Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.

Wow, what a stressful weekend! We spent pretty much the entire past two days going through the dozens and dozens of suggestions we received in response to our July 30 post concerning our move (in which we asked for help in finding the perfect new place to live). We listed every city suggested to us, as well as a number of cities we specifically wanted to consider. Then we attempted to gather data from the Internet to rank these cities. Here's a HUGE snapshot to show our progress. (I'll explain a few things below.)

As you can see, we ranked each city according to many criteria. These included the number of sunny days per year, average high and low temperatures, air quality (higher #s better), water quality (higher #s better), Superfund statistics (an indication of the general toxicity of an area -- higher #s better), land prices, crime rate (the numbers "x / x" indicating scores from 1 to 10, lower #s being better, for "personal" crimes and "property" crimes), and finally a "liberal / conservative" ratio based on voting records for that town.

I knew right away that I would be filing this under our "Fun-filled Friday" bannner. Finding pawpaws is a huge treat! They're surprisingly little-known, and also very surprisingly tropical in nature. Who would think that something this delicious and exotic-tasting would thrive in so much of the non-trpoical world!? In this video, you'll learn where to look for pawpaw groves, how to identify a pawpaw tree, and what pawpaws look and taste like.

Today is Wendi's Birthday, so please join me in wishing her all the best for the coming year! Since this was our first year in Portland, just an hour-and-a-half's drive to the Pacific, I'd known for ages what we were going to do to celebrate Wendi's birthday -- a picnic at the beach, of course!

A few days ago, the weather reports for the central Oregon coast cities unanimously agreed: Rain! ?But, after living here for a few months, one learns that a forecast of rain *never* means that it's going to rain all day long. Rather, it just means that it'll likely rain at some point, or at many points, in a given day. The rest of the time, it could very well be perfectly sunny outside!

We get asked from time to time about whether we like to use protein powders and, if so, which brands we like. As you'll no doubt notice after getting into raw foods for a while, raw foodies (just like quite a lot of health-conscious people) often get into various powdered food additives. Some purists are against their use, of course. But, we're not so dead set against them. We do, however, believe that, if you're going to put something into your body as part of a health program, you should be conscious about it.

A few months ago, Wendi decided that she wanted to add some protein into her diet in the form of a protein powder. She did quite a bit of research at the time into the various brands available, charting out which ones were raw, which ones had various ingredients, and so forth. It was a fairly in-depth study, done for personal reasons unrelated to Pure Jeevan's blog articles. So, we never mentioned it before.

Today I answer the second part of a letter Jim received from a Pure Jeevan member who was seeking advice about her daughter who has decided to become a vegetarian. Rather than quote parts of her letter, I'll summarize the questions (because they are general questions that we hear a lot and our answers are given for everyone, not just the individual who sent the most recent letter).

1) I don't have a lot of money for all the produce and kitchen appliances, so how can I eat a healthy diet

2) I live with others who don't eat the same diet, so how can I possibly make this work

I'm not sure I'm getting enough carbs 'cuz I eat very little grains or beans and I am always worried of overdoing fruit.

Well, rest assured that if you are consuming enough calories with your diet, and not exclusively eating fats and proteins, you are most likely getting enough carbohydrates. Carbohydrates exist in just about anything you can eat. By simply eating enough food during the day, you can easily meet your body's carbohydrate requirements.

There are two classifications of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Grains and beans fall under the complex category, while fruits fall under the simple category.

Jim here... Happy Sunday morning, everyone!? We don't normally post on weekends, but we're sharing this video as a special gift for my mom on Mother's Day.As Wendi likes to say, "Every day is mother's day!"? But, I do like to do something a little special for my own wonderful mom. So, check out this video of a recipe Wendi (mostly) and I created for her. If you remember my reaction to the soup we made recently, it may not surprise you to hear me say that this sauce is the "best #$%^&*^%! sauce I've ever tasted!"

We're typing up and formatting this recipe for Pure Jeevan family members (you know, those who subscribe to our mail list). So, once it's ready, we'll be adding it to the queue of mailings we sent out to keep everyone inspired. This recipe is a keeper!

It's been an interesting week for us here. We've looked at a handful of ways that people may either become obese, or sustain an obese body -- all largely for reasons outside of dietary intake. The three situations we looked at included maintaining weight as a defense mechanism (Tuesday), becoming obese through worrying about becoming obese (Wednesday), and obesity as basically a physical manifestation of a non-physical longing (Thursday).

Without a doubt, these are just three out of hundreds of possible non-physical contributors to poor health. The idea was merely to start a thread on these things, opening people's minds to possibilities that perhaps they'd never seriously considered.

It's Friday already! Today marks a whole week of exploring just a little bit of the All Raw Directory. We hope you've enjoyed the exploration so far, and also that you're inspired not only to use the A.R.D., but to contribute to it as well -- adding not only your own links, but any other raw foods links you think others would enjoy. The mission, after all, is to gather and maintain a current, comprehensive, community-run, categorized, searchable, 100% free-to-use resource guide to every single raw and living foods link in existence.

To accomplish this goal, the A.R.D. launched with 20 main categories, arranged alphabetically from Blogs to Vlogs. Of the 20 categories, 19 are rather straightforward (blogs, books, equipment, etc.). But one stands out as special:

Many of our visitors go directly to our raw food recipes section of the blog. They must be terribly disappointed to find only a few recipes there. We ll continually add more, but for now there are only a handful. So, it is with extreme pleasure that we introduce you to someone you are going to love!

Take the time to meet...