A partial group picture from the retreat.

The 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat was a success! All my time and effort that went into creating the event was well worth the experience. When Leela Mata and I discussed a possible raw food retreat about a year ago, I had no idea how to go about creating such an event. I have never done anything like this, so I approached it by asking myself: "What would I want if I was attending a raw food spiritual retreat " From there, I created a retreat that I would love to attend, myself. In fact, when it was completely organized and guests began signing up, I wished that an identical event existed that I really could take part in, as well!

I started writing on a raw food forum about the oranges coming in today. But, I was on my way out the door and I had more to say about them than I realized, so, I figured I'd paste what I wrote, so far, and add to it here in our blog. ;-)

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(organic oranges and grapefruits)

Here at Pure Jeevan we are preparing for our cross country tour to educate others about raw foods. This means we are paring down on a lot of things, donating a lot, selling some things, and pretty much not buying anything unless it's absolutely necessary. That's what we've been doing for almost two years now (we're waiting for the house to sell). Recently, however, I decided it was time to spend a little bit of money even if it wasn't absolutely necessary.

Wendi's Dish Set

What did we buy? Dishes! Seems a bit strange to finally spend some money on something unnecessary and have it be dishes, right? Well, I had a few reasons for this purchase. The first is that when we are living in the RV, the space is going to be minimal. There won't be a lot of room for dishes, let alone much of anything else. Since there's not a lot of space to have dishes drying, we'll need to be washing, drying, and putting away immediately after use. That may not sound like a big deal, but when someone in the family decides to eat a few different things and leave the dirty dishes in the tiny RV sink, on the small counter, or somewhere else, it's going to really seem like a bigger mess than it is. So, to remedy this I thought it would be good for each of us to have our own dishes. That way we have a sense of responsibility for our own particular dishes--we know they are ours and we are responsible for taking care of them.

Jim here... While browsing a thrift shop for a smaller belt yesterday, I was reminded to make a few quick points here at our blog about the raw food diet and weight loss.

Many people are initially drawn to raw foods for the weight loss aspect of this lifestyle. Where most other diets ultimately fail in this area, raw foods usually brings wild success. So, for anyone considering a raw foods diet specifically for the purpose of weight loss, here are a few quick tips centered around the theme of "letting go of your expectations."? You may be wondering, "Why should I let go of my expectations for weight loss " Well, here are two big reasons:

I've already posted the recipe for this, but I wanted to talk about the orange pudding a bit. Since going raw, I've become a mostly intuitive eater. Whatever I feel like eating is what I eat. This usually means I am eating the same food for an extended period of time until I feel drawn to something different. Lately it has been the orange pudding.

I've been starting my mornings with a large bowl of it. If Jim is making lunch then I'll eat the salad or nut dip that he makes, otherwise it's orange pudding again. Then, if I didn't eat a salad during the day I usually have a salad for dinner and...a dessert of--you guessed it!--more orange pudding.

It's always a journey.

That's basically my post today, boiled down into four words. From all I've read, from all of those I've talked with / emailed / interviewed, and certainly from all I've personally experienced, this is a key concept that, in my view, it's best to come to terms with as soon as you can.

Wow, who knew so much work goes into meeting up with people all across the country ! It's going to all be worth it, though, to meet so many of you!! Below are the definite meetups happening. There are more being planned that we'll share once things are finalized. If you don't see your town/city here, but it's on our list of places we'll be visiting, maybe you'd like to help us put together a little gathering If so, just let us know! We'll be updating later next week with a more finalized plan for the trip and various meetups taking place.

What do you do when you spend the night or week-end at someone's house and they're not raw. Do you take your blender and all that

Super question, Joanna!? I'm sure you also have a great answer for this. I think I do, too, but it's probably more complicated than a lot of people would like.For me, the factors that complicate the "travel to non-raw households" issue include, but are not limited to:

And you thought Apple Cider Vinegar was tough to pin down ? Ever come across the whole fluoride controversy

A Google search on "fluoride" returns 6,300,000 results.

A Google search on "fluoride toothpaste" returns 246,000 results.

Before officially starting the new year, I'd like to acknowledge the changes and growth that took place over the past year. It was a whirlwind of changes, sometimes so dizzying that I wondered what I was doing and occasionally questioned whether, or not, I was making mistakes with my life. I followed my intuition, however, and it served me well. I'm here today, remembering the past year and ready to announce plans for this new year that has just begun. It's a beautiful life, isn't it Even when things seem dark and like there is a lot of pain, there is a tremendous amount of potential for new growth and a brighter life than ever imagined.

I ended 2008, perched on a summit and ready to take flight. Before I fly, however, I'm standing still for a bit and enjoying the view. I feel like the entire past year consisted of climbing to higher and higher plateaus of an enormous mountain. While climbing to each new plateau I stumbled, held on for dear life, saw amazing things, and became stronger.When reaching each new plateau, I'd spread my wings and leap, circling the mountain's circumference. But, I wasn't strong enough to fly straight to the peak. It was a year of gradual growth and change -- and I found myself becoming stronger and stronger as I reached the summit.I'm certainly not the same person who started this climb. I have transformed into a more genuine version of myself, a younger and stronger woman emerging from a lifetime of guilt and fear. As I stand on this summit, I feel youthful and invigorated. What lies ahead may be unknown to me, but I know it's within my ability to fly to the highest heights of ANY mountain, to see and do and experience ALL that I desire. It's going to be an incredible future and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!

In recognizing all of the accomplishments of 2008, I think it's important to admit that it wasn't one steady climb to the point I'm at today.The few years prior to 2008 were almost like my training in mountain climbing. Last year there were a lot of tears shed, along with a releasing of physical and emotional baggage that was still clinging to me. I openly shared what I was going through, however, after learning that keeping things inside was slowly killing my spirit. I think if I had to sum up 2008 in just one sentence it would be: In finally releasing everything, I woke up as my true self.

Jim thought it was important for me to update everyone about my health, especially since so many of you have been sending emails, etc., and I haven't responded.

I do appreciate all the love and concern (thank you all so VERY much!), but it's painful for me to type for very long. This update is going to most likely bring about some more pain, but I don't want you to keep worrying about me and my health. So, I'll share what's been going on.

There's an antibiotic that will decrease the pain temporarily if you have Lyme disease (it won't help the pain if it's caused by anything else), and I was able to obtain some of it. So far, today is day five on it. And here's some great news: The pain started lessening on day three -- the aches completely gone, leaving only sharp pains when I move my joints in certain ways. I'll be on this antibiotic (and possibly some others for "co-infections" that sometimes come with Lyme, but I won't know until more blood tests are done and the Lyme specialist reviews the results).