In yesterday's installment, we talked a bit about Salem, Oregon. I inadvertently missed this video in Wendi's batch of uploads. So, here's Wendi interviewing Kerry Matson on her path to raw and some of her favorite raw foods!

Once again, we thank our trip snack sponsor, Natural Zing, for helping us to make this possible on our budget!

KDcat and I returned from the ashram last night filled with peace and motivation to move forward with our current goals (more about this in the upcoming newsletter). However, we also returned to a home with next to no produce in it (well, compared to what we normally have available). What to do? There's no way to run to the co op today (only one car in our home) or this evening, so it's time to be creative. Let's take a look at what Pure Jeevan has in the fridge and on the counter, and we'll see what we can create!

* Huge bunch of broccoli

Here's an older post, from August 2008, about modifying one's diet to experiment with attaining even greater health. ?I know the before/after pics, alone, are inspirational enough to live a raw vegan lifestyle!

*blows kisses to everyone*

========================

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...)

I'm still working on the dishes that will be served at the upcoming 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat (only 2 spots left!). Today, I worked on the Sandwich Fixin's that will be served for lunch on one of the retreat days.

Hey everyone!? Just one long weekend left for Wendi and KDcat to (frantically) pack for their cross-country roadtrip. Yep, Monday night I'm dropping them on that midnight train to Portland. Wait until you see the spread of trip-snacks they're taking along. (We took some pictures of the raw foods smorgasbord sent by our generous snack sponsor, Natural Zing).

Today, since it's fun-filled Friday, I thought I'd share a little tale of frustration (although meant in kind of a funny way) relating to my own diet. You may have read my mini-manifesto a few weeks ago about my recent quest for simplicity. Well, Wendi and I have both largely maintained that kind of existence for a while now -- especially when it comes to the breakfast smoothies (pineapples galore!) and lunch salads. I have to admit that my energy seems to be trending upward very nicely!

As you can see from yesterday's post, Pure Jeevan keeps extremely busy during the year. What's up for 2010? Let's just say... more amazing information, inspiration, education, motivation, and cutting-edge health features! This post will be considerably shorter than last year's counterpart. In January 2009, we ran a 3-part series on looking back and looking ahead. While that was super-productive from a planning perspective, a few important points come to mind as we ponder the same issues once again:

  • We're still not finished with 2009's goals!? Just because 2009 has ended doesn't mean that we, or you, necessarily have to abandon all old plans in favor of new ones. So, much of what we need to do this coming year is a continuation from last year.

    ?

Wow, are you in for a treat! I came up with the most delicious soup recipe today! I wanted to make something that didn't require use of the food processor, blender, or dehydrator because I've gotten quite a few emails saying that it's too hard to be raw if you don't have the money for the appliances.

I disagree that it's too hard to be raw without the appliances. It's definitely easier to do it *with* the appliances, but it's not overly hard to do it without. So, from time-to-time I'll try to create recipes that don't use anything more than a knife and a chopping board to show you that it's not too difficult to eat raw. :-)

We ve covered this in the past here on the Pure Jeevan blog, but it s something that s being discussed again online in major news feeds. Since many people read and learn from such sources, especially Yahoo! News, there is potential for a lot of damage and misinformation to be ?learned? by many individuals. In a recent article on Yahoo!, we re informed in the ?Health Experts Main/HealthLine? category that consuming only healthy foods is an eating disorder. Those who desire a healthy body by consuming healthy (as opposed to unhealthy) foods are labeled as having ?orthorexia,? a supposed eating disorder that can be cured with cognitive behavioral therapy.

What does that mean, really? If we desire a healthy body, and all the vibrant energy that comes with it, then we are psychologically unbalanced? [Sarcasm to follow ] However, if we eat those same healthy foods, but also consume things like Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald s burgers, Wendy s French fries, or Skittles candies then we are balanced individuals and deemed psychologically healthy? What if we consume no healthy foods, preferring instead the Standard American Diet of fast foods, heavy meats and gravies, that includes few fruits or vegetables? Well, that s considered normal and of no concern in the least bit ? there is no eating disorder when consuming a diet like that. You can require caffeinated beverages to have enough energy to get through the day and that s normal, too. Die of a heart attack from such a diet and that s normal, too.

After our Oklahoma stop, we had back-to-back visits with family. During our 40-day tour, we had a great time at every place we stayed. There's something extra special about being with family, however. KDcat especially loved this part of the trip, where she could stay up late and sleep in every morning.

Our first stop was St. Louis, Missouri, to see Grandma and Grandpa Dee, and Aunt Jeanne. We did some shopping at Whole Foods, bought lots of organic produce, and prepared some raw dishes to share with everyone. We purchased a young coconut and KDcat used Grandpa's hatchet to show everyone how to open a young coconut. Jim's mother learned to make raw hummus, without chickpeas, and even agreed to be a guest chef for a Makin' It Monday raw food recipe video! So, we'll be sharing that with all of you in the near future! Aunt Jeanne loved the hummus, as well as the raw tacos we created. She seems to have a liking for raw foods, so who knows...you may be seeing another Dee online sharing info about raw foods in the future ! Grandpa is always a fan of apple pies, so he thoroughly enjoyed the pie we created during our visit. Grandpa and KDcat also spent some time talking about music, a passion for both of them.

Our second stop was Geneseo, Illinois, to visit with Aunt Cindy, Uncle Ray (who had to work during our visit), and cousin Destiny. KDcat and Destiny don't see each other very often, so this was a real treat. Destiny's a sweet girl who became a vegetarian over a year ago (she's the only vegetarian in her home)! That's a huge thing to do when you're just a young teenager and we're proud of her for taking her health into her own hands (and for saving the animals!). We took a lot of pictures while visiting. In the photoset, you'll see that somehow a monkey crawled onto KDcat's back and hung around with her most of one day (in which she was dressed up in quite the outfit!). That monkey found its way into all kinds of interesting places (in a park, playing on the slide, swing, etc., and even in the house playing the piano -- and I caught him trying to steal some of my bananas!). The weather was beautiful during our visit, so we spent a lot of time outside, walking and enjoying the beautiful time together. At this stop we created a raw apple crumble, which Aunt Cindy later modified with blueberries. We're gently nudging her to make a video of the recipe she created, so we can all see how it's made! It sounded delicious.

Hey everyone!? I hope you're doing well. We started out the week with a great video from Joe, Tracey, and Heather. I thought I'd stay with the video blog format for a while, as I've been capturing some outstanding stuff here in Chicago. (We're here until Thursday.)? Well, a few of the vids are "okay," but the bulk of them are absolutely amazing, so be sure to check in every day for these great Chicago vids. (BTW, I'll dub this series, "The Chicago Raw Food Scene," although partially misleadingly so, as the videos are not always *about* Chicago, per se. Rather, we shot all of the videos *in* Chicago. So, pardon the slightly misleading banner graphic.)

Anyway, here's one I shot at a place I almost can't recall the name of. It could have been called "Farm Fresh" or something like that. I only stopped there in hopes of finding something for my dog to eat, but was absolutely blown away by their produce department. It's like "You know you're a raw foodie when ... you get excited about a produce department!"? More commentary after the vid: