In our Mnemonics for the ?Clean 15? ? Or, ?Conventional? Produce That Tests Lowest for Residual Pesticides blog post last week, we put an asterisk next to "sweet corn" and took it off our list of foods to eat. Even though sweet corn tests relatively low for pesticides, Pure Jeevan still feels the vegetable isn't a safe choice for a healthy diet. There are primarily two reasons for our decision to completely remove corn from our diets. First, of all the vegetables that have undergone genetic modification (GM), GM corn is one that has been proven to cross-pollinate with non-GM corn. Second, since corn is so plentiful and easy to grow, it has been modified to become all sorts of flavors, sweeteners, fillers, etc., in food products and many individuals have developed sensitivities to it.

We at Pure Jeevan enjoy eating salads. Each of us has our own way of dressing our individual salads, but we all thoroughly enjoy very large bowls of them at least once a day.In the past, salads were those "diet" meals that I'd consume when I was trying to lose weight. I'd sit at the table staring at my small plate of greens, feeling like I was missing out on the "great" food everyone around me was eating. I'd feel hungry after my meal and extremely unsatisfied.

Picking up from the previous installment, Wendi and KDcat absolutely loved beautiful Corvallis, but ultimately felt it had too much of a small-town feel for us. So, they decided to take a road trip to the nearest big city, Eugene. KDcat and Stephanie (one of the lovely daughters of our Corvallis hosts) were enjoying their time together, so Stephanie decided to come along.

The trip from Corvallis to Eugene is but one pleasant hour's drive.The group's first stop was the Buffalo Exchange, a new and secondhand clothing store. Everyone loved the store, which offered a great selection of? fun clothes you can t usually find in other stores or thrift shops. A barely worn pair of red hi-top Converse sneakers was the highlight of this stop for KDcat. She's been wanting a pair of these exact shoes for ... well, forever! She immediately began decorating them when she had the chance (after they were disinfected, that is).

From there, they explored greater Eugene, checking out areas others had suggested. There were a lot of cute shops, but they were geographically spread out. It wasn t like the neighborhoods in Portland, where you can walk blocks and blocks with unique stores, restaurants, etc., all in a row. There was a nice vibe to Eugene, Wendi said, but something about it just didn t feel like home for us. Wendi said there weren t as many people out and about as she'd expected, but that could have been because they visited on a Sunday. Here are some pics from around town -- and then we'll talk food.

So, what did you think about there being snow in New Mexico? Were many of you thinking it was more of a consistant hot climate like I used to think?

We left New Mexico, renewed, and headed to Oklahoma. Here's where we left off yesterday:

Above is a quick camera-phone pic I posted to our Facebook group lately. I did talk about making raw parfaits on that page, but want to talk a little more about them today, as it's just the perfect time to be talking about delicious raw parfaits (at least here in America, in any case, where many of the fresh berries you'll probably want are cheap and in season). I'll share a brief story about them, and then share my own basic recipe, and then we'll make some plans for MORE parfait talk really soon, okay?

I'm almost hesitant to talk about raw food parfaits here because, well, if the government found out how unbelievably healthy and ENJOYABLE parfaits are, I'm sure they'd make them illegal. But, I'll take a chance...

Well, after three long days of train travel, Wendi and KDcat arrived in Portland. I knew they'd had a rough trip (as I'd posted, Wendi experienced some serious motion sickness!), so I booked them into an awesome Bed & Breakfast, literally across the street from the raw restaurant they were planning to visit. That B&B is called the Lion and the Rose Victorian Bed & Breakfast Inn. Wendi said everyone there was super-nice. (There was a neat synchronicity about it, too, which I'll post in the comments section.)

Thanks to everyone for the motion sickness tips! Wendi's feeling better, but after such a long train ride, she and KDcat still feel the effects on their balance (feeling like they're still moving, slightly dizzy, ears blocked a bit etc.). I suppose train travel takes a little getting used to. But, again, they're feeling much better.

Even though it was a short stay in Portland, they managed to squeeze in a meetup with two Pure Jeevan family members, Ann Chatterton and Tracy Partridge Johnson (as well as Ann's children, Zoe and Zack, and Tracy's son Brandon). They met up at the Blossoming Lotus, an organic/vegan venue that offers some gourmet raw dishes. Here's a slideshow!

Here's a fun story, with a fun, inspirational, and at least partially dietary conclusion. As I mentioned yesterday, Wendi is in Portland this week. Can you guess what she's doing there? ... She's attending a very important event -- something that merited getting on an airplane with almost no notice (and, wow, are those last-minute airfares pricey!). Still not sure? That's okay; I'll let the cat out of the bag: We found a new home!!

We've been talking about moving to the west coast for literally years now, so it's about time, right? ?In recent times, we've really begun taking action on things in a much more profound and immediate way than ever, and it's been working out amazingly well. This home purchase was just the latest instance of it. We basically saw an opportunity and immediately went for it, without hesitation, and before we knew it we were sending paperwork back and forth across the internet to our realtor.

Last night I dreamed of meandering through an unfamiliar cityscape, following some lonely sidewalk next to a river at night, feeling particularly sad and miserable beneath dim yellow street lights. I wore a black suit, carried a highball glass, and was absolutely drunk!

Having crossed the river, I soon realized (even in my dream-drunken state) that I'd been wandering aimlessly. Feeling rather pathetic, I decided to walk back across the river and sober up in a casino that I knew was there. Drunk and depressed, I figured I'd just sit in front of a slot machine for a few hours.

I want to admit something to all of you: Sometimes I still cry because of how people treated me when I was obese. Because I stuffed all of my "negative" emotions deep inside my entire life, it's going to take some time to fully release them. I'm working on it, however, and making tremendous progress with healing myself on all levels. I'm not telling you these things so you'll feel sorry for me, however. I'm telling you because I am thankful for all the pain I endured. It shaped me (in more ways than just my physical appearance) into the person I am today.

Even though it sounds strange, and somehow wrong to feel this way, I'm thankful that I was obese. I'm thankful for all of the experiences during my life, even the extremely painful, traumatic ones. Maybe if I was a different kind of person I would wish that those things didn't happen to me. However, I am using those experiences in positive ways. They've helped me understand people even better, and to understand myself on a deeper level, as well. When people reach out to me it's not only because I'm an approachable person, it's because they sense that I understand them--and they're right. I DO understand them. I understand you. My experiences, coupled with my gift of empathy, help me relate to you in a way that maybe not everyone else is able to do.

This recipe is an adaptation of one from "Rawvolution", by Matt Amsden. As of this point in time, "Rawvolution" is my favorite recipe book. Most of the recipes are high in sodium and fat, but very satisfying for those who are used to eating cooked foods.

Egg-less Egg Salad

Today we welcome Devaki, the yoga instructor at Peaceful Valley Ashram, for another episode of Pure Jeevan s Makin? It Monday ?Guest Raw Chef? edition. In this episode, Devaki demonstrates how to make raw Cabbage-Mango salad. We ate the salad shown just after shooting the video. It was quite tasty and refreshing! Here s the recipe: