Wow, I'm having a tough time keeping up with our fearless travelers! I thought I'd break their San Francisco adventures up into FOUR smaller posts made from Wendi's personal travelogue. I'll try to address everything they did chronoligically. There will be a video in this posts, videos in the next post, and a picture set at the end! Here's what she had to say about their first stop in Frisco:

For our San Francisco/Berkeley visit, we first met up with a college friend, Pete Guinosso, at Cafe Gratitude. It was fun catching up, and Pete treated KDcat and I to our meals. While at the table, I labeled Pete as the "Quote Man" because he had a fantastic book of quotes he has been collecting. He periodically read from it as our conversations brought specific quotes to mind. It was a beautiful collection of poems, which Pete said is his second book and is filling up quickly.

Cafe Gratitude lived up to its reputation of having a great vibe with pleasant servers and fantastic raw foods. I wondered, however, why there isn't a dish called "I am Love." (There is a drink called "I am Loved," but I was interested in one that claimed I AM Love. Maybe they'll come up with one for my next visit!) After leaving Cafe Gratitude, I have to admit I wasn't overly grateful to find a $40 parking ticket waiting on the rental car. OUCH! We kept the car parked there (since it was already ticketed), and Pete showed us around the Berkeley shopping area. It was a fun stroll on a beautiful sunny, California day.

At a recent raw food meetup, I was surprised that so many raw foodies aren't aware of the raw almond controversy. Maybe most of our Pure Jeevan family members aren't aware of the fact that most almonds are not raw. It's sad, but very true. In 2006 a mandatory almond pasteurization ruling was created. The rule was passed sometime in 2007, I believe, and since then it's been near impossible to purchase truly raw almonds. Maybe pasteurized almonds don't seem like a big deal to most people.

Raw almonds are alive, yet dormant until they are soaked. Once soaked (or moistened in the springtime rains when outdoors), they sprout to begin growing into almond trees. Once soaked and sprouted, the nutritional content of the nuts change significantly. They are alive and filled with protein and so much more!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Perfected Raw Vegan Potato Pancake Recipe!"][/caption]

I've done it, I've done it, I've DONE IT!!!? I've perfected a recipe for raw vegan potato pancakes! My friend Melissa shared her potato pancake recipe with me and, like always, I had to play around with it (I rarely go by a set recipe). Had it not been for her original recipe, I wouldn't be writing this post! So, thanks, Melissa!!

In the next day, or two, I'm going to type up the recipe and send it out to all of our subscribers. So, if you haven't signed up recently for either our newsletter or the two free eBooks, do it soon! In addition to the potato pancakes recipe, I'm going to share another amazing recipe I created for Jim's birthday this past weekend: Raw Vegan Ice Cream Cake!! YUM!

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).

A few years ago, my dear friend Melissa and I decided to split the cost and order a raw food home study course (then known as The Dr. Ann Wigmore Program).Let me tell you, this was not a cheap program that we purchased, but at that time there wasn't as much free information available on the Internet like we now have.

Was it worth the cost? Well, kind of. Since we had both been reading and learning so much about raw foods (she had actually been raw for a long time many years before), much of the information wasn't new to us. However, if someone was newly learning about raw foods, the program would probably have been fantastic. The quality of the materials we received wasn't great (photocopies of photocopies that were sometimes difficult to read, and some videos that were blurry or difficult to hear), but at least we had a lot of information at our fingertips.

Before we moved to Portland, Oregon, land of all things fresh and organic within walking distance, we had to drive quite a distance to reach the food co-op (the only place that had a good selection of organic produce and other raw food necessities). So, we only went shopping about once a week. It took a lot of trial and error to find ways to keep our weekly produce fresh for about a week.

We learned which fruits and vegetables stay fresh the longest, and which go bad the fastest. Based on this, we stocked the refrigerator accordingly (and used up the produce accordingly, as well). The fruits and veggies that stayed fresh the longest were stored in the backs of the shelves (things like carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, etc.). Next we stored the greens that lasted a pretty good amount of time (like kale and collards). And in the front of the shelves and in the door, we stored the more delicate greens (like lettuces and herbs).

End of day 4:

Yesterday I decided to go ahead and consume what my body was telling me it wanted: cooked, fermented rice and lentil pancakes. Well, the restaurant nearby that makes the Uthappam doesn't serve them until 5pm and it was lunch time. So, I ordered the simpler, steamed, fermented rice and lentil patties called Idli.

Many times we are asked about our grocery bill---how much do we spend each month on eating a raw, vegan diet? It's not something that's easy to answer, though. If we just blurted the amount out, people would be shocked (at a minimum) and insist that there's no way possible they could ever eat a raw diet because they can't afford it.

Our monthly expense at the grocery store has continued to climb since I first began eating raw foods. At this point, now that Jim is eating 100% raw, as well, our monthly expense has more than doubled from the time when it was only me eating 100%. That's a huge increase in money being spent each month. But, you know what? It's okay! Yes, I said it's okay that our expense has more than doubled and I'll tell you why after you take a look at what we purchased last week for our home.

Jim here... Wow, we haven't posted in a few days. That calls for some action! Hmmm... how about taking a look at some delicious mini pizzas Wendi whipped up the other day:

We went absolutely nuts for these little "pizzas." They were both tasty and fun. If memory serves, I believe she made them by taking slices of firm roma tomatoes, spooning on some improvised pesto sauce that she whipped up, sprinkling on some chopped basil leaves, sprinkling on some "cheese" that she made with ground Brazil nuts, garlic, and salt, and then topping each "pizza slice" off with a half cherry tomato. No recipes necessary here; just take a look at the picture & go try it!

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In this video, Wendi talks with Leela Mata about the different branches of yoga and how diet and raw foods affect the practice of yoga. Of all the branches of yoga, Hatha Yoga is the most popular in the United States.Mata Ji explains that it is through the practice of Hatha Yoga, strengthening the body through the asanas (poses), that you awaken on a deeper level. You will become more open to connecting with your spiritual nature, to realizing more about yourself.

Jim here...Well, something awful happened today at Pure Jeevan, something utterly shocking to any raw foodie on the planet -- our Vitamix container broke! I know, I know... breathe with me: Deep breath in... deep breath out. There, that's better. It's going to be okay, I just know it!

Here's what happened:? The agitator assembly (the metal part at the bottom that connects to the blades inside the container) wore out. It blew some kind of bearing or something, lost its internal oil, and started making an infernal noise when we blended our morning smoothie. It was pretty clear we'd blended up our last elixir in that container.