Just a few brief thoughts for you this Weird Wednesday...

Of all the species on this Earth, it's weird that no other animals besides people cook their food. Similarly, of all the species on this Earth, it's weird that no other animals besides people drink the milk of other animals.

A Pure Jeevan family member recently asked us how they can tell if they're consuming too much protein. They felt because they have been eating too many nuts and seeds, because of how quick and filling they are, that perhaps their intake of protein is too high in their diet.

We fully understand the convenience of the quick energy that eating nuts and seeds can bring to one's diet. We also have learned, through experience, that the more we rely on this type of nutrition (high in fat), the less energetic we feel long-term. There's nothing wrong with eating nuts and seeds as a pick-me-up between meals, as long as you're eating a small handful of them and your body does well with fats (not everyone can easily digest fats).

Quick note: Jim here... So strikingly pervasive is the "winter blues of 2010" that I suspect many of my friends will think this is about them. But, it's just some thoughts, really -- not in response to anything or anyone in particular. (In fact, if anything, it's in response to something related to our dog, which we'll no doubt write about at some point.)

I sense that there is a useful blog post on the topic of "raw during tough times." However, after pondering the topic at length, I'm just not exactly sure what to say about it. I do know that quite a lot of people come to feel disappointed in themselves for straying from the healthiest path. It's a story I've read over and over on raw web sites and blogs, perhaps more frequently in the winter. It starts out the same: Someone goes raw, gets all fired up about it, and soon starts feeling youthful and vibrant again. The high lasts for a while, but then ... something happens. They slip back to cooked foods -- or worse, to junk foods. Sometimes the process repeats itself for years.

I wrote on Monday that today (Thursday), we would be discussing mint here -- specifically, harvesting some late-remaining mint from our mint bed (shown above in all its glory) and making something with it. I failed, however, to take into account that it's been getting darker earlier and earlier these days. By the time I was able to get outside and talk about mint, it was just too dark.

So, I thought I'd forego the video, and just write up some minty facts to freshen up your Thursday. To begin, I would highly encourage anyone who is new to gardening, and wants some early success, to experiment with mint (including spearmint, peppermint, and the various varietals available here and there). I can almost guarantee that you'll have some wild (and I do mean wild!) success, and will soon enjoy more mint than the law allows. It's so easily grown, and spreads around so easily (via its root system), that it would almost be considered invasive if it weren't so darned desirable and fragrant. (It's tough to walk past a mint bed without snatching up a leaf, rolling it between your fingers, and inhaling the scent deeply.)

We're still busy researching cities in order to find our future home town!? Our original list of potentials is now more of less narrowed down to a few select areas. That's not to say that we're not still open to further suggestions. (See here for our desires in a new home town.)? At the moment, of the cities/regions remaining on our "active" list, the Ashland, Oregon area is looking fairly attractive. So, we thought we'd take a moment to ask a few questions about Ashland. But first, here's why...

Originally, we felt highly drawn to Corvallis, Oregon. It seemed like the absolute perfect place for us -- a phenomenal homeschooling / unschooling community (which is what first caught our attention), a progressive / artsy atmosphere, affordable land, and super-clean air. Great, right ! ?But then we looked at the amount of sunshine the city received ... hmmm, no improvement whatsoever over Pittsburgh (in fact, Corvallis is, unfortunately, equally as gloomy -- at 44% of the days having sun).

I'd like to talk with you about diet and experimenting. I've been learning about natural healing and foods/health since I was a very young woman. Somewhere along the line I knew that what I was eating was either making me feel better, or worse, and that food was related to health (it was more than just to fuel the body). It was with this knowledge that I stepped into the realm of natural healing and stumbled around for most of my life.I've learned about vegetarianism, herbs, the negative effects of dairy on the body, veganism, essential oils, Ayurveda, harmful chemicals in and around our foods, and so very much more. I don't claim to be an expert on any of these topics, they are just part of my overall bank of knowledge and experiences from which I pull to live as healthy as possible.

There are many things to be thankful for in this life, but for our very first Thankful Thursday entry we'd like to stress how thankful we are for the vibrant health we now have. Consuming only fresh, organic raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds has allowed our bodies to heal from the inside out. For this we will forever be thankful. In fact, we are so thankful that we are here, as Pure Jeevan, to spread the word about how raw, life-filled foods can bring you renewed health!

Jim here... Whenever I want to learn how to do something new, here's how I go about it:

>>> I practice. <<<

We had a wonderful weekend that started with a raw food potluck in our home (through the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup group). There were about twenty people and so many lovely raw food dishes! I haven't checked the camera, yet, but I hope someone remembered to capture some pictures of the food and guests. It was all very yummy, including the beet pasta I made with a cream sauce. I also made some carob peppermint sweets that KDcat formed into bite-sized balls and arranged them on a platter. A friend of mine told me that the people who show up for raw food potlucks tend to be genuinely nice people, and she was right. It was a pleasure meeting everyone and I look forward to next month's meetup.

The rest of our weekend was spent with our guest, Devaki, who just left a few minutes ago to return to the ashram. She played some beautiful music on the harmonium and she and some other lovely guests filled our home with the beauty and energy of Kirtan chanting. Some of the chants were in English, too. I thought I wouldn't like them as much, but they were just as beautiful as the Indian ones. One of my close friends who was here for the Kirtan told me that I was glowing after the chanting! I love the blissful feeling that comes from chanting and meditation.

You're in for a treat with this recipe. Our Guest Raw Chef this week is Shivie Kaur, half of "The Cook and Butler" duo of TeamRaw. Wendi shot this video a few weeks back in San Francisco during Pure Jeevan's recent cross-country tour! While there, Shivie and her partner Cemaaj created and served a delicious gourmet meal for Wendi and KDcat. The blog post from that visit was here. So, here's Shivie sharing with you how to make an easy and delicious raw salad dressing!

in-tu-i-tion n. 1.a. The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes; immediate cognition. b. Knowledge gained by the use of this faculty; a perceptive insight. 2. A sense of something not evident or deducible; an impression.

FASCINATING!? While out to dinner with our friend Debbie, she brought up the topic of intuitive food preparation. This is really amazing, groundbreaking stuff that probably few people have ever seriously attempted. Now, Wendi has discussed intuitive eating many times here on the blog in the past. Intuitive eating is basically when you get in touch with those "perceptive insights" mentioned above -- a kind of communication with your own body in which you just "know" that you should eat a certain food. Ever, say, walk past a large display of apples and simply know that eating one would make you feel good? That's intuition.