I've been back from the Raw Spirit Festival for about five days, now. The first few days I couldn't stop crying. I have a lot to share with all of you, maybe more than you'll want me to share. While away some pretty amazing healing took place. I found myself lifted out of the past and delivered to the future, in a way. I am here, whole, and aligned with who I am on all levels.

Pure Jeevan means Pure Life (or Total Life). Raw food is only part of my life, part of who I am, part of my journey. So, I'll be openly sharing who I am here in this blog; raw food isn't going to be the main focus---it's just part of my story and part of what I want to share.

Until I can sit down to begin sharing everything that transpired while I was away and over this past five days, I'll share some pictures with all of you!

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!

Sharing is lovely, don't you think? When I decided I was going to "go raw" and not consume cooked foods anymore, it was a huge life-changing decision. Even though there was no one standing next to me, telling me what to do and not do as I was changing my eating habits, I was still supported in my efforts. My support system was made up of copious amounts of experience and advice that was openly shared by experienced raw foodists. Even though many times I felt like I was alone, the path I was walking was etched with loving words left by caring people who wanted to encourage others who were yet to come down the same raw food path.

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!

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.

Many times we are asked about our grocery bill---how much do we spend each month on eating a raw, vegan diet? It's not something that's easy to answer, though. If we just blurted the amount out, people would be shocked (at a minimum) and insist that there's no way possible they could ever eat a raw diet because they can't afford it.

Our monthly expense at the grocery store has continued to climb since I first began eating raw foods. At this point, now that Jim is eating 100% raw, as well, our monthly expense has more than doubled from the time when it was only me eating 100%. That's a huge increase in money being spent each month. But, you know what? It's okay! Yes, I said it's okay that our expense has more than doubled and I'll tell you why after you take a look at what we purchased last week for our home.

Today, we thought we'd share another non-diet-oriented explanation of obesity. It's from Rhonda Byrne, author of the international multi-media phenomenon known as "The Secret," which provides readers with in-depth philosophical explanation and instruction with respect to the Law of Attraction.

Wendi and I have The Secret on CD, and often enjoy listening to it. I think, in fairness, we both have a few legitimate criticisms about certain aspects of it (and I'll share one or two, below). However, on the whole, many of the ideas within resonate deeply for us and we find much of the underlying message profoundly uplifting and empowering -- especially (for me) much of the discussion regarding maintaining a healthy, positive, optimistic attitude and practicing gratitude.

Jim here... Wow, it's May 1st already! May is an exciting month for me because that's usually when my running kicks in more regularly. There's nothing like hitting the pavement and being in motion, MP3 player in hand. Whether it's an intense half hour of intervals powered by the Foo Fighters, or a longer moving-meditative outing accompanied by Michael Hedges, I do enjoy being out there (even if I'm distracted now and again when my canine running companion? -- aka "the Jooge" -- chases after something she shouldn't)!

But, as I was getting at:? Ever since I lost the weight, I simply can't abide cold. I've heard many raw foodies talk about this phenomenon, and have heard numerous explanations for it. My suspicion is that all of the "why raw foodies are always cold" theories are partly correct -- or, better put, that the theories cumulatively contribute to our slightly lowered body temperature.

"My biggest problems are starches... I grew up with them so they are emotional comfort foods."

Well, it's great that you already understand that your desire for starches is mostly coming from an emotional connection with those foods. You're already much more aware of your body and its cravings than many others who are trying to lose weight.

If you have a strong connection with starches, then go ahead and eat them in the beginning of your journey to better health. Simply start by adding more and more fresh, raw, water-rich fruits and vegetables. The more you consume healthy fruits and vegetables, the more your body will begin to crave them (no kidding!! You will actually one day crave a salad as much as you're craving starches right now!).

Eating only mono meals is going pretty well. I'm on my third food, so far, and have ended day two. This evening I've started my third fruit: Pineapples!

Here's part two of Wendi's travelogue from Sedona:

After leaving ChocolaTree Cafe, and interviewing the lovely Kelly, we went to the famous Sedona Airport vortex spot, but there was no parking, so we drove to the top of the rock/mountain and there was a farmer's market going on. We took a quick video of what was happening up there, to share on the blog. There was a cool musician playing: Vighas Kendzia, who plays piano, native flutes, sax, and more. He's from musicfromthegarden.com and I told him he'd be on our site. So, if you made it here to check out the video, welcome, Vighas! :-)


From there, we headed out to find a vortex spot that Kelly described. I'm not sure if we found the exact spot, but we really enjoyed the place we found. We ate our lunch there and it was DELICIOUS! The water, the trees, the large boulders, the fresh air...it was a very special place. We then drove to one of the more well-known hiking/vortex spots: Bell Rock.The hike in is a bit over a mile, then there is the climbing (which isn't really recommended by the park officials, but it's absolutely necessary to fully experience Sedona!). I gave KDcat some space to explore the area a bit on her own, as this was a very special time for me a few years ago. There is a certain energy and cleansing that happens when visiting Sedona. If any of you are going through changes in your lives, or feel like there is a shift that needs to happen, I highly recommend visiting Sedona for a few days. KDcat felt some powerful personal healing, which didn't surprise me at all. It's a place I'd love to visit every few years, or so, as it definitely holds some sort of healing energy. Maybe it's just the views, or the peacefulness of being away from everything. Whatever it is, I highly recommend visiting Sedona and climbing around on the rocks!



Some of you know about my love of Sedona, AZ, especially those who were following the Pure Jeevan blog a few years ago. It was a visit to Sedona in 2008, for a Raw Spirit Festival, that my life dramatically changed once again. This time it wasn't the food that was healing me, but it was related to the raw food lifestyle. I felt healed on many levels while there in Sedona, surrounded by the beautiful red rocks, cool and sandy earth beneath my bare feet in contrast to the warm sun on my skin, and embraced by a vibrant, loving community of like-minded individuals.
There's a certain magic to Sedona, if you believe in such things (well, I suppose it's there even if you don't believe). ;-) ?For me, I believe that we can many times find scientific reasons to explain much of the magic in this beautiful world, but that doesn't have to diminsh the experiences we have. Sedona is known for its powerful vortex energy, which has a way of stirring up our own energy systems and bringing about healing, balance, awakenings, etc. ?Is this energy measurable through science, or is it more metaphysical in nature? I don't know and to be honest, it doesn't matter to me. There were life-altering changes that took place while I was in Sedona in 2008 which rippled out beyond me and touched the lives of those very close to me, as well.

Here's a quick video of a Sedona Farmer's Market and a clip of KDcat and I at an area we claimed to be flowing with vortex energy, even though it wasn't necessarily one of the more touristy vortex destinations.