On this Thankful Thursday I am feeling especially thankful for the Internet. Without the Internet I wouldn't be able to learn as much as I've learned about raw foods in such a short period of time. The Internet has connected me with people from all over the world who are also interested in natural health and raw food living. I am part of a larger community, one that would never exist without the Internet.

So, today I am especially thankful for the Internet. What are you thankful for today?

For the most part, I've been eating intuitively from the very start of my raw food journey (which began over two years ago!). I noticed that I was drawn to different foods for blocks of time, and as my interest would wane I'd find myself drawn to another raw food. Anyone who has followed my story to health knows about my love for young Thai coconuts. My entire body would vibrate with physical excitement every time I picked up another case of those life-enhancing baby coconuts. I felt like a child receiving a much-desired gift---giddy with excitement and unable to stand still. I'm not just saying that, either---it was a very strange sensation, feeling such excitement over a food.

Well, my love for the coconuts faded and I found myself drawn to other foods over the past few years. However, none of them ever compared in intensity to my desire for the coconut. I can't recall all of the foods I cycled through, but there were plenty of food cycles I went through. Currently, I'm intuitively drawn to the pineapple. I want to eat it at least once a day, sometimes more. I haven't tired of it in the least bit.

Sorry for the strange behavior of this site over the past few weeks, friends. As a former professional web programmer, and always a?bit of a mad hacker, I'm usually really great at keeping the web end of Pure Jeevan running very smoothly.

But, this is a Wordpress blog -- and so you have things like plugins and widgets and themes and updates, all interacting (and sometimes conflicting) with one another. I've noticed lately that this blog home page has developed all sorts of peculiar issues, not the least of which is a very slow-loading tendency.

Jim here... again! Isn't that what all of the Oscar-nominated actors always say -- "It's an honor to be nominated"? Yes, I think that's the usual response. Who'd have ever thought that a raw foods blog would be saying the same thing ! Well, I'm happy to report that Wendi has received two such honors lately, in addition to being selected as an honoree among one blogger's nine "top favorite raw girls on the net." Let's take a look at these one by one, shall we?

First up is the "Best of Raw 2008" awards. Wendi was nominated in the category "Favorite Raw Vegan Educator for 2008." You can vote for her here until December 30 at midnight! Show your support; vote Wendi!

Let's take a quick look at a few dessert pictures, then compare and contrast, shall we First up is a small slice of some normal pastry:

Looks sinful, right It seems to proudly display its bready crust, its gooey chocolate center, some sort of butter-rich top layer coated with lovable little bits and bobs, and a liberal sprinkling of confectioner's sugar to make the whole thing cute as a wintry scene from one of those holiday specials hosted by the claymation likeness of Burl Ives. I'm sure it's delightfully rich, too. A tad small, though, eh ? It's probably all anyone can take of such decadence without worrying about clogged arteries or putting in extra time on the tread mill for the next three days.

Jim here... About an hour ago, I purchased $68 worth of ice cream from a local supermarket. Bet you thought you'd never read something like that here, eh ? Well, don't worry -- Wendi and I haven't suddenly decided to binge on dairy products. You see, in my corporate job, I'm often the event organizer; today that meant ice cream gopher.

For some raw foodies, that scenario might seem rather cruel. You may be thinking: Isn't it tough to have to go purchase nine tubs of ice cream, two jars of maraschino cherries, two bags of marshmallows, four containers of flavored syrups, two cans of whipped cream, and numerous boxes of waffle cones ? No, it's not cruel at all. To me, it's now the same as running out for, say, office supplies.

Rawbin brings healing laughter and an unusual gift to unwell Wendi Dee.

Are raw foodists invincible to the common cold? I have to admit that I kind of assumed that was the case. If it's true, at what point does the invincibility kick in? I've been raw for over three years (over two at 100%) and yet the past few days have found me overcome with sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, and fatigue.

My first thought, once my throat started to hurt, was: "Did I eat anything different recently that I'm reacting to in a negative way " But, nothing had changed.My diet is relatively clean, with the exception of the times when I consume too much nut dip. So, when the sneezing and runny nose were added to the sore throat, I knew something else was going on. I had to admit it: "I'm not invincible."

Jim here... I'd like to mainly talk about organics today, but thought I'd wrap that subject into a longer, rather quirky piece on ranking produce on some sort of a scale that would indicate how awesome (or awful) it is. See what you think...

Have you ever thought of arranging produce into a sort of "heirarchy of quality"? Well, I'm not going to attempt to do that here, but I would like to discuss the concept for a moment in order to at least explain what I'm getting at. While I've not yet attempted to do this exercise, I nonetheless occasionally envision a large chart or something that conveys my feelings about how I personally rank the quality of fruits and vegetables I put into my body. This all probably sounds vague, so let me share some examples.

Bunny Berry is back with a new 100-day Raw Fu challenge! If you've made a New Year's resolution to eat more raw in 2009, Bunny Berry's Raw Fu community may offer you the amazing support you'll need to meet your goal for the new year. Check it out!? Here's a snippet from Raw Fu:

And we re BACK! It s time to ring in the New Year with a New 100 Day Challenge. Take the plunge with 100 days of support, love, and lots of leafy greens. Bunny will be back with daily videos, vision boards, special Raw Fu celebrity guest stars, Breakfast with Bunny calls, and more Cutting Board Cam!

Join the Next Raw Fu Challenge NOW!

Jim here... Yesterday, we talked about exceptions -- those non-raw food items that raw foodists sometimes allow themselves to eat. I listed mine, and a number of people here and on Facebook noted some of their own. (Seems a lot of us enjoy olives, by the way!) It struck me today that a natural follow-up to a list of exceptions would be a list of non-exceptions -- basically a list of things I personally never ever ever ever consume.

This makes sense, right? I suppose all people generally have three basic lists: (1) those things we eat regularly, (2) those things we eat sometimes, and (3) those things we never eat. Hopefully, none of us keep these lists etched in stone, as diets are dynamic things that tend to evolve over time. A few of the items I'll list below may only apply to my current practices, while others (like refined sugar) I hope to permanently exclude. So, let's see:

Leaving Sin City, our fearless raw travelers headed south to Arizona for all sorts of raw food adventures. First up was a trip to Prescott Valley to meet Abi and Eli. Let's take a peek into Wendi's travelogue again, shall we

You probably haven't met our official tour guide yet. We call her Simone. She's a bit testy at times, but always gets us safely to our destination (although sometimes in rather roundabout ways). She added an extra one-time $89 fee to our trip budget, but we're very satisfied with her performance so far. You see, Simone is our trusty GPS unit!

Leaving Las Vegas, she guided us through the Hoover Dam area on our way to Arizona, a geographic area that I think would be better described as a "state of extremes." There, we experienced super hot, sunny days, freezing nights, snow outside even when it's sunny and hot, and also a bizarre experience we had in which some bananas actually froze and then nearly roasted all in the same day.