Within the raw food community, a controversy seems to have been brewing for the better part of a year! The topic: Agave nectar (also called agave syrup). Surely by now most people know what agave nectar is. For anyone who doesn't, it's a thick liquid sweetener made from, you guessed it, the agave plant.

In general, the production of tasty agave nectar involves heating the plant to a certain temperature (which varies widely according to which manufacturer is making it and which species of agave is used). The extent of this heating constitutes a significant part of the controversy (as most raw foodists believe that heating any food over a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 105 and 118 degrees fahrenheit, renders it "dead").

Jim here... Here's a short video from last Saturday when we were out distributing literature about reversing diabetes naturally and the raw foods lifestyle. In it, we interview a local man, R.T., who had stopped to talk with us, went on his way, and then returned again to where we were standing a few moments later rather astounded.

You see, he'd seen a "before / after" flyer showing Wendi's "pre-raw" pic next to her "raw" pic and couldn't believe the two pics were of the same woman!? Many people who have significant weight to lose (or, like R.T., know someone who does) wonder whether losing so much weight will result in saggy skin. He was so amazed at the transformation, he decided to come back and ask. So, here's the raw answer to that question...

Greetings, everyone! ?We've been away from regular blogging for what seems an *eternity*. When we left the airwaves, the raw food world was at total peace with itself -- bliss, harmony, sister- and brotherhood. Aside from rare, gentle disagreements among raw vegans on issues such as whether raw chocolate was mineral-rich or potentially taxing to your body's store of minerals, things were pretty much business as usual.

And then we moved away and took a little time off to regroup .. ?and NOW look at the state of the raw food zeitgeist: (1) long-term raw foodists just about everyhwere are now "eating a little bit of cooked food," (2) an enormous schism has emerged after the seemingly improbable development of many long-term vegans returning to meat eating, (3) informational summits and online meetings have been replaced by debates, and (4) let's face it, the supplements being discussed and sold are getting, well, much *weirder* than ever!

We've promised many of you that we'd share some ideas for the whole family (especially the children), so here's one idea that might prove particularly popular. In a household of two former English majors, it's only natural that we've always adored and admired alliteration. So, we may be biased to believe that these "Breathtakingly Bejeweled Blueberry Banana Breakfast Bowls" will be as beloved by your beauteous bellies as they are by ours. See what you think!

Jim here... I have about 3 free minutes this afternoon to post here, so please bear with me as I type this post as fast as humanly possible. Okay, here's a fascinating video we shot last night. For anyone unfamiliar with live blood cell analysis, definitely check out this video. What they do is take a small drop of your blood (via a painless finger prick) and magnify it like 80 kajillion times. Then, they show you a real-time picture of what's going on in your blood.

Two main points from this:?

As promised, here's today's herbal installment, a video on Oregano Oil! Verdict: It's strong, for sure, but it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be!

We get asked from time to time about whether we like to use protein powders and, if so, which brands we like. As you'll no doubt notice after getting into raw foods for a while, raw foodies (just like quite a lot of health-conscious people) often get into various powdered food additives. Some purists are against their use, of course. But, we're not so dead set against them. We do, however, believe that, if you're going to put something into your body as part of a health program, you should be conscious about it.

A few months ago, Wendi decided that she wanted to add some protein into her diet in the form of a protein powder. She did quite a bit of research at the time into the various brands available, charting out which ones were raw, which ones had various ingredients, and so forth. It was a fairly in-depth study, done for personal reasons unrelated to Pure Jeevan's blog articles. So, we never mentioned it before.

Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.

"My biggest problems are starches... I grew up with them so they are emotional comfort foods."

Well, it's great that you already understand that your desire for starches is mostly coming from an emotional connection with those foods. You're already much more aware of your body and its cravings than many others who are trying to lose weight.

If you have a strong connection with starches, then go ahead and eat them in the beginning of your journey to better health. Simply start by adding more and more fresh, raw, water-rich fruits and vegetables. The more you consume healthy fruits and vegetables, the more your body will begin to crave them (no kidding!! You will actually one day crave a salad as much as you're craving starches right now!).

Wow, today is Day 7 of the Big 2010 Tour! So far, Wendi and KDcat have spent three days on a train and three more in Portland, Salem, and Corvallis. We still have plenty of content to post from those, including a good deal of video (once I'm able to edit that). For now, let's look at some pics and talk about their second stop, Salem!

Prior to leaving, Wendi & KDcat (let's just say "W&K" from here on out, okay ) stopped at People's Co-Op in Portland for supplies. As much as they loved Portland, they weren't very impressed with the co-op there, as compared to the one we have in Pittsburgh. However, in fairness, they were told that it's still a "young" co-op. Still, it's surprising to me that Portland wouldn't have an enormous one. However, it could very well be that there is not as much of a need there, in an area in which organics are much more accepted. Here in Pittsburgh, one could argue that our co-op thrives because organics are largely scoffed at by other retailers. Interesting, eh?

(By the way, are people on the west coast really as laid back as everyone says Wendi got into a bit of hot water for filming inside another co-op! Here in Pittsburgh, I doubt anyone would care if you set up a movie set in our co-op. No charges were filed, thankfully.)

Sorry for the strange behavior of this site over the past few weeks, friends. As a former professional web programmer, and always a?bit of a mad hacker, I'm usually really great at keeping the web end of Pure Jeevan running very smoothly.

But, this is a Wordpress blog -- and so you have things like plugins and widgets and themes and updates, all interacting (and sometimes conflicting) with one another. I've noticed lately that this blog home page has developed all sorts of peculiar issues, not the least of which is a very slow-loading tendency.