Ahh, yes... Ginkgo Biloba. What a distinctive tree, don't you think? So easy to identify, and so many reported health benefits. This one belongs to a neighbor that seems to have an affinity with Asian landscaping motifs. They also have gorgeous bamboo growing in their yard, and other Asian elements. I would have liked to have harvested some leaves to dry for some Ginkgo tea, but the owner wasn't around to ask. Perhaps some other time.

Jim here... While browsing a thrift shop for a smaller belt yesterday, I was reminded to make a few quick points here at our blog about the raw food diet and weight loss.

Many people are initially drawn to raw foods for the weight loss aspect of this lifestyle. Where most other diets ultimately fail in this area, raw foods usually brings wild success. So, for anyone considering a raw foods diet specifically for the purpose of weight loss, here are a few quick tips centered around the theme of "letting go of your expectations."? You may be wondering, "Why should I let go of my expectations for weight loss " Well, here are two big reasons:

"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.

Jim here... again! Isn't that what all of the Oscar-nominated actors always say -- "It's an honor to be nominated"? Yes, I think that's the usual response. Who'd have ever thought that a raw foods blog would be saying the same thing ! Well, I'm happy to report that Wendi has received two such honors lately, in addition to being selected as an honoree among one blogger's nine "top favorite raw girls on the net." Let's take a look at these one by one, shall we?

First up is the "Best of Raw 2008" awards. Wendi was nominated in the category "Favorite Raw Vegan Educator for 2008." You can vote for her here until December 30 at midnight! Show your support; vote Wendi!

Welcome to the very first Take the Time Tuesday entry! What's Take the Time Tuesday, you may ask? Well, it's a time to meet someone special. Each Tuesday we'll introduce you to an individual or business we think might be of interest to you. So, who's in the spotlight for this very first Take the Time Tuesday entry? Pure Jeevan, of course!

Take the Time to Meet...

As promised, here's our interview with Leigh Crizoe, Rhio's partner and co-host of the Hooked on Raw Internet radio program. We think you'll love this interview, as it shows another perspective on raw foods and also gets into an interesting detox program that you may not have heard about. After 9/11, the New York City residents and workers close to ground zero breathed in highly toxic particulate matter for a long span of time. Rhio and Leigh live just blocks from the site, and both experienced respiratory troubles as a result -- especially Leigh, whose sweat began to stain his white t-shirts black! (Yep, you read that right: You'd actually sweat black! This happened to many ground zero workers, in fact.)

Who had the detox answer for them ?... Would you believe L. Ron Hubbard and Tom Cruise ? Apparently, detoxification was an area of high interest to Hubbard, the founder of scientology, who developed an intense regimen of saunas, vitamin supplements, and oils, all specifically for the purpose of ridding the body of toxins. According to Leigh, Tom Cruise personally funded and co-founded the New York program (which has proven highly successful!) after 9/11. (The official site for that detox program is here.)? Super-interesting stuff -- be sure to watch the video.

In this video, Wendi talks with Leela Mata, spiritual leader of the Peaceful Valley Ashram, about her experiences with the raw food diet and a bit about a cob oven structure that was built on the ashram property. This is part 2 of a 5-part series featuring Peaceful Valley Ashram.

Jim here... Happy Sunday morning, everyone!? We don't normally post on weekends, but we're sharing this video as a special gift for my mom on Mother's Day.As Wendi likes to say, "Every day is mother's day!"? But, I do like to do something a little special for my own wonderful mom. So, check out this video of a recipe Wendi (mostly) and I created for her. If you remember my reaction to the soup we made recently, it may not surprise you to hear me say that this sauce is the "best #$%^&*^%! sauce I've ever tasted!"

We're typing up and formatting this recipe for Pure Jeevan family members (you know, those who subscribe to our mail list). So, once it's ready, we'll be adding it to the queue of mailings we sent out to keep everyone inspired. This recipe is a keeper!

Jim here... Here's an interesting way to finish out the week: Today just happens to be my one-year "rawniversary." That's right, for the past full year, I've existed as a 100% raw food vegan.

Sure, I'd been "high-raw" for a couple of years prior to September 18, 2008 -- and it was during those high-raw years when the bulk of my weight came off and when I kissed prescription meds goodbye (I'd been on powerful beta-blockers for my heart and blood pressure).

Well, we've finally done it -- made the move westward to our new hometown, Portland, Oregon! It's been nothing but the kind of high adventure befitting such a move, not the least of which was a wheel literally flying off of our car while driving (don't worry, no one was hurt) just days before we were scheduled to leave. And, of course, everything during the past few weeks wound up costing about 10x what we'd planned. ?But, we're here! ?And, we're beginning to get settled.

As always, we've got some great things on deck for this blog in the coming near term, including many interesting articles and some fun video experiments we did involving live blood and electrical grounding. We also have some new exciting web site features to roll out, one completely new raw food site to unleash upon the raw foods community, and a whole new Pure Jeevan web site design to launch. For now, though, we'll probably remain off-line for a bit longer, as we organize and unpack things.

Our Pittsburgh home remains for sale. Naturally, we'd hoped to have sold it before making this move. But, we realized that we didn't necessarily have to wait for it to sell in order to move to Portland. So, we took the great leap of faith and moved here without that step completed. (It'll certainly be a happy day when that lovely home finds its new owners and caretakers!).