On this lovely Valentine's Day, I am focusing on how thankful I am for LOVE! I'm not into the whole this-is-the-day-you-are-supposed-to-show-love thing, though. I think love is something that should always be around, felt, and shared. Every day is a new day to express the love you have in so many varied ways, why hold it back for one special day a year?

Happy Summer Solstice!

Well, it's officially summer here! This time of the year is extra special to us now that we're healthier. Not only is there an abundance of fresh, local organics to eat, but the sun also shows itself to us a lot more (Pittsbugh is ranked as one of the places experiencing the least amount of sunshine per year). The sun actually used to make me feel physically ill (I wrote a bit about that in an earlier post), but ever since I've switched to a raw vegan diet I find myself drawn to the healing sunshine.

Before switching to a raw lifestyle, we used to go on a lot of outings (picnics) and we'd also go camping. I remember a friend voicing concern when my diet was beginning to change to raw foods. She felt I wouldn't be able to go camping anymore and that things like picnics wouldn't be fun for someone eating a raw food diet. She thought I'd need access to a refrigerator in order to keep all my raw foods fresh and a kitchen where I could prepare the delicious foods she had been seeing me eat.

As many of you know, I'm more of an intuitive eater than anything else. I eat what I intuitively feel my body needs most of the time. Well, for the past two weeks what my body has been asking for is cauliflower. I went through a cauliflower stage sometime last year, and it seems I'm back to eating that lovely white flower veggie again!

At first I was making mashed cauliflower (like? mashed potatoes) and keeping the recipe very simple. I've made complex versions of the mashed cauliflower before, but I was really drawn to a more simple taste so all I was adding was some olive oil, salt, and a tiny bit of macadamia nuts. Yesterday, however, as I was cleaning the cauliflower (since my body was telling me it wanted more of it), I had a sense that I wanted something more vibrant, more fun than simple mashed cauliflower. So, I followed my intuition (picking up whatever I felt my body wanted to eat with the cauliflower) and here's what I created...

Q. Do you know of any nutritional protocol that would be beneficial for reducing or *gasp* even healing fibromyalgia using a high raw diet regimen

Do you feel that something like live blood testing, or mineral level testing would be beneficial? Wendy, after following your long ordeal with Lyme disease **Gentle Hugs to you** I believe you might be able to understand the pain, fatigue and depression that is involved while dealing with a chronic illness. ?I am looking forward to hearing more about your healing journey!

Sending love,? C.

Organizing the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat has brought with it the bonus of meeting some fantastic people and the opportunity to learn about their amazing raw food snack companies.

For the most part, I've been eating intuitively from the very start of my raw food journey (which began over two years ago!). I noticed that I was drawn to different foods for blocks of time, and as my interest would wane I'd find myself drawn to another raw food. Anyone who has followed my story to health knows about my love for young Thai coconuts. My entire body would vibrate with physical excitement every time I picked up another case of those life-enhancing baby coconuts. I felt like a child receiving a much-desired gift---giddy with excitement and unable to stand still. I'm not just saying that, either---it was a very strange sensation, feeling such excitement over a food.

Well, my love for the coconuts faded and I found myself drawn to other foods over the past few years. However, none of them ever compared in intensity to my desire for the coconut. I can't recall all of the foods I cycled through, but there were plenty of food cycles I went through. Currently, I'm intuitively drawn to the pineapple. I want to eat it at least once a day, sometimes more. I haven't tired of it in the least bit.

Day 6: Today is the final day of placing extra focus on the feminine qualities attributed to Goddess Lakshmi. For me, going within, shining light on the things that aren't so clear, the things that I've been avoiding, or the things that have been completely invisible is something I've revisited off and on my entire life. It's something that I often recommend to friends and family, as well. It's what has allowed me to continually improve my life (both physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually), and something I'll always consider vital.

The more we search within for answers, the more we'll learn about our true selves. The more we understand ourselves, the more authentic we become in our interactions with others. The more authentic we are with others, the more others can feel comfortable around us. The more others become comfortable around us, the more they can experience their own authentic selves. And the more others experience their true selves, the more we all wake up and truly begin living a life of beauty, grace, vibrancy, and love.

We're extremely busy this week with some home projects, so we figured we'd simply share a few interesting photos each day. Here's today's -- a big plate of freshly picked cherries from our yard! ?These are smaller cherries than you'll find in stores. We believe they're sour cherries, which is a very healthy variety, even though they're not as tasty as Bing's or Ranier's. ?They're reportedly good for pies, though. I've eaten tons of them so far; ?they're at their peak at the moment here.

I tell you... the dangerous thing about cherries is something you'll only discover when you're out there on a ladder, standing on that tip-top rung (which clearly states: "Do NOT stand on this rung!"), and you're reaching higher and higher for that next bunch of nature's goodness. Even in this situation, you find yourself thinking: "If I could just reach a *little bit* higher!" ?Sooner or later, you have to realize that some cherries are there for the birds, squirrels, and raccoons.

Correction: I said "Lenuria" a number of times in this video, but it's actually Lunaria! In any case, we wanted to share some additional description for this plant. Here's a quick paragraph from Wikipedia:

Lunaria is a genus of flowering plants in the family Brassicaceae, native to central and southern Europe. It includes two species, Perennial honesty and Annual honesty. They are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens, and have become naturalised in many temperate areas away from their native habitat. In the language of flowers, it means Sincerity and Forgetfulness. ...The common name "Honesty" arose in the 16th century, and it may be due to the translucent seed-pods which are like flattened pea-pods and borne on the plant through winter. In South-East Asia, it is called the "Money Plant," and in the United States as "Silver dollars," because its seed pods have the appearance of silver coins.

Last time on Raw Foods 101 we answered the question, "Why should you soak nuts / seeds before eating them."? Naturally, many readers then asked the next logical question, "How LONG should I soak them before eating " Great question!

Don't forget:? You're soaking the nuts and seeds to "wake them up" as would happen in nature. When seeds are soaked in the springtime rain, they wake up and begin to sprout. When this happens, the nutritional content of the nuts and seeds changes (they become an even greater powerhouse of nutrients).

The new Vitamix container arrived within two days (they knew we were hard core Vitamix users and put the container in the mail the day we ordered it to replace the broken one). So, what was the first thing we made in our shiny new container (after washing it, of course)? A DELICIOUS coconut smoothie!