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.

Before officially starting the new year, I'd like to acknowledge the changes and growth that took place over the past year. It was a whirlwind of changes, sometimes so dizzying that I wondered what I was doing and occasionally questioned whether, or not, I was making mistakes with my life. I followed my intuition, however, and it served me well. I'm here today, remembering the past year and ready to announce plans for this new year that has just begun. It's a beautiful life, isn't it Even when things seem dark and like there is a lot of pain, there is a tremendous amount of potential for new growth and a brighter life than ever imagined.

I ended 2008, perched on a summit and ready to take flight. Before I fly, however, I'm standing still for a bit and enjoying the view. I feel like the entire past year consisted of climbing to higher and higher plateaus of an enormous mountain. While climbing to each new plateau I stumbled, held on for dear life, saw amazing things, and became stronger.When reaching each new plateau, I'd spread my wings and leap, circling the mountain's circumference. But, I wasn't strong enough to fly straight to the peak. It was a year of gradual growth and change -- and I found myself becoming stronger and stronger as I reached the summit.I'm certainly not the same person who started this climb. I have transformed into a more genuine version of myself, a younger and stronger woman emerging from a lifetime of guilt and fear. As I stand on this summit, I feel youthful and invigorated. What lies ahead may be unknown to me, but I know it's within my ability to fly to the highest heights of ANY mountain, to see and do and experience ALL that I desire. It's going to be an incredible future and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!

In recognizing all of the accomplishments of 2008, I think it's important to admit that it wasn't one steady climb to the point I'm at today.The few years prior to 2008 were almost like my training in mountain climbing. Last year there were a lot of tears shed, along with a releasing of physical and emotional baggage that was still clinging to me. I openly shared what I was going through, however, after learning that keeping things inside was slowly killing my spirit. I think if I had to sum up 2008 in just one sentence it would be: In finally releasing everything, I woke up as my true self.

I suppose that, when you buy more produce than the average consumer, you come to observe a thing or two about that produce. We can't say for sure that our assertion is 100% true, but it sure does seem true to us. You see, we've noticed that produce we purchase at farmers' markets tends to keep longer than store-bought. Give it a try yourself, and see if your produce stays fresher longer!

Of course, there are many other benefits to shopping at farmers' markets. Aside from the produce being able to stay fresh longer, you're getting it in a much fresher state than store-bought. So, the things you eat first will be "extra" fresh tasting.

Well, Wendi and our daughter, KDcat, are headed out this evening on a train for their cross-country tour. They didn't seem so sad to leave ... maybe it's because of the bounty they're taking with them! Check it out in the banner above as well as the snapshots below! (I've included a list at the end of many of the products.)

Natural Zing has been Pure Jeevan's favorite online source for all of our raw food supplies. They have been very supportive of Pure Jeevan for over a year, and they continue to amaze us with their love and generosity. You'll be hearing more about Natural Zing during the tour, because they're Wendi and KDcat's official snack sponsors for the trip!

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.

How does the following menu* sound for your Thanksgiving meal

Nut Loaf, Apple un-stuffing, Mac Mushroom gravy,

We're not ready, yet, to announce one of our big exciting projects that's going to be coming to life very soon. However, we're working on something for it and we'd love to hear your opinion about it. So, if you are up for some quick fun this evening, please send me an email (wendidee ? @ ? purejeevan.com).We'll then share something with you that we've been doing and ask for your opinion!?

We'll need to receive an email from you tonight by 10:00pm EST to know you're interested in helping us. Then between 10:30-10:45 you'll receive a link to see something exciting (in which you'll learn the inside scoop on a very big project!) and you'll be asked to send us your opinion by 11:15 pm EST. It shouldn't take more than five minutes for most people.

So, are you in? If so, send me an email and you'll receive the link this evening!! I'm super excited about the thing we're working on this evening. It's a lot of fun!!!

Okay, it's question day once again -- and we've received some great ones lately. Before I begin, just let me reiterate once more that Wendi and I can't give medical advice here. We're motivational, inspirational raw food / natural health writers and educators (considerably knowledgeable and experienced ones, I might humbly add!); not doctors.So, whenever we give "advice" (or, whenever our writing appears as such), what we really mean is, "Well, if that were me, this is what I would do." And, the rest is in the disclaimer that runs on all of our pages.

Not only do we not give medical advice because we're not doctors (as if that wasn't enough of a reason!), but we also know that each person is different and, as such, all symptoms and conditions are unique to each person's individual situation. If person A and person B are both experiencing high blood pressure, it could easily be two different things causing that -- and the treatments or approaches could differ tremendously. What might fix person A might kill person B! (Sorry person B. No hard feelings.)

Some of you who are new to raw foods may be happy to learn that there are festivals for individuals interested in the raw foods lifestyle! They are a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded friends. For those of you who attended the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, seeing images from that event may stir the magical memories you collected while there.

Below is part two of a two-part guest piece by Rawbin Anderson, in which she recounts her 2008 Raw Spirit Festival J.O.B. experiences of working in the kitchen. Rawbin is now the Raw Spirit Festival East Coast Manager and can be reached at Rawbin [at] rawspirit.com.

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Many people have asked us about the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF): What is it? When is it? Where is it? Will we be going ? So, we wanted to take a moment to answer those questions.