Jim here... Recently, a commenter on this blog, Lannette, mentioned being a cardiac rehab nurse. For some reason, reading this set my wheels spinning in various directions, among them onto the topic of meat consumption in the world. To begin, I'd like to recap something I'd said in response to her:

... it *astounds* me how people joke about heart health where I work. People around here routinely return from medical exams and actually adopt rather mischievous grins when they reveal how high their bad cholesterol levels are. It's like they're saying, "I know meat and dairy are bad for me, but I'm going to keep on eating it anyway. Isn't that funny ??!!!" Ummm, no. It's sad. They laugh it off as though there could be no possible future reckoning for them. It's reminiscent, IMHO, of Dr. Viktor Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning," in which he describes a psychological phenomenon he termed the "delusion of reprieve." For anyone unfamiliar w/ that, the term describes the phenomenon via which those faced with certain death (or near certain death) mentally construct some way out of it. They are deluded into believing that they'll have a reprieve from the inevitable. So, it's exactly the same to me -- these people see the heart attacks coming. They simply refuse to do anything about it, refuse to change their habits, deny what their blood work says to them. Why? Because they think "I'll be okay. Sure, this leads to heart disease in most people, but not in *me* because I'm a strong guy, I'm macho, I'm not as fat as some other person here, etc." Mostly, it's the meat, I think. It's got a powerful hold on our society...

So, today I wanted to write a little bit on the topic of meat consumption. This is an enormous issue, in my opinion. If you're reading this, it likely means you're already at least a vegetarian, so I do not need to quote you any saddening statistics on the horrors of the meat industry. In fact, before writing this, I decided to visit the PETA web site quickly in order to glean a few slaughterhouse facts. But, in no time, I became markedly depressed, so I'll largely avoid focusing on specific negative imagery here.

Just a quick notice that we've posted our December 2009 newsletter. Each month, we email a link to our newsletter to all Pure Jeevan family members. (If you're not receiving that, you're mising out on a ton of awesome raw inspiration and information. You can click here to sign up -- it's free!)

We'll be back tomorrow to continue our coverage of the Chicago raw food scene. As I've been saying for a few days now, you won't want to miss these great interviews!?

We all know what "greens" are in general. For example, no one questions whether lettuce, kale, spinach, or chard are greens. But on the other hand, all of those items *are* also clearly green in color. With that in mind, what would you make of the following two questions I (Jim) recently pondered -- tagged as "reader questions" so they're easily found in the future by other equally inquisitive people ;-) -- that seem bizarre, but are really quite interesting?

1. Are non-green greens (e.g., purple kale) still considered greens

2. Are vegetables with green skins (e.g., cukes, zucchini) considered greens? (After all, they're green!)

Hey everyone! It's nice to be more or less back in the swing of things again after an unexpectedly long stay in Chicago last week. You know, staying an extra three days on a trip isn't so bad, though. I imagine that if we had known that we were staying six days instead of three, we probably would have packed way too much. So, there are definitely advantages to unexpected happennings!

Anyway, here's another look into a Chicago-area raw food restaurant. This time, we were able to sit down with the owners, Danny & Kathy Living. The video starts with some footage of some gourmet raw dishes (a raw burrito, a raw falafel, and a raw dessert), and then gets into the interviews.

As you read this, calming violins open a familiar tune and that sweet mellifluous voice of Etta James soon enters your mind: "At laaaaaaaaassssst. My looooove has come along....." Great tune, right ! Well, it's appropriate here because, at LAST, here's the long-awaited Episode #9 of Know Your Food! That's right, friends, today we're going to explore the wondrous FIG in all of its sweet, soothing glory. One taste and happiness blossoms within you, washing over your entire being... We only wish that the following video was as professionally rendered as this paragraph of evocative prose... (but, we promise we'll get there one day).

In case you missed the actual nutrition info in that video (what little there was, LOL), here's the transcript:

Continuing with our week of ways to keep a sharp mind, let's focus on the one widely accepted indicator for dementia or alzheimer's: heart disease. If one wants to dramatically reduce the chances of brain degredation, the first step to take is keeping the heart healthy.

The key advice most health specialists agree on when it comes to a healthy heart is the reduction (ideally eliminatain) of unhealthy fats in the diet. The unhealthy fats are usually seen as solid fats, like butter, margerine, and shortening. However, it's important to not overlook the fats that are also found in meats. By substituting unhealthy fats with something healthier for your heart (like extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil), as well as transitioning to leaner meats if you are a meat eater, you will be taking some important steps in keeping your heart healthy, as well as your mind.

In Part 5 of this 5-Part series, Wendi talks with Leela Mata about meditation and diet. After discussing what meditation is and why people practice it, Mata Ji talks about diet and its effects on the mind. She then gives a brief explanation of how to meditate for those who are new to the practice, and demonstrates how to use a simple mantra (word or phrase) to aid in entering a meditative state.

I hear the question all the time: "Don't you miss eating out at restaurants " My answer is always, "No. I prefer the fresher organic foods I can create for myself in my own home. I can pay the same amount for better food if I stay at home to eat." It's true, too. I don't miss eating out at restaurants. Sometimes I miss the convenience of someone else doing my food prep and cleaning up afterward, but as far as the actual food that I consume, I prefer the foods we eat at home. Besides, when you eat out as a raw foodist, your choices are limited to only a salad if you live in an area with no raw food restaurants.

Sometime last year, as a treat for Jim, we went to a restaurant. I got a huge salad that I used to love when I ate cooked foods at that particular restaurant. I remembered the greens were always dark, the onions were nice and flavorful, and the dressing was a simple oil and vinegar with salt. Well, after consuming only fresh foods in our home for quite some time, the salad that I used to think tasted so great now seemed to be lifeless and limp. It wasn't enjoyable to eat, and I sure didn't like paying so much for a nonorganic salad that didn't even taste good to me. So, we didn't eat out again after that.

Hi everyone!? It's late Wednesday night as we're writing this. It's absolutely pouring down rain here in Pittsburgh tonight -- not in a torrential way, but more of a steady, heavy downfall. Mass volumes of water are turning our streets into temporary streams, our garden beds into mini-ponds. Most people would stay indoors during such a spell, but our daughter KDcat decided to head out into it for some magical adventure time. Kids often think in this way, you know ?And, I think there's a lesson in that for many adults: Maybe we should head out into the rain now and again. Surely it's good for the soul.

But for those who prefer to stay dry most of the time, here's an "indoor pastime" idea for you: Check out some raw foods video!? I know what you're thinking... "Wow, great suggestion. But, how in the world will I ever find all of the best raw foods videos out there "? Glad you asked!

The superlatively captivating, one-and-only Bif Naked has been a superstar rock and roll icon, performer, diva, composer, acclaimed actress, sought-after voice-over artist, gifted poet / writer, and even cartoonist(!) for years. But, did you know she's also a raw vegan !

Early in 2009, I remember reading about her breast cancer diagnosis. The story both intrigued and haunted the raw world: ?How could a raw foodie get cancer ! We're supposed to be impervious to such things, right !

As promised, here is the picture again of the Mexican meal I created the other day. It will be served at the upcoming 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat (only a few spaces left!). Since many of our readers can't make it to the retreat, I said I'd post some of the recipes here in the blog. I hope some of you will try to create the recipes and let me know what you think!