Jim here again... So, instead of Episode 1 of "Know Your Food," we present Episode 0.5, which documents the high drama of launching a video blog. Quite intense, my friends... Recall yesterday's installement -- when we captured the initial moment of inspiration in our library? Well, today's installment is a "confession cam" one, just like you see on every reality TV show ever produced.

The question is: Will we EVER actually launch our nutritional web show? Stay tuned...

Pardon the video quality there. A.J. and I shot that video at night and, although it looked decent on the camera's preview screen, the actual video came out almost totally black!? However, with a bit of video processing, we were able to salvage it. It's not optimal video, but it's at least watchable (and, hey, also conveys a little of that nighttime festival feeling).

A quick note about veganism before I share some additional info... As we've stated here many times, Pure Jeevan advocates a raw vegan lifestyle. What do we intend that to mean, exactly? Well, strictly speaking, veganism excludes all animal products, both in terms of diet and lifestyle.

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

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

"Hey there... I know you have a daughter about the same age as mine. Recently a friend at school told [my daughter] about the things animals go through to become our food and it has sickened her to the point where she wants nothing to do with meat except 'maybe' fish sticks.I'm so not against this in any way but my concerns are her eating enough other foods to balance out the vitamins and nutrients she got from meat so that it doesn't affect her health or learning development."

Above is part of a letter Jim received from a Pure Jeevan member. The letter was really three separate questions about the raw food diet in regards to (1) nutrition and development, (2) financial stress, and (3) group living. Since my response was getting quite long, Ive split up the questions and answers. Below is my response to the nutrition and development concern. Tomorrow, Ill address financial stress and group living when eating a raw food diet.

Did you know that approximately 70% of your muscle, 80% of your blood is water, and 85% of your brain is made up of water? When we are born, we are nearly 90% water by weight, and as we age we lose more and more water (think of a grape slowly shriveling up into a dried raisin).

If you consume 100% fresh raw foods (with none that have been dried or dehydrated in any way), your body is receiving the cleanest, most pure water possible and you probably don't experience a lot of thirst. The less fresh foods an individual consumes, the more their needs for water increases.

I thought I'd put another fun week together here at Pure Jeevan while Wendi is away (although, actually, ALL of our weeks are fun-filled here!). This week, I thought I'd discuss herbs, spices, and essential oils. Of course, I can't cover those enormously important (and huge) subjects in-depth over the course of just one week, so I created that little banner (above) so that we can re-use it from time to time.

Herbs are fascinating, aren't they? Sometimes, you don't even consciously know why you use the ones you do but, invariably, there's a reason. Sure, sometimes recipes call for a specific flavor. But, often, there are other reasons as well -- such as to support digestion, or to provide a warming or cooling sensaiton. This type of thing is critical in ayurvedic principles, as we touched on recently on this blog, where the spices could be present for digestive or medicinal purposes, or of course as a preservative.

Here's a picture I took at Portland's Saturday Market last week. We've been pleasantly surprised to find that artichokes grow rather well here in the Pacific Northwest. We don't recall seeing them much back East, but many of our neighbors grow them (both for the artichokes and, I suspect, as ornamental plants).

I suspect that some raw foodists tend to overlook artichokes because they're so traditionally linked with the image of something steamed, stuffed with breadcrumbs, and drizzled in butter -- so, "cooked," "breaded," and "dairy" all together in one recipe! Being half Italian, I grew up eating them this way. My mother almost never said "artichoke"; she always called them an Italian word that sounded like "ga-GO-che-lee." ?She made them just a few times per year, and they were always a huge treat (and we'd often fight over the hearts -- by far the best part!).

Yesterday, we covered the concept of "unsubscribing" from unhealthy practices. This was of course based on the common Internet practice of subscribing and unsubscribing to various things like newsletters and email lists. I receive quite a few of these each day, many raw foods ones and many non-raw ones. Among the non-raw, one that has been interesting to me lately is called the Art of Non-Conformity, penned by Chris Guillebeau. Basically, Chris' site chronicles his adventures in reaching his personal goal -- to travel to every country in the world! Along the way, he writes about all sorts of out-of-the-box things, as the blog name implies.

Today, he posted something that is remarkably insightful and applicable to our subject matter here, even though his context was completely different. The entry, entitled simply "Before and After," discusses the drinking water problems in much of Africa, focusing for the moment on Liberia. Atop the piece (the "before" picture) is a muddy water hole, the only source of drinking water for one village. The next picture (the "after" shot) shows a different, very happy village obtaining fresh, clean water from a newly installed well. Chris closes his article with the following quote:

I was sitting here today thinking about all of you, our lovely online friends who visit this blog. You follow what's going on with us, learn from us, find inspiration in the things we share, and even offer support to us in many ways.

Some of you reach out by leaving comments, many of you send emails, and a larger majority of you are quiet friends who haven't made contact with us, yet. Each and every one of you means so very much to me (and to Jim, too).

We don't keep this blog for ourselves; we keep it for all of you. It is our desire to share all that we've been through, and what we've learned, in order to help you with your own journey. Most of all, however, my personal desire is to inspire you to live the life you truly want to be living (in more ways than just through what you eat).

Jim here...Well, something awful happened today at Pure Jeevan, something utterly shocking to any raw foodie on the planet -- our Vitamix container broke! I know, I know... breathe with me: Deep breath in... deep breath out. There, that's better. It's going to be okay, I just know it!

Here's what happened:? The agitator assembly (the metal part at the bottom that connects to the blades inside the container) wore out. It blew some kind of bearing or something, lost its internal oil, and started making an infernal noise when we blended our morning smoothie. It was pretty clear we'd blended up our last elixir in that container.

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.