Recently, the wife of a friend of ours decided that she wanted to lose 20-25 pounds. As far as we know, she follows pretty much a "Standard American Diet." We've heard that she doesn't care for red meat, but she does eat other meats, plus a good deal of dairy (which, we believe, she regards as a healthy food choice). She's apparently tried a number of exercise regimens, and a few fad diets, with no luck on losing these 20-25 pounds. (Frankly, we haven't seen her many times, but would not have guessed that she had 25 pounds to lose. But, we'll save "self image" as a topic for for further posts.) In any case... Frustrated, she decided to see a hypnotist!

Our friend accompanied his wife to the initial consultation. He said it was actually interesting. The hypnotist basically sits you down and walks you through some fundamental psychology, demonstrates a few of the primary principles of suggestion (e.g., showing you how easy it is to, say, imagine the sourness you would experience when biting into a slice of lemon), and then lays out how the program works.

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As we'll show over the course of this week, the Raw Spirit Festival is about much more than just delicious, nutritious raw food. In fact, there's usually so many fun things taking place simultaneously while you're there that it's easy to forget about the foods completely!

I'd been there an entire day before realizing that there was a raw food court on site. (Mostly, I'd been dining on fruit I'd brought along and had stored in a cooler in my tent!). Thankfully, I did eventually discover the food court, and it was really something special. To call it a "food court" is almost demeaning, as that phrase brings to mind bland "mall food" restaurants that serve up mostly fast food fare. At the RSF, you're treated with many delicious options, which can make choosing a place to dine rather difficult!

Over the weekend, we attended a fairy festival in Eugene, OR, called Faerieworlds . ?It was great fun -- loads and loads of interesting shops, festival-goers in costumes ranging in complexity from simple fairy ears to full-on ensembles, and some spectacular tribal bands on the main stage all day long.

What was unexpected, though, was seeing not just one (which, alone, would have been impressive), but *two* food carts dedicated to raw foods. ?The first was called Luminescent Foods:

Jim here... I'd like to quote a poem today. It's called "the lesson of the moth" by Don Marquis. It's from his "archy and mehitabel" series, published in the 1920s. If you're unfamiliar with the series, archie is a cockroach who types poems (in all lowercase, without punctuation) by jumping onto the keys of a typewriter. Here's the text:

i was talking to a moth

Many of our visitors go directly to our raw food recipes section of the blog. They must be terribly disappointed to find only a few recipes there. We ll continually add more, but for now there are only a handful. So, it is with extreme pleasure that we introduce you to someone you are going to love!

Take the time to meet...

Hey everyone!? I hope you're doing well. We started out the week with a great video from Joe, Tracey, and Heather. I thought I'd stay with the video blog format for a while, as I've been capturing some outstanding stuff here in Chicago. (We're here until Thursday.)? Well, a few of the vids are "okay," but the bulk of them are absolutely amazing, so be sure to check in every day for these great Chicago vids. (BTW, I'll dub this series, "The Chicago Raw Food Scene," although partially misleadingly so, as the videos are not always *about* Chicago, per se. Rather, we shot all of the videos *in* Chicago. So, pardon the slightly misleading banner graphic.)

Anyway, here's one I shot at a place I almost can't recall the name of. It could have been called "Farm Fresh" or something like that. I only stopped there in hopes of finding something for my dog to eat, but was absolutely blown away by their produce department. It's like "You know you're a raw foodie when ... you get excited about a produce department!"? More commentary after the vid:

Wow, today is Day 7 of the Big 2010 Tour! So far, Wendi and KDcat have spent three days on a train and three more in Portland, Salem, and Corvallis. We still have plenty of content to post from those, including a good deal of video (once I'm able to edit that). For now, let's look at some pics and talk about their second stop, Salem!

Prior to leaving, Wendi & KDcat (let's just say "W&K" from here on out, okay ) stopped at People's Co-Op in Portland for supplies. As much as they loved Portland, they weren't very impressed with the co-op there, as compared to the one we have in Pittsburgh. However, in fairness, they were told that it's still a "young" co-op. Still, it's surprising to me that Portland wouldn't have an enormous one. However, it could very well be that there is not as much of a need there, in an area in which organics are much more accepted. Here in Pittsburgh, one could argue that our co-op thrives because organics are largely scoffed at by other retailers. Interesting, eh?

(By the way, are people on the west coast really as laid back as everyone says Wendi got into a bit of hot water for filming inside another co-op! Here in Pittsburgh, I doubt anyone would care if you set up a movie set in our co-op. No charges were filed, thankfully.)

We tried it in the past, this most unusual fruit. While in Chicago recently, we decided to give it one more try! You see, the first time we tried it we were ... let's just say "not big fans" of the infamous durian. (Here's an episode of Kevin Gianni's Renegade Health Show, shot in our home, documenting that day.) It's a stinky fruit to most, although some claim to enjoy the bizarre odor (which is sometimes described as dirty sock and propane gas smell). If you can get past the smell to give it a taste, you'll be greeted by a taste as strange as the odor. Wendi describes it as a sweet onion pierogie, but each person seems to have a different opinion about this odd fruit.

In this current video our raw friend Debbie Gedayloo-Bennett, whom we met in Chicago, jumped at the opportunity to hang out for a bit of a durian experience. Debbie is on the pro-durian side of the fence that divides those who love and those who hate the alien-like fruit. Wendi was still sitting on the fence, not making up her mind after the initial taste with Kevin and Annmarie. Jim was adamantly sitting far from the love side of the fence, refusing to even attempt approaching the pro side. Debbie was a pro in opening this spiny fruit, so she agreed to open it while on video so that we could share the experience and knowledge with all of you.

The new Vitamix container arrived within two days (they knew we were hard core Vitamix users and put the container in the mail the day we ordered it to replace the broken one). So, what was the first thing we made in our shiny new container (after washing it, of course)? A DELICIOUS coconut smoothie!

As you may have seen around the web, a number of individuals have attempted to single-handedly list all of the raw-food resources on one web page or one web site. However, when you consider how the raw and living foods movement has grown exponentially in recent years, you realize that keeping up with raw food information resources is an impossible task for any individual.

The answer, not surprisingly in this day and age, lies in a community-run web site -- a "social network" site devoted exclusively to creating and maintaining the web's comprehensive directory of raw and living foods resources. While the task is Herculean for a single individual, it is easy for a large group. My gift to the raw and living foods community is a place for us to do just that---the All Raw Directory! I'm confident that, in no time at all, our community can grow this raw food community database into the world's largest and most comprehensive (within our specialized niche, that is).

Special thanks go out to the many individuals who reviewed the site as it was being developed and to those who put in a lot of time populating the database, so it has a good start for the rest of us to expand upon.

Jim here... We know a lot of people who exist on a high-raw lifestyle, and many others who aspire to eat a 100% live food diet. I don't believe there is an exact threshold that makes one a "raw foodist." That term is more or less just a general description you might use about yourself or anyone. Aside from the labels, though... If you want to talk about recommended levels of raw intake for optimal health, quite a number of web sites and health books seem to recommend shooting for around 80% of one's intake to be raw, with a careful eye on the other 20%. We certainly agree with that as a good starting goal, adjusting upward or downward as you gain feedback from your body.

Of course, most of the people who do follow a high-raw diet are usually by definition highly health-conscious about any non-raw foods they eat. I've yet to meet, for example, a raw foodist who occasionally eats Burger King Double-Whoppers ?(although, I'm sure that seemingly odd combination must exist somewhere).