Jim here... Anyone else like a good funky beat ? Who's familiar with Kool & the Gang's 1973 classic, "Jungle Boogie"? Surely a lot of people know that awesome tune. If you do, recall some of the main lyrics: "Get Down Get Down, Get Down Get Down!" That's the tune I want you to keep in mind as you read this post. Hear the drums, the bassline, the electric guitar, the horn section, the voices, the phrasing, the overall dynamics of that distinctive groove. Consider how magically it all comes together.

So, Wendi called me this morning and said, "Why don't you put a blog post up about your new challenge "

Before we moved to Portland, Oregon, land of all things fresh and organic within walking distance, we had to drive quite a distance to reach the food co-op (the only place that had a good selection of organic produce and other raw food necessities). So, we only went shopping about once a week. It took a lot of trial and error to find ways to keep our weekly produce fresh for about a week.

We learned which fruits and vegetables stay fresh the longest, and which go bad the fastest. Based on this, we stocked the refrigerator accordingly (and used up the produce accordingly, as well). The fruits and veggies that stayed fresh the longest were stored in the backs of the shelves (things like carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, etc.). Next we stored the greens that lasted a pretty good amount of time (like kale and collards). And in the front of the shelves and in the door, we stored the more delicate greens (like lettuces and herbs).

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.

I was sitting here today thinking about all of you, our lovely online friends who visit this blog. You follow what's going on with us, learn from us, find inspiration in the things we share, and even offer support to us in many ways.

Some of you reach out by leaving comments, many of you send emails, and a larger majority of you are quiet friends who haven't made contact with us, yet. Each and every one of you means so very much to me (and to Jim, too).

We don't keep this blog for ourselves; we keep it for all of you. It is our desire to share all that we've been through, and what we've learned, in order to help you with your own journey. Most of all, however, my personal desire is to inspire you to live the life you truly want to be living (in more ways than just through what you eat).

Jim here... Here's a compilation of vids from my little Flip camera, all taken over our weekend roadtrip to Washington, D.C. It's not all strictly raw-food related, but does include some raw tips. First up, you'll see our rawsomely packed food coolers. Between using ice and frozen fruits, everything kept cool just fine.

Early in the video, Wendi shares a handy tip for keeping your smoothies cool on the road. If you're going to drink your smoothies right away, you might have little concern for keeping a drink cold. However, we had eaten breakfast already and knew we wouldn't want to get into our smoothies for another hour or so after leaving. Frozen berries to the rescue! (Just make sure to hunt down a large glass bottle with an opening large enough to pour frozen berries into.)

Today we thought we'd introduce you to a common wild edible known as Purple Deadnettle (or, more dramatically, the Purple Archangel). Watch the video and let us know if it grows in your area, and if you've tasted it!

Jim here... Here's a short video from last Saturday when we were out distributing literature about reversing diabetes naturally and the raw foods lifestyle. In it, we interview a local man, R.T., who had stopped to talk with us, went on his way, and then returned again to where we were standing a few moments later rather astounded.

You see, he'd seen a "before / after" flyer showing Wendi's "pre-raw" pic next to her "raw" pic and couldn't believe the two pics were of the same woman!? Many people who have significant weight to lose (or, like R.T., know someone who does) wonder whether losing so much weight will result in saggy skin. He was so amazed at the transformation, he decided to come back and ask. So, here's the raw answer to that question...

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.

Thanks to everyone who has offered, so far, to help us out with our project (mentioned in yesterday's post). If anyone else thinks they'd like to help, we're looking for as many people as possible! We'll fill you in soon, just be sure to send us your email addresses if you haven't already done so. Thanks!

Here are more pictures of some of the foods we've been eating. Over the past year, we've pretty much been eating simple foods (except for the time I was preparing meals for the Raw Food Retreat). However, recently KDcat has been doing some extreme yo-yo eating between raw foods and packaged/unhealthy cooked foods. The back and forth has been causing her to experience a bit of a tummy upset. So, I've decided to make our meals a bit more exciting for her---so she'll possibly not feel so tempted by all of the colors and artificial flavors of the packaged "foods" she's been eating.

Talk about color...check out this salad I made earlier today:

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!

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!?