Last year when I organized a raw food spiritual retreat at an ashram, I met some very lovely people. Two of those individuals were Patty and Denny (you can visit their blog to say hello to them). They were new to gourmet raw foods, so they were enthusiastic learners at the retreat. When they returned home after the blissful weekend, they began using their new raw food knowledge. Here are some excerpts of emails I have received from them since the retreat last year:

Well, you said you're motive in putting on this retreat was simply to pass on this valuable information and to help others; you were very successful where we're concerned - it is no exaggeration to say that you have changed our lives forever.

We've been almost 100% raw since the retreat. ... We're so excited about this new way of eating that we bought a new Vita-Mix. ...We can actually say that this has been our most notable and enjoyable dining experience - ever, in our entire lives! No one would ever put that much work into something if it were just for money; it is obvious that you did it from your heart. We feel blessed to have received such a gift.

Organizing the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat has brought with it the bonus of meeting some fantastic people and the opportunity to learn about their amazing raw food snack companies.

In Part 5 of this 5-Part series, Wendi talks with Leela Mata about meditation and diet. After discussing what meditation is and why people practice it, Mata Ji talks about diet and its effects on the mind. She then gives a brief explanation of how to meditate for those who are new to the practice, and demonstrates how to use a simple mantra (word or phrase) to aid in entering a meditative state.

And here's the conclusion of Wendi's San Francisco travelogue:

That evening we met up with Carolyn, a long-time friend since college, who was our lovely host for a few days. Carolyn has a gift with cats, which was a real treat for KDcat to see. Do you know how you can teach dogs to sit and give kisses? Well, Carolyn has taught one of her rescued cats to do the same thing! He *really* sits and *really* gives kisses on command! WOW!

Carolyn showed us all around the San Franciso and Berkeley areas, bringing KDcat to a thrift shop (she's been having fun popping into random thrift shops to see what she can find) and a fun shop called Ancient Ways, stopping by some Indian shops so I could pick up some more bindis and some ground coriander for a dish I made while visiting, checking out the Berkeley campus area, and taking us shopping for organic foods.

I was reminded about a video I saw some time ago, after seeing a similar video on my dear friend Bunny's blog. What you are about to see is AMAZING!!

Take the time to meet...

Q. Do you know of any nutritional protocol that would be beneficial for reducing or *gasp* even healing fibromyalgia using a high raw diet regimen

Do you feel that something like live blood testing, or mineral level testing would be beneficial? Wendy, after following your long ordeal with Lyme disease **Gentle Hugs to you** I believe you might be able to understand the pain, fatigue and depression that is involved while dealing with a chronic illness. ?I am looking forward to hearing more about your healing journey!

Sending love,? C.

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

Today, for Take the Time Tuesday, I'd like to introduce you to an online social networking Web site for those with similar interests to get together, meet, and hang out in the physical world. If you haven't already heard about it, check it out!

Take the time to meet....

I'm excited about something that one of my friends has been working on. Melissa is gifted in so many areas, one of which is wild edible identification. She recently told me she was working on something that would help a lot of people and I was excited about her new project. Well, now it's ready to be shared with everyone!

Take the time to meet...

In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part four, focusing on Brendan Brazier's take on this issue.

GREEN LEAFIES

Brendan Brazier is one of only a few professional athletes in the world whose diet is 100% plant-based. He s a professional Ironman triathlete, bestselling author on performance nutrition, and the creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called Vega. He is also a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion.

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: