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As we'll show over the course of this week, the Raw Spirit Festival is about much more than just delicious, nutritious raw food. In fact, there's usually so many fun things taking place simultaneously while you're there that it's easy to forget about the foods completely!

I'd been there an entire day before realizing that there was a raw food court on site. (Mostly, I'd been dining on fruit I'd brought along and had stored in a cooler in my tent!). Thankfully, I did eventually discover the food court, and it was really something special. To call it a "food court" is almost demeaning, as that phrase brings to mind bland "mall food" restaurants that serve up mostly fast food fare. At the RSF, you're treated with many delicious options, which can make choosing a place to dine rather difficult!

If you're like me, you get inspired and motivated when you hear stories of success. It's thrilling to hear what others have done, how they've overcome obstacles in their way and achieved something great. When it comes to the raw food diet, the stories of success seem endless.Here on the Pure Jeevan blog, we've been highlighting these raw success stories under our "My Raw Story" series. It's a popular part of this blog and we'll continue to collect and share the inspiring stories with all of you.

Another place to find some wonderful raw food success stories is over at the All Raw Directory. We have a category there for raw success stories. You'll find some of the stories we've run here through our My Raw Story series, but you might also find some others that you've never heard about before!

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:

After leaving Salem, Oregon, Wendi and KDcat drove less than an hour to the city of Corvallis where they met up with their hosts the Zander's -- Joni, Steve, Bekka, and Stephanie -- a fellow unschooling family Wendi had come to know in an online forum. It was great to be in their company and we loved them right away,? Wendi wrote. ?Their home is absolutely beautiful on a really cute lot with plenty of plants and trees around ? including the most delightful flowers that smelled divine (I think they were called Daphne).

Corvallis is the city we ve mentioned multiple times -- the city that feels like it s the right fit for us. Well, it lived up to our dreams in just about every way. It s a progressive, hip town with a lot going on. The people are friendly, the weather is beautiful, the land is gorgeous, and there are lots of unschoolers. Access to fresh, ogranic, raw foods doesn't seem to be an issue anywhere in Oregon, according to reports from the road so far. While they've been away, we've talked quite a bit each night about what they're finding -- and fresh organic produce seems pretty much everywhere out west. "The west," wrote Jim Morrison, "is the best." (Surely he was a raw foodie.)

Jon Gold, owner of the Sunny Side Up Cafe (a vegan and vegetarian restaurant there) and an unschool father, put together a little gathering of unschoolers for KDcat and Wendi. They were able to meet some local unschoolers and ask questions. There was also a gathering one day at the cafe where KDcat was able to do some art at a table with some other unschool teens. It's definitely a creative, easy-going town with some fantastic people in it!

What better way to start our Fun-Filled Friday than by celebrating Jim's birthday ! He worked for half the day and now he's home for a long weekend. So far we've had a nice lunch (cashew/macadamia cheese with red peppers and celery) and birthday pie (mango and pineapple!) after singing "Happy Birthday" to him! This evening we'll have veggie stir-not-fry, since that's what Jim has requested. I prepared it earlier and it's in the dehydrator to marinade and get a bit warm.

Jim here... Until our home sells (SOON!!!) and Wendi and I launch ourselves into the world as full-time raw food teachers / lecturers / inspiration providers, I'm more or less stuck in the corporate world during the day. While much of what happens in this Dilbert-esque environment is, as many of you likely know, absolutely meaningless, there is nonetheless the occasional pearl of wisdom to be pried from the clammy jaws of the 9-to-5 world. I was, for example, just reminded of a story I heard at a seminar once. Not surprisingly, the seminar pertained to the art of money making. However, there's another more fulfilling message to it as well.

A large modern newspaper company still uses these ancient printing presses from the 1950s -- huge old monstrosities with enough belts, pulleys, and greasy gearboxes to make any modern-day steampunk enthusiast squeal with delight. One day, not long after the old press manager finally leaves the company, the main press breaks down. Manuals are consulted, technicians brought in, engineers asked to take a peek. No one can bring the beast back to life. But there's a woman on the Internet who specializes in these babies -- and, guess what, she's local! So, they call her in. She listens to their problem and says she can fix it, but it's going to run them $5,000.

You know that old saying about a picture being worth a thousand words? Well, today we want to add a thousand words to your daily informational intake.

Take the time to meet

I was just thinking about a particular phenomenon, but don't know what to call it. This is something I used to notice mostly after watching movies, although it's something that happens all the time in life -- and I think it does in fact relate to diet, so I'll share. Here it is:

Ever leave a theater after viewing a particularly uplifting film Recall what it's like for a moment. You walk outside, maybe with friends or family, still filled with that magical feeling of having visited another world, or having been moved beyond words, or being filled with inspiration. There's a glow about you, and the air seems sweeter as you stroll out to your car, absolutely care-free. You spin around as you walk, laughing with your friends, joking and hugging each other, engaging in imaginative conversation all the way home -- and the spell lasts for a good long time thereafter. Oh, I love, love, love great movies!!!

I've received countless emails over the past few days, thanks to Kevin Gianni's video (above) about the potato pancakes I made for he and Annmarie when they were visiting. In many of the emails you were thanking me for the free eBooks, but some of you had questions (and even some concerns) about sweet potatoes. I've answered you all individually, but I thought it might be a good idea to spend some time discussing the sweet potato a little more. Here were some of the questions I was asked:

  • Aren't orange sweet potatoes really yams
  • Are sweet potatoes bad for me if I have diabetes
  • Can I use yams in the potato pancake recipe instead of sweet potatoes
  • Aren't sweet potatoes high in carbs? Won't they make me gain weight
  • Can I use regular white potatoes instead of sweet potatoes in the recipe
  • Aren't raw potatoes bad for people

In all of my replies, I told you the truth. I don't know what makes a sweet potato different from a yam. They look similar to me. I know I'm buying and eating sweet potatoes, however, because they are labeled that way in the food co-op, where they sell both yams and sweet potatoes. They produce guys (brilliant guys) know there's a difference between the two, but I never stopped to ask them what it is. After all of your questions, however, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to educate myself.

All this week we're continuing to feature a variety of answers to the question "Are Raw Foodists Crazy " from various friends of Pure Jeevan. If you're just now tuning in, please read the back story and introduction to this, as posted on Monday.But, for now, let's continue with posting more of the excellent responses sent in! Enjoy!! :-)

Charles Balcer

New Jersey City, NJ

Started dabbling in raw foods in late 2006 and got more serious about it in 2007.

We tried it in the past, this most unusual fruit. While in Chicago recently, we decided to give it one more try! You see, the first time we tried it we were ... let's just say "not big fans" of the infamous durian. (Here's an episode of Kevin Gianni's Renegade Health Show, shot in our home, documenting that day.) It's a stinky fruit to most, although some claim to enjoy the bizarre odor (which is sometimes described as dirty sock and propane gas smell). If you can get past the smell to give it a taste, you'll be greeted by a taste as strange as the odor. Wendi describes it as a sweet onion pierogie, but each person seems to have a different opinion about this odd fruit.

In this current video our raw friend Debbie Gedayloo-Bennett, whom we met in Chicago, jumped at the opportunity to hang out for a bit of a durian experience. Debbie is on the pro-durian side of the fence that divides those who love and those who hate the alien-like fruit. Wendi was still sitting on the fence, not making up her mind after the initial taste with Kevin and Annmarie. Jim was adamantly sitting far from the love side of the fence, refusing to even attempt approaching the pro side. Debbie was a pro in opening this spiny fruit, so she agreed to open it while on video so that we could share the experience and knowledge with all of you.