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.

Hey everyone!? I hope you're doing well. We started out the week with a great video from Joe, Tracey, and Heather. I thought I'd stay with the video blog format for a while, as I've been capturing some outstanding stuff here in Chicago. (We're here until Thursday.)? Well, a few of the vids are "okay," but the bulk of them are absolutely amazing, so be sure to check in every day for these great Chicago vids. (BTW, I'll dub this series, "The Chicago Raw Food Scene," although partially misleadingly so, as the videos are not always *about* Chicago, per se. Rather, we shot all of the videos *in* Chicago. So, pardon the slightly misleading banner graphic.)

Welcome to Episode 4 of Know Your Food. Wow, the PEAR episode is here at last! Aren't you thrilled to know that? Of ALL of the fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs, etc. in the knon world, we finally got to the wonderful pear. Well, it's no surprise, when you think about it. After all, sweet, mild pears are usually among the first fruits fed to babies. So, chances are, you were fed them, too, as a toddler. So, let's dig in, shall we?

Pears contain water-soluable fiber (pectin), Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Copper, Potassium, Posphorous, Folic Acid, Niacin, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulphur, Calcium, and more! They lower your blood pressure, releive inflammation, lower cholesterol via pectin, calm the stomach, cool the body, prevent cancer via anti-oxidants, boost your energy via the fructose/glucose, reduce inflammation, help your bones/calcium levels, aid in pregnancies via the folate, and much more. Pears are GREAT for you, so eat them regularly!

As you read this, calming violins open a familiar tune and that sweet mellifluous voice of Etta James soon enters your mind: "At laaaaaaaaassssst. My looooove has come along....." Great tune, right ! Well, it's appropriate here because, at LAST, here's the long-awaited Episode #9 of Know Your Food! That's right, friends, today we're going to explore the wondrous FIG in all of its sweet, soothing glory. One taste and happiness blossoms within you, washing over your entire being... We only wish that the following video was as professionally rendered as this paragraph of evocative prose... (but, we promise we'll get there one day).

In case you missed the actual nutrition info in that video (what little there was, LOL), here's the transcript:

Today we welcome Devaki, the yoga instructor at Peaceful Valley Ashram, for another episode of Pure Jeevan s Makin? It Monday ?Guest Raw Chef? edition. In this episode, Devaki demonstrates how to make raw Cabbage-Mango salad. We ate the salad shown just after shooting the video. It was quite tasty and refreshing! Here s the recipe:

Jim here... As I may have mentioned a while ago, I joined a gym recently. I figured, with Wendi and Bailey living on the other side of the country, I might as well find something healthy to do with my alone time until I'm able to join them soon (aside from my seemingly never-ending quest to rid our household of 13 years of rampant accumulation). I joined on a whim, actually. There's a gym near my home called Planet Fitness. Honestly, I have no idea how they make money. A membership costs just $10/month -- and it's a Wal-Mart-sized place, too, absolutely packed with state of the art machines. (Actually, it's a franchise, so there could very well be one near you.)

In any case, it had been a while since I'd been inside an actual gym. I've certainly remained relatively active, of course. But being in a gym is a little different -- and certainly has its plusses and minuses. On the minus side, I've always kind of felt that, if you add up all of the time it generally takes to get (1) get ready to go to a gym, (2) drive there, and (3) drive home -- say, a half-hour, total, for those things -- then you could probably better invest that time in just going for a run for a half-hour, leaving straight from your home. From a time management standpoint, I'm not crazy about gym memberships (meaning not that physical exercise isn't worth the investment of time, but rather that there are ways to accomplish the same results in much less time).

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

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

This experiment isn't looking so great, right now. I'm gaining weight.

I've cut fat out of my diet until my evening meal. Here's what I've eaten over the past few days:

Well, it's probably obvious that we haven't been able to update the blog recently. Rather than make promises to do so, we'll simply say that we'll be away for a few months. If there's an opportunity, we'll pop online and post something inspirational for all of you, but for now we have to admit that there are other things that are a priority for us right now (not that you're not important to us, because you are--we LOVE all of you!).

Sorry about that...I know many of you rely on our daily updates for inspiration. Please know that when we return it will be worth the wait! We'll make up for the lost time, I promise!

We'll be missing all of you and we look forward to reconnecting and catching up on what's going on with you when we return. Of course, if there's something going on that you feel you really need to talk with us about, just send an email to me. I might not be able to immediately respond, but you'll definitely hear back from me.

Recently, we were asked how to balance meals when one individual is an under-weight-open-to-raw-semi-carnivore and the other is overweight and feels the need to be on a raw food diet to lose weight and regain health.

Many of you reading this will agree: It's wonderful that the partner is open to the raw food diet! That's going to make life so much easier. Many on the raw food path lack a supportive partner, and that's an issue we've discussed in the past here on the blog and will continue to address in the future.

Welcome to Pure Jeevan's "Juice-a-Day Jamboree"! You're probably wondering, "What IS Pure Jeevan's Juice-a-Day Jamboree, anyway " Well, it's simple: It's an ongoing, informal, loosely organized "event" centered around juicing. Think of it as an interim step between (1) any kind of diet or lifestyle, from SAD to full-on raw, that does not include much regular juice, and (2) an all out juice feast where that's ALL you'd consume for a period of time. Basically, we're saying, "Let's just make this simple and accessible for everyone. Let's just make a goal to simply drink more fresh juice!"

Wendi and I have been thinking a lot about incorporating more juicing into our lives lately (which is something we've done off and on over the years but never stuck with long-term). One thing holding us back from doing it more often is the time requirement. When we juice, it usually takes a half hour or so from start to finish. I know it doesn't seem that complicated, but I suppose it's just the whole process of setting up the juicer, washing and peeling the produce, juicing it, setting the juice aside while we clean the juicer, doling out the juice into glasses, cleaning up the mini-mess that makes, and then sitting down to actually enjoy the juice.