What fun it is to share a fun day with like-minded people at a special location, sharing good times, laughter, and delicious, nutritious raw food wonderment. Here are some pics from our outing -- hopefully the first of many such unique outings blending the Pittsburgh raw group with the D.C. one.

We hope this also provides some inspiration for other meetup groups to consider holding joint meetups in some geographically central location.

If you're new to raw foods, you're probably aware that eating this way isn't exactly mainstream. And, while we've talked here before about the importance of connecting with others for inspiration and support, it's true that a lot of that lends itself to participation in virtual worlds such as Twitter, Facebook, Give It to Me Raw, and other communities, blogs, and sites where raw foodies hang out.

It's been a while since we offered an update on Wendi's health challenge. So, I asked if she felt up to writing a blog post to let everyone know what she's going through, highlighting a few new directions taken of late. As usual, I added some color splashes and graphics here and there, just for aesthetics. But, the following post is from Wendi. -Jim

Many thanks and lots of love go out to all of you for the love and support you ve been sending my way. I can t spend much time at the computer, but Jim has been trying to keep up with my email and he s been passing along your love, concern, advice, and healing energy. Thanks so much for everything, including the things that have arrived through the postal service. I definitely feel the love from all of you and I want you to know that each and every one of you means so much to me! * blows kisses *

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

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

Here it is, the new year. I've never been excited about the end of one year and the beginning of the next, but this time it's different.So many things have changed in our lives here at Pure Jeevan, bringing us to this point in time--a time that we are ready for and fully embrace. This year is going to be RAWmazing!

Many plans and projects have been started over the past few years, and this is the year that will see many of them fully blossom. The beauty of these projects is that they are about so much more than just us, or just you, our lovely readers. Our mission is to help as many people as possible to wake up from a life that's only partially being lived.We believe there are many tools that can be used to fully wake up and embrace life; one of them is eating a raw food diet. We raw foodists know that there is a lot more to life than what we've been taught to believe and expect, and many of us are helping others learn this beautiful fact. We are shaking up many of the core beliefs on which most of us have based our lives. I strongly believe that many of us in the raw food movement can say: We Are The Ones! We are the ones who are here to make positive changes, to help others fully embrace life, and to have fun, fun, fun! Why waste even one more day of your precious life doing something you don't enjoy doing? It's time to have fun, to feel the love that exists within and all around us, and to help others experience the same! So, are you in ?Do you want to join us on this grand adventure of creating a blissful life for not only ourselves, but for the rest of the world, as well?

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

ALMONDS

?The greater the percentage of raw food in the diet, the greater the health benefits? is Koya Webb, fitness model, personal trainer, triathlete and body builder's personal motto. Koya's sculpted physique won 1st place in the Ultimate Fitness Events "Fitness Model" and "Bikini Model" competitions and has modeled for Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Muscle and Fitness, Her Sports, Royal Caribbean and Triathlete magazine, to name a few. As a living-foodist (one who eats 60% or more uncooked veggies, nuts, seeds, and super foods) Koya believes eating all natural ?fruits of the earth? can help heal cancer, diabetes, and other diseases plaguing our society today.

Jim here... This post is for anyone who has turned to raw foods in an attempt to become healthy -- to lose weight, lower cholesterol, to lower blood pressure, to beat diabetes, or perhaps to overcome something even more serious. Let me ask you something (rhetorically): Have you ever, in your journey toward optimal health, looked at someone else -- someone else who eats "worse" than you do, yet who appears outwardly more healthy -- and thought, "Why is it so hard for ME and yet so effortless for that person "

Have questions run through your mind such as: ?How can that other person eat all of the wrong things, and yet look healthy? ?Why is it that I eat better than most people, and yet I'm the one facing a health problem Why is it that some people go raw and their issues clear up so quickly, and yet here I am still not feeling and looking 100% healthy? Why is it that physical health is not always bestowed on those who really deserve it?

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

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

My Story of Conquering the Myths of My 50+ Body

I ve been eating 100% live/raw food for a little over eight months now, and I believe it all started? well.... hmmmm? let s see. Last summer I was determined to do something once and for all about the weight that I put on since I turned 50, six years ago (well, almost seven years now ). It seemed that no matter how much I exercised or how much I ate ? or didn t eat ? nothing stopped the onslaught of impending bulk. Each year added a few more pounds until I hardly recognized myself! What happened? Who was I? Where did this strange body come from? I decided I needed to take this foreign body by the horns and wrangle it back into submission. Actually, I was gentler than that, but the determination was there.

