As we mentioned in one of our first blog posts, Pure Jeevan met with Leela Mata at her Peaceful Valley Ashram to discuss the details for some 3-day Raw Food Spiritual Retreats for you during 2008! The details are finalized and we are proud to announce our first 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Retreat, that will be held at the ashram from May 23-25, 2008. We've set this retreat up so that it's as affordable as possible. There's a significant savings if you sign up early, so be sure to check it out!

Some very special companies have delicious treats for those attending the retreat.

Today we welcome Melissa Sokulski from BirchCenter.com and FoodUnderFoot.com for another episode of Pure Jeevan's Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" edition. In this episode, Melissa demonstrates how to make raw tortillas (this recipe uses a dehydrator). You'll be amazed at how pliable these tortillas are!!

Jim here... Here's part two of a video of Wendi showing how to make raw pasta. (If you did not view part one yet, click here to go there now.) She, with the help of her friend Melissa (of Food Under Foot), prepared a beautiful platter of pastas and some sauces that we all enjoyed when I returned home yesterday for lunch.

We hope this video shows you even more how fun and delicious eating raw foods can be!

We tried it in the past, this most unusual fruit. While in Chicago recently, we decided to give it one more try! You see, the first time we tried it we were ... let's just say "not big fans" of the infamous durian. (Here's an episode of Kevin Gianni's Renegade Health Show, shot in our home, documenting that day.) It's a stinky fruit to most, although some claim to enjoy the bizarre odor (which is sometimes described as dirty sock and propane gas smell). If you can get past the smell to give it a taste, you'll be greeted by a taste as strange as the odor. Wendi describes it as a sweet onion pierogie, but each person seems to have a different opinion about this odd fruit.

In this current video our raw friend Debbie Gedayloo-Bennett, whom we met in Chicago, jumped at the opportunity to hang out for a bit of a durian experience. Debbie is on the pro-durian side of the fence that divides those who love and those who hate the alien-like fruit. Wendi was still sitting on the fence, not making up her mind after the initial taste with Kevin and Annmarie. Jim was adamantly sitting far from the love side of the fence, refusing to even attempt approaching the pro side. Debbie was a pro in opening this spiny fruit, so she agreed to open it while on video so that we could share the experience and knowledge with all of you.

A few of my friends have recently reached some special personal milestones in the raw food world. Congratulations go out to...

Sam: ONE YEAR RAW!!!

We've spent the past three days focusing on the core subject of critical importance in the raw food lifestyle -- the FOOD! However, as most people will agree, it's also about so more than "just the food." Here at Pure Jeevan, we've always made a point to stress the holistic nature of our philosophy (mind, body, spirit, emotions), and we'll certainly continue to do that.

The Raw Spirit Festivals also do a magnificent job of illustrating this point. While they do offer *spectacular* raw foods and presentations centered around raw foods, you'll also find music, dancing, yoga, and other uplifting recreational activities all day long!

Jim here... When you consider the agricultural and marketplace practices that affect the food we eat (e.g., pesticide use in the fields, widespread irradiation afterward, and the contamination of produce from various sources -- not to mention some of the disturbing potentialities we face in terms of further governmental intervention into the food chain), it leads one to the conclusion that, if we really want to eat the best food ever, growing it yourself is a great solution. It's also cheaper to grow your own and, in my opinion, more fulfilling than purchasing it (if you have the time and space to manage it, that is).

With all of these concerns (and more) in mind, we've launched a new series of interviews called "Know the Growers" in which I'll be interviewing organic farmers around the world on best practices in the field. Initially, we'll be publishing them every few weeks, most likely. Once we sell our home and are "full-time Pure Jeevan karma yogis," we'll be publishing them weekly (along with resuming our daily video series Know Your Food). I'll be publishing these organic farming interview transcripts on NaturalNews.com under their Citizen Journalist program.

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!

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT!

Kevin Gianni Wants to Meet

Pittsburgh Raw Foodists This Saturday!

UPDATE: Location is set for my home in the South Hills

Kevin and Annmarie Gianni will be in Pittsburgh for the Steeler's game on Sunday. They'd love to meet Pittsburgh raw foodies while they're here! So, if you can make it to meet up with them, let Wendi Dee know as soon as possible. We'll either be meeting at the East End Food Coop (if I can reserve the space at the last minute) or at my home (South Hills/Brentwood). Please respond by Friday at 5:00 p.m. about your availablity.

"My biggest problems are starches... I grew up with them so they are emotional comfort foods."

Well, it's great that you already understand that your desire for starches is mostly coming from an emotional connection with those foods. You're already much more aware of your body and its cravings than many others who are trying to lose weight.

If you have a strong connection with starches, then go ahead and eat them in the beginning of your journey to better health. Simply start by adding more and more fresh, raw, water-rich fruits and vegetables. The more you consume healthy fruits and vegetables, the more your body will begin to crave them (no kidding!! You will actually one day crave a salad as much as you're craving starches right now!).

Here's a basic recipe that can be used to create any nut milk!

Nut Milk

1 cup of nuts or seeds?