In this video, Wendi talks with Leela Mata, spiritual leader of the Peaceful Valley Ashram, about her experiences with the raw food diet and a bit about a cob oven structure that was built on the ashram property. This is part 2 of a 5-part series featuring Peaceful Valley Ashram.

Hey everyone! It's nice to be more or less back in the swing of things again after an unexpectedly long stay in Chicago last week. You know, staying an extra three days on a trip isn't so bad, though. I imagine that if we had known that we were staying six days instead of three, we probably would have packed way too much. So, there are definitely advantages to unexpected happennings!

Anyway, here's another look into a Chicago-area raw food restaurant. This time, we were able to sit down with the owners, Danny & Kathy Living. The video starts with some footage of some gourmet raw dishes (a raw burrito, a raw falafel, and a raw dessert), and then gets into the interviews.

We're loosley going to be picking up some of the ongoing themes we used to cover here on the blog. For the Take the Time Tuesday theme, we asked our readers to take the time to meet or learn about an individual, product, company, etc., that we think may be of interest to you. For today's entry, I'd like you to:

Take the time to meet...

According to Mike Adams of NewsTarget.com:

"Many Florida oranges are actually dipped in an artificial orange dye in order to make them more visually appealing. It's the same dye that's been banned for use in foods because of cancer risk."

Continuing with our week of ways to keep a sharp mind, let's focus on the one widely accepted indicator for dementia or alzheimer's: heart disease. If one wants to dramatically reduce the chances of brain degredation, the first step to take is keeping the heart healthy.

The key advice most health specialists agree on when it comes to a healthy heart is the reduction (ideally eliminatain) of unhealthy fats in the diet. The unhealthy fats are usually seen as solid fats, like butter, margerine, and shortening. However, it's important to not overlook the fats that are also found in meats. By substituting unhealthy fats with something healthier for your heart (like extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil), as well as transitioning to leaner meats if you are a meat eater, you will be taking some important steps in keeping your heart healthy, as well as your mind.

When you're young and learning the letters of the alphabet, anything that starts with the same letter as your name becomes really special. Well, ever since I was a child and saw a Winnebago RV with the giant "W" on the side, I've been enchanted with the idea of one day owning one and traveling the world (at that age, I didn't realize I'd have to cross oceans to see everything).

If you've been following us for a while, you'll know that I was bringing that vision to life. It took years of convincing, but Jim was finally ready for such an adventure and together we began making plans. For more than two years we've been preparing to tour the country, while teaching about raw foods along the way. Our lives changed so dramatically when we found a way to heal our bodies (and more), a way that can also help others, and we just couldn't sit still. We feel called to spread the word about the raw food diet so others can at least hear that there's another way, that there's something different to try in their quest for health. I knew that crossing the country in an RV, planting the seeds about a raw food diet along the way, would be an efficient way of spreading the word.

Over the weekend, we attended a fairy festival in Eugene, OR, called Faerieworlds . ?It was great fun -- loads and loads of interesting shops, festival-goers in costumes ranging in complexity from simple fairy ears to full-on ensembles, and some spectacular tribal bands on the main stage all day long.

What was unexpected, though, was seeing not just one (which, alone, would have been impressive), but *two* food carts dedicated to raw foods. ?The first was called Luminescent Foods:

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!

While I was growing up in the Midwest, I had a rich uncle who lived out East in Philadelphia. I didn't know him very well at the time, but would often glean stories via the family grape vines of his business successes. After high school, I attended college in Northeastern Pennsylvania -- Wilkes University -- where, incidentally, I first met Wendi! :-)

Being out there, I got to visit my uncle from time to time, and dine with him and his family. ?Among other things, he was quite the gourmand. I'm not so sure what he'd have thought of raw foods, although I suspect he'd have appreciated the many gourmet efforts.

Jim here... Today is April 25, 2009 -- Wendi Dee's Birthday!!? She's asleep now. It's 1:30 in the morning & I've been up for hours assembling something stunningly amazing to share with you. You see, this year, I asked some friends, family, and foodies to take a page of a sketchbook and offer Wendi some Happy Birthday wishes -- and then send it back to me so I could bind it all into a large book!? WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! Check out the response from 40+ people from around the globe. It's a little overwhelming to see this much positive energy in one place. What a momentous day she's in for in another 5 hours or so when she gets up and is greeted by such a surprise! If you'd like to say Happy Birthday, just leave a comment here! Thanks to everyone!

Update:? Just added another digital file to the collection! For any latecomers, any new additions will be added as they come in. Even if you're just now learning about this special project, I'm sure Wendi would be more than happy to add your loving message to this collection that she will always hold dear to her heart. You can send your original art to her (and I will scan -- at 31 Hillman St., Pgh., Pa 15227), and/or send a JPG to me at Rawdiant [at] Gmail.com and I'll post it on the digital site!

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

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