Many people have asked us about the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF): What is it? When is it? Where is it? Will we be going ? So, we wanted to take a moment to answer those questions.

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

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

Jim here... As I hinted at last week, I decided to try changing things up a bit and seeing what I thought of it. The salad you see above included the first cooked food I've had in more than two years. If you look closely, you can see that I sprinkled on a few spoonfuls of black beans. Also, in the upper left corner, there's a small spoonful of quinoa. I don't want to give the wrong impression here: ?This blog will certainly remain a major go-to source for raw food nutrition information. It's just that, today, I want to talk about experimentation a little bit.

First, I think it's generally healthy to experiment with your diet -- especially when you get the sense that something isn't working in your current diet. The fact is, diet is a dynamic thing, not a static aspect of your life. It has to be this way because so many factors affect our physiology on a day-to-day basis. Off the top of my head, these include the facts that:

I receive many questions from our readers, and I am very happy to respond. I truly love helping others, but I don't do it just for them.When I was younger, many times I thought I was performing selfless acts of kindness whenever I'd help others. However, now I realize I am experiencing pleasure by helping others. I find it very rewarding, as though I am fulfilling my purpose in life.

Do you know what your life's purpose is? Do you believe there is such a thing These aren't rhetorical questions; I'm really interested in hearing your response. Well, I've known my life's purpose (actually, I have more than one) from a very young age, but it wasn't until recently that I began living it more fully. My purpose in life is to love others---to connect with others through an immensely deep and genuine love.One way I've found for spreading my love and realizing my purpose is by helping others.

When I answer questions for our readers, I speak from my heart. I think it's important to realize, however, that the answers we receive from others are *their* answers to similar questions. Maybe their answers will work for us, but maybe they won't.I've stressed this many times, but it never hurts to repeat it: Listen to others, hear what they have to share, but mostly listen to your own inner voice. We all have the answers deep within ourselves, even if we can't always hear them very well.

Mmmmmmmmm! ?I'm sitting here at my computer eating the Best Organic Fuji Apple Ever. Don't believe me? ?Here's a picture of the apple I'm eating right now:

Looks dee-lish, right? ?(Okay, so maybe it's not the most appetizing pic in the world...) ?Anyway, one interesting thing about this apple is that I bought it (a whole big bag of them, actually) because it was so cheap. (I'm on a relatively tight budget these days.) ?But, if it was so cheap, how could it be so tasty? ?(And organic, too!) Well, that's where the basic law of supply and demand come in. Whenever a crop is at the peak of its season, the supply rises considerably. Instead of the store receiving X number of bushels of apples, they receive 5X or more. So, they slash prices to move that kind of volume.

I've been back from the Raw Spirit Festival for about five days, now. The first few days I couldn't stop crying. I have a lot to share with all of you, maybe more than you'll want me to share. While away some pretty amazing healing took place. I found myself lifted out of the past and delivered to the future, in a way. I am here, whole, and aligned with who I am on all levels.

Pure Jeevan means Pure Life (or Total Life). Raw food is only part of my life, part of who I am, part of my journey. So, I'll be openly sharing who I am here in this blog; raw food isn't going to be the main focus---it's just part of my story and part of what I want to share.

Until I can sit down to begin sharing everything that transpired while I was away and over this past five days, I'll share some pictures with all of you!

There is a certain irony that takes place when you launch a raw foods web site because, no matter how much you love and believe in what you do, no matter how solid the proof may be that the information you're providing is true and accurate, no matter how clearly it can be demonstrated by analyses of blood tests or tons of "before and after" photos that this lifestyle heals the human body, you're still pretty much bound by legal best practices to include a full disclaimer on your site. And, as much as you just write it once and kind of forget about it, it's always there. For practical reasons, of course we understand all of that. But beyond all of that, there's an implied message that "only a medical doctor" really knows what's best for you.

Well, in fact, we DO recommend working with a competent health professional. But what we do not endorse here is simply accepting whatever that professional has to say without question. So, the operative word would be "competent" in that recommendation.

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Jim here... A few months ago, I'd posted an article here on the topic of Cognitive Dissonance. This theme seems to crop up from time to time in questions people ask about the raw foods lifestyle. For example, one new raw fooder recently posted a question in a raw foods forum asking whether other raw foodies had reached a place in their lives at which things changed so much that they felt as though they were living a contradiction. Because this struck home for me, I'd like to reiterate my response, somewhat edited, below.

I'm still working on the dishes that will be served at the upcoming 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat (only 2 spots left!). Today, I worked on the Sandwich Fixin's that will be served for lunch on one of the retreat days.

Yesterday we talked about attending raw food meetups / potlucks. Today we'll focus on...

*Hosting* Raw Foods Meetups

There are two main ways to host a raw foods meetup. The first would be through the meetup.com web site. If there is no raw foods meetup in your area, you're going to need to launch one. (See the Meetup web site for details.) If there is a group, you'll need to sign up and get to know the moderator, as you'll need to announce your meetup through that person.