Today is my birthday!!! I have always loved birthdays---my own, as well as those of my friends and family members. Some people don't make a big deal out of birthdays, but I think they are super special! For me, celebrating a birthday isn't about the cake and presents; it's about the focused attention that is given from one person to another.

Hi Everyone! It's been a while since we've run a "My Raw Story" feature. So, here's one from my good friend Chris Paris, who I met and hung out with at the Raw Spirit Festival this past summer. I think you'll like his take on raw, his before & after pics, and the personal topics he covers such as the role raw foods played in his spirituality. -Jim

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Q. Do you know of any nutritional protocol that would be beneficial for reducing or *gasp* even healing fibromyalgia using a high raw diet regimen

Do you feel that something like live blood testing, or mineral level testing would be beneficial? Wendy, after following your long ordeal with Lyme disease **Gentle Hugs to you** I believe you might be able to understand the pain, fatigue and depression that is involved while dealing with a chronic illness. ?I am looking forward to hearing more about your healing journey!

Sending love,? C.

So far, so good, with the mono-meal fasting for Navratri! I mentioned that I'll be sharing an almost diary-like blog entry at the end of each day, to share things with all of you. Well, today's diary entry is quite long. I do share a lot about what was going on with me before the fast, and why I haven't been around much online to connect with all of you.

How's everyone else doing? Are you enjoying your raw food journey? What have you been learning about yourselves, your bodies, and your overall health?

Jim here... An unusual occurrence prompted this post, and I'm unsure as to whether it's significant. I've talked about some of my favorite non-raw items before -- things that were tough to leave behind as I embarked upon this raw foods journey. I think I covered pizza in a relatively recent post.
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Corn chips were another. In fact, after Wendi went 100% raw and I more or less began to follow her dietary choices, I clung to corn chips for dear life for quite a long time. I began eating a LOT of salsa in those days. Sometimes, that would be all I'd eat for lunch -- just an entire jar of salsa and a bag of corn chips (though, by then, I'd at least usually buy the organic ones and, quite often, a baked variety of chips as well).
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When I finally decided I'd be better off transitioning to an all raw lifestyle, I figured my love affair with corn chips had come to an end. Farewell beautiful chips, I thought. I'll never forget our delicious crunchy time together. And that was that. I never looked back.
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But then, at a local raw foods pot luck, I met a raw chef who had more or less perfected a raw corn chip recipe. Could it be , I thought. Has this delicacy returned to me after all, as though via some sweet culinary destiny? Ahh, my friends, that was a glorious day. Chips and salsa had returned to me in an enlightened raw form. I could enjoy them once again, guilt free. And enjoy them I did -- usually using a local shop's "Peruvian Purple Corn" (a living, sproutable, dried corn product).
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Alas, fate stepped in once again. "Thou may partake of these crisps any time thou wishest," fate boomed. "Yet, in order to do so, thou must prepare them thine self using thine Vitamix and requiring an enormous flax-sticky mess with extended clean-up time, and thou must have parchment paper available at all times, and thou must exercise great care and patience in using your Excalibur, for these chips must dry for many an hour before ready."
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Yeah, it was a bit of a chore to produce them. So, as the novelty of chip making and eating wore off, I slowly decreased the frequency of going through the messy, time-consuming hassle of preparing them. Until yesterday, it had been literally months since I made a batch. But... we'd ordered a few pounds of the corn from Natural Zing lately, and I found myself with some extra time the other night. So...
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Now, I'm going to pause for a minute for a tangent on digestion. I know a great majority of people, it seems, complain of various digestive disorders. As a result, we have many raw foodie specialists schooled in the nuances of food combining. Oddly, I never paid much attention to these discussions, nor offered input on these matters, because they simply weren't relevant to me.
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In fact, I likened my own digestive system to some kind of nuclear powered garbage disposal. It didn't matter what I ate; digestion wasn't a problem for me. So, for example, I'd routinely finish off heavy meals, and then follow them with a huge slice of juicy watermelon (a major no-no according to common wisdom). It just never bothered me.I always joked that, even though I'd been raw for ages, I could still probably go eat a Big Mac (not that I would) and be unaffected by it.
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So powerful was my stomach acid that, admittedly, I sometimes privately *worried* whether this might mean something was wrong with me. I mean, shouldn't some of the things I was eating make me sick? Was it "good" to not be made sick by what is generally regarded as poor food combining choices? Do people commonly suffer from problems of efficiency as well as deficiency ? I still do not really know the answer to these questions, and suspect the answer is rather complicated, anyway. Fortunately, it doesn't matter now because...
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Something finally made me sick!? I'm laughing now about that, but I spent most of the evening in terrible stomach pain after having over-indulged in some of those (in)famous raw purple corn chips.
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So, what happened ? That's an interesting question for me. Here are some possibilities: (1) Perhaps my hyper-active digestive system *was* in fact a problem, and now it's beginning to normalize. Perhaps, had I been healthier all along, I would have been made sick by some of my food choices, but now my health is improving!? (2) Perhaps it's a fluke and I simply shouldn't have eaten mass quantities of corn and flax so late at night. (3) Perhaps my body is improving in its ability to communicate with me, and/or that I'm getting better at listening, and that the message here is that corn is not something my body gains nourishment from -- at least, not in this dried-reprocessed-redried form. After all, some leading raw food authorities, like Gabriel Cousens, aren't fans of corn (even fresh corn!).
Oh sure, there may be other explanations (e.g., "a bad batch of corn"). But, I'm actually most interested in #3, above. Even though this is an extreme example (more intense than it needed to be), I'd like to think that I'm getting better at knowing what I'm being nourished from and what I am not. I'd like to think that this is a latent sense that can be developed, much like our ability to know things by feeling and intuition rather via pure rationality all the time.
But, with food, I think it's a matter of inventorying your physical sensations head to toe, and also as a whole. How is the food you're eating making you feel? Do you feel satisfied or still hungry? Do you feel light or is the food sitting kind of heavily? Do you feel energized or dragged down? How's your mental clarity? Do you feel spacey or more grounded? Do you feel noticeably happier or more sad than before? How are all of these things mapping out over time? Is your weight moving in a positive direction for you? Are your illnesses improving? Food is medicine, after all; it has all of these effects and many more!
For now, I think I can safely check purple corn off of my own personal list of foods that make me feel good. I suspect my old assertion about "being able to eat a Big Mac without any side effects" no longer applies -- and maybe this is a good thing. I think perhaps it signals some progress in my journey toward optimal health.
In any case, I think this kind of purposeful introspection is healthy, and something we should all strive to do more often.How about you? Had any similar experiences? What have you learned from them?

