Today, we thought we'd share another non-diet-oriented explanation of obesity. It's from Rhonda Byrne, author of the international multi-media phenomenon known as "The Secret," which provides readers with in-depth philosophical explanation and instruction with respect to the Law of Attraction.

Wendi and I have The Secret on CD, and often enjoy listening to it. I think, in fairness, we both have a few legitimate criticisms about certain aspects of it (and I'll share one or two, below). However, on the whole, many of the ideas within resonate deeply for us and we find much of the underlying message profoundly uplifting and empowering -- especially (for me) much of the discussion regarding maintaining a healthy, positive, optimistic attitude and practicing gratitude.

I've received countless emails over the past few days, thanks to Kevin Gianni's video (below) about the potato pancakes I made for he and Annmarie when they were visiting. In many of the emails you were thanking me for the free eBooks, but some of you had questions (and even some concerns) about sweet potatoes. I've answered you all individually, but I thought it might be a good idea to spend some time discussing the sweet potato a little more. Here's the vid, and then I'll include some of the questions I was asked:

Here's a letter from Wendi to the Pure Jeevan family. I prettied it up a little with some color and graphics. -Jim

Hi there, lovely Pure Jeevan family! I'll be away from the computer for a month, working on some deep healing. It's time to go within and really hear what my body and spirit are saying.

Jim here... I thought it might be interesting to spend the rest of this week looking at some quotations we've come across that discuss obesity entirely outside of the context of diet. ?While these quotes focus on obesity, it's likely (in my opinion) that the authors' intentions pertain to almost any health challenge (obesity or otherwise).

Today, we're going to quote a well-known author, Marion Woodman. Tomorrow, we'll hear from Rhonda Byrne, Thursday Dr. Gabriel Cousens, and Friday I'll recap with something I posted on Facebook a while back from Tony Robbins.It should be an interesting week -- and, by the way, I'll tie all of this back into raw foods on Friday, and discuss then why the raw food diet makes a lot of sense for healing obesity and other health challenges even if, as these authors imply, one's diet may not be the sole or ultimate cause of one's health challenges.

The My Raw Story series was a wonderful success. We had many comments here on the blog as well as numerous emails thanking us for running the extremely inspirational series. Thank you, again, to all of you who opened your hearts and shared your stories with everyone. Sharing our personal stories can bring about remarkable changes in others who feel inspired by what we've shared. In return, they too may one day share their stories to further help even more individuals. It's beautiful how we can all support and motivate one another, isn't it !

Even though the My Raw Story series has ended, we'd be very happy to run it again with more stories. If any of you have your own raw story, or know somone else who does, and would like to share it as part of a future My Raw Story series, please let us know. We are happy to do anything we can to help others share their stories, especially when doing so is a powerful way to continue inspiring others.

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.

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

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

Jim here... Okay, the title and graphic, above, may be a bit silly, as are a few of the remarks I made in the video, below. But, within this rather odd piece a few hopefully noble and economical ideas exist -- especially the ridiculously simple and obvious notion about reusing glass beverage bottles. I'm embarrassed to have lived on this planet for so long and not to have adopted this fun and environmentally friendly practice much sooner.

We really do take things like glass containers for granted, when we probably shouldn't. Their ubiquity aside, it still takes a fair amount of energy and resources to make a single glass bottle. On the mass scale that they're made, they're obviously super cheap. But, if you had to start from scratch, it would take ages to make a single one, so we should at least appreciate them more and do all we can to make their continued existence as sustainable as possible.

Today we welcome Melissa Sokulski from BirchCenter.com and FoodUnderFoot.com for another episode of Pure Jeevan's Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" edition. In this episode, Melissa demonstrates how to make raw tortillas (this recipe uses a dehydrator). You'll be amazed at how pliable these tortillas are!!

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.

Wow, I'm having a tough time keeping up with our fearless travelers! I thought I'd break their San Francisco adventures up into FOUR smaller posts made from Wendi's personal travelogue. I'll try to address everything they did chronoligically. There will be a video in this posts, videos in the next post, and a picture set at the end! Here's what she had to say about their first stop in Frisco:

For our San Francisco/Berkeley visit, we first met up with a college friend, Pete Guinosso, at Cafe Gratitude. It was fun catching up, and Pete treated KDcat and I to our meals. While at the table, I labeled Pete as the "Quote Man" because he had a fantastic book of quotes he has been collecting. He periodically read from it as our conversations brought specific quotes to mind. It was a beautiful collection of poems, which Pete said is his second book and is filling up quickly.

Cafe Gratitude lived up to its reputation of having a great vibe with pleasant servers and fantastic raw foods. I wondered, however, why there isn't a dish called "I am Love." (There is a drink called "I am Loved," but I was interested in one that claimed I AM Love. Maybe they'll come up with one for my next visit!) After leaving Cafe Gratitude, I have to admit I wasn't overly grateful to find a $40 parking ticket waiting on the rental car. OUCH! We kept the car parked there (since it was already ticketed), and Pete showed us around the Berkeley shopping area. It was a fun stroll on a beautiful sunny, California day.