When I first decided to try a raw food diet again (I had sampled it for about three months a few years before going completely raw), I wanted to do it in a way to prove that it either does or doesn t work. The best way to do that, I figured, was through consistent blood tests. So, that s what I did. I have continued to document my path to health with regular blood tests. Many of you know that the results have been remarkable. My dramatic shift in weight is the most obvious to others, but there were equally impressive changes going on inside my body, as well.

It has been about a year since my last blood work was done, so I knew I should schedule an appointment to get the testing done soon (since I want to keep the tests somewhat yearly). I tend to always put the testing off, however. As much as I m curious about the results, the truth is that I m terrified of needles. Over the past few months, I was continuing to put this yearly testing off, but something has spurred me to get it done sooner than later.

This weekend is Mother's Day, so today's Thankful Thursday is dedicated to the memory of my own mother, Elizabeth.

Brutal Honesty. 100% Transparency. Unedited Feedback. Absolute Truth. ... How often are we treated to these things by those we know? How likely are we do conduct ourselves with these ideals in mind?

Propriety. Politeness. Decorum. Political Correctness. ... How often do these conventions in others prevent us from knowing what others think of us? How often do these conventions in ourselves restrict our own words when directed at others?

Happy Navratri!

You haven't been hearing much from me (Wendi) lately, for a variety of reasons. Over the next few days, I'll be celebrating Navratri and posting here on the blog at the end of each day. In my posts, I'll be sharing some of what has been going on with me and why you haven't seen much of me around, as well as comments on my celebration of Navratri.

Today we welcome Leela Mata from the Peaceful Valley Ashram (www.LeelaMata.com) for another episode of Pure Jeevan's Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" edition. In this episode, Leela demonstrates how to make a delicious summertime chutney.

Since Marigolds are seasonal, and likely available only in certain areas, please consider them optional. Perhaps substitute another edible flower of your choice (and let us know if you do!). Aside from making this tasty recipe (which we later enjoyed on a salad), Leela also makes some important points about intuitive eating and intuitive recipe creation. Here's the vid:

Here's some coconutty video footage from our Florida Keys excursion. First up is some footage of Randesh, from www.TheGuana.com, who obtains fresh coconuts for Charlie Wilson's Key West restaurant, Help Yourself (see yesterday's blog post).Notice that Randesh uses a proper piece of equipment -- a large machete (or cutlass) -- which makes short, easy work of opening these precious gifts of nature! In the video footage following that, you'll see how comically difficult it is to open a young coconut when you lack the proper equipment. We actually went out looking for a machete, but could only find a large chef's knife at a local K-Mart. Yep, they were sold out of machetes! (Ironically, the chef's knife -- the heaviest one the store had -- cost about $17, while plain old machetes run just $10 or so at most hardware stores. Next time we'll keep looking...)

On March 6, Wendi and KDcat arrived around dinner time at their next location, Grants Pass. We've known their hosts as online friends, so it was a real treat to meet them in person. Rebecca Leaverton, her hhusband Dominic, and their twins Aubrey and Sebastian live in a beautiful home in one of the more beautiful places W&K have visited in Oregon (and that's saying something, as EVERY location in Oregon has been absolutely beautiful). Grants Pass is surrounded by the most breathtakingly gorgeous mountains, close and ever-present no matter where you are in the city. If we ever do decide that city living isn't for us, Wendi said she'd love to live in the mountains surrounding Grants Pass!

Here's some video... In the first clip, Wendi shares a raw traveling trick she came up with -- kind of a high-energy, super-fast sandwich. Then Rebecca (aka SuperfoodGirl -- from www.SuperfoodGirl.com) demonstrates one of her favorite pieces of kitchen equipment, the V Slicer. (Wendi loved it and says we need to save up and get one when she returns from the trip.) And then we couldn't resist a few moments of footage of Rebecca's twins out exploring the kale and wheat grass in? theback yard.

Mistakes are bad, right Well, not always. Here's an example of a great one, and it's something that demonstrates a conviction I have about raw foods! You see, in all of this talk of moving to Portland, I made a huge gaffe recently in my thinking about finances.

You see, I was pondering the terms of a home loan one afternoon -- percentage rates, down payments, monthly payments, tax escrows, etc. It was all really dry, boring material. Suddenly, I thought to myself, "Wow, here we are about to buy another house, after owning this one for so many years. In less than 10 years, we would have owned this one outright, but now we'll be starting over again with a 30-year mortgage."

On March 1st we started a Juice-a-Day Jamboree, to challenge ourselves (and our readers) to include more fresh juice into our diets. We knew we weren't ready for an all-out juice feast, but a juice a day seemed like something we could commit to in our daily lives. So, the Juice-a-Day Jamboree was born. We've been posting periodic updates on our original post about the Jamboree, but figured we'd post periodic juice updates in the main part of our blog, as well, to encourage others to add some more fresh juice to your diets, as well.

We've missed one day of juice since we started the Jamboree. Our original goal was to have our juice first thing in the morning, but we weren't always successful with that. So, we told ourselves that any time of the day is fine, but if we can start the day with a juice we'd prefer it that way. The changes we've been feeling are more pronounced when we begin the day with fresh juice, rather than when we have our juice later in the day.

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.

"Hey there... I know you have a daughter about the same age as mine. Recently a friend at school told [my daughter] about the things animals go through to become our food and it has sickened her to the point where she wants nothing to do with meat except 'maybe' fish sticks.I'm so not against this in any way but my concerns are her eating enough other foods to balance out the vitamins and nutrients she got from meat so that it doesn't affect her health or learning development."

Above is part of a letter Jim received from a Pure Jeevan member. The letter was really three separate questions about the raw food diet in regards to (1) nutrition and development, (2) financial stress, and (3) group living. Since my response was getting quite long, Ive split up the questions and answers. Below is my response to the nutrition and development concern. Tomorrow, Ill address financial stress and group living when eating a raw food diet.