Brutal Honesty. 100% Transparency. Unedited Feedback. Absolute Truth. ... How often are we treated to these things by those we know? How likely are we do conduct ourselves with these ideals in mind?

Propriety. Politeness. Decorum. Political Correctness. ... How often do these conventions in others prevent us from knowing what others think of us? How often do these conventions in ourselves restrict our own words when directed at others?

A partial group picture from the retreat.

The 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat was a success! All my time and effort that went into creating the event was well worth the experience. When Leela Mata and I discussed a possible raw food retreat about a year ago, I had no idea how to go about creating such an event. I have never done anything like this, so I approached it by asking myself: "What would I want if I was attending a raw food spiritual retreat " From there, I created a retreat that I would love to attend, myself. In fact, when it was completely organized and guests began signing up, I wished that an identical event existed that I really could take part in, as well!

***** DISCLAIMER: As with all of our posts here at Pure Jeevan, and particularly those coming up over the next week and a half (which will all be tagged with a new term, "Nadi Balance"), please refer to the disclaimer that runs at the bottom of all Pure Jeevan Pages. Wendi and Jim are health researchers, educators, and extreme self-experimenters. ******

Nadi Balance: Part IV...

According to Mike Adams of

"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."

I like this "travelogue" format, so let's continue! Here's Wendi's comments from their adventures in San Luis Obispo, checking out the raw vibes along the CA Central Coast!

After a very active visit in the San Francisco / Berkeley area, we headed down the coast to San Luis Obispo, CA. There's a pretty active raw food meetup there and we were asked to stop in their town to give a talk to their group.

It was a nice drive south, but the sun is a bit brighter than we're used to (especially when driving long distances). When we arrived in the town, we were overcome by the beauty of the place. It's one of the most beautiful places we've seen in California, so far!

I want to admit something to all of you: Sometimes I still cry because of how people treated me when I was obese. Because I stuffed all of my "negative" emotions deep inside my entire life, it's going to take some time to fully release them. I'm working on it, however, and making tremendous progress with healing myself on all levels. I'm not telling you these things so you'll feel sorry for me, however. I'm telling you because I am thankful for all the pain I endured. It shaped me (in more ways than just my physical appearance) into the person I am today.

Even though it sounds strange, and somehow wrong to feel this way, I'm thankful that I was obese. I'm thankful for all of the experiences during my life, even the extremely painful, traumatic ones. Maybe if I was a different kind of person I would wish that those things didn't happen to me. However, I am using those experiences in positive ways. They've helped me understand people even better, and to understand myself on a deeper level, as well. When people reach out to me it's not only because I'm an approachable person, it's because they sense that I understand them--and they're right. I DO understand them. I understand you. My experiences, coupled with my gift of empathy, help me relate to you in a way that maybe not everyone else is able to do.

Jim here... As I may have mentioned a while ago, I joined a gym recently. I figured, with Wendi and Bailey living on the other side of the country, I might as well find something healthy to do with my alone time until I'm able to join them soon (aside from my seemingly never-ending quest to rid our household of 13 years of rampant accumulation). I joined on a whim, actually. There's a gym near my home called Planet Fitness. Honestly, I have no idea how they make money. A membership costs just $10/month -- and it's a Wal-Mart-sized place, too, absolutely packed with state of the art machines. (Actually, it's a franchise, so there could very well be one near you.)

In any case, it had been a while since I'd been inside an actual gym. I've certainly remained relatively active, of course. But being in a gym is a little different -- and certainly has its plusses and minuses. On the minus side, I've always kind of felt that, if you add up all of the time it generally takes to get (1) get ready to go to a gym, (2) drive there, and (3) drive home -- say, a half-hour, total, for those things -- then you could probably better invest that time in just going for a run for a half-hour, leaving straight from your home. From a time management standpoint, I'm not crazy about gym memberships (meaning not that physical exercise isn't worth the investment of time, but rather that there are ways to accomplish the same results in much less time).

As promised, here's another question I'd like to openly address here instead of via Wendi's email system. This one also comes up from time to time, and I told this person to watch out for my two cents on this issue. So, here it is. The reader asks:

... During your transtioning to a raw food diet & the loss of so much weight, what if any exercising were you doing along the way

I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I'm thankful for so many things that it could take me a very long time to list them all. Today, however, I'm focusing on how thankful I am to have loving, supportive friends in my life.

When I was a child we moved a lot (every two years, on average). I continued to move a lot even after college, when it was no longer my mother making the decisions about moving.Why am I telling you this on a Thankful Thursday ?Because all of that moving around when I was a young child partly shaped the way I made friends.

We've spent some time on this blog talking about how much fun you can have via the web site. If you search that site, you can probably find raw food meetups near you!? But, a few readers have asked us some follow-ups, such as What should I bring and What should I do if I'd like to host a raw foods meetup

*Attending* Raw Foods Meetups

Okay, so you signed up for a raw foods meetup group, waited patiently for the next event to come round, and now it's time!? But, wait... this is your first such outing. What should you bring