I'm excited about something that one of my friends has been working on. Melissa is gifted in so many areas, one of which is wild edible identification. She recently told me she was working on something that would help a lot of people and I was excited about her new project. Well, now it's ready to be shared with everyone!

Take the time to meet...

Hi everyone! ?We wanted to announce plans for a raw food picnic / potluck / meetup next Saturday, September 19th, at noon, in Berkeley Springs, WV at Berkeley Springs State Park (link to map), a wonderful natural healing destination about half-way between Pittsburgh and D.C. Wendi was just talking with Rawbin from the Capital Area (D.C.) raw food meetup and we all thought that a combo Pittsburgh / D.C. meetup might be fun. So, we all planned something right on the spot!

Berkeley Springs is a really nice (but small) public park in West Virginia about half-way between Pittsburgh and D.C.I traveled there a few weeks back with Melissa, Dave, Ella, and Bethany on the way to Raw Spririt East. We had a super time soaking in the spring water and checking out all of the cool alternative shops. (I did a write-up here on Pure Jeevan a few weeks ago and posted some video of the place).

A Bit of India in Pittsburgh s Back Yard?

During an intense personal journey in recent years, I ve discovered that the more I m able to know my true self, the more my perception of the world changes. As a result, my surroundings have changed as well ?people, places, directions. At one point, internal and external changes happened so rapidly, it was difficult to fully process anything; I felt overwhelmed.

Amid urges to explore so many new directions, all at the same time, it became impossible to focus. My initial instinct was to flee to India, where I could peacefully stay at an ashram and process all that was transpiring in my mind. Although circumstances kept me from traveling abroad, I knew I needed to simplify. That s when I remembered an old issue of Point of Light I d kept. I dug it out and quickly flipped through the pages? There it was: Peaceful Valley Ashram & Retreat, located just north of Pittsburgh!

Jim here with another intriguing installment of Weird Wednesday.Look, I'm a hugefan of gigantic, mondo salads. If you (well, not raw foodists but most SAD-diet Americans) were to visit our house at lunch time, you'd likely think that the individual salads on our table are as big as the salads bowls put out for entire families (for those few families, relatively speaking, that serve any salad at all these days, that is).

Seriously, when I have enough prep time, I like to pile 'em high with organic green leaf (though I'll take red leaf or romaine frequently), tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, apple slices, pepitos, sunflower seeds, raisins -- basically everything but the kitchen sink.

The other day, before grocery shopping, I didn't have a lot of food in the house. When that happens, I usually take a look at what I have and then try to come up with something tasty. It's kind of an art form, to create something out of next to nothing. I think I learned the art from my mother, who had to make things stretch on a very minimal budget.

Here's what I created, and it turned out great!

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:

After leaving Salem, Oregon, Wendi and KDcat drove less than an hour to the city of Corvallis where they met up with their hosts the Zander's -- Joni, Steve, Bekka, and Stephanie -- a fellow unschooling family Wendi had come to know in an online forum. It was great to be in their company and we loved them right away,? Wendi wrote. ?Their home is absolutely beautiful on a really cute lot with plenty of plants and trees around ? including the most delightful flowers that smelled divine (I think they were called Daphne).

Corvallis is the city we ve mentioned multiple times -- the city that feels like it s the right fit for us. Well, it lived up to our dreams in just about every way. It s a progressive, hip town with a lot going on. The people are friendly, the weather is beautiful, the land is gorgeous, and there are lots of unschoolers. Access to fresh, ogranic, raw foods doesn't seem to be an issue anywhere in Oregon, according to reports from the road so far. While they've been away, we've talked quite a bit each night about what they're finding -- and fresh organic produce seems pretty much everywhere out west. "The west," wrote Jim Morrison, "is the best." (Surely he was a raw foodie.)

Jon Gold, owner of the Sunny Side Up Cafe (a vegan and vegetarian restaurant there) and an unschool father, put together a little gathering of unschoolers for KDcat and Wendi. They were able to meet some local unschoolers and ask questions. There was also a gathering one day at the cafe where KDcat was able to do some art at a table with some other unschool teens. It's definitely a creative, easy-going town with some fantastic people in it!

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!).

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!)

Many of you know some of my story of healing. I suffered with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) since I was a young teenager. Over the years, I began putting on more and more weight until I was nearly morbidly obese. I learned a lot about PCOS and how there is always an accompanying issue with Insulin Resistance.

Countless overweight women search the Internet looking for help in dealing with PCOS, hoping to find a natural cure to the harsh medications often prescribed that tend to cause other health concerns in our bodies. One of the most often asked questions is from women who have a pretty good understanding of PCOS. They want to know if they need to be careful with fruit consumption if they have PCOS and are trying to lose weight.

We've been busier than usual here at Pure Jeevan. For all those who sent emails, please know that we will respond in the next week, or so. If you need immediate help for some reason, please send another email with the subject "HELP" and we'll do our best to reply as quickly as possible.

What have we been doing lately? Well, one of the highlights would be getting the first and second stages of the All Raw Directory up and running. We have many different stages planned for the future, enhancing the directory as time permits. It's a pretty exciting project, so be sure to become a member of the directory and continually contribute to its growth. It's a fantastic resource for all of us!



Blaq Berry, Rawbin, Annmarie and Kevin Gianni, Wendi