Jim here... Sorry for being away for so long. We've got SO much going on these days, it's mind-boggling! More on that later, as I have something in mind already for today...I should start by clarifying that I've been basically raw for almost 4 years now (high-raw, you might say). During the first nearly-two years, I still ate meat from time to time. Actually, I still ate (and drank) almost everything from time to time -- sugars, processed foods, alcohol, you name it -- only less than I did before, and within the context of a dietary intake consisting of a significantly higher percentage of living foods. In those early years, I'd estimate I was averaging 75-90% raw. Not bad ... I definitely experienced improvements in my health!

The big change in consciousness didn't follow until two years ago. (This is an interesting point because, as you can see, I wasn't "ready" for a bigger change for two years into eating a lot of raw foods!) I suppose the difference was that, during the early years, I was pretty much raw by default rather than by conscious decision. As Jules said in Pulp Fiction, "... my girlfriend's a vegetarian. ?Which more or less makes me a vegetarian..." Yeah, that was my case back then, too, although I certainly grew into it (and am thankful that I did).

Happy Summer Solstice!

Well, it's officially summer here! This time of the year is extra special to us now that we're healthier. Not only is there an abundance of fresh, local organics to eat, but the sun also shows itself to us a lot more (Pittsbugh is ranked as one of the places experiencing the least amount of sunshine per year). The sun actually used to make me feel physically ill (I wrote a bit about that in an earlier post), but ever since I've switched to a raw vegan diet I find myself drawn to the healing sunshine.

Before switching to a raw lifestyle, we used to go on a lot of outings (picnics) and we'd also go camping. I remember a friend voicing concern when my diet was beginning to change to raw foods. She felt I wouldn't be able to go camping anymore and that things like picnics wouldn't be fun for someone eating a raw food diet. She thought I'd need access to a refrigerator in order to keep all my raw foods fresh and a kitchen where I could prepare the delicious foods she had been seeing me eat.

A Pure Jeevan family member recently asked us how they can tell if they're consuming too much protein. They felt because they have been eating too many nuts and seeds, because of how quick and filling they are, that perhaps their intake of protein is too high in their diet.

We fully understand the convenience of the quick energy that eating nuts and seeds can bring to one's diet. We also have learned, through experience, that the more we rely on this type of nutrition (high in fat), the less energetic we feel long-term. There's nothing wrong with eating nuts and seeds as a pick-me-up between meals, as long as you're eating a small handful of them and your body does well with fats (not everyone can easily digest fats).

What a fun weekend we'll be having! We leave later today to visit some friends in Virginia. Sweet little Rhia (a niece's daughter) will be turning one year old and there will be a huge party for her. I'll be wearing a sari, there will be lots of Indian food to tempt me back to the cooked side of life (but, never fear, I am strong!), and we'll be staying up very late enjoying the party Saturday evening.

Mohtarama, Wendi, Mamta, Deborah

Many times we are asked about our grocery bill---how much do we spend each month on eating a raw, vegan diet? It's not something that's easy to answer, though. If we just blurted the amount out, people would be shocked (at a minimum) and insist that there's no way possible they could ever eat a raw diet because they can't afford it.

Our monthly expense at the grocery store has continued to climb since I first began eating raw foods. At this point, now that Jim is eating 100% raw, as well, our monthly expense has more than doubled from the time when it was only me eating 100%. That's a huge increase in money being spent each month. But, you know what? It's okay! Yes, I said it's okay that our expense has more than doubled and I'll tell you why after you take a look at what we purchased last week for our home.

