Hey everyone!? What a wonderful Thursday we have going here... After all, it's nearly 3:30 p.m. where I am, which means that the day is nearly over and it'll soon be Friday! Time sure does fly... Right now, it's still a beautiful fall here (in Pennsylvania, with the gorgeous leaves nearly at their changing peak) but, in seemingly no time, we'll be looking at winter in these parts.

When I announced Wendi's leave of absence a while back, I invited people to send in any questions that I might answer here on the blog. Fellow raw foodie Joanna Steven asked me on Facebook -- I'm at Facebook.com/Rawfood -- what our routine is for transitioning into winter. Well, I think she already did a fine job of covering that topic, here. But, I'll offer my own two cents here, as well, as I find it interesting.

Jim here... Yesterday I promised to hypnotize you, so here it is (below). This is something I published elsewhere long ago, slightly modified. Interestingly, in the original version, I'd made reference to various cooked food items -- for example, describing the smell of fresh-baked muffins as comforting. Well, as pleasant as that smell may be to everyone, I just thought it would be odd to include it here on a blog devoted to raw foods.

I think, by the way, that next week I may post a piece on aroma and how it dovetails with raw foods. I'm sure there are interesting things to write about that topic. For now, I'll simply point you to the funny hypnotism picture, below. While it characterizes hypnotism as a sort of mystical power wielded over another's true will, that's definitely not the case. As you'll see, the text below is really just a very innocent, very calming, relaxing suggestion. Read it seriously and see if you aren't relaxed and happy afterward. Have a great weekend!

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!

I'm excited about something that one of my friends has been working on. Melissa is gifted in so many areas, one of which is wild edible identification. She recently told me she was working on something that would help a lot of people and I was excited about her new project. Well, now it's ready to be shared with everyone!

Take the time to meet...

I have enjoyed including information about new people, companies, and sites here in our blog for you to meet each Tuesday. Today, however, I want to do something a little bit different. Instead of someone or something being introduced to you, I'd love for YOU to introduce yourself to ME!

Take the time for ME to meet...

Jim here with another intriguing installment of Weird Wednesday.Look, I'm a hugefan of gigantic, mondo salads. If you (well, not raw foodists but most SAD-diet Americans) were to visit our house at lunch time, you'd likely think that the individual salads on our table are as big as the salads bowls put out for entire families (for those few families, relatively speaking, that serve any salad at all these days, that is).

Seriously, when I have enough prep time, I like to pile 'em high with organic green leaf (though I'll take red leaf or romaine frequently), tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, apple slices, pepitos, sunflower seeds, raisins -- basically everything but the kitchen sink.

On this lovely Valentine's Day, I am focusing on how thankful I am for LOVE! I'm not into the whole this-is-the-day-you-are-supposed-to-show-love thing, though. I think love is something that should always be around, felt, and shared. Every day is a new day to express the love you have in so many varied ways, why hold it back for one special day a year?

Before officially starting the new year, I'd like to acknowledge the changes and growth that took place over the past year. It was a whirlwind of changes, sometimes so dizzying that I wondered what I was doing and occasionally questioned whether, or not, I was making mistakes with my life. I followed my intuition, however, and it served me well. I'm here today, remembering the past year and ready to announce plans for this new year that has just begun. It's a beautiful life, isn't it Even when things seem dark and like there is a lot of pain, there is a tremendous amount of potential for new growth and a brighter life than ever imagined.

I ended 2008, perched on a summit and ready to take flight. Before I fly, however, I'm standing still for a bit and enjoying the view. I feel like the entire past year consisted of climbing to higher and higher plateaus of an enormous mountain. While climbing to each new plateau I stumbled, held on for dear life, saw amazing things, and became stronger.When reaching each new plateau, I'd spread my wings and leap, circling the mountain's circumference. But, I wasn't strong enough to fly straight to the peak. It was a year of gradual growth and change -- and I found myself becoming stronger and stronger as I reached the summit.I'm certainly not the same person who started this climb. I have transformed into a more genuine version of myself, a younger and stronger woman emerging from a lifetime of guilt and fear. As I stand on this summit, I feel youthful and invigorated. What lies ahead may be unknown to me, but I know it's within my ability to fly to the highest heights of ANY mountain, to see and do and experience ALL that I desire. It's going to be an incredible future and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!

In recognizing all of the accomplishments of 2008, I think it's important to admit that it wasn't one steady climb to the point I'm at today.The few years prior to 2008 were almost like my training in mountain climbing. Last year there were a lot of tears shed, along with a releasing of physical and emotional baggage that was still clinging to me. I openly shared what I was going through, however, after learning that keeping things inside was slowly killing my spirit. I think if I had to sum up 2008 in just one sentence it would be: In finally releasing everything, I woke up as my true self.

Getting Lyme Disease after regaining my health on the raw foods diet was a tough thing to accept. How could a body cure itself with a raw food diet, yet then fail to even recognize and destroy the Lyme bacteria? So many individuals have recovered from awful diseases, including cancer, by eating a raw food diet. Why, as a raw foodist, has my body been unable to easily eliminate this lyme disease?

I know Jim and I weren't the only ones wondering this. Many of you have voiced concerns, as well. Questions have been asked about how healthy my raw diet has actually been. Have I been cheating and eating cooked foods? Have I been eating too many packaged raw food snacks? Am I drinking alcohol? What have I been doing *wrong* with my diet in order for this to happen in my body? Here are some answers:

Jim here... Yesterday, we talked about exceptions -- those non-raw food items that raw foodists sometimes allow themselves to eat. I listed mine, and a number of people here and on Facebook noted some of their own. (Seems a lot of us enjoy olives, by the way!) It struck me today that a natural follow-up to a list of exceptions would be a list of non-exceptions -- basically a list of things I personally never ever ever ever consume.

This makes sense, right? I suppose all people generally have three basic lists: (1) those things we eat regularly, (2) those things we eat sometimes, and (3) those things we never eat. Hopefully, none of us keep these lists etched in stone, as diets are dynamic things that tend to evolve over time. A few of the items I'll list below may only apply to my current practices, while others (like refined sugar) I hope to permanently exclude. So, let's see:

Jim here... Since we posted Wendi's two-part series on pasta-making techniques (part 1, part 2) last week, I thought I'd follow up with an additional novel use for the spiralizer -- super-delicious, blazingly fast, ultra-low-fat sweet potato chips! We've done some really great things with sweet potatoes before. (Anyone signed up as a member of the Pure Jeevan family has likely already received our prized sweet potato pancake recipe.) But, these chips are amazing because they satisfy that unmistakable urge for crunchy, healthy snacks -- and in record time. Friends, if you have a dehydrator and sweet potato on hand, you could literally be enjoying these things in under three hours. So let's get going!

As Wendi demonstrated in the videos last week, you can easily make "rounds" using the spiralizer by simply making a vertical slice throughout your vegetable prior to placing it on the spiralizer. So, if we were looking down at the sweet potato, the cut (which goes all the way down the length of the vegetable) would look like this: