What have we been doing lately? Well, one of the highlights would be getting the first and second stages of the All Raw Directory up and running. We have many different stages planned for the future, enhancing the directory as time permits. It's a pretty exciting project, so be sure to become a member of the directory and continually contribute to its growth. It's a fantastic resource for all of us!

Jim here... An unusual occurrence prompted this post, and I'm unsure as to whether it's significant. I've talked about some of my favorite non-raw items before -- things that were tough to leave behind as I embarked upon this raw foods journey. I think I covered pizza in a relatively recent post.

Corn chips were another. In fact, after Wendi went 100% raw and I more or less began to follow her dietary choices, I clung to corn chips for dear life for quite a long time. I began eating a LOT of salsa in those days. Sometimes, that would be all I'd eat for lunch -- just an entire jar of salsa and a bag of corn chips (though, by then, I'd at least usually buy the organic ones and, quite often, a baked variety of chips as well).

When I finally decided I'd be better off transitioning to an all raw lifestyle, I figured my love affair with corn chips had come to an end. Farewell beautiful chips, I thought. I'll never forget our delicious crunchy time together. And that was that. I never looked back.

But then, at a local raw foods pot luck, I met a raw chef who had more or less perfected a raw corn chip recipe. Could it be , I thought. Has this delicacy returned to me after all, as though via some sweet culinary destiny? Ahh, my friends, that was a glorious day. Chips and salsa had returned to me in an enlightened raw form. I could enjoy them once again, guilt free. And enjoy them I did -- usually using a local shop's "Peruvian Purple Corn" (a living, sproutable, dried corn product).

Alas, fate stepped in once again. "Thou may partake of these crisps any time thou wishest," fate boomed. "Yet, in order to do so, thou must prepare them thine self using thine Vitamix and requiring an enormous flax-sticky mess with extended clean-up time, and thou must have parchment paper available at all times, and thou must exercise great care and patience in using your Excalibur, for these chips must dry for many an hour before ready."

Yeah, it was a bit of a chore to produce them. So, as the novelty of chip making and eating wore off, I slowly decreased the frequency of going through the messy, time-consuming hassle of preparing them. Until yesterday, it had been literally months since I made a batch. But... we'd ordered a few pounds of the corn from Natural Zing lately, and I found myself with some extra time the other night. So...

Now, I'm going to pause for a minute for a tangent on digestion. I know a great majority of people, it seems, complain of various digestive disorders. As a result, we have many raw foodie specialists schooled in the nuances of food combining. Oddly, I never paid much attention to these discussions, nor offered input on these matters, because they simply weren't relevant to me.

In fact, I likened my own digestive system to some kind of nuclear powered garbage disposal. It didn't matter what I ate; digestion wasn't a problem for me. So, for example, I'd routinely finish off heavy meals, and then follow them with a huge slice of juicy watermelon (a major no-no according to common wisdom). It just never bothered me.I always joked that, even though I'd been raw for ages, I could still probably go eat a Big Mac (not that I would) and be unaffected by it.

So powerful was my stomach acid that, admittedly, I sometimes privately *worried* whether this might mean something was wrong with me. I mean, shouldn't some of the things I was eating make me sick? Was it "good" to not be made sick by what is generally regarded as poor food combining choices? Do people commonly suffer from problems of efficiency as well as deficiency ? I still do not really know the answer to these questions, and suspect the answer is rather complicated, anyway. Fortunately, it doesn't matter now because...

Something finally made me sick!? I'm laughing now about that, but I spent most of the evening in terrible stomach pain after having over-indulged in some of those (in)famous raw purple corn chips.

So, what happened ? That's an interesting question for me. Here are some possibilities: (1) Perhaps my hyper-active digestive system *was* in fact a problem, and now it's beginning to normalize. Perhaps, had I been healthier all along, I would have been made sick by some of my food choices, but now my health is improving!? (2) Perhaps it's a fluke and I simply shouldn't have eaten mass quantities of corn and flax so late at night. (3) Perhaps my body is improving in its ability to communicate with me, and/or that I'm getting better at listening, and that the message here is that corn is not something my body gains nourishment from -- at least, not in this dried-reprocessed-redried form. After all, some leading raw food authorities, like Gabriel Cousens, aren't fans of corn (even fresh corn!).

