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:

I receive many questions from our readers, and I am very happy to respond. I truly love helping others, but I don't do it just for them.When I was younger, many times I thought I was performing selfless acts of kindness whenever I'd help others. However, now I realize I am experiencing pleasure by helping others. I find it very rewarding, as though I am fulfilling my purpose in life.

Do you know what your life's purpose is? Do you believe there is such a thing These aren't rhetorical questions; I'm really interested in hearing your response. Well, I've known my life's purpose (actually, I have more than one) from a very young age, but it wasn't until recently that I began living it more fully. My purpose in life is to love others---to connect with others through an immensely deep and genuine love.One way I've found for spreading my love and realizing my purpose is by helping others.

When I answer questions for our readers, I speak from my heart. I think it's important to realize, however, that the answers we receive from others are *their* answers to similar questions. Maybe their answers will work for us, but maybe they won't.I've stressed this many times, but it never hurts to repeat it: Listen to others, hear what they have to share, but mostly listen to your own inner voice. We all have the answers deep within ourselves, even if we can't always hear them very well.

Here's an older post, from August 2008, about modifying one's diet to experiment with attaining even greater health. ?I know the before/after pics, alone, are inspirational enough to live a raw vegan lifestyle!

*blows kisses to everyone*

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Jim here... Yesterday, Wendi toughed it out and typed up a lengthy health update (a painful process? for her -- trust me!). So, for the rest of this week, I'm going to fill in here (letting her get back to her resting and healing) and share a few interesting stories related to this Lyme adventure. But first, I wanted to add that today brought some great improvements in Wendi's condition. She was able to do a physical movement (wrapping a towel around her head) without pain for the first time in months. So, we really think those antibiotics are starting to kick in.

Today's topic is intuitive eating. I'm certain we've covered this many times on the blog here. So, rather than explain what it is again, I'll just share an intresting example. Basically, while dealing with these Lyme symptoms, Wendi experienced a serious craving for olives.

On March 1st we started a Juice-a-Day Jamboree, to challenge ourselves (and our readers) to include more fresh juice into our diets. We knew we weren't ready for an all-out juice feast, but a juice a day seemed like something we could commit to in our daily lives. So, the Juice-a-Day Jamboree was born. We've been posting periodic updates on our original post about the Jamboree, but figured we'd post periodic juice updates in the main part of our blog, as well, to encourage others to add some more fresh juice to your diets, as well.

We've missed one day of juice since we started the Jamboree. Our original goal was to have our juice first thing in the morning, but we weren't always successful with that. So, we told ourselves that any time of the day is fine, but if we can start the day with a juice we'd prefer it that way. The changes we've been feeling are more pronounced when we begin the day with fresh juice, rather than when we have our juice later in the day.

I've been holding on to some things to share here on the blog, and today feels like a good day to share this particular inspirational gem, below. I hope it speaks to some of you in a way that brings about a deeper love for yourself. Many times I have a feeling, based on emails I receive, that I love some of you more than you love yourselves (and I deeply love all of you). That's okay, though. Your time will come to blossom into the self-loving individual that you know you are at your core. Perhaps today what I share will trigger a deeper sense of self-love for you, as it did for another friend.

Back in October, a friend in an online raw community sent me a message about how she was having a tough time with cravings. I responded to her, as follows:

... You CAN do it, too! For me, it took finally loving myself to make the change. I had to KNOW that NOTHING was going to stop me from loving myself. And loving myself meant never putting harmful things into my body EVER AGAIN! So, once I made that decision, I moved forward. I'm not saying I didn't have cravings, but I loved myself through them! ...

Many times in the online communities, the messages you share with others will also be read by individuals stopping by the pages of your friends. That was the case with what I wrote, above. I received a lovely message from another friend in that community, who had read the message I left for someone else. Here's what she wrote to me:

Well, we've always found the herb SAGE to be delightful in so many ways. That's why we've grown it here and elsewhere for years. Such a lovely, fragrant, sturdy, resilient herb, it's truly one of the easiest plants to communicate with -- and YES!, it truly IS a meaningful dialogue when you step out into the garden and sit among a patch of sage. All you need to do is listen carefully, and sage will speak its sage herbal wisdom to you.

I was wondering how sage came to be known as "sage" -- when all of the sources I had handy simply listed its technical name, salvia, along with its common name. Enter the great Wiki for an answer:

Recently, we were asked how to balance meals when one individual is an under-weight-open-to-raw-semi-carnivore and the other is overweight and feels the need to be on a raw food diet to lose weight and regain health.

Many of you reading this will agree: It's wonderful that the partner is open to the raw food diet! That's going to make life so much easier. Many on the raw food path lack a supportive partner, and that's an issue we've discussed in the past here on the blog and will continue to address in the future.

Jim here... Here's a compilation of vids from my little Flip camera, all taken over our weekend roadtrip to Washington, D.C. It's not all strictly raw-food related, but does include some raw tips. First up, you'll see our rawsomely packed food coolers. Between using ice and frozen fruits, everything kept cool just fine.

Early in the video, Wendi shares a handy tip for keeping your smoothies cool on the road. If you're going to drink your smoothies right away, you might have little concern for keeping a drink cold. However, we had eaten breakfast already and knew we wouldn't want to get into our smoothies for another hour or so after leaving. Frozen berries to the rescue! (Just make sure to hunt down a large glass bottle with an opening large enough to pour frozen berries into.)

Jim here... We know a lot of people who exist on a high-raw lifestyle, and many others who aspire to eat a 100% live food diet. I don't believe there is an exact threshold that makes one a "raw foodist." That term is more or less just a general description you might use about yourself or anyone. Aside from the labels, though... If you want to talk about recommended levels of raw intake for optimal health, quite a number of web sites and health books seem to recommend shooting for around 80% of one's intake to be raw, with a careful eye on the other 20%. We certainly agree with that as a good starting goal, adjusting upward or downward as you gain feedback from your body.

Of course, most of the people who do follow a high-raw diet are usually by definition highly health-conscious about any non-raw foods they eat. I've yet to meet, for example, a raw foodist who occasionally eats Burger King Double-Whoppers ?(although, I'm sure that seemingly odd combination must exist somewhere).

If you are in the Pittsburgh area this weekend, you are in for a real treat! Rhio will be visiting with us and she'll also be meeting with others during her two-part presentation for the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup on Saturday.You don't have to be a member of the meetup to enjoy this presentation. Below is information about the event you won't want to miss!

Two-Part Presentation by Rhio includes Dinner