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Wow, it's been four months since we've run an article in our "Produce Buying Tips" series! Well, in today's installment, we want to remind you that our tips don't stop at the grocery store; you want to make sure you store your produce properly once it is at home to keep it fresh for as long as possible. After all, what good is your amazing organic produce going to do you if it goes bad? (That would be some super-expensive compost!)

Since Wendi has a difficult time right now with many motions involving her shoulders and wrists, I've taken over the responsibility of putting our groceries into the refrigerator. (I'm usually the "carry it all into the house" person, and then she likes to put away the refrigerated stuff.) But, wow, who knew so much went into storing vegetables and fruits I had no idea some things required air circulation, while others needed to be kept in sealed bags. Over the years, Wendi has fine tuned a system for keeping our fridge produce as fresh as possible and for maximizing storage time.

Sorry for the strange behavior of this site over the past few weeks, friends. As a former professional web programmer, and always a?bit of a mad hacker, I'm usually really great at keeping the web end of Pure Jeevan running very smoothly.

But, this is a Wordpress blog -- and so you have things like plugins and widgets and themes and updates, all interacting (and sometimes conflicting) with one another. I've noticed lately that this blog home page has developed all sorts of peculiar issues, not the least of which is a very slow-loading tendency.

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!).

As a follow-up to yesterday's McDonald's-bashing post, I thought I'd post another perspective -- namely, that not all chain smoothies are bad. I can't claim to have tried them all, but I can report with confidence that, for raw most foodists, a trip to Jamba Juice can be awesome!

Even before becoming a raw foodie, I loved going to Jamba Juice. If you're unfamiliar with this retail food franchise, it's pretty much (to my knowledge) the largest chain in the "smoothie" category. I first "discovered" them during a visit to New York City back in 2006. Each day, I found myself gravitating to the delicious smoothies they offer.

For many people, a change in diet is largely a mental issue. You *decide* that you're going to do something different, and then commit to it. You may shop a little differently than before, but quite often that is the extent of any action taken (other than preparing and eating the new foods rather than the old ones).For many, the commitment aspect is the trickiest part. ?Books could be written on this subject alone (and we're sure we've discussed this at length here on the blog).

Today we want to share a super-easy tip to help with the commitment side of this: Keep your fruits and vegetables VISIBLE.

This Thursday I want to give a special "Thank You" to Kevin Gianni. He was on my list for a Take the Time Tuesday introduction, but I didn't want to wait until then to tell you about him. I've been following Kevin's work on the Internet since he hosted The Raw Food World Summit last year. You can tell when you hear him speak that he's a genuinely nice, intelligent, caring person. He's honestly listening to what people are saying, trying to absorb the plethora of health information that's available. He asks a lot of interesting questions, too. He then takes what he has learned, condenses it, and shares the knowledge with the rest of the world. He does all of the hard work for us! For this, I wanted to give a special thanks to him.

Wondering where we've been lately? We've just been busy with fixing up our home and some other summer things. We've been enjoying the nearby Columbia River Gorge from time to time. Above is a picture Jim took of some wild mulberries he found there recently. There's nothing like enjoying a snack right off of a tree -- the berries still warm from the summer sun! People around here are fairly savvy, too; ?Jim wasn't the only purple-fingered park visitor that day.

Anyway, we'll be returning to more regular posting in the not-too-distant future. In the near term, we have some important breaking news to share soon on the more "activist" side of things, as well as some product reviews that we think everyone will like to read. We're working on all of that off-line at the moment, but will be back here soon (that is, if we can get Jim away from the wild mulberries for a moment).

Welcome to Day 2 of Pure Jeevan's "Salad Dressing Week"!? Today we take a trip across the Pacific to the land of the "Rawsing Sun." I've yet to meet any raw vegans from Japan, but would be highly interested in hearing about what it's like to be raw vegan there.

Today's video not only shows a tasty salad dressing recipe, but it's really a testament to bold improvisation in your raw kitchen. In order to create something new, you really have to be willing to experiment. Sometimes you simply fail!? But, more often than not, a recipe that you have not quite perfected just needs some tweaking.

In this video, Wendi talks with Leela Mata, spiritual leader of the Peaceful Valley Ashram, about her experiences with the raw food diet and a bit about a cob oven structure that was built on the ashram property. This is part 2 of a 5-part series featuring Peaceful Valley Ashram.

Happy Friday, everyone! We want to cap off this week with a question: Do you keep a blog We realize that many blogs include blogrolls, but this has been a sticky issue for us here at Pure Jeevan for a few reasons: First and foremost, we LOVE and appreciate each and every one of you so much, and wouldn't want to accidentally exclude anyone!?

Also, we visit/follow/read/scan SO many great raw food blogs (as well as many not specifically focused on raw), that the list would be impractically extensive and tough to keep current. In fact, there are so many quality raw food blogs out there that we specifically created a category on the All Raw Directory for raw foodie blogs. (To date, there are 250 raw blogs in there!)

Today, we came up with a fun/novel idea:? We woud love for our beloved Pure Jeevan family (and, if you're reading this, we consider you part of the family!) to tell us your blog addresses in the comments section of this post. Then, on the sidebar of our blog, we're going to include the following graphic, which will always link back to this post:

Every Tuesday we introduce an individual or business that may be of interest to our readers. Our introductions vary from those that will help support your body, mind, spirit, or emotions. This Tuesday we are pleased to introduce an individual who brings a holistic view to her work and nourishes your body, mind, spirit, and emotions on all levels.

Take the Time to Meet