Welcome to Makin' It Monday, Guest Raw Chef edition. Today, Dave Sokulski of www.BirchCenter.com and www.FoodUnderFoot.com gets a little silly while making some delicious raw cacao treats! Enjoy the video:

We're extremely busy this week with some home projects, so we figured we'd simply share a few interesting photos each day. Here's today's -- a big plate of freshly picked cherries from our yard! ?These are smaller cherries than you'll find in stores. We believe they're sour cherries, which is a very healthy variety, even though they're not as tasty as Bing's or Ranier's. ?They're reportedly good for pies, though. I've eaten tons of them so far; ?they're at their peak at the moment here.

I tell you... the dangerous thing about cherries is something you'll only discover when you're out there on a ladder, standing on that tip-top rung (which clearly states: "Do NOT stand on this rung!"), and you're reaching higher and higher for that next bunch of nature's goodness. Even in this situation, you find yourself thinking: "If I could just reach a *little bit* higher!" ?Sooner or later, you have to realize that some cherries are there for the birds, squirrels, and raccoons.

A Pure Jeevan family members asks:

How do I eat dandelions? I heard they are good for me, but I tasted one and they are so bitter. I don't know how I could ever eat them, even if they are supposed to be so good for me. Can you help

First, congratulations on being so open-minded when it comes to trying new things! Too many people never move far away from their comfort zones, especially when it comes to diet, and they miss out on a lot. So, good for you to at least consider and then try dandelion greens!



Well, it's nearing the end of 2009, and I've been unwell for half of the year. (To make a positive statement out of that, I'll add that I've been well for the other half!) It's hard to believe so much time has gone by and about half a year of my life was spent in pain, tears, and sometimes fear (mostly in the beginning of the lyme disease). I'm definitely looking forward to the new year, to leaving this disease behind me while taking the lessons I've learned with me into 2010.

As many of you know, I was very proactive in finding a "cure" to the disease as soon as it was identified. I tried allopathic remedies (antibiotics for about three months), alternative remedies (herbal protocols, vitamin/mineral/supplemental protocols, aromatherapy techniques, healing massage, hands-on-healing, water fasting, prayer/meditation/positive visualization), and so much more. Nothing completely cured my body from the lyme bacteria that seems to have spread throughout my body and found favorite spots to multiply (particularly in my shoulders and arms).

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.

Pardon the video quality there. A.J. and I shot that video at night and, although it looked decent on the camera's preview screen, the actual video came out almost totally black!? However, with a bit of video processing, we were able to salvage it. It's not optimal video, but it's at least watchable (and, hey, also conveys a little of that nighttime festival feeling).

A quick note about veganism before I share some additional info... As we've stated here many times, Pure Jeevan advocates a raw vegan lifestyle. What do we intend that to mean, exactly? Well, strictly speaking, veganism excludes all animal products, both in terms of diet and lifestyle.

Wow, with literally years of raw food coverage under our belts here at Pure Jeevan, we don't think we've ever devoted an entire post to fermented foods. Well it's high time we do, don't you think ? Check out the video and then we'll discuss it further...

Here's part two of Wendi's travelogue from Sedona:

After leaving ChocolaTree Cafe, and interviewing the lovely Kelly, we went to the famous Sedona Airport vortex spot, but there was no parking, so we drove to the top of the rock/mountain and there was a farmer's market going on. We took a quick video of what was happening up there, to share on the blog. There was a cool musician playing: Vighas Kendzia, who plays piano, native flutes, sax, and more. He's from musicfromthegarden.com and I told him he'd be on our site. So, if you made it here to check out the video, welcome, Vighas! :-)

From there, we headed out to find a vortex spot that Kelly described. I'm not sure if we found the exact spot, but we really enjoyed the place we found. We ate our lunch there and it was DELICIOUS! The water, the trees, the large boulders, the fresh air...it was a very special place. We then drove to one of the more well-known hiking/vortex spots: Bell Rock.The hike in is a bit over a mile, then there is the climbing (which isn't really recommended by the park officials, but it's absolutely necessary to fully experience Sedona!). I gave KDcat some space to explore the area a bit on her own, as this was a very special time for me a few years ago. There is a certain energy and cleansing that happens when visiting Sedona. If any of you are going through changes in your lives, or feel like there is a shift that needs to happen, I highly recommend visiting Sedona for a few days. KDcat felt some powerful personal healing, which didn't surprise me at all. It's a place I'd love to visit every few years, or so, as it definitely holds some sort of healing energy. Maybe it's just the views, or the peacefulness of being away from everything. Whatever it is, I highly recommend visiting Sedona and climbing around on the rocks!

Some of you know about my love of Sedona, AZ, especially those who were following the Pure Jeevan blog a few years ago. It was a visit to Sedona in 2008, for a Raw Spirit Festival, that my life dramatically changed once again. This time it wasn't the food that was healing me, but it was related to the raw food lifestyle. I felt healed on many levels while there in Sedona, surrounded by the beautiful red rocks, cool and sandy earth beneath my bare feet in contrast to the warm sun on my skin, and embraced by a vibrant, loving community of like-minded individuals.
There's a certain magic to Sedona, if you believe in such things (well, I suppose it's there even if you don't believe). ;-) ?For me, I believe that we can many times find scientific reasons to explain much of the magic in this beautiful world, but that doesn't have to diminsh the experiences we have. Sedona is known for its powerful vortex energy, which has a way of stirring up our own energy systems and bringing about healing, balance, awakenings, etc. ?Is this energy measurable through science, or is it more metaphysical in nature? I don't know and to be honest, it doesn't matter to me. There were life-altering changes that took place while I was in Sedona in 2008 which rippled out beyond me and touched the lives of those very close to me, as well.

Here's a quick video of a Sedona Farmer's Market and a clip of KDcat and I at an area we claimed to be flowing with vortex energy, even though it wasn't necessarily one of the more touristy vortex destinations.

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:

Jim here... Wow, how awesome is it that today's Makin' It Monday falls just one day after Mother's Day -- and that we had ?a very special guest edition ready to post featuring ... ?my awesome mom! ??!!! ?I love my mom so much ... she's the best mom ever! And you'll love watching her demonstrate how to make 100% raw hummus. Mom might be 100% Italian, but she makes a pretty mean 100% Lebanese raw hummus, which is a pretty popular dish in my family. Here's the vid!

"Should you eat when you're not hungry "

That was a question I asked myself a lot when I was first transitioning to the raw food diet. Just about everything I ever read said that people shouldn't eat if they aren't hungry. We need to listen to what our bodies are telling us in order to be as healthy as possible.

What if your body is telling you it's not hungry, however, while your instinct is telling you that you still need to eat That's what was happening to me in the beginning of my raw journey. My digestion was very slow and food would sit in my stomach for most of the day, especially if the food I ate was processed or heavy. It didn't matter how much I ate, either. My portions were always very small compared to those that my fit-looking friends were eating. I always wondered how I was the obese one when my meals were so minimal in comparison.