Some of you who are new to raw foods may be happy to learn that there are festivals for individuals interested in the raw foods lifestyle! They are a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded friends. For those of you who attended the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, seeing images from that event may stir the magical memories you collected while there.

Below is part one of a two-part guest piece by Rawbin Anderson, in which she recounts her 2008 Raw Spirit Festival J.O.B. experiences of working in the kitchen. Rawbin is now the Raw Spirit Festival East Coast Manager and can be reached at Rawbin [at] rawspirit.com.

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Today, we'd like to take the time to introduce some raw athletes who continually inspire others. There is a huge misunderstanding about the need for protein in our bodies, especially within the world of competetive sports. Many believe that without large amounts of protein we can't be strong, we can't build muscle. Raw athletes are proving that a vegan diet not only supplies enough energy to sustain the human body during competition, it also allows them to many times outperform competitors who are half their age.

Who Would Win

I wrote on Monday that today (Thursday), we would be discussing mint here -- specifically, harvesting some late-remaining mint from our mint bed (shown above in all its glory) and making something with it. I failed, however, to take into account that it's been getting darker earlier and earlier these days. By the time I was able to get outside and talk about mint, it was just too dark.

So, I thought I'd forego the video, and just write up some minty facts to freshen up your Thursday. To begin, I would highly encourage anyone who is new to gardening, and wants some early success, to experiment with mint (including spearmint, peppermint, and the various varietals available here and there). I can almost guarantee that you'll have some wild (and I do mean wild!) success, and will soon enjoy more mint than the law allows. It's so easily grown, and spreads around so easily (via its root system), that it would almost be considered invasive if it weren't so darned desirable and fragrant. (It's tough to walk past a mint bed without snatching up a leaf, rolling it between your fingers, and inhaling the scent deeply.)

Today we talk about ways to lessen one's chances of developing dementia, aside from dietary changes. Other than eliminating foods from our diet that may hinder brain function, or adding foods that enhance brain function, what can we do to keep our minds sharp as we age?

The first action step you can take to keep your mind healthy is to physically exercise the rest of the body. By keeping our limbs and muscles active, we are not only enhancing the flow of oxygen throughout our bodies, we're continually working our brains, as well. Every move you make requires a message from your brain to be sent to your muscles. So, the more you move, the more you're exercising that part of your brain.

As promised, here is the picture again of the Mexican meal I created the other day. It will be served at the upcoming 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat (only a few spaces left!). Since many of our readers can't make it to the retreat, I said I'd post some of the recipes here in the blog. I hope some of you will try to create the recipes and let me know what you think!

You thought our "Know Your Food" series was dead ?!!? (Or, if you're a new reader, maybe you don't know what "Know Your Food" is yet!) Well, we've been poking around in the archives this week and discovered THREE lost episodes. This is HUGE... It's like one of those stories you hear every few years about some rare Hollywood film being discovered in a vault somewhere (laughing so hard)!

Over the next week or two, we'll be posting these three episodes. Today's episode is PUMPKIN, starring Wendi and her guest Ella (daughter of Melissa and Dave, who run the FoodUnderFoot blog we linked to recently). Once these missing episodes have been aired, this will usher in the dawn of a never-before seen level of production values for the Know Your Food series. The new stuff will totally win every major award available to YouTubers (continues laughing...).

Sure, we know pumpkins aren't in season right now. However, this video is sweet because of our special guest. So, enjoy the Pumpkin episode:

This is my version of a beanless hummus. One of my close friends adores the taste of Israeli Hummus and she thinks this tastes just like it. So, try it for yourself and let me know! Jim will eat this if he doesn't see me using the zucchini (he doesn't like the idea of eating zucchini for some reason). :-P

Hummus

3 cups of zucchini (peeled and chopped)

Welcome to Episode 4 of Know Your Food. Wow, the PEAR episode is here at last! Aren't you thrilled to know that? Of ALL of the fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs, etc. in the knon world, we finally got to the wonderful pear. Well, it's no surprise, when you think about it. After all, sweet, mild pears are usually among the first fruits fed to babies. So, chances are, you were fed them, too, as a toddler. So, let's dig in, shall we?

Pears contain water-soluable fiber (pectin), Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Copper, Potassium, Posphorous, Folic Acid, Niacin, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulphur, Calcium, and more! They lower your blood pressure, releive inflammation, lower cholesterol via pectin, calm the stomach, cool the body, prevent cancer via anti-oxidants, boost your energy via the fructose/glucose, reduce inflammation, help your bones/calcium levels, aid in pregnancies via the folate, and much more. Pears are GREAT for you, so eat them regularly!

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

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

Just a quick update for those in the Pittsburgh area:

My dear friend Melissa has planned some fun raw food gatherings that you may be interested in checking out. The first is a raw food dinner and demo, the second is a wild herb walk.

Raw Foods Demo and Dinner?