I hear the question all the time: "Don't you miss eating out at restaurants " My answer is always, "No. I prefer the fresher organic foods I can create for myself in my own home. I can pay the same amount for better food if I stay at home to eat." It's true, too. I don't miss eating out at restaurants. Sometimes I miss the convenience of someone else doing my food prep and cleaning up afterward, but as far as the actual food that I consume, I prefer the foods we eat at home. Besides, when you eat out as a raw foodist, your choices are limited to only a salad if you live in an area with no raw food restaurants.

Sometime last year, as a treat for Jim, we went to a restaurant. I got a huge salad that I used to love when I ate cooked foods at that particular restaurant. I remembered the greens were always dark, the onions were nice and flavorful, and the dressing was a simple oil and vinegar with salt. Well, after consuming only fresh foods in our home for quite some time, the salad that I used to think tasted so great now seemed to be lifeless and limp. It wasn't enjoyable to eat, and I sure didn't like paying so much for a nonorganic salad that didn't even taste good to me. So, we didn't eat out again after that.

I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I'm thankful for so many things that it could take me a very long time to list them all. Today, however, I'm focusing on how thankful I am to have loving, supportive friends in my life.

When I was a child we moved a lot (every two years, on average). I continued to move a lot even after college, when it was no longer my mother making the decisions about moving.Why am I telling you this on a Thankful Thursday ?Because all of that moving around when I was a young child partly shaped the way I made friends.

Here's another brief video from our travels. Since time for editing is limited, I think I'll just run some more of the shorter vids this week and then get into the longer, more in-depth interviews next week. So, this is a short, fun conversation I had with Steve, who tends the raw juice and smoothie bar at Cousin's Incredible Vitality raw restaurant in Chicago. Here's the vid:

Jim here... Thought I'd post a pic from Wendi's birthday last Friday. Shown above is the "birthday cake" -- more of a birthday treat, really. If it looks decent to you, here's the recipe:

The "cake" part:

Today we're running another installment of our "Thankful Thursday" series. This time, we're especially thankful ... for YOU, the Pure Jeevan family! Who'd have thought, less than two years ago when launching this blog, that we'd make thousands of connections with others looking for inspiration on their raw food journey !!? It's simply astounding -- and we're still actually "just getting started."

As always, we're thrilled to provide information and inspiration. It's counter-intuitive, when you really consider it; "raw foods" may be just two simple words, yet there always seems to be more and more to talk about, more people to interview, more success stories to highlight, more recipes to contribute, more tips and tricks to share, more personal reflections to offer.

"My biggest problems are starches... I grew up with them so they are emotional comfort foods."

Well, it's great that you already understand that your desire for starches is mostly coming from an emotional connection with those foods. You're already much more aware of your body and its cravings than many others who are trying to lose weight.

If you have a strong connection with starches, then go ahead and eat them in the beginning of your journey to better health. Simply start by adding more and more fresh, raw, water-rich fruits and vegetables. The more you consume healthy fruits and vegetables, the more your body will begin to crave them (no kidding!! You will actually one day crave a salad as much as you're craving starches right now!).

Today we welcome Leela Mata from the Peaceful Valley Ashram (www.LeelaMata.com) for another episode of Pure Jeevan's Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" edition. In this episode, Leela demonstrates how to make a delicious summertime chutney.

Since Marigolds are seasonal, and likely available only in certain areas, please consider them optional. Perhaps substitute another edible flower of your choice (and let us know if you do!). Aside from making this tasty recipe (which we later enjoyed on a salad), Leela also makes some important points about intuitive eating and intuitive recipe creation. Here's the vid:

This is the first installment of a new series that we plan to run occasionally here on the Pure Jeevan blog. The series is called "Raw Foods 101" (the same name as our free eBook that has now been read by more than 5,000 people around the world!). Raw Foods 101 will become the latest addition to our category list (available along the right side of our sidebar). In time, clicking on Raw Foods 101 will deliver a plethora of raw food tidbits.

So, where should we start? ... How about the topic of soaking nuts and seeds ! This is a question that comes up repeatedly in emails sent to Pure Jeevan.

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

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

It's Fun-Filled Friday again---that week went by so quickly! So, what fun did you have this past week and what fun have you planned for yourself in the near future? It's very important to make the time for fun. We all know that, right? But, how many of us actually carve out the time to have some special fun without stress, without problems---a time when we can laugh and experience the joys of being alive?

Jim here (again!) A little over a month ago, we couldn t contain our excitement about an online contest to win the best job EVER ? living as caretaker of a tropical island in Queensland, Australia, on the Great Barrier Reef for 6 months (and being paid $100k for the task!).

The deadline has come for this and, as we promised, we BOTH applied. You saw my video, below. Here's Wendi's application. Once again, we hope you'll view the video & rate her a 5!!! You can click the screenshot above, or go there directly via this link. (As I said below, I ve heard that the rating system can get a little screwy on that site ? that you need to wait for it to load and maybe mouse over the rating part first. But, a 5-star rating would really help, as would the traffic, even if you don t watch the entire video.)