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... Yesterday I promised to hypnotize you, so here it is (below). This is something I published elsewhere long ago, slightly modified. Interestingly, in the original version, I'd made reference to various cooked food items -- for example, describing the smell of fresh-baked muffins as comforting. Well, as pleasant as that smell may be to everyone, I just thought it would be odd to include it here on a blog devoted to raw foods.

I think, by the way, that next week I may post a piece on aroma and how it dovetails with raw foods. I'm sure there are interesting things to write about that topic. For now, I'll simply point you to the funny hypnotism picture, below. While it characterizes hypnotism as a sort of mystical power wielded over another's true will, that's definitely not the case. As you'll see, the text below is really just a very innocent, very calming, relaxing suggestion. Read it seriously and see if you aren't relaxed and happy afterward. Have a great weekend!

Is cacao dangerous or is it a super food? Anyone who's been learning about raw foods knows about raw cacao (check out a recent episode of Know Your Food: Cacao). It's raw chocolate without all the processing and additives normally included in the chocolate bars many buy from standard grocery stores. In its raw form, cacao has different nutritional components than typical processed chocolate. Many claim that raw chocolate is filled with mega doses of nutrients, making it a super food, and therefore extremely healthy for the human body. Others claim that even in its raw state, cacao is a stimulant that taxes the human body and cacao is more like a poison than a food. I've heard murmurs about negative effects of cacao for many years, but that was always subdued by the vociferous praise of cacao.

Recently, my friend Kevin Gianni (The Renegade Health Show) spoke out about cacao and his experiences with it. Kevin is well known in the raw food community, so his words came as a shock to many people. He explained in his video (below) that he developed a rash on his stomach. After much investigating and diet changes, he came to the conclusion that cacao was causing the rash (eliminating the cacao caused his skin to clear). He also stated that cacao had been stripping his body of vital minerals. Kevin pointed out that he was simply sharing his own experience with cacao, possibly shedding some light on a subject that may need to be further investigated. He advised others to take a look at their own reactions to the food, to see if they are experiencing any problems.

After making a 'batch' of green smoothies, what is generally considered an appropriate serving size?

Thanks for the question, Gary!? I don't think I can give an across-the-board answer to fit everyone, since we're all so wonderfully different. The answer would have to take into consideration various factors, such as:

And here's the conclusion of Wendi's San Francisco travelogue:

That evening we met up with Carolyn, a long-time friend since college, who was our lovely host for a few days. Carolyn has a gift with cats, which was a real treat for KDcat to see. Do you know how you can teach dogs to sit and give kisses? Well, Carolyn has taught one of her rescued cats to do the same thing! He *really* sits and *really* gives kisses on command! WOW!

Carolyn showed us all around the San Franciso and Berkeley areas, bringing KDcat to a thrift shop (she's been having fun popping into random thrift shops to see what she can find) and a fun shop called Ancient Ways, stopping by some Indian shops so I could pick up some more bindis and some ground coriander for a dish I made while visiting, checking out the Berkeley campus area, and taking us shopping for organic foods.

Those consuming a raw food diet sometimes use a dehydrator to prepare raw food dishes. They do this at low temperatures, below the point of actually cooking the foods, to intensify flavors, reduce the amount of moisture in the dish, and sometimes to take the chill off something they'd rather serve a bit warmer than straight out of the refrigerator. There is a practice that we've seen, however, that is actually cooking the very foods were taking such great measures to consume raw! Let me share an experience I had when I first started eating raw foods, that will help explain how some of us may be cooking our foods by mistake.

In the beginning of eating raw foods, my entire family loved the Vegetable Stir-Dont-Fry I used to make (you can find that recipe in the free eBook you downloaded when you first visited our site). One day I created a double recipe so we could eat more the next day, without going through the process of preparing it again fresh. The following day I took the bowl of Stir-Dont-Fry out of the refrigerator and put it into the dehydrator to take the chill off. It wasn't warming up fast enough on such a low temperature, so I thought I'd just cover the dish a little bit to trap in some of the heat that seemed to leave each time I checked the dish and stirred it around. So, I took a plate and placed it on top of the bowl with about an inch, or two, opening.

In a recent post, I answered part of a message I received from Violet, one of our blog readers. Below is the continuation of my response to Violet (much briefer than my last one!).

Following my response to Violet is a response to Sarah, who has a fantastic raw food blog that I enjoy reading.

Violet's message continued:

A few days ago, we'd mentioned that Wendi had done a five-day water fast as part of her early dealings with Lyme disease. This was the first time I can recall in our household anyone fasting for more than a day or so, although there may have been the odd juice fast now and again for a few days.

Thinking back, I can tell you that, all while I kew Wendi (and especially during her cooked years), such an extended fasting would never have happened because she used to get wicked headaches any time she went without food for more than a normal time period between meals. This makes perfect sense, of course, as you really do have to be in fairly good health to successfully fast -- and, during those "cooked" years, we were both extremely unhealthy! (More on the reasons for all that later, as Wendi will likely do a write-up on fasting at some point.)

A Pure Jeevan family members asks:

How do I eat dandelions? I heard they are good for me, but I tasted one and they are so bitter. I don't know how I could ever eat them, even if they are supposed to be so good for me. Can you help

First, congratulations on being so open-minded when it comes to trying new things! Too many people never move far away from their comfort zones, especially when it comes to diet, and they miss out on a lot. So, good for you to at least consider and then try dandelion greens!


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.

Jim here... I thought it might be interesting to spend the rest of this week looking at some quotations we've come across that discuss obesity entirely outside of the context of diet. ?While these quotes focus on obesity, it's likely (in my opinion) that the authors' intentions pertain to almost any health challenge (obesity or otherwise).

Today, we're going to quote a well-known author, Marion Woodman. Tomorrow, we'll hear from Rhonda Byrne, Thursday Dr. Gabriel Cousens, and Friday I'll recap with something I posted on Facebook a while back from Tony Robbins.It should be an interesting week -- and, by the way, I'll tie all of this back into raw foods on Friday, and discuss then why the raw food diet makes a lot of sense for healing obesity and other health challenges even if, as these authors imply, one's diet may not be the sole or ultimate cause of one's health challenges.