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!

We had a wonderful weekend that started with a raw food potluck in our home (through the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup group). There were about twenty people and so many lovely raw food dishes! I haven't checked the camera, yet, but I hope someone remembered to capture some pictures of the food and guests. It was all very yummy, including the beet pasta I made with a cream sauce. I also made some carob peppermint sweets that KDcat formed into bite-sized balls and arranged them on a platter. A friend of mine told me that the people who show up for raw food potlucks tend to be genuinely nice people, and she was right. It was a pleasure meeting everyone and I look forward to next month's meetup.

The rest of our weekend was spent with our guest, Devaki, who just left a few minutes ago to return to the ashram. She played some beautiful music on the harmonium and she and some other lovely guests filled our home with the beauty and energy of Kirtan chanting. Some of the chants were in English, too. I thought I wouldn't like them as much, but they were just as beautiful as the Indian ones. One of my close friends who was here for the Kirtan told me that I was glowing after the chanting! I love the blissful feeling that comes from chanting and meditation.

It's been an interesting week for us here. We've looked at a handful of ways that people may either become obese, or sustain an obese body -- all largely for reasons outside of dietary intake. The three situations we looked at included maintaining weight as a defense mechanism (Tuesday), becoming obese through worrying about becoming obese (Wednesday), and obesity as basically a physical manifestation of a non-physical longing (Thursday).

Without a doubt, these are just three out of hundreds of possible non-physical contributors to poor health. The idea was merely to start a thread on these things, opening people's minds to possibilities that perhaps they'd never seriously considered.

Today's post isn't specifically about raw foods. But, we wanted to post a few videos highlighting some interesting research by an Italian doctor named Tullio Simoncini, who just might be onto something HUGE! Dr. Simoncini treats certain cancer patients with ordinary sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), based on his premise that cancer is a fungal problem and that a solution of baking soda is anti-fungal. Naturally, he's been vilified by the medical establishment for making such a seemingly simplistic claim. But, what if he's right?

Here at Pure Jeevan, we're very much into health research -- not so much with an aim to cure any specific disease or ailment, but rather to understand ways in which our bodies can become what we like to call unbalanced, as well as the ways in which we might return our bodies to proper balance, when necessary. In this way, I suppose that we, like many in the natural health world, feel that the body is amazingly capable of healing itself (in many circumstances) as long as the body is able to find a favorable state from which it can properly do what it naturally wants to -- which is to return the body to an optimal state of health.

Medical doctors don't buy into this theory very much. ?However, it's certainly ironic how, where certain areas of standard medical practice are concerned, what I described above is exactly what doctors do. Take something like a broken bone, for example. A doctor does not normally attempt to surgically repair the bone itself. Rather, the standard and time-honored practice is to set the bone (say, with a cast), and then to let your body heal the break naturally, on its own, making those skeletal connections as only the imponderably complex, ever-evolving wisdom of the human body can facilitate. (True, doctors do often intervene these days with surgery for broken bones. But, their aim there is mainly to position the bones for proper healing, and/or to do things like insert pins in an attempt to improve functionality after healing. Either way, the procedure here still relies on the body's ability to eventually heal the problem.) Standard medical knowledge in this area is without question outstanding -- and this is why most people in the natural health world have little problem with going to see a medical doctor for emergency treatment.

After leaving the windy area of Prescott Valley, AZ, Wendi and KDcat headed up to Sedona. Today is part one of their Sedona visit, focusing on their visit with raw chocolatier, Kelly Johnson. We'll pick up with Wendi's travelogue, where we last left off:

It was great driving to Sedona, since I have a fond place in my heart for this magical spot. I'll talk more about that later, though. When we arrived, went directly to a raw restaurant I remembered visiting a few years ago. The name had changed, and there was a lot more going on there.

KDcat and I placed an order for some food to go (we wanted to have a picnic, rather than be inside when there was so much beauty around), and then met the lovely Kelly Johnson. Kelly is one of the owners of the raw restaurant and he agreed to do a quick interview to tell us about the restaurant and what had changed since the last time I was in Sedona.

As we said yesterday, we have some fantastic videos to share from RSF East last weekend. To launch a series of interviews, we want to reiterate that Pure Jeevan has always been a holistic site, meaning that we like to focus on all aspects of a human being's optimal existence (mind, body, spirit, and emotions). While it's not always "all about the food" here, it's also fair to say that it all really does start with the food -- super-nourishing 100% raw living foods! So, it's only appropriate that we begin this series of interviews with a raw food chef.

RawDawg Rory was a huge pleasure to meet and hang out with. The man exudes happiness, and it's quite infectious! We had a great time talking, and of course talked a lot about tasty raw foods. In this video, RawDawg shares a delicious dessert recipe. Here it is:

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:

... just a quick interruption of "Crazy Week" to do two things:

1. Congratulate Natural Zing on their 8th year in business!

As you may have seen around the web, a number of individuals have attempted to single-handedly list all of the raw-food resources on one web page or one web site. However, when you consider how the raw and living foods movement has grown exponentially in recent years, you realize that keeping up with raw food information resources is an impossible task for any individual.

The answer, not surprisingly in this day and age, lies in a community-run web site -- a "social network" site devoted exclusively to creating and maintaining the web's comprehensive directory of raw and living foods resources. While the task is Herculean for a single individual, it is easy for a large group. My gift to the raw and living foods community is a place for us to do just that---the All Raw Directory! I'm confident that, in no time at all, our community can grow this raw food community database into the world's largest and most comprehensive (within our specialized niche, that is).

Special thanks go out to the many individuals who reviewed the site as it was being developed and to those who put in a lot of time populating the database, so it has a good start for the rest of us to expand upon.

Any botanists or kale experts in our readership ? Take a look:

This "kale" is locally grown by an organic farmer. I tasted some in the store and bought a whole bunch because it was so delicious. Jim added 5 or 6 leaves to a smoothie for us a few days ago. But, today we were going to use it for kale salad. As I was washing the leaves, I saw these tiny tendril-like things sticking up. At first, I thought it was some strange kind of bug or egg, but then I noticed they were on many of the leaves and, out of some of these tendril-like things were growing MORE LEAVES! This is all happening on the flat surface of the kale leaf. I've never seen any leaf in nature that sprouted more leaves from the flat surface of a leaf. Take a closer look:

Here it is: Putting it all together. Here you'll see what we use for our taco shells and how we build up our taco. Quite often, we also make a raw sour creme using cashew nuts and lemon juice. But, for these tacos, it'll just be meat, salsa, and guac. Enjoy!