Jim here... Since many people have asked me how she liked the surprise gift, here's a quick, unedited video taken last Saturday on Wendi's birthday. We had gone to the park that evening to hang out and catch some fresh air. I took a few minutes to ask her about her day, and thought I'd share this with you.If I showed you the video of her receiving the gift that morning, I'm afraid all you'd see would be tears all around the dining room table. (We were all rather emotional about it.) So, take a look at this video for now. Wendi said that she wanted to write something here as well. So, that will no doubt be coming soon.

By the way, at the end of this video, Wendi mentions another video of a man we interviewed earlier that day on Wendi's birthday. I was going to edit some of that in, but we decided to run that video here on its own this Thursday because it addresses a question Wendi gets quite often. You'll love that video, as it's a great testament to the power of raw foods. For now, I hope you like the above vid (even though there's a fair amount of dog posterior that I should have edited out - LOL).

Jim here... Today Wendi is busy preparing for a multi-day activity that I'm sure she'll be writing about later this week. So, I thought I'd field a question we received recently (one directed specifically to me). We do receive a good deal of questions at our Raw Food Diet Question In-box (at Questions [at] PureJeevan.com), so feel free to send any in that you may have, and we'll definitely get to them all here in time. In any case, one reader writes:

As drawn as I am to a raw diet, being mostly cooked vegan right now, I can't help but come up against this each time: Since produce is, after all, mostly water, what did you eat while transitioning that didn't lead to shoving in lots of bread, potatoes, etc. Do you just eat lots and lots of, say, oranges, at one go? This has always been my raw downfall. I'm sure the answer is very simple.

Wow, this is a great question, and one with many possible answers! To begin, let's recognize that this isn't a question from a "SAD diet" eater. ?Being a vegan, alone, takes significant learning and (often) self-discipline to accomplish successfully. It's also, in my view, an excellent dietary and lifestyle choice for many people, regardless of whether they ever decide to try a raw foods diet. So, this question is rather advanced.

It's Friday already! Today marks a whole week of exploring just a little bit of the All Raw Directory. We hope you've enjoyed the exploration so far, and also that you're inspired not only to use the A.R.D., but to contribute to it as well -- adding not only your own links, but any other raw foods links you think others would enjoy. The mission, after all, is to gather and maintain a current, comprehensive, community-run, categorized, searchable, 100% free-to-use resource guide to every single raw and living foods link in existence.

To accomplish this goal, the A.R.D. launched with 20 main categories, arranged alphabetically from Blogs to Vlogs. Of the 20 categories, 19 are rather straightforward (blogs, books, equipment, etc.). But one stands out as special:

This morning as I was driving from the beautiful Carnegie Mellon University campus to a business meeting outside the city, I had to take a detour at one of Pittsburgh's many bridges. It was a little frustrating because I had hoped to arrive at my destination early enough to grab a green tea at a coffee shop. But, these little delays happen. I'm glad this one did, though, because I soon passed a small yoga studio (called Pratique) where an interesting window decal hangs. It reads: "Yoga is my health insurance."

Many kudos to the clever people at Pratique who apparently crafted this catchy and spot-on message. While this is a raw foods site, not a yoga site, the message is equally apropos here. It essentially means, in my view, that we all have the opportunity to profoundly affect our own health and well being.

In our family, we're currently facing the realistic prospect of taking a literal approach to this concept, dropping formal health coverage! Quite literally, we feel that maintaining a health plan is (almost) a complete waste of money. I'm not posting this to start a debate as to whether those who follow a healthy diet should or should not buy into a plan. (I know all of the related arguments already: Yeah, but what if you cut your arm and need stitches Save that for Facebook or, at least, some other time.) I'm more concerned with reiterating one of our key messages here at Pure Jeevan -- our unwavering ?conviction that physical health and diet are tightly connected. Wendi knows this, I know this, our child knows this, YOU know this... But why doesn't everyone acknowledge it?

