Pardon the video quality there. A.J. and I shot that video at night and, although it looked decent on the camera's preview screen, the actual video came out almost totally black!? However, with a bit of video processing, we were able to salvage it. It's not optimal video, but it's at least watchable (and, hey, also conveys a little of that nighttime festival feeling).

A quick note about veganism before I share some additional info... As we've stated here many times, Pure Jeevan advocates a raw vegan lifestyle. What do we intend that to mean, exactly? Well, strictly speaking, veganism excludes all animal products, both in terms of diet and lifestyle.

Here's a picture I took at Portland's Saturday Market last week. We've been pleasantly surprised to find that artichokes grow rather well here in the Pacific Northwest. We don't recall seeing them much back East, but many of our neighbors grow them (both for the artichokes and, I suspect, as ornamental plants).

I suspect that some raw foodists tend to overlook artichokes because they're so traditionally linked with the image of something steamed, stuffed with breadcrumbs, and drizzled in butter -- so, "cooked," "breaded," and "dairy" all together in one recipe! Being half Italian, I grew up eating them this way. My mother almost never said "artichoke"; she always called them an Italian word that sounded like "ga-GO-che-lee." ?She made them just a few times per year, and they were always a huge treat (and we'd often fight over the hearts -- by far the best part!).

Day 7: Happy Navratri! It's the final three days, and today begins the special day of focusing on the attributes of Goddess Saraswati, recognizing those same feminine qualities within ourselves, and drawing inspiration to continue growing and changing in the most wonderful ways.

Saraswati has always held a place of honor in our home. When we traveled to India a very long time ago(*), we purchased a batik wall hanging of Goddess Saraswati and framed it. It's quite large and we've always hung it in places where we wanted to focus on the energy that she represents to Hindus: creativity (particularly in the areas of music and art) and knowledge/intelligence (usually linked with education and literature).

Wow, with literally years of raw food coverage under our belts here at Pure Jeevan, we don't think we've ever devoted an entire post to fermented foods. Well it's high time we do, don't you think ? Check out the video and then we'll discuss it further...

We all know what "greens" are in general. For example, no one questions whether lettuce, kale, spinach, or chard are greens. But on the other hand, all of those items *are* also clearly green in color. With that in mind, what would you make of the following two questions I (Jim) recently pondered -- tagged as "reader questions" so they're easily found in the future by other equally inquisitive people ;-) -- that seem bizarre, but are really quite interesting?

1. Are non-green greens (e.g., purple kale) still considered greens

2. Are vegetables with green skins (e.g., cukes, zucchini) considered greens? (After all, they're green!)

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!

It's not much longer before I'll be serving all kinds of delicious foods to those attending the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat! I've been working on the recipes and taking pictures to include with the bound materials going home with everyone attending the retreat.

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

It's been a while since we offered an update on Wendi's health challenge. So, I asked if she felt up to writing a blog post to let everyone know what she's going through, highlighting a few new directions taken of late. As usual, I added some color splashes and graphics here and there, just for aesthetics. But, the following post is from Wendi. -Jim

Many thanks and lots of love go out to all of you for the love and support you ve been sending my way. I can t spend much time at the computer, but Jim has been trying to keep up with my email and he s been passing along your love, concern, advice, and healing energy. Thanks so much for everything, including the things that have arrived through the postal service. I definitely feel the love from all of you and I want you to know that each and every one of you means so much to me! * blows kisses *

Here's part two of Wendi's travelogue from Sedona:

After leaving ChocolaTree Cafe, and interviewing the lovely Kelly, we went to the famous Sedona Airport vortex spot, but there was no parking, so we drove to the top of the rock/mountain and there was a farmer's market going on. We took a quick video of what was happening up there, to share on the blog. There was a cool musician playing: Vighas Kendzia, who plays piano, native flutes, sax, and more. He's from and I told him he'd be on our site. So, if you made it here to check out the video, welcome, Vighas! :-)

From there, we headed out to find a vortex spot that Kelly described. I'm not sure if we found the exact spot, but we really enjoyed the place we found. We ate our lunch there and it was DELICIOUS! The water, the trees, the large boulders, the fresh was a very special place. We then drove to one of the more well-known hiking/vortex spots: Bell Rock.The hike in is a bit over a mile, then there is the climbing (which isn't really recommended by the park officials, but it's absolutely necessary to fully experience Sedona!). I gave KDcat some space to explore the area a bit on her own, as this was a very special time for me a few years ago. There is a certain energy and cleansing that happens when visiting Sedona. If any of you are going through changes in your lives, or feel like there is a shift that needs to happen, I highly recommend visiting Sedona for a few days. KDcat felt some powerful personal healing, which didn't surprise me at all. It's a place I'd love to visit every few years, or so, as it definitely holds some sort of healing energy. Maybe it's just the views, or the peacefulness of being away from everything. Whatever it is, I highly recommend visiting Sedona and climbing around on the rocks!

Some of you know about my love of Sedona, AZ, especially those who were following the Pure Jeevan blog a few years ago. It was a visit to Sedona in 2008, for a Raw Spirit Festival, that my life dramatically changed once again. This time it wasn't the food that was healing me, but it was related to the raw food lifestyle. I felt healed on many levels while there in Sedona, surrounded by the beautiful red rocks, cool and sandy earth beneath my bare feet in contrast to the warm sun on my skin, and embraced by a vibrant, loving community of like-minded individuals.
There's a certain magic to Sedona, if you believe in such things (well, I suppose it's there even if you don't believe). ;-) ?For me, I believe that we can many times find scientific reasons to explain much of the magic in this beautiful world, but that doesn't have to diminsh the experiences we have. Sedona is known for its powerful vortex energy, which has a way of stirring up our own energy systems and bringing about healing, balance, awakenings, etc. ?Is this energy measurable through science, or is it more metaphysical in nature? I don't know and to be honest, it doesn't matter to me. There were life-altering changes that took place while I was in Sedona in 2008 which rippled out beyond me and touched the lives of those very close to me, as well.

Here's a quick video of a Sedona Farmer's Market and a clip of KDcat and I at an area we claimed to be flowing with vortex energy, even though it wasn't necessarily one of the more touristy vortex destinations.