We had a wonderful weekend that started with a raw food potluck in our home (through the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup group). There were about twenty people and so many lovely raw food dishes! I haven't checked the camera, yet, but I hope someone remembered to capture some pictures of the food and guests. It was all very yummy, including the beet pasta I made with a cream sauce. I also made some carob peppermint sweets that KDcat formed into bite-sized balls and arranged them on a platter. A friend of mine told me that the people who show up for raw food potlucks tend to be genuinely nice people, and she was right. It was a pleasure meeting everyone and I look forward to next month's meetup.

The rest of our weekend was spent with our guest, Devaki, who just left a few minutes ago to return to the ashram. She played some beautiful music on the harmonium and she and some other lovely guests filled our home with the beauty and energy of Kirtan chanting. Some of the chants were in English, too. I thought I wouldn't like them as much, but they were just as beautiful as the Indian ones. One of my close friends who was here for the Kirtan told me that I was glowing after the chanting! I love the blissful feeling that comes from chanting and meditation.

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.

A few days ago, we'd mentioned that Wendi had done a five-day water fast as part of her early dealings with Lyme disease. This was the first time I can recall in our household anyone fasting for more than a day or so, although there may have been the odd juice fast now and again for a few days.

Thinking back, I can tell you that, all while I kew Wendi (and especially during her cooked years), such an extended fasting would never have happened because she used to get wicked headaches any time she went without food for more than a normal time period between meals. This makes perfect sense, of course, as you really do have to be in fairly good health to successfully fast -- and, during those "cooked" years, we were both extremely unhealthy! (More on the reasons for all that later, as Wendi will likely do a write-up on fasting at some point.)

Day 6: Today is the final day of placing extra focus on the feminine qualities attributed to Goddess Lakshmi. For me, going within, shining light on the things that aren't so clear, the things that I've been avoiding, or the things that have been completely invisible is something I've revisited off and on my entire life. It's something that I often recommend to friends and family, as well. It's what has allowed me to continually improve my life (both physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually), and something I'll always consider vital.

The more we search within for answers, the more we'll learn about our true selves. The more we understand ourselves, the more authentic we become in our interactions with others. The more authentic we are with others, the more others can feel comfortable around us. The more others become comfortable around us, the more they can experience their own authentic selves. And the more others experience their true selves, the more we all wake up and truly begin living a life of beauty, grace, vibrancy, and love.

Jim here... We had a whirlwind weekend last weekend when the uber-talented couple Rhio and Leigh came to Pittsburgh for a three-day visit. As many of you probably know, Rhio is a well-known pioneer of the raw food movement, having written one of the definitive books on raw foods, Hooked on Raw. She's also the host of a popular Internet radio show of the same name, for which Leigh serves as primary engineer and co-host. Both have extensive backgrounds in music, as well, which is fitting for such a colorful, vibrant couple.

Saturday, Rhio gave a two-part presentation to a capacity crowd at a local coffee shop / art gallery.Part One was a demonstration on making raw dairy-free yogurt using almonds (a technique demonstrated, I believe, on her new DVD, "What's NOT Cookin' in Rhio's Kitchen " -- available soon on her web site at www.rawfoodinfo.com). According to the yogurt eaters in the crowd (of which I'm not one -- never went in for much dairy), the recipe mimics yogurt perfectly! So, if you're a raw foodie who misses dairy yogurt, you're definitely going to want to connect wth Rhio to learn the technique.

I have enjoyed including information about new people, companies, and sites here in our blog for you to meet each Tuesday. Today, however, I want to do something a little bit different. Instead of someone or something being introduced to you, I'd love for YOU to introduce yourself to ME!

Take the time for ME to meet...

On special Mondays, you sometimes see a regular feature here on Pure Jeevan's blog called Makin' It Monday. We always have so much fun doing this series, and it's been a huge hit both here on our blog and on YouTube.

We thought of a way to make the special Mondays even more special! Guess how? By seeing YOU in our Makin' It Monday raw food recipe videos! So, here's an open casting call for anyone in the Pure Jeevan family (that's you!) adventurous enough to prepare a raw food recipe on video to be featured in our Makin' It Monday series!

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.

Jim here... Happy Sunday morning, everyone!? We don't normally post on weekends, but we're sharing this video as a special gift for my mom on Mother's Day.As Wendi likes to say, "Every day is mother's day!"? But, I do like to do something a little special for my own wonderful mom. So, check out this video of a recipe Wendi (mostly) and I created for her. If you remember my reaction to the soup we made recently, it may not surprise you to hear me say that this sauce is the "best #$%^&*^%! sauce I've ever tasted!"

We're typing up and formatting this recipe for Pure Jeevan family members (you know, those who subscribe to our mail list). So, once it's ready, we'll be adding it to the queue of mailings we sent out to keep everyone inspired. This recipe is a keeper!

Jim here... Thought I'd cross-post a discussion I put up on Give It To Me Raw yesterday.

Recently, I saw an article advocating a ban on banana consumption based on the premise that, if you don't live in the tropics, you have no business eating tropical fruit. Pointing to transportation costs and the related environmental impact of such transportation, the article argues that, by eating bananas, you're contributing to the destruction of the environment.

Let's take a quick look at a few dessert pictures, then compare and contrast, shall we First up is a small slice of some normal pastry:

Looks sinful, right It seems to proudly display its bready crust, its gooey chocolate center, some sort of butter-rich top layer coated with lovable little bits and bobs, and a liberal sprinkling of confectioner's sugar to make the whole thing cute as a wintry scene from one of those holiday specials hosted by the claymation likeness of Burl Ives. I'm sure it's delightfully rich, too. A tad small, though, eh ? It's probably all anyone can take of such decadence without worrying about clogged arteries or putting in extra time on the tread mill for the next three days.