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).

Since Pure Jeevan specializes in raw food weight loss, we receive a lot of questions about what is required in order to lose excess weight. Many individuals want to know if they need to go on a 100% raw food diet in order to release excess weight.

The answer is, "No, you do not need to switch to a 100% raw food diet in order to lose weight." If you're asking if a 100% raw food diet works better for losing weight than slowly transitioning and increasing your raw food intake, the answer is still, "No."

I'm not sure I'm getting enough carbs 'cuz I eat very little grains or beans and I am always worried of overdoing fruit.

Well, rest assured that if you are consuming enough calories with your diet, and not exclusively eating fats and proteins, you are most likely getting enough carbohydrates. Carbohydrates exist in just about anything you can eat. By simply eating enough food during the day, you can easily meet your body's carbohydrate requirements.

There are two classifications of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Grains and beans fall under the complex category, while fruits fall under the simple category.

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

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

Jim here... I thought it might be interesting to spend the rest of this week looking at some quotations we've come across that discuss obesity entirely outside of the context of diet. ?While these quotes focus on obesity, it's likely (in my opinion) that the authors' intentions pertain to almost any health challenge (obesity or otherwise).

Today, we're going to quote a well-known author, Marion Woodman. Tomorrow, we'll hear from Rhonda Byrne, Thursday Dr. Gabriel Cousens, and Friday I'll recap with something I posted on Facebook a while back from Tony Robbins.It should be an interesting week -- and, by the way, I'll tie all of this back into raw foods on Friday, and discuss then why the raw food diet makes a lot of sense for healing obesity and other health challenges even if, as these authors imply, one's diet may not be the sole or ultimate cause of one's health challenges.

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT!

Kevin Gianni Wants to Meet

Pittsburgh Raw Foodists This Saturday!

UPDATE: Location is set for my home in the South Hills

Kevin and Annmarie Gianni will be in Pittsburgh for the Steeler's game on Sunday. They'd love to meet Pittsburgh raw foodies while they're here! So, if you can make it to meet up with them, let Wendi Dee know as soon as possible. We'll either be meeting at the East End Food Coop (if I can reserve the space at the last minute) or at my home (South Hills/Brentwood). Please respond by Friday at 5:00 p.m. about your availablity.

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)

"Only somebody who really takes the time to understand [Pure Jeevan's Salsa's*] potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and ... ancient on the planet." ~ Miles Raymond in "Sideways" (2004) (*slightly modified).

Jim here... Over the weekend, I'd made a string of videos for Pure Jeevan using my handy-dandy new phone. To my great surprise, when I went to post them to YouTube, they all came out sideways! So, I'm sorry, friends... you'll have to endure (if you so choose) a somewhat disorienting video, below. But, hey, at least it reminded me of that wondrous quote from the movie Sideways! I imagine Paul Giamatti describing one of my own recent creations this way -- a sort-of half-raw, yet still very healthy delight that I like to make sometimes.

My reason for featuring a less than 100% raw recipe is two-fold. First, I'd been discussing transitioning to raw (see yesterday's post). And, adding more raw into your non-raw diet is a great way to transition. I believe that raw sauces are an excellent way to achieve this, as I'll explain in the video. Second, if you do prefer a 100% raw dish, then you can simply replace the beans with something else -- perhaps sprouted beans, or maybe your own invention from the dehydrator.

It's day three and all is going okay. I seem to have a bit more energy since it's not all being sapped trying to digest complex meals. The last time I did mono mealing, I received countless emails from Pure Jeevan members who were concerned I was doing something unhealthy. Eating simply for nine days, however, is not unhealthy.

Did you know the body doesn't need a full range of vitamins and minerals at each and every meal? Somehow many of us were taught that each meal needs to be a complete balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and that just isn't the case. What the body needs is a well-rounded diet, overall, to be in a balanced state. If, over the span of a month or two, you've consumed a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouts you will find that you've met just about all of your nutritional needs.

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!

Before officially starting the new year, I'd like to acknowledge the changes and growth that took place over the past year. It was a whirlwind of changes, sometimes so dizzying that I wondered what I was doing and occasionally questioned whether, or not, I was making mistakes with my life. I followed my intuition, however, and it served me well. I'm here today, remembering the past year and ready to announce plans for this new year that has just begun. It's a beautiful life, isn't it Even when things seem dark and like there is a lot of pain, there is a tremendous amount of potential for new growth and a brighter life than ever imagined.

I ended 2008, perched on a summit and ready to take flight. Before I fly, however, I'm standing still for a bit and enjoying the view. I feel like the entire past year consisted of climbing to higher and higher plateaus of an enormous mountain. While climbing to each new plateau I stumbled, held on for dear life, saw amazing things, and became stronger.When reaching each new plateau, I'd spread my wings and leap, circling the mountain's circumference. But, I wasn't strong enough to fly straight to the peak. It was a year of gradual growth and change -- and I found myself becoming stronger and stronger as I reached the summit.I'm certainly not the same person who started this climb. I have transformed into a more genuine version of myself, a younger and stronger woman emerging from a lifetime of guilt and fear. As I stand on this summit, I feel youthful and invigorated. What lies ahead may be unknown to me, but I know it's within my ability to fly to the highest heights of ANY mountain, to see and do and experience ALL that I desire. It's going to be an incredible future and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!

In recognizing all of the accomplishments of 2008, I think it's important to admit that it wasn't one steady climb to the point I'm at today.The few years prior to 2008 were almost like my training in mountain climbing. Last year there were a lot of tears shed, along with a releasing of physical and emotional baggage that was still clinging to me. I openly shared what I was going through, however, after learning that keeping things inside was slowly killing my spirit. I think if I had to sum up 2008 in just one sentence it would be: In finally releasing everything, I woke up as my true self.