I thought I'd put another fun week together here at Pure Jeevan while Wendi is away (although, actually, ALL of our weeks are fun-filled here!). This week, I thought I'd discuss herbs, spices, and essential oils. Of course, I can't cover those enormously important (and huge) subjects in-depth over the course of just one week, so I created that little banner (above) so that we can re-use it from time to time.

Herbs are fascinating, aren't they? Sometimes, you don't even consciously know why you use the ones you do but, invariably, there's a reason. Sure, sometimes recipes call for a specific flavor. But, often, there are other reasons as well -- such as to support digestion, or to provide a warming or cooling sensaiton. This type of thing is critical in ayurvedic principles, as we touched on recently on this blog, where the spices could be present for digestive or medicinal purposes, or of course as a preservative.

An online friend of mine, Kevin Gianni (see previous blog entry introducing him), has been producing a terrific series of videos and blog posts. At the end of each post, he asks questions of his readers. In his recent post, he asked his readers:

What struggles have you been through

Today we bring you the last of our personal video interviews conducted while at the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF East 2009). I'll have one other highlight reel to run next week, just to round out this series by showing some of the additional ambience there.

So, we've finally come to the "infamous Viktoras video"! I smiled as I wrote that because it was quite the topic of discussion around our camp site. You see, one of my fellow campers, Bethany Hagensen, was with me as we interviewed Viktoras (she filmed the interview, in fact) -- and, well... let's just say he strayed a bit from the expected raw food subject matter. I was worried that poor Bethany would be scarred for life after witnessing the discussion, but she did seem to get a good laugh out of it, and I suppose she's fully old enough to attend an R-rated movie.

Let's stay sharp by learning about brain power! Did you know that the less exercise your brain receives through reading, learning new things (like you do here on our blog!), playing games, and contemplating puzzles the more it is likely to become weak and not serve you well into your centenarian years? Scientists have been trying to figure out ways to improve the brain's function and have learned a lot, but are still uncertain what causes Alzheimer's Disease, or any other form of Dementia.

If you ve ever known someone who suffers with a loss of mental capabilities, you know how sad and sometimes scary that can be. Last week, Jim posted a blog that touched a bit on the subject of Alzheimer s Disease. He wrote in that article, ?I want better than just a small chance that I ll live healthfully for a full lifespan. I want to stack the aging deck in my favor. ?Eating a healthy, raw food diet is something Jim was hoping to use in order to stack the deck in his favor of a life free of memory loss and full of vibrant health.

One of our readers, Julie, asked me to update her on what kind of diet I'm doing and why I'm doing it. The last time I publicly made changes with my diet, I received many similar questions. So, I figured maybe it would be a good idea to respond to her question here on the blog for anyone else wondering the same thing.

I did explain, in a long post, about experimenting with my diet being important to me.If you didn't read that entry, it will answer a lot of your questions. For many of you, I think I know what you are thinking: "Wendi was pretty much morbidly obese, her health was horrible, but she's now healthy. Why would she change anything with her diet when she has already found what works "?

Well, it's true. I am extremely healthy compared to how I was before I started consuming raw foods. Here are some pictures to show the changes, to motivate some of you currently struggling with eating more raw foods...

We at Pure Jeevan enjoy eating salads. Each of us has our own way of dressing our individual salads, but we all thoroughly enjoy very large bowls of them at least once a day.In the past, salads were those "diet" meals that I'd consume when I was trying to lose weight. I'd sit at the table staring at my small plate of greens, feeling like I was missing out on the "great" food everyone around me was eating. I'd feel hungry after my meal and extremely unsatisfied.

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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The Lovely Rhio
Within just a few days of posting our year-end summaries and plans for the future, we were contacted by a few different individuals who asked to interview us. How exciting, right ! We've been diligently working on helping others learn about raw foods, while also helping our raw food community grow in different ways. It's wonderful to be recognized for all that we've done in the past and are currently working on!
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Our first interview was thrilling. We were contacted by Rhio, who was overjoyed to have found out about the All Raw Directory that we created for the raw and living foods community. She and her partner, Leigh, were down-to-Earth and easy to talk with. Jim and I both liked them very much. If you've never heard about Rhio (that's hard to believe), she's the author of "Hooked on Raw" and the host of an online radio show called "Hooked on Raw with Rhio," which airs on NY Talk Radio (formerly known as Tribeca Radio).Rhio's radio show is about healthy living, primarily through a raw/living foods diet and lifestyle.
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During the interview we talked about the All Raw Directory, our successes with the raw and living foods diet, our projects for the upcoming year, and so much more. The interview is currently available this week on the NY Talk Radio site, during the following hours: Monday, 4 & 8 pm; Tuesday, 9 am; Wednesday, 3 & 8 pm; and Friday, 4 & 8 pm. After this week, the interview will be available as a podcast on a special podcasts page. If you have some time, we'd love for you to check out the interview and let us know what you think. It was our first professional interview, so we'd love to hear your opinions on it! Please also visit Rhio's site if you've never been there before.She is a lovely woman and has a wealth of information available for you on her site.

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On January 21, 2009, Paulina wrote:

Can't wait to hear your interview on iTunes!

Those consuming a raw food diet sometimes use a dehydrator to prepare raw food dishes. They do this at low temperatures, below the point of actually cooking the foods, to intensify flavors, reduce the amount of moisture in the dish, and sometimes to take the chill off something they'd rather serve a bit warmer than straight out of the refrigerator. There is a practice that we've seen, however, that is actually cooking the very foods were taking such great measures to consume raw! Let me share an experience I had when I first started eating raw foods, that will help explain how some of us may be cooking our foods by mistake.

In the beginning of eating raw foods, my entire family loved the Vegetable Stir-Dont-Fry I used to make (you can find that recipe in the free eBook you downloaded when you first visited our site). One day I created a double recipe so we could eat more the next day, without going through the process of preparing it again fresh. The following day I took the bowl of Stir-Dont-Fry out of the refrigerator and put it into the dehydrator to take the chill off. It wasn't warming up fast enough on such a low temperature, so I thought I'd just cover the dish a little bit to trap in some of the heat that seemed to leave each time I checked the dish and stirred it around. So, I took a plate and placed it on top of the bowl with about an inch, or two, opening.

Today, we'd like to take the time to introduce some raw athletes who continually inspire others. There is a huge misunderstanding about the need for protein in our bodies, especially within the world of competetive sports. Many believe that without large amounts of protein we can't be strong, we can't build muscle. Raw athletes are proving that a vegan diet not only supplies enough energy to sustain the human body during competition, it also allows them to many times outperform competitors who are half their age.

Who Would Win

Jim here... It's not often that we're able to recommend a movie that's perfectly relevant to the raw food lifestyle. But, if you're a raw vegan and haven't seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we highly recommend this film. Not only is it wonderful, but it's also, for much of the film, a nice metaphor for living the raw foods lifestyle.