Who's been making small changes and feeling a bit brighter lately, since we've been talking about brain health? Today, let's continue focusing on some things we can actively do to minimize our chances of developing memory problems like Dementia or Alzheimer's in the future.

Yesterday we focused on heart-healthy tips to increase brain function (since heart disease seems to be linked with Alzheimer's) and I shared a heart-healthy recipe with you. Today, we'll focus on inflammation.

Jim here... About an hour ago, I purchased $68 worth of ice cream from a local supermarket. Bet you thought you'd never read something like that here, eh ? Well, don't worry -- Wendi and I haven't suddenly decided to binge on dairy products. You see, in my corporate job, I'm often the event organizer; today that meant ice cream gopher.

For some raw foodies, that scenario might seem rather cruel. You may be thinking: Isn't it tough to have to go purchase nine tubs of ice cream, two jars of maraschino cherries, two bags of marshmallows, four containers of flavored syrups, two cans of whipped cream, and numerous boxes of waffle cones ? No, it's not cruel at all. To me, it's now the same as running out for, say, office supplies.

Look at the dinner we had this evening!!!

A bean and rice burrito, taco with all the toppings, tomato and pepper salad, and sweet orange salsa! Yum, yum, yum!!! I'll be posting the pic again and sharing a recipe on Monday.

Just a quick notice that we've posted our December 2009 newsletter. Each month, we email a link to our newsletter to all Pure Jeevan family members. (If you're not receiving that, you're mising out on a ton of awesome raw inspiration and information. You can click here to sign up -- it's free!)

We'll be back tomorrow to continue our coverage of the Chicago raw food scene. As I've been saying for a few days now, you won't want to miss these great interviews!?

I ordered a case of organic, fresh-picked, perfectly ripe oranges!! Yay! They were shipped in less than 24 hours of my order and they should arrive soon! I asked for some grapefruits in there, too, even though I haven't really liked the taste of them in the past. I'm thinking that fresh ones will taste a lot better--not to mention that I never tried an organic one before. If I still don't like them, Jim and KDcat will eat them. ;-)

If you want to check out the grove from where I ordered them, here's a link: http://www.flnaturalcitrus.com/. I emailed with Dave, who was very nice. It's fun to get to know the people you are getting your food from, isn't it? This past spring, summer, and fall we were members of a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. The produce was amazing and it was so fun to actually see pictures of the farm workers and hear about the daily ins and outs of life on the farm. If you've never heard about a CSA, maybe you'll want to see if you have one in your local area this coming spring.

Above is a quick camera-phone pic I posted to our Facebook group lately. I did talk about making raw parfaits on that page, but want to talk a little more about them today, as it's just the perfect time to be talking about delicious raw parfaits (at least here in America, in any case, where many of the fresh berries you'll probably want are cheap and in season). I'll share a brief story about them, and then share my own basic recipe, and then we'll make some plans for MORE parfait talk really soon, okay?

I'm almost hesitant to talk about raw food parfaits here because, well, if the government found out how unbelievably healthy and ENJOYABLE parfaits are, I'm sure they'd make them illegal. But, I'll take a chance...

Some of you who are new to raw foods may be happy to learn that there are festivals for individuals interested in the raw foods lifestyle! They are a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded friends. For those of you who attended the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, seeing images from that event may stir the magical memories you collected while there.

Below is part one of a two-part guest piece by Rawbin Anderson, in which she recounts her 2008 Raw Spirit Festival J.O.B. experiences of working in the kitchen. Rawbin is now the Raw Spirit Festival East Coast Manager and can be reached at Rawbin [at] rawspirit.com.


What's Valentine's Day without a little "Smooth Love," right ??Here's how we created this simple, creamy delicious, smoothie:

  • Start with the water and flesh of one young coconut. We had one left over, still nice and fresh, from our recent trip to the Florida Keys (more raw food videos and posts coming soon from that trip!).
  • Add three to four oranges, peeled (and de-seeded if necessary)
  • Add two to three large bananas
  • Add 12 ounces of frozen strawberries (or to taste)
  • Add a small handful of raw almonds
  • Add a bit of raw agave nectar or a few dates, if you have them.

Blend in your high-speed blender until smooth ... and share with a loved one! Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

Organizing the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat has brought with it the bonus of meeting some fantastic people and the opportunity to learn about their amazing raw food snack companies.

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, we're going to show you haw to make some tasty brownies. Best of all, this recipe takes only a few minutes. Let's get to it!

First, throw a couple of big handfulls of raisins into your food processor.