We don't always announce birthdays of friends and family here. But this particular individual is an integral part of the raw food community and we want you all to meet her!

Today is the birthday of the radiantly beautiful Penni Shelton! For those of you who don't know Penni, she's an incredible woman; she's got a heart of gold and is filled with love and compassion. She has been a loving friend of Wendi and member of the Pure Jeevan family for a very long time.

EDIT: This is NOT an advertisement.

Jim just thought it was interesting how he could easily substitute "raw food" in place of the ROM machine and have their advertisement make sense for the raw food movement.We will NOT be purchasing a machine like this. ;-)

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This is a recipe for the coconut shake that brought my cholesterol levels from very unhealthy down to extremely healthy within the span of one month!

Young Coconut Shake

Flesh and water from one young coconut

When we were heading out of town, I said that this trip might be a bit difficult on Jim because it's his first time being exposed to our friend Mamta's Indian food while he's 100% raw. I created some rich, delicious dishes to keep him satisfied, so that the temptation wouldn't overpower him. I expected no problems for myself, since I've been raw for more than three years and have been exposed to this temptation before without any problems.

Well, guess what? The cravings are here! You see, Mamta is THE BEST Indian food chef EVER. We've eaten literally thousands of Indian meals over the years, and even enjoyed it while touring India for nearly a month in the 1990s, but nothing has ever compared to Mamta's skill at creating the most delicious food on the planet. As usual, she sent home lots of food when we left this weekend -- this time all for KDcat, who is so very happy she's not eating 100% raw foods. I don't even know how many different dishes came home with us, but their aroma has been extremely tempting.

You're in for a treat with this recipe. Our Guest Raw Chef this week is Shivie Kaur, half of "The Cook and Butler" duo of TeamRaw. Wendi shot this video a few weeks back in San Francisco during Pure Jeevan's recent cross-country tour! While there, Shivie and her partner Cemaaj created and served a delicious gourmet meal for Wendi and KDcat. The blog post from that visit was here. So, here's Shivie sharing with you how to make an easy and delicious raw salad dressing!

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

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

Yesterday, we covered the concept of "unsubscribing" from unhealthy practices. This was of course based on the common Internet practice of subscribing and unsubscribing to various things like newsletters and email lists. I receive quite a few of these each day, many raw foods ones and many non-raw ones. Among the non-raw, one that has been interesting to me lately is called the Art of Non-Conformity, penned by Chris Guillebeau. Basically, Chris' site chronicles his adventures in reaching his personal goal -- to travel to every country in the world! Along the way, he writes about all sorts of out-of-the-box things, as the blog name implies.

Today, he posted something that is remarkably insightful and applicable to our subject matter here, even though his context was completely different. The entry, entitled simply "Before and After," discusses the drinking water problems in much of Africa, focusing for the moment on Liberia. Atop the piece (the "before" picture) is a muddy water hole, the only source of drinking water for one village. The next picture (the "after" shot) shows a different, very happy village obtaining fresh, clean water from a newly installed well. Chris closes his article with the following quote:

Pizza Delivery at Pure Jeevan s home ! Yep, and it s not raw pizza, either. Maybe sometime in the not-so-distant future we ll be able to order delicious, life-giving raw pizzas for delivery to our home, but that time hasn t come. Even if it was possible today, I have a feeling we d still be ordering the greasy pizza that s going to be arriving here later today.

You see, today is KDcat s 14th birthday. As much as she knows about health, nutrition, and the harms of consuming dairy, she has made a decision that she wants to order a pizza for her birthday and have it delivered. When she told me of her birthday wish, a very big part of me wanted to review how unhealthy such food is, but the other part didn t want to bring guilt to her decision of eating pizza on her birthday. I know she completely understands about foods and health, especially about how harmful dairy can be for her body. She was determined to have pizza, so I d rather she enjoy it than to eat while feeling guilty about it the entire time.

We've promised many of you that we'd share some ideas for the whole family (especially the children), so here's one idea that might prove particularly popular. In a household of two former English majors, it's only natural that we've always adored and admired alliteration. So, we may be biased to believe that these "Breathtakingly Bejeweled Blueberry Banana Breakfast Bowls" will be as beloved by your beauteous bellies as they are by ours. See what you think!

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!).

Jim here... again! Isn't that what all of the Oscar-nominated actors always say -- "It's an honor to be nominated"? Yes, I think that's the usual response. Who'd have ever thought that a raw foods blog would be saying the same thing ! Well, I'm happy to report that Wendi has received two such honors lately, in addition to being selected as an honoree among one blogger's nine "top favorite raw girls on the net." Let's take a look at these one by one, shall we?

First up is the "Best of Raw 2008" awards. Wendi was nominated in the category "Favorite Raw Vegan Educator for 2008." You can vote for her here until December 30 at midnight! Show your support; vote Wendi!