This retreat has been planned for quite some time, and we are very excited about it! It's going to be three days of feeding your body, mind, and spirit. We've kept the cost as low as possible, so that more people can afford to take the time to get away for some quiet time.

All the food is organic and raw, prepared for you with lots of love! There are yoga sessions, meditation, and even a beautiful bonfire if the weather is nice. I've taken some personal retreats at this ashram, myself, and it is so peaceful (it is called the Peaceful Valley Ashram, after all). ;-)? We've created a schedule of suggested activities, but everything is optional. This is a great opportunity to simply get away and calm your mind.

Pure Jeevan has updated the Comment system we're using on this blog. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Disqus system, we hope you'll love it as much as we do. Here are the highlights of what makes Disqus better than the traditional comment system that's a default with WordPress:

* Once you sign up the first time, Disqus remembers your information and you don't have to keep logging in and out to leave comments on blogs using Disqus. Your one account will work for all blogs using Disqus (and a lot more blogs are using this as the days go by...if you aren't using it on your blog, you might want to consider it! People tend to comment more when Disqus is an option for commenting.).

* When someone replies to a comment you've left, their reply will be emailed to you! For me, this was a big reason to start using Disqus. Many times I leave comments and ask questions, but I'm too busy to continually returning to blogs to see if my questions have been answered, or not. With Disqus, I know instantly.

Driving to work today, we noticed that McDonald's has launched its latest product aimed at the health-conscious demographic. In case you haven't heard, you can now purchase fruit smoothies at Mickey D's! Sounds like real progress, right? Well, let's take a closer look and see if they're really as healthy as they sound.

McDonald's is not exactly known as a healthfood destination. After all, a typical lunch at the Golden Arches these days might well include something like an Angus Bacon & Cheese, Large Fries, and a Large Coke. ?Together, that's 1,600 calories, 64 grams of fat, and 2,400 mg of sodium, 99% of which is from highly cooked, highly processed, non-organic, factory-farmed, nutrition-barren source materials . (Add on another 75 calories and 550 more mg of sodium if you plan to go through, say, five packets of ketchup along with those fries.) (Source) And, some people eat that daily!

The other day, before grocery shopping, I didn't have a lot of food in the house. When that happens, I usually take a look at what I have and then try to come up with something tasty. It's kind of an art form, to create something out of next to nothing. I think I learned the art from my mother, who had to make things stretch on a very minimal budget.

Here's what I created, and it turned out great!

On March 1st we started a Juice-a-Day Jamboree, to challenge ourselves (and our readers) to include more fresh juice into our diets. We knew we weren't ready for an all-out juice feast, but a juice a day seemed like something we could commit to in our daily lives. So, the Juice-a-Day Jamboree was born. We've been posting periodic updates on our original post about the Jamboree, but figured we'd post periodic juice updates in the main part of our blog, as well, to encourage others to add some more fresh juice to your diets, as well.

We've missed one day of juice since we started the Jamboree. Our original goal was to have our juice first thing in the morning, but we weren't always successful with that. So, we told ourselves that any time of the day is fine, but if we can start the day with a juice we'd prefer it that way. The changes we've been feeling are more pronounced when we begin the day with fresh juice, rather than when we have our juice later in the day.

I was just thinking about a particular phenomenon, but don't know what to call it. This is something I used to notice mostly after watching movies, although it's something that happens all the time in life -- and I think it does in fact relate to diet, so I'll share. Here it is:

Ever leave a theater after viewing a particularly uplifting film Recall what it's like for a moment. You walk outside, maybe with friends or family, still filled with that magical feeling of having visited another world, or having been moved beyond words, or being filled with inspiration. There's a glow about you, and the air seems sweeter as you stroll out to your car, absolutely care-free. You spin around as you walk, laughing with your friends, joking and hugging each other, engaging in imaginative conversation all the way home -- and the spell lasts for a good long time thereafter. Oh, I love, love, love great movies!!!

Just a quick announcement today:? I just pressed "send" on our gorgeously produced November 2009 e-newsletter. While we've done periodic newsletters in the past, we've now revisited our commitment to doing them regularly. So, each month going forward, we plan to send out a new e-newsletter.

And they're always crazy fun!? They're kind of like bouncing on a trampoline -- like flying, you know ? Nothing but care-free, transcendent happiness, soaring amid the tree branches, smiling ear-to-ear, gravity-defying hair flying every which way. (Okay, maybe they're not that much fun. But, they are at least generally enjoyable -- and informative!)

Hey everyone!? What a wonderful Thursday we have going here... After all, it's nearly 3:30 p.m. where I am, which means that the day is nearly over and it'll soon be Friday! Time sure does fly... Right now, it's still a beautiful fall here (in Pennsylvania, with the gorgeous leaves nearly at their changing peak) but, in seemingly no time, we'll be looking at winter in these parts.

When I announced Wendi's leave of absence a while back, I invited people to send in any questions that I might answer here on the blog. Fellow raw foodie Joanna Steven asked me on Facebook -- I'm at Facebook.com/Rawfood -- what our routine is for transitioning into winter. Well, I think she already did a fine job of covering that topic, here. But, I'll offer my own two cents here, as well, as I find it interesting.

To continue with our Summertime Raw series, we took a trip to Pittsburgh's Frick Park to enjoy the beautiful day. Before leaving, we packed another meal to show you how easy it can be to eat a raw food diet while away from home.Frick Park was wildly popular among dogs; we saw canines of all shapes and sizes -- all playful, yet calm in comparison to our lovely Julia, a rescued blue Doberman. Joogie enjoyed the outing very much because she was able to snack on cucumbers (a favorite treat), chase after a few joggers (we're teaching her that this isn't proper doggy behavior), knock the cooler out of Jim's hands when we were leaving (which broke a few of our best glass dishes), and lick the faces of a few new furry friends. We've been to many parks, but we have a feeling this is now Julia's favorite. ?

In yesterday's blog and video post, we showed you how easy it is to simply grab fresh fruits and veggies and head out the door for an outing. In that show, no refrigeration or preparation was necessary. However, we also know that many of you are new to raw foods, and perhaps eating simple chopped produce isn't so appealing for you compared to traditional foods you'd normally eat while in a park. So, today's goal is to demonstrate how simple it can be, making it easy for you to stick to a raw food lifestyle and not feel tempted by the cooked foods that may be around while you're out enjoying the summer with friends and family. So, today's video is about stepping it up to the next level.

As we mentioned in one of our first blog posts, Pure Jeevan met with Leela Mata at her Peaceful Valley Ashram to discuss the details for some 3-day Raw Food Spiritual Retreats for you during 2008! The details are finalized and we are proud to announce our first 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Retreat, that will be held at the ashram from May 23-25, 2008. We've set this retreat up so that it's as affordable as possible. There's a significant savings if you sign up early, so be sure to check it out!

Some very special companies have delicious treats for those attending the retreat.

Mistakes are bad, right Well, not always. Here's an example of a great one, and it's something that demonstrates a conviction I have about raw foods! You see, in all of this talk of moving to Portland, I made a huge gaffe recently in my thinking about finances.

You see, I was pondering the terms of a home loan one afternoon -- percentage rates, down payments, monthly payments, tax escrows, etc. It was all really dry, boring material. Suddenly, I thought to myself, "Wow, here we are about to buy another house, after owning this one for so many years. In less than 10 years, we would have owned this one outright, but now we'll be starting over again with a 30-year mortgage."