Jim here (again!) A little over a month ago, we couldn t contain our excitement about an online contest to win the best job EVER ? living as caretaker of a tropical island in Queensland, Australia, on the Great Barrier Reef for 6 months (and being paid $100k for the task!).

The deadline has come for this and, as we promised, we BOTH applied. You saw my video, below. Here's Wendi's application. Once again, we hope you'll view the video & rate her a 5!!! You can click the screenshot above, or go there directly via this link. (As I said below, I ve heard that the rating system can get a little screwy on that site ? that you need to wait for it to load and maybe mouse over the rating part first. But, a 5-star rating would really help, as would the traffic, even if you don t watch the entire video.)

You rarely hear us talk about our daughter here on the blog. Some of you have noticed and asked questions about her through email. I'd like to tell you why we don't write about her very much, because there's something to be learned from it.

First, I usually don't like to write about people unless I get their permission. This is especially true when my daughter is concerned. I respect her privacy if she chooses for me to not share things about her life. Years ago when I knew I wanted to create the Pure Jeevan site, I talked with Jim and our daughter about it. I said it was something I felt drawn to do, that I felt it could help a lot of people, but I wanted it to be a family site if it's something they were interested in doing along with me. Jim agreed to help me at the time, but didn't fully embrace Pure Jeevan himself (now, however, he has become a very active part of this site and all of our projects). Our daughter, however, said from the very beginning that she didn't want any part of it.

"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!).

Just a quick announcement today:? I just pressed "send" on our gorgeously produced November 2009 e-newsletter. While we've done periodic newsletters in the past, we've now revisited our commitment to doing them regularly. So, each month going forward, we plan to send out a new e-newsletter.

And they're always crazy fun!? They're kind of like bouncing on a trampoline -- like flying, you know ? Nothing but care-free, transcendent happiness, soaring amid the tree branches, smiling ear-to-ear, gravity-defying hair flying every which way. (Okay, maybe they're not that much fun. But, they are at least generally enjoyable -- and informative!)

Today, for Thankful Thursday, I want to focus on a raw food related subject: Raw Recipe Books! Without the many mouthwatering, visually appetizing recipes that have been created and published, I don't know if I'd still be living a raw food lifestyle at this time.

About two years ago, when I made the decision to transition into a raw food diet, there were some fantastic raw food recipe books available. A few years before that, when I tried raw for the first time with a dear friend of mine, there were books available but none of them were truly gourmet meals. It's amazing how much things change in just a few years! The newer books are filled with colorful pictures of the most visually stimulating foods, which never looked like simple chopped up veggies arranged nicely on a plate. We have a page with many raw recipe books listed, if you'd like to see some of the ones that are available.

I started writing on a raw food forum about the oranges coming in today. But, I was on my way out the door and I had more to say about them than I realized, so, I figured I'd paste what I wrote, so far, and add to it here in our blog. ;-)


(organic oranges and grapefruits)

Wow, is it really Episode 3 already? How time flies! Remember way back when we started this informative, informational, nutrition-oriented "Know Your Food" series? Seems like ages ago, doesn't it? (Oh, wait... It WAS ages ago. It's just taken us a while to get up to speed with this video stuff!) Anyway, here's the video, followed by some camera/video editing news -- oh, and of course some highly urgent celery information. (Okay, it isn't really urgent at all; we just needed to add a dash of drama.) So, see what you think. You might even learn a thing or two about our stalky green friend.

Not TOO bad, right? We're getting to our goal of roughly 3-minute episodes. Of course, this is still one of our first attempts, shot last Sunday. We thought it was decent enough to not entitle it "salvaged" as we did the previous installment.

What do you do when you spend the night or week-end at someone's house and they're not raw. Do you take your blender and all that

Super question, Joanna!? I'm sure you also have a great answer for this. I think I do, too, but it's probably more complicated than a lot of people would like.For me, the factors that complicate the "travel to non-raw households" issue include, but are not limited to:

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!

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.

Hey there, everyone! Thanks for visiting Pure Jeevan. We want our welcome article, for now, to be this article on Vitamix blenders. There are certainly a few essential elements (e.g. good knives, cutting boards, a good food processor, etc.) to any raw food kitchen, and one of them is an awesome high-speed blender. Yes, there are many great blenders in the world, and yes there are a few decent top-of-the-line models on par with Vita-Mix. But, at the end of the day, our recommendation is the Vita-Mix (and yes, it's better than Blendtec, in our view). Here's a crazy video Jim did a while back for a Vitamix contest:

Note: That "free shipping" code, below, is no longer active. We'll let you know when we get a new free shipping code. For now, we hope you enjoy the video. :-)

We purchased ours 15+ years ago, and have subjected it to at least daily use (if not many times per day most of the time!) -- and it's still going strong. If you don't understand why a Vita-Mix is different from even a high-end blender from a department store, it's basically the sheer power. These things can pulverize pretty much anything -- time after time, without blowing out the motor. For example, you can make ultra-thick, healthy, raw ice creams day after day all summer long, and the machine will keep on working for years (and, in our case, we're almost ready to say "decades").

We used to be an affiliate w/ them, and are reapplying to be one. For now, we hope you like the video, above.