Jim here... When you consider the agricultural and marketplace practices that affect the food we eat (e.g., pesticide use in the fields, widespread irradiation afterward, and the contamination of produce from various sources -- not to mention some of the disturbing potentialities we face in terms of further governmental intervention into the food chain), it leads one to the conclusion that, if we really want to eat the best food ever, growing it yourself is a great solution. It's also cheaper to grow your own and, in my opinion, more fulfilling than purchasing it (if you have the time and space to manage it, that is).

With all of these concerns (and more) in mind, we've launched a new series of interviews called "Know the Growers" in which I'll be interviewing organic farmers around the world on best practices in the field. Initially, we'll be publishing them every few weeks, most likely. Once we sell our home and are "full-time Pure Jeevan karma yogis," we'll be publishing them weekly (along with resuming our daily video series Know Your Food). I'll be publishing these organic farming interview transcripts on NaturalNews.com under their Citizen Journalist program.

Today we welcome Leela Mata from the Peaceful Valley Ashram (www.LeelaMata.com) for another episode of Pure Jeevan's Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" edition. In this episode, Leela demonstrates how to make a delicious summertime chutney.

Since Marigolds are seasonal, and likely available only in certain areas, please consider them optional. Perhaps substitute another edible flower of your choice (and let us know if you do!). Aside from making this tasty recipe (which we later enjoyed on a salad), Leela also makes some important points about intuitive eating and intuitive recipe creation. Here's the vid:

Within the raw food community, a controversy seems to have been brewing for the better part of a year! The topic: Agave nectar (also called agave syrup). Surely by now most people know what agave nectar is. For anyone who doesn't, it's a thick liquid sweetener made from, you guessed it, the agave plant.

In general, the production of tasty agave nectar involves heating the plant to a certain temperature (which varies widely according to which manufacturer is making it and which species of agave is used). The extent of this heating constitutes a significant part of the controversy (as most raw foodists believe that heating any food over a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 105 and 118 degrees fahrenheit, renders it "dead").

Hey everyone!? What a wonderful Thursday we have going here... After all, it's nearly 3:30 p.m. where I am, which means that the day is nearly over and it'll soon be Friday! Time sure does fly... Right now, it's still a beautiful fall here (in Pennsylvania, with the gorgeous leaves nearly at their changing peak) but, in seemingly no time, we'll be looking at winter in these parts.

When I announced Wendi's leave of absence a while back, I invited people to send in any questions that I might answer here on the blog. Fellow raw foodie Joanna Steven asked me on Facebook -- I'm at Facebook.com/Rawfood -- what our routine is for transitioning into winter. Well, I think she already did a fine job of covering that topic, here. But, I'll offer my own two cents here, as well, as I find it interesting.

Jim here... Conventional wisdom says we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, right? Well, what about recipes? Should we judge them by their names?

When KDcat was young -- well before we followed a raw diet -- her friends sometimes scoffed at our typical vegan fare. After all, few kids would voluntarily eat "Pasta with Spinach Sauce."? But, we discovered, change the name and suddenly they're lining up for seconds. Instead of "Spinach Sauce," Wendi came up with "Jungle Sauce"! How exciting, right?

Jim here... It's not often that we're able to recommend a movie that's perfectly relevant to the raw food lifestyle. But, if you're a raw vegan and haven't seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we highly recommend this film. Not only is it wonderful, but it's also, for much of the film, a nice metaphor for living the raw foods lifestyle.

We at Pure Jeevan are making MAJOR life changes!

Did you think our lives solely revolved around raw foods---that once we went raw, there were no more major life changes to be experienced? Well, maybe it's true that our lives do, in a way, revolve around raw foods---they give us the health and vitality necessary for living a truly vibrant life! However, we are each (Jim, KDcat, and Wendi) unique and interested in many different things. Somehow, we pull all of our differences together and stand united as a loving family. It will be together, as a family, that we embark on an amazing MAJOR life change.

A few of you may already know what I'm talking about, but the rest of you are about to find out all about it, too! You may have noticed that we've temporarily discontinued many of our raw food services---for those of you who have written to ask for help, I am still responding to your emails. If I can't help you at this time, I'll do everything I can to assist you in finding the help you need. This was a necessary part of preparing for the change that is about to take place. In addition to cutting back on our services, we may not always be consistent here with our blog postings, and our email responses may not be very timely (as some of you may have already noticed). We will answer your emails, however, so please don't stop sending them to us. Hearing from all of you makes my heart fill with love and happiness!

Here they are!! Images from the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat! There were more taken by the ashram staff; once they are sent to me, I'll include those, as well.

Page One: Guests

Page Two: Raw Food

We've got three incredible posts coming your way this week, and we're going to get started right here and NOW with a one-hour interview with the incredible Kevin Gianni. As most of you know, we postponed our RV Tour recently.As part of that, we'd planned to stage a fun event related to the All Raw Directory.We'd planned to air this interview with Kevin (conducted back in December 2008) for that event.

Fast-forward to today and we realize that, like our raw RV Tour, our All Raw Directory promotion will have to wait. It's funny how things trickle down like that. But, all is not lost. This is still an incredible interview -- and guess what ! It's only part one of a two-part interview, as well as a special super-fun surprise we'll be announcing on Friday. We promise: No one in the raw food community will want to miss Friday's post. All we'll say now is that it's a truly unique, limited opportunity unlike anything you've seen here before! Trust us: You couldn't possibly guess what it is!

Something has come up and it may put some of our projects on hold for about six months, or so! What could come up to make us give up our goals/plans for 2009? Umm...how about being awarded The Best Job In The World, the Island Reef Job! Australia is doing some major tourism marketing for their lovely Paradise Island. For six months an individual will live in a 3-bedroom home, comb the beach, blog about the experience, do some video blogging, respond to interviewers, feed fish, and just basically live a life in Paradise!!

To live this dream life, you'll be awarded $105,000 USD and be flown to the island!

Continuing with our Taco Week, here's a quick and easy (and delicious) salsa recipe. You can really have a lot of fun with salsa, and can get highly experimental if you like. Almost anything tastes great in salsa. This one is fairly basic, so feel free to spruce it up with some of your favorite ingredients. Let us know in the comments section some of your favorite variations so you may inspire others!