What better way to start our Fun-Filled Friday than by celebrating Jim's birthday ! He worked for half the day and now he's home for a long weekend. So far we've had a nice lunch (cashew/macadamia cheese with red peppers and celery) and birthday pie (mango and pineapple!) after singing "Happy Birthday" to him! This evening we'll have veggie stir-not-fry, since that's what Jim has requested. I prepared it earlier and it's in the dehydrator to marinade and get a bit warm.

Last year when I organized a raw food spiritual retreat at an ashram, I met some very lovely people. Two of those individuals were Patty and Denny (you can visit their blog to say hello to them). They were new to gourmet raw foods, so they were enthusiastic learners at the retreat. When they returned home after the blissful weekend, they began using their new raw food knowledge. Here are some excerpts of emails I have received from them since the retreat last year:

Well, you said you're motive in putting on this retreat was simply to pass on this valuable information and to help others; you were very successful where we're concerned - it is no exaggeration to say that you have changed our lives forever.

We've been almost 100% raw since the retreat. ... We're so excited about this new way of eating that we bought a new Vita-Mix. ...We can actually say that this has been our most notable and enjoyable dining experience - ever, in our entire lives! No one would ever put that much work into something if it were just for money; it is obvious that you did it from your heart. We feel blessed to have received such a gift.

With this video, Pure Jeevan concludes coverage of the 2009 Raw Spirit East festival. We started off two Fridays ago covering raw food chefs, then moved on to raw lifestyle speakers and philosophers. The final piece of the gourmet raw pie would have to be the festival ambience, which is somewhat tougher to capture in a short video. But, I think this video does a reasonable job of conveying a lot of the scene "beyond the food." (But even if it doesn't, how many times do you get to see Charles Balcer hula-hooping on video )

Enjoy the video (and pics, below, too)!

Jim here... As you're probably aware, Sunday marks the summer solstice here in the northern hemisphere. While the Pure Jeevan family certainly includes many raw foodies living in the southern hemisphere (*nods to our friends in Oz and beyond currently heading into winter*), the majority of our readers will equate Sunday with the official kick-off of much longer, much hotter days. So, we'd like to provide some topical, tropical inspiration for you.

How do you feel about heat Personally, I used to *hate* it. I thought I knew what real heat was, too, having grown up in St. Louis where the summers can be brutal. But, Wendi and I traveled to India once (so far!) and, wow, THAT was real heat. I clearly remember standing on an airport tarmac in a place called Trivandrum, just 8 degrees north of the equator, almost in shock over how hot it was there.

Wow, what a strange episode we have for you tonight! As you'll see, it was a really bizarre day here at Pure Jeevan. Wendi's out of town with her friends Rawbin and Jeff (owner of NaturalZing) helping NaturalZing with their booth at the Green Festival in Washington, DC. Too bad she's away; she missed opening the mail today and seeing a highly unusual letter from the Department of Homeland Security! The topic? Well, it turns out Pure Jeevan is under governmental surveillance -- and our chief surveillor, one "Larry Ferguson," actually decided to introduce himself and make some comments about our Bananas episode (which we hadn't even released yet!). Sounds highly unusual, I know. But, he was actually doing us a favor. Take a look (vid shows me reading part of his letter, then the banana episode proper):

As you heard, Larry writes: "I believe your viewers deserve to know, for example, that bananas have roughly 100 calories each, are high in Vitamin C, and fiber. You might also want to mention that they contain considerable levels of B6, which is good for metabolic functions as well as nervous and immune systems. B6 also helps you produce antibodies to fight diseases and plays a strong role in brain function and even maintaining hormonal balance. Your body can't store B6, btw, so you need to get it every day. Of course, most people will know already about the great potassium levels in bananas. Potassium is great for controlling blood pressure and certainly reduces risks of heart problems. Bananas also contain manganese, which your viewers probably already know about after your persimmons video."

Let's have a bit of fun today here on the blog. All week long we've been focusing on brain health and minimizing our chances of developing memory loss as we age. So, how sharp is *your* brain right now? What can you remember as the key highlights of ways to increase memory, ways to eliminate memory loss? What else can you remember reading over the past week here on Pure Jeevan's blog about having a sharp mind?

Share your resp0nses in the comments (and don't read those left by others until you've left your own!).

I received an email from one of our lovely Pure Jeevan family members. Joanne is subscribed to our mailings and she received the ice cream cake recipe I had created for Jim back in January. Well, take a look at what she did with the recipe! It's LOVEly!

Hi Wendi!

I took Jim's birthday cake recipe to the next level.

Wendi's initial observation about Santa Rosa was that, at first glance, it seemed similar to many of the places they'd visited in Oregon. However, once the sun came out, she said you could feel that California sunshine starting to warm up your body. This is Northern CA, so it's not overly hot; it is, however, much sunnier and a bit warmer than the parts of Oregon they visited.

Wendi and KDcat were hosted by a lovely couple, Shea Lynn Baird and Stephen Barlow (and their adorable dog, Bella, pictured above). You might be familiarwith Shea already, as she and her husband launched the popular Monday Night Live series, broadcast Monday nights from Cafe Gratitude. Shea is a long-term raw foodist, so Wendi interviewed her and asked some questions about what she's been doing. It's a really great, highly interesting interview. Wendi also asked Shea to offer some helpful advice for our Pure Jeevan family members. I think everyone will enjoy the video:

Hi Everyone. It's Friday... Let's have some fun!? For today's blog entry, I thought I'd post my submission to the recent video contest held by the Vita-Mix company. They were looking for a new spokesperson, and offered a $10,000 prize for the best video. I didn't make the final cut, but did have a good deal of fun making this short video. Hope you like it:

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.

Don't miss it!! The orginal interview was going great, but there was a technical problem (power failure) and the interview has be be started over.

Thanks to so many of you for showing up for the interview and sending your questions in. If you have time again, we'd love for you to participate in the rescheduled call (and resend your questions in case they were lost).

Here's the original post that Jim wrote about the interview, with the date changed to reflect the rescheduled interview tomorrow evening! I hope you'll be there to support us! It was fun interacting with so many of you on the interview before there was a technical problem!