Wow, what a stressful weekend! We spent pretty much the entire past two days going through the dozens and dozens of suggestions we received in response to our July 30 post concerning our move (in which we asked for help in finding the perfect new place to live). We listed every city suggested to us, as well as a number of cities we specifically wanted to consider. Then we attempted to gather data from the Internet to rank these cities. Here's a HUGE snapshot to show our progress. (I'll explain a few things below.)

As you can see, we ranked each city according to many criteria. These included the number of sunny days per year, average high and low temperatures, air quality (higher #s better), water quality (higher #s better), Superfund statistics (an indication of the general toxicity of an area -- higher #s better), land prices, crime rate (the numbers "x / x" indicating scores from 1 to 10, lower #s being better, for "personal" crimes and "property" crimes), and finally a "liberal / conservative" ratio based on voting records for that town.

Tomorrow I'll finally be posting about the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat that I organized. I took a few days to myself after the event, and then I needed to catch up on a lot of things (which included formatting an almost 150-page publication). It's hard to believe that two weeks have passed, already, since the retreat ended.

I have a lot of photos from the event! Some of the guests prefer to remain anonymous, however, so I can't share all of them with you. However, there are a lot that I can still post on a public page for you to view! I'm waiting to receive some more images from the ashram's camera. Once I have them, I'll be able to complete the photos pages and share images from that wonderful weekend.

BIG THANKS to one of the guests, Angel, who happily took my camera and captured images that weekend. I am extremely grateful that she did, and I'm also impressed with her creative gift with photography! The image she captured of another guest, Faye, is absolutely beautiful! I'm looking forward to sharing the pics with all of you!

What a fun weekend we'll be having! We leave later today to visit some friends in Virginia. Sweet little Rhia (a niece's daughter) will be turning one year old and there will be a huge party for her. I'll be wearing a sari, there will be lots of Indian food to tempt me back to the cooked side of life (but, never fear, I am strong!), and we'll be staying up very late enjoying the party Saturday evening.



Mohtarama, Wendi, Mamta, Deborah

Today, we're going to show you haw to make some tasty brownies. Best of all, this recipe takes only a few minutes. Let's get to it!

First, throw a couple of big handfulls of raisins into your food processor.

Ever since developing a personal conviction a few years ago that following a raw vegan existence was the best lifestyle for me, I've lived somewhat in conflict with the day-to-day corporate business environment in which I make my living at the moment. As we've directly stated many, many times, we're in the process of changing all of that. But, making such a huge change takes a long time because careers are in many ways very anchoring. We may write more about that process because it's true that going raw (or, really, adopting any kind of diet outside of what most other people eat) can lead to significant changes in your life. Between Wendi and me, I think we've gone through pretty much all of them, and there's certainly value and relevance in sharing most of those things here. Today, though, I thought I'd share what I call my "$75 Salad Story."

In the business world, "networking" is among the more prevalent activities anyone does. It's pretty much always going to involve food , right? It's always a breakfast briefing, meeting a client over lunch, or attending a dinner party (complete with a cocktail hour). ?The deck is more or less stacked against you at these things because, let's face it, they're usually set up to provide what most people perceive as a pleasant experience. And, quite often, that means a certain degree of culinary decadence / indulgence -- invariably at venues that have never heard of raw chocolate or raw apple pie (which, to me, is 10x more appealing and exciting than the ubiquitous "chocolate fountain").

After making a 'batch' of green smoothies, what is generally considered an appropriate serving size?

Thanks for the question, Gary!? I don't think I can give an across-the-board answer to fit everyone, since we're all so wonderfully different. The answer would have to take into consideration various factors, such as:

We had a wonderful weekend that started with a raw food potluck in our home (through the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup group). There were about twenty people and so many lovely raw food dishes! I haven't checked the camera, yet, but I hope someone remembered to capture some pictures of the food and guests. It was all very yummy, including the beet pasta I made with a cream sauce. I also made some carob peppermint sweets that KDcat formed into bite-sized balls and arranged them on a platter. A friend of mine told me that the people who show up for raw food potlucks tend to be genuinely nice people, and she was right. It was a pleasure meeting everyone and I look forward to next month's meetup.

