As this is a holistic web site, it's important that we take time every so often to feature pieces on other aspects of human health besides diet. So, today's subject is unrelated to raw foods, but is directly related to your health. (Don't worry: We'll get back to raw foods on Monday!)

Today I want to share a super-valuable lesson I learned when I was just 21 years old. Back then, Wendi worked within the advertising department of a large newspaper. She helped me meet the paper's photography editor who, in turn, approved an internship for me during my senior year of college. So, several days per week for one semester, I hung out with professional newspaper photographers. It was a lot of fun -- and with real darkrooms, too (as this was way before the age of digital cameras).

A few weeks ago, we hosted a Diabetes Awareness week here at Pure Jeevan. This was our contribution to the larger Reversing Diabetes Naturally movement that we blogged about. We wanted to let you know that the package of bonus materials offered to people who purchase the Simply Raw DVD is quite amazing! (See this post for details.) We reviewed all of the materials ourselves, and it's just a ton of great information.

The original deadline for receiving the free bonus materials was the end of April. However, the deadline has been extended through Friday, May 8. So, if you know anyone who has diabetes who could benefit from either the ?Simply Raw? documentary and/or the companion film, ?The Ultimate Enyclopedia of the Raw Food Listyle," simply point them to http://tinyurl.com/pj-diabetes.

Correction: I said "Lenuria" a number of times in this video, but it's actually Lunaria! In any case, we wanted to share some additional description for this plant. Here's a quick paragraph from Wikipedia:

Lunaria is a genus of flowering plants in the family Brassicaceae, native to central and southern Europe. It includes two species, Perennial honesty and Annual honesty. They are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens, and have become naturalised in many temperate areas away from their native habitat. In the language of flowers, it means Sincerity and Forgetfulness. ...The common name "Honesty" arose in the 16th century, and it may be due to the translucent seed-pods which are like flattened pea-pods and borne on the plant through winter. In South-East Asia, it is called the "Money Plant," and in the United States as "Silver dollars," because its seed pods have the appearance of silver coins.

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).

Today, we're going to show you haw to make some tasty brownies. Best of all, this recipe takes only a few minutes. Let's get to it!

First, throw a couple of big handfulls of raisins into your food processor.

There is a certain irony that takes place when you launch a raw foods web site because, no matter how much you love and believe in what you do, no matter how solid the proof may be that the information you're providing is true and accurate, no matter how clearly it can be demonstrated by analyses of blood tests or tons of "before and after" photos that this lifestyle heals the human body, you're still pretty much bound by legal best practices to include a full disclaimer on your site. And, as much as you just write it once and kind of forget about it, it's always there. For practical reasons, of course we understand all of that. But beyond all of that, there's an implied message that "only a medical doctor" really knows what's best for you.

Well, in fact, we DO recommend working with a competent health professional. But what we do not endorse here is simply accepting whatever that professional has to say without question. So, the operative word would be "competent" in that recommendation.

Jim here... Wow, it's Monday, April 27! Let's do something different today: Let's celebrate Monday instead of bemoaning this day that represents the taditional start of the dreaded work week. Why? Because it's our sincere hope that whatever you do in your work week is a labor of love. And, if you're not quite there yet, then celebrate the fact that you WILL be there sometime soon. For us, it means another week of working to inspire you to achieve optimal health -- and that's not "work" at all; it's actually FUN!

So, without further adieu, let's jump into this week's fun. Our good friends Melissa and Dave Sokulski have launched a site recently called FoodUnderFoot ("unleash the energy of wild edibles"). Even in it's young seedling state, I think it's already a fascinating site, and promises to become an encyclopedic web destination for anyone interested in foraging wild edibles. So, check them out for some informative info and valuable freebies, too!

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy! (Today's "My Raw Story" is also a special installment for our Diabetes Awareness Week!)

Picking up from the previous installment, Wendi and KDcat absolutely loved beautiful Corvallis, but ultimately felt it had too much of a small-town feel for us. So, they decided to take a road trip to the nearest big city, Eugene. KDcat and Stephanie (one of the lovely daughters of our Corvallis hosts) were enjoying their time together, so Stephanie decided to come along.

The trip from Corvallis to Eugene is but one pleasant hour's drive.The group's first stop was the Buffalo Exchange, a new and secondhand clothing store. Everyone loved the store, which offered a great selection of? fun clothes you can t usually find in other stores or thrift shops. A barely worn pair of red hi-top Converse sneakers was the highlight of this stop for KDcat. She's been wanting a pair of these exact shoes for ... well, forever! She immediately began decorating them when she had the chance (after they were disinfected, that is).

From there, they explored greater Eugene, checking out areas others had suggested. There were a lot of cute shops, but they were geographically spread out. It wasn t like the neighborhoods in Portland, where you can walk blocks and blocks with unique stores, restaurants, etc., all in a row. There was a nice vibe to Eugene, Wendi said, but something about it just didn t feel like home for us. Wendi said there weren t as many people out and about as she'd expected, but that could have been because they visited on a Sunday. Here are some pics from around town -- and then we'll talk food.

Jim here... Yesterday, we talked about exceptions -- those non-raw food items that raw foodists sometimes allow themselves to eat. I listed mine, and a number of people here and on Facebook noted some of their own. (Seems a lot of us enjoy olives, by the way!) It struck me today that a natural follow-up to a list of exceptions would be a list of non-exceptions -- basically a list of things I personally never ever ever ever consume.

This makes sense, right? I suppose all people generally have three basic lists: (1) those things we eat regularly, (2) those things we eat sometimes, and (3) those things we never eat. Hopefully, none of us keep these lists etched in stone, as diets are dynamic things that tend to evolve over time. A few of the items I'll list below may only apply to my current practices, while others (like refined sugar) I hope to permanently exclude. So, let's see:

Yahoo recently ran a photo series on their "omg!" channel entitled "Celebrity Slim-Down Secrets." It actually has a nice set of before and after photos of celebrities who have lost weight. The set is here.Featured are Kelly Osbourne, Seth Rogen, Jennifer Hudson, Jerry Ferrara, Kirstie Alley, John Goodman, Jordin Sparks, Jason Segel, Drew Carey, Sara Rue, amd Kevin James. ?Most reported using personal trainers, changing up their diets, and getting more exercise (or some variation of those three).

We didn't read any reports of raw food diets in the story, but looking at before and after pictures is probably always a good idea, if only for visual inspiration. It's nice to see a broad range of people turning their health around, too. Some are younger celebs; others in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. So, it's nice to know that major changes are possible at any age.