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.

Is low fat more expensive? When I was eating a lot of nuts and seeds, in the back of my mind I kept saying, "Someday you'll eat less of these nuts and seeds, and you'll save a lot of money." I really believed that to be true because organic, raw nuts and seeds are outrageously expensive.

For one hundred days, I'm transitioning to a lower fat raw diet. I'm down to fats only in the evening, and for the next ten days those fats will only come from avocados, young coconuts, and possibly some hemp seeds. If I'm not hungry for the fat, however, I'll go without it. That hasn't been the case yet, though. By dinner time I'm ravenous and wanting to eat heavy, dense foods to calm the hungry beast in my belly. Even though I've been including some fats in the evening, I'm eating significantly less than I normally would if not doing this challenge. So, I've been eating more fruits and vegetables to get the calories I normally received from nuts and seeds.

We get asked from time to time about whether we like to use protein powders and, if so, which brands we like. As you'll no doubt notice after getting into raw foods for a while, raw foodies (just like quite a lot of health-conscious people) often get into various powdered food additives. Some purists are against their use, of course. But, we're not so dead set against them. We do, however, believe that, if you're going to put something into your body as part of a health program, you should be conscious about it.

A few months ago, Wendi decided that she wanted to add some protein into her diet in the form of a protein powder. She did quite a bit of research at the time into the various brands available, charting out which ones were raw, which ones had various ingredients, and so forth. It was a fairly in-depth study, done for personal reasons unrelated to Pure Jeevan's blog articles. So, we never mentioned it before.

Driving to work today, we noticed that McDonald's has launched its latest product aimed at the health-conscious demographic. In case you haven't heard, you can now purchase fruit smoothies at Mickey D's! Sounds like real progress, right? Well, let's take a closer look and see if they're really as healthy as they sound.

McDonald's is not exactly known as a healthfood destination. After all, a typical lunch at the Golden Arches these days might well include something like an Angus Bacon & Cheese, Large Fries, and a Large Coke. ?Together, that's 1,600 calories, 64 grams of fat, and 2,400 mg of sodium, 99% of which is from highly cooked, highly processed, non-organic, factory-farmed, nutrition-barren source materials . (Add on another 75 calories and 550 more mg of sodium if you plan to go through, say, five packets of ketchup along with those fries.) (Source) And, some people eat that daily!

Since our child was exposed to a large variety of vegetables and fruits at a young age, she has always enjoyed consuming them in myriad ways. When children's exposure to fruits and veggies has been limited, however, they don't always like consuming things that are so different from what they've grown accustomed to eating (and this many times carries into adulthood).

It's vital that children be exposed to a variety of foods, as often as possible, while growing up. For the vast majority of children, however, that has not been the case. Packaged, processed, and fast foods are a standard part of our society; we don't think twice about serving such foods to our children. Everyone is doing it, it's affordable and convenient, and they like it!

I wrote on Monday that today (Thursday), we would be discussing mint here -- specifically, harvesting some late-remaining mint from our mint bed (shown above in all its glory) and making something with it. I failed, however, to take into account that it's been getting darker earlier and earlier these days. By the time I was able to get outside and talk about mint, it was just too dark.

So, I thought I'd forego the video, and just write up some minty facts to freshen up your Thursday. To begin, I would highly encourage anyone who is new to gardening, and wants some early success, to experiment with mint (including spearmint, peppermint, and the various varietals available here and there). I can almost guarantee that you'll have some wild (and I do mean wild!) success, and will soon enjoy more mint than the law allows. It's so easily grown, and spreads around so easily (via its root system), that it would almost be considered invasive if it weren't so darned desirable and fragrant. (It's tough to walk past a mint bed without snatching up a leaf, rolling it between your fingers, and inhaling the scent deeply.)

I am very fair-skinned, with light eyes and medium-colored hair. For as long as I can remember, the sun made me feel ill. The older I got, the sicker I'd feel. I felt uncomfortable in the heat, my skin would feel all prickly, I got horrible headaches, and sometimes I even got sick to my stomach. I've always loved being out in nature, but on really sunny days, it bothered me and I'd try to stay in/near the woods and the shade.

We just returned from the East End Food Co-op, where we answered raw food questions for two hours. We were still answering questions on our way out the door, and would have stayed longer but the place was closing. ;-) So, if anyone from this evening stops by our site and you still have questions, just comment here (or send me an email) and I'll be happy to answer them.

I'm more of a one-on-one kind of person, so I was a bit nervous about sitting in front of everyone to answer questions. Jim and KDcat were there to help me, of course, otherwise I probably wouldn't have been there at all. Once people started arriving, I was comfortable. The first people who entered the room were super sweet and I could tell they were genuinely nice people. Then little by little the room filled up, and I was surprisingly comfortable.Maybe in addition to all of the other positive changes in my life, my self confidence is getting better, too!

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!

Hi Everyone! It's been a while since we've run a "My Raw Story" feature. So, here's one from my good friend Chris Paris, who I met and hung out with at the Raw Spirit Festival this past summer. I think you'll like his take on raw, his before & after pics, and the personal topics he covers such as the role raw foods played in his spirituality. -Jim

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Jim thought it was important for me to update everyone about my health, especially since so many of you have been sending emails, etc., and I haven't responded.

I do appreciate all the love and concern (thank you all so VERY much!), but it's painful for me to type for very long. This update is going to most likely bring about some more pain, but I don't want you to keep worrying about me and my health. So, I'll share what's been going on.

There's an antibiotic that will decrease the pain temporarily if you have Lyme disease (it won't help the pain if it's caused by anything else), and I was able to obtain some of it. So far, today is day five on it. And here's some great news: The pain started lessening on day three -- the aches completely gone, leaving only sharp pains when I move my joints in certain ways. I'll be on this antibiotic (and possibly some others for "co-infections" that sometimes come with Lyme, but I won't know until more blood tests are done and the Lyme specialist reviews the results).