Jim here... Thought I'd post a pic from Wendi's birthday last Friday. Shown above is the "birthday cake" -- more of a birthday treat, really. If it looks decent to you, here's the recipe:

The "cake" part:

As we mentioned in one of our first blog posts, Pure Jeevan met with Leela Mata at her Peaceful Valley Ashram to discuss the details for some 3-day Raw Food Spiritual Retreats for you during 2008! The details are finalized and we are proud to announce our first 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Retreat, that will be held at the ashram from May 23-25, 2008. We've set this retreat up so that it's as affordable as possible. There's a significant savings if you sign up early, so be sure to check it out!

Some very special companies have delicious treats for those attending the retreat.

Before officially starting the new year, I'd like to acknowledge the changes and growth that took place over the past year. It was a whirlwind of changes, sometimes so dizzying that I wondered what I was doing and occasionally questioned whether, or not, I was making mistakes with my life. I followed my intuition, however, and it served me well. I'm here today, remembering the past year and ready to announce plans for this new year that has just begun. It's a beautiful life, isn't it Even when things seem dark and like there is a lot of pain, there is a tremendous amount of potential for new growth and a brighter life than ever imagined.

I ended 2008, perched on a summit and ready to take flight. Before I fly, however, I'm standing still for a bit and enjoying the view. I feel like the entire past year consisted of climbing to higher and higher plateaus of an enormous mountain. While climbing to each new plateau I stumbled, held on for dear life, saw amazing things, and became stronger.When reaching each new plateau, I'd spread my wings and leap, circling the mountain's circumference. But, I wasn't strong enough to fly straight to the peak. It was a year of gradual growth and change -- and I found myself becoming stronger and stronger as I reached the summit.I'm certainly not the same person who started this climb. I have transformed into a more genuine version of myself, a younger and stronger woman emerging from a lifetime of guilt and fear. As I stand on this summit, I feel youthful and invigorated. What lies ahead may be unknown to me, but I know it's within my ability to fly to the highest heights of ANY mountain, to see and do and experience ALL that I desire. It's going to be an incredible future and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!

In recognizing all of the accomplishments of 2008, I think it's important to admit that it wasn't one steady climb to the point I'm at today.The few years prior to 2008 were almost like my training in mountain climbing. Last year there were a lot of tears shed, along with a releasing of physical and emotional baggage that was still clinging to me. I openly shared what I was going through, however, after learning that keeping things inside was slowly killing my spirit. I think if I had to sum up 2008 in just one sentence it would be: In finally releasing everything, I woke up as my true self.

All this month, Jim has been experimenting with a low-fat, raw vegan diet. He discusses his reasons for trying a low fat diet, and how he s been feeling with the changes, in his first and second posts so far this month.

Many of you have heard us mention the famous low-fat, raw vegan 80/10/10 diet here on our blog. Well, today I d like to highlight the individual behind that diet. So?

Jim here... We're at an interesting juncture here at Pure Jeevan. For the moment, we're still living a little more "in the box" than we plan to in the near future. One example of this is my personal excitement about Fridays. Oh, I suppose Fridays will always seem special to me somehow. But after years of the corporate routine, Friday remains the most welcome weekday.

Friday signifies the end of the five-day stretch during which most people do whatever they happen to do to pay the bills, to keep (raw!) food on the table, and a roof over their heads. While I know of and admire many people for whom the work week is generally meaningful and rewarding, I suspect that the majority of people go through it simply for the money. Sure, many "like" their job (or, perhaps more aptly, "don't hate it"), but I have met too few who absolutely love their jobs. (Come to think of it, I've met quite a number who actually do hate their work!)

I don't have time to write a real blog post, but wanted to pass along this information for anyone who eats Halloween candy, or knows of others who do. Please note that I am not the kind of person to spread false warnings. I completely trust Mike Adams as a Health Reporter and all around wonderful person. He would not spread false news...he looks into every bit of information available before sharing what he's learned with everyone else.

Mike has issued a warning about Halloween Candy. Please go to his site to find out more about it: NaturalNews.com

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I'll leave you with an old Halloween picture of me before I started eating raw foods. Halloween used to be the day I'd dress up and feel okay being myself, because I was in costume. It's funny to me that this year I feel no need to cover up in order to be myself. Halloween is still my favorite holiday, however!

The mono meals ended and I did create that beet pasta with alfredo sauce that I was dreaming about. So, here's the recipe:

BEET PASTA

Jim here... Wow, how awesome is it that today's Makin' It Monday falls just one day after Mother's Day -- and that we had ?a very special guest edition ready to post featuring ... ?my awesome mom! ??!!! ?I love my mom so much ... she's the best mom ever! And you'll love watching her demonstrate how to make 100% raw hummus. Mom might be 100% Italian, but she makes a pretty mean 100% Lebanese raw hummus, which is a pretty popular dish in my family. Here's the vid!

For this week's Makin' It Monday, I'll share a super quick and yummy recipe I created. Since we have all of those delicious oranges, guess what the recipe is going to include? ;-)

ORANGE PUDDING

Today's post isn't specifically about raw foods. But, we wanted to post a few videos highlighting some interesting research by an Italian doctor named Tullio Simoncini, who just might be onto something HUGE! Dr. Simoncini treats certain cancer patients with ordinary sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), based on his premise that cancer is a fungal problem and that a solution of baking soda is anti-fungal. Naturally, he's been vilified by the medical establishment for making such a seemingly simplistic claim. But, what if he's right?

Here at Pure Jeevan, we're very much into health research -- not so much with an aim to cure any specific disease or ailment, but rather to understand ways in which our bodies can become what we like to call unbalanced, as well as the ways in which we might return our bodies to proper balance, when necessary. In this way, I suppose that we, like many in the natural health world, feel that the body is amazingly capable of healing itself (in many circumstances) as long as the body is able to find a favorable state from which it can properly do what it naturally wants to -- which is to return the body to an optimal state of health.

Medical doctors don't buy into this theory very much. ?However, it's certainly ironic how, where certain areas of standard medical practice are concerned, what I described above is exactly what doctors do. Take something like a broken bone, for example. A doctor does not normally attempt to surgically repair the bone itself. Rather, the standard and time-honored practice is to set the bone (say, with a cast), and then to let your body heal the break naturally, on its own, making those skeletal connections as only the imponderably complex, ever-evolving wisdom of the human body can facilitate. (True, doctors do often intervene these days with surgery for broken bones. But, their aim there is mainly to position the bones for proper healing, and/or to do things like insert pins in an attempt to improve functionality after healing. Either way, the procedure here still relies on the body's ability to eventually heal the problem.) Standard medical knowledge in this area is without question outstanding -- and this is why most people in the natural health world have little problem with going to see a medical doctor for emergency treatment.

Rita Romano, author of the widely available book Dining in the Raw and executive chef for many years at the Hippocrates Health Institute, is a true pioneer of the raw movement. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to visit with her and her two lovely Boston Terriers, Angel and Oreo. Here's PART TWO of our talk with her: