All this week we're going to be highlighting different sections of the All Raw Directory (A.R.D.). For those of you who don't already know about it, Jim and I created an amazing site (AllRawDirectory.com) to house links to every source of raw food information that exists on the Internet. It's a huge task, but we created the site so that it's community-run. Housing links to all of the information available within the raw food community is a near-impossible task for one individual, but as a group we can do amazing things!

If you don't know how the All Raw Directory works, you are going to love the ease and simplicity of it all! Simply become a member (it's FREE and always will be!) and begin adding any raw food links that aren't already included (the system checks for duplicates, so don't worry about that). You can add your personal raw food blog, a raw food business, your social raw food media links (like Twitter, Facebook, GiveItToMeRaw, RawFu, etc.) for others to easily find you, share links to informative pages about the raw food diet/lifestyle, and so much more!

?

Jim here... Of the many lessons 2008 brought to our household, one standout was certainly the importance of having patience. That s because we set some lofty goals, and lofty goals are often vital teachers.

For example, imagine sitting in your living room one day and deciding: "I'm going to scale Mt. Everest."? (For the purposes of this example, imagine also that no political, administrative, or financial restrictions exist to prevent you from doing this immediately if you really wanted to -- things like passports, entry visas, transportation costs, etc.)

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.

As I write this, Wendi and KDcat have been en route to Portland for 39+ hours so far (including a long layover in Chicago)! Looks like they still have another 22 or so hours to go. What a monumental trip, eh ! Cross-country travel by rail really gives you a better appreciation for the distance, as compared with air travel or even highway travel. Imagine what it must have been like in the covered-wagon days!

So far, reports from the train have been not so wonderful. KDcat seems to be having a good time roaming around socializing. But, Wendi's experiencing some major motion sickness. Oddly, we never anticipated this problem -- which is incredible, as we spent more than a month planning this trip! But, it just goes to show you that you cannot anticipate everything in life!

As promised, here's another question I'd like to openly address here instead of via Wendi's email system. This one also comes up from time to time, and I told this person to watch out for my two cents on this issue. So, here it is. The reader asks:

... During your transtioning to a raw food diet & the loss of so much weight, what if any exercising were you doing along the way

Here's a picture I took at Portland's Saturday Market last week. We've been pleasantly surprised to find that artichokes grow rather well here in the Pacific Northwest. We don't recall seeing them much back East, but many of our neighbors grow them (both for the artichokes and, I suspect, as ornamental plants).

I suspect that some raw foodists tend to overlook artichokes because they're so traditionally linked with the image of something steamed, stuffed with breadcrumbs, and drizzled in butter -- so, "cooked," "breaded," and "dairy" all together in one recipe! Being half Italian, I grew up eating them this way. My mother almost never said "artichoke"; she always called them an Italian word that sounded like "ga-GO-che-lee." ?She made them just a few times per year, and they were always a huge treat (and we'd often fight over the hearts -- by far the best part!).

Jim here with another Weird Wednesday.

Recently, at the store, I came across a little plastic tool, priced at $1.49. It was an orange peeler. I'd never heard of such a thing. As someone who eats about 20 oranges/week, I was intrigued. Do you mean to tell me, I thought, that my days of laboriously de-skinning oranges would disappear (those trips to the company bathroom to remove the orange pulp from my fingernails!)?

One reason I keep going on and on lately about raw desserts and raw ice creams is best conveyed with an example. ?Here are the ingredients in Cool Whip, a commonly available whipped topping:

  • water
  • hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and palm kernel oils)
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • corn syrup
  • skim milk
  • light cream
  • less than 2% of:
  • sodium caseinate
  • natural and artificial flavors
  • xanthan and guar gums
  • polysorbate 60
  • sorbitan monostearate
  • beta carotene (color)

Wow, I had a chemistry set in 5th grade that had a lot of things that sounded like some of those items. It's actually mind-boggling to envision the industrial processes necessary to produce everything on that list -- not that it's entirely possible to do so. After all, among the list of ingredients are "natural and artificial flavors." Ever wonder what, exactly, those are?

Wow, I'm having a tough time keeping up with our fearless travelers! I thought I'd break their San Francisco adventures up into FOUR smaller posts made from Wendi's personal travelogue. I'll try to address everything they did chronoligically. There will be a video in this posts, videos in the next post, and a picture set at the end! Here's what she had to say about their first stop in Frisco:

For our San Francisco/Berkeley visit, we first met up with a college friend, Pete Guinosso, at Cafe Gratitude. It was fun catching up, and Pete treated KDcat and I to our meals. While at the table, I labeled Pete as the "Quote Man" because he had a fantastic book of quotes he has been collecting. He periodically read from it as our conversations brought specific quotes to mind. It was a beautiful collection of poems, which Pete said is his second book and is filling up quickly.

Cafe Gratitude lived up to its reputation of having a great vibe with pleasant servers and fantastic raw foods. I wondered, however, why there isn't a dish called "I am Love." (There is a drink called "I am Loved," but I was interested in one that claimed I AM Love. Maybe they'll come up with one for my next visit!) After leaving Cafe Gratitude, I have to admit I wasn't overly grateful to find a $40 parking ticket waiting on the rental car. OUCH! We kept the car parked there (since it was already ticketed), and Pete showed us around the Berkeley shopping area. It was a fun stroll on a beautiful sunny, California day.

I was sitting here today thinking about all of you, our lovely online friends who visit this blog. You follow what's going on with us, learn from us, find inspiration in the things we share, and even offer support to us in many ways.

Some of you reach out by leaving comments, many of you send emails, and a larger majority of you are quiet friends who haven't made contact with us, yet. Each and every one of you means so very much to me (and to Jim, too).

We don't keep this blog for ourselves; we keep it for all of you. It is our desire to share all that we've been through, and what we've learned, in order to help you with your own journey. Most of all, however, my personal desire is to inspire you to live the life you truly want to be living (in more ways than just through what you eat).

We're into soft foods and treats these days, because Jim recently had a wisdom tooth extracted (KDcat insists he is less wise for having done so). We've been having a lot of fruit smoothies! I made a big mistake and created a smoothie with a grapefruit for the juicy part (I normally only use oranges). I don't care for grapefruit, because the bitter part just isn't appealing to me. However, I thought for sure that bananas and frozen berries would override the bitter taste of the grapefruit. It didn't, so I added some agave to the mixture and blended it again. Nope--still bitter. So, I asked Jim to taste it (he LOVES grapefruit) and he thought it was fantastic. He consumed the entire pitcher of the bitter concoction.