Jim here...As vegans and vegetarians, we're familiar with what we believe is quite a lot of misinformation regarding our lifestyle. However, we've done the research and, for example, know how we get our protein (always a concern received from others), know the stats on B12 deficiency (another concern often cited by mainstreamers), and know our answers to other issues such as where we get our minerals from and whether we consume processed foods and sugars. Bucking the mainstream conventional wisdom emergent from within a world dominated by the Standard American Diet, we live defiantly as healthy examples of our chosen path. But, is there any wiggle room as far as what is and isn't healthy (for us, and for everyone)? What about some of the things that everyone "knows" is bad for you? With questions like those in mind, here's something unusual -- a full post developed from a simple Facebook update. (You are friends with Wendi and me on Facebook, right ) Yesterday, I posted the following:

Think of something that you think is bad for you, and then go to Google & type in "benefits of [that thing]" and see if there is a web site that is promoting that thing. I just did this for "caffeine" and read some thought-provoking ideas (that might all be utter BS, but are interesting nonetheless).

Before we run this blog entry, let me first announce one awesome thing:? Wendi and Kdcat are back home now!!? Yep, the trip is now officially over, and was a HUGE success. Not only did our fearless raw travelers identify Pure Jeevan's soon-to-be new home town -- Portland, Oregon! -- but Wendi and KDcat also met and made friends with hundreds of people from around the country. I'm sure Wendi will be back here on the blog with overall reflections and so forth soon. However, the trip generated so much content that it's going to take a while to catch up!? So, let's pick up with the travel narrative where we last left off. As you may recall, the girls were leaving San Luis Obispo and heading into sunny Los Angeles! Let's see what Wendi had to say, again with her travelogue:

Wow, it's finally looking like CA with all the palm trees! After hitting and dealing with some major traffic of a large city, we arrived to the warmest welcome at the home of Debbie Young (of DebbieDoesRaw) -- a decorative greeting waiting on the door, gift bags handed to us as we walked inside, loving hugs and smiles, and the most amazing raw meal ever (samosas!, chai, pineapple lassi, mango chutney, tamarind chutney, biscotti cookies), and a snack basket waiting in our private apartment! At this stop, we were totally spoiled by Debbie and her beautiful family!

This is one of the stops I was really looking forward to, because Debbie and I have been online friends for a long time. We were able to spend a short amount of time together at the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, and I loved her and wanted to spend more time with her and meet her lovely family in person (including their adorable dog, Malcolm).

Pizza Delivery at Pure Jeevan s home ! Yep, and it s not raw pizza, either. Maybe sometime in the not-so-distant future we ll be able to order delicious, life-giving raw pizzas for delivery to our home, but that time hasn t come. Even if it was possible today, I have a feeling we d still be ordering the greasy pizza that s going to be arriving here later today.

You see, today is KDcat s 14th birthday. As much as she knows about health, nutrition, and the harms of consuming dairy, she has made a decision that she wants to order a pizza for her birthday and have it delivered. When she told me of her birthday wish, a very big part of me wanted to review how unhealthy such food is, but the other part didn t want to bring guilt to her decision of eating pizza on her birthday. I know she completely understands about foods and health, especially about how harmful dairy can be for her body. She was determined to have pizza, so I d rather she enjoy it than to eat while feeling guilty about it the entire time.

Sometimes you meet someone and you just know they have tapped into something special, something most of us search for but never quite find. That was the case when I met this lovely woman I'd like the rest of you to meet. There's a centered peace about her, down deep in her core, and yet she's overflowing with an energy that I've never seen matched by anyone else. She's delightfully insightful, intelligent, and playful all at the same time. ?

Take the Time to Meet

Guess what's pulling into Pittsburgh tomorrow evening? Here's a hint (if you don't already know after reading the title of this blog post!):

One of our readers, Julie, asked me to update her on what kind of diet I'm doing and why I'm doing it. The last time I publicly made changes with my diet, I received many similar questions. So, I figured maybe it would be a good idea to respond to her question here on the blog for anyone else wondering the same thing.

I did explain, in a long post, about experimenting with my diet being important to me.If you didn't read that entry, it will answer a lot of your questions. For many of you, I think I know what you are thinking: "Wendi was pretty much morbidly obese, her health was horrible, but she's now healthy. Why would she change anything with her diet when she has already found what works "?

Well, it's true. I am extremely healthy compared to how I was before I started consuming raw foods. Here are some pictures to show the changes, to motivate some of you currently struggling with eating more raw foods...