It is with heartfelt gratitude that I reach out to say thank you for all of the lovely birthday wishes from all over the world.

As many of you know, I've been working on all aspects of myself---continuing to grow healthier in all ways (body, mind, spirit, and emotions). After a lifetime of feeling that I wasn't worthy of my own attention and affection, I learned to love myself. That was a huge thing for me and I am still overjoyed to acknowledge who I am and proudly proclaim that I love myself.

I'm not perfect, but I'm perfectly me---allowing myself to blossom more fully into who I am as the days go by. I've been openly sharing my journey because I know that I'm not the only person who has lived a life without self love.I receive emails from so many of you saying that you can relate to what I've been through, the pain I've suffered on all levels. You've shed tears and thanked me for my story because it has helped you see more clearly your own self. With open arms, and an open heart, I love all of you. It brings me great joy to know that through sharing I am able to help you grow and blossom more into your own beautiful selves. Imagine a world where we all know and love ourselves for the lovely individuals that we all are! What a beautiful and fragrant garden there would be!

Do you know the saying about freely giving out love because you never run out of it? Well, that's definitely true! There's something else that happens, however, the more you share love: it comes back multiplied more than you ever could have imagined! That's what happened to me on my birthday--I was overwhelmed with a flooding of love coming in from all over the world!

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."

Here's a fun story, with a fun, inspirational, and at least partially dietary conclusion. As I mentioned yesterday, Wendi is in Portland this week. Can you guess what she's doing there? ... She's attending a very important event -- something that merited getting on an airplane with almost no notice (and, wow, are those last-minute airfares pricey!). Still not sure? That's okay; I'll let the cat out of the bag: We found a new home!!

We've been talking about moving to the west coast for literally years now, so it's about time, right? ?In recent times, we've really begun taking action on things in a much more profound and immediate way than ever, and it's been working out amazingly well. This home purchase was just the latest instance of it. We basically saw an opportunity and immediately went for it, without hesitation, and before we knew it we were sending paperwork back and forth across the internet to our realtor.

Day 7: Happy Navratri! It's the final three days, and today begins the special day of focusing on the attributes of Goddess Saraswati, recognizing those same feminine qualities within ourselves, and drawing inspiration to continue growing and changing in the most wonderful ways.

Saraswati has always held a place of honor in our home. When we traveled to India a very long time ago(*), we purchased a batik wall hanging of Goddess Saraswati and framed it. It's quite large and we've always hung it in places where we wanted to focus on the energy that she represents to Hindus: creativity (particularly in the areas of music and art) and knowledge/intelligence (usually linked with education and literature).

Today we talk about ways to lessen one's chances of developing dementia, aside from dietary changes. Other than eliminating foods from our diet that may hinder brain function, or adding foods that enhance brain function, what can we do to keep our minds sharp as we age?

The first action step you can take to keep your mind healthy is to physically exercise the rest of the body. By keeping our limbs and muscles active, we are not only enhancing the flow of oxygen throughout our bodies, we're continually working our brains, as well. Every move you make requires a message from your brain to be sent to your muscles. So, the more you move, the more you're exercising that part of your brain.

Over the weekend, we visited the spectacular Oregon Country Fair in Eugene and, once again, experienced a joyful and overwhelming sense of recognition that we're living in a place where people are much more accustomed to just being themselves.

Personal expression and nonconformity are so valued here that one becomes quickly enamored of the whole ambiance, which could well explain why more people come to Oregon than leave. The region seems to represent, to many, a chance to finally discover and explore an identity perhaps not completely free from outside influence, but at least free from the undesirable influences that society elsewhere seems to insist upon. Or maybe I'm misreading it all and providing just one of many interpretations.

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!

Bunny Berry is back with a new 100-day Raw Fu challenge! If you've made a New Year's resolution to eat more raw in 2009, Bunny Berry's Raw Fu community may offer you the amazing support you'll need to meet your goal for the new year. Check it out!? Here's a snippet from Raw Fu:

And we re BACK! It s time to ring in the New Year with a New 100 Day Challenge. Take the plunge with 100 days of support, love, and lots of leafy greens. Bunny will be back with daily videos, vision boards, special Raw Fu celebrity guest stars, Breakfast with Bunny calls, and more Cutting Board Cam!

Join the Next Raw Fu Challenge NOW!

For today's installment of Makin' It Monday, we wanted to share something that we've been making a lot of lately. It's so simple, yet so delicious and refreshing. Here's the recipe:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 3 large stalks of celery
  • 1 handful of cilantro

That's all!? You might finish with a pinch of your favorite salt (optional).? Also, since the cucumber is an extremely water-heavy veggie, I would advise you to run it through the juicer several times. Here's what I do:

A partial group picture from the retreat.

The 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat was a success! All my time and effort that went into creating the event was well worth the experience. When Leela Mata and I discussed a possible raw food retreat about a year ago, I had no idea how to go about creating such an event. I have never done anything like this, so I approached it by asking myself: "What would I want if I was attending a raw food spiritual retreat " From there, I created a retreat that I would love to attend, myself. In fact, when it was completely organized and guests began signing up, I wished that an identical event existed that I really could take part in, as well!