As many of you know, Kevin and Annmarie Gianni (of Renegade Health) have now started their RV tour, for which they selected Pittsburgh as their official kick-off location. While here, we at Pure Jeevan took a special ride in "The Kale Whale," their veggie-oil-powered RV. Inside, we enjoyed a comfortable ride (which included hanging out with Johnny 5 -- their cat -- and drinking some hot tea prepared right there in the Kale Whale). Outside, we endured the freezing cold temperatures of Pittsburgh while pumping filtered used veggie oil into special holding tanks in the RV. Here is some video footage from our Kale Whale encounter!

This is the first installment of a new series that we plan to run occasionally here on the Pure Jeevan blog. The series is called "Raw Foods 101" (the same name as our free eBook that has now been read by more than 5,000 people around the world!). Raw Foods 101 will become the latest addition to our category list (available along the right side of our sidebar). In time, clicking on Raw Foods 101 will deliver a plethora of raw food tidbits.

So, where should we start? ... How about the topic of soaking nuts and seeds ! This is a question that comes up repeatedly in emails sent to Pure Jeevan.

I had to write an update after my grocery shopping today! Remember I said just yesterday that sometimes people comment about the amount of produce we are buying? Well, a sweet older woman saw all of the bananas going into our cart and she asked, "What are you going to do with all of those bananas " You already know the response I gave: "Eat them!"

One of the really nice workers at the food co op commented that he can eat about eleven bananas sometimes. I told him, and another friend we saw shopping at the same time, that I can do that now, too. I explained how I used to get full on just one banana when I ate cooked foods. But, now that my system is so much cleaner and healthier, I can consume 10-11 bananas in a day (bananas should be covered with brown specks to truly be ripe and digestable). I don't remember the maximum I ever ate in a day--it's somewhere in my Going Raw journal, I'm sure. It might have even been more than 10 or 11 when I was going through my major banana-eating phase. Now I eat about 4-6 bananas a day, which doesn't seem like a lot to me (but in the past I would have wondered about all of those bananas in someone's cart, too!).

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.

?

Well, it's nearing the end of 2009, and I've been unwell for half of the year. (To make a positive statement out of that, I'll add that I've been well for the other half!) It's hard to believe so much time has gone by and about half a year of my life was spent in pain, tears, and sometimes fear (mostly in the beginning of the lyme disease). I'm definitely looking forward to the new year, to leaving this disease behind me while taking the lessons I've learned with me into 2010.

As many of you know, I was very proactive in finding a "cure" to the disease as soon as it was identified. I tried allopathic remedies (antibiotics for about three months), alternative remedies (herbal protocols, vitamin/mineral/supplemental protocols, aromatherapy techniques, healing massage, hands-on-healing, water fasting, prayer/meditation/positive visualization), and so much more. Nothing completely cured my body from the lyme bacteria that seems to have spread throughout my body and found favorite spots to multiply (particularly in my shoulders and arms).

This recipe is an adaptation of one from "Rawvolution", by Matt Amsden. As of this point in time, "Rawvolution" is my favorite recipe book. Most of the recipes are high in sodium and fat, but very satisfying for those who are used to eating cooked foods.

Egg-less Egg Salad

Wendi's initial observation about Santa Rosa was that, at first glance, it seemed similar to many of the places they'd visited in Oregon. However, once the sun came out, she said you could feel that California sunshine starting to warm up your body. This is Northern CA, so it's not overly hot; it is, however, much sunnier and a bit warmer than the parts of Oregon they visited.

Wendi and KDcat were hosted by a lovely couple, Shea Lynn Baird and Stephen Barlow (and their adorable dog, Bella, pictured above). You might be familiarwith Shea already, as she and her husband launched the popular Monday Night Live series, broadcast Monday nights from Cafe Gratitude. Shea is a long-term raw foodist, so Wendi interviewed her and asked some questions about what she's been doing. It's a really great, highly interesting interview. Wendi also asked Shea to offer some helpful advice for our Pure Jeevan family members. I think everyone will enjoy the video: