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.

Wow, I'm having a tough time keeping up with our fearless travelers! I thought I'd break their San Francisco adventures up into FOUR smaller posts made from Wendi's personal travelogue. I'll try to address everything they did chronoligically. There will be a video in this posts, videos in the next post, and a picture set at the end! Here's what she had to say about their first stop in Frisco:

For our San Francisco/Berkeley visit, we first met up with a college friend, Pete Guinosso, at Cafe Gratitude. It was fun catching up, and Pete treated KDcat and I to our meals. While at the table, I labeled Pete as the "Quote Man" because he had a fantastic book of quotes he has been collecting. He periodically read from it as our conversations brought specific quotes to mind. It was a beautiful collection of poems, which Pete said is his second book and is filling up quickly.

Cafe Gratitude lived up to its reputation of having a great vibe with pleasant servers and fantastic raw foods. I wondered, however, why there isn't a dish called "I am Love." (There is a drink called "I am Loved," but I was interested in one that claimed I AM Love. Maybe they'll come up with one for my next visit!) After leaving Cafe Gratitude, I have to admit I wasn't overly grateful to find a $40 parking ticket waiting on the rental car. OUCH! We kept the car parked there (since it was already ticketed), and Pete showed us around the Berkeley shopping area. It was a fun stroll on a beautiful sunny, California day.

In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part five, focusing on Tonya Kay's take on this issue.


Professional dance is of most challenging sports requiring athletes to perform at expert levels of flexibility, strength, coordination and emotional fitness in order to entertain their audiences. Having been vegetarian since age 7, Tonya Kay has built her glorious professional dance career entirely on a vegetarian diet.

This past weekend we had the pleasure of Rhio and her partner, Leigh, visiting with us. Rhio was in town for a presentation on Genetically Engineered foods (more about that here) and she took the opportunity to spend some time with us. It was a lovely weekend and we talked about all kinds of things (yes, even non-raw food things!), laughed a lot, enjoyed delicious raw foods, and got to know each other better.

While they were here, Rhio and Leigh agreed to allow us to interview each of them for this blog. Since we needed to keep the interview under ten minutes (the maximum time allowed on most video sites), we decided to ask questions about topics we had already touched on with Rhio and Leigh during their stay--things we thought might be interesting for all of you to hear about.

Hi everyone. Did you miss me on Friday? Was your entire day absolutely hinging on evaluating the quality of the raw salad dressing recipe that you very rightly expected to see demonstrated right here? ... and then I posted nothing at all! Well, missing one day isn't so bad, really. I think it's the first one I've missed since Wendi stepped away from the blog temporarily. Anyone want to guess what happened? ... Yep, a nasty case of the flu took me down!?

O, my raw friends, I thought I was a goner Friday -- thought for sure I had th' deadly swine. But, being the resilient, nearly infallible raw foodie that I am, I totally kicked it's porcine rear end, and am now supercharged and ready to rock and roll once again here on Pure Jeevan's blog!

"Hey there... I know you have a daughter about the same age as mine. Recently a friend at school told [my daughter] about the things animals go through to become our food and it has sickened her to the point where she wants nothing to do with meat except 'maybe' fish sticks.I'm so not against this in any way but my concerns are her eating enough other foods to balance out the vitamins and nutrients she got from meat so that it doesn't affect her health or learning development."

Above is part of a letter Jim received from a Pure Jeevan member. The letter was really three separate questions about the raw food diet in regards to (1) nutrition and development, (2) financial stress, and (3) group living. Since my response was getting quite long, Ive split up the questions and answers. Below is my response to the nutrition and development concern. Tomorrow, Ill address financial stress and group living when eating a raw food diet.

Jim here... Thought we'd share some hidden camera footage from the Pure Jeevan household. Didn't you know ? ... the Pure Jeevan household is under continual video surveillance!? We have an enormous bank of these cameras, all feeding live streams to our costly, off-site high-tek storage facilities, monitoring every room in the house -- all to capture moments of inspiration such as this one. Why carry pen and paper all the time when you can simply install hundreds of "inspiration-cams" and pay techies to maintain a gargantuan bank of petabyte hard drives ? So, in this clip, the actual origin of an idea is captured. (We totally weren't just acting, ok ) So, having scoured said bank of petabyte hard drives, we isolated the following clip --thought you'd enjoy it as a preview of what's ahead tomorrow.

In Part 5 of this 5-Part series, Wendi talks with Leela Mata about meditation and diet. After discussing what meditation is and why people practice it, Mata Ji talks about diet and its effects on the mind. She then gives a brief explanation of how to meditate for those who are new to the practice, and demonstrates how to use a simple mantra (word or phrase) to aid in entering a meditative state.

Wow, is it Friday already !? Time flies when you're powered by 100% raw organic goodness! Today, we wanted to share an audio interview with you. Last night, Alex Ortner from the Movement to Reverse Diabetes Naturally interviewed us about our recent work helping them spread their message. We were honored to hear him introduce us as "two people that hold a special place in my heart right now, and I'll tell you why that is: They are probably the two most active people that we've had in the movement to reverse diabetes naturally."

Well, Alex, it was our pleasure! We met scores of new people during our work for RDN, generated major awareness about the movement, and spread the word about the raw food lifestyle as well. To listen to or download the interview, just visit their site, here. Topics covered include:

I've already posted the recipe for this, but I wanted to talk about the orange pudding a bit. Since going raw, I've become a mostly intuitive eater. Whatever I feel like eating is what I eat. This usually means I am eating the same food for an extended period of time until I feel drawn to something different. Lately it has been the orange pudding.

I've been starting my mornings with a large bowl of it. If Jim is making lunch then I'll eat the salad or nut dip that he makes, otherwise it's orange pudding again. Then, if I didn't eat a salad during the day I usually have a salad for dinner and...a dessert of--you guessed it!--more orange pudding.

Hi everyone! It's Wendi here, back to updating the blog and giving Jim a much-needed break. ;-) He did an amazing job with all he did while we were away (his full time corporate job; assisting me with a part-time computer job; keeping the house ready for realtors and potential buyers to stop by; dealing with some sad issues around our dog, Julia; connecting with our hosts and those requesting meetups/talks across the country; catching up with KDcat and I for a bit each evening to hear how we were doing; collecting pictures/videos/notes from me to then go through and create blog posts for all of you; helping friends fix up their attic into a useable place; and so much more)! He missed us a lot, and we missed him a lot, too.

So, here we pick up from where we left off with our travels yesterday...

It wasn't easy leaving Arizona. KDcat and I both wished we had more time to play on the rocks in Sedona. But, we'll keep that for a time when all three of us (next time with Jim) can be there to experience the wonder of that beautiful place. So, it was off to New Mexico! Since our host in Albuquerque was going to be busy until the evening, we slept in a bit before leaving Arizona.

In Albuquerque, NM, we stayed in the home of the beautiful Darshanie, who was out of the country visiting her daughter and attending the wedding of her brother. I met Darshanie at the Peaceful Valley Ashram a few years ago (the same ashram where I held a raw food spiritual retreat). She's one of Leela Mata's beautiful and talented daughters, creating candles which she sells as well as offering intuitive readings [click here to learn more about Darshanie]. It was wonderful to be invited to stay with Darshanie during our travels, and I was a bit sad that she wouldn't be there when we arrived, but who would ever miss out on the chance to attend an Indian wedding ! If you're ever invited to attend one, consider it a huge honor and accept the invitation. Indian weddings are breathtakingly beautiful in so many ways.