A partial group picture from the retreat.

The 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat was a success! All my time and effort that went into creating the event was well worth the experience. When Leela Mata and I discussed a possible raw food retreat about a year ago, I had no idea how to go about creating such an event. I have never done anything like this, so I approached it by asking myself: "What would I want if I was attending a raw food spiritual retreat " From there, I created a retreat that I would love to attend, myself. In fact, when it was completely organized and guests began signing up, I wished that an identical event existed that I really could take part in, as well!

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:

There's a peculiar yet recurring kind of argument I get from a number of people from time to time when the subject of diet or health arises. Basically, it goes like this: "Yeah, all of those vegetables and exercise might be good for you, and all of that meat and fried food I eat might be bad for me, but what if you get hit by a truck tomorrow "

This sort of perspective is interesting to me for at least two major reasons.

And here's the conclusion of Wendi's San Francisco travelogue:

That evening we met up with Carolyn, a long-time friend since college, who was our lovely host for a few days. Carolyn has a gift with cats, which was a real treat for KDcat to see. Do you know how you can teach dogs to sit and give kisses? Well, Carolyn has taught one of her rescued cats to do the same thing! He *really* sits and *really* gives kisses on command! WOW!

Carolyn showed us all around the San Franciso and Berkeley areas, bringing KDcat to a thrift shop (she's been having fun popping into random thrift shops to see what she can find) and a fun shop called Ancient Ways, stopping by some Indian shops so I could pick up some more bindis and some ground coriander for a dish I made while visiting, checking out the Berkeley campus area, and taking us shopping for organic foods.

As promised, here's today's herbal installment, a video on Oregano Oil! Verdict: It's strong, for sure, but it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be!

Before we moved to Portland, Oregon, land of all things fresh and organic within walking distance, we had to drive quite a distance to reach the food co-op (the only place that had a good selection of organic produce and other raw food necessities). So, we only went shopping about once a week. It took a lot of trial and error to find ways to keep our weekly produce fresh for about a week.

We learned which fruits and vegetables stay fresh the longest, and which go bad the fastest. Based on this, we stocked the refrigerator accordingly (and used up the produce accordingly, as well). The fruits and veggies that stayed fresh the longest were stored in the backs of the shelves (things like carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, etc.). Next we stored the greens that lasted a pretty good amount of time (like kale and collards). And in the front of the shelves and in the door, we stored the more delicate greens (like lettuces and herbs).

All this week we're continuing to feature a variety of answers to the question "Are Raw Foodists Crazy " from various friends of Pure Jeevan. If you're just now tuning in, please read the back story and introduction to this, as posted on Monday.But, for now, let's continue with posting the rest of the excellent responses sent in! Enjoy!! :-)

I'm fairly sure that we've covered how to *open* a young coconut (also known as a Thai coconut). It seems like each raw food site has a video and/or article about that. I think it's actually a commandment in the Official Raw Foodism Bylaws somewhere: "Thou shalt show everyone how to open a coconut."

But *selecting* them... that's something that's not often covered in-depth. It's an advanced topic -- super-advanced, even. So, are you ready to learn the secrets?

Happy Friday, everyone! We want to cap off this week with a question: Do you keep a blog We realize that many blogs include blogrolls, but this has been a sticky issue for us here at Pure Jeevan for a few reasons: First and foremost, we LOVE and appreciate each and every one of you so much, and wouldn't want to accidentally exclude anyone!?

One of our readers, Julie, asked me to update her on what kind of diet I'm doing and why I'm doing it. The last time I publicly made changes with my diet, I received many similar questions. So, I figured maybe it would be a good idea to respond to her question here on the blog for anyone else wondering the same thing.

I did explain, in a long post, about experimenting with my diet being important to me.If you didn't read that entry, it will answer a lot of your questions. For many of you, I think I know what you are thinking: "Wendi was pretty much morbidly obese, her health was horrible, but she's now healthy. Why would she change anything with her diet when she has already found what works "?

Well, it's true. I am extremely healthy compared to how I was before I started consuming raw foods. Here are some pictures to show the changes, to motivate some of you currently struggling with eating more raw foods...

Wow, who knew so much work goes into meeting up with people all across the country ! It's going to all be worth it, though, to meet so many of you!! Below are the definite meetups happening. There are more being planned that we'll share once things are finalized. If you don't see your town/city here, but it's on our list of places we'll be visiting, maybe you'd like to help us put together a little gathering If so, just let us know! We'll be updating later next week with a more finalized plan for the trip and various meetups taking place.