Oh sure, there may be other explanations (e.g., "a bad batch of corn"). But, I'm actually most interested in #3, above. Even though this is an extreme example (more intense than it needed to be), I'd like to think that I'm getting better at knowing what I'm being nourished from and what I am not. I'd like to think that this is a latent sense that can be developed, much like our ability to know things by feeling and intuition rather via pure rationality all the time.

But, with food, I think it's a matter of inventorying your physical sensations head to toe, and also as a whole. How is the food you're eating making you feel? Do you feel satisfied or still hungry? Do you feel light or is the food sitting kind of heavily? Do you feel energized or dragged down? How's your mental clarity? Do you feel spacey or more grounded? Do you feel noticeably happier or more sad than before? How are all of these things mapping out over time? Is your weight moving in a positive direction for you? Are your illnesses improving? Food is medicine, after all; it has all of these effects and many more!

For now, I think I can safely check purple corn off of my own personal list of foods that make me feel good. I suspect my old assertion about "being able to eat a Big Mac without any side effects" no longer applies -- and maybe this is a good thing. I think perhaps it signals some progress in my journey toward optimal health.

In any case, I think this kind of purposeful introspection is healthy, and something we should all strive to do more often.How about you? Had any similar experiences? What have you learned from them?

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On April 15, 2009, essie wrote:

Let's take a quick look at a few dessert pictures, then compare and contrast, shall we First up is a small slice of some normal pastry:

Looks sinful, right It seems to proudly display its bready crust, its gooey chocolate center, some sort of butter-rich top layer coated with lovable little bits and bobs, and a liberal sprinkling of confectioner's sugar to make the whole thing cute as a wintry scene from one of those holiday specials hosted by the claymation likeness of Burl Ives. I'm sure it's delightfully rich, too. A tad small, though, eh ? It's probably all anyone can take of such decadence without worrying about clogged arteries or putting in extra time on the tread mill for the next three days.

Jim here... Today is April 25, 2009 -- Wendi Dee's Birthday!!? She's asleep now. It's 1:30 in the morning & I've been up for hours assembling something stunningly amazing to share with you. You see, this year, I asked some friends, family, and foodies to take a page of a sketchbook and offer Wendi some Happy Birthday wishes -- and then send it back to me so I could bind it all into a large book!? WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! Check out the response from 40+ people from around the globe. It's a little overwhelming to see this much positive energy in one place. What a momentous day she's in for in another 5 hours or so when she gets up and is greeted by such a surprise! If you'd like to say Happy Birthday, just leave a comment here! Thanks to everyone!

Clarifications: (1) Yes, as some of you may have guessed, Wendi's body has circled the sun more than 25 times. If you visit the site, I explain what the "25th" birthday means a little more. It's basically about the amazing power of raw foods. (2) No, I didn't send messages to David Wolfe, Gabriel Cousens, Woody Harrelson, or other raw food celebrities Wendi isn't friends with. However, if they are huge fans of Wendi's, they are more than welcome to contribute via email or comments! LOL ;-)

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On April 25, 2009, Ulol wrote:

Happy 25th Birthday Gypsy!!!

I so wish to be there with you celebrating this amazing day, but as I can't, I send you lotsof e-love.

*hugs tightly*

I LOVE YOU!!!

On April 25, 2009, maryinoregon wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday Wendi.............wishing you al the happiness your heart can hold, on this special day of birth and always...........you inspire so many!!!!!

On April 25, 2009, sheryl miller wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi!

I had posed this question in another post on this site, can't remember where now!
But I will post it here too
On my birthday I like to look back to last year's birthday to see what about me has changed!
What about you Wendi? What has changed about you


Hope there are lots of ovely surprises in store for your big day!
Sheryl Miller
Austrlaia

On April 25, 2009, randomguru wrote:

wishing much peace, love and joy to you on this special day... Happy Birthday, Wendi!