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On April 15, 2009, essie wrote:

Can you believe it's mid-October already ? Here in Pittsburgh, for those lucky few who may have fig trees, that means harvest time! Well, almost. Take a look at this video we made about figs!

As stated in the video, we did a previous installment on figs in our Know Your Food series (which will definitely be returning once we finally sell our home and become full-time raw food inspiration providers!). Please visit that link for nutrition and other information on figs.

Our cross-country raw foods tour, that we've been preparing for and planning for over two years, is being postponed. :-(

I'll share details tomorrow with all of you. It's probably going to be a long blog entry...

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Jim here... Well, I may have lived 100% raw for nearly one year now (and mostly raw for a few additional years), and I have definitely witnessed the reversal of many physical ailments during that time, but I can say with certainty that, if raw actually cures people of allergies, it looks like I still have a ways to go before reaching that milestone. Here's a snippet from an article I published a few years ago in a book:

I believe I was roughly 12 upon learning of my allergy to poison ivy (the hard way, naturally). By age 14, I'd heard all of the poison ivy folk lore and "wisdom" out there -? that sensitive people like myself can inadvertently contract it via smoke from a nearby brush fire, that ingesting the plant's concentrated essential oil can reverse one's sensitivity to outbreaks (even, some said, to the point of complete immunity), that scratching spreads the rash, that scratching does not spread the rash, that going to get the shot and the steroids makes it fade more quickly, that calamine is best, that it's not, et cetera.

On this beautiful May Day, I am thankful for creativity. We all have a creative ability within ourselves to imagine all kinds of things.In yesterday's post, about asking myself questions in order to make changes in my life, I talked about having an image in my mind of how I wanted my life to be in the near future. I was using my creative abilities to see my future as happy, vibrant, and healthy.

Any botanists or kale experts in our readership ? Take a look:

This "kale" is locally grown by an organic farmer. I tasted some in the store and bought a whole bunch because it was so delicious. Jim added 5 or 6 leaves to a smoothie for us a few days ago. But, today we were going to use it for kale salad. As I was washing the leaves, I saw these tiny tendril-like things sticking up. At first, I thought it was some strange kind of bug or egg, but then I noticed they were on many of the leaves and, out of some of these tendril-like things were growing MORE LEAVES! This is all happening on the flat surface of the kale leaf. I've never seen any leaf in nature that sprouted more leaves from the flat surface of a leaf. Take a closer look:

Day 7: Happy Navratri! It's the final three days, and today begins the special day of focusing on the attributes of Goddess Saraswati, recognizing those same feminine qualities within ourselves, and drawing inspiration to continue growing and changing in the most wonderful ways.

Saraswati has always held a place of honor in our home. When we traveled to India a very long time ago(*), we purchased a batik wall hanging of Goddess Saraswati and framed it. It's quite large and we've always hung it in places where we wanted to focus on the energy that she represents to Hindus: creativity (particularly in the areas of music and art) and knowledge/intelligence (usually linked with education and literature).