Many people have asked us about the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF): What is it? When is it? Where is it? Will we be going ? So, we wanted to take a moment to answer those questions.

Welcome to the very first Take the Time Tuesday entry! What's Take the Time Tuesday, you may ask? Well, it's a time to meet someone special. Each Tuesday we'll introduce you to an individual or business we think might be of interest to you. So, who's in the spotlight for this very first Take the Time Tuesday entry? Pure Jeevan, of course!

Take the Time to Meet...

Picking up from the previous installment, Wendi and KDcat absolutely loved beautiful Corvallis, but ultimately felt it had too much of a small-town feel for us. So, they decided to take a road trip to the nearest big city, Eugene. KDcat and Stephanie (one of the lovely daughters of our Corvallis hosts) were enjoying their time together, so Stephanie decided to come along.

The trip from Corvallis to Eugene is but one pleasant hour's drive.The group's first stop was the Buffalo Exchange, a new and secondhand clothing store. Everyone loved the store, which offered a great selection of? fun clothes you can t usually find in other stores or thrift shops. A barely worn pair of red hi-top Converse sneakers was the highlight of this stop for KDcat. She's been wanting a pair of these exact shoes for ... well, forever! She immediately began decorating them when she had the chance (after they were disinfected, that is).

From there, they explored greater Eugene, checking out areas others had suggested. There were a lot of cute shops, but they were geographically spread out. It wasn t like the neighborhoods in Portland, where you can walk blocks and blocks with unique stores, restaurants, etc., all in a row. There was a nice vibe to Eugene, Wendi said, but something about it just didn t feel like home for us. Wendi said there weren t as many people out and about as she'd expected, but that could have been because they visited on a Sunday. Here are some pics from around town -- and then we'll talk food.

So far, so good, with the mono-meal fasting for Navratri! I mentioned that I'll be sharing an almost diary-like blog entry at the end of each day, to share things with all of you. Well, today's diary entry is quite long. I do share a lot about what was going on with me before the fast, and why I haven't been around much online to connect with all of you.

How's everyone else doing? Are you enjoying your raw food journey? What have you been learning about yourselves, your bodies, and your overall health?

Surrounding yourself with information about the raw food lifestyle is important when you're beginning your raw food journey. That's one of the tips I shared with many of you who are subscribed to our mailings--and it's a very important tip. Even after being raw for over three years, I still surround myself with information about the raw food lifestyle. It not only keeps me inspired, it allows me to feel an even deeper connection with the community of which I am a part.

One of my friends, Beth Berry (better known as Bunny Berry), has become a constant source of inspiration for many individuals learning about the raw food lifestyle. She puts out video blogs through YouTube and has developed a wonderful group of followers in her RawFu community. As most raw foodists can tell you, your mind becomes clearer on the raw food diet and creativity soars as a result. Beth was already quite creative before raw, but on a high raw diet she has become even more so. I want to share something that she has recently created for the raw food community!

Jim here... About an hour ago, I purchased $68 worth of ice cream from a local supermarket. Bet you thought you'd never read something like that here, eh ? Well, don't worry -- Wendi and I haven't suddenly decided to binge on dairy products. You see, in my corporate job, I'm often the event organizer; today that meant ice cream gopher.

For some raw foodies, that scenario might seem rather cruel. You may be thinking: Isn't it tough to have to go purchase nine tubs of ice cream, two jars of maraschino cherries, two bags of marshmallows, four containers of flavored syrups, two cans of whipped cream, and numerous boxes of waffle cones ? No, it's not cruel at all. To me, it's now the same as running out for, say, office supplies.

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!

Wow, are you in for a treat! I came up with the most delicious soup recipe today! I wanted to make something that didn't require use of the food processor, blender, or dehydrator because I've gotten quite a few emails saying that it's too hard to be raw if you don't have the money for the appliances.

I disagree that it's too hard to be raw without the appliances. It's definitely easier to do it *with* the appliances, but it's not overly hard to do it without. So, from time-to-time I'll try to create recipes that don't use anything more than a knife and a chopping board to show you that it's not too difficult to eat raw. :-)

Jim here with a weird little story for today... I was at a business seminar early this morning and someone I know came up behind me at the buffet and said, "I'm getting in line behind you to see what you eat. You've lost weight and I want to lose weight, too."

"Well, it's no secret," I replied. "Just chow down on all of this great fruit they have." (I'd already piled my plate high with honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple, and strawberries.)

We had a wonderful weekend that started with a raw food potluck in our home (through the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup group). There were about twenty people and so many lovely raw food dishes! I haven't checked the camera, yet, but I hope someone remembered to capture some pictures of the food and guests. It was all very yummy, including the beet pasta I made with a cream sauce. I also made some carob peppermint sweets that KDcat formed into bite-sized balls and arranged them on a platter. A friend of mine told me that the people who show up for raw food potlucks tend to be genuinely nice people, and she was right. It was a pleasure meeting everyone and I look forward to next month's meetup.

The rest of our weekend was spent with our guest, Devaki, who just left a few minutes ago to return to the ashram. She played some beautiful music on the harmonium and she and some other lovely guests filled our home with the beauty and energy of Kirtan chanting. Some of the chants were in English, too. I thought I wouldn't like them as much, but they were just as beautiful as the Indian ones. One of my close friends who was here for the Kirtan told me that I was glowing after the chanting! I love the blissful feeling that comes from chanting and meditation.