lot about what was going on with me before the fast, and why I haven't been around much online to connect with all of you.

How's everyone else doing? Are you enjoying your raw food journey? What have you been learning about yourselves, your bodies, and your overall health?

Today we revive our occasional "Thankful Thursday" feature to give thanks for a special Internet destination: Twitter.com. We're sure a number of you who may be unfamiliar with Twitter may be asking, "What in the world does this have to do with raw foods "

In fact, there's quite a bit of raw foods "activity" on that site! But first, let's take a look at what Twitter is. Basically, it's a web site where you sign up with a username, and then you answer the question, "What are you doing " in 140 characters or less.

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!

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?

It's Fun-Filled Friday again---that week went by so quickly! So, what fun did you have this past week and what fun have you planned for yourself in the near future? It's very important to make the time for fun. We all know that, right? But, how many of us actually carve out the time to have some special fun without stress, without problems---a time when we can laugh and experience the joys of being alive?

Wow, I'm having a tough time keeping up with our fearless travelers! I thought I'd break their San Francisco adventures up into FOUR smaller posts made from Wendi's personal travelogue. I'll try to address everything they did chronoligically. There will be a video in this posts, videos in the next post, and a picture set at the end! Here's what she had to say about their first stop in Frisco:

For our San Francisco/Berkeley visit, we first met up with a college friend, Pete Guinosso, at Cafe Gratitude. It was fun catching up, and Pete treated KDcat and I to our meals. While at the table, I labeled Pete as the "Quote Man" because he had a fantastic book of quotes he has been collecting. He periodically read from it as our conversations brought specific quotes to mind. It was a beautiful collection of poems, which Pete said is his second book and is filling up quickly.

Cafe Gratitude lived up to its reputation of having a great vibe with pleasant servers and fantastic raw foods. I wondered, however, why there isn't a dish called "I am Love." (There is a drink called "I am Loved," but I was interested in one that claimed I AM Love. Maybe they'll come up with one for my next visit!) After leaving Cafe Gratitude, I have to admit I wasn't overly grateful to find a $40 parking ticket waiting on the rental car. OUCH! We kept the car parked there (since it was already ticketed), and Pete showed us around the Berkeley shopping area. It was a fun stroll on a beautiful sunny, California day.

Yesterday, we covered the concept of "unsubscribing" from unhealthy practices. This was of course based on the common Internet practice of subscribing and unsubscribing to various things like newsletters and email lists. I receive quite a few of these each day, many raw foods ones and many non-raw ones. Among the non-raw, one that has been interesting to me lately is called the Art of Non-Conformity, penned by Chris Guillebeau. Basically, Chris' site chronicles his adventures in reaching his personal goal -- to travel to every country in the world! Along the way, he writes about all sorts of out-of-the-box things, as the blog name implies.

Today, he posted something that is remarkably insightful and applicable to our subject matter here, even though his context was completely different. The entry, entitled simply "Before and After," discusses the drinking water problems in much of Africa, focusing for the moment on Liberia. Atop the piece (the "before" picture) is a muddy water hole, the only source of drinking water for one village. The next picture (the "after" shot) shows a different, very happy village obtaining fresh, clean water from a newly installed well. Chris closes his article with the following quote: