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

When alternatives to the Standard American Diet are discussed, protein is on everyone's mind. There are many reasons why someone might want to eat a plant based diet, whether for allergy concerns, health reasons, or more variety. But nagging doubts often come up;? Are plant proteins adequate for athletes and body builders ? Are they really the preferred protein source of the human body ? Are they better than animal based protein or are they just consumed for environmental reasons ? To answer these questions, why not ask the experts:? triathletes, professional dancers, bodybuilders and extreme sport racers ? Here are the answers from some of the most competitive athletes in their respective fields.

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.

Welcome to Pure Jeevan's "Juice-a-Day Jamboree"! You're probably wondering, "What IS Pure Jeevan's Juice-a-Day Jamboree, anyway " Well, it's simple: It's an ongoing, informal, loosely organized "event" centered around juicing. Think of it as an interim step between (1) any kind of diet or lifestyle, from SAD to full-on raw, that does not include much regular juice, and (2) an all out juice feast where that's ALL you'd consume for a period of time. Basically, we're saying, "Let's just make this simple and accessible for everyone. Let's just make a goal to simply drink more fresh juice!"

Wendi and I have been thinking a lot about incorporating more juicing into our lives lately (which is something we've done off and on over the years but never stuck with long-term). One thing holding us back from doing it more often is the time requirement. When we juice, it usually takes a half hour or so from start to finish. I know it doesn't seem that complicated, but I suppose it's just the whole process of setting up the juicer, washing and peeling the produce, juicing it, setting the juice aside while we clean the juicer, doling out the juice into glasses, cleaning up the mini-mess that makes, and then sitting down to actually enjoy the juice.

Just a few brief thoughts for you this Weird Wednesday...

Of all the species on this Earth, it's weird that no other animals besides people cook their food. Similarly, of all the species on this Earth, it's weird that no other animals besides people drink the milk of other animals.

Jim here... It's been nearly half a year since we posted a long meditation on living patiently, noting the unique, sometimes-at-odds dovetail that exists between (1) experiencing the zen of patience and (2) living the electrically charged life of raw foods. While we're STILL living with the same patience we talked about, I have to admit there have been times when we've been in not-so pleasant touch with some real frustration about getting our home sold and finally moving on to all of the exciting stuff we have planned for us and for you.

Wendi and I are absolutely ecstatic about taking our raw foods message to the next level -- and not just "next level" meaning more a few more blog posts and videos, but a true quantum leap in terms of our immersion into this world and commitment to advocating the lifestyle. It just gets a little tough, even when practicing patience, to be kind of stuck in the starting gate.

Many times we are asked about our grocery bill---how much do we spend each month on eating a raw, vegan diet? It's not something that's easy to answer, though. If we just blurted the amount out, people would be shocked (at a minimum) and insist that there's no way possible they could ever eat a raw diet because they can't afford it.

Our monthly expense at the grocery store has continued to climb since I first began eating raw foods. At this point, now that Jim is eating 100% raw, as well, our monthly expense has more than doubled from the time when it was only me eating 100%. That's a huge increase in money being spent each month. But, you know what? It's okay! Yes, I said it's okay that our expense has more than doubled and I'll tell you why after you take a look at what we purchased last week for our home.

Well, I hope we're finally approaching the true end-game of our whole move. We now have our home listed with a new realtor (no longer going it alone as a "for sale by owner" scenario), so we're hoping that a renewed effort (and a lower price) will attract a buyer. The market seems to be perking back up a little as well, which certainly can't hurt anything.

Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions for places we should consider moving to. I assure you that we researched each and every one to an almost ridiculous degree. There are more amazing places to live than we ever knew, and we were delighted to learn about some areas with which we weren't very familiar -- funky little enclaves in Texas, Tennessee, New Mexico, etc. I think we've hinted as to our inclinations before, but I can tell you that, after so many months of intense deliberation, we believe the best domestic home for Pure Jeevan is probably in Oregon.

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.

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...

Wow, is it Friday already !? Time flies when you're powered by 100% raw organic goodness! Today, we wanted to share an audio interview with you. Last night, Alex Ortner from the Movement to Reverse Diabetes Naturally interviewed us about our recent work helping them spread their message. We were honored to hear him introduce us as "two people that hold a special place in my heart right now, and I'll tell you why that is: They are probably the two most active people that we've had in the movement to reverse diabetes naturally."

Well, Alex, it was our pleasure! We met scores of new people during our work for RDN, generated major awareness about the movement, and spread the word about the raw food lifestyle as well. To listen to or download the interview, just visit their site, here. Topics covered include:

I receive many questions from our readers, and I am very happy to respond. I truly love helping others, but I don't do it just for them.When I was younger, many times I thought I was performing selfless acts of kindness whenever I'd help others. However, now I realize I am experiencing pleasure by helping others. I find it very rewarding, as though I am fulfilling my purpose in life.

Do you know what your life's purpose is? Do you believe there is such a thing These aren't rhetorical questions; I'm really interested in hearing your response. Well, I've known my life's purpose (actually, I have more than one) from a very young age, but it wasn't until recently that I began living it more fully. My purpose in life is to love others---to connect with others through an immensely deep and genuine love.One way I've found for spreading my love and realizing my purpose is by helping others.

When I answer questions for our readers, I speak from my heart. I think it's important to realize, however, that the answers we receive from others are *their* answers to similar questions. Maybe their answers will work for us, but maybe they won't.I've stressed this many times, but it never hurts to repeat it: Listen to others, hear what they have to share, but mostly listen to your own inner voice. We all have the answers deep within ourselves, even if we can't always hear them very well.