Hey everyone!? I hope you're doing well. We started out the week with a great video from Joe, Tracey, and Heather. I thought I'd stay with the video blog format for a while, as I've been capturing some outstanding stuff here in Chicago. (We're here until Thursday.)? Well, a few of the vids are "okay," but the bulk of them are absolutely amazing, so be sure to check in every day for these great Chicago vids. (BTW, I'll dub this series, "The Chicago Raw Food Scene," although partially misleadingly so, as the videos are not always *about* Chicago, per se. Rather, we shot all of the videos *in* Chicago. So, pardon the slightly misleading banner graphic.)

Jim here with another exciting edition of Weird Wednesday. You know, each time I say "weird," I don't always mean the same thing. Sometimes "weird" means odd or strange. Other times it means funny or ironic. It might also mean unusual or out-of-the-ordinary. Come to think of it, the definition of weird is also weird.

Today, I was thinking about an old friend, Jim Banholzer. He lived next door to Wendi and me when we first moved to the D.C. area in 1991. We all lived in a small "garden apartment" complex in Falls Church, Virginia. Our roommate at the time worked as a leasing agent there, which qualified us for a decent rental discount. I think we paid $800 or so for the place, an upscale 2-bedroom townhome close to the community pool. Jim lived next door with one of the more unstable people I've ever met (and, trust me, that's saying something).

Today we welcome an up-and-coming raw chef, Sam, from DebbieDoesRaw for the first of Pure Jeevan's new Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" editions. Sam will demonstrate how to make a simple Peach Pudding, which she tells us is the invention of her very good friend Anthony from Rawmodel.com. We think Sam did a super job! Don't you ! Sam, you're welcome to guest-host on our blog any time you like.


Sixteen years ago today, our beautiful KDcat (now called Bailey) was born!! Happy, happy birthday to Bailey. We hope ALL your wishes come true and you continue to shine your bright light and express your creative talents for the rest of us to enjoy!

Beginning today and running all through next week (and even spilling into the following week!), we'll be running videos from the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF East 2009) held in Upper Marlboro, MD, last weekend. If you've never attended a RSF event, you absolutely must. They're the best ever!

Have you ever heard about mono meals? When I first did, it sounded like such a great idea. When you eat a mono meal, you eat one item (and only one item) for the entire meal. Eating that way is supposed to be very cleansing and it gives your digestive system a rest from processing different types of foods at the same time. Supposedly there is a boost in energy, as well, since your digestion isn't taking up so much energy.

I recently received an email asking for advice from one of our Hindu readers, asking what I could recommend as far as light eating during the nine-day Indian festival of Navratri. Navratri is traditionally a time of fasting for nine days, however in modern society most Hindus no longer fast. Many do, however, pay more attention to their diets, and they try to eat lighter meals that do not contain animal products. Since our reader is just starting his exploration into raw foods, I didn't want to offer him advice that would make his nine days of Navratri difficult.He recently purchased a Vitamix, so I suggested that he make a lot of smoothies, since he has been enjoying them so much.

Yahoo recently ran a photo series on their "omg!" channel entitled "Celebrity Slim-Down Secrets." It actually has a nice set of before and after photos of celebrities who have lost weight. The set is here.Featured are Kelly Osbourne, Seth Rogen, Jennifer Hudson, Jerry Ferrara, Kirstie Alley, John Goodman, Jordin Sparks, Jason Segel, Drew Carey, Sara Rue, amd Kevin James. ?Most reported using personal trainers, changing up their diets, and getting more exercise (or some variation of those three).

We didn't read any reports of raw food diets in the story, but looking at before and after pictures is probably always a good idea, if only for visual inspiration. It's nice to see a broad range of people turning their health around, too. Some are younger celebs; others in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. So, it's nice to know that major changes are possible at any age.

Here's a picture I took at Portland's Saturday Market last week. We've been pleasantly surprised to find that artichokes grow rather well here in the Pacific Northwest. We don't recall seeing them much back East, but many of our neighbors grow them (both for the artichokes and, I suspect, as ornamental plants).

I suspect that some raw foodists tend to overlook artichokes because they're so traditionally linked with the image of something steamed, stuffed with breadcrumbs, and drizzled in butter -- so, "cooked," "breaded," and "dairy" all together in one recipe! Being half Italian, I grew up eating them this way. My mother almost never said "artichoke"; she always called them an Italian word that sounded like "ga-GO-che-lee." ?She made them just a few times per year, and they were always a huge treat (and we'd often fight over the hearts -- by far the best part!).

Welcome to Day 3 of Raw Salad Dressing Week here on Pure Jeevan. As you'll see, I "got a little creative" once again -- and again got lucky! I'll let you watch the video for the backstory on this one, but I'm happy to report that a nice, hearty, sweet, holiday-appropriate salad dressing was created. So, check out the video, and then I'll make a few closing comments.

I had to write an update after my grocery shopping today! Remember I said just yesterday that sometimes people comment about the amount of produce we are buying? Well, a sweet older woman saw all of the bananas going into our cart and she asked, "What are you going to do with all of those bananas " You already know the response I gave: "Eat them!"

One of the really nice workers at the food co op commented that he can eat about eleven bananas sometimes. I told him, and another friend we saw shopping at the same time, that I can do that now, too. I explained how I used to get full on just one banana when I ate cooked foods. But, now that my system is so much cleaner and healthier, I can consume 10-11 bananas in a day (bananas should be covered with brown specks to truly be ripe and digestable). I don't remember the maximum I ever ate in a day--it's somewhere in my Going Raw journal, I'm sure. It might have even been more than 10 or 11 when I was going through my major banana-eating phase. Now I eat about 4-6 bananas a day, which doesn't seem like a lot to me (but in the past I would have wondered about all of those bananas in someone's cart, too!).

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

When alternatives to the Standard American Diet are discussed, protein is on everyone's mind. There are many reasons why someone might want to eat a plant based diet, whether for allergy concerns, health reasons, or more variety. But nagging doubts often come up;? Are plant proteins adequate for athletes and body builders ? Are they really the preferred protein source of the human body ? Are they better than animal based protein or are they just consumed for environmental reasons ? To answer these questions, why not ask the experts:? triathletes, professional dancers, bodybuilders and extreme sport racers ? Here are the answers from some of the most competitive athletes in their respective fields.