This isn't one of our normal blog posts. It's more of a journal entry, than anything else.

You see, I'm a bit sad today. The Raw Spirit Festival in Santa Barbara, CA, started today and I'm not there. We've been working really hard on many raw food projects, trying to sell our home, etc. So, spending the time and money to travel to the other side of the country for a weekend event just didn't seem like a good idea.I don't think we made the wrong decision, but I do admit I was hoping that somehow the Universe would conspire in some magical way to arrange for me to attend the festival this weekend.

For those who have never been to a Raw Spirit Festival, you might wish that you could attend something so totally awesome---to be surrounded by raw foodies you've met online, to attend the various speeches and events at the festival, etc.---but you probably aren't feeling completely sad that you aren't there. To have attended a Raw Spirit Festival, had your entire life altered by the experience, and then to not attend the next one is almost heartbreakingly sad.

Jim here... Here's an interesting way to finish out the week: Today just happens to be my one-year "rawniversary." That's right, for the past full year, I've existed as a 100% raw food vegan.

Sure, I'd been "high-raw" for a couple of years prior to September 18, 2008 -- and it was during those high-raw years when the bulk of my weight came off and when I kissed prescription meds goodbye (I'd been on powerful beta-blockers for my heart and blood pressure).

... just a quick interruption of "Crazy Week" to do two things:

1. Congratulate Natural Zing on their 8th year in business!

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.

Today we're running another installment of our "Thankful Thursday" series. This time, we're especially thankful ... for YOU, the Pure Jeevan family! Who'd have thought, less than two years ago when launching this blog, that we'd make thousands of connections with others looking for inspiration on their raw food journey !!? It's simply astounding -- and we're still actually "just getting started."

As always, we're thrilled to provide information and inspiration. It's counter-intuitive, when you really consider it; "raw foods" may be just two simple words, yet there always seems to be more and more to talk about, more people to interview, more success stories to highlight, more recipes to contribute, more tips and tricks to share, more personal reflections to offer.

Rawbin Rescues Turtle

I had a fantastic time at the 2008 Green Festival in Washington, DC. My wonderful friend, Rawbin, picked me up last Thursday and we had a nice drive back to her place in Maryland. She lives in an almost magical setting with wooded areas, horses, a goat, chickens, dogs, and cats! KDcat will not want to leave when she visits Rawbin someday. Above is a video of Rawbin rescuing a turtle that was in the middle of the road near her home.

Eating only mono meals is going pretty well. I'm on my third food, so far, and have ended day two. This evening I've started my third fruit: Pineapples!

Q: How Long Do Smoothies Last?

I responded to a similar question a while ago in an online forum. This issue comes up a lot, acually, so I figured I'd provide our response here on the blog rather than simply through an email reply. Here's that response, reworked a bit for our blog:

Optimally, I suppose we'd all just eat things whole, most of the time, instead of blending/juicing ...

End of day 4:

Yesterday I decided to go ahead and consume what my body was telling me it wanted: cooked, fermented rice and lentil pancakes. Well, the restaurant nearby that makes the Uthappam doesn't serve them until 5pm and it was lunch time. So, I ordered the simpler, steamed, fermented rice and lentil patties called Idli.

We have two events scheduled for this weekend and we are looking forward to both of them! The first is a Raw Food Potluck Meetup. I haven't decided what I'm creating, yet. So far I'm thinking I'll make either an apple pie or some beet noodles with alfredo sauce, but I know how things usually go when it's time for me to prepare something special. I usually feel like I don't want to make what I had planned, and I search around in the fridge to see what pops out at me. I almost always go by what I'm inspired to create at that moment. So, who knows what I'll end up making. I'll try to take pictures of my creation as well as pictures of the other raw food dishes that others bring.

This will be our first raw food potluck. When I first went raw it was something I was doing special for myself, by myself, so I didn't join any of the raw food meetups and didn't want to make it a group activity with my friends.After two years of raw (a little over one at 100%), I've done (and continue to do) what I needed for myself.Now, I'm ready to share my experiences with everyone and to be an active member of the raw food community.So, I'm looking forward to the raw food potluck tomorrow!? You are welcome to join us at the potluck if you are in the area!