It's a beautiful day here. The sun is actually shining enough through the clouds to soak up some of its lovely rays. It feels so good. What a great way to start the weekend! We have no set plans, other than a trip to the local food co-op and a visit from the bunny. If the weather continues to be this nice, maybe we'll take the puppy over to the park and spend the afternoon enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of Spring.

Jim here... Whenever I want to learn how to do something new, here's how I go about it:

>>> I practice. <<<

I've received countless emails over the past few days, thanks to Kevin Gianni's video (above) about the potato pancakes I made for he and Annmarie when they were visiting. In many of the emails you were thanking me for the free eBooks, but some of you had questions (and even some concerns) about sweet potatoes. I've answered you all individually, but I thought it might be a good idea to spend some time discussing the sweet potato a little more. Here were some of the questions I was asked:

  • Aren't orange sweet potatoes really yams
  • Are sweet potatoes bad for me if I have diabetes
  • Can I use yams in the potato pancake recipe instead of sweet potatoes
  • Aren't sweet potatoes high in carbs? Won't they make me gain weight
  • Can I use regular white potatoes instead of sweet potatoes in the recipe
  • Aren't raw potatoes bad for people

In all of my replies, I told you the truth. I don't know what makes a sweet potato different from a yam. They look similar to me. I know I'm buying and eating sweet potatoes, however, because they are labeled that way in the food co-op, where they sell both yams and sweet potatoes. They produce guys (brilliant guys) know there's a difference between the two, but I never stopped to ask them what it is. After all of your questions, however, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to educate myself.

I knew right away that I would be filing this under our "Fun-filled Friday" bannner. Finding pawpaws is a huge treat! They're surprisingly little-known, and also very surprisingly tropical in nature. Who would think that something this delicious and exotic-tasting would thrive in so much of the non-trpoical world !? In this video, you'll learn where to look for pawpaw groves, how to identify a pawpaw tree, and what pawpaws look and taste like.

Continuing with our week of ways to keep a sharp mind, let's focus on the one widely accepted indicator for dementia or alzheimer's: heart disease. If one wants to dramatically reduce the chances of brain degredation, the first step to take is keeping the heart healthy.

The key advice most health specialists agree on when it comes to a healthy heart is the reduction (ideally eliminatain) of unhealthy fats in the diet. The unhealthy fats are usually seen as solid fats, like butter, margerine, and shortening. However, it's important to not overlook the fats that are also found in meats. By substituting unhealthy fats with something healthier for your heart (like extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil), as well as transitioning to leaner meats if you are a meat eater, you will be taking some important steps in keeping your heart healthy, as well as your mind.

Jim here... A few months ago, I was in our local food co-op's juice bar. I'd ordered an apple juice and had cringed when I saw the barista chop up four Granny Smiths and nonchalantly toss the whole lot, seeds and all, into the juicer. That juice was for someone else. So, when my order came up, I politely requested that he cut the seeds out -- a request he reluctantly granted, although not without showing considerable annoyance. My thinking was: Hey, those seeds contain cyanide! Why would I want to consume that, even in small amounts

But then... Have you ever known anyone who died from eating apple seeds? ?I know I haven't. Also, after mentioning this to a few people I know, I found that a number of them regularly ingest apple seeds. And, well, they're still living. So, is there any truth to the rumors? And, should we be concerned at all about this?

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're loosley going to be picking up some of the ongoing themes we used to cover here on the blog. For the Take the Time Tuesday theme, we asked our readers to take the time to meet or learn about an individual, product, company, etc., that we think may be of interest to you. For today's entry, I'd like you to:

Take the time to meet...

Jim here... Wow, how awesome is it that today's Makin' It Monday falls just one day after Mother's Day -- and that we had ?a very special guest edition ready to post featuring ... ?my awesome mom! ??!!! ?I love my mom so much ... she's the best mom ever! And you'll love watching her demonstrate how to make 100% raw hummus. Mom might be 100% Italian, but she makes a pretty mean 100% Lebanese raw hummus, which is a pretty popular dish in my family. Here's the vid!

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

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

This weekend is Mother's Day, so today's Thankful Thursday is dedicated to the memory of my own mother, Elizabeth.