Jim here... A health-conscious friend of mine was feeling sick today. And, while I certainly do not advocate harping on the sick, I did have a very mild discussion with her when she phoned me for some advice. I asked, "Do you know what cognitive dissonance is "

"I'm not sure," she replied.

Today is my birthday!!! I have always loved birthdays---my own, as well as those of my friends and family members. Some people don't make a big deal out of birthdays, but I think they are super special! For me, celebrating a birthday isn't about the cake and presents; it's about the focused attention that is given from one person to another.

Before we moved to Portland, Oregon, land of all things fresh and organic within walking distance, we had to drive quite a distance to reach the food co-op (the only place that had a good selection of organic produce and other raw food necessities). So, we only went shopping about once a week. It took a lot of trial and error to find ways to keep our weekly produce fresh for about a week.

We learned which fruits and vegetables stay fresh the longest, and which go bad the fastest. Based on this, we stocked the refrigerator accordingly (and used up the produce accordingly, as well). The fruits and veggies that stayed fresh the longest were stored in the backs of the shelves (things like carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, etc.). Next we stored the greens that lasted a pretty good amount of time (like kale and collards). And in the front of the shelves and in the door, we stored the more delicate greens (like lettuces and herbs).

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

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

GREEN LEAFIES

Brendan Brazier is one of only a few professional athletes in the world whose diet is 100% plant-based. He s a professional Ironman triathlete, bestselling author on performance nutrition, and the creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called Vega. He is also a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion.

According to Mike Adams of NewsTarget.com:

"Many Florida oranges are actually dipped in an artificial orange dye in order to make them more visually appealing. It's the same dye that's been banned for use in foods because of cancer risk."

So, we've been building up to something exciting all week long -- and here it is! As it turns out, Kevin Gianni is not only a "renegade health" expert, motivational speaker, and all-around great guy; he's also a singer/songwriter!? And he even has his own CD called "God Loves Guinea Pigs" (original songs and artwork by Kevin).

During the past few days, we shared some great interviews with Kevin. In addition to all of the material covered so far, both Jim and Wendi had asked Kevin some musical questions. So, we saved those parts of the interviews for today. Here are the bonus sections from those interviews, including the funny story about Kevin dropping his pants in public!

Jim here... It's been nearly half a year since we posted a long meditation on living patiently, noting the unique, sometimes-at-odds dovetail that exists between (1) experiencing the zen of patience and (2) living the electrically charged life of raw foods. While we're STILL living with the same patience we talked about, I have to admit there have been times when we've been in not-so pleasant touch with some real frustration about getting our home sold and finally moving on to all of the exciting stuff we have planned for us and for you.

Wendi and I are absolutely ecstatic about taking our raw foods message to the next level -- and not just "next level" meaning more a few more blog posts and videos, but a true quantum leap in terms of our immersion into this world and commitment to advocating the lifestyle. It just gets a little tough, even when practicing patience, to be kind of stuck in the starting gate.

Many times we are asked about our grocery bill---how much do we spend each month on eating a raw, vegan diet? It's not something that's easy to answer, though. If we just blurted the amount out, people would be shocked (at a minimum) and insist that there's no way possible they could ever eat a raw diet because they can't afford it.

Our monthly expense at the grocery store has continued to climb since I first began eating raw foods. At this point, now that Jim is eating 100% raw, as well, our monthly expense has more than doubled from the time when it was only me eating 100%. That's a huge increase in money being spent each month. But, you know what? It's okay! Yes, I said it's okay that our expense has more than doubled and I'll tell you why after you take a look at what we purchased last week for our home.

Next weekend I'll be at the Green Festival in Washington, DC. helping Natural Zing at their vendor booth (I'm completely in love with Natural Zing because of their honest business ethics and commitment to having the highest quality products available---and the president is a truly beautiful individual). My dear friend RawBin will be picking me up next Thursday for a RAWsome weekend and I'll fly back on Monday!

Here's a list of some Green Festival facts from their Web site:

To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

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