Hi everyone!? It's late Wednesday night as we're writing this. It's absolutely pouring down rain here in Pittsburgh tonight -- not in a torrential way, but more of a steady, heavy downfall. Mass volumes of water are turning our streets into temporary streams, our garden beds into mini-ponds. Most people would stay indoors during such a spell, but our daughter KDcat decided to head out into it for some magical adventure time. Kids often think in this way, you know ?And, I think there's a lesson in that for many adults: Maybe we should head out into the rain now and again. Surely it's good for the soul.

But for those who prefer to stay dry most of the time, here's an "indoor pastime" idea for you: Check out some raw foods video!? I know what you're thinking... "Wow, great suggestion. But, how in the world will I ever find all of the best raw foods videos out there "? Glad you asked!

We've been extremely busy, but KDcat and I did take some time to make some dehydrated food the other day. We rarely ever use the dehydrator, so we've been eating different foods than we normally do and enjoying it.

We didn't take pictures of everything, but here's a list of what we dehydrated:

* kale chips

I want to admit something to all of you: Sometimes I still cry because of how people treated me when I was obese. Because I stuffed all of my "negative" emotions deep inside my entire life, it's going to take some time to fully release them. I'm working on it, however, and making tremendous progress with healing myself on all levels. I'm not telling you these things so you'll feel sorry for me, however. I'm telling you because I am thankful for all the pain I endured. It shaped me (in more ways than just my physical appearance) into the person I am today.

Even though it sounds strange, and somehow wrong to feel this way, I'm thankful that I was obese. I'm thankful for all of the experiences during my life, even the extremely painful, traumatic ones. Maybe if I was a different kind of person I would wish that those things didn't happen to me. However, I am using those experiences in positive ways. They've helped me understand people even better, and to understand myself on a deeper level, as well. When people reach out to me it's not only because I'm an approachable person, it's because they sense that I understand them--and they're right. I DO understand them. I understand you. My experiences, coupled with my gift of empathy, help me relate to you in a way that maybe not everyone else is able to do.

Yesterday we talked about stress eating and I suggested coming up with a plan for ways you can deal with stressful situations in the future, before mindlessly turning to food for stress relief. I even said maybe it was okay to eat a gallon of ice cream if that's what makes you feel better. A healthy lifestyle isn't only about the foods we put into our mouths; it's about overall health (body, mind, spirit, emotions) and the decisions we make regarding our overall health on a daily basis.

Many times, individuals who struggle the most when trying to eat a healthy diet are the ones who have other aspects of their lives keeping them from attaining the healthy lifestyle they're desiring so much. For them, working on their diet may not be the best approach to overall health. If eating something we know is healthy for our bodies, something we know looks and tastes great, is difficult to do then there's something bigger going on in our lives than just food. If that's the case, it's important to figure out what's going on.

On this page, we'd like to share some information about vegetable juicers. There are a number of different kinds, and we'll try to offer some background on many of the leading ones. We're affiliates for some, so if you're in the market for one of the ones we discuss, please follow the links we provide (or click the juicer pics) and you'll help support Pure Jeevan. But, either way, we certainly encourage you to consume fresh, delicious, nourishing veggie juices regularly!

The Jay Kordich Juicer -- The PowerGrind

The PowerGrind Pro is a juicer put out by Jay Kordich, commonly known as the "father of juicing" by many in the raw food / living food world. In fact, our very first juicer was a "JuiceMan" model, purchased back in the early 1990s! But this is an entirely new machine, retooled from the ground up recently. At $289, it's a fairly high-end juicer (as compared with, say, department store models). However, it's certainly got the power and features to back up that level of investment. ?Head on over to the Jay Kordich web site for full details on the latest models.

