Wow, what a stressful weekend! We spent pretty much the entire past two days going through the dozens and dozens of suggestions we received in response to our July 30 post concerning our move (in which we asked for help in finding the perfect new place to live). We listed every city suggested to us, as well as a number of cities we specifically wanted to consider. Then we attempted to gather data from the Internet to rank these cities. Here's a HUGE snapshot to show our progress. (I'll explain a few things below.)

As you can see, we ranked each city according to many criteria. These included the number of sunny days per year, average high and low temperatures, air quality (higher #s better), water quality (higher #s better), Superfund statistics (an indication of the general toxicity of an area -- higher #s better), land prices, crime rate (the numbers "x / x" indicating scores from 1 to 10, lower #s being better, for "personal" crimes and "property" crimes), and finally a "liberal / conservative" ratio based on voting records for that town.

Our weekend is going to be filled with Spring cleaning. Many may not think of any type of cleaning as fun, but there's something special about Spring cleaning. Maybe it's because when we do Spring cleaning in our home, we tend to make it a family event. When we do things together as a family, even though there may be a little bickering here and there, but for the most part we have fun. There's something truly rewarding about working together as a team for something that is going to benefit everyone.

Some of you have noticed that we've seemed a bit silent, or asleep, here at Pure Jeevan. We haven't abandoned our blog or our readers, though! For the next two weeks, it may continue to look like we are sleeping, but in reality we are doing anything but that! :-)

Here are some pictures of some recent meals we've been testing in our kitchen...

Here's a rare question a Pure Jeevan family member recently asked:

I eliminated 100lbs on raw food, but I've been "stuck" for the last year. I feel absolutely amazing when I can stick to raw food, but it's sooo hard when time is limited!

First, congratulations on your success with the raw food lifestyle! You must be feeling like a new person, even though you feel a bit stuck right now.

In this video, Pure Jeevan heads to Washington, D.C., to visit some close friends. See what these raw foodists pack to eat for the weekend and hear proof that Wendi Dee is getting younger! A friend who has known Wendi for 20 years says she now looks as young as she did when they first met! *giggles* Raw foods are AMAZING at restoring youthfulness! Are you getting younger, too !

You'll see a picture of a raw apple pie that Wendi created (the recipe is included in our free raw food recipe ebook) and hear her friends rave about the raw cheesecake she prepared for them. It's always nice to make some extra special raw treats for your friends, so they can see that you're enjoying the food that's helping you regain your health (and youth!).

Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.

I met Dr. Doug Graham in person at the Raw Spirit Festival. He has a soft, gentle voice but his message is anything but soft. He's straight-forward about diet and health being intimately related. Dr. D. invited me to be his guest this past Saturday at a doctors' convention where he boldly stated to his audience of doctors: "I'm probably not going to make you all that happy with the things I'm going to tell you."

There he was, standing in front of a room of doctors who have taken an oath to harm none. These doctors were there to learn about health and nutrition, but I don't think they had any idea about what they were going to learn from Dr. D. "What I say may fly in the face of what you've been taught," Dr. D. admitted. Many of the doctors leaned forward a bit, eyes and ears a bit more open at the thought of hearing something radical.

Before officially starting the new year, I'd like to acknowledge the changes and growth that took place over the past year. It was a whirlwind of changes, sometimes so dizzying that I wondered what I was doing and occasionally questioned whether, or not, I was making mistakes with my life. I followed my intuition, however, and it served me well. I'm here today, remembering the past year and ready to announce plans for this new year that has just begun. It's a beautiful life, isn't it Even when things seem dark and like there is a lot of pain, there is a tremendous amount of potential for new growth and a brighter life than ever imagined.

I ended 2008, perched on a summit and ready to take flight. Before I fly, however, I'm standing still for a bit and enjoying the view. I feel like the entire past year consisted of climbing to higher and higher plateaus of an enormous mountain. While climbing to each new plateau I stumbled, held on for dear life, saw amazing things, and became stronger.When reaching each new plateau, I'd spread my wings and leap, circling the mountain's circumference. But, I wasn't strong enough to fly straight to the peak. It was a year of gradual growth and change -- and I found myself becoming stronger and stronger as I reached the summit.I'm certainly not the same person who started this climb. I have transformed into a more genuine version of myself, a younger and stronger woman emerging from a lifetime of guilt and fear. As I stand on this summit, I feel youthful and invigorated. What lies ahead may be unknown to me, but I know it's within my ability to fly to the highest heights of ANY mountain, to see and do and experience ALL that I desire. It's going to be an incredible future and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!

In recognizing all of the accomplishments of 2008, I think it's important to admit that it wasn't one steady climb to the point I'm at today.The few years prior to 2008 were almost like my training in mountain climbing. Last year there were a lot of tears shed, along with a releasing of physical and emotional baggage that was still clinging to me. I openly shared what I was going through, however, after learning that keeping things inside was slowly killing my spirit. I think if I had to sum up 2008 in just one sentence it would be: In finally releasing everything, I woke up as my true self.

It turns out that planning a 40-day/40-night cross-country trip is a LOT of work! (Who knew ??!) Wendi and I seem to be spending every waking moment planning this thing, which may explain why we've missed a day or two's posts here on Pure Jeevan. But, we're gearing up for something absolutely amazing -- and it all starts next week!? So, if there is a quiet day or two this week, just keep in mind that the rawsome content is going to be absolutely insane here starting late next week and continuing through March into early April!

Today, we wanted to extend a huge thanks to Jeff and Helen Rose, owners of Natural Zing, for offering to sponsor the snack portion of Wendi and KDcat's trip. Jeff and Helen understand that, being a raw foodie, it can be a little tough to be on the road for such a long time. Sure, Wendi and KDcat will probably be snacking on a lot of fresh fruit, but it's also nice to have some packaged raw goodies as well while you're traveling. So, Wendi and KDcat will be loading up on some of their favorites -- botija olives, Love Force breads, Gopal's power wraps, some nut butters, some raw chocolates, and more. So, in thanking Natural Zing, we'll be running banners and so forth along with our content during Pure Jeevan's trip.