I'm fairly sure that we've covered how to *open* a young coconut (also known as a Thai coconut). It seems like each raw food site has a video and/or article about that. I think it's actually a commandment in the Official Raw Foodism Bylaws somewhere: "Thou shalt show everyone how to open a coconut."

But *selecting* them... that's something that's not often covered in-depth. It's an advanced topic -- super-advanced, even. So, are you ready to learn the secrets?

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!?

Jim here... We had a whirlwind weekend last weekend when the uber-talented couple Rhio and Leigh came to Pittsburgh for a three-day visit. As many of you probably know, Rhio is a well-known pioneer of the raw food movement, having written one of the definitive books on raw foods, Hooked on Raw. She's also the host of a popular Internet radio show of the same name, for which Leigh serves as primary engineer and co-host. Both have extensive backgrounds in music, as well, which is fitting for such a colorful, vibrant couple.

Saturday, Rhio gave a two-part presentation to a capacity crowd at a local coffee shop / art gallery.Part One was a demonstration on making raw dairy-free yogurt using almonds (a technique demonstrated, I believe, on her new DVD, "What's NOT Cookin' in Rhio's Kitchen " -- available soon on her web site at www.rawfoodinfo.com). According to the yogurt eaters in the crowd (of which I'm not one -- never went in for much dairy), the recipe mimics yogurt perfectly! So, if you're a raw foodie who misses dairy yogurt, you're definitely going to want to connect wth Rhio to learn the technique.

We all know what "greens" are in general. For example, no one questions whether lettuce, kale, spinach, or chard are greens. But on the other hand, all of those items *are* also clearly green in color. With that in mind, what would you make of the following two questions I (Jim) recently pondered -- tagged as "reader questions" so they're easily found in the future by other equally inquisitive people ;-) -- that seem bizarre, but are really quite interesting?

1. Are non-green greens (e.g., purple kale) still considered greens

2. Are vegetables with green skins (e.g., cukes, zucchini) considered greens? (After all, they're green!)

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

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

Our weekend is going to be filled with Spring cleaning. Many may not think of any type of cleaning as fun, but there's something special about Spring cleaning. Maybe it's because when we do Spring cleaning in our home, we tend to make it a family event. When we do things together as a family, even though there may be a little bickering here and there, but for the most part we have fun. There's something truly rewarding about working together as a team for something that is going to benefit everyone.

On special Mondays, you sometimes see a regular feature here on Pure Jeevan's blog called Makin' It Monday. We always have so much fun doing this series, and it's been a huge hit both here on our blog and on YouTube.

We thought of a way to make the special Mondays even more special! Guess how? By seeing YOU in our Makin' It Monday raw food recipe videos! So, here's an open casting call for anyone in the Pure Jeevan family (that's you!) adventurous enough to prepare a raw food recipe on video to be featured in our Makin' It Monday series!

Hi everyone! ?We wanted to announce plans for a raw food picnic / potluck / meetup next Saturday, September 19th, at noon, in Berkeley Springs, WV at Berkeley Springs State Park (link to map), a wonderful natural healing destination about half-way between Pittsburgh and D.C. Wendi was just talking with Rawbin from the Capital Area (D.C.) raw food meetup and we all thought that a combo Pittsburgh / D.C. meetup might be fun. So, we all planned something right on the spot!

Berkeley Springs is a really nice (but small) public park in West Virginia about half-way between Pittsburgh and D.C.I traveled there a few weeks back with Melissa, Dave, Ella, and Bethany on the way to Raw Spririt East. We had a super time soaking in the spring water and checking out all of the cool alternative shops. (I did a write-up here on Pure Jeevan a few weeks ago and posted some video of the place).

Jim here... Exactly one month ago today, I announced my intention to do a month-long trial of a low-fat raw vegan protocol largely based on the well-known 80-10-10 diet. I posted a half-way point update on May 15th, and now here we are at June 1st already. So, are you ready for the thrilling conclusion

As I've stated before, I went into this experiment rather hard-core, with one full week of zero overt fats, and then gradually introducing a few richer ingredients (although keeping within the 10% fat ceiling). I found much of the past month to be an exercise in restraint and self-control, similar to the issue many people face when going raw while the rest of the family is still eating cooked foods.However, it got significantly easier as time passed.

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").

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.