Jim here...As vegans and vegetarians, we're familiar with what we believe is quite a lot of misinformation regarding our lifestyle. However, we've done the research and, for example, know how we get our protein (always a concern received from others), know the stats on B12 deficiency (another concern often cited by mainstreamers), and know our answers to other issues such as where we get our minerals from and whether we consume processed foods and sugars. Bucking the mainstream conventional wisdom emergent from within a world dominated by the Standard American Diet, we live defiantly as healthy examples of our chosen path. But, is there any wiggle room as far as what is and isn't healthy (for us, and for everyone)? What about some of the things that everyone "knows" is bad for you? With questions like those in mind, here's something unusual -- a full post developed from a simple Facebook update. (You are friends with Wendi and me on Facebook, right ) Yesterday, I posted the following:

Think of something that you think is bad for you, and then go to Google & type in "benefits of [that thing]" and see if there is a web site that is promoting that thing. I just did this for "caffeine" and read some thought-provoking ideas (that might all be utter BS, but are interesting nonetheless).

Q. I am trying to go raw and juicing for only two days now and I am soooo hungry and I really don't quite understand what to eat. I went out and bought a bunch of raw vegetables but I am lost on exactly how to prepare the meals and I'm so tired of being fat. Can you direct me to a simple start of book or can you give me some simple recipes or what you did to get started on your first month? Thank you.

Signed,

Frustrated and Fat in Virginia

A. Dear LOVELY BEING,

I suppose that, when you buy more produce than the average consumer, you come to observe a thing or two about that produce. We can't say for sure that our assertion is 100% true, but it sure does seem true to us. You see, we've noticed that produce we purchase at farmers' markets tends to keep longer than store-bought. Give it a try yourself, and see if your produce stays fresher longer!

Of course, there are many other benefits to shopping at farmers' markets. Aside from the produce being able to stay fresh longer, you're getting it in a much fresher state than store-bought. So, the things you eat first will be "extra" fresh tasting.

A while ago, I received an email asking whether I had any thoughts on how old or young a person needs to be in order to benefit from a raw food diet. Yes. Yes, I do have thoughts on that! Lots of thoughts! ... Here goes:

The easy answer, of course, is that people of ALL ages can (and should) benefit from raw foods. I can assert with confidence that, for most people, increasing your intake of raw fruits and vegetables will likely bring about positive changes to your health, regardless of your age, dietary habits, or current state of health. (Naturally, reducing or eliminating the "bad" things is also paramount.)

To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

While I was growing up in the Midwest, I had a rich uncle who lived out East in Philadelphia. I didn't know him very well at the time, but would often glean stories via the family grape vines of his business successes. After high school, I attended college in Northeastern Pennsylvania -- Wilkes University -- where, incidentally, I first met Wendi! :-)

Being out there, I got to visit my uncle from time to time, and dine with him and his family. ?Among other things, he was quite the gourmand. I'm not so sure what he'd have thought of raw foods, although I suspect he'd have appreciated the many gourmet efforts.

Pardon the video quality there. A.J. and I shot that video at night and, although it looked decent on the camera's preview screen, the actual video came out almost totally black!? However, with a bit of video processing, we were able to salvage it. It's not optimal video, but it's at least watchable (and, hey, also conveys a little of that nighttime festival feeling).

A quick note about veganism before I share some additional info... As we've stated here many times, Pure Jeevan advocates a raw vegan lifestyle. What do we intend that to mean, exactly? Well, strictly speaking, veganism excludes all animal products, both in terms of diet and lifestyle.

As a follow-up to yesterday's McDonald's-bashing post, I thought I'd post another perspective -- namely, that not all chain smoothies are bad. I can't claim to have tried them all, but I can report with confidence that, for raw most foodists, a trip to Jamba Juice can be awesome!

?

Well, it's nearing the end of 2009, and I've been unwell for half of the year. (To make a positive statement out of that, I'll add that I've been well for the other half!) It's hard to believe so much time has gone by and about half a year of my life was spent in pain, tears, and sometimes fear (mostly in the beginning of the lyme disease). I'm definitely looking forward to the new year, to leaving this disease behind me while taking the lessons I've learned with me into 2010.

As many of you know, I was very proactive in finding a "cure" to the disease as soon as it was identified. I tried allopathic remedies (antibiotics for about three months), alternative remedies (herbal protocols, vitamin/mineral/supplemental protocols, aromatherapy techniques, healing massage, hands-on-healing, water fasting, prayer/meditation/positive visualization), and so much more. Nothing completely cured my body from the lyme bacteria that seems to have spread throughout my body and found favorite spots to multiply (particularly in my shoulders and arms).

Did you know that approximately 70% of your muscle, 80% of your blood is water, and 85% of your brain is made up of water? When we are born, we are nearly 90% water by weight, and as we age we lose more and more water (think of a grape slowly shriveling up into a dried raisin).

If you consume 100% fresh raw foods (with none that have been dried or dehydrated in any way), your body is receiving the cleanest, most pure water possible and you probably don't experience a lot of thirst. The less fresh foods an individual consumes, the more their needs for water increases.

Jim here... Sorry for being away for so long. We've got SO much going on these days, it's mind-boggling! More on that later, as I have something in mind already for today...I should start by clarifying that I've been basically raw for almost 4 years now (high-raw, you might say). During the first nearly-two years, I still ate meat from time to time. Actually, I still ate (and drank) almost everything from time to time -- sugars, processed foods, alcohol, you name it -- only less than I did before, and within the context of a dietary intake consisting of a significantly higher percentage of living foods. In those early years, I'd estimate I was averaging 75-90% raw. Not bad ... I definitely experienced improvements in my health!

The big change in consciousness didn't follow until two years ago. (This is an interesting point because, as you can see, I wasn't "ready" for a bigger change for two years into eating a lot of raw foods!) I suppose the difference was that, during the early years, I was pretty much raw by default rather than by conscious decision. As Jules said in Pulp Fiction, "... my girlfriend's a vegetarian. ?Which more or less makes me a vegetarian..." Yeah, that was my case back then, too, although I certainly grew into it (and am thankful that I did).