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").

Jim here... Since many people have asked me how she liked the surprise gift, here's a quick, unedited video taken last Saturday on Wendi's birthday. We had gone to the park that evening to hang out and catch some fresh air. I took a few minutes to ask her about her day, and thought I'd share this with you.If I showed you the video of her receiving the gift that morning, I'm afraid all you'd see would be tears all around the dining room table. (We were all rather emotional about it.) So, take a look at this video for now. Wendi said that she wanted to write something here as well. So, that will no doubt be coming soon.

By the way, at the end of this video, Wendi mentions another video of a man we interviewed earlier that day on Wendi's birthday. I was going to edit some of that in, but we decided to run that video here on its own this Thursday because it addresses a question Wendi gets quite often. You'll love that video, as it's a great testament to the power of raw foods. For now, I hope you like the above vid (even though there's a fair amount of dog posterior that I should have edited out - LOL).

We have two events scheduled for this weekend and we are looking forward to both of them! The first is a Raw Food Potluck Meetup. I haven't decided what I'm creating, yet. So far I'm thinking I'll make either an apple pie or some beet noodles with alfredo sauce, but I know how things usually go when it's time for me to prepare something special. I usually feel like I don't want to make what I had planned, and I search around in the fridge to see what pops out at me. I almost always go by what I'm inspired to create at that moment. So, who knows what I'll end up making. I'll try to take pictures of my creation as well as pictures of the other raw food dishes that others bring.

This will be our first raw food potluck. When I first went raw it was something I was doing special for myself, by myself, so I didn't join any of the raw food meetups and didn't want to make it a group activity with my friends.After two years of raw (a little over one at 100%), I've done (and continue to do) what I needed for myself.Now, I'm ready to share my experiences with everyone and to be an active member of the raw food community.So, I'm looking forward to the raw food potluck tomorrow!? You are welcome to join us at the potluck if you are in the area!

Just a quick update for those in the Pittsburgh area:

My dear friend Melissa has planned some fun raw food gatherings that you may be interested in checking out. The first is a raw food dinner and demo, the second is a wild herb walk.

Raw Foods Demo and Dinner?

Jim here... Recently, a commenter on this blog, Lannette, mentioned being a cardiac rehab nurse. For some reason, reading this set my wheels spinning in various directions, among them onto the topic of meat consumption in the world. To begin, I'd like to recap something I'd said in response to her:

... it *astounds* me how people joke about heart health where I work. People around here routinely return from medical exams and actually adopt rather mischievous grins when they reveal how high their bad cholesterol levels are. It's like they're saying, "I know meat and dairy are bad for me, but I'm going to keep on eating it anyway. Isn't that funny ??!!!" Ummm, no. It's sad. They laugh it off as though there could be no possible future reckoning for them. It's reminiscent, IMHO, of Dr. Viktor Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning," in which he describes a psychological phenomenon he termed the "delusion of reprieve." For anyone unfamiliar w/ that, the term describes the phenomenon via which those faced with certain death (or near certain death) mentally construct some way out of it. They are deluded into believing that they'll have a reprieve from the inevitable. So, it's exactly the same to me -- these people see the heart attacks coming. They simply refuse to do anything about it, refuse to change their habits, deny what their blood work says to them. Why? Because they think "I'll be okay. Sure, this leads to heart disease in most people, but not in *me* because I'm a strong guy, I'm macho, I'm not as fat as some other person here, etc." Mostly, it's the meat, I think. It's got a powerful hold on our society...

So, today I wanted to write a little bit on the topic of meat consumption. This is an enormous issue, in my opinion. If you're reading this, it likely means you're already at least a vegetarian, so I do not need to quote you any saddening statistics on the horrors of the meat industry. In fact, before writing this, I decided to visit the PETA web site quickly in order to glean a few slaughterhouse facts. But, in no time, I became markedly depressed, so I'll largely avoid focusing on specific negative imagery here.

This Thursday I want to give a special "Thank You" to Kevin Gianni. He was on my list for a Take the Time Tuesday introduction, but I didn't want to wait until then to tell you about him. I've been following Kevin's work on the Internet since he hosted The Raw Food World Summit last year. You can tell when you hear him speak that he's a genuinely nice, intelligent, caring person. He's honestly listening to what people are saying, trying to absorb the plethora of health information that's available. He asks a lot of interesting questions, too. He then takes what he has learned, condenses it, and shares the knowledge with the rest of the world. He does all of the hard work for us! For this, I wanted to give a special thanks to him.

In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part three, focusing on Robert Cheeke's take on this issue.

YELLOW PEA POWDER

In the spring of 2005 this natural body builder became a champion bodybuilder - all on a strict? vegan diet. Robert Cheeke, an activist/athlete raised on an Oregon farm, went vegan when he was 15 years old and transitioned to full on vegan only two months later. Winning titles in Portland, OR and competing at the Natural Bodybuilding World Championships held in California, Robert maintains his intense mass building workout regime on a 100% animal-free diet.

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.)

April 13, 2008

I noticed that since I ve been eating only mono meals, I seem to be consistently sleeping eight hours a night, as opposed to nine, or more. It s a dreary day today, yet I don t feel like I m tired or down, which is how I normally feel when there s not enough sunshine.

Jim here... Wow, what a great week it's been here at Pure Jeevan, focusing on diabetes for five straight days!? To cap it off, I have some fun news to share:? Tomorrow is Wendi's birthday!? And, guess what ? When I asked her what she wanted to do to celebrate this year, she said she'd like to devote her special day to spreading the word about the Movement ot Reverse Diabetes Naturally. So, we made some calls and sent out some press releases.

A few venues were enthusiastically receptive, so we're hitting the streets tomorrow -- celebrating Wendi's birthday by handing out diabetes awareness literature! Here's the press release I sent to the media, which tells where we'll be. If you're from Pittsburgh, we hope you'll stop by to say hello and/or ask questions about natural diabetes reversal and of course raw foods!

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This weekend is all about having fun! We'll be working on the menu for the upcoming 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat that I've organized for the end of May. What does it mean to work on the menu? Well, it means I'll be making and sampling all kinds of gourmet raw food dishes this weekend!