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.

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).

Today, we're going to show you haw to make some tasty brownies. Best of all, this recipe takes only a few minutes. Let's get to it!

First, throw a couple of big handfulls of raisins into your food processor.

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.

My nine days of mono meal eating are over! I'll write about the final day tomorrow.

April 14, 2008

Today I have even more energy. My tongue is coated more, however. It s not horrible, but it s definitely less red and more of a light pink. My eyes have continued to feel dry and my eyelids are heavy. What causes that, I wonder? My nails are whiter and harder, but they still break and rip when I m working around the house.

Above is a quick camera-phone pic I posted to our Facebook group lately. I did talk about making raw parfaits on that page, but want to talk a little more about them today, as it's just the perfect time to be talking about delicious raw parfaits (at least here in America, in any case, where many of the fresh berries you'll probably want are cheap and in season). I'll share a brief story about them, and then share my own basic recipe, and then we'll make some plans for MORE parfait talk really soon, okay?

I'm almost hesitant to talk about raw food parfaits here because, well, if the government found out how unbelievably healthy and ENJOYABLE parfaits are, I'm sure they'd make them illegal. But, I'll take a chance...

Jim here... We've always been fans of the Simply Raw people -- or, as I call them, the "Reversing Diabetes Naturally" people. Or ... are they the "Raw for Thirty" people? Seriously, they should probably settle on one name, don't you think? In any case, they emailed us again lately to let us know about a new video promotion they're doing, in which they'll be sharing some great videos from Morgan "Super Size Me" Spurlock, David "Avocado" Wolfe, Mike "Natural News" Adams, and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. (Sorry, I don't have a nickname for Dr. Fuhrman yet.) I haven't yet seen the videos, but I'll be checking them out ASAP to hear what these gents have to say in order to further awareness about this important topic. Here's the link:

>>> http://tinyurl.com/SimplyRawVids

Over the weekend, we attended a fairy festival in Eugene, OR, called Faerieworlds . ?It was great fun -- loads and loads of interesting shops, festival-goers in costumes ranging in complexity from simple fairy ears to full-on ensembles, and some spectacular tribal bands on the main stage all day long.

What was unexpected, though, was seeing not just one (which, alone, would have been impressive), but *two* food carts dedicated to raw foods. ?The first was called Luminescent Foods:

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.

(Note: This is a closely-related piece to an earlier post ?entitled "Practice Is Your Key to Going Raw." I'll include a link to that article, below.* This one focuses more on recognizing your current level of progress.)

These days, I spend most of my free time cleaning up our fixer-upper home in Portland, so I haven't been going to the gym or regularly running as I had in the past. ?Hopefully, the house work is sufficient physical activity for me -- it sure does generate an appetite most days!

As raw foods enthusiasts for many years, Wendi and I have had the pleasure of patronizing raw food restaurants literally from coast to coast. Between us, we've been blessed to have sampled a more diverse spread of raw gourmet foods than have most people. (We hope that many others get to do this as well!)

From time to time in anyone's raw journey, it seems inevitable that thoughts crop up about opening a raw restaurant. For some, it's likely no more than a passing fantasy; for others, it may well become a firm business goal. We believe this is a fine and noble goal -- one that we'd like to see more people accomplish!