The rest of our weekend was spent with our guest, Devaki, who just left a few minutes ago to return to the ashram. She played some beautiful music on the harmonium and she and some other lovely guests filled our home with the beauty and energy of Kirtan chanting. Some of the chants were in English, too. I thought I wouldn't like them as much, but they were just as beautiful as the Indian ones. One of my close friends who was here for the Kirtan told me that I was glowing after the chanting! I love the blissful feeling that comes from chanting and meditation.

Jim here... Exactly one month ago today, I announced my intention to do a month-long trial of a low-fat raw vegan protocol largely based on the well-known 80-10-10 diet. I posted a half-way point update on May 15th, and now here we are at June 1st already. So, are you ready for the thrilling conclusion

As I've stated before, I went into this experiment rather hard-core, with one full week of zero overt fats, and then gradually introducing a few richer ingredients (although keeping within the 10% fat ceiling). I found much of the past month to be an exercise in restraint and self-control, similar to the issue many people face when going raw while the rest of the family is still eating cooked foods.However, it got significantly easier as time passed.

Today in Pure Jeevan's home we are celebrating one of the best days of the year---KDcat's birthday!? How she has blossomed over the years...

?

Jim here... Today is April 25, 2009 -- Wendi Dee's Birthday!!? She's asleep now. It's 1:30 in the morning & I've been up for hours assembling something stunningly amazing to share with you. You see, this year, I asked some friends, family, and foodies to take a page of a sketchbook and offer Wendi some Happy Birthday wishes -- and then send it back to me so I could bind it all into a large book!? WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! Check out the response from 40+ people from around the globe. It's a little overwhelming to see this much positive energy in one place. What a momentous day she's in for in another 5 hours or so when she gets up and is greeted by such a surprise! If you'd like to say Happy Birthday, just leave a comment here! Thanks to everyone!

Clarifications: (1) Yes, as some of you may have guessed, Wendi's body has circled the sun more than 25 times. If you visit the site, I explain what the "25th" birthday means a little more. It's basically about the amazing power of raw foods. (2) No, I didn't send messages to David Wolfe, Gabriel Cousens, Woody Harrelson, or other raw food celebrities Wendi isn't friends with. However, if they are huge fans of Wendi's, they are more than welcome to contribute via email or comments! LOL ;-)

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On April 25, 2009, Ulol wrote:

Happy 25th Birthday Gypsy!!!

I so wish to be there with you celebrating this amazing day, but as I can't, I send you lotsof e-love.

*hugs tightly*

I LOVE YOU!!!

On April 25, 2009, maryinoregon wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday Wendi.............wishing you al the happiness your heart can hold, on this special day of birth and always...........you inspire so many!!!!!

On April 25, 2009, sheryl miller wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi!

I had posed this question in another post on this site, can't remember where now!
But I will post it here too
On my birthday I like to look back to last year's birthday to see what about me has changed!
What about you Wendi? What has changed about you


Hope there are lots of ovely surprises in store for your big day!
Sheryl Miller
Austrlaia

On April 25, 2009, randomguru wrote:

wishing much peace, love and joy to you on this special day... Happy Birthday, Wendi!

On April 25, 2009, Wendilou wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday, Miss Wendi Dee! I hope your day is a joyous as ever. ;)

On April 25, 2009, blaqberry wrote:

Very, very Happiest of Birthdays, Dearest Wendi. You give so much of your essence and touch many souls. I wish you a day that is beyond beautiful and filled with joy and blessings as you embark on another wonderful adventure around the sun. And love LOVE love abound...always. xo

Blaq Berry

On April 25, 2009, RawBin wrote:

Happy Birthday lovely lady!!! I'm sure you'll be glowing all day! :)

On April 25, 2009, RawBin wrote:

Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

On April 25, 2009, debbiedoesraw wrote:

That is the best present ever!
And Wendi, if you did not know it before, I think you now are sure....
You Are Loved!!!!!!!!!
Happy 25, can't wait for your 24th next year!!!
love love love deb

On April 25, 2009, Elizabeth wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi. Thank you for being such a light in the world.

