We've spent some time on this blog talking about how much fun you can have via the meetup.com web site. If you search that site, you can probably find raw food meetups near you!? But, a few readers have asked us some follow-ups, such as What should I bring and What should I do if I'd like to host a raw foods meetup

*Attending* Raw Foods Meetups

Okay, so you signed up for a raw foods meetup group, waited patiently for the next event to come round, and now it's time!? But, wait... this is your first such outing. What should you bring

Jim here... An unusual occurrence prompted this post, and I'm unsure as to whether it's significant. I've talked about some of my favorite non-raw items before -- things that were tough to leave behind as I embarked upon this raw foods journey. I think I covered pizza in a relatively recent post.
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Corn chips were another. In fact, after Wendi went 100% raw and I more or less began to follow her dietary choices, I clung to corn chips for dear life for quite a long time. I began eating a LOT of salsa in those days. Sometimes, that would be all I'd eat for lunch -- just an entire jar of salsa and a bag of corn chips (though, by then, I'd at least usually buy the organic ones and, quite often, a baked variety of chips as well).
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When I finally decided I'd be better off transitioning to an all raw lifestyle, I figured my love affair with corn chips had come to an end. Farewell beautiful chips, I thought. I'll never forget our delicious crunchy time together. And that was that. I never looked back.
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But then, at a local raw foods pot luck, I met a raw chef who had more or less perfected a raw corn chip recipe. Could it be , I thought. Has this delicacy returned to me after all, as though via some sweet culinary destiny? Ahh, my friends, that was a glorious day. Chips and salsa had returned to me in an enlightened raw form. I could enjoy them once again, guilt free. And enjoy them I did -- usually using a local shop's "Peruvian Purple Corn" (a living, sproutable, dried corn product).
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Alas, fate stepped in once again. "Thou may partake of these crisps any time thou wishest," fate boomed. "Yet, in order to do so, thou must prepare them thine self using thine Vitamix and requiring an enormous flax-sticky mess with extended clean-up time, and thou must have parchment paper available at all times, and thou must exercise great care and patience in using your Excalibur, for these chips must dry for many an hour before ready."
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Yeah, it was a bit of a chore to produce them. So, as the novelty of chip making and eating wore off, I slowly decreased the frequency of going through the messy, time-consuming hassle of preparing them. Until yesterday, it had been literally months since I made a batch. But... we'd ordered a few pounds of the corn from Natural Zing lately, and I found myself with some extra time the other night. So...
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Now, I'm going to pause for a minute for a tangent on digestion. I know a great majority of people, it seems, complain of various digestive disorders. As a result, we have many raw foodie specialists schooled in the nuances of food combining. Oddly, I never paid much attention to these discussions, nor offered input on these matters, because they simply weren't relevant to me.
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In fact, I likened my own digestive system to some kind of nuclear powered garbage disposal. It didn't matter what I ate; digestion wasn't a problem for me. So, for example, I'd routinely finish off heavy meals, and then follow them with a huge slice of juicy watermelon (a major no-no according to common wisdom). It just never bothered me.I always joked that, even though I'd been raw for ages, I could still probably go eat a Big Mac (not that I would) and be unaffected by it.
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So powerful was my stomach acid that, admittedly, I sometimes privately *worried* whether this might mean something was wrong with me. I mean, shouldn't some of the things I was eating make me sick? Was it "good" to not be made sick by what is generally regarded as poor food combining choices? Do people commonly suffer from problems of efficiency as well as deficiency ? I still do not really know the answer to these questions, and suspect the answer is rather complicated, anyway. Fortunately, it doesn't matter now because...
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Something finally made me sick!? I'm laughing now about that, but I spent most of the evening in terrible stomach pain after having over-indulged in some of those (in)famous raw purple corn chips.
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So, what happened ? That's an interesting question for me. Here are some possibilities: (1) Perhaps my hyper-active digestive system *was* in fact a problem, and now it's beginning to normalize. Perhaps, had I been healthier all along, I would have been made sick by some of my food choices, but now my health is improving!? (2) Perhaps it's a fluke and I simply shouldn't have eaten mass quantities of corn and flax so late at night. (3) Perhaps my body is improving in its ability to communicate with me, and/or that I'm getting better at listening, and that the message here is that corn is not something my body gains nourishment from -- at least, not in this dried-reprocessed-redried form. After all, some leading raw food authorities, like Gabriel Cousens, aren't fans of corn (even fresh corn!).
Oh sure, there may be other explanations (e.g., "a bad batch of corn"). But, I'm actually most interested in #3, above. Even though this is an extreme example (more intense than it needed to be), I'd like to think that I'm getting better at knowing what I'm being nourished from and what I am not. I'd like to think that this is a latent sense that can be developed, much like our ability to know things by feeling and intuition rather via pure rationality all the time.
But, with food, I think it's a matter of inventorying your physical sensations head to toe, and also as a whole. How is the food you're eating making you feel? Do you feel satisfied or still hungry? Do you feel light or is the food sitting kind of heavily? Do you feel energized or dragged down? How's your mental clarity? Do you feel spacey or more grounded? Do you feel noticeably happier or more sad than before? How are all of these things mapping out over time? Is your weight moving in a positive direction for you? Are your illnesses improving? Food is medicine, after all; it has all of these effects and many more!
For now, I think I can safely check purple corn off of my own personal list of foods that make me feel good. I suspect my old assertion about "being able to eat a Big Mac without any side effects" no longer applies -- and maybe this is a good thing. I think perhaps it signals some progress in my journey toward optimal health.
In any case, I think this kind of purposeful introspection is healthy, and something we should all strive to do more often.How about you? Had any similar experiences? What have you learned from them?

