With this video, Pure Jeevan concludes coverage of the 2009 Raw Spirit East festival. We started off two Fridays ago covering raw food chefs, then moved on to raw lifestyle speakers and philosophers. The final piece of the gourmet raw pie would have to be the festival ambience, which is somewhat tougher to capture in a short video. But, I think this video does a reasonable job of conveying a lot of the scene "beyond the food." (But even if it doesn't, how many times do you get to see Charles Balcer hula-hooping on video )

Enjoy the video (and pics, below, too)!

In August of 2007, I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. My entire world had changed since I adopted the raw food lifestlyle. My body had released nearly 100 pounds of unhealthy weight, my health had dramatcially improved, I ended unhealthy friendships, I released a lot of stored emotional memories from childhood abuse, I realized that I wasn't living in a location that met my needs anymore, and so much more. I can't think of any aspect of my life that hadn't changed, in one way or another, over the year and a half that led up to my urgent need for a retreat.

It's a beautiful day here. The sun is actually shining enough through the clouds to soak up some of its lovely rays. It feels so good. What a great way to start the weekend! We have no set plans, other than a trip to the local food co-op and a visit from the bunny. If the weather continues to be this nice, maybe we'll take the puppy over to the park and spend the afternoon enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of Spring.

Today I am thankful for the small things in life that often go overlooked. I'm thankful Jim made some sweet dessert last night when I wanted it. I'm thankful KDcat is having a fun time with some of her friends right now. I'm thankful that: the trash collectors just picked up the garbage (we don't produce a whole lot since going raw); the older woman across the street has started smiling and being nice to KDcat; the sun is out and the snow is melting; I have another computer job to work on for some income.

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!

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.

This dish is amazing! We've served it to KDcat's friends before and they gobble it right up!

Rawvioli

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

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

Some of you who are new to raw foods may be happy to learn that there are festivals for individuals interested in the raw foods lifestyle! They are a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded friends. For those of you who attended the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, seeing images from that event may stir the magical memories you collected while there.

Below is part two of a two-part guest piece by Rawbin Anderson, in which she recounts her 2008 Raw Spirit Festival J.O.B. experiences of working in the kitchen. Rawbin is now the Raw Spirit Festival East Coast Manager and can be reached at Rawbin [at] rawspirit.com.

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I want to admit something to all of you: Sometimes I still cry because of how people treated me when I was obese. Because I stuffed all of my "negative" emotions deep inside my entire life, it's going to take some time to fully release them. I'm working on it, however, and making tremendous progress with healing myself on all levels. I'm not telling you these things so you'll feel sorry for me, however. I'm telling you because I am thankful for all the pain I endured. It shaped me (in more ways than just my physical appearance) into the person I am today.

Even though it sounds strange, and somehow wrong to feel this way, I'm thankful that I was obese. I'm thankful for all of the experiences during my life, even the extremely painful, traumatic ones. Maybe if I was a different kind of person I would wish that those things didn't happen to me. However, I am using those experiences in positive ways. They've helped me understand people even better, and to understand myself on a deeper level, as well. When people reach out to me it's not only because I'm an approachable person, it's because they sense that I understand them--and they're right. I DO understand them. I understand you. My experiences, coupled with my gift of empathy, help me relate to you in a way that maybe not everyone else is able to do.