On April 25, 2009, Wendilou wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday, Miss Wendi Dee! I hope your day is a joyous as ever. ;)

On April 25, 2009, blaqberry wrote:

Very, very Happiest of Birthdays, Dearest Wendi. You give so much of your essence and touch many souls. I wish you a day that is beyond beautiful and filled with joy and blessings as you embark on another wonderful adventure around the sun. And love LOVE love abound...always. xo

Blaq Berry

On April 25, 2009, RawBin wrote:

Happy Birthday lovely lady!!! I'm sure you'll be glowing all day! :)

On April 25, 2009, RawBin wrote:

Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

On April 25, 2009, debbiedoesraw wrote:

That is the best present ever!
And Wendi, if you did not know it before, I think you now are sure....
You Are Loved!!!!!!!!!
Happy 25, can't wait for your 24th next year!!!
love love love deb

On April 25, 2009, Elizabeth wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi. Thank you for being such a light in the world.

On April 25, 2009, Melissa wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi!
What a beautiful book!!! I am so happy to be part of it, and thanks Jim for posting the whole thing! It is just beautiful.
We love you!
~ Melissa

On April 25, 2009, Revvell wrote:

Hey Girl! Happy, happy day to you and thank you Jim for inviting Bo and I to be a part of this special day!

Revvell

On April 25, 2009, Revvell wrote:

Hey Girl! Happy, happy day to you and thank you Jim for inviting Bo and I to be a part of this special day!

Revvell

(Did this twice since I had to figure out the system)

On April 25, 2009, Pixywinks wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi GIRL!!!
Have lots of fun in this, your 25th year. Blessing and love all around. Kisses riding on the wind for you.
Much love!
P. Lis

On April 25, 2009, jill wrote:

Have a wonderful amazing Day of Incarnation, the sweetness of your eternal spirit always shows!

XOXO!!!

Jill

p.s. thank you to Jim for being such an awesome partner :)

On April 25, 2009, RawAllison wrote:

I'm glad to know Wendi's birthday was as special as she and her family are. And I love the phrase "Wendi s body has circled the sun more than 25 times." I'm gonna try to remember that one for birthdays!!

On April 25, 2009, Jenny wrote:

Not even having met you, Wendi, I can always feel your love for others online. Thank you so much for all you do for others. You are a true jewel in this world!!

Much love and birthday hugs,

Jenny

On April 25, 2009, fatima wrote:

May this be the beginning of the happiest birthdays of your life.
love joy and peace
fatima

On April 25, 2009, R_Eli wrote:

Happy Birthday, Wendi!!
Best wishes!!!
Keep shining!!!

On April 26, 2009, Jacki Harmon wrote:

Happy Birthday, Wendi! Thanks for all the gifts you've given us!! XOXOXOX

On April 26, 2009, DebB wrote:

Hi Wendi ~ I'm sending HUGE birthday wishes all the way from Washington State! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Debbie *�*

On April 26, 2009, Diane wrote:

Wendi have a blessed day as you have so blessed others.Because you have sown so
much enjoy the returns! Have many more circles around the sun, Love Diane

On April 26, 2009, anasha wrote:

let your light shine and radiate in every nook and corner of our beloved planet and beyond, and let me whisper happy birthday in your ears,thank you for being here

On April 26, 2009, Veganmimi wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday Wendi!!!!

On April 26, 2009, MindXdreamz wrote:

Happy, happy, happy birthday Wendi Dee!
hugs from Florida where the coconut grows :)
love
sheila

On April 26, 2009, Joanna_Steven wrote:

One happy birthday is never enough, here is another one :) <3

I will add to the notebook! I was afraid to sign the real thing, in case it got lost in transit after sending it back :(( I would have felt so awful. I hope you're having an amazing week!

On April 26, 2009, DiannerawGirl wrote:

Wendi,
So Happy Birthday.I had no idea it was your birthday.I was gone for a few days off computer.BUSY! And still wanted to wish you a Happy belated Birthday! Bye Dianne (DianneRawGirl)

On April 27, 2009, tinaintheraw wrote:

Happy Birthday beautiful Wendi!!

You are such a light in this world....I hope your day was filled with light and joy and wonder!

Hugs, Tina

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Ulol, my love!!! *blows kisses*

This birthday was THE BEST EVER! Even though you weren't physically here with me, it was extra special because I had your special contribution to my birthday book! It made me cry so much to see your page in the book. It was VERY special to me!

I miss you so very much! Thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment, but most of all for always sharing your love and friendship with me.

I love you, too!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thank you so very much, Mary!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!!

I'm so happy that I can inspire others--all of you have given me so much love in return and that has meant the world to me!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Sheryl!

I responded to your original question a few minutes ago on the other blog post. :-)

Thanks, again!!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Carlos!! Thanks for being a special part of my birthday gift, and for saying Happy Birthday to me on your blog, too!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, WendiLou!!! It was The BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Blaq Berry!!! You are always so loving to me. *hugs* Thanks for your sweet comment. :-) Thanks for being such a special part of my birthday gift!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

I've been glowing all weekend, Rawbin!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!! It lasted all weekend and continues through today as I read and respond to all of the love-filled comments that have been shared with me. :-)

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

My first video reply on the blog!!! I LOVE IT! I LOVE YOU!!

*blows kisses*

XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

It really IS the BEST PRESENT EVER!!! Jim says he's screwed for next year--no way to top this one! ;-)

I think you know me so very well. Yes, I didn't truly realize how much everyone does love and care for me. After this, how can I ever doubt? I am blissfully blessed.

Thank you so very much for being a part of my special gift, Debbie!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Elizabeth!

Thanks so much! I had THE BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Melissa! Thanks for making my birthday celebration continue through Sunday, also! You are such a dear friend to me.

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thank you, Revvell and Bo!! I LOVE that you were both a part of my gift! It has been THE BEST birthday EVER! It's one I'll NEVER forget!

I love you both!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, P. Lis!! Thanks for being a part of my gift, also. Jim said he was impressed with your artwork--he hasn't seen your paintings, yet, I told him! You are truly gifted!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Jill! Thanks for such a sweet comment. It was THE BEST birthday EVER! I can't even imagine a better one in another incarnation! :-)

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Oh, it WAS!! It was so very special Allison!! Thanks for being a part of my gift!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Jenny! You are very welcome--I love helping others.

I hope to one day meet you in person--maybe while we are on our cross-country tour!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Fatima! This was definitely the happiest and BEST birthday, ever!! Thanks so much!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, R_Eli! I had a fabulous birthday!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Jacki!

You are very welcome for all of the gifts! I love giving to others!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

More birthday wishes from Debbie! Thanks so much!!

*blows kisses*

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Diane! It was surely a blessed day for me!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Anasha! Thanks so much for your beautiful birthday wish!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Vebanmimi! I had a wonderful day!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Sheila! Thanks so much! I had the BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes, Joanna!

Yes, please add to the special notebook. I welcome a page from anyone who wants to contribute. It is such a special gift to me; it's one that I will always cherish!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Dianne! It was a fantastic birthday!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Tina, for your sweet comment!

Yes, my day was absolutely filled with light and joy and wonder!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, debbiedoesraw wrote:

The pleasure was all mine, I hope you pass that Birthday love down to all the future generations.. are you listening Kat ??
love you too!
Deb xoxoxo
PS Sam had fun with her drawing too, lest you think I drew that!!!!!hee hee

On April 29, 2009, Revvell wrote:

You're very welcome. It was our pleasure and what a GREAT idea Jim had!

I want to admit something to all of you: Sometimes I still cry because of how people treated me when I was obese. Because I stuffed all of my "negative" emotions deep inside my entire life, it's going to take some time to fully release them. I'm working on it, however, and making tremendous progress with healing myself on all levels. I'm not telling you these things so you'll feel sorry for me, however. I'm telling you because I am thankful for all the pain I endured. It shaped me (in more ways than just my physical appearance) into the person I am today.

Even though it sounds strange, and somehow wrong to feel this way, I'm thankful that I was obese. I'm thankful for all of the experiences during my life, even the extremely painful, traumatic ones. Maybe if I was a different kind of person I would wish that those things didn't happen to me. However, I am using those experiences in positive ways. They've helped me understand people even better, and to understand myself on a deeper level, as well. When people reach out to me it's not only because I'm an approachable person, it's because they sense that I understand them--and they're right. I DO understand them. I understand you. My experiences, coupled with my gift of empathy, help me relate to you in a way that maybe not everyone else is able to do.

This is the first installment of a new series that we plan to run occasionally here on the Pure Jeevan blog. The series is called "Raw Foods 101" (the same name as our free eBook that has now been read by more than 5,000 people around the world!). Raw Foods 101 will become the latest addition to our category list (available along the right side of our sidebar). In time, clicking on Raw Foods 101 will deliver a plethora of raw food tidbits.

So, where should we start? ... How about the topic of soaking nuts and seeds ! This is a question that comes up repeatedly in emails sent to Pure Jeevan.

Jim here... again! Isn't that what all of the Oscar-nominated actors always say -- "It's an honor to be nominated"? Yes, I think that's the usual response. Who'd have ever thought that a raw foods blog would be saying the same thing ! Well, I'm happy to report that Wendi has received two such honors lately, in addition to being selected as an honoree among one blogger's nine "top favorite raw girls on the net." Let's take a look at these one by one, shall we?

First up is the "Best of Raw 2008" awards. Wendi was nominated in the category "Favorite Raw Vegan Educator for 2008." You can vote for her here until December 30 at midnight! Show your support; vote Wendi!

The diets of raw foodists are as varied as those of individuals consuming the Standard American Diet. The majority of raw foodists are either: 1) gourmet raw foodists, who consume dishes that are usually heavy in fat from nuts (Pure Jeevan started out this way); 2) basics raw foodists, who don't process their fruits and veggies in blenders, food processors, or dehydrators; 3) mono raw foodists, who consume single foods for each meal (i.e., a meal of only apples for breakfast, romaine lettuce for lunch); 4) low fat raw foodists, who consume processed meals at times, but prefer to keep their fat intake below 20% of their calories (Pure Jeevan is working toward this); and

Take the time to meet #5 ...

"Only somebody who really takes the time to understand [Pure Jeevan's Salsa's*] potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and ... ancient on the planet." ~ Miles Raymond in "Sideways" (2004) (*slightly modified).

Jim here... Over the weekend, I'd made a string of videos for Pure Jeevan using my handy-dandy new phone. To my great surprise, when I went to post them to YouTube, they all came out sideways! So, I'm sorry, friends... you'll have to endure (if you so choose) a somewhat disorienting video, below. But, hey, at least it reminded me of that wondrous quote from the movie Sideways! I imagine Paul Giamatti describing one of my own recent creations this way -- a sort-of half-raw, yet still very healthy delight that I like to make sometimes.

My reason for featuring a less than 100% raw recipe is two-fold. First, I'd been discussing transitioning to raw (see yesterday's post). And, adding more raw into your non-raw diet is a great way to transition. I believe that raw sauces are an excellent way to achieve this, as I'll explain in the video. Second, if you do prefer a 100% raw dish, then you can simply replace the beans with something else -- perhaps sprouted beans, or maybe your own invention from the dehydrator.

When it comes to healthy eating, most of us know what is and isn't healthy for our bodies. Sure, we've been a bit confused by what the media and our government tells us, but overall I think we can all confidently say we know that consuming fresh fruits and vegetables is going to be a healthier choice than eating a McDonald's hamburger and fries. Right

But, what do we do when we're dealing with stress in our lives? What if when we're stressed we instantly head to McDonald's to eat the burger and fries we know aren't healthy for us? Or what if we consume large quantities of cakes, candies, or ice cream when we're overcome with stress

All this week we're continuing to feature a variety of answers to the question "Are Raw Foodists Crazy " from various friends of Pure Jeevan. If you're just now tuning in, please read the back story and introduction to this, as posted on Monday.But, for now, let's continue with posting more of the excellent responses sent in! Enjoy!! :-)