A Bit of India in Pittsburgh s Back Yard?

During an intense personal journey in recent years, I ve discovered that the more I m able to know my true self, the more my perception of the world changes. As a result, my surroundings have changed as well ?people, places, directions. At one point, internal and external changes happened so rapidly, it was difficult to fully process anything; I felt overwhelmed.

Amid urges to explore so many new directions, all at the same time, it became impossible to focus. My initial instinct was to flee to India, where I could peacefully stay at an ashram and process all that was transpiring in my mind. Although circumstances kept me from traveling abroad, I knew I needed to simplify. That s when I remembered an old issue of Point of Light I d kept. I dug it out and quickly flipped through the pages? There it was: Peaceful Valley Ashram & Retreat, located just north of Pittsburgh!

Welcome to Episode 4 of Know Your Food. Wow, the PEAR episode is here at last! Aren't you thrilled to know that? Of ALL of the fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs, etc. in the knon world, we finally got to the wonderful pear. Well, it's no surprise, when you think about it. After all, sweet, mild pears are usually among the first fruits fed to babies. So, chances are, you were fed them, too, as a toddler. So, let's dig in, shall we?

Pears contain water-soluable fiber (pectin), Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Copper, Potassium, Posphorous, Folic Acid, Niacin, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulphur, Calcium, and more! They lower your blood pressure, releive inflammation, lower cholesterol via pectin, calm the stomach, cool the body, prevent cancer via anti-oxidants, boost your energy via the fructose/glucose, reduce inflammation, help your bones/calcium levels, aid in pregnancies via the folate, and much more. Pears are GREAT for you, so eat them regularly!

I was sitting here today thinking about all of you, our lovely online friends who visit this blog. You follow what's going on with us, learn from us, find inspiration in the things we share, and even offer support to us in many ways.

Some of you reach out by leaving comments, many of you send emails, and a larger majority of you are quiet friends who haven't made contact with us, yet. Each and every one of you means so very much to me (and to Jim, too).

We don't keep this blog for ourselves; we keep it for all of you. It is our desire to share all that we've been through, and what we've learned, in order to help you with your own journey. Most of all, however, my personal desire is to inspire you to live the life you truly want to be living (in more ways than just through what you eat).

Ahh, yes... Ginkgo Biloba. What a distinctive tree, don't you think? So easy to identify, and so many reported health benefits. This one belongs to a neighbor that seems to have an affinity with Asian landscaping motifs. They also have gorgeous bamboo growing in their yard, and other Asian elements. I would have liked to have harvested some leaves to dry for some Ginkgo tea, but the owner wasn't around to ask. Perhaps some other time.

Driving to work today, we noticed that McDonald's has launched its latest product aimed at the health-conscious demographic. In case you haven't heard, you can now purchase fruit smoothies at Mickey D's! Sounds like real progress, right? Well, let's take a closer look and see if they're really as healthy as they sound.

McDonald's is not exactly known as a healthfood destination. After all, a typical lunch at the Golden Arches these days might well include something like an Angus Bacon & Cheese, Large Fries, and a Large Coke. ?Together, that's 1,600 calories, 64 grams of fat, and 2,400 mg of sodium, 99% of which is from highly cooked, highly processed, non-organic, factory-farmed, nutrition-barren source materials . (Add on another 75 calories and 550 more mg of sodium if you plan to go through, say, five packets of ketchup along with those fries.) (Source) And, some people eat that daily!

Wow, Pure Jeevan is officially coast-to-coast now! That picture, above, is our name written in the Pacific sand. Surely, there's an apt metaphor here, if only I felt moved to make one. Instead, why don't we take a look at what Wendi wrote about this, and see if a life-lesson doesn't spring to life! Her remarks, written for Pure Jeevan readers:

So, the ideal place on paper (Corvallis) wasn t seeming quite like the perfect place for us that we thought it would be. It s an amazing little town, with a lot going for it. If someone is looking for a totally hip, laid-back, creative, educated group of people living in a small town with no unsavory extremes as far as cold and heat, then this is the place for you. For us, however, we now realize that we ve grown to love all that comes with living in a larger city. Corvallis is fantastic, but now we realize we need a larger city.

(Note: This is a closely-related piece to an earlier post ?entitled "Practice Is Your Key to Going Raw." I'll include a link to that article, below.* This one focuses more on recognizing your current level of progress.)

These days, I spend most of my free time cleaning up our fixer-upper home in Portland, so I haven't been going to the gym or regularly running as I had in the past. ?Hopefully, the house work is sufficient physical activity for me -- it sure does generate an appetite most days!

Happy Friday, everyone! We want to cap off this week with a question: Do you keep a blog We realize that many blogs include blogrolls, but this has been a sticky issue for us here at Pure Jeevan for a few reasons: First and foremost, we LOVE and appreciate each and every one of you so much, and wouldn't want to accidentally exclude anyone!?

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!

Here's an older post, from August 2008, about modifying one's diet to experiment with attaining even greater health. ?I know the before/after pics, alone, are inspirational enough to live a raw vegan lifestyle!

*blows kisses to everyone*


Jim here... We had a whirlwind weekend last weekend when the uber-talented couple Rhio and Leigh came to Pittsburgh for a three-day visit. As many of you probably know, Rhio is a well-known pioneer of the raw food movement, having written one of the definitive books on raw foods, Hooked on Raw. She's also the host of a popular Internet radio show of the same name, for which Leigh serves as primary engineer and co-host. Both have extensive backgrounds in music, as well, which is fitting for such a colorful, vibrant couple.

Saturday, Rhio gave a two-part presentation to a capacity crowd at a local coffee shop / art gallery.Part One was a demonstration on making raw dairy-free yogurt using almonds (a technique demonstrated, I believe, on her new DVD, "What's NOT Cookin' in Rhio's Kitchen " -- available soon on her web site at www.rawfoodinfo.com). According to the yogurt eaters in the crowd (of which I'm not one -- never went in for much dairy), the recipe mimics yogurt perfectly! So, if you're a raw foodie who misses dairy yogurt, you're definitely going to want to connect wth Rhio to learn the technique.