I've already posted the recipe for this, but I wanted to talk about the orange pudding a bit. Since going raw, I've become a mostly intuitive eater. Whatever I feel like eating is what I eat. This usually means I am eating the same food for an extended period of time until I feel drawn to something different. Lately it has been the orange pudding.

I've been starting my mornings with a large bowl of it. If Jim is making lunch then I'll eat the salad or nut dip that he makes, otherwise it's orange pudding again. Then, if I didn't eat a salad during the day I usually have a salad for dinner and...a dessert of--you guessed it!--more orange pudding.

A month has gone by since my last health update. At this point, I consider myself healed of lyme disease! In the past I asked the lyme specialist doctor if there's a way to test to see for certain the lyme is gone, but he said there isn't. So, I go on my inner wisdom, which tells me that it's gone and now I simply need to continue healing from all that the lyme brought with it.

We're still not comfortable sharing what we've been learning and doing to help move my body into an even healthier state, but it's obviously working. I've been able to go back to daily living, for the most part, without much assistance at all. I've organized the house again (Jim and KDcaT were busy caring for me and the house wasn't the top priority for the past half a year), caught up on all of the laundry, responded to all of my email that had been piling up, and I've been able to be more social again. The biggest improvements are that I can now prepare my own food without experiencing any pain, and I can dress myself with only minimal assistance at times! BIG improvements!

The Environmental Working Group publishes something really useful called the Shoppers Guide to Pesticides. In it, they offer two handy lists: (1) The Dirty Dozen -- conventionally grown produce items that contain the most residual pesticides, and (2) The Clean 15 -- conventionally grown produce items that contain the least residual pesticides.

While we believe that organic is always best, there nonetheless are times when most of us (for whatever reason) consider purchasing or consuming conventionally grown (meaning "sprayed with pesticides") produce.

Here's a rare question a Pure Jeevan family member recently asked:

I eliminated 100lbs on raw food, but I've been "stuck" for the last year. I feel absolutely amazing when I can stick to raw food, but it's sooo hard when time is limited!

First, congratulations on your success with the raw food lifestyle! You must be feeling like a new person, even though you feel a bit stuck right now.

Sharing is lovely, don't you think? When I decided I was going to "go raw" and not consume cooked foods anymore, it was a huge life-changing decision. Even though there was no one standing next to me, telling me what to do and not do as I was changing my eating habits, I was still supported in my efforts. My support system was made up of copious amounts of experience and advice that was openly shared by experienced raw foodists. Even though many times I felt like I was alone, the path I was walking was etched with loving words left by caring people who wanted to encourage others who were yet to come down the same raw food path.

Here are our weekly feature categories. These are in addition to the other periodic entries we will make to the blog (recipes, news, etc.). Click any of the banners for a blog page listing all of the entries we've made under that category. (Note: Since the blog is new, as of January 2008, there aren't many of these new features written yet.)

Makin' It Monday:? Every Monday we'll share a raw / living foods recipe with you that we've either made and loved in the past, or plan on makin' sometime soon!

Jim here... An unusual occurrence prompted this post, and I'm unsure as to whether it's significant. I've talked about some of my favorite non-raw items before -- things that were tough to leave behind as I embarked upon this raw foods journey. I think I covered pizza in a relatively recent post.

Corn chips were another. In fact, after Wendi went 100% raw and I more or less began to follow her dietary choices, I clung to corn chips for dear life for quite a long time. I began eating a LOT of salsa in those days. Sometimes, that would be all I'd eat for lunch -- just an entire jar of salsa and a bag of corn chips (though, by then, I'd at least usually buy the organic ones and, quite often, a baked variety of chips as well).

When I finally decided I'd be better off transitioning to an all raw lifestyle, I figured my love affair with corn chips had come to an end. Farewell beautiful chips, I thought. I'll never forget our delicious crunchy time together. And that was that. I never looked back.

But then, at a local raw foods pot luck, I met a raw chef who had more or less perfected a raw corn chip recipe. Could it be , I thought. Has this delicacy returned to me after all, as though via some sweet culinary destiny? Ahh, my friends, that was a glorious day. Chips and salsa had returned to me in an enlightened raw form. I could enjoy them once again, guilt free. And enjoy them I did -- usually using a local shop's "Peruvian Purple Corn" (a living, sproutable, dried corn product).

Alas, fate stepped in once again. "Thou may partake of these crisps any time thou wishest," fate boomed. "Yet, in order to do so, thou must prepare them thine self using thine Vitamix and requiring an enormous flax-sticky mess with extended clean-up time, and thou must have parchment paper available at all times, and thou must exercise great care and patience in using your Excalibur, for these chips must dry for many an hour before ready."

Yeah, it was a bit of a chore to produce them. So, as the novelty of chip making and eating wore off, I slowly decreased the frequency of going through the messy, time-consuming hassle of preparing them. Until yesterday, it had been literally months since I made a batch. But... we'd ordered a few pounds of the corn from Natural Zing lately, and I found myself with some extra time the other night. So...

