Over the weekend, we visited the spectacular Oregon Country Fair in Eugene and, once again, experienced a joyful and overwhelming sense of recognition that we're living in a place where people are much more accustomed to just being themselves.

Personal expression and nonconformity are so valued here that one becomes quickly enamored of the whole ambiance, which could well explain why more people come to Oregon than leave. The region seems to represent, to many, a chance to finally discover and explore an identity perhaps not completely free from outside influence, but at least free from the undesirable influences that society elsewhere seems to insist upon. Or maybe I'm misreading it all and providing just one of many interpretations.

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!

In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part five, focusing on Tonya Kay's take on this issue.

AVOCADO

Professional dance is of most challenging sports requiring athletes to perform at expert levels of flexibility, strength, coordination and emotional fitness in order to entertain their audiences. Having been vegetarian since age 7, Tonya Kay has built her glorious professional dance career entirely on a vegetarian diet.

So it's time to continue that discussion on the aforementioned fringe one percent -- those people who will not accept your conscious intention to pursue your own health via this path. Please keep in mind during this discussion that we're only discussing just that one percent, not people in general. So, this is, I hope, relatively rare.

To begin, I'd like to stress a few points:

"Should you eat when you're not hungry "

That was a question I asked myself a lot when I was first transitioning to the raw food diet. Just about everything I ever read said that people shouldn't eat if they aren't hungry. We need to listen to what our bodies are telling us in order to be as healthy as possible.

What if your body is telling you it's not hungry, however, while your instinct is telling you that you still need to eat That's what was happening to me in the beginning of my raw journey. My digestion was very slow and food would sit in my stomach for most of the day, especially if the food I ate was processed or heavy. It didn't matter how much I ate, either. My portions were always very small compared to those that my fit-looking friends were eating. I always wondered how I was the obese one when my meals were so minimal in comparison.

As we promised yesterday, we're featuring a wonderful (and LONG!) video interview today with the incredible John Kohler of Santa Rosa, CA. You may be familiar with John from some of his popular web sites, most notably his "Living and Raw Foods" community site at www.RawFoods.com. Below are parts one, two, and three of Wendi's interview. They're roughly 10 minutes each. (That's a lot of time, I realize, but at least check out Part 1 if you're short on time, as it offers an amazing look at John's front yard.)

Wendi said she was at a loss for words when interviewing John at his home (and you'll soon see why!), because what he has done on his 1/10th of an acre lot is *phenomenal*. He told Wendi off the video that it's all a matter of trial and error--finding what grows easily and well, and working with those plants the most. If something takes a lot of effort, or is difficult to easily grown, he skips it and focuses on what can give the most yield for the least work. Almost everything grown on John's land is edible!

PART TWO:

PART THREE:

The video of John's garden and the pictures (see yesterday's post) are enough to inspire ANYONE to plant even a small garden for themselves! WOW!

John has a lot going on, including a monthly potluck. Wendi and KDcat happened to be in town on the night of the March potluck, so Wendi was invited to speak at the event. It was a nice, laid-back group of people, Wendi said, and they sat at a long table talking about the raw lifestyle, health issues / concerns, what children are fed in school, and so much more -- a really nice group of people, Wendi said, noting she'd love to visit them all again. To connect with John Kohler is pretty easy. He's on the internet at:

Once again, we d love to thank our generous trip snack sponsor, Natural Zing, for helping us to make this possible on our budget!

Original Comments

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

On March 19, 2010, anasha wrote:

fantastic, thank you so much Wendi, very informative, what a guy and energy bomb he is, hope you are well again, you seem so
love to you

April 15, 2008

Every year my dear friend, Mamta, lets me know when Navratri is going to begin. ?It s the nine-day fast, but you don t have to change anything since you are already eating so healthy. Traditionally, Hindus used to abstain from eating during Navratri. In modern times, with everyone working and life being less relaxed, fasting isn t always something that can easily be accomplished. So, over the years Navratri has been modified by many to represent a time of eating more simply and abstaining from meat if you eat it.

This year, I had an email question from one of our readers who was asking about ways to eat simpler during the nine-days of fasting. After responding to him, it sparked in me a desire to do something this year for Navratri. I had read about eating mono meals and always thought it sounded like such a gentle way of cleansing the body, so I figured I d try it for the nine days of Navratri. To make it even easier on me, I decided to consume a different food every 24 yours, rather than eating the same thing for the full nine days. Maybe in the future I ll try that, but this time I wanted this to be as easily doable as possible.

Jim here with another exciting edition of Weird Wednesday. You know, each time I say "weird," I don't always mean the same thing. Sometimes "weird" means odd or strange. Other times it means funny or ironic. It might also mean unusual or out-of-the-ordinary. Come to think of it, the definition of weird is also weird.

Today, I was thinking about an old friend, Jim Banholzer. He lived next door to Wendi and me when we first moved to the D.C. area in 1991. We all lived in a small "garden apartment" complex in Falls Church, Virginia. Our roommate at the time worked as a leasing agent there, which qualified us for a decent rental discount. I think we paid $800 or so for the place, an upscale 2-bedroom townhome close to the community pool. Jim lived next door with one of the more unstable people I've ever met (and, trust me, that's saying something).

Last night I dreamed of meandering through an unfamiliar cityscape, following some lonely sidewalk next to a river at night, feeling particularly sad and miserable beneath dim yellow street lights. I wore a black suit, carried a highball glass, and was absolutely drunk!

Having crossed the river, I soon realized (even in my dream-drunken state) that I'd been wandering aimlessly. Feeling rather pathetic, I decided to walk back across the river and sober up in a casino that I knew was there. Drunk and depressed, I figured I'd just sit in front of a slot machine for a few hours.

Jim here... About an hour ago, I purchased $68 worth of ice cream from a local supermarket. Bet you thought you'd never read something like that here, eh ? Well, don't worry -- Wendi and I haven't suddenly decided to binge on dairy products. You see, in my corporate job, I'm often the event organizer; today that meant ice cream gopher.

For some raw foodies, that scenario might seem rather cruel. You may be thinking: Isn't it tough to have to go purchase nine tubs of ice cream, two jars of maraschino cherries, two bags of marshmallows, four containers of flavored syrups, two cans of whipped cream, and numerous boxes of waffle cones ? No, it's not cruel at all. To me, it's now the same as running out for, say, office supplies.

To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

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