Jim here... Recently, a commenter on this blog, Lannette, mentioned being a cardiac rehab nurse. For some reason, reading this set my wheels spinning in various directions, among them onto the topic of meat consumption in the world. To begin, I'd like to recap something I'd said in response to her:

... it *astounds* me how people joke about heart health where I work. People around here routinely return from medical exams and actually adopt rather mischievous grins when they reveal how high their bad cholesterol levels are. It's like they're saying, "I know meat and dairy are bad for me, but I'm going to keep on eating it anyway. Isn't that funny ??!!!" Ummm, no. It's sad. They laugh it off as though there could be no possible future reckoning for them. It's reminiscent, IMHO, of Dr. Viktor Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning," in which he describes a psychological phenomenon he termed the "delusion of reprieve." For anyone unfamiliar w/ that, the term describes the phenomenon via which those faced with certain death (or near certain death) mentally construct some way out of it. They are deluded into believing that they'll have a reprieve from the inevitable. So, it's exactly the same to me -- these people see the heart attacks coming. They simply refuse to do anything about it, refuse to change their habits, deny what their blood work says to them. Why? Because they think "I'll be okay. Sure, this leads to heart disease in most people, but not in *me* because I'm a strong guy, I'm macho, I'm not as fat as some other person here, etc." Mostly, it's the meat, I think. It's got a powerful hold on our society...

So, today I wanted to write a little bit on the topic of meat consumption. This is an enormous issue, in my opinion. If you're reading this, it likely means you're already at least a vegetarian, so I do not need to quote you any saddening statistics on the horrors of the meat industry. In fact, before writing this, I decided to visit the PETA web site quickly in order to glean a few slaughterhouse facts. But, in no time, I became markedly depressed, so I'll largely avoid focusing on specific negative imagery here.

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.

A Bit of India in Pittsburgh s Back Yard?

During an intense personal journey in recent years, I ve discovered that the more I m able to know my true self, the more my perception of the world changes. As a result, my surroundings have changed as well ?people, places, directions. At one point, internal and external changes happened so rapidly, it was difficult to fully process anything; I felt overwhelmed.

Amid urges to explore so many new directions, all at the same time, it became impossible to focus. My initial instinct was to flee to India, where I could peacefully stay at an ashram and process all that was transpiring in my mind. Although circumstances kept me from traveling abroad, I knew I needed to simplify. That s when I remembered an old issue of Point of Light I d kept. I dug it out and quickly flipped through the pages? There it was: Peaceful Valley Ashram & Retreat, located just north of Pittsburgh!

As many of you know, Kevin and Annmarie Gianni (of Renegade Health) have now started their RV tour, for which they selected Pittsburgh as their official kick-off location. While here, we at Pure Jeevan took a special ride in "The Kale Whale," their veggie-oil-powered RV. Inside, we enjoyed a comfortable ride (which included hanging out with Johnny 5 -- their cat -- and drinking some hot tea prepared right there in the Kale Whale). Outside, we endured the freezing cold temperatures of Pittsburgh while pumping filtered used veggie oil into special holding tanks in the RV. Here is some video footage from our Kale Whale encounter!

Jim here... I'd like to quote a poem today. It's called "the lesson of the moth" by Don Marquis. It's from his "archy and mehitabel" series, published in the 1920s. If you're unfamiliar with the series, archie is a cockroach who types poems (in all lowercase, without punctuation) by jumping onto the keys of a typewriter. Here's the text:

i was talking to a moth

Yesterday's smoothie was superlatively tasty, eh? It was clearly something out of Elvis' more energetic younger years, I think. You're probably wondering: "How does one follow an Elvis smoothie?!" I know ... it'll be tough to do.

Isn't it high time we incorporate more Internet phenomena into our daily lives? Okay, maybe not everything (reminding myself that certain others aren't always amused when I say "BRB" instead of "I'll be right back.") But, I really do think there are some conceptual web ideas out there that could benefit us if applied more often.

We've spent some time on this blog talking about how much fun you can have via the meetup.com web site. If you search that site, you can probably find raw food meetups near you!? But, a few readers have asked us some follow-ups, such as What should I bring and What should I do if I'd like to host a raw foods meetup

*Attending* Raw Foods Meetups

Okay, so you signed up for a raw foods meetup group, waited patiently for the next event to come round, and now it's time!? But, wait... this is your first such outing. What should you bring

So far, so good, with the mono-meal fasting for Navratri! I mentioned that I'll be sharing an almost diary-like blog entry at the end of each day, to share things with all of you. Well, today's diary entry is quite long. I do share a lot about what was going on with me before the fast, and why I haven't been around much online to connect with all of you.

How's everyone else doing? Are you enjoying your raw food journey? What have you been learning about yourselves, your bodies, and your overall health?

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Jim here... Of the many lessons 2008 brought to our household, one standout was certainly the importance of having patience. That s because we set some lofty goals, and lofty goals are often vital teachers.

For example, imagine sitting in your living room one day and deciding: "I'm going to scale Mt. Everest."? (For the purposes of this example, imagine also that no political, administrative, or financial restrictions exist to prevent you from doing this immediately if you really wanted to -- things like passports, entry visas, transportation costs, etc.)

I'm makin' nothing today, or for the next eight days! Think of all the time I'm saving myself by consuming only mono meals for nine days. What will I end up doing with that extra time? So far, today, I've spent a long time outside soaking up the sun's beautiful rays that I've missed far too much this Winter. I have no idea what the rest of this mono journey is going to be like, but I'm up for the adventure!

I've started a little journal on my desktop to track my nine days of mono meals, so I'll share what I've written from time-to-time. Here's what I have, so far...