I received some very sad news about the holistic doctor I've been seeing during my raw journey. Dr. Amy Ruth Stine died Saturday after a rock climbing accident. This news breaks my heart. Dr. Stine was an amazing woman and doctor. She was extremely intelligent, acutely in tune with how we are all connected and one, compassionate, loving, thoughtful, and had a gift of really getting to know each patient as an individual and friend.

It was with Dr. Stine's care that I was able to track my progress with the raw food diet. She encouraged me to follow my instincts (which were telling me that raw is the way), cheered me on with the many changes that I was going through (physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally) over the years, and told me many times that I inspired her! Imagine how wonderful that made me feel---to be inspiring someone as wonderful as Dr. Stine.

To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

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

An online friend of mine, Kevin Gianni (see previous blog entry introducing him), has been producing a terrific series of videos and blog posts. At the end of each post, he asks questions of his readers. In his recent post, he asked his readers:

What struggles have you been through

We don't always announce birthdays of friends and family here. But this particular individual is an integral part of the raw food community and we want you all to meet her!

Today is the birthday of the radiantly beautiful Penni Shelton! For those of you who don't know Penni, she's an incredible woman; she's got a heart of gold and is filled with love and compassion. She has been a loving friend of Wendi and member of the Pure Jeevan family for a very long time.

Wow, today is Day 7 of the Big 2010 Tour! So far, Wendi and KDcat have spent three days on a train and three more in Portland, Salem, and Corvallis. We still have plenty of content to post from those, including a good deal of video (once I'm able to edit that). For now, let's look at some pics and talk about their second stop, Salem!

Prior to leaving, Wendi & KDcat (let's just say "W&K" from here on out, okay ) stopped at People's Co-Op in Portland for supplies. As much as they loved Portland, they weren't very impressed with the co-op there, as compared to the one we have in Pittsburgh. However, in fairness, they were told that it's still a "young" co-op. Still, it's surprising to me that Portland wouldn't have an enormous one. However, it could very well be that there is not as much of a need there, in an area in which organics are much more accepted. Here in Pittsburgh, one could argue that our co-op thrives because organics are largely scoffed at by other retailers. Interesting, eh?

(By the way, are people on the west coast really as laid back as everyone says Wendi got into a bit of hot water for filming inside another co-op! Here in Pittsburgh, I doubt anyone would care if you set up a movie set in our co-op. No charges were filed, thankfully.)

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!

When we found out that there was a raw foods restaurant in Key West, we knew we'd visit for sure. So, after a wonderful lunch of some of their raw staples (raw tacos and peanut noodles), it was no surprise to us that we found ourselves drifting back toward Help Yourself after the sunset celebration at Mallory Square (the main nightly Key West sunset viewing celebration). When we arrived, we asked to interview the owner, Charlie Wilson. She'd just left after working a very long day at the restaurant. But, an emplyee called her anyway and she graciously agreed to come talk with us! So, here's a bit of that conversation:

THE TOUR IS COMPLETED! For pictures, videos, and commentary about their adventures, check out the Trip Dashboard!!

For those of you who've been following our plans for a few years, you know we've been preparing for a cross-country tour for a long time. The plans have expanded, contracted, changed dramatically, but the core of the idea has always been there: we plan on relocating to a new city and we need to find the right place for Pure Jeevan to settle. In order to do that, a big cross-country tour is in order. So, the exciting news is that we're leaving in a couple of weeks to check out some of the cities/towns we're thinking might be a perfect fit for Pure Jeevan! The sad news is that all of us can't make the trip. Jim will be holding down the fort here in Pittsburgh (i.e. the house still hasn't sold and he still needs to keep his corporate job so we can pay the mortgage).

In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part one, focusing on Tim VanOrden's take on this issue.

When alternatives to the Standard American Diet are discussed, protein is on everyone's mind. There are many reasons why someone might want to eat a plant based diet, whether for allergy concerns, health reasons, or more variety. But nagging doubts often come up;? Are plant proteins adequate for athletes and body builders ? Are they really the preferred protein source of the human body ? Are they better than animal based protein or are they just consumed for environmental reasons ? To answer these questions, why not ask the experts:? triathletes, professional dancers, bodybuilders and extreme sport racers ? Here are the answers from some of the most competitive athletes in their respective fields.

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

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

Jim here... Today is April 25, 2009 -- Wendi Dee's Birthday!!? She's asleep now. It's 1:30 in the morning & I've been up for hours assembling something stunningly amazing to share with you. You see, this year, I asked some friends, family, and foodies to take a page of a sketchbook and offer Wendi some Happy Birthday wishes -- and then send it back to me so I could bind it all into a large book!? WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! Check out the response from 40+ people from around the globe. It's a little overwhelming to see this much positive energy in one place. What a momentous day she's in for in another 5 hours or so when she gets up and is greeted by such a surprise! If you'd like to say Happy Birthday, just leave a comment here! Thanks to everyone!