On April 25, 2009, Melissa wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi!
What a beautiful book!!! I am so happy to be part of it, and thanks Jim for posting the whole thing! It is just beautiful.
We love you!
~ Melissa

On April 25, 2009, Revvell wrote:

Hey Girl! Happy, happy day to you and thank you Jim for inviting Bo and I to be a part of this special day!

Revvell

On April 25, 2009, Revvell wrote:

Hey Girl! Happy, happy day to you and thank you Jim for inviting Bo and I to be a part of this special day!

Revvell

(Did this twice since I had to figure out the system)

On April 25, 2009, Pixywinks wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi GIRL!!!
Have lots of fun in this, your 25th year. Blessing and love all around. Kisses riding on the wind for you.
Much love!
P. Lis

On April 25, 2009, jill wrote:

Have a wonderful amazing Day of Incarnation, the sweetness of your eternal spirit always shows!

XOXO!!!

Jill

p.s. thank you to Jim for being such an awesome partner :)

On April 25, 2009, RawAllison wrote:

I'm glad to know Wendi's birthday was as special as she and her family are. And I love the phrase "Wendi s body has circled the sun more than 25 times." I'm gonna try to remember that one for birthdays!!

On April 25, 2009, Jenny wrote:

Not even having met you, Wendi, I can always feel your love for others online. Thank you so much for all you do for others. You are a true jewel in this world!!

Much love and birthday hugs,

Jenny

On April 25, 2009, fatima wrote:

May this be the beginning of the happiest birthdays of your life.
love joy and peace
fatima

On April 25, 2009, R_Eli wrote:

Happy Birthday, Wendi!!
Best wishes!!!
Keep shining!!!

On April 26, 2009, Jacki Harmon wrote:

Happy Birthday, Wendi! Thanks for all the gifts you've given us!! XOXOXOX

On April 26, 2009, DebB wrote:

Hi Wendi ~ I'm sending HUGE birthday wishes all the way from Washington State! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Debbie *�*

On April 26, 2009, Diane wrote:

Wendi have a blessed day as you have so blessed others.Because you have sown so
much enjoy the returns! Have many more circles around the sun, Love Diane

On April 26, 2009, anasha wrote:

let your light shine and radiate in every nook and corner of our beloved planet and beyond, and let me whisper happy birthday in your ears,thank you for being here

On April 26, 2009, Veganmimi wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday Wendi!!!!

On April 26, 2009, MindXdreamz wrote:

Happy, happy, happy birthday Wendi Dee!
hugs from Florida where the coconut grows :)
love
sheila

On April 26, 2009, Joanna_Steven wrote:

One happy birthday is never enough, here is another one :) <3

I will add to the notebook! I was afraid to sign the real thing, in case it got lost in transit after sending it back :(( I would have felt so awful. I hope you're having an amazing week!

On April 26, 2009, DiannerawGirl wrote:

Wendi,
So Happy Birthday.I had no idea it was your birthday.I was gone for a few days off computer.BUSY! And still wanted to wish you a Happy belated Birthday! Bye Dianne (DianneRawGirl)

On April 27, 2009, tinaintheraw wrote:

Happy Birthday beautiful Wendi!!

You are such a light in this world....I hope your day was filled with light and joy and wonder!

Hugs, Tina

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Ulol, my love!!! *blows kisses*

This birthday was THE BEST EVER! Even though you weren't physically here with me, it was extra special because I had your special contribution to my birthday book! It made me cry so much to see your page in the book. It was VERY special to me!