The Hurom Slow Juicer

A year or two ago, when we still lived in Pittsburgh, we hosted the Monarch's (Matt & Angela) during one of their speaking tours. I remember Angela firing up their juicer in the morning and I thought (or possibly even said), "Wow, your juicer is broken!" I swore that something was wrong because it didn't sound like anything I'd heard before. But they then told us about what was then the newest juicer on the market -- the Hurom Slow juicer. It's garnered a lot of positive testimonials over the past few years, from quite a lot of juicing enthusiasts. While many of the features are nice, we imagine the the most important potential benefit would be the slower speed, which theoretically means less oxidation, less processing, and thus healthier juice. If we were in the market today, I've no doubt we'd try one of these, too (even at $359)! These juicers are available through our good friends at Natural Zing!

Here's some coconutty video footage from our Florida Keys excursion. First up is some footage of Randesh, from www.TheGuana.com, who obtains fresh coconuts for Charlie Wilson's Key West restaurant, Help Yourself (see yesterday's blog post).Notice that Randesh uses a proper piece of equipment -- a large machete (or cutlass) -- which makes short, easy work of opening these precious gifts of nature! In the video footage following that, you'll see how comically difficult it is to open a young coconut when you lack the proper equipment. We actually went out looking for a machete, but could only find a large chef's knife at a local K-Mart. Yep, they were sold out of machetes! (Ironically, the chef's knife -- the heaviest one the store had -- cost about $17, while plain old machetes run just $10 or so at most hardware stores. Next time we'll keep looking...)

There's a peculiar yet recurring kind of argument I get from a number of people from time to time when the subject of diet or health arises. Basically, it goes like this: "Yeah, all of those vegetables and exercise might be good for you, and all of that meat and fried food I eat might be bad for me, but what if you get hit by a truck tomorrow "

This sort of perspective is interesting to me for at least two major reasons.

In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part five, focusing on Tonya Kay's take on this issue.

AVOCADO

Professional dance is of most challenging sports requiring athletes to perform at expert levels of flexibility, strength, coordination and emotional fitness in order to entertain their audiences. Having been vegetarian since age 7, Tonya Kay has built her glorious professional dance career entirely on a vegetarian diet.

Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will - his personal responsibility. ~Albert Einstein.

Jim here with another wonderful edition of Weird Wednesday. Here's something I find a little weird about food (and, I apologize in advance if this comes off a little preachy).

See, I work in an office and sit rather close to the corporate kitchenette. Routinely, people bring in junk food to set out for everyone -- cookies, donuts, cakes, pastries, pies, candy bars, nut rolls, cheesecakes, summer sausages, cheese cubes, fondues, etc. The thought seems to be that, in putting these things out for everyone, you're showing you care for them.Offering large servings of concentrated fats and refined sugar is viewed as a favor, as an altruistic service for your fellow coworkers. But this odd fact isn't even the weird aspect of my post (although, now that I think of it, that is pretty weird).

In all of our discussion of immune-building lately, we remembered today that we left out one enormously important item that should be present in anyone's "healing toolbox." That item is, of course, laughter. What better time than a "Fun-Filled Friday" to celebrate the healing power of humor!

Years ago, we'd heard a remarkable story about a man who had cured himself of a terrible disease using laughter as his "medicine." According to the story we heard, the man checked himself into a hotel and just watched Marx Brothers comedies for hours on end, and was eventually cured.

I wrote on Monday that today (Thursday), we would be discussing mint here -- specifically, harvesting some late-remaining mint from our mint bed (shown above in all its glory) and making something with it. I failed, however, to take into account that it's been getting darker earlier and earlier these days. By the time I was able to get outside and talk about mint, it was just too dark.

So, I thought I'd forego the video, and just write up some minty facts to freshen up your Thursday. To begin, I would highly encourage anyone who is new to gardening, and wants some early success, to experiment with mint (including spearmint, peppermint, and the various varietals available here and there). I can almost guarantee that you'll have some wild (and I do mean wild!) success, and will soon enjoy more mint than the law allows. It's so easily grown, and spreads around so easily (via its root system), that it would almost be considered invasive if it weren't so darned desirable and fragrant. (It's tough to walk past a mint bed without snatching up a leaf, rolling it between your fingers, and inhaling the scent deeply.)