Hi everyone! Jim here with a really special treat for you today. I'm interviewing our friend Joe Prostko, who we've known for a good year or so through the Pittsburgh raw food meetup group. You may remember Joe from our cacao pod video a while back.

We just had a big raw food potluck costume party here, and Joe showed up as an Oompa-Loompa. At first, I admittedly did not get the deeper part of this joke. I simply thought it was a novel costume because it was a character from the Willie Wonka book / movie. Later, however, it really sunk in, as I decided to flip through the Willie Wonka book to read up on Oompa-Loompas. Here's a quote from Willie Wonka author Roald Dahl:

Jim's mother, JoAnn, LOVES pasta. I'm sure many of you can relate to that---pasta is a big part of the cooked diet and just about everyone loves it. When going raw, many individuals say they just can't do it because they miss pasta too much. Well, that's no longer a problem. There is a raw way to make pasta and you are going to love it if you haven't experienced it, yet!

As a gift for Mother's Day, we sent a pasta-making tool to JoAnn along with a pasta sauce recipe we created for her (see the Paradisio Pasta Pomodoro entry). To make it easier for her to learn how to create pasta, and to answer some of the emails we've been receiving about the device we used to make the pasta, we have put together a two-part video showing how to make delicious, beautiful raw pastas! You'll learn how to use two different pasta-making devices, as well as how to use a simple vegetable peeler to create delicious noodles!

Jim here... Just wanted to say quickly that I'm heading off to the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF) today! I'll be carpooling (or, vanpooling) with our friends Melissa and Dave Sokulski, their daughter Ella, and our friend Bethany. We're all volunteering at RSF, which should not only be a lot of fun, but should also be a great way to get to know many other fellow raw foodies.

So, we'll be arriving Friday to help set up, enjoying the festival over the weekend, and staying Monday to help them "break it down." Since we need to leave Monday, we'll likely miss a fun-sounding party at Rawbin's place Monday night. But, I'm sure it'll be a blast overall, and it'll also be fun to camp out again, as I haven't done that in a while. I especially hope I'm also able to light something on fire, as I always love the fire aspect of camping most. Maybe I'll run into some of those raw foodies who spin fire-poi and can learn a new skill!

Yahoo recently ran a photo series on their "omg!" channel entitled "Celebrity Slim-Down Secrets." It actually has a nice set of before and after photos of celebrities who have lost weight. The set is here.Featured are Kelly Osbourne, Seth Rogen, Jennifer Hudson, Jerry Ferrara, Kirstie Alley, John Goodman, Jordin Sparks, Jason Segel, Drew Carey, Sara Rue, amd Kevin James. ?Most reported using personal trainers, changing up their diets, and getting more exercise (or some variation of those three).

We didn't read any reports of raw food diets in the story, but looking at before and after pictures is probably always a good idea, if only for visual inspiration. It's nice to see a broad range of people turning their health around, too. Some are younger celebs; others in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. So, it's nice to know that major changes are possible at any age.

It's been an interesting week for us here. We've looked at a handful of ways that people may either become obese, or sustain an obese body -- all largely for reasons outside of dietary intake. The three situations we looked at included maintaining weight as a defense mechanism (Tuesday), becoming obese through worrying about becoming obese (Wednesday), and obesity as basically a physical manifestation of a non-physical longing (Thursday).

Without a doubt, these are just three out of hundreds of possible non-physical contributors to poor health. The idea was merely to start a thread on these things, opening people's minds to possibilities that perhaps they'd never seriously considered.

Yesterday, we covered the concept of "unsubscribing" from unhealthy practices. This was of course based on the common Internet practice of subscribing and unsubscribing to various things like newsletters and email lists. I receive quite a few of these each day, many raw foods ones and many non-raw ones. Among the non-raw, one that has been interesting to me lately is called the Art of Non-Conformity, penned by Chris Guillebeau. Basically, Chris' site chronicles his adventures in reaching his personal goal -- to travel to every country in the world! Along the way, he writes about all sorts of out-of-the-box things, as the blog name implies.

