Okay, it's question day once again -- and we've received some great ones lately. Before I begin, just let me reiterate once more that Wendi and I can't give medical advice here. We're motivational, inspirational raw food / natural health writers and educators (considerably knowledgeable and experienced ones, I might humbly add!); not doctors.So, whenever we give "advice" (or, whenever our writing appears as such), what we really mean is, "Well, if that were me, this is what I would do." And, the rest is in the disclaimer that runs on all of our pages.

Not only do we not give medical advice because we're not doctors (as if that wasn't enough of a reason!), but we also know that each person is different and, as such, all symptoms and conditions are unique to each person's individual situation. If person A and person B are both experiencing high blood pressure, it could easily be two different things causing that -- and the treatments or approaches could differ tremendously. What might fix person A might kill person B! (Sorry person B. No hard feelings.)

Recently, the wife of a friend of ours decided that she wanted to lose 20-25 pounds. As far as we know, she follows pretty much a "Standard American Diet." We've heard that she doesn't care for red meat, but she does eat other meats, plus a good deal of dairy (which, we believe, she regards as a healthy food choice). She's apparently tried a number of exercise regimens, and a few fad diets, with no luck on losing these 20-25 pounds. (Frankly, we haven't seen her many times, but would not have guessed that she had 25 pounds to lose. But, we'll save "self image" as a topic for for further posts.) In any case... Frustrated, she decided to see a hypnotist!

Our friend accompanied his wife to the initial consultation. He said it was actually interesting. The hypnotist basically sits you down and walks you through some fundamental psychology, demonstrates a few of the primary principles of suggestion (e.g., showing you how easy it is to, say, imagine the sourness you would experience when biting into a slice of lemon), and then lays out how the program works.

An online friend of mine, Kevin Gianni (see previous blog entry introducing him), has been producing a terrific series of videos and blog posts. At the end of each post, he asks questions of his readers. In his recent post, he asked his readers:

What struggles have you been through

Hi Everyone! It's been a while since we've run a "My Raw Story" feature. So, here's one from my good friend Chris Paris, who I met and hung out with at the Raw Spirit Festival this past summer. I think you'll like his take on raw, his before & after pics, and the personal topics he covers such as the role raw foods played in his spirituality. -Jim

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Jim here... Well, I may have lived 100% raw for nearly one year now (and mostly raw for a few additional years), and I have definitely witnessed the reversal of many physical ailments during that time, but I can say with certainty that, if raw actually cures people of allergies, it looks like I still have a ways to go before reaching that milestone. Here's a snippet from an article I published a few years ago in a book:

I believe I was roughly 12 upon learning of my allergy to poison ivy (the hard way, naturally). By age 14, I'd heard all of the poison ivy folk lore and "wisdom" out there -? that sensitive people like myself can inadvertently contract it via smoke from a nearby brush fire, that ingesting the plant's concentrated essential oil can reverse one's sensitivity to outbreaks (even, some said, to the point of complete immunity), that scratching spreads the rash, that scratching does not spread the rash, that going to get the shot and the steroids makes it fade more quickly, that calamine is best, that it's not, et cetera.

?

Jim here... Of the many lessons 2008 brought to our household, one standout was certainly the importance of having patience. That s because we set some lofty goals, and lofty goals are often vital teachers.

For example, imagine sitting in your living room one day and deciding: "I'm going to scale Mt. Everest."? (For the purposes of this example, imagine also that no political, administrative, or financial restrictions exist to prevent you from doing this immediately if you really wanted to -- things like passports, entry visas, transportation costs, etc.)

How does the following menu* sound for your Thanksgiving meal

Nut Loaf, Apple un-stuffing, Mac Mushroom gravy,

Jim here with another exciting edition of Weird Wednesday. You know, each time I say "weird," I don't always mean the same thing. Sometimes "weird" means odd or strange. Other times it means funny or ironic. It might also mean unusual or out-of-the-ordinary. Come to think of it, the definition of weird is also weird.

Today, I was thinking about an old friend, Jim Banholzer. He lived next door to Wendi and me when we first moved to the D.C. area in 1991. We all lived in a small "garden apartment" complex in Falls Church, Virginia. Our roommate at the time worked as a leasing agent there, which qualified us for a decent rental discount. I think we paid $800 or so for the place, an upscale 2-bedroom townhome close to the community pool. Jim lived next door with one of the more unstable people I've ever met (and, trust me, that's saying something).

To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

So, we've been building up to something exciting all week long -- and here it is! As it turns out, Kevin Gianni is not only a "renegade health" expert, motivational speaker, and all-around great guy; he's also a singer/songwriter!? And he even has his own CD called "God Loves Guinea Pigs" (original songs and artwork by Kevin).

During the past few days, we shared some great interviews with Kevin. In addition to all of the material covered so far, both Jim and Wendi had asked Kevin some musical questions. So, we saved those parts of the interviews for today. Here are the bonus sections from those interviews, including the funny story about Kevin dropping his pants in public!

This retreat has been planned for quite some time, and we are very excited about it! It's going to be three days of feeding your body, mind, and spirit. We've kept the cost as low as possible, so that more people can afford to take the time to get away for some quiet time.

All the food is organic and raw, prepared for you with lots of love! There are yoga sessions, meditation, and even a beautiful bonfire if the weather is nice. I've taken some personal retreats at this ashram, myself, and it is so peaceful (it is called the Peaceful Valley Ashram, after all). ;-)? We've created a schedule of suggested activities, but everything is optional. This is a great opportunity to simply get away and calm your mind.