On this lovely Valentine's Day, I am focusing on how thankful I am for LOVE! I'm not into the whole this-is-the-day-you-are-supposed-to-show-love thing, though. I think love is something that should always be around, felt, and shared. Every day is a new day to express the love you have in so many varied ways, why hold it back for one special day a year?

Beginning today and running all through next week (and even spilling into the following week!), we'll be running videos from the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF East 2009) held in Upper Marlboro, MD, last weekend. If you've never attended a RSF event, you absolutely must. They're the best ever!

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.

So it's time to continue that discussion on the aforementioned fringe one percent -- those people who will not accept your conscious intention to pursue your own health via this path. Please keep in mind during this discussion that we're only discussing just that one percent, not people in general. So, this is, I hope, relatively rare.

To begin, I'd like to stress a few points:

We're going to be running the above banner for a few days as we bring you highlights of the raw food scene in the beautiful Florida Keys.

Many times we are asked about our grocery bill---how much do we spend each month on eating a raw, vegan diet? It's not something that's easy to answer, though. If we just blurted the amount out, people would be shocked (at a minimum) and insist that there's no way possible they could ever eat a raw diet because they can't afford it.

Our monthly expense at the grocery store has continued to climb since I first began eating raw foods. At this point, now that Jim is eating 100% raw, as well, our monthly expense has more than doubled from the time when it was only me eating 100%. That's a huge increase in money being spent each month. But, you know what? It's okay! Yes, I said it's okay that our expense has more than doubled and I'll tell you why after you take a look at what we purchased last week for our home.

Jim here...As vegans and vegetarians, we're familiar with what we believe is quite a lot of misinformation regarding our lifestyle. However, we've done the research and, for example, know how we get our protein (always a concern received from others), know the stats on B12 deficiency (another concern often cited by mainstreamers), and know our answers to other issues such as where we get our minerals from and whether we consume processed foods and sugars. Bucking the mainstream conventional wisdom emergent from within a world dominated by the Standard American Diet, we live defiantly as healthy examples of our chosen path. But, is there any wiggle room as far as what is and isn't healthy (for us, and for everyone)? What about some of the things that everyone "knows" is bad for you? With questions like those in mind, here's something unusual -- a full post developed from a simple Facebook update. (You are friends with Wendi and me on Facebook, right ) Yesterday, I posted the following:

Think of something that you think is bad for you, and then go to Google & type in "benefits of [that thing]" and see if there is a web site that is promoting that thing. I just did this for "caffeine" and read some thought-provoking ideas (that might all be utter BS, but are interesting nonetheless).

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:

Two years ago, we were putting the final touches on launching the Pure Jeevan web site and blog. (While the blog archives show material dating back to 2006, the material from '06 and '07 is all pulled from Wendi's "Going Raw" journal, which was kept on another site. We pulled it into this site when we launched it to give those starting out on raw an inside look at one person's experiences in transitioning to a raw food diet.)

Jim here... During one of our marathon sessions at a Border's book store, I recall reading somewhere about the notion of a fruit's "intention" to be eaten. It's been a few years since I've read that, but I immediately resonated with the notion that many fruits, nuts, vegetables, and seeds are actually evolved to be eaten by other living beings and, therefore, to consume them (or their fruits and seeds) is to participate in a wonderfully nonviolent act that is in perfect harmony with a kind of primordial Earthen symbiosis. Whether these plants, vines, trees, etc. feel a conscious intention to have their fruit eaten by others is a matter of metaphysical conjecture. But, within the context of discussing vegetarianism, the argument is certainly relevant and fairly strong.

If you walk up to a farm animal, it may be impossible to estimate what's going through its mind, but I feel intuitively that it isn't, "Please kill me and eat my flesh." In other words, there's no "intention" present in that scenario. On the other hand, it's very easy to imagine that a tree produces fruit, knowingly or not, in order to produce offspring. Throughout the entire evolution of that tree, part of that reproductive process has involved animals (including humans) eating the fruit and then "redistributing" (which is a nice way of putting it, I suppose) the seeds naturally.