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:

I'm going to be including questions and answers more often on the blog, since we've had a lot of emails from many of you saying you found last week's Q&A helpful and fun to read. I have many questions I've been saving to share with others, and more come in daily. Don't be shy if you have a question about anything that you think I'd possibly be able to help you with. Simply send me an email asking, and I'll reply to you personally. Questions that I feel might have a more general interest may be shared here on the blog (with the questioner being anonymous).

[Please email questions to me, rather than post them here on the blog: WendiDee [at] PureJeevan.com.]

Have you ever heard about mono meals? When I first did, it sounded like such a great idea. When you eat a mono meal, you eat one item (and only one item) for the entire meal. Eating that way is supposed to be very cleansing and it gives your digestive system a rest from processing different types of foods at the same time. Supposedly there is a boost in energy, as well, since your digestion isn't taking up so much energy.

I recently received an email asking for advice from one of our Hindu readers, asking what I could recommend as far as light eating during the nine-day Indian festival of Navratri. Navratri is traditionally a time of fasting for nine days, however in modern society most Hindus no longer fast. Many do, however, pay more attention to their diets, and they try to eat lighter meals that do not contain animal products. Since our reader is just starting his exploration into raw foods, I didn't want to offer him advice that would make his nine days of Navratri difficult.He recently purchased a Vitamix, so I suggested that he make a lot of smoothies, since he has been enjoying them so much.

Jim here... Conventional wisdom says we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, right? Well, what about recipes? Should we judge them by their names?

When KDcat was young -- well before we followed a raw diet -- her friends sometimes scoffed at our typical vegan fare. After all, few kids would voluntarily eat "Pasta with Spinach Sauce."? But, we discovered, change the name and suddenly they're lining up for seconds. Instead of "Spinach Sauce," Wendi came up with "Jungle Sauce"! How exciting, right?

Some of you have noticed that we've seemed a bit silent, or asleep, here at Pure Jeevan. We haven't abandoned our blog or our readers, though! For the next two weeks, it may continue to look like we are sleeping, but in reality we are doing anything but that! :-)

Here are some pictures of some recent meals we've been testing in our kitchen...

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 "

Jim here... We've always been fans of the Simply Raw people -- or, as I call them, the "Reversing Diabetes Naturally" people. Or ... are they the "Raw for Thirty" people? Seriously, they should probably settle on one name, don't you think? In any case, they emailed us again lately to let us know about a new video promotion they're doing, in which they'll be sharing some great videos from Morgan "Super Size Me" Spurlock, David "Avocado" Wolfe, Mike "Natural News" Adams, and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. (Sorry, I don't have a nickname for Dr. Fuhrman yet.) I haven't yet seen the videos, but I'll be checking them out ASAP to hear what these gents have to say in order to further awareness about this important topic. Here's the link:

>>> http://tinyurl.com/SimplyRawVids

Organizing the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat has brought with it the bonus of meeting some fantastic people and the opportunity to learn about their amazing raw food snack companies.

Here at Pure Jeevan we are preparing for our cross country tour to educate others about raw foods. This means we are paring down on a lot of things, donating a lot, selling some things, and pretty much not buying anything unless it's absolutely necessary. That's what we've been doing for almost two years now (we're waiting for the house to sell). Recently, however, I decided it was time to spend a little bit of money even if it wasn't absolutely necessary.

Wendi's Dish Set

What did we buy? Dishes! Seems a bit strange to finally spend some money on something unnecessary and have it be dishes, right? Well, I had a few reasons for this purchase. The first is that when we are living in the RV, the space is going to be minimal. There won't be a lot of room for dishes, let alone much of anything else. Since there's not a lot of space to have dishes drying, we'll need to be washing, drying, and putting away immediately after use. That may not sound like a big deal, but when someone in the family decides to eat a few different things and leave the dirty dishes in the tiny RV sink, on the small counter, or somewhere else, it's going to really seem like a bigger mess than it is. So, to remedy this I thought it would be good for each of us to have our own dishes. That way we have a sense of responsibility for our own particular dishes--we know they are ours and we are responsible for taking care of them.

This has been floating around the web for a day or two, but for those who haven't seen it, here's former President Bill Clinton talking about his plant-based diet, and what he hopes to gain through it. How amazing to see an *American president* discussing this sort of thing!! Who'd have ever imagined this (considering the strength of the beef and dairy lobbies in this country)?

Stories like this give me hope that the world will become more health conscious -- and will begin to understand that things like irradiation, GMO technology, pesticides, and all of the scary discussion floating around about the "Codex" are all unnatural, unsustainable, and unhealthy for us and for the planet. All you need is love -- and delicious organic foods! Glad to see Bill Clinton advocating this.

Is cacao dangerous or is it a super food? Anyone who's been learning about raw foods knows about raw cacao (check out a recent episode of Know Your Food: Cacao). It's raw chocolate without all the processing and additives normally included in the chocolate bars many buy from standard grocery stores. In its raw form, cacao has different nutritional components than typical processed chocolate. Many claim that raw chocolate is filled with mega doses of nutrients, making it a super food, and therefore extremely healthy for the human body. Others claim that even in its raw state, cacao is a stimulant that taxes the human body and cacao is more like a poison than a food. I've heard murmurs about negative effects of cacao for many years, but that was always subdued by the vociferous praise of cacao.

Recently, my friend Kevin Gianni (The Renegade Health Show) spoke out about cacao and his experiences with it. Kevin is well known in the raw food community, so his words came as a shock to many people. He explained in his video (below) that he developed a rash on his stomach. After much investigating and diet changes, he came to the conclusion that cacao was causing the rash (eliminating the cacao caused his skin to clear). He also stated that cacao had been stripping his body of vital minerals. Kevin pointed out that he was simply sharing his own experience with cacao, possibly shedding some light on a subject that may need to be further investigated. He advised others to take a look at their own reactions to the food, to see if they are experiencing any problems.