Clarifications: (1) Yes, as some of you may have guessed, Wendi's body has circled the sun more than 25 times. If you visit the site, I explain what the "25th" birthday means a little more. It's basically about the amazing power of raw foods. (2) No, I didn't send messages to David Wolfe, Gabriel Cousens, Woody Harrelson, or other raw food celebrities Wendi isn't friends with. However, if they are huge fans of Wendi's, they are more than welcome to contribute via email or comments! LOL ;-)

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On April 25, 2009, Ulol wrote:

Happy 25th Birthday Gypsy!!!

I so wish to be there with you celebrating this amazing day, but as I can't, I send you lotsof e-love.

*hugs tightly*

I LOVE YOU!!!

On April 25, 2009, maryinoregon wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday Wendi.............wishing you al the happiness your heart can hold, on this special day of birth and always...........you inspire so many!!!!!

On April 25, 2009, sheryl miller wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi!

I had posed this question in another post on this site, can't remember where now!
But I will post it here too
On my birthday I like to look back to last year's birthday to see what about me has changed!
What about you Wendi? What has changed about you


Hope there are lots of ovely surprises in store for your big day!
Sheryl Miller
Austrlaia

On April 25, 2009, randomguru wrote:

wishing much peace, love and joy to you on this special day... Happy Birthday, Wendi!

On April 25, 2009, Wendilou wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday, Miss Wendi Dee! I hope your day is a joyous as ever. ;)

On April 25, 2009, blaqberry wrote:

Very, very Happiest of Birthdays, Dearest Wendi. You give so much of your essence and touch many souls. I wish you a day that is beyond beautiful and filled with joy and blessings as you embark on another wonderful adventure around the sun. And love LOVE love abound...always. xo

Blaq Berry

On April 25, 2009, RawBin wrote:

Happy Birthday lovely lady!!! I'm sure you'll be glowing all day! :)

On April 25, 2009, RawBin wrote:

Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

On April 25, 2009, debbiedoesraw wrote:

That is the best present ever!
And Wendi, if you did not know it before, I think you now are sure....
You Are Loved!!!!!!!!!
Happy 25, can't wait for your 24th next year!!!
love love love deb

On April 25, 2009, Elizabeth wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi. Thank you for being such a light in the world.

On April 25, 2009, Melissa wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi!
What a beautiful book!!! I am so happy to be part of it, and thanks Jim for posting the whole thing! It is just beautiful.
We love you!
~ Melissa

On April 25, 2009, Revvell wrote:

Hey Girl! Happy, happy day to you and thank you Jim for inviting Bo and I to be a part of this special day!

Revvell

On April 25, 2009, Revvell wrote:

Hey Girl! Happy, happy day to you and thank you Jim for inviting Bo and I to be a part of this special day!

Revvell

(Did this twice since I had to figure out the system)

On April 25, 2009, Pixywinks wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi GIRL!!!
Have lots of fun in this, your 25th year. Blessing and love all around. Kisses riding on the wind for you.
Much love!
P. Lis

On April 25, 2009, jill wrote:

Have a wonderful amazing Day of Incarnation, the sweetness of your eternal spirit always shows!

XOXO!!!

Jill

p.s. thank you to Jim for being such an awesome partner :)

On April 25, 2009, RawAllison wrote:

I'm glad to know Wendi's birthday was as special as she and her family are. And I love the phrase "Wendi s body has circled the sun more than 25 times." I'm gonna try to remember that one for birthdays!!

On April 25, 2009, Jenny wrote:

Not even having met you, Wendi, I can always feel your love for others online. Thank you so much for all you do for others. You are a true jewel in this world!!

Much love and birthday hugs,

Jenny

On April 25, 2009, fatima wrote:

May this be the beginning of the happiest birthdays of your life.
love joy and peace
fatima

On April 25, 2009, R_Eli wrote:

Happy Birthday, Wendi!!
Best wishes!!!
Keep shining!!!

On April 26, 2009, Jacki Harmon wrote:

Happy Birthday, Wendi! Thanks for all the gifts you've given us!! XOXOXOX

On April 26, 2009, DebB wrote:

Hi Wendi ~ I'm sending HUGE birthday wishes all the way from Washington State! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Debbie *�*

On April 26, 2009, Diane wrote:

Wendi have a blessed day as you have so blessed others.Because you have sown so
much enjoy the returns! Have many more circles around the sun, Love Diane

On April 26, 2009, anasha wrote:

let your light shine and radiate in every nook and corner of our beloved planet and beyond, and let me whisper happy birthday in your ears,thank you for being here

On April 26, 2009, Veganmimi wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday Wendi!!!!

