I receive many questions from our readers, and I am very happy to respond. I truly love helping others, but I don't do it just for them.When I was younger, many times I thought I was performing selfless acts of kindness whenever I'd help others. However, now I realize I am experiencing pleasure by helping others. I find it very rewarding, as though I am fulfilling my purpose in life.

Do you know what your life's purpose is? Do you believe there is such a thing These aren't rhetorical questions; I'm really interested in hearing your response. Well, I've known my life's purpose (actually, I have more than one) from a very young age, but it wasn't until recently that I began living it more fully. My purpose in life is to love others---to connect with others through an immensely deep and genuine love.One way I've found for spreading my love and realizing my purpose is by helping others.

When I answer questions for our readers, I speak from my heart. I think it's important to realize, however, that the answers we receive from others are *their* answers to similar questions. Maybe their answers will work for us, but maybe they won't.I've stressed this many times, but it never hurts to repeat it: Listen to others, hear what they have to share, but mostly listen to your own inner voice. We all have the answers deep within ourselves, even if we can't always hear them very well.

As we promised yesterday, we're featuring a wonderful (and LONG!) video interview today with the incredible John Kohler of Santa Rosa, CA. You may be familiar with John from some of his popular web sites, most notably his "Living and Raw Foods" community site at www.RawFoods.com. Below are parts one, two, and three of Wendi's interview. They're roughly 10 minutes each. (That's a lot of time, I realize, but at least check out Part 1 if you're short on time, as it offers an amazing look at John's front yard.)

Wendi said she was at a loss for words when interviewing John at his home (and you'll soon see why!), because what he has done on his 1/10th of an acre lot is *phenomenal*. He told Wendi off the video that it's all a matter of trial and error--finding what grows easily and well, and working with those plants the most. If something takes a lot of effort, or is difficult to easily grown, he skips it and focuses on what can give the most yield for the least work. Almost everything grown on John's land is edible!

PART TWO:

PART THREE:

The video of John's garden and the pictures (see yesterday's post) are enough to inspire ANYONE to plant even a small garden for themselves! WOW!

John has a lot going on, including a monthly potluck. Wendi and KDcat happened to be in town on the night of the March potluck, so Wendi was invited to speak at the event. It was a nice, laid-back group of people, Wendi said, and they sat at a long table talking about the raw lifestyle, health issues / concerns, what children are fed in school, and so much more -- a really nice group of people, Wendi said, noting she'd love to visit them all again. To connect with John Kohler is pretty easy. He's on the internet at:

Once again, we d love to thank our generous trip snack sponsor, Natural Zing, for helping us to make this possible on our budget!

Original Comments

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

On March 19, 2010, anasha wrote:

fantastic, thank you so much Wendi, very informative, what a guy and energy bomb he is, hope you are well again, you seem so
love to you

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

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:

Q: How Long Do Smoothies Last?

I responded to a similar question a while ago in an online forum. This issue comes up a lot, acually, so I figured I'd provide our response here on the blog rather than simply through an email reply. Here's that response, reworked a bit for our blog:

Optimally, I suppose we'd all just eat things whole, most of the time, instead of blending/juicing ...

A few of my friends have recently reached some special personal milestones in the raw food world. Congratulations go out to...

Sam: ONE YEAR RAW!!!

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 again... What do you think of that montage of vintage cigarette advertisements ! Knowing what we now know about cigarettes, it's tough to believe that such ads could have existed only 50 years ago, but the campaigns were real. Did doctors actually see no harm in cigarettes? Were there no pulmonary specialists back then who thought that habitually inhaling smoke might not be such a healthy idea Who knows... ?As I like to believe when it comes to doctors, even though they're quite oblivious to the harmful effects that chemicals have on our bodies, they do seem to mean well (in their own deluded ways). So, I don't hold it against them so much as I now hold it against individuals to think for themselves and challenge healthcare practitioners.

In any case, whether or not there is an advertising campaign attached to a new consumer product, it stands to reason that when a product is introduced into the marketplace, manufacturers should have a responsibility to ensure that the product is safe, and consumers should likewise have a reasonable expectation that the product is safe. Only, it doesn't always work that way, does it?

Jim here again... So, instead of Episode 1 of "Know Your Food," we present Episode 0.5, which documents the high drama of launching a video blog. Quite intense, my friends... Recall yesterday's installement -- when we captured the initial moment of inspiration in our library? Well, today's installment is a "confession cam" one, just like you see on every reality TV show ever produced.

The question is: Will we EVER actually launch our nutritional web show? Stay tuned...

An email has been sent to those offering help on the project I've been working on! If you offered to help and haven't received an email from me, please let me know. If you didn't offer help, but would now like to help out, it's not too late! Just let me know!

Thanks, again, for your generosity of helping with something you didn't even know anything about! It fills me with such happiness to know that you would help me!

Lots of love to all of you,

I don't have time to write a real blog post, but wanted to pass along this information for anyone who eats Halloween candy, or knows of others who do. Please note that I am not the kind of person to spread false warnings. I completely trust Mike Adams as a Health Reporter and all around wonderful person. He would not spread false news...he looks into every bit of information available before sharing what he's learned with everyone else.

Mike has issued a warning about Halloween Candy. Please go to his site to find out more about it: NaturalNews.com

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I'll leave you with an old Halloween picture of me before I started eating raw foods. Halloween used to be the day I'd dress up and feel okay being myself, because I was in costume. It's funny to me that this year I feel no need to cover up in order to be myself. Halloween is still my favorite holiday, however!