Now, I'm going to pause for a minute for a tangent on digestion. I know a great majority of people, it seems, complain of various digestive disorders. As a result, we have many raw foodie specialists schooled in the nuances of food combining. Oddly, I never paid much attention to these discussions, nor offered input on these matters, because they simply weren't relevant to me.

In fact, I likened my own digestive system to some kind of nuclear powered garbage disposal. It didn't matter what I ate; digestion wasn't a problem for me. So, for example, I'd routinely finish off heavy meals, and then follow them with a huge slice of juicy watermelon (a major no-no according to common wisdom). It just never bothered me.I always joked that, even though I'd been raw for ages, I could still probably go eat a Big Mac (not that I would) and be unaffected by it.

So powerful was my stomach acid that, admittedly, I sometimes privately *worried* whether this might mean something was wrong with me. I mean, shouldn't some of the things I was eating make me sick? Was it "good" to not be made sick by what is generally regarded as poor food combining choices? Do people commonly suffer from problems of efficiency as well as deficiency ? I still do not really know the answer to these questions, and suspect the answer is rather complicated, anyway. Fortunately, it doesn't matter now because...

Something finally made me sick!? I'm laughing now about that, but I spent most of the evening in terrible stomach pain after having over-indulged in some of those (in)famous raw purple corn chips.

So, what happened ? That's an interesting question for me. Here are some possibilities: (1) Perhaps my hyper-active digestive system *was* in fact a problem, and now it's beginning to normalize. Perhaps, had I been healthier all along, I would have been made sick by some of my food choices, but now my health is improving!? (2) Perhaps it's a fluke and I simply shouldn't have eaten mass quantities of corn and flax so late at night. (3) Perhaps my body is improving in its ability to communicate with me, and/or that I'm getting better at listening, and that the message here is that corn is not something my body gains nourishment from -- at least, not in this dried-reprocessed-redried form. After all, some leading raw food authorities, like Gabriel Cousens, aren't fans of corn (even fresh corn!).

Oh sure, there may be other explanations (e.g., "a bad batch of corn"). But, I'm actually most interested in #3, above. Even though this is an extreme example (more intense than it needed to be), I'd like to think that I'm getting better at knowing what I'm being nourished from and what I am not. I'd like to think that this is a latent sense that can be developed, much like our ability to know things by feeling and intuition rather via pure rationality all the time.

But, with food, I think it's a matter of inventorying your physical sensations head to toe, and also as a whole. How is the food you're eating making you feel? Do you feel satisfied or still hungry? Do you feel light or is the food sitting kind of heavily? Do you feel energized or dragged down? How's your mental clarity? Do you feel spacey or more grounded? Do you feel noticeably happier or more sad than before? How are all of these things mapping out over time? Is your weight moving in a positive direction for you? Are your illnesses improving? Food is medicine, after all; it has all of these effects and many more!

For now, I think I can safely check purple corn off of my own personal list of foods that make me feel good. I suspect my old assertion about "being able to eat a Big Mac without any side effects" no longer applies -- and maybe this is a good thing. I think perhaps it signals some progress in my journey toward optimal health.

In any case, I think this kind of purposeful introspection is healthy, and something we should all strive to do more often.How about you? Had any similar experiences? What have you learned from them?

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On April 15, 2009, essie wrote:

Within the raw food community, a controversy seems to have been brewing for the better part of a year! The topic: Agave nectar (also called agave syrup). Surely by now most people know what agave nectar is. For anyone who doesn't, it's a thick liquid sweetener made from, you guessed it, the agave plant.

In general, the production of tasty agave nectar involves heating the plant to a certain temperature (which varies widely according to which manufacturer is making it and which species of agave is used). The extent of this heating constitutes a significant part of the controversy (as most raw foodists believe that heating any food over a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 105 and 118 degrees fahrenheit, renders it "dead").

Jim here... Wow, it's May 1st already! May is an exciting month for me because that's usually when my running kicks in more regularly. There's nothing like hitting the pavement and being in motion, MP3 player in hand. Whether it's an intense half hour of intervals powered by the Foo Fighters, or a longer moving-meditative outing accompanied by Michael Hedges, I do enjoy being out there (even if I'm distracted now and again when my canine running companion? -- aka "the Jooge" -- chases after something she shouldn't)!

But, as I was getting at:? Ever since I lost the weight, I simply can't abide cold. I've heard many raw foodies talk about this phenomenon, and have heard numerous explanations for it. My suspicion is that all of the "why raw foodies are always cold" theories are partly correct -- or, better put, that the theories cumulatively contribute to our slightly lowered body temperature.

In August of 2007, I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. My entire world had changed since I adopted the raw food lifestlyle. My body had released nearly 100 pounds of unhealthy weight, my health had dramatcially improved, I ended unhealthy friendships, I released a lot of stored emotional memories from childhood abuse, I realized that I wasn't living in a location that met my needs anymore, and so much more. I can't think of any aspect of my life that hadn't changed, in one way or another, over the year and a half that led up to my urgent need for a retreat.

Here they are!! Images from the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat! There were more taken by the ashram staff; once they are sent to me, I'll include those, as well.

Page One: Guests

Page Two: Raw Food