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On April 15, 2009, essie wrote:

We're going to be running the above banner for a few days as we bring you highlights of the raw food scene in the beautiful Florida Keys.

Prior to heading into the Keys proper, we wanted to load up on some fresh organic foods for our weeklong stay. We posted a question on one of our favorite online raw communities, Give It to Me Raw, asking for information on sources for organic produce in southern Florida. That's when we learned about Glaser Organic Farms.

Today we revive our occasional "Thankful Thursday" feature to give thanks for a special Internet destination: Twitter.com. We're sure a number of you who may be unfamiliar with Twitter may be asking, "What in the world does this have to do with raw foods "

In fact, there's quite a bit of raw foods "activity" on that site! But first, let's take a look at what Twitter is. Basically, it's a web site where you sign up with a username, and then you answer the question, "What are you doing " in 140 characters or less.

Jim here... As I may have mentioned a while ago, I joined a gym recently. I figured, with Wendi and Bailey living on the other side of the country, I might as well find something healthy to do with my alone time until I'm able to join them soon (aside from my seemingly never-ending quest to rid our household of 13 years of rampant accumulation). I joined on a whim, actually. There's a gym near my home called Planet Fitness. Honestly, I have no idea how they make money. A membership costs just $10/month -- and it's a Wal-Mart-sized place, too, absolutely packed with state of the art machines. (Actually, it's a franchise, so there could very well be one near you.)

In any case, it had been a while since I'd been inside an actual gym. I've certainly remained relatively active, of course. But being in a gym is a little different -- and certainly has its plusses and minuses. On the minus side, I've always kind of felt that, if you add up all of the time it generally takes to get (1) get ready to go to a gym, (2) drive there, and (3) drive home -- say, a half-hour, total, for those things -- then you could probably better invest that time in just going for a run for a half-hour, leaving straight from your home. From a time management standpoint, I'm not crazy about gym memberships (meaning not that physical exercise isn't worth the investment of time, but rather that there are ways to accomplish the same results in much less time).

Jim here... Just wanted to say quickly that I'm heading off to the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF) today! I'll be carpooling (or, vanpooling) with our friends Melissa and Dave Sokulski, their daughter Ella, and our friend Bethany. We're all volunteering at RSF, which should not only be a lot of fun, but should also be a great way to get to know many other fellow raw foodies.

So, we'll be arriving Friday to help set up, enjoying the festival over the weekend, and staying Monday to help them "break it down." Since we need to leave Monday, we'll likely miss a fun-sounding party at Rawbin's place Monday night. But, I'm sure it'll be a blast overall, and it'll also be fun to camp out again, as I haven't done that in a while. I especially hope I'm also able to light something on fire, as I always love the fire aspect of camping most. Maybe I'll run into some of those raw foodies who spin fire-poi and can learn a new skill!

In a previous Take the Time Tuesday entry, we introduced you to three fantastic raw food snack companies who have offered to donate samples of their products for our upcoming retreat. If you haven't heard about the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Retreat, yet, there is still some space for you to join us from May 23-25, 2008! We ve set this retreat up so that it s as affordable as possible. There s a significant savings if you sign up early, too, so be sure to check it out!

Each individual attending the retreat will receive a gift basket filled with delicious raw food treats from some truly fantastic companies. Keep an eye on the retreat page to see other companies that will be sharing delicious raw food snacks with those attending the retreat! Today, we'd like you to...

Hi Everyone! It's been a while since we've run a "My Raw Story" feature. So, here's one from my good friend Chris Paris, who I met and hung out with at the Raw Spirit Festival this past summer. I think you'll like his take on raw, his before & after pics, and the personal topics he covers such as the role raw foods played in his spirituality. -Jim

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Here's Wendi in Portland interviewing Wes Hannah, one of the owners of Blossoming Lotus, a vegan restaurant that also serves a lot of delicious raw foods. Wendi said it's worth a trip to Portland just to eat there!

[Sorry about the video quality there. I was having some trouble editing this on an old machine. Wendi took the good one with her on the trip!]

Yahoo recently ran a photo series on their "omg!" channel entitled "Celebrity Slim-Down Secrets." It actually has a nice set of before and after photos of celebrities who have lost weight. The set is here.Featured are Kelly Osbourne, Seth Rogen, Jennifer Hudson, Jerry Ferrara, Kirstie Alley, John Goodman, Jordin Sparks, Jason Segel, Drew Carey, Sara Rue, amd Kevin James. ?Most reported using personal trainers, changing up their diets, and getting more exercise (or some variation of those three).

We didn't read any reports of raw food diets in the story, but looking at before and after pictures is probably always a good idea, if only for visual inspiration. It's nice to see a broad range of people turning their health around, too. Some are younger celebs; others in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. So, it's nice to know that major changes are possible at any age.

Eating only mono meals is going pretty well. I'm on my third food, so far, and have ended day two. This evening I've started my third fruit: Pineapples!