All this month, Jim has been experimenting with a low-fat, raw vegan diet. He discusses his reasons for trying a low fat diet, and how he s been feeling with the changes, in his first and second posts so far this month.

Many of you have heard us mention the famous low-fat, raw vegan 80/10/10 diet here on our blog. Well, today I d like to highlight the individual behind that diet. So?

I know this is our Fun-Filled Friday post, but I have to admit that most of today isn't going to be all that much fun. But, this weekend should be very enjoyable! We have some very special guests arriving tomorrow for a SUPER SPECIAL evening tomorrow night! Leela Mata, a beautiful spiritual teacher, has offered to visit my home and hold Satsang here. One of her extremely talented students, Devaki, will be joining her (and bringing a harmonium to play at Satsang!).

What fun it is to share a fun day with like-minded people at a special location, sharing good times, laughter, and delicious, nutritious raw food wonderment. Here are some pics from our outing -- hopefully the first of many such unique outings blending the Pittsburgh raw group with the D.C. one.

We hope this also provides some inspiration for other meetup groups to consider holding joint meetups in some geographically central location.

If you're new to raw foods, you're probably aware that eating this way isn't exactly mainstream. And, while we've talked here before about the importance of connecting with others for inspiration and support, it's true that a lot of that lends itself to participation in virtual worlds such as Twitter, Facebook, Give It to Me Raw, and other communities, blogs, and sites where raw foodies hang out.

As some of you already know, along with regaining my physical health I've also been working on every other aspect of my overall health and being. I don't just want a healthy body---I want the whole package (vibrancy and bliss inside and out, in every way possible).

One area of my mental health that has been slow to heal is my self confidence. I continue to work on it in many ways and have made some tremendous progress over the past year, or so. I feel worthy of so much more than I ever did before.Many people never doubt their self worth---they have a good sense of who they are and assume that others see them as they are, as well.

I started writing on a raw food forum about the oranges coming in today. But, I was on my way out the door and I had more to say about them than I realized, so, I figured I'd paste what I wrote, so far, and add to it here in our blog. ;-)

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(organic oranges and grapefruits)

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.

What fun do you have planned for yourself today, this weekend, or sometime in the near future? If the idea of having fun feels a bit foreign to you, then we sure are glad you found our blog. We'd love to encourage you to have some fun every day, but to especially have extra fun on the weekends (or whenever you have a couple of days off in a row).

What makes the weekends so special? For most people the weekends are a time when your schedule isn't dominated by weekly work commitments. It's a time when you can (no matter how busy your life is) probably arrange your days the way you'd like. So, why not arrange some time for fun? If you can manage it, try to arrange an entire weekend of fun for yourself!

I am very fair-skinned, with light eyes and medium-colored hair. For as long as I can remember, the sun made me feel ill. The older I got, the sicker I'd feel. I felt uncomfortable in the heat, my skin would feel all prickly, I got horrible headaches, and sometimes I even got sick to my stomach. I've always loved being out in nature, but on really sunny days, it bothered me and I'd try to stay in/near the woods and the shade.

Rita Romano, author of the widely available book Dining in the Raw and executive chef for many years at the Hippocrates Health Institute, is a true pioneer of the raw movement. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to visit with her and her two lovely Boston Terriers, Angel and Oreo. Here's PART TWO of our talk with her:

April 15, 2008

Every year my dear friend, Mamta, lets me know when Navratri is going to begin. ?It s the nine-day fast, but you don t have to change anything since you are already eating so healthy. Traditionally, Hindus used to abstain from eating during Navratri. In modern times, with everyone working and life being less relaxed, fasting isn t always something that can easily be accomplished. So, over the years Navratri has been modified by many to represent a time of eating more simply and abstaining from meat if you eat it.

This year, I had an email question from one of our readers who was asking about ways to eat simpler during the nine-days of fasting. After responding to him, it sparked in me a desire to do something this year for Navratri. I had read about eating mono meals and always thought it sounded like such a gentle way of cleansing the body, so I figured I d try it for the nine days of Navratri. To make it even easier on me, I decided to consume a different food every 24 yours, rather than eating the same thing for the full nine days. Maybe in the future I ll try that, but this time I wanted this to be as easily doable as possible.

Do you need to be 100% raw to release excess weight and regain your health There's no difinitive answer for that question because we are all unique. Sure, our bodies function pretty much the same way, but there are still enough differences that make it difficult to answer a question like that for it to be true for every single individual.

Most of us have heard of, or know, someone who doesn't eat a healthy diet, who smokes cigarettes and/or drinks alcohol, doesn't get enough rest, and also lives a stressful life---yet that person still has a healthy body and is over 80 years old. People like that seem to have resiliency built into their genes. Sure, who knows how long a person with such resilient genes could live or how vibrant a life that person could enjoy with a healtheir lifestyle. But, the fact remains that it seems no matter what a person's lifestyle is like, if you are born with resilient genes you are pretty much invincible to most illnesses.

A majority of the population isn't born with such impressively hardy genes, however. Most bodies can withstand the stresses of an unhealthy lifestyle until middle age. At that point, however, the body begins to show signs of ill health (excess weight gain, aches and pains, and the start of many diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure). For a majority of those individuals, some healthy lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. Many individuals regain their health simply by changing their diets to include less fat and more vegetables, and by increasing their amount of exercise. Sure, it's a bit of work to make such changes, but if many people are committed to improving their health those simple changes can make a drastic difference in their lives.