We've spent some time on this blog talking about how much fun you can have via the meetup.com web site. If you search that site, you can probably find raw food meetups near you!? But, a few readers have asked us some follow-ups, such as What should I bring and What should I do if I'd like to host a raw foods meetup

*Attending* Raw Foods Meetups

Okay, so you signed up for a raw foods meetup group, waited patiently for the next event to come round, and now it's time!? But, wait... this is your first such outing. What should you bring

For today's Makin' It Monday, we're not really making something, but rather sprouting something! We tend to go through periods of time when we are sprouting a lot, consuming sprouts on salads, sandwiches, and inside whatever dishes we can add them to at the time. It seems appropriate for this time of year to start sprouting, again.

Have you ever sprouted seeds? The first time I ever sprouted, I used a nut milk bag that I kept dangling over the kitchen sink. I put some seeds into it, let them soak overnight in a bowl of water, and then rinsed them in the morning. Every time I was in the kitchen, I rinsed them again and let them drip into the sink until the next rinsing. It's important to keep the seeds moist and rinsed. It was thrilling to see the tiny little sprouts when they first began emerging from the seeds!

Did you know that, among the handful of programs I continually have running, there is always a dictionary program active on my laptop Oh, sure, there are tons of great web sites out there for looking up words -- and I do use those regularly. But, I just like my handy-dandy dictionary program. It's instant (no waiting for pages to load, etc.), it's ad-free, and it and has a great? -- no, scratch that, a tantalizing! -- thesaurus as well.

Anyway, here's what my trusty friend, the American Heritage Dictionary, has to say about the phrase "will power":

If you've been following us for some time, you'll know that we are continually working on projects that will either serve our raw food community or educate others about the health benefits of a raw food lifestyle. If you are new here, or just getting to know us, you can read a summary of what we accomplished last year and a summary of the projects we're currently working on. We're serious about our goal to inspire others to learn about and embrace the raw food lifestyle and community. I've always been someone who helps others, who senses in what direction they are headed and then offers inspiration to keep them moving. I love the work we do as Pure Jeevan and it is extremely rewarding to receive so much gratitude from many of you. But, guess what? Sometimes I get tired!

Sure, some of you may be saying, "But, wait! People who eat raw foods are supposed to be power houses of energy -- able to continually keep active and never run out of steam." Well, that is very true. So, I take it back. I'm not really "tired" like I said -- my body is able to wake up in the morning, easily fall asleep in the evening, and go about its daily work without feeling like it's run down.However, I am feeling like I need a rest from all that I've been doing. Maybe I don't need to sleep hours and hours, because my body isn't truly tired. None of my being is truly tired -- my body, mind, spirit, and emotions are feeling great, actually.

However, I still feel like I need a break from my routine. On top of that, I've been feeling uncomfortable in the cold weather even more this year than I did last year. It hurts all the way down, deep inside my bones. I feel like it will take a lifetime to thaw from the cold I've been feeling here in Pittsburgh. The sun rarely shines, and the snow and ice are brutal on someone eating only raw foods. My instincts told me two years ago that it was time to move to a warmer, sunnier climate, but that hasn't happened yet (even though we are patiently working on it, as Jim pointed out in an earlier post).

Well, after three long days of train travel, Wendi and KDcat arrived in Portland. I knew they'd had a rough trip (as I'd posted, Wendi experienced some serious motion sickness!), so I booked them into an awesome Bed & Breakfast, literally across the street from the raw restaurant they were planning to visit. That B&B is called the Lion and the Rose Victorian Bed & Breakfast Inn. Wendi said everyone there was super-nice. (There was a neat synchronicity about it, too, which I'll post in the comments section.)

Thanks to everyone for the motion sickness tips! Wendi's feeling better, but after such a long train ride, she and KDcat still feel the effects on their balance (feeling like they're still moving, slightly dizzy, ears blocked a bit etc.). I suppose train travel takes a little getting used to. But, again, they're feeling much better.

