I'm still working on the dishes that will be served at the upcoming 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat (only 2 spots left!). Today, I worked on the Sandwich Fixin's that will be served for lunch on one of the retreat days.

Wendi tells a funny story sometimes about a woman she'd met who was considering undergoing gastric bypass surgery to help her lose weight. When Wendi asked the woman whether she'd consider changing her diet to a raw foods regimen, she responded with something like, "Oh, no, that's too radical."

This is really what it's come to in society; having part of your digestive system surgically altered (in a profound, irreversible, dangerous, and invasive way) is no more than some nonchalant, consequence-free elective decision ... while eating more salads is viewed as "radical."

Tomorrow I'll finally be posting about the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat that I organized. I took a few days to myself after the event, and then I needed to catch up on a lot of things (which included formatting an almost 150-page publication). It's hard to believe that two weeks have passed, already, since the retreat ended.

I have a lot of photos from the event! Some of the guests prefer to remain anonymous, however, so I can't share all of them with you. However, there are a lot that I can still post on a public page for you to view! I'm waiting to receive some more images from the ashram's camera. Once I have them, I'll be able to complete the photos pages and share images from that wonderful weekend.

BIG THANKS to one of the guests, Angel, who happily took my camera and captured images that weekend. I am extremely grateful that she did, and I'm also impressed with her creative gift with photography! The image she captured of another guest, Faye, is absolutely beautiful! I'm looking forward to sharing the pics with all of you!

What fun it is to share a fun day with like-minded people at a special location, sharing good times, laughter, and delicious, nutritious raw food wonderment. Here are some pics from our outing -- hopefully the first of many such unique outings blending the Pittsburgh raw group with the D.C. one.

We hope this also provides some inspiration for other meetup groups to consider holding joint meetups in some geographically central location.

If you're new to raw foods, you're probably aware that eating this way isn't exactly mainstream. And, while we've talked here before about the importance of connecting with others for inspiration and support, it's true that a lot of that lends itself to participation in virtual worlds such as Twitter, Facebook, Give It to Me Raw, and other communities, blogs, and sites where raw foodies hang out.

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

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

It's day three and all is going okay. I seem to have a bit more energy since it's not all being sapped trying to digest complex meals. The last time I did mono mealing, I received countless emails from Pure Jeevan members who were concerned I was doing something unhealthy. Eating simply for nine days, however, is not unhealthy.

Did you know the body doesn't need a full range of vitamins and minerals at each and every meal? Somehow many of us were taught that each meal needs to be a complete balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and that just isn't the case. What the body needs is a well-rounded diet, overall, to be in a balanced state. If, over the span of a month or two, you've consumed a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouts you will find that you've met just about all of your nutritional needs.

I'm in the mood to eat lemons, so I figured for today's Makin' It Monday I'd search the Net for some lemon recipes. Well, look what I found!

Day 8:

Let's focus on creativity for a bit. This is an area where many men have been comfortable expressing a feminine quality, especially when done through art and music. I say many, because we all know at least a few men who were raised to believe that a strong, powerful man doesn't spend his time with such frivolous things. Instead, he works hard to earn an income to support his family. In the past, and still sometimes today, creative men were viewed as weaker and less masculine, not practical and in control. The feminine quality of creativity was, however, encouraged in women who were afforded more time for such "frivolity."

This is the first installment of a new series that we plan to run occasionally here on the Pure Jeevan blog. The series is called "Raw Foods 101" (the same name as our free eBook that has now been read by more than 5,000 people around the world!). Raw Foods 101 will become the latest addition to our category list (available along the right side of our sidebar). In time, clicking on Raw Foods 101 will deliver a plethora of raw food tidbits.

So, where should we start? ... How about the topic of soaking nuts and seeds ! This is a question that comes up repeatedly in emails sent to Pure Jeevan.

Yesterday we began a discussion of adding protein powders into your diet (for those who feel that they want or need to do this). One of the easiest ways to get this powder into your body is to add it to your morning smoothie. ?Now, if you're not into the habit of having a morning smoothie, step #1 is to get into that habit. ?(Actually, I don't just "have" morning smoothies; I thoroughly enjoy them!)

Now, you'll notice that smoothies made with protein powder taste quite a bit richer than what you might be used to. So, I want to start with a smoothie that I found to be somewhat light tasting. In fact, I'd even call it "The King" of smoothies. ?:-)

in-tu-i-tion n. 1.a. The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes; immediate cognition. b. Knowledge gained by the use of this faculty; a perceptive insight. 2. A sense of something not evident or deducible; an impression.

FASCINATING!? While out to dinner with our friend Debbie, she brought up the topic of intuitive food preparation. This is really amazing, groundbreaking stuff that probably few people have ever seriously attempted. Now, Wendi has discussed intuitive eating many times here on the blog in the past. Intuitive eating is basically when you get in touch with those "perceptive insights" mentioned above -- a kind of communication with your own body in which you just "know" that you should eat a certain food. Ever, say, walk past a large display of apples and simply know that eating one would make you feel good? That's intuition.