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.

Here it is: Putting it all together. Here you'll see what we use for our taco shells and how we build up our taco. Quite often, we also make a raw sour creme using cashew nuts and lemon juice. But, for these tacos, it'll just be meat, salsa, and guac. Enjoy!

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

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

My Story of Conquering the Myths of My 50+ Body

I ve been eating 100% live/raw food for a little over eight months now, and I believe it all started? well.... hmmmm? let s see. Last summer I was determined to do something once and for all about the weight that I put on since I turned 50, six years ago (well, almost seven years now ). It seemed that no matter how much I exercised or how much I ate ? or didn t eat ? nothing stopped the onslaught of impending bulk. Each year added a few more pounds until I hardly recognized myself! What happened? Who was I? Where did this strange body come from? I decided I needed to take this foreign body by the horns and wrangle it back into submission. Actually, I was gentler than that, but the determination was there.

Here's a handy alphabetical archive of Pure Jeevan's award-winning Know Your Food video series! (Disclosure:? Okay, maybe it's not award-winning, yet. But, surely it will be someday. Btw, see end of list for "other" episodes.)

Apples (Episode #1)

Wendi and I just heard about a super deal, totally out of the blue! Jeff Rose of Natural Zing dropped us an email saying that he received 60 bottles of Raw Organic Hemp Oil as free giveaways.

There's no minimum order, either, for Pure Jeevan readers! All you have to do is type PUREJEEVAN-FREEOIL in the COMMENT section when checking out. The website will calculate shipping based on your purchase. (Oil adds no extra charge to shipping.*)

We agreed not to disclose the manufacturer in this announcement. (Don't ask; it's all part of the wondrous mystery often inherent in such special offers).Here's a bit about hemp from Natural Zing:

For some odd reason, I've had the privilege of "doing Thanksgiving" with a lot of different friends and families over the years. Because of this, and of course just from talking with others and reading things others have posted, I'm fairly certain that Thanksgiving means different things to different people.For some, it's their favorite annual holiday and fills them with joyous memories of Thanksgivings past and incredible anticipation of Thanksgivings to come. Some historian friends of mine seem fascinated by the historical aspects of the holiday -- the whole story of the pilgrims, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, I've actually encountered a few people who take offense at the very idea of this holiday (and they've got some convincing reasons to protest the wider celebrations)!

While all holidays are certainly "food-centric" by tradition, it's arguable that no other holiday (at least here in America) can match Thanksgiving's reputation in terms of feasting. It's kind of funny when you think about it because many holidays (or, "holy days") are actually traditionally observed by abstaining from food. So, there are fasts, and feasts. I think the majority view, based on my own sampling of various friend and family traditions, seems to be: It's mostly about having a huge meal. Yes, there is certainly an undercurrent of being thankful out there. A few families I've been with have had traditional, almost ceremonial, activities that went along with the meal (e.g., going around the room, taking turns stating what you're grateful for).

This is our final call for some behind-the-scenes help (as mentioned in an earlier post) on a pretty amazing project we've been working on. You can give as little or as much time to the project as you desire. Although we aren't stating what it is, until it's well under way, those who are offering help will be learning all about it VERY SOON!

Your help is greatly appreciated and I think all of you will love the project!!!! So, if you haven't already told us you'd like to help (and sent us your email address to contact you), now's your last chance! We don't have a limit on how many people can help with this, so join the others in lending a hand! You'll be happy you did!

I'm super excited about this project and sharing the information about it with all of you who are going to help out! Send your email address to me at WendiDee at PureJeevan.com.

Getting Lyme Disease after regaining my health on the raw foods diet was a tough thing to accept. How could a body cure itself with a raw food diet, yet then fail to even recognize and destroy the Lyme bacteria? So many individuals have recovered from awful diseases, including cancer, by eating a raw food diet. Why, as a raw foodist, has my body been unable to easily eliminate this lyme disease?

I know Jim and I weren't the only ones wondering this. Many of you have voiced concerns, as well. Questions have been asked about how healthy my raw diet has actually been. Have I been cheating and eating cooked foods? Have I been eating too many packaged raw food snacks? Am I drinking alcohol? What have I been doing *wrong* with my diet in order for this to happen in my body? Here are some answers:

Today we welcome Devaki, the yoga instructor at Peaceful Valley Ashram, for another episode of Pure Jeevan s Makin? It Monday ?Guest Raw Chef? edition. In this episode, Devaki demonstrates how to make raw Cabbage-Mango salad. We ate the salad shown just after shooting the video. It was quite tasty and refreshing! Here s the recipe:

Six months ago, we devoted a week's worth of coverage here on Pure Jeevan to diabetes. You'll find diabetes statistics, raw food resources for diabetes, stories of people who have beaten diabetes using a raw foods diet, an audio interview Wendi and I did about diabetes, and more.

We also linked several times to the Movement to Reverse Diabetes Naturally, where people could pick up copies of two amazing DVD documentaries, "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days" and "Raw for Life." Through an enormous effort during those weeks back then, the RDN Movement spread the word about raw foods to literally thousands of people!

? ?

Jim here... It's not often that we're able to recommend a movie that's perfectly relevant to the raw food lifestyle. But, if you're a raw vegan and haven't seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we highly recommend this film. Not only is it wonderful, but it's also, for much of the film, a nice metaphor for living the raw foods lifestyle.