On April 26, 2009, MindXdreamz wrote:

Happy, happy, happy birthday Wendi Dee!
hugs from Florida where the coconut grows :)
love
sheila

On April 26, 2009, Joanna_Steven wrote:

One happy birthday is never enough, here is another one :) <3

I will add to the notebook! I was afraid to sign the real thing, in case it got lost in transit after sending it back :(( I would have felt so awful. I hope you're having an amazing week!

On April 26, 2009, DiannerawGirl wrote:

Wendi,
So Happy Birthday.I had no idea it was your birthday.I was gone for a few days off computer.BUSY! And still wanted to wish you a Happy belated Birthday! Bye Dianne (DianneRawGirl)

On April 27, 2009, tinaintheraw wrote:

Happy Birthday beautiful Wendi!!

You are such a light in this world....I hope your day was filled with light and joy and wonder!

Hugs, Tina

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Ulol, my love!!! *blows kisses*

This birthday was THE BEST EVER! Even though you weren't physically here with me, it was extra special because I had your special contribution to my birthday book! It made me cry so much to see your page in the book. It was VERY special to me!

I miss you so very much! Thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment, but most of all for always sharing your love and friendship with me.

I love you, too!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thank you so very much, Mary!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!!

I'm so happy that I can inspire others--all of you have given me so much love in return and that has meant the world to me!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Sheryl!

I responded to your original question a few minutes ago on the other blog post. :-)

Thanks, again!!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Carlos!! Thanks for being a special part of my birthday gift, and for saying Happy Birthday to me on your blog, too!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, WendiLou!!! It was The BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Blaq Berry!!! You are always so loving to me. *hugs* Thanks for your sweet comment. :-) Thanks for being such a special part of my birthday gift!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

I've been glowing all weekend, Rawbin!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!! It lasted all weekend and continues through today as I read and respond to all of the love-filled comments that have been shared with me. :-)

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

My first video reply on the blog!!! I LOVE IT! I LOVE YOU!!

*blows kisses*

XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

It really IS the BEST PRESENT EVER!!! Jim says he's screwed for next year--no way to top this one! ;-)

I think you know me so very well. Yes, I didn't truly realize how much everyone does love and care for me. After this, how can I ever doubt? I am blissfully blessed.

Thank you so very much for being a part of my special gift, Debbie!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Elizabeth!

Thanks so much! I had THE BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Melissa! Thanks for making my birthday celebration continue through Sunday, also! You are such a dear friend to me.

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thank you, Revvell and Bo!! I LOVE that you were both a part of my gift! It has been THE BEST birthday EVER! It's one I'll NEVER forget!

I love you both!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, P. Lis!! Thanks for being a part of my gift, also. Jim said he was impressed with your artwork--he hasn't seen your paintings, yet, I told him! You are truly gifted!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Jill! Thanks for such a sweet comment. It was THE BEST birthday EVER! I can't even imagine a better one in another incarnation! :-)

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Oh, it WAS!! It was so very special Allison!! Thanks for being a part of my gift!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Jenny! You are very welcome--I love helping others.

I hope to one day meet you in person--maybe while we are on our cross-country tour!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Fatima! This was definitely the happiest and BEST birthday, ever!! Thanks so much!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, R_Eli! I had a fabulous birthday!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Jacki!

You are very welcome for all of the gifts! I love giving to others!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

More birthday wishes from Debbie! Thanks so much!!

*blows kisses*

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Diane! It was surely a blessed day for me!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Anasha! Thanks so much for your beautiful birthday wish!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Vebanmimi! I had a wonderful day!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Sheila! Thanks so much! I had the BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes, Joanna!

Yes, please add to the special notebook. I welcome a page from anyone who wants to contribute. It is such a special gift to me; it's one that I will always cherish!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Dianne! It was a fantastic birthday!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Tina, for your sweet comment!

Yes, my day was absolutely filled with light and joy and wonder!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, debbiedoesraw wrote:

The pleasure was all mine, I hope you pass that Birthday love down to all the future generations.. are you listening Kat ??
love you too!
Deb xoxoxo
PS Sam had fun with her drawing too, lest you think I drew that!!!!!hee hee

On April 29, 2009, Revvell wrote:

You're very welcome. It was our pleasure and what a GREAT idea Jim had!