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Jim here... A few months ago, I'd posted an article here on the topic of Cognitive Dissonance. This theme seems to crop up from time to time in questions people ask about the raw foods lifestyle. For example, one new raw fooder recently posted a question in a raw foods forum asking whether other raw foodies had reached a place in their lives at which things changed so much that they felt as though they were living a contradiction. Because this struck home for me, I'd like to reiterate my response, somewhat edited, below.

Jim here with another exciting edition of Weird Wednesday. You know, each time I say "weird," I don't always mean the same thing. Sometimes "weird" means odd or strange. Other times it means funny or ironic. It might also mean unusual or out-of-the-ordinary. Come to think of it, the definition of weird is also weird.

Today, I was thinking about an old friend, Jim Banholzer. He lived next door to Wendi and me when we first moved to the D.C. area in 1991. We all lived in a small "garden apartment" complex in Falls Church, Virginia. Our roommate at the time worked as a leasing agent there, which qualified us for a decent rental discount. I think we paid $800 or so for the place, an upscale 2-bedroom townhome close to the community pool. Jim lived next door with one of the more unstable people I've ever met (and, trust me, that's saying something).

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.

Is Cacao Dangerous or Is Cacao a Super Food

David Wolfe Responds to Kevin Gianni's Cacao Incident Video

Is cacao dangerous or is it a super food? Anyone who's been learning about raw foods knows about raw cacao (check out a recent episode of Know Your Food: Cacao). It's raw chocolate without all the processing and additives normally included in the chocolate bars many buy from standard grocery stores. In its raw form, cacao has different nutritional components than typical processed chocolate. Many claim that raw chocolate is filled with mega doses of nutrients, making it a super food, and therefore extremely healthy for the human body. Others claim that even in its raw state, cacao is a stimulant that taxes the human body and cacao is more like a poison than a food. I've heard murmurs about negative effects of cacao for many years, but that was always subdued by the vociferous praise of cacao.

Recently, my friend Kevin Gianni (The Renegade Health Show) spoke out about cacao and his experiences with it. Kevin is well known in the raw food community, so his words came as a shock to many people. He explained in his video (below) that he developed a rash on his stomach. After much investigating and diet changes, he came to the conclusion that cacao was causing the rash (eliminating the cacao caused his skin to clear). He also stated that cacao had been stripping his body of vital minerals. Kevin pointed out that he was simply sharing his own experience with cacao, possibly shedding some light on a subject that may need to be further investigated. He advised others to take a look at their own reactions to the food, to see if they are experiencing any problems.

Aren't these videos wonderful ? Today we have yet another special Raw Spirit interview for you -- the mega-talented Markus Rothkranz. What can I say about Markus? He's a true inspiration, a man who truly lives by his heart and inspires thousands of others on a daily basis. He's actually very tough to interview because he's so interesting and self-actualized, you really just want to hang and chat with him (but then you remember that you're on film and you should probably get back to asking questions that people will appreciate).

Markus gave a great talk just prior to our interview, and made several points that resonated with me personally -- topics such as the way fear pervades our world and why it's best to live more intuitively, following your heart as much as possible. I've always held some strong personal views about the way that people tend to limit themselves in this life (perhaps from having spent way too long in the corporate world). Markus is not one of those people. I get the sense that he gets up each morning and truly basks in his limitlessness. And we're all similarly capable, in my view. You just have to shed that fear that is sold to you at a young age, and then take action on your passions. Yes, YOU can do anything you put your mind to! And if you're doing that AND living a life in true accordance with your conscience... well, WOW!

Last night I dreamed of meandering through an unfamiliar cityscape, following some lonely sidewalk next to a river at night, feeling particularly sad and miserable beneath dim yellow street lights. I wore a black suit, carried a highball glass, and was absolutely drunk!

Having crossed the river, I soon realized (even in my dream-drunken state) that I'd been wandering aimlessly. Feeling rather pathetic, I decided to walk back across the river and sober up in a casino that I knew was there. Drunk and depressed, I figured I'd just sit in front of a slot machine for a few hours.

Jim here... A week or two ago, there were some videos floating around in raw food circles that seemed to indicate that one's blood health (and, by extension, one's overall health) can be quickly and dramatically improved through a practice known as grounding. I realize that, metaphorically, people commonly use the term "grounded" to indicate a kind of level-headedness -- e.g., a "down to earth" attitude. But, in the literal sense, it's an electrical term used to describe a physical connection to the earth. I'm no engineer, but my understanding is that these connections basically discharge things or people from any static electricity build-up (as in those bracelets that computer repair techs wear), or serve as a conduit through which other electricity may pass (as in lightning rods).

That the idea of "grounding oneself" should take root so strongly in natural health circles is unsurprising. In theory, it seems to make a lot of sense. I'm just as intrigued by it as the next person, I suppose. If we spend most of our lives wearing rubber-souled shoes, walking on shag-carpeting, sitting suspended off the ground on static-filled things like couches and office chairs, often running various electrical equipment, basking in EMFs from radio waves and Dish-network signals and cell phone radiation... sure, it makes sense that we're probably all experiencing some heretofore unprecedented (evolutionarily speaking) human body exposure to significant electrical phenomena. My car reminds me of this daily with a (friggin' annoying!) shock each time I get out and close the door. But, as the "double-rainbow guy" so succinctly put it: ?What does it mean

Patty and Denny

Last year when I organized a raw food spiritual retreat at an ashram, I met some very lovely people. Two of those individuals were Patty and Denny (you can visit their blog to say hello to them). They were new to gourmet raw foods, so they were enthusiastic learners at the retreat. When they returned home after the blissful weekend, they began using their new raw food knowledge. Here are some excerpts of emails I have received from them since the retreat last year:

Well, you said you're motive in putting on this retreat was simply to pass on this valuable information and to help others; you were very successful where we're concerned - it is no exaggeration to say that you have changed our lives forever.

We've been almost 100% raw since the retreat. ... We're so excited about this new way of eating that we bought a new Vita-Mix. ...We can actually say that this has been our most notable and enjoyable dining experience - ever, in our entire lives! No one would ever put that much work into something if it were just for money; it is obvious that you did it from your heart. We feel blessed to have received such a gift.

The other day I made a recipe from "Rainbow Green, Live-Food Cuisine" by Dr. Gabriel Cousens. I modified his recipe a bit and what resulted was amazing. Perhaps the original recipe tasted even better, but this is what I did with it.

Here's a picture I took at Portland's Saturday Market last week. We've been pleasantly surprised to find that artichokes grow rather well here in the Pacific Northwest. We don't recall seeing them much back East, but many of our neighbors grow them (both for the artichokes and, I suspect, as ornamental plants).

I suspect that some raw foodists tend to overlook artichokes because they're so traditionally linked with the image of something steamed, stuffed with breadcrumbs, and drizzled in butter -- so, "cooked," "breaded," and "dairy" all together in one recipe! Being half Italian, I grew up eating them this way. My mother almost never said "artichoke"; she always called them an Italian word that sounded like "ga-GO-che-lee." ?She made them just a few times per year, and they were always a huge treat (and we'd often fight over the hearts -- by far the best part!).

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...