I have a need for hot food in winter to feel warm.

We hear this comment a lot from those trying to lose weight. Some joke that they thought their excess body fat would be keeping them warm, but they're still feeling cold and needing hot food in the winter months.

In the past, we've talked about reasons what's going on in the body when hot foods are consumed. Understanding this will help you realize that hot foods are actually not very good for our bodies. When we consume very hot foods, that heat is then inside our bodies, next to vital organs, while the body needs to maintain a temperature around 98.6 degrees. When we have temperatures higher than that right next to our vital organs, it must quickly work to remove that excess heat. It's the removal of this excess heat that causes us to feel warm. It's our bodies trying to stay in a healthy state. We are actually putting our bodies under stress when we do this (the same holds true for eating overly cold foods, like frozen desserts and icy drinks).

I'm still doing my nine-day mono meals for Navratri. Since it's Makin' It Monday, instead of actually makin' a recipe, I'm dreamin' about it! After talking with my sweet friend Melissa, I thought I wanted to eat spinach pie when I end my mono meals. She was talking about it, shared how she was going to create it, and my mind was filling with the image of spinach pie, the smell and taste of it, and I wanted it right then.But, we don't have any spinach in the house right now. Since I end my mono meals after tomorrow's lunch, and don't have time to buy spinach at the food co-op, I decided to dream some more about what I'll be eating for tomorrow's dinner.

Then it came to me. I want beet pasta! Not just any beet pasta, but beet pasta topped with a creamy alfredo sauce! I picture it in my mind; I can imagine the taste of it, the texture, and it's so delicious. I think I want something green with it, too. Perhaps I'll start with a small salad. Ooh! Yes, that's what I'll do!

Quick note: Jim here... So strikingly pervasive is the "winter blues of 2010" that I suspect many of my friends will think this is about them. But, it's just some thoughts, really -- not in response to anything or anyone in particular. (In fact, if anything, it's in response to something related to our dog, which we'll no doubt write about at some point.)

I sense that there is a useful blog post on the topic of "raw during tough times." However, after pondering the topic at length, I'm just not exactly sure what to say about it. I do know that quite a lot of people come to feel disappointed in themselves for straying from the healthiest path. It's a story I've read over and over on raw web sites and blogs, perhaps more frequently in the winter. It starts out the same: Someone goes raw, gets all fired up about it, and soon starts feeling youthful and vibrant again. The high lasts for a while, but then ... something happens. They slip back to cooked foods -- or worse, to junk foods. Sometimes the process repeats itself for years.

I am very fair-skinned, with light eyes and medium-colored hair. For as long as I can remember, the sun made me feel ill. The older I got, the sicker I'd feel. I felt uncomfortable in the heat, my skin would feel all prickly, I got horrible headaches, and sometimes I even got sick to my stomach. I've always loved being out in nature, but on really sunny days, it bothered me and I'd try to stay in/near the woods and the shade.

To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

Jim here... Today Wendi is busy preparing for a multi-day activity that I'm sure she'll be writing about later this week. So, I thought I'd field a question we received recently (one directed specifically to me). We do receive a good deal of questions at our Raw Food Diet Question In-box (at Questions [at] PureJeevan.com), so feel free to send any in that you may have, and we'll definitely get to them all here in time. In any case, one reader writes:

As drawn as I am to a raw diet, being mostly cooked vegan right now, I can't help but come up against this each time: Since produce is, after all, mostly water, what did you eat while transitioning that didn't lead to shoving in lots of bread, potatoes, etc. Do you just eat lots and lots of, say, oranges, at one go? This has always been my raw downfall. I'm sure the answer is very simple.

Wow, this is a great question, and one with many possible answers! To begin, let's recognize that this isn't a question from a "SAD diet" eater. ?Being a vegan, alone, takes significant learning and (often) self-discipline to accomplish successfully. It's also, in my view, an excellent dietary and lifestyle choice for many people, regardless of whether they ever decide to try a raw foods diet. So, this question is rather advanced.

Jim here... Today is April 25, 2009 -- Wendi Dee's Birthday!!? She's asleep now. It's 1:30 in the morning & I've been up for hours assembling something stunningly amazing to share with you. You see, this year, I asked some friends, family, and foodies to take a page of a sketchbook and offer Wendi some Happy Birthday wishes -- and then send it back to me so I could bind it all into a large book!? WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! Check out the response from 40+ people from around the globe. It's a little overwhelming to see this much positive energy in one place. What a momentous day she's in for in another 5 hours or so when she gets up and is greeted by such a surprise! If you'd like to say Happy Birthday, just leave a comment here! Thanks to everyone!

Update:? Just added another digital file to the collection! For any latecomers, any new additions will be added as they come in. Even if you're just now learning about this special project, I'm sure Wendi would be more than happy to add your loving message to this collection that she will always hold dear to her heart. You can send your original art to her (and I will scan -- at 31 Hillman St., Pgh., Pa 15227), and/or send a JPG to me at Rawdiant [at] Gmail.com and I'll post it on the digital site!

Welcome to Makin' It Monday, Guest Raw Chef edition. Today, Dave Sokulski of www.BirchCenter.com and www.FoodUnderFoot.com gets a little silly while making some delicious raw cacao treats! Enjoy the video:

Three months ago today, we put up a post called "Is Alcohol Raw " I wanted to post a little follow-up to that today, while I'm thinking of the story. (And, by the way, a great conversation ensued in the comments section of that article. However, if you visit it now, you'll see that the comments have disappeared. We're hoping to have these and many other comments restored once a new version of Disqus is released.)

In that article, I touched on how the body can seemingly store states of consciousness (noting how I dreamed of being drunk and felt authentically drunk in the dream). This sort of phenomenon is well documented anecdotally (e.g., often associated with LSD use), although still not fully understood by medical doctors or psychologists. In any case, the term "flashback" comes to mind:

Don't miss this amazing online event!

Kevin Gianni has outdone himself this time! In the past, Kevin co-created Raw Summit, an online teleseminar educating and motivating those interested in health and a raw food lifestyle. It was amazing and thousands of people participated in the event.That event was very inspiring, even my husband and daughter didn't want to miss any of the interviews.

This time, however, Kevin has taken things to a new level! The interviews will now be in a video format! Not only do we get to hear raw and living food experts speaking, we can see their expressions, as well. It will be like they are in the room with us, having an inspirational talk with each of us!

Kevin has called the event a RAWkathon! It's a free seven-day, worldwide online living food event! It will include interviews with fifteen of the top raw food experts:

Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.