I am extremely thankful for sleep. I can't imagine striving to sleep only four hours a night. Jim always says he wishes he didn't have to sleep, that he's wasting his life when he sleeps. For me, I've always loved sleeping. I feel so great after I wake up. Not only that, I thoroughly enjoy dreaming. I wouldn't want to miss out on the amazing dream life I've been able to enjoy while I sleep.

Jim here... Wow, how awesome is it that today's Makin' It Monday falls just one day after Mother's Day -- and that we had ?a very special guest edition ready to post featuring ... ?my awesome mom! ??!!! ?I love my mom so much ... she's the best mom ever! And you'll love watching her demonstrate how to make 100% raw hummus. Mom might be 100% Italian, but she makes a pretty mean 100% Lebanese raw hummus, which is a pretty popular dish in my family. Here's the vid!

Quick note: Jim here... So strikingly pervasive is the "winter blues of 2010" that I suspect many of my friends will think this is about them. But, it's just some thoughts, really -- not in response to anything or anyone in particular. (In fact, if anything, it's in response to something related to our dog, which we'll no doubt write about at some point.)

I sense that there is a useful blog post on the topic of "raw during tough times." However, after pondering the topic at length, I'm just not exactly sure what to say about it. I do know that quite a lot of people come to feel disappointed in themselves for straying from the healthiest path. It's a story I've read over and over on raw web sites and blogs, perhaps more frequently in the winter. It starts out the same: Someone goes raw, gets all fired up about it, and soon starts feeling youthful and vibrant again. The high lasts for a while, but then ... something happens. They slip back to cooked foods -- or worse, to junk foods. Sometimes the process repeats itself for years.

Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.

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!

Jim here again... What do you think of that montage of vintage cigarette advertisements ! Knowing what we now know about cigarettes, it's tough to believe that such ads could have existed only 50 years ago, but the campaigns were real. Did doctors actually see no harm in cigarettes? Were there no pulmonary specialists back then who thought that habitually inhaling smoke might not be such a healthy idea Who knows... ?As I like to believe when it comes to doctors, even though they're quite oblivious to the harmful effects that chemicals have on our bodies, they do seem to mean well (in their own deluded ways). So, I don't hold it against them so much as I now hold it against individuals to think for themselves and challenge healthcare practitioners.

In any case, whether or not there is an advertising campaign attached to a new consumer product, it stands to reason that when a product is introduced into the marketplace, manufacturers should have a responsibility to ensure that the product is safe, and consumers should likewise have a reasonable expectation that the product is safe. Only, it doesn't always work that way, does it?

This experiment isn't looking so great, right now. I'm gaining weight.

I've cut fat out of my diet until my evening meal. Here's what I've eaten over the past few days:

... just a quick interruption of "Crazy Week" to do two things:

1. Congratulate Natural Zing on their 8th year in business!

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

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

Jim here... Here's part two of a video of Wendi showing how to make raw pasta. (If you did not view part one yet, click here to go there now.) She, with the help of her friend Melissa (of Food Under Foot), prepared a beautiful platter of pastas and some sauces that we all enjoyed when I returned home yesterday for lunch.

We hope this video shows you even more how fun and delicious eating raw foods can be!

After so looooong, the much-awaited Episode 6 is here of "Know Your Food"! Aren't you thrilled? Well, WE are. We're fantastically excited to announce that we have SIX thrilling new eipsodes "in the can" (as we film buffs like to say). So, here's the first of those six, in which your humble nutrition researchers reveal the hidden secrets of cacao, that delicious tropical ambrosia that opens your heart like nothing else. So, grab a raw chocolate snack of your choice and curl up in front of your favorite flat screen. Here's the vid:

Whoa, what'd you think of the "Monkey Brains" scene ! Have we finally used EVERY SINGLE hoaky feature of the Windows Movie Maker software? (Don't answer... Those were rhetorical questions.) In case you couldn't read some of the nutritional information, here's a summary of the key components of this delicious bounty from the Earth's equatorial regions. Raw chocolate contains: