What fun it is to share a fun day with like-minded people at a special location, sharing good times, laughter, and delicious, nutritious raw food wonderment. Here are some pics from our outing -- hopefully the first of many such unique outings blending the Pittsburgh raw group with the D.C. one.

We hope this also provides some inspiration for other meetup groups to consider holding joint meetups in some geographically central location.

If you're new to raw foods, you're probably aware that eating this way isn't exactly mainstream. And, while we've talked here before about the importance of connecting with others for inspiration and support, it's true that a lot of that lends itself to participation in virtual worlds such as Twitter, Facebook, Give It to Me Raw, and other communities, blogs, and sites where raw foodies hang out.

I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day and plopped a package of chicken wings up onto the conveyor belt. The cashier made some sort of smalltalk -- I think she asked whether I liked wings -- which prompted me to say, "Oh, the chicken is for my dog, Julia."

She looked at me, eyebrows raised. "For your dog "

When you're young and learning the letters of the alphabet, anything that starts with the same letter as your name becomes really special. Well, ever since I was a child and saw a Winnebago RV with the giant "W" on the side, I've been enchanted with the idea of one day owning one and traveling the world (at that age, I didn't realize I'd have to cross oceans to see everything).

If you've been following us for a while, you'll know that I was bringing that vision to life. It took years of convincing, but Jim was finally ready for such an adventure and together we began making plans. For more than two years we've been preparing to tour the country, while teaching about raw foods along the way. Our lives changed so dramatically when we found a way to heal our bodies (and more), a way that can also help others, and we just couldn't sit still. We feel called to spread the word about the raw food diet so others can at least hear that there's another way, that there's something different to try in their quest for health. I knew that crossing the country in an RV, planting the seeds about a raw food diet along the way, would be an efficient way of spreading the word.

A few years ago, my dear friend Melissa and I decided to split the cost and order a raw food home study course (then known as The Dr. Ann Wigmore Program).Let me tell you, this was not a cheap program that we purchased, but at that time there wasn't as much free information available on the Internet like we now have.

Was it worth the cost? Well, kind of. Since we had both been reading and learning so much about raw foods (she had actually been raw for a long time many years before), much of the information wasn't new to us. However, if someone was newly learning about raw foods, the program would probably have been fantastic. The quality of the materials we received wasn't great (photocopies of photocopies that were sometimes difficult to read, and some videos that were blurry or difficult to hear), but at least we had a lot of information at our fingertips.

Q. I am trying to go raw and juicing for only two days now and I am soooo hungry and I really don't quite understand what to eat. I went out and bought a bunch of raw vegetables but I am lost on exactly how to prepare the meals and I'm so tired of being fat. Can you direct me to a simple start of book or can you give me some simple recipes or what you did to get started on your first month? Thank you.

Signed,

Frustrated and Fat in Virginia

A. Dear LOVELY BEING,

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!

We just returned from the East End Food Co-op, where we answered raw food questions for two hours. We were still answering questions on our way out the door, and would have stayed longer but the place was closing. ;-) So, if anyone from this evening stops by our site and you still have questions, just comment here (or send me an email) and I'll be happy to answer them.

I'm more of a one-on-one kind of person, so I was a bit nervous about sitting in front of everyone to answer questions. Jim and KDcat were there to help me, of course, otherwise I probably wouldn't have been there at all. Once people started arriving, I was comfortable. The first people who entered the room were super sweet and I could tell they were genuinely nice people. Then little by little the room filled up, and I was surprisingly comfortable.Maybe in addition to all of the other positive changes in my life, my self confidence is getting better, too!

End of day 4:

Yesterday I decided to go ahead and consume what my body was telling me it wanted: cooked, fermented rice and lentil pancakes. Well, the restaurant nearby that makes the Uthappam doesn't serve them until 5pm and it was lunch time. So, I ordered the simpler, steamed, fermented rice and lentil patties called Idli.

There's an old saying that "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas." But we're not ones for keeping secrets. So, here's the low-down on Wendi and KDcat's time in Sin City -- straight from Wendi's travelogue, once again!

We drove to Las Vegas from California, and loved seeing the change as our surroundings became a desert. The snow-capped mountains are such a beautiful contrast in CA, but especially here in Nevada where it's so dry and hot!

This stop was longer than expected, since we decided to change our schedule a bit in order to get some more relaxing time in--and also to allow KDcat to have some fun that didn't involve raw foods or Pure Jeevan activity. ?We decided to hold off on visiting a date farm and the grand canyon (two activities we'd had planned for this leg of the trip) until Jim could do those things with us as a family. We especially missed him during this part of the trip, because he's always wanted to see what Vegas is like in person.

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

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