I hear the question all the time: "Don't you miss eating out at restaurants " My answer is always, "No. I prefer the fresher organic foods I can create for myself in my own home. I can pay the same amount for better food if I stay at home to eat." It's true, too. I don't miss eating out at restaurants. Sometimes I miss the convenience of someone else doing my food prep and cleaning up afterward, but as far as the actual food that I consume, I prefer the foods we eat at home. Besides, when you eat out as a raw foodist, your choices are limited to only a salad if you live in an area with no raw food restaurants.

Sometime last year, as a treat for Jim, we went to a restaurant. I got a huge salad that I used to love when I ate cooked foods at that particular restaurant. I remembered the greens were always dark, the onions were nice and flavorful, and the dressing was a simple oil and vinegar with salt. Well, after consuming only fresh foods in our home for quite some time, the salad that I used to think tasted so great now seemed to be lifeless and limp. It wasn't enjoyable to eat, and I sure didn't like paying so much for a nonorganic salad that didn't even taste good to me. So, we didn't eat out again after that.

Our cross-country raw foods tour, that we've been preparing for and planning for over two years, is being postponed. :-(

I'll share details tomorrow with all of you. It's probably going to be a long blog entry...

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For today's Makin' It Monday, we're not really making something, but rather sprouting something! We tend to go through periods of time when we are sprouting a lot, consuming sprouts on salads, sandwiches, and inside whatever dishes we can add them to at the time. It seems appropriate for this time of year to start sprouting, again.

Have you ever sprouted seeds? The first time I ever sprouted, I used a nut milk bag that I kept dangling over the kitchen sink. I put some seeds into it, let them soak overnight in a bowl of water, and then rinsed them in the morning. Every time I was in the kitchen, I rinsed them again and let them drip into the sink until the next rinsing. It's important to keep the seeds moist and rinsed. It was thrilling to see the tiny little sprouts when they first began emerging from the seeds!

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I was grocery shopping in Giant Eagle with a friend the other day; I was just there to keep her company. When we left the Nature's Basket area (where they sell organics and more natural items), I felt a strange feeling. I hadn't realized it, but over the past two years I stopped shopping in the other areas of the store! I told her that by the time we hit the packaged shelves of the Nature's Basket area, I'd already be done shopping and my cart would be filled. We had a good giggle and went on shopping.

Anyway, that has since brought my attention to the shopping carts of those around me. We do about 5% of our shopping in Giant Eagle (last minute things that we've run out of, that don't merit a trip to our Food Co Op), so lately I've found myself in Giant Eagle looking into the carts of those around me. I'm not judging anyone, I'm just curious. On average, just about everyone has a small bunch of bananas in their cart. There are the occasional carts with something like a cantaloupe, a bag of apples, and once I saw a single tomato and a bag of lettuce. The rest of the carts have been filled with packaged foods. There is next to no living food in the carts.

For the past twelve years I've been doing some monthly freelance work for a nonprofit company. I've done other work in addition to the work for this company, but for the past few years I've solely been working with them. The work is sweet---straight-forward desktop publishing for a legal advertising publication. I don't have to read, write, edit, research, or anything else---simply format the pages. The pay is great, too!

Well, I just received a call a few minutes ago notifying me that the publication will no longer be printed. I'm overjoyed for the trees---I wish all publications would go digital. However, since it's going digital, they won't be needing my services much longer.

It's a beautiful day here. The sun is actually shining enough through the clouds to soak up some of its lovely rays. It feels so good. What a great way to start the weekend! We have no set plans, other than a trip to the local food co-op and a visit from the bunny. If the weather continues to be this nice, maybe we'll take the puppy over to the park and spend the afternoon enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of Spring.

Here's a picture I took at Portland's Saturday Market last week. We've been pleasantly surprised to find that artichokes grow rather well here in the Pacific Northwest. We don't recall seeing them much back East, but many of our neighbors grow them (both for the artichokes and, I suspect, as ornamental plants).

I suspect that some raw foodists tend to overlook artichokes because they're so traditionally linked with the image of something steamed, stuffed with breadcrumbs, and drizzled in butter -- so, "cooked," "breaded," and "dairy" all together in one recipe! Being half Italian, I grew up eating them this way. My mother almost never said "artichoke"; she always called them an Italian word that sounded like "ga-GO-che-lee." ?She made them just a few times per year, and they were always a huge treat (and we'd often fight over the hearts -- by far the best part!).

Day 9: It's the final day of Navratri, often the largest day of celebration. On this day in India new businesses are started, children begin their formal education if they are at the right age, and past regrets (and many times debts) are left behind. It's a new beginning, fresh start, and is celebrated as such. Today, Pure Jeevan is celebrating in a big way, too!

Yesterday, Jim handed in his resignation where he works. He was closing old books, imagining new ones, and today markes his first step of his new life. He gave the office one month's notice, after which he'll be here in Portland. Our new life has officially begun!

As this is a holistic web site, it's important that we take time every so often to feature pieces on other aspects of human health besides diet. So, today's subject is unrelated to raw foods, but is directly related to your health. (Don't worry: We'll get back to raw foods on Monday!)

Today I want to share a super-valuable lesson I learned when I was just 21 years old. Back then, Wendi worked within the advertising department of a large newspaper. She helped me meet the paper's photography editor who, in turn, approved an internship for me during my senior year of college. So, several days per week for one semester, I hung out with professional newspaper photographers. It was a lot of fun -- and with real darkrooms, too (as this was way before the age of digital cameras).

Day 6: Today is the final day of placing extra focus on the feminine qualities attributed to Goddess Lakshmi. For me, going within, shining light on the things that aren't so clear, the things that I've been avoiding, or the things that have been completely invisible is something I've revisited off and on my entire life. It's something that I often recommend to friends and family, as well. It's what has allowed me to continually improve my life (both physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually), and something I'll always consider vital.

The more we search within for answers, the more we'll learn about our true selves. The more we understand ourselves, the more authentic we become in our interactions with others. The more authentic we are with others, the more others can feel comfortable around us. The more others become comfortable around us, the more they can experience their own authentic selves. And the more others experience their true selves, the more we all wake up and truly begin living a life of beauty, grace, vibrancy, and love.

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!