Before we run this blog entry, let me first announce one awesome thing:? Wendi and Kdcat are back home now!!? Yep, the trip is now officially over, and was a HUGE success. Not only did our fearless raw travelers identify Pure Jeevan's soon-to-be new home town -- Portland, Oregon! -- but Wendi and KDcat also met and made friends with hundreds of people from around the country. I'm sure Wendi will be back here on the blog with overall reflections and so forth soon. However, the trip generated so much content that it's going to take a while to catch up!? So, let's pick up with the travel narrative where we last left off. As you may recall, the girls were leaving San Luis Obispo and heading into sunny Los Angeles! Let's see what Wendi had to say, again with her travelogue:

Wow, it's finally looking like CA with all the palm trees! After hitting and dealing with some major traffic of a large city, we arrived to the warmest welcome at the home of Debbie Young (of DebbieDoesRaw) -- a decorative greeting waiting on the door, gift bags handed to us as we walked inside, loving hugs and smiles, and the most amazing raw meal ever (samosas!, chai, pineapple lassi, mango chutney, tamarind chutney, biscotti cookies), and a snack basket waiting in our private apartment! At this stop, we were totally spoiled by Debbie and her beautiful family!

This is one of the stops I was really looking forward to, because Debbie and I have been online friends for a long time. We were able to spend a short amount of time together at the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, and I loved her and wanted to spend more time with her and meet her lovely family in person (including their adorable dog, Malcolm).

Angela Stokes, well known and loved by many in the Raw Food Community, was interviewed on CNN back in September. The story was so popular that it has been mentioned on CNN, again! So, I'm reposting my original blog entry about the interview, below, for anyone who missed the interview or this blog entry.

Below you can see the interview of Angela Stokes that originally ran on CNN:

There's SO much to celebrate lately! Check it out:

Our dear friend Robin (aka Rawbin) celebrates her birthday today. We created a fun video for Rawbin, who has the ability to make anyone laugh! Rawbin blogs here and you can read her "My Raw Story" installment here.She's also the east coast Raw Spirit Festival representative. (RSF east happens August 29-30, 2009 in Maryland. More info here.)

Over the weekend, we visited the spectacular Oregon Country Fair in Eugene and, once again, experienced a joyful and overwhelming sense of recognition that we're living in a place where people are much more accustomed to just being themselves.

Personal expression and nonconformity are so valued here that one becomes quickly enamored of the whole ambiance, which could well explain why more people come to Oregon than leave. The region seems to represent, to many, a chance to finally discover and explore an identity perhaps not completely free from outside influence, but at least free from the undesirable influences that society elsewhere seems to insist upon. Or maybe I'm misreading it all and providing just one of many interpretations.

As many of you know, I'm more of an intuitive eater than anything else. I eat what I intuitively feel my body needs most of the time. Well, for the past two weeks what my body has been asking for is cauliflower. I went through a cauliflower stage sometime last year, and it seems I'm back to eating that lovely white flower veggie again!

At first I was making mashed cauliflower (like? mashed potatoes) and keeping the recipe very simple. I've made complex versions of the mashed cauliflower before, but I was really drawn to a more simple taste so all I was adding was some olive oil, salt, and a tiny bit of macadamia nuts. Yesterday, however, as I was cleaning the cauliflower (since my body was telling me it wanted more of it), I had a sense that I wanted something more vibrant, more fun than simple mashed cauliflower. So, I followed my intuition (picking up whatever I felt my body wanted to eat with the cauliflower) and here's what I created...

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?


Kevin Gianni Wants to Meet

Pittsburgh Raw Foodists This Saturday!

UPDATE: Location is set for my home in the South Hills

Kevin and Annmarie Gianni will be in Pittsburgh for the Steeler's game on Sunday. They'd love to meet Pittsburgh raw foodies while they're here! So, if you can make it to meet up with them, let Wendi Dee know as soon as possible. We'll either be meeting at the East End Food Coop (if I can reserve the space at the last minute) or at my home (South Hills/Brentwood). Please respond by Friday at 5:00 p.m. about your availablity.

Before officially starting the new year, I'd like to acknowledge the changes and growth that took place over the past year. It was a whirlwind of changes, sometimes so dizzying that I wondered what I was doing and occasionally questioned whether, or not, I was making mistakes with my life. I followed my intuition, however, and it served me well. I'm here today, remembering the past year and ready to announce plans for this new year that has just begun. It's a beautiful life, isn't it Even when things seem dark and like there is a lot of pain, there is a tremendous amount of potential for new growth and a brighter life than ever imagined.

I ended 2008, perched on a summit and ready to take flight. Before I fly, however, I'm standing still for a bit and enjoying the view. I feel like the entire past year consisted of climbing to higher and higher plateaus of an enormous mountain. While climbing to each new plateau I stumbled, held on for dear life, saw amazing things, and became stronger.When reaching each new plateau, I'd spread my wings and leap, circling the mountain's circumference. But, I wasn't strong enough to fly straight to the peak. It was a year of gradual growth and change -- and I found myself becoming stronger and stronger as I reached the summit.I'm certainly not the same person who started this climb. I have transformed into a more genuine version of myself, a younger and stronger woman emerging from a lifetime of guilt and fear. As I stand on this summit, I feel youthful and invigorated. What lies ahead may be unknown to me, but I know it's within my ability to fly to the highest heights of ANY mountain, to see and do and experience ALL that I desire. It's going to be an incredible future and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!

In recognizing all of the accomplishments of 2008, I think it's important to admit that it wasn't one steady climb to the point I'm at today.The few years prior to 2008 were almost like my training in mountain climbing. Last year there were a lot of tears shed, along with a releasing of physical and emotional baggage that was still clinging to me. I openly shared what I was going through, however, after learning that keeping things inside was slowly killing my spirit. I think if I had to sum up 2008 in just one sentence it would be: In finally releasing everything, I woke up as my true self.

Wow, what a stressful weekend! We spent pretty much the entire past two days going through the dozens and dozens of suggestions we received in response to our July 30 post concerning our move (in which we asked for help in finding the perfect new place to live). We listed every city suggested to us, as well as a number of cities we specifically wanted to consider. Then we attempted to gather data from the Internet to rank these cities. Here's a HUGE snapshot to show our progress. (I'll explain a few things below.)

As you can see, we ranked each city according to many criteria. These included the number of sunny days per year, average high and low temperatures, air quality (higher #s better), water quality (higher #s better), Superfund statistics (an indication of the general toxicity of an area -- higher #s better), land prices, crime rate (the numbers "x / x" indicating scores from 1 to 10, lower #s being better, for "personal" crimes and "property" crimes), and finally a "liberal / conservative" ratio based on voting records for that town.

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.

Day 6: Today is the final day of placing extra focus on the feminine qualities attributed to Goddess Lakshmi. For me, going within, shining light on the things that aren't so clear, the things that I've been avoiding, or the things that have been completely invisible is something I've revisited off and on my entire life. It's something that I often recommend to friends and family, as well. It's what has allowed me to continually improve my life (both physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually), and something I'll always consider vital.

The more we search within for answers, the more we'll learn about our true selves. The more we understand ourselves, the more authentic we become in our interactions with others. The more authentic we are with others, the more others can feel comfortable around us. The more others become comfortable around us, the more they can experience their own authentic selves. And the more others experience their true selves, the more we all wake up and truly begin living a life of beauty, grace, vibrancy, and love.