This is my version of a beanless hummus. One of my close friends adores the taste of Israeli Hummus and she thinks this tastes just like it. So, try it for yourself and let me know! Jim will eat this if he doesn't see me using the zucchini (he doesn't like the idea of eating zucchini for some reason). :-P

Hummus

3 cups of zucchini (peeled and chopped)

A partial group picture from the retreat.

The 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat was a success! All my time and effort that went into creating the event was well worth the experience. When Leela Mata and I discussed a possible raw food retreat about a year ago, I had no idea how to go about creating such an event. I have never done anything like this, so I approached it by asking myself: "What would I want if I was attending a raw food spiritual retreat " From there, I created a retreat that I would love to attend, myself. In fact, when it was completely organized and guests began signing up, I wished that an identical event existed that I really could take part in, as well!

On this beautiful May Day, I am thankful for creativity. We all have a creative ability within ourselves to imagine all kinds of things.In yesterday's post, about asking myself questions in order to make changes in my life, I talked about having an image in my mind of how I wanted my life to be in the near future. I was using my creative abilities to see my future as happy, vibrant, and healthy.

Jim here... Sorry for being away for so long. We've got SO much going on these days, it's mind-boggling! More on that later, as I have something in mind already for today...I should start by clarifying that I've been basically raw for almost 4 years now (high-raw, you might say). During the first nearly-two years, I still ate meat from time to time. Actually, I still ate (and drank) almost everything from time to time -- sugars, processed foods, alcohol, you name it -- only less than I did before, and within the context of a dietary intake consisting of a significantly higher percentage of living foods. In those early years, I'd estimate I was averaging 75-90% raw. Not bad ... I definitely experienced improvements in my health!

The big change in consciousness didn't follow until two years ago. (This is an interesting point because, as you can see, I wasn't "ready" for a bigger change for two years into eating a lot of raw foods!) I suppose the difference was that, during the early years, I was pretty much raw by default rather than by conscious decision. As Jules said in Pulp Fiction, "... my girlfriend's a vegetarian. ?Which more or less makes me a vegetarian..." Yeah, that was my case back then, too, although I certainly grew into it (and am thankful that I did).

Yahoo recently ran a photo series on their "omg!" channel entitled "Celebrity Slim-Down Secrets." It actually has a nice set of before and after photos of celebrities who have lost weight. The set is here.Featured are Kelly Osbourne, Seth Rogen, Jennifer Hudson, Jerry Ferrara, Kirstie Alley, John Goodman, Jordin Sparks, Jason Segel, Drew Carey, Sara Rue, amd Kevin James. ?Most reported using personal trainers, changing up their diets, and getting more exercise (or some variation of those three).

We didn't read any reports of raw food diets in the story, but looking at before and after pictures is probably always a good idea, if only for visual inspiration. It's nice to see a broad range of people turning their health around, too. Some are younger celebs; others in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. So, it's nice to know that major changes are possible at any age.

Today, for Thankful Thursday, I want to focus on a raw food related subject: Raw Recipe Books! Without the many mouthwatering, visually appetizing recipes that have been created and published, I don't know if I'd still be living a raw food lifestyle at this time.

About two years ago, when I made the decision to transition into a raw food diet, there were some fantastic raw food recipe books available. A few years before that, when I tried raw for the first time with a dear friend of mine, there were books available but none of them were truly gourmet meals. It's amazing how much things change in just a few years! The newer books are filled with colorful pictures of the most visually stimulating foods, which never looked like simple chopped up veggies arranged nicely on a plate. We have a page with many raw recipe books listed, if you'd like to see some of the ones that are available.

Over the weekend, we visited the spectacular Oregon Country Fair in Eugene and, once again, experienced a joyful and overwhelming sense of recognition that we're living in a place where people are much more accustomed to just being themselves.

Personal expression and nonconformity are so valued here that one becomes quickly enamored of the whole ambiance, which could well explain why more people come to Oregon than leave. The region seems to represent, to many, a chance to finally discover and explore an identity perhaps not completely free from outside influence, but at least free from the undesirable influences that society elsewhere seems to insist upon. Or maybe I'm misreading it all and providing just one of many interpretations.

Okay, it's question day once again -- and we've received some great ones lately. Before I begin, just let me reiterate once more that Wendi and I can't give medical advice here. We're motivational, inspirational raw food / natural health writers and educators (considerably knowledgeable and experienced ones, I might humbly add!); not doctors.So, whenever we give "advice" (or, whenever our writing appears as such), what we really mean is, "Well, if that were me, this is what I would do." And, the rest is in the disclaimer that runs on all of our pages.

Not only do we not give medical advice because we're not doctors (as if that wasn't enough of a reason!), but we also know that each person is different and, as such, all symptoms and conditions are unique to each person's individual situation. If person A and person B are both experiencing high blood pressure, it could easily be two different things causing that -- and the treatments or approaches could differ tremendously. What might fix person A might kill person B! (Sorry person B. No hard feelings.)

We have two events scheduled for this weekend and we are looking forward to both of them! The first is a Raw Food Potluck Meetup. I haven't decided what I'm creating, yet. So far I'm thinking I'll make either an apple pie or some beet noodles with alfredo sauce, but I know how things usually go when it's time for me to prepare something special. I usually feel like I don't want to make what I had planned, and I search around in the fridge to see what pops out at me. I almost always go by what I'm inspired to create at that moment. So, who knows what I'll end up making. I'll try to take pictures of my creation as well as pictures of the other raw food dishes that others bring.

This will be our first raw food potluck. When I first went raw it was something I was doing special for myself, by myself, so I didn't join any of the raw food meetups and didn't want to make it a group activity with my friends.After two years of raw (a little over one at 100%), I've done (and continue to do) what I needed for myself.Now, I'm ready to share my experiences with everyone and to be an active member of the raw food community.So, I'm looking forward to the raw food potluck tomorrow!? You are welcome to join us at the potluck if you are in the area!

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.