Hi there, Pure Jeevan family! ?Jim here... A few weeks ago, I'd been reading about Bibi McGill, the guitarist and musical director for Beyonce. It was a fascinating piece (linked to below, actually) and, to my complete surprise at the time, touched on her fairly serious interest in raw foods -- and, wouldn't you know, she also lives right here in sunny Portlandia!

Soon, I realized that I'd seen her name around town before -- and Wendi did, too! There are these absolutely addictive kale chips, you see... (We like to get them at our local food co-op from time to time because they're truly something special.) ?But, until recently, we didn't piece it all together -- that one person manages to produce this distinctive brand of raw snacks, teach yoga classes here in Stumptown, AND somehow also tour the entire globe as lead guitarist ?for world-class acts like Beyonce and Pink!

Jim here... Here's a compilation of vids from my little Flip camera, all taken over our weekend roadtrip to Washington, D.C. It's not all strictly raw-food related, but does include some raw tips. First up, you'll see our rawsomely packed food coolers. Between using ice and frozen fruits, everything kept cool just fine.

Early in the video, Wendi shares a handy tip for keeping your smoothies cool on the road. If you're going to drink your smoothies right away, you might have little concern for keeping a drink cold. However, we had eaten breakfast already and knew we wouldn't want to get into our smoothies for another hour or so after leaving. Frozen berries to the rescue! (Just make sure to hunt down a large glass bottle with an opening large enough to pour frozen berries into.)

Back when we ate cooked foods (especially way back when our menu was not exclusively vegan), parmesan cheese seemed to be a staple of our existence (especially for Jim). We'd sprinkle it liberally on pasta dishes, salads, soups, and more.

As is typical for many raw foodies, you often realize after going raw that it was not always necessarily the food itself that you craved (no matter what it was); often it was simply the texture, the spices, the various flavors and tastes, etc. And that realization leads raw chefs to wonder whether the same experience can be recreated using only raw ingredients.

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!

Have you ever heard about mono meals? When I first did, it sounded like such a great idea. When you eat a mono meal, you eat one item (and only one item) for the entire meal. Eating that way is supposed to be very cleansing and it gives your digestive system a rest from processing different types of foods at the same time. Supposedly there is a boost in energy, as well, since your digestion isn't taking up so much energy.

I recently received an email asking for advice from one of our Hindu readers, asking what I could recommend as far as light eating during the nine-day Indian festival of Navratri. Navratri is traditionally a time of fasting for nine days, however in modern society most Hindus no longer fast. Many do, however, pay more attention to their diets, and they try to eat lighter meals that do not contain animal products. Since our reader is just starting his exploration into raw foods, I didn't want to offer him advice that would make his nine days of Navratri difficult.He recently purchased a Vitamix, so I suggested that he make a lot of smoothies, since he has been enjoying them so much.

Wow, could this really mark 800 raw food blog posts ! ?We must be obsessive orthorexic raw foodies to have achieved that level of focused health editorial journalism! Post #800 deserves to be something really useful (not that the others aren't or do not deserve this), so we'd like to pass along a fun idea. I guess all of that talk of Donald Trump yesterday got me thinking about making deals. We make deals with others, of course, but I think we also sometimes can make them with ourselves.

I'm so glad to be out of the corporate business world these days, but I did pay attention while there, and perhaps even learned a thing or two. Today's post is related to that in a way. You see, I was once at a sales training seminar when the speaker advised following a "this job / next job" strategy with clients. What that means in business is that, when you're in the middle of one job working for someone -- say, for example, you're a printer working on a brochure for a company -- you would make a point of saying something like, "Hey, this brochure is going great. I was wondering what else is coming in the near term so that we can make sure to be ready for it."

"Should you eat when you're not hungry "

That was a question I asked myself a lot when I was first transitioning to the raw food diet. Just about everything I ever read said that people shouldn't eat if they aren't hungry. We need to listen to what our bodies are telling us in order to be as healthy as possible.

What if your body is telling you it's not hungry, however, while your instinct is telling you that you still need to eat That's what was happening to me in the beginning of my raw journey. My digestion was very slow and food would sit in my stomach for most of the day, especially if the food I ate was processed or heavy. It didn't matter how much I ate, either. My portions were always very small compared to those that my fit-looking friends were eating. I always wondered how I was the obese one when my meals were so minimal in comparison.

Jim here... As I may have mentioned a while ago, I joined a gym recently. I figured, with Wendi and Bailey living on the other side of the country, I might as well find something healthy to do with my alone time until I'm able to join them soon (aside from my seemingly never-ending quest to rid our household of 13 years of rampant accumulation). I joined on a whim, actually. There's a gym near my home called Planet Fitness. Honestly, I have no idea how they make money. A membership costs just $10/month -- and it's a Wal-Mart-sized place, too, absolutely packed with state of the art machines. (Actually, it's a franchise, so there could very well be one near you.)

In any case, it had been a while since I'd been inside an actual gym. I've certainly remained relatively active, of course. But being in a gym is a little different -- and certainly has its plusses and minuses. On the minus side, I've always kind of felt that, if you add up all of the time it generally takes to get (1) get ready to go to a gym, (2) drive there, and (3) drive home -- say, a half-hour, total, for those things -- then you could probably better invest that time in just going for a run for a half-hour, leaving straight from your home. From a time management standpoint, I'm not crazy about gym memberships (meaning not that physical exercise isn't worth the investment of time, but rather that there are ways to accomplish the same results in much less time).

An online friend of mine, Kevin Gianni (see previous blog entry introducing him), has been producing a terrific series of videos and blog posts. At the end of each post, he asks questions of his readers. In his recent post, he asked his readers:

What struggles have you been through

I love this video, in which Wendi interviews our new Portland-based realtor, Bill Futrell. It's a nice interview, but I love the way Wendi's enthusiasm for raw foods rubbed off on Bill almost immediately. There's even a moment in here in which Bill starts talking about Natural Zing. We thought for sure everyone would think we put him up to that, but he did it absolutely spontaneously! So, thanks Bill for helping to support our Snack Sponsor. Anyway, here's what he had to say about Portland, about where we'll fit in, and about his first exposure to raw foods:

One thing I can tell you for sure: Portland is WAY more expensive than Pittsburgh. A year ago, I invested a ton of time reading about low-cost cob houses, straw-bale construction, Earth-ship homes, homes fashioned from "obtanium," thatch roofs, off-the-grid systems, igloos, you name it -- anything DIY-oriented. (Okay, well not igloos; that was a joke. Even though igloos are probably pretty neat-o.) I'm sure we'll get to many of those types of projects one day still. But for now, as you can see, we're going to put down roots in a really great city out West. We're doing it with intention, though, and in harmony with our mission to help ourselves and others obtain the highest levels of health and happiness.

?

Well, it's nearing the end of 2009, and I've been unwell for half of the year. (To make a positive statement out of that, I'll add that I've been well for the other half!) It's hard to believe so much time has gone by and about half a year of my life was spent in pain, tears, and sometimes fear (mostly in the beginning of the lyme disease). I'm definitely looking forward to the new year, to leaving this disease behind me while taking the lessons I've learned with me into 2010.

As many of you know, I was very proactive in finding a "cure" to the disease as soon as it was identified. I tried allopathic remedies (antibiotics for about three months), alternative remedies (herbal protocols, vitamin/mineral/supplemental protocols, aromatherapy techniques, healing massage, hands-on-healing, water fasting, prayer/meditation/positive visualization), and so much more. Nothing completely cured my body from the lyme bacteria that seems to have spread throughout my body and found favorite spots to multiply (particularly in my shoulders and arms).