Last year when I organized a raw food spiritual retreat at an ashram, I met some very lovely people. Two of those individuals were Patty and Denny (you can visit their blog to say hello to them). They were new to gourmet raw foods, so they were enthusiastic learners at the retreat. When they returned home after the blissful weekend, they began using their new raw food knowledge. Here are some excerpts of emails I have received from them since the retreat last year:

Well, you said you're motive in putting on this retreat was simply to pass on this valuable information and to help others; you were very successful where we're concerned - it is no exaggeration to say that you have changed our lives forever.

We've been almost 100% raw since the retreat. ... We're so excited about this new way of eating that we bought a new Vita-Mix. ...We can actually say that this has been our most notable and enjoyable dining experience - ever, in our entire lives! No one would ever put that much work into something if it were just for money; it is obvious that you did it from your heart. We feel blessed to have received such a gift.

As promised, here's our interview with Leigh Crizoe, Rhio's partner and co-host of the Hooked on Raw Internet radio program. We think you'll love this interview, as it shows another perspective on raw foods and also gets into an interesting detox program that you may not have heard about. After 9/11, the New York City residents and workers close to ground zero breathed in highly toxic particulate matter for a long span of time. Rhio and Leigh live just blocks from the site, and both experienced respiratory troubles as a result -- especially Leigh, whose sweat began to stain his white t-shirts black! (Yep, you read that right: You'd actually sweat black! This happened to many ground zero workers, in fact.)

Who had the detox answer for them ?... Would you believe L. Ron Hubbard and Tom Cruise ? Apparently, detoxification was an area of high interest to Hubbard, the founder of scientology, who developed an intense regimen of saunas, vitamin supplements, and oils, all specifically for the purpose of ridding the body of toxins. According to Leigh, Tom Cruise personally funded and co-founded the New York program (which has proven highly successful!) after 9/11. (The official site for that detox program is here.)? Super-interesting stuff -- be sure to watch the video.

As promised yesterday, here s the Pure Jeevan cross-country tour itinerary! Will Wendi and KDcat be in your town or city? If so, please be sure to let us know, so they can meet you in person! We re all very excited that Pure Jeevan will be meeting some of you in person very soon!

We'll be posting a button on the right side of the blog later this week. When you click on the button, it'll take you to an up-to-date itinerary of all cities on the tour, as well as any talks/gatherings, etc. that may be going on. On that page, you may also be able to view some live video streaming of Wendi and KDcat as they're out and about finding the perfect location for Pure Jeevan. Stay tuned for more info!

As many of you know, Kevin and Annmarie Gianni (of Renegade Health) have now started their RV tour, for which they selected Pittsburgh as their official kick-off location. While here, we at Pure Jeevan took a special ride in "The Kale Whale," their veggie-oil-powered RV. Inside, we enjoyed a comfortable ride (which included hanging out with Johnny 5 -- their cat -- and drinking some hot tea prepared right there in the Kale Whale). Outside, we endured the freezing cold temperatures of Pittsburgh while pumping filtered used veggie oil into special holding tanks in the RV. Here is some video footage from our Kale Whale encounter!

It's time for a little Phun Phriday Philosophy. (I hope you don't mind a little levity as we end this glorious week ) It just occurred to me that philosophers and self-development gurus commonly admonish against "attachments." Isn't that true ?We're attached to our egos, our possessions, our relationships. All attachments are bad, it is said. I believe one of the primary tenets (Noble Truths) of Buddhism centers on this very thing -- that our attachments cause suffering.

Well, all of that may be food for thought. But, when it comes to food for your body, I'm here to tell you that attachments are GOOD -- especially, when we're talking about the shredder attachment for your food processor!? Oh, don't lie to me, fellow raw foodie (or raw aspirant, as the case may be): You know you've neglected this wonderful tool, haven't you? -- relegated it to some unimportant place in the back of a kitchen drawer somewhere, right ! Well, it's time to rediscover the shredder blade! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to reconnect with this delightful food processor attachment.

Welcome to Pure Jeevan's "Juice-a-Day Jamboree"! You're probably wondering, "What IS Pure Jeevan's Juice-a-Day Jamboree, anyway "? Well, it's simple:? It's an ongoing, informal, loosely organized "event" centered around juicing. Think of it as an interim step between (1) any kind of diet or lifestyle, from SAD to full-on raw, that does not include much regular juice, and (2) an all out juice feast where that's ALL you'd consume for a period of time. Basically, we're saying, "Let's just make this simple and accessible for everyone. Let's just make a goal to simply drink more fresh juice!"

Wendi and I have been thinking a lot about incorporating more juicing into our lives lately (which is something we've done off and on over the years but never stuck with long-term). One thing holding us back from doing it more often is the time requirement. When we juice, it usually takes a half hour or so from start to finish. I know it doesn't seem that complicated, but I suppose it's just the whole process of setting up the juicer, washing and peeling the produce, juicing it, setting the juice aside while we clean the juicer, doling out the juice into glasses, cleaning up the mini-mess that makes, and then sitting down to actually enjoy the juice.

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.

Over the weekend, we visited the spectacular Oregon Country Fair in Eugene and, once again, experienced a joyful and overwhelming sense of recognition that we're living in a place where people are much more accustomed to just being themselves.

Personal expression and nonconformity are so valued here that one becomes quickly enamored of the whole ambiance, which could well explain why more people come to Oregon than leave. The region seems to represent, to many, a chance to finally discover and explore an identity perhaps not completely free from outside influence, but at least free from the undesirable influences that society elsewhere seems to insist upon. Or maybe I'm misreading it all and providing just one of many interpretations.

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Jim here... A few months ago, I'd posted an article here on the topic of Cognitive Dissonance. This theme seems to crop up from time to time in questions people ask about the raw foods lifestyle. For example, one new raw fooder recently posted a question in a raw foods forum asking whether other raw foodies had reached a place in their lives at which things changed so much that they felt as though they were living a contradiction. Because this struck home for me, I'd like to reiterate my response, somewhat edited, below.

Q. I recently read the following on Dr. Micahel Eades' (dr. protein power) blog & would appreciate your opinion:

Have you any comments on the RAW FOOD movement and particularly Dr. Cousens claim of a ?cure ?

Dr. Eades' response:

I don t know anything about Dr. Cousens. I do know that people in the raw food movement seem to believe the raw foods deliver ?natural? enzymes unaltered by cooking to the GI tract to help it do its work. Problem is these ?natural? enzymes are made of protein and are denatured (the same alteration process as cooking does with heat) as soon as they hit the stomach acid. The fact that proteins can t make it through the stomach without being completely altered is why diabetics can t take insulin pills and have to get their insulin via injection. Insulin is a protein, just as enzymes are, and it can t make it through the stomach without being denatured.