Jim here... As you may have noticed, Pure Jeevan was offline for the past week. I wish this absence had been for some pleasant reason that I could now write about. But, in truth, it was because my mother passed away last Thursday afternoon. It's not easy to write about so soon afterward; we're all painfully unprepared to describe my mother using the past tense. Her passing still just doesn't seem real to me or to anyone who knew her.She was without a doubt a remarkably beautiful, happy, and loving person who, for 65+ years, really made a difference in a lot of people's lives.

Beyond her ties to Wendi, KDcat, and me, she was also known to some Pure Jeevan family members as well as others in the raw food community. She appeared here just a few months ago to share a raw hummus recipe. And, I know she had visited and/or joined a few other raw foods sites during the past two years. She really did have an interest in it, and always loved her veggies and a good salad. In fact, she was one of those people who actually ate fairly healthfully, relatively speaking, yet still faced serious health challenges.

Today we welcome an up-and-coming raw chef, Sam, from DebbieDoesRaw for the first of Pure Jeevan's new Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" editions. Sam will demonstrate how to make a simple Peach Pudding, which she tells us is the invention of her very good friend Anthony from Rawmodel.com. We think Sam did a super job! Don't you ! Sam, you're welcome to guest-host on our blog any time you like.

There's SO much to celebrate lately! Check it out:

Our dear friend Robin (aka Rawbin) celebrates her birthday today. We created a fun video for Rawbin, who has the ability to make anyone laugh! Rawbin blogs here and you can read her "My Raw Story" installment here.She's also the east coast Raw Spirit Festival representative. (RSF east happens August 29-30, 2009 in Maryland. More info here.)

Hey everyone! It's nice to be more or less back in the swing of things again after an unexpectedly long stay in Chicago last week. You know, staying an extra three days on a trip isn't so bad, though. I imagine that if we had known that we were staying six days instead of three, we probably would have packed way too much. So, there are definitely advantages to unexpected happennings!

Anyway, here's another look into a Chicago-area raw food restaurant. This time, we were able to sit down with the owners, Danny & Kathy Living. The video starts with some footage of some gourmet raw dishes (a raw burrito, a raw falafel, and a raw dessert), and then gets into the interviews.

As this is a holistic web site, it's important that we take time every so often to feature pieces on other aspects of human health besides diet. So, today's subject is unrelated to raw foods, but is directly related to your health. (Don't worry: We'll get back to raw foods on Monday!)

Today I want to share a super-valuable lesson I learned when I was just 21 years old. Back then, Wendi worked within the advertising department of a large newspaper. She helped me meet the paper's photography editor who, in turn, approved an internship for me during my senior year of college. So, several days per week for one semester, I hung out with professional newspaper photographers. It was a lot of fun -- and with real darkrooms, too (as this was way before the age of digital cameras).

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.

And here's the conclusion of Wendi's San Francisco travelogue:

That evening we met up with Carolyn, a long-time friend since college, who was our lovely host for a few days. Carolyn has a gift with cats, which was a real treat for KDcat to see. Do you know how you can teach dogs to sit and give kisses? Well, Carolyn has taught one of her rescued cats to do the same thing! He *really* sits and *really* gives kisses on command! WOW!

Carolyn showed us all around the San Franciso and Berkeley areas, bringing KDcat to a thrift shop (she's been having fun popping into random thrift shops to see what she can find) and a fun shop called Ancient Ways, stopping by some Indian shops so I could pick up some more bindis and some ground coriander for a dish I made while visiting, checking out the Berkeley campus area, and taking us shopping for organic foods.

If you've been following us for some time, you'll know that we are continually working on projects that will either serve our raw food community or educate others about the health benefits of a raw food lifestyle. If you are new here, or just getting to know us, you can read a summary of what we accomplished last year and a summary of the projects we're currently working on. We're serious about our goal to inspire others to learn about and embrace the raw food lifestyle and community. I've always been someone who helps others, who senses in what direction they are headed and then offers inspiration to keep them moving. I love the work we do as Pure Jeevan and it is extremely rewarding to receive so much gratitude from many of you. But, guess what? Sometimes I get tired!

Sure, some of you may be saying, "But, wait! People who eat raw foods are supposed to be power houses of energy -- able to continually keep active and never run out of steam." Well, that is very true. So, I take it back. I'm not really "tired" like I said -- my body is able to wake up in the morning, easily fall asleep in the evening, and go about its daily work without feeling like it's run down.However, I am feeling like I need a rest from all that I've been doing. Maybe I don't need to sleep hours and hours, because my body isn't truly tired. None of my being is truly tired -- my body, mind, spirit, and emotions are feeling great, actually.

However, I still feel like I need a break from my routine. On top of that, I've been feeling uncomfortable in the cold weather even more this year than I did last year. It hurts all the way down, deep inside my bones. I feel like it will take a lifetime to thaw from the cold I've been feeling here in Pittsburgh. The sun rarely shines, and the snow and ice are brutal on someone eating only raw foods. My instincts told me two years ago that it was time to move to a warmer, sunnier climate, but that hasn't happened yet (even though we are patiently working on it, as Jim pointed out in an earlier post).

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!

This video is nearly 10 minutes long (sorry, we'll aim for shorter ones in the future), but shows a full process for making a delicious, spicy nut dip. From there, we show two options for making the sandwich -- one using dehydrated raw bread, another using lettuce as the wrapper. I wanted to add that the packaged raw bread used herein is from Love Force, a great company that has provided sponsorship support to Pure Jeevan in the past. Here's a link to their site in case you're interested acquiring some of their bread or finding out where it's sold. (It's very good, as are their raw organic energy bars!)

This is my version of a beanless hummus. One of my close friends adores the taste of Israeli Hummus and she thinks this tastes just like it. So, try it for yourself and let me know! Jim will eat this if he doesn't see me using the zucchini (he doesn't like the idea of eating zucchini for some reason). :-P

Hummus

3 cups of zucchini (peeled and chopped)