Even though it was a short stay in Portland, they managed to squeeze in a meetup with two Pure Jeevan family members, Ann Chatterton and Tracy Partridge Johnson (as well as Ann's children, Zoe and Zack, and Tracy's son Brandon). They met up at the Blossoming Lotus, an organic/vegan venue that offers some gourmet raw dishes. Here's a slideshow!

Hi Everyone! It's been a while since we've run a "My Raw Story" feature. So, here's one from my good friend Chris Paris, who I met and hung out with at the Raw Spirit Festival this past summer. I think you'll like his take on raw, his before & after pics, and the personal topics he covers such as the role raw foods played in his spirituality. -Jim

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Okay, my Raw Fu 100 Day Challenge is set!

I'm going to transition to the 80/10/10 version of raw. I'm doing it gradually, however. For the first 10 days, I'm eating no fats before dinner. Then with dinner, I'll eat as much fat as I desire, but I will be conscious of how much of it I'm consuming. For the second 10 days, I'm going to continue the same as the first week, but I'm going to reduce my fat in the evening to half of what I normally would eat. I haven't made set plans for the final sets of ten days, but I want to be following 80/10/10 by the beginning of the final week.

Why 80/10/10? Because when I read about it, and I talk with others who follow it, it seems to make sense and work for others. After almost two years of raw foods, I am doing great with 90 pounds left behind, but I've been stuck at a weight that isn't really my ideal (I'm currently 137 pounds and I'm only 5'4"). I'm happy with myself, but my goal is to be as healthy and vibrant as I can be, to live a very long, fulfilling, energetic life.

Do you need to be 100% raw to release excess weight and regain your health There's no difinitive answer for that question because we are all unique. Sure, our bodies function pretty much the same way, but there are still enough differences that make it difficult to answer a question like that for it to be true for every single individual.

Most of us have heard of, or know, someone who doesn't eat a healthy diet, who smokes cigarettes and/or drinks alcohol, doesn't get enough rest, and also lives a stressful life---yet that person still has a healthy body and is over 80 years old. People like that seem to have resiliency built into their genes. Sure, who knows how long a person with such resilient genes could live or how vibrant a life that person could enjoy with a healtheir lifestyle. But, the fact remains that it seems no matter what a person's lifestyle is like, if you are born with resilient genes you are pretty much invincible to most illnesses.

A majority of the population isn't born with such impressively hardy genes, however. Most bodies can withstand the stresses of an unhealthy lifestyle until middle age. At that point, however, the body begins to show signs of ill health (excess weight gain, aches and pains, and the start of many diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure). For a majority of those individuals, some healthy lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. Many individuals regain their health simply by changing their diets to include less fat and more vegetables, and by increasing their amount of exercise. Sure, it's a bit of work to make such changes, but if many people are committed to improving their health those simple changes can make a drastic difference in their lives.

Today I'd like to do something different for Makin' It Monday. I'll tell you what we've eaten today, but I want to hear what's been happening in YOUR kitchen!

This morning I sliced up three bananas, drizzled them with some agave, sprinked a bit of Himalayan crystal salt on them, and then topped them with hemp seeds and sprouted flax seeds with cranberries and gogi berries. I love this breakfast because it feels like I'm eating something a bit complex and more filling than simply eating the bananas plain (which is how I almost always eat them). KDcat had a bowl of oatmeal (not raw), and Jim had a few pieces of fruit.

Pure Jeevan is hitting the road? this weekend, heading to Chicago for some super-double-secret raw business stuff, returning late Monday. (Can't discuss it yet, but it's raw food related and ultra-cool. We'll get to it in due time, I promise.)?

Actually, it's going to be quite an interesting trip, as we have some very serious, very intense work to do in Chicago over the entire weekend, but we're not sure yet whether it'll be Wendi doing the work or me! It all depends on how Wendi feels -- and with Lyme, you just never know. So, one of us will be busy, the other largely free to explore the windy city with KDcaT and Th' Jooge.

Guess what's pulling into Pittsburgh tomorrow evening? Here's a hint (if you don't already know after reading the title of this blog post!):