As raw foods enthusiasts for many years, Wendi and I have had the pleasure of patronizing raw food restaurants literally from coast to coast. Between us, we've been blessed to have sampled a more diverse spread of raw gourmet foods than have most people. (We hope that many others get to do this as well!)

From time to time in anyone's raw journey, it seems inevitable that thoughts crop up about opening a raw restaurant. For some, it's likely no more than a passing fantasy; for others, it may well become a firm business goal. We believe this is a fine and noble goal -- one that we'd like to see more people accomplish!

We ve covered this in the past here on the Pure Jeevan blog, but it s something that s being discussed again online in major news feeds. Since many people read and learn from such sources, especially Yahoo! News, there is potential for a lot of damage and misinformation to be ?learned? by many individuals. In a recent article on Yahoo!, we re informed in the ?Health Experts Main/HealthLine? category that consuming only healthy foods is an eating disorder. Those who desire a healthy body by consuming healthy (as opposed to unhealthy) foods are labeled as having ?orthorexia,? a supposed eating disorder that can be cured with cognitive behavioral therapy.

What does that mean, really? If we desire a healthy body, and all the vibrant energy that comes with it, then we are psychologically unbalanced? [Sarcasm to follow ] However, if we eat those same healthy foods, but also consume things like Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald s burgers, Wendy s French fries, or Skittles candies then we are balanced individuals and deemed psychologically healthy? What if we consume no healthy foods, preferring instead the Standard American Diet of fast foods, heavy meats and gravies, that includes few fruits or vegetables? Well, that s considered normal and of no concern in the least bit ? there is no eating disorder when consuming a diet like that. You can require caffeinated beverages to have enough energy to get through the day and that s normal, too. Die of a heart attack from such a diet and that s normal, too.

Leaving Sin City, our fearless raw travelers headed south to Arizona for all sorts of raw food adventures. First up was a trip to Prescott Valley to meet Abi and Eli. Let's take a peek into Wendi's travelogue again, shall we

You probably haven't met our official tour guide yet. We call her Simone. She's a bit testy at times, but always gets us safely to our destination (although sometimes in rather roundabout ways). She added an extra one-time $89 fee to our trip budget, but we're very satisfied with her performance so far. You see, Simone is our trusty GPS unit!

Leaving Las Vegas, she guided us through the Hoover Dam area on our way to Arizona, a geographic area that I think would be better described as a "state of extremes." There, we experienced super hot, sunny days, freezing nights, snow outside even when it's sunny and hot, and also a bizarre experience we had in which some bananas actually froze and then nearly roasted all in the same day.

Today we'd like to introduce you to one of the sweetest, most creative, and passionate raw foodists we know. She's petite, pretty, pleasant, powerful! She continually shares her knowledge about the raw food lifestyle with others and educates many individuals about our human rights when it comes to the foods we grow and consume. She's up on the latest regulatory activities relating to health and diet issues going on within the US government, and speaks out when our rights are in jeopardy of being taken away.

Take the Time to Meet... Rhio!

A while ago, I received an email asking whether I had any thoughts on how old or young a person needs to be in order to benefit from a raw food diet. Yes. Yes, I do have thoughts on that! Lots of thoughts! ... Here goes:

The easy answer, of course, is that people of ALL ages can (and should) benefit from raw foods. I can assert with confidence that, for most people, increasing your intake of raw fruits and vegetables will likely bring about positive changes to your health, regardless of your age, dietary habits, or current state of health. (Naturally, reducing or eliminating the "bad" things is also paramount.)

We've spent some time on this blog talking about how much fun you can have via the meetup.com web site. If you search that site, you can probably find raw food meetups near you!? But, a few readers have asked us some follow-ups, such as What should I bring and What should I do if I'd like to host a raw foods meetup

*Attending* Raw Foods Meetups

Okay, so you signed up for a raw foods meetup group, waited patiently for the next event to come round, and now it's time!? But, wait... this is your first such outing. What should you bring

Over the next few months and the coming year, you'll be witnessing the continued growth of Wendi Dee and Pure Jeevan in ways you might not ever have imagined! So, stay connected and let us know your thoughts about the changes that are (and will be!) taking place. We're not here for ourselves, we're here for all of you and for those who don't know about us (yet!). We have a mission: to share our stories and inspire others to fully embrace their lives and be all that they could ever desire (including healthy, happy, and vibrant)!

This is a long post, even though I tried to keep it brief. It's mostly a personal entry, but I wanted to share things so that you know a bit about what's going on with me and Pure Jeevan, now and in the near future. I'll break it up a bit with some more photos from Raw Spirit, the most therapeutic and life-changing event of my life.

======Wendi Dee's Growth======

Today I answer the second part of a letter Jim received from a Pure Jeevan member who was seeking advice about her daughter who has decided to become a vegetarian. Rather than quote parts of her letter, I'll summarize the questions (because they are general questions that we hear a lot and our answers are given for everyone, not just the individual who sent the most recent letter).

1) I don't have a lot of money for all the produce and kitchen appliances, so how can I eat a healthy diet

2) I live with others who don't eat the same diet, so how can I possibly make this work

Six months ago, we devoted a week's worth of coverage here on Pure Jeevan to diabetes. You'll find diabetes statistics, raw food resources for diabetes, stories of people who have beaten diabetes using a raw foods diet, an audio interview Wendi and I did about diabetes, and more.

We also linked several times to the Movement to Reverse Diabetes Naturally, where people could pick up copies of two amazing DVD documentaries, "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days" and "Raw for Life." Through an enormous effort during those weeks back then, the RDN Movement spread the word about raw foods to literally thousands of people!

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.

I thought I'd share some recent pictures with all of you. Let me know what you think!?



Carob Peppermint Hearts

This is a recipe I created to take the place of a packaged raw cacao dessert that Jim loves. I don't like to eat cacao, because it disturbs my heart, so I use carob. A new raw friend asked for a recipe for this dessert, because she loved it so much, but I don't have one. I dump walnuts, coconut, agave, and peppermint oil into the food processor and mix until it's a consistency that can stick together. For Valentine's Day I shaped the mixture into hearts. Sweet!?