Jim here... As I hinted at last week, I decided to try changing things up a bit and seeing what I thought of it. The salad you see above included the first cooked food I've had in more than two years. If you look closely, you can see that I sprinkled on a few spoonfuls of black beans. Also, in the upper left corner, there's a small spoonful of quinoa. I don't want to give the wrong impression here: ?This blog will certainly remain a major go-to source for raw food nutrition information. It's just that, today, I want to talk about experimentation a little bit.

First, I think it's generally healthy to experiment with your diet -- especially when you get the sense that something isn't working in your current diet. The fact is, diet is a dynamic thing, not a static aspect of your life. It has to be this way because so many factors affect our physiology on a day-to-day basis. Off the top of my head, these include the facts that:

Jim here... Yesterday I promised to hypnotize you, so here it is (below). This is something I published elsewhere long ago, slightly modified. Interestingly, in the original version, I'd made reference to various cooked food items -- for example, describing the smell of fresh-baked muffins as comforting. Well, as pleasant as that smell may be to everyone, I just thought it would be odd to include it here on a blog devoted to raw foods.

I think, by the way, that next week I may post a piece on aroma and how it dovetails with raw foods. I'm sure there are interesting things to write about that topic. For now, I'll simply point you to the funny hypnotism picture, below. While it characterizes hypnotism as a sort of mystical power wielded over another's true will, that's definitely not the case. As you'll see, the text below is really just a very innocent, very calming, relaxing suggestion. Read it seriously and see if you aren't relaxed and happy afterward. Have a great weekend!

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).

On March 1st we started a Juice-a-Day Jamboree, to challenge ourselves (and our readers) to include more fresh juice into our diets. We knew we weren't ready for an all-out juice feast, but a juice a day seemed like something we could commit to in our daily lives. So, the Juice-a-Day Jamboree was born. We've been posting periodic updates on our original post about the Jamboree, but figured we'd post periodic juice updates in the main part of our blog, as well, to encourage others to add some more fresh juice to your diets, as well.

We've missed one day of juice since we started the Jamboree. Our original goal was to have our juice first thing in the morning, but we weren't always successful with that. So, we told ourselves that any time of the day is fine, but if we can start the day with a juice we'd prefer it that way. The changes we've been feeling are more pronounced when we begin the day with fresh juice, rather than when we have our juice later in the day.

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.

It's Fun-Filled Friday again---that week went by so quickly! So, what fun did you have this past week and what fun have you planned for yourself in the near future? It's very important to make the time for fun. We all know that, right? But, how many of us actually carve out the time to have some special fun without stress, without problems---a time when we can laugh and experience the joys of being alive?

Today we welcome Leela Mata from the Peaceful Valley Ashram (www.LeelaMata.com) for another episode of Pure Jeevan's Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" edition. In this episode, Leela demonstrates how to make a delicious summertime chutney.

Since Marigolds are seasonal, and likely available only in certain areas, please consider them optional. Perhaps substitute another edible flower of your choice (and let us know if you do!). Aside from making this tasty recipe (which we later enjoyed on a salad), Leela also makes some important points about intuitive eating and intuitive recipe creation. Here's the vid:

I had to write an update after my grocery shopping today! Remember I said just yesterday that sometimes people comment about the amount of produce we are buying? Well, a sweet older woman saw all of the bananas going into our cart and she asked, "What are you going to do with all of those bananas " You already know the response I gave: "Eat them!"

One of the really nice workers at the food co op commented that he can eat about eleven bananas sometimes. I told him, and another friend we saw shopping at the same time, that I can do that now, too. I explained how I used to get full on just one banana when I ate cooked foods. But, now that my system is so much cleaner and healthier, I can consume 10-11 bananas in a day (bananas should be covered with brown specks to truly be ripe and digestable). I don't remember the maximum I ever ate in a day--it's somewhere in my Going Raw journal, I'm sure. It might have even been more than 10 or 11 when I was going through my major banana-eating phase. Now I eat about 4-6 bananas a day, which doesn't seem like a lot to me (but in the past I would have wondered about all of those bananas in someone's cart, too!).

To continue with our Summertime Raw series, we took a trip to Pittsburgh's Frick Park to enjoy the beautiful day. Before leaving, we packed another meal to show you how easy it can be to eat a raw food diet while away from home.Frick Park was wildly popular among dogs; we saw canines of all shapes and sizes -- all playful, yet calm in comparison to our lovely Julia, a rescued blue Doberman. Joogie enjoyed the outing very much because she was able to snack on cucumbers (a favorite treat), chase after a few joggers (we're teaching her that this isn't proper doggy behavior), knock the cooler out of Jim's hands when we were leaving (which broke a few of our best glass dishes), and lick the faces of a few new furry friends. We've been to many parks, but we have a feeling this is now Julia's favorite. ?

In yesterday's blog and video post, we showed you how easy it is to simply grab fresh fruits and veggies and head out the door for an outing. In that show, no refrigeration or preparation was necessary. However, we also know that many of you are new to raw foods, and perhaps eating simple chopped produce isn't so appealing for you compared to traditional foods you'd normally eat while in a park. So, today's goal is to demonstrate how simple it can be, making it easy for you to stick to a raw food lifestyle and not feel tempted by the cooked foods that may be around while you're out enjoying the summer with friends and family. So, today's video is about stepping it up to the next level.

Jim here... Here's an interesting way to finish out the week: Today just happens to be my one-year "rawniversary." That's right, for the past full year, I've existed as a 100% raw food vegan.

Sure, I'd been "high-raw" for a couple of years prior to September 18, 2008 -- and it was during those high-raw years when the bulk of my weight came off and when I kissed prescription meds goodbye (I'd been on powerful beta-blockers for my heart and blood pressure).

Jim here... Wow, did you read yesterday's post ? Wendi is away for a month starting today. That's like a year in Internet time, right?

So, I guess I have the blog to myself for a while. So strange... I mean, I helped her set it up back in late '07, contributed numerous articles and a lot of behind-the-scenes time along the way, and then got really involved here (regularly -- daily, even) about a year ago. But, I never "had the keys" all to myself for a long spell. I feel as though I've been entrusted with something important, you know ? I must control that strange compulsion within me to, you know, run a silly cat video or something. But, I'll resist and keep things on-point. (LOL)