I miss you so very much! Thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment, but most of all for always sharing your love and friendship with me.

I love you, too!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thank you so very much, Mary!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!!

I'm so happy that I can inspire others--all of you have given me so much love in return and that has meant the world to me!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Sheryl!

I responded to your original question a few minutes ago on the other blog post. :-)

Thanks, again!!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Carlos!! Thanks for being a special part of my birthday gift, and for saying Happy Birthday to me on your blog, too!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, WendiLou!!! It was The BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Blaq Berry!!! You are always so loving to me. *hugs* Thanks for your sweet comment. :-) Thanks for being such a special part of my birthday gift!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

I've been glowing all weekend, Rawbin!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!! It lasted all weekend and continues through today as I read and respond to all of the love-filled comments that have been shared with me. :-)

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

My first video reply on the blog!!! I LOVE IT! I LOVE YOU!!

*blows kisses*

XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

It really IS the BEST PRESENT EVER!!! Jim says he's screwed for next year--no way to top this one! ;-)

I think you know me so very well. Yes, I didn't truly realize how much everyone does love and care for me. After this, how can I ever doubt? I am blissfully blessed.

Thank you so very much for being a part of my special gift, Debbie!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Elizabeth!

Thanks so much! I had THE BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Melissa! Thanks for making my birthday celebration continue through Sunday, also! You are such a dear friend to me.

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thank you, Revvell and Bo!! I LOVE that you were both a part of my gift! It has been THE BEST birthday EVER! It's one I'll NEVER forget!

I love you both!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, P. Lis!! Thanks for being a part of my gift, also. Jim said he was impressed with your artwork--he hasn't seen your paintings, yet, I told him! You are truly gifted!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Jill! Thanks for such a sweet comment. It was THE BEST birthday EVER! I can't even imagine a better one in another incarnation! :-)

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Oh, it WAS!! It was so very special Allison!! Thanks for being a part of my gift!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Jenny! You are very welcome--I love helping others.

I hope to one day meet you in person--maybe while we are on our cross-country tour!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Fatima! This was definitely the happiest and BEST birthday, ever!! Thanks so much!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, R_Eli! I had a fabulous birthday!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Jacki!

You are very welcome for all of the gifts! I love giving to others!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

More birthday wishes from Debbie! Thanks so much!!

*blows kisses*

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Diane! It was surely a blessed day for me!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Anasha! Thanks so much for your beautiful birthday wish!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Vebanmimi! I had a wonderful day!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Sheila! Thanks so much! I had the BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes, Joanna!

Yes, please add to the special notebook. I welcome a page from anyone who wants to contribute. It is such a special gift to me; it's one that I will always cherish!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Dianne! It was a fantastic birthday!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Tina, for your sweet comment!

Yes, my day was absolutely filled with light and joy and wonder!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, debbiedoesraw wrote:

The pleasure was all mine, I hope you pass that Birthday love down to all the future generations.. are you listening Kat ??
love you too!
Deb xoxoxo
PS Sam had fun with her drawing too, lest you think I drew that!!!!!hee hee

On April 29, 2009, Revvell wrote:

You're very welcome. It was our pleasure and what a GREAT idea Jim had!

There is a certain irony that takes place when you launch a raw foods web site because, no matter how much you love and believe in what you do, no matter how solid the proof may be that the information you're providing is true and accurate, no matter how clearly it can be demonstrated by analyses of blood tests or tons of "before and after" photos that this lifestyle heals the human body, you're still pretty much bound by legal best practices to include a full disclaimer on your site. And, as much as you just write it once and kind of forget about it, it's always there. For practical reasons, of course we understand all of that. But beyond all of that, there's an implied message that "only a medical doctor" really knows what's best for you.

Well, in fact, we DO recommend working with a competent health professional. But what we do not endorse here is simply accepting whatever that professional has to say without question. So, the operative word would be "competent" in that recommendation.