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.

Jim here... A week or two ago, there were some videos floating around in raw food circles that seemed to indicate that one's blood health (and, by extension, one's overall health) can be quickly and dramatically improved through a practice known as grounding. I realize that, metaphorically, people commonly use the term "grounded" to indicate a kind of level-headedness -- e.g., a "down to earth" attitude. But, in the literal sense, it's an electrical term used to describe a physical connection to the earth. I'm no engineer, but my understanding is that these connections basically discharge things or people from any static electricity build-up (as in those bracelets that computer repair techs wear), or serve as a conduit through which other electricity may pass (as in lightning rods).

That the idea of "grounding oneself" should take root so strongly in natural health circles is unsurprising. In theory, it seems to make a lot of sense. I'm just as intrigued by it as the next person, I suppose. If we spend most of our lives wearing rubber-souled shoes, walking on shag-carpeting, sitting suspended off the ground on static-filled things like couches and office chairs, often running various electrical equipment, basking in EMFs from radio waves and Dish-network signals and cell phone radiation... sure, it makes sense that we're probably all experiencing some heretofore unprecedented (evolutionarily speaking) human body exposure to significant electrical phenomena. My car reminds me of this daily with a (friggin' annoying!) shock each time I get out and close the door. But, as the "double-rainbow guy" so succinctly put it: ?What does it mean

Continuing on, today, with Wendi's San Francisco travelogue:

While on our walk, Pete pointed out that in the building on our right there are some amazing kale chips being produced. Kale chips ! I asked if he was referring to raw food kale chips and he nodded. Of course, I had to investigate and find out who was producing them and possibly meet the person. Well, what a treat we were in for!

One of the workers directed us to an office nearby where we met a lovely woman named Blessing. It turns out, Blessing is the producer of the kale chips we received from our Official Snack Sponsor during our tour, Natural Zing. Not only does Blessing produce some of the most popular kale chips in the raw community, her company is also the manufacturer of the famously delicious "Raweo" cookies (which you can find on Natural Zing's site)!

After our Oklahoma stop, we had back-to-back visits with family. During our 40-day tour, we had a great time at every place we stayed. There's something extra special about being with family, however. KDcat especially loved this part of the trip, where she could stay up late and sleep in every morning.

Our first stop was St. Louis, Missouri, to see Grandma and Grandpa Dee, and Aunt Jeanne. We did some shopping at Whole Foods, bought lots of organic produce, and prepared some raw dishes to share with everyone. We purchased a young coconut and KDcat used Grandpa's hatchet to show everyone how to open a young coconut. Jim's mother learned to make raw hummus, without chickpeas, and even agreed to be a guest chef for a Makin' It Monday raw food recipe video! So, we'll be sharing that with all of you in the near future! Aunt Jeanne loved the hummus, as well as the raw tacos we created. She seems to have a liking for raw foods, so who knows...you may be seeing another Dee online sharing info about raw foods in the future ! Grandpa is always a fan of apple pies, so he thoroughly enjoyed the pie we created during our visit. Grandpa and KDcat also spent some time talking about music, a passion for both of them.

Our second stop was Geneseo, Illinois, to visit with Aunt Cindy, Uncle Ray (who had to work during our visit), and cousin Destiny. KDcat and Destiny don't see each other very often, so this was a real treat. Destiny's a sweet girl who became a vegetarian over a year ago (she's the only vegetarian in her home)! That's a huge thing to do when you're just a young teenager and we're proud of her for taking her health into her own hands (and for saving the animals!). We took a lot of pictures while visiting. In the photoset, you'll see that somehow a monkey crawled onto KDcat's back and hung around with her most of one day (in which she was dressed up in quite the outfit!). That monkey found its way into all kinds of interesting places (in a park, playing on the slide, swing, etc., and even in the house playing the piano -- and I caught him trying to steal some of my bananas!). The weather was beautiful during our visit, so we spent a lot of time outside, walking and enjoying the beautiful time together. At this stop we created a raw apple crumble, which Aunt Cindy later modified with blueberries. We're gently nudging her to make a video of the recipe she created, so we can all see how it's made! It sounded delicious.