Jim here... As I hinted at last week, I decided to try changing things up a bit and seeing what I thought of it. The salad you see above included the first cooked food I've had in more than two years. If you look closely, you can see that I sprinkled on a few spoonfuls of black beans. Also, in the upper left corner, there's a small spoonful of quinoa. I don't want to give the wrong impression here: ?This blog will certainly remain a major go-to source for raw food nutrition information. It's just that, today, I want to talk about experimentation a little bit.

First, I think it's generally healthy to experiment with your diet -- especially when you get the sense that something isn't working in your current diet. The fact is, diet is a dynamic thing, not a static aspect of your life. It has to be this way because so many factors affect our physiology on a day-to-day basis. Off the top of my head, these include the facts that:

The lovely Bunny Berry (see yesterday's post congratulating her) has cooked up created an amazing and fun community to encourage others to take a 100-Day Raw Food Challenge!

In a previous Take the Time Tuesday entry, we introduced you to three fantastic raw food snack companies who have offered to donate samples of their products for our upcoming retreat. If you haven't heard about the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Retreat, yet, there is still some space for you to join us from May 23-25, 2008! We ve set this retreat up so that it s as affordable as possible. There s a significant savings if you sign up early, too, so be sure to check it out!

Each individual attending the retreat will receive a gift basket filled with delicious raw food treats from some truly fantastic companies. Keep an eye on the retreat page to see other companies that will be sharing delicious raw food snacks with those attending the retreat! Today, we'd like you to...

Here's an update from Wendi. I think this can be considered, with 99% confidence, the big announcement:

Of course, there's that 1% chance that something unexpected will happen. But, Portland feels right. It always has for us; we nearly moved there in the late 1990s. We had books on Portland back then, and I was buying their newspaper each week to hunt for jobs. It just never panned out, though. I suppose we were meant to live in Pittsburgh for a spell. It would be easy for me to list many reasons why Pittsburgh served a purpose for us. But, yeah, I think we're Portlanders at heart. So much about that city resonates with us. It'll be a homecoming, for sure! I want to reiterate a few things that I'd written in comments recently, slightly clarified in places.

The mono meals ended and I did create that beet pasta with alfredo sauce that I was dreaming about. So, here's the recipe:

BEET PASTA

When we found out that there was a raw foods restaurant in Key West, we knew we'd visit for sure. So, after a wonderful lunch of some of their raw staples (raw tacos and peanut noodles), it was no surprise to us that we found ourselves drifting back toward Help Yourself after the sunset celebration at Mallory Square (the main nightly Key West sunset viewing celebration). When we arrived, we asked to interview the owner, Charlie Wilson. She'd just left after working a very long day at the restaurant. But, an emplyee called her anyway and she graciously agreed to come talk with us! So, here's a bit of that conversation:

Continuing on, again, with Wendi s San Francisco travelogue:

After leaving Pete and Blessing, we had a little time before our next meeting. So, KDcat and I explored San Francisco a bit. We saw the largest rainbow flag we've ever seen, experienced the steep hills (much steeper than the ones in Pittsburgh), and checked out an overview spot called Twin Peaks. Our San Francisco host taught us later that evening about how to "curb" your car and always apply the parking brake (which is necessary in a place with such steep hills).

Later we met up with Shivie and Cemaaj, who heard we'd be in town and invited us to visit them for a raw meal? in their home. Wow, what a delicious and beautiful meal we were served! Shivie and Cemaaj are gentle, loving people with a true gift for preparing and serving gourmet raw foods. We were honored to be invited to visit with them and loved them both instantly. They were a lot of fun getting to know, and very generous (sending raw foods with us before we left to eat and share with our San Franciso host). Cemaaj is also a gifted musician and taught KDcat some rhythms on the djembe African drum, which she quickly learned and enjoyed very much! Cemaaj is a gifted teacher and great with kids. It was fun watching him ease her into the instrument, which she now says she'd love to own and practice on!

Jim here... We're at an interesting juncture here at Pure Jeevan. For the moment, we're still living a little more "in the box" than we plan to in the near future. One example of this is my personal excitement about Fridays. Oh, I suppose Fridays will always seem special to me somehow. But after years of the corporate routine, Friday remains the most welcome weekday.

Friday signifies the end of the five-day stretch during which most people do whatever they happen to do to pay the bills, to keep (raw!) food on the table, and a roof over their heads. While I know of and admire many people for whom the work week is generally meaningful and rewarding, I suspect that the majority of people go through it simply for the money. Sure, many "like" their job (or, perhaps more aptly, "don't hate it"), but I have met too few who absolutely love their jobs. (Come to think of it, I've met quite a number who actually do hate their work!)

We've spent some time on this blog talking about how much fun you can have via the meetup.com web site. If you search that site, you can probably find raw food meetups near you!? But, a few readers have asked us some follow-ups, such as What should I bring and What should I do if I'd like to host a raw foods meetup

*Attending* Raw Foods Meetups

Okay, so you signed up for a raw foods meetup group, waited patiently for the next event to come round, and now it's time!? But, wait... this is your first such outing. What should you bring

Jim here with another exciting edition of Weird Wednesday. You know, each time I say "weird," I don't always mean the same thing. Sometimes "weird" means odd or strange. Other times it means funny or ironic. It might also mean unusual or out-of-the-ordinary. Come to think of it, the definition of weird is also weird.

Today, I was thinking about an old friend, Jim Banholzer. He lived next door to Wendi and me when we first moved to the D.C. area in 1991. We all lived in a small "garden apartment" complex in Falls Church, Virginia. Our roommate at the time worked as a leasing agent there, which qualified us for a decent rental discount. I think we paid $800 or so for the place, an upscale 2-bedroom townhome close to the community pool. Jim lived next door with one of the more unstable people I've ever met (and, trust me, that's saying something).

Two years ago, we were putting the final touches on launching the Pure Jeevan web site and blog. (While the blog archives show material dating back to 2006, the material from '06 and '07 is all pulled from Wendi's "Going Raw" journal, which was kept on another site. We pulled it into this site when we launched it to give those starting out on raw an inside look at one person's experiences in transitioning to a raw food diet.)