I'm going to be including questions and answers more often on the blog, since we've had a lot of emails from many of you saying you found last week's Q&A helpful and fun to read. I have many questions I've been saving to share with others, and more come in daily. Don't be shy if you have a question about anything that you think I'd possibly be able to help you with. Simply send me an email asking, and I'll reply to you personally. Questions that I feel might have a more general interest may be shared here on the blog (with the questioner being anonymous).

[Please email questions to me, rather than post them here on the blog: WendiDee [at] PureJeevan.com.]

There's a peculiar yet recurring kind of argument I get from a number of people from time to time when the subject of diet or health arises. Basically, it goes like this: "Yeah, all of those vegetables and exercise might be good for you, and all of that meat and fried food I eat might be bad for me, but what if you get hit by a truck tomorrow "

This sort of perspective is interesting to me for at least two major reasons.

A few of my friends have recently reached some special personal milestones in the raw food world. Congratulations go out to...

Sam: ONE YEAR RAW!!!

Yesterday we began a discussion of adding protein powders into your diet (for those who feel that they want or need to do this). One of the easiest ways to get this powder into your body is to add it to your morning smoothie. ?Now, if you're not into the habit of having a morning smoothie, step #1 is to get into that habit. ?(Actually, I don't just "have" morning smoothies; I thoroughly enjoy them!)

Now, you'll notice that smoothies made with protein powder taste quite a bit richer than what you might be used to. So, I want to start with a smoothie that I found to be somewhat light tasting. In fact, I'd even call it "The King" of smoothies. ?:-)

You thought our "Know Your Food" series was dead ?!!? (Or, if you're a new reader, maybe you don't know what "Know Your Food" is yet!) Well, we've been poking around in the archives this week and discovered THREE lost episodes. This is HUGE... It's like one of those stories you hear every few years about some rare Hollywood film being discovered in a vault somewhere (laughing so hard)!

Over the next week or two, we'll be posting these three episodes. Today's episode is PUMPKIN, starring Wendi and her guest Ella (daughter of Melissa and Dave, who run the FoodUnderFoot blog we linked to recently). Once these missing episodes have been aired, this will usher in the dawn of a never-before seen level of production values for the Know Your Food series. The new stuff will totally win every major award available to YouTubers (continues laughing...).

Sure, we know pumpkins aren't in season right now. However, this video is sweet because of our special guest. So, enjoy the Pumpkin episode:

Just a quick notice that we've posted our December 2009 newsletter. Each month, we email a link to our newsletter to all Pure Jeevan family members. (If you're not receiving that, you're mising out on a ton of awesome raw inspiration and information. You can click here to sign up -- it's free!)

We'll be back tomorrow to continue our coverage of the Chicago raw food scene. As I've been saying for a few days now, you won't want to miss these great interviews!?

Isn't it amazing how many different, stunningly delicious salad dressings there are in the world ! It's mind-boggling! There could easily be an entire blog devoted to nothing but raw salad dressings -- and I bet, in the right hands, such a blog could go on 5 days / week for literally years before truly exhausting the subject.

The world simply abounds with good recipe ideas -- and "abundance" is really the mentality you need to embrace when you're doing anything in the culinary world, raw or otherwise. The other side of the spectrum is the "scarcity" perspective, which is when you think, "Oh, I'd love to write a cookboook or create a recipe, but there are already millions of them out there and all of the great culinary creations have been done already."

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.

Before we run this blog entry, let me first announce one awesome thing:? Wendi and Kdcat are back home now!!? Yep, the trip is now officially over, and was a HUGE success. Not only did our fearless raw travelers identify Pure Jeevan's soon-to-be new home town -- Portland, Oregon! -- but Wendi and KDcat also met and made friends with hundreds of people from around the country. I'm sure Wendi will be back here on the blog with overall reflections and so forth soon. However, the trip generated so much content that it's going to take a while to catch up!? So, let's pick up with the travel narrative where we last left off. As you may recall, the girls were leaving San Luis Obispo and heading into sunny Los Angeles! Let's see what Wendi had to say, again with her travelogue:

Wow, it's finally looking like CA with all the palm trees! After hitting and dealing with some major traffic of a large city, we arrived to the warmest welcome at the home of Debbie Young (of DebbieDoesRaw) -- a decorative greeting waiting on the door, gift bags handed to us as we walked inside, loving hugs and smiles, and the most amazing raw meal ever (samosas!, chai, pineapple lassi, mango chutney, tamarind chutney, biscotti cookies), and a snack basket waiting in our private apartment! At this stop, we were totally spoiled by Debbie and her beautiful family!

This is one of the stops I was really looking forward to, because Debbie and I have been online friends for a long time. We were able to spend a short amount of time together at the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, and I loved her and wanted to spend more time with her and meet her lovely family in person (including their adorable dog, Malcolm).

Jim here... I'd like to mainly talk about organics today, but thought I'd wrap that subject into a longer, rather quirky piece on ranking produce on some sort of a scale that would indicate how awesome (or awful) it is. See what you think...

Have you ever thought of arranging produce into a sort of "heirarchy of quality"? Well, I'm not going to attempt to do that here, but I would like to discuss the concept for a moment in order to at least explain what I'm getting at. While I've not yet attempted to do this exercise, I nonetheless occasionally envision a large chart or something that conveys my feelings about how I personally rank the quality of fruits and vegetables I put into my body. This all probably sounds vague, so let me share some examples.

Two years ago, we were putting the final touches on launching the Pure Jeevan web site and blog. (While the blog archives show material dating back to 2006, the material from '06 and '07 is all pulled from Wendi's "Going Raw" journal, which was kept on another site. We pulled it into this site when we launched it to give those starting out on raw an inside look at one person's experiences in transitioning to a raw food diet.)