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.

Wow, today is Day 7 of the Big 2010 Tour! So far, Wendi and KDcat have spent three days on a train and three more in Portland, Salem, and Corvallis. We still have plenty of content to post from those, including a good deal of video (once I'm able to edit that). For now, let's look at some pics and talk about their second stop, Salem!

Prior to leaving, Wendi & KDcat (let's just say "W&K" from here on out, okay ) stopped at People's Co-Op in Portland for supplies. As much as they loved Portland, they weren't very impressed with the co-op there, as compared to the one we have in Pittsburgh. However, in fairness, they were told that it's still a "young" co-op. Still, it's surprising to me that Portland wouldn't have an enormous one. However, it could very well be that there is not as much of a need there, in an area in which organics are much more accepted. Here in Pittsburgh, one could argue that our co-op thrives because organics are largely scoffed at by other retailers. Interesting, eh?

(By the way, are people on the west coast really as laid back as everyone says Wendi got into a bit of hot water for filming inside another co-op! Here in Pittsburgh, I doubt anyone would care if you set up a movie set in our co-op. No charges were filed, thankfully.)

Wondering where we've been lately? We've just been busy with fixing up our home and some other summer things. We've been enjoying the nearby Columbia River Gorge from time to time. Above is a picture Jim took of some wild mulberries he found there recently. There's nothing like enjoying a snack right off of a tree -- the berries still warm from the summer sun! People around here are fairly savvy, too; ?Jim wasn't the only purple-fingered park visitor that day.

Anyway, we'll be returning to more regular posting in the not-too-distant future. In the near term, we have some important breaking news to share soon on the more "activist" side of things, as well as some product reviews that we think everyone will like to read. We're working on all of that off-line at the moment, but will be back here soon (that is, if we can get Jim away from the wild mulberries for a moment).

Isn't it amazing how many different, stunningly delicious salad dressings there are in the world ! It's mind-boggling! There could easily be an entire blog devoted to nothing but raw salad dressings -- and I bet, in the right hands, such a blog could go on 5 days / week for literally years before truly exhausting the subject.

The world simply abounds with good recipe ideas -- and "abundance" is really the mentality you need to embrace when you're doing anything in the culinary world, raw or otherwise. The other side of the spectrum is the "scarcity" perspective, which is when you think, "Oh, I'd love to write a cookboook or create a recipe, but there are already millions of them out there and all of the great culinary creations have been done already."

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.

If you're like me, you get inspired and motivated when you hear stories of success. It's thrilling to hear what others have done, how they've overcome obstacles in their way and achieved something great. When it comes to the raw food diet, the stories of success seem endless.Here on the Pure Jeevan blog, we've been highlighting these raw success stories under our "My Raw Story" series. It's a popular part of this blog and we'll continue to collect and share the inspiring stories with all of you.

Another place to find some wonderful raw food success stories is over at the All Raw Directory. We have a category there for raw success stories. You'll find some of the stories we've run here through our My Raw Story series, but you might also find some others that you've never heard about before!

Jim here... When you consider the agricultural and marketplace practices that affect the food we eat (e.g., pesticide use in the fields, widespread irradiation afterward, and the contamination of produce from various sources -- not to mention some of the disturbing potentialities we face in terms of further governmental intervention into the food chain), it leads one to the conclusion that, if we really want to eat the best food ever, growing it yourself is a great solution. It's also cheaper to grow your own and, in my opinion, more fulfilling than purchasing it (if you have the time and space to manage it, that is).

With all of these concerns (and more) in mind, we've launched a new series of interviews called "Know the Growers" in which I'll be interviewing organic farmers around the world on best practices in the field. Initially, we'll be publishing them every few weeks, most likely. Once we sell our home and are "full-time Pure Jeevan karma yogis," we'll be publishing them weekly (along with resuming our daily video series Know Your Food). I'll be publishing these organic farming interview transcripts on NaturalNews.com under their Citizen Journalist program.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Click on Photo"][/caption]

In this older post, I talk a bit about intuitive eating and share an example of how it feels if we are unable to intuitively eat. Click on the photo, above, to visit that post.

=============

Jim here... Since we posted Wendi's two-part series on pasta-making techniques (part 1, part 2) last week, I thought I'd follow up with an additional novel use for the spiralizer -- super-delicious, blazingly fast, ultra-low-fat sweet potato chips! We've done some really great things with sweet potatoes before. (Anyone signed up as a member of the Pure Jeevan family has likely already received our prized sweet potato pancake recipe.) But, these chips are amazing because they satisfy that unmistakable urge for crunchy, healthy snacks -- and in record time. Friends, if you have a dehydrator and sweet potato on hand, you could literally be enjoying these things in under three hours. So let's get going!

As Wendi demonstrated in the videos last week, you can easily make "rounds" using the spiralizer by simply making a vertical slice throughout your vegetable prior to placing it on the spiralizer. So, if we were looking down at the sweet potato, the cut (which goes all the way down the length of the vegetable) would look like this:

?

I was grocery shopping in Giant Eagle with a friend the other day; I was just there to keep her company. When we left the Nature's Basket area (where they sell organics and more natural items), I felt a strange feeling. I hadn't realized it, but over the past two years I stopped shopping in the other areas of the store! I told her that by the time we hit the packaged shelves of the Nature's Basket area, I'd already be done shopping and my cart would be filled. We had a good giggle and went on shopping.

Anyway, that has since brought my attention to the shopping carts of those around me. We do about 5% of our shopping in Giant Eagle (last minute things that we've run out of, that don't merit a trip to our Food Co Op), so lately I've found myself in Giant Eagle looking into the carts of those around me. I'm not judging anyone, I'm just curious. On average, just about everyone has a small bunch of bananas in their cart. There are the occasional carts with something like a cantaloupe, a bag of apples, and once I saw a single tomato and a bag of lettuce. The rest of the carts have been filled with packaged foods. There is next to no living food in the carts.

For many people, a change in diet is largely a mental issue. You *decide* that you're going to do something different, and then commit to it. You may shop a little differently than before, but quite often that is the extent of any action taken (other than preparing and eating the new foods rather than the old ones).For many, the commitment aspect is the trickiest part. ?Books could be written on this subject alone (and we're sure we've discussed this at length here on the blog).

Today we want to share a super-easy tip to help with the commitment side of this: Keep your fruits and vegetables VISIBLE.