It's a beautiful day here. The sun is actually shining enough through the clouds to soak up some of its lovely rays. It feels so good. What a great way to start the weekend! We have no set plans, other than a trip to the local food co-op and a visit from the bunny. If the weather continues to be this nice, maybe we'll take the puppy over to the park and spend the afternoon enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of Spring.

Happy Navratri!

You haven't been hearing much from me (Wendi) lately, for a variety of reasons. Over the next few days, I'll be celebrating Navratri and posting here on the blog at the end of each day. In my posts, I'll be sharing some of what has been going on with me and why you haven't seen much of me around, as well as comments on my celebration of Navratri.

I know this is our Fun-Filled Friday post, but I have to admit that most of today isn't going to be all that much fun. But, this weekend should be very enjoyable! We have some very special guests arriving tomorrow for a SUPER SPECIAL evening tomorrow night! Leela Mata, a beautiful spiritual teacher, has offered to visit my home and hold Satsang here. One of her extremely talented students, Devaki, will be joining her (and bringing a harmonium to play at Satsang!).

We tried it in the past, this most unusual fruit. While in Chicago recently, we decided to give it one more try! You see, the first time we tried it we were ... let's just say "not big fans" of the infamous durian. (Here's an episode of Kevin Gianni's Renegade Health Show, shot in our home, documenting that day.) It's a stinky fruit to most, although some claim to enjoy the bizarre odor (which is sometimes described as dirty sock and propane gas smell). If you can get past the smell to give it a taste, you'll be greeted by a taste as strange as the odor. Wendi describes it as a sweet onion pierogie, but each person seems to have a different opinion about this odd fruit.

In this current video our raw friend Debbie Gedayloo-Bennett, whom we met in Chicago, jumped at the opportunity to hang out for a bit of a durian experience. Debbie is on the pro-durian side of the fence that divides those who love and those who hate the alien-like fruit. Wendi was still sitting on the fence, not making up her mind after the initial taste with Kevin and Annmarie. Jim was adamantly sitting far from the love side of the fence, refusing to even attempt approaching the pro side. Debbie was a pro in opening this spiny fruit, so she agreed to open it while on video so that we could share the experience and knowledge with all of you.

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:

This past weekend we had the pleasure of Rhio and her partner, Leigh, visiting with us. Rhio was in town for a presentation on Genetically Engineered foods (more about that here) and she took the opportunity to spend some time with us. It was a lovely weekend and we talked about all kinds of things (yes, even non-raw food things!), laughed a lot, enjoyed delicious raw foods, and got to know each other better.

While they were here, Rhio and Leigh agreed to allow us to interview each of them for this blog. Since we needed to keep the interview under ten minutes (the maximum time allowed on most video sites), we decided to ask questions about topics we had already touched on with Rhio and Leigh during their stay--things we thought might be interesting for all of you to hear about.

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!?

On August 31st, my project will be finished enough to present it as a

GIFT TO THE ENTIRE RAW COMMUNITY!?

Jim here... Just wanted to say quickly that I'm heading off to the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF) today! I'll be carpooling (or, vanpooling) with our friends Melissa and Dave Sokulski, their daughter Ella, and our friend Bethany. We're all volunteering at RSF, which should not only be a lot of fun, but should also be a great way to get to know many other fellow raw foodies.

So, we'll be arriving Friday to help set up, enjoying the festival over the weekend, and staying Monday to help them "break it down." Since we need to leave Monday, we'll likely miss a fun-sounding party at Rawbin's place Monday night. But, I'm sure it'll be a blast overall, and it'll also be fun to camp out again, as I haven't done that in a while. I especially hope I'm also able to light something on fire, as I always love the fire aspect of camping most. Maybe I'll run into some of those raw foodies who spin fire-poi and can learn a new skill!

Mmmmmmmmm! ?I'm sitting here at my computer eating the Best Organic Fuji Apple Ever. Don't believe me? ?Here's a picture of the apple I'm eating right now:

Looks dee-lish, right? ?(Okay, so maybe it's not the most appetizing pic in the world...) ?Anyway, one interesting thing about this apple is that I bought it (a whole big bag of them, actually) because it was so cheap. (I'm on a relatively tight budget these days.) ?But, if it was so cheap, how could it be so tasty? ?(And organic, too!) Well, that's where the basic law of supply and demand come in. Whenever a crop is at the peak of its season, the supply rises considerably. Instead of the store receiving X number of bushels of apples, they receive 5X or more. So, they slash prices to move that kind of volume.

Last year when I organized a raw food spiritual retreat at an ashram, I met some very lovely people. Two of those individuals were Patty and Denny (you can visit their blog to say hello to them). They were new to gourmet raw foods, so they were enthusiastic learners at the retreat. When they returned home after the blissful weekend, they began using their new raw food knowledge. Here are some excerpts of emails I have received from them since the retreat last year:

Well, you said you're motive in putting on this retreat was simply to pass on this valuable information and to help others; you were very successful where we're concerned - it is no exaggeration to say that you have changed our lives forever.

We've been almost 100% raw since the retreat. ... We're so excited about this new way of eating that we bought a new Vita-Mix. ...We can actually say that this has been our most notable and enjoyable dining experience - ever, in our entire lives! No one would ever put that much work into something if it were just for money; it is obvious that you did it from your heart. We feel blessed to have received such a gift.