"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!).

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.

There is a lovely blanket of quietness covering Pittsburgh.Everything has been cancelled for the evening and people are staying home.Do you ever wonder what others do with their lives, how they spend their time when they are away from the rest of society and closed up in their own homes? I'm always curious---I think people are fascinating!

Welcome to Day 2 of Pure Jeevan's "Salad Dressing Week"!? Today we take a trip across the Pacific to the land of the "Rawsing Sun." I've yet to meet any raw vegans from Japan, but would be highly interested in hearing about what it's like to be raw vegan there.

Today's video not only shows a tasty salad dressing recipe, but it's really a testament to bold improvisation in your raw kitchen. In order to create something new, you really have to be willing to experiment. Sometimes you simply fail!? But, more often than not, a recipe that you have not quite perfected just needs some tweaking.

Jim here... As I may have mentioned a while ago, I joined a gym recently. I figured, with Wendi and Bailey living on the other side of the country, I might as well find something healthy to do with my alone time until I'm able to join them soon (aside from my seemingly never-ending quest to rid our household of 13 years of rampant accumulation). I joined on a whim, actually. There's a gym near my home called Planet Fitness. Honestly, I have no idea how they make money. A membership costs just $10/month -- and it's a Wal-Mart-sized place, too, absolutely packed with state of the art machines. (Actually, it's a franchise, so there could very well be one near you.)

In any case, it had been a while since I'd been inside an actual gym. I've certainly remained relatively active, of course. But being in a gym is a little different -- and certainly has its plusses and minuses. On the minus side, I've always kind of felt that, if you add up all of the time it generally takes to get (1) get ready to go to a gym, (2) drive there, and (3) drive home -- say, a half-hour, total, for those things -- then you could probably better invest that time in just going for a run for a half-hour, leaving straight from your home. From a time management standpoint, I'm not crazy about gym memberships (meaning not that physical exercise isn't worth the investment of time, but rather that there are ways to accomplish the same results in much less time).

As promised, here's another question I'd like to openly address here instead of via Wendi's email system. This one also comes up from time to time, and I told this person to watch out for my two cents on this issue. So, here it is. The reader asks:

... During your transtioning to a raw food diet & the loss of so much weight, what if any exercising were you doing along the way

Some of you who are new to raw foods may be happy to learn that there are festivals for individuals interested in the raw foods lifestyle! They are a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded friends. For those of you who attended the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, seeing images from that event may stir the magical memories you collected while there.

Below is part two of a two-part guest piece by Rawbin Anderson, in which she recounts her 2008 Raw Spirit Festival J.O.B. experiences of working in the kitchen. Rawbin is now the Raw Spirit Festival East Coast Manager and can be reached at Rawbin [at] rawspirit.com.

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I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day and plopped a package of chicken wings up onto the conveyor belt. The cashier made some sort of smalltalk -- I think she asked whether I liked wings -- which prompted me to say, "Oh, the chicken is for my dog, Julia."

She looked at me, eyebrows raised. "For your dog "

Today we thought we'd introduce you to a common wild edible known as Purple Deadnettle (or, more dramatically, the Purple Archangel). Watch the video and let us know if it grows in your area, and if you've tasted it!

Hi there, lovely Pure Jeevan family members!

It's so sweet that many of you are concerned about us, wondering where we are and what we are doing since the blog has been quiet for quite some time. We feel very loved! *blows kisses to everyone*

Well, our trip to Portland, Oregon, went well. We bought the fixer-upper home that will eventually house Pure Jeevan, and did some preliminary work on it (it's a *true* fixer-upper and is going to require *a lot* of work and investment). A few times during our stay in the new home, Jim and I both looked at each other, wild-eyed, wondering what we had done. Following one's intuition can be a bit scary at times, but we've learned over the years that things always work out for the best and that these sometimes scary, unknown times are what help us grow and learn in ways we had never imagined.

I'm makin' nothing today, or for the next eight days! Think of all the time I'm saving myself by consuming only mono meals for nine days. What will I end up doing with that extra time? So far, today, I've spent a long time outside soaking up the sun's beautiful rays that I've missed far too much this Winter. I have no idea what the rest of this mono journey is going to be like, but I'm up for the adventure!

I've started a little journal on my desktop to track my nine days of mono meals, so I'll share what I've written from time-to-time. Here's what I have, so far...