Today, he posted something that is remarkably insightful and applicable to our subject matter here, even though his context was completely different. The entry, entitled simply "Before and After," discusses the drinking water problems in much of Africa, focusing for the moment on Liberia. Atop the piece (the "before" picture) is a muddy water hole, the only source of drinking water for one village. The next picture (the "after" shot) shows a different, very happy village obtaining fresh, clean water from a newly installed well. Chris closes his article with the following quote:

This retreat has been planned for quite some time, and we are very excited about it! It's going to be three days of feeding your body, mind, and spirit. We've kept the cost as low as possible, so that more people can afford to take the time to get away for some quiet time.

All the food is organic and raw, prepared for you with lots of love! There are yoga sessions, meditation, and even a beautiful bonfire if the weather is nice. I've taken some personal retreats at this ashram, myself, and it is so peaceful (it is called the Peaceful Valley Ashram, after all). ;-)? We've created a schedule of suggested activities, but everything is optional. This is a great opportunity to simply get away and calm your mind.

Wow, Pure Jeevan is officially coast-to-coast now! That picture, above, is our name written in the Pacific sand. Surely, there's an apt metaphor here, if only I felt moved to make one. Instead, why don't we take a look at what Wendi wrote about this, and see if a life-lesson doesn't spring to life! Her remarks, written for Pure Jeevan readers:

So, the ideal place on paper (Corvallis) wasn t seeming quite like the perfect place for us that we thought it would be. It s an amazing little town, with a lot going for it. If someone is looking for a totally hip, laid-back, creative, educated group of people living in a small town with no unsavory extremes as far as cold and heat, then this is the place for you. For us, however, we now realize that we ve grown to love all that comes with living in a larger city. Corvallis is fantastic, but now we realize we need a larger city.

Today we welcome an up-and-coming raw chef, Sam, from DebbieDoesRaw for the first of Pure Jeevan's new Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" editions. Sam will demonstrate how to make a simple Peach Pudding, which she tells us is the invention of her very good friend Anthony from Rawmodel.com. We think Sam did a super job! Don't you ! Sam, you're welcome to guest-host on our blog any time you like.

I'm posting this at the end of a busy day, but let's see what I can call fun in just an ordinary day.

It was fun singing at the top of my lungs with KDcat in the car today--both of us over exaggerating the vocals and giggling a lot.

Jim here... Recently, a commenter on this blog, Lannette, mentioned being a cardiac rehab nurse. For some reason, reading this set my wheels spinning in various directions, among them onto the topic of meat consumption in the world. To begin, I'd like to recap something I'd said in response to her:

... it *astounds* me how people joke about heart health where I work. People around here routinely return from medical exams and actually adopt rather mischievous grins when they reveal how high their bad cholesterol levels are. It's like they're saying, "I know meat and dairy are bad for me, but I'm going to keep on eating it anyway. Isn't that funny ??!!!" Ummm, no. It's sad. They laugh it off as though there could be no possible future reckoning for them. It's reminiscent, IMHO, of Dr. Viktor Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning," in which he describes a psychological phenomenon he termed the "delusion of reprieve." For anyone unfamiliar w/ that, the term describes the phenomenon via which those faced with certain death (or near certain death) mentally construct some way out of it. They are deluded into believing that they'll have a reprieve from the inevitable. So, it's exactly the same to me -- these people see the heart attacks coming. They simply refuse to do anything about it, refuse to change their habits, deny what their blood work says to them. Why? Because they think "I'll be okay. Sure, this leads to heart disease in most people, but not in *me* because I'm a strong guy, I'm macho, I'm not as fat as some other person here, etc." Mostly, it's the meat, I think. It's got a powerful hold on our society...

So, today I wanted to write a little bit on the topic of meat consumption. This is an enormous issue, in my opinion. If you're reading this, it likely means you're already at least a vegetarian, so I do not need to quote you any saddening statistics on the horrors of the meat industry. In fact, before writing this, I decided to visit the PETA web site quickly in order to glean a few slaughterhouse facts. But, in no time, I became markedly depressed, so I'll largely avoid focusing on specific negative imagery here.