Beginning today and running all through next week (and even spilling into the following week!), we'll be running videos from the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF East 2009) held in Upper Marlboro, MD, last weekend. If you've never attended a RSF event, you absolutely must. They're the best ever!

Today's installment covers the trip down, during which we stopped to visit Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, a historic spa town visited by the likes of George Washington and other famous folk. Of course, the spring there was in use long before this country was known as America. You can read the basics in this pic:

Okay, it's question day once again -- and we've received some great ones lately. Before I begin, just let me reiterate once more that Wendi and I can't give medical advice here. We're motivational, inspirational raw food / natural health writers and educators (considerably knowledgeable and experienced ones, I might humbly add!); not doctors.So, whenever we give "advice" (or, whenever our writing appears as such), what we really mean is, "Well, if that were me, this is what I would do." And, the rest is in the disclaimer that runs on all of our pages.

Not only do we not give medical advice because we're not doctors (as if that wasn't enough of a reason!), but we also know that each person is different and, as such, all symptoms and conditions are unique to each person's individual situation. If person A and person B are both experiencing high blood pressure, it could easily be two different things causing that -- and the treatments or approaches could differ tremendously. What might fix person A might kill person B! (Sorry person B. No hard feelings.)

Here it is: Putting it all together. Here you'll see what we use for our taco shells and how we build up our taco. Quite often, we also make a raw sour creme using cashew nuts and lemon juice. But, for these tacos, it'll just be meat, salsa, and guac. Enjoy!

I started writing on a raw food forum about the oranges coming in today. But, I was on my way out the door and I had more to say about them than I realized, so, I figured I'd paste what I wrote, so far, and add to it here in our blog. ;-)

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(organic oranges and grapefruits)

What's Valentine's Day without a little "Smooth Love," right ??Here's how we created this simple, creamy delicious, smoothie:

  • Start with the water and flesh of one young coconut. We had one left over, still nice and fresh, from our recent trip to the Florida Keys (more raw food videos and posts coming soon from that trip!).
  • Add three to four oranges, peeled (and de-seeded if necessary)
  • Add two to three large bananas
  • Add 12 ounces of frozen strawberries (or to taste)
  • Add a small handful of raw almonds
  • Add a bit of raw agave nectar or a few dates, if you have them.

Blend in your high-speed blender until smooth ... and share with a loved one! Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

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!

Some of you have noticed that we've seemed a bit silent, or asleep, here at Pure Jeevan. We haven't abandoned our blog or our readers, though! For the next two weeks, it may continue to look like we are sleeping, but in reality we are doing anything but that! :-)

Here are some pictures of some recent meals we've been testing in our kitchen...

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.

Here at Pure Jeevan we are preparing for our cross country tour to educate others about raw foods. This means we are paring down on a lot of things, donating a lot, selling some things, and pretty much not buying anything unless it's absolutely necessary. That's what we've been doing for almost two years now (we're waiting for the house to sell). Recently, however, I decided it was time to spend a little bit of money even if it wasn't absolutely necessary.

Wendi's Dish Set

What did we buy? Dishes! Seems a bit strange to finally spend some money on something unnecessary and have it be dishes, right? Well, I had a few reasons for this purchase. The first is that when we are living in the RV, the space is going to be minimal. There won't be a lot of room for dishes, let alone much of anything else. Since there's not a lot of space to have dishes drying, we'll need to be washing, drying, and putting away immediately after use. That may not sound like a big deal, but when someone in the family decides to eat a few different things and leave the dirty dishes in the tiny RV sink, on the small counter, or somewhere else, it's going to really seem like a bigger mess than it is. So, to remedy this I thought it would be good for each of us to have our own dishes. That way we have a sense of responsibility for our own particular dishes--we know they are ours and we are responsible for taking care of them.

Jim here... Today Wendi is busy preparing for a multi-day activity that I'm sure she'll be writing about later this week. So, I thought I'd field a question we received recently (one directed specifically to me). We do receive a good deal of questions at our Raw Food Diet Question In-box (at Questions [at] PureJeevan.com), so feel free to send any in that you may have, and we'll definitely get to them all here in time. In any case, one reader writes:

As drawn as I am to a raw diet, being mostly cooked vegan right now, I can't help but come up against this each time: Since produce is, after all, mostly water, what did you eat while transitioning that didn't lead to shoving in lots of bread, potatoes, etc. Do you just eat lots and lots of, say, oranges, at one go? This has always been my raw downfall. I'm sure the answer is very simple.

Wow, this is a great question, and one with many possible answers! To begin, let's recognize that this isn't a question from a "SAD diet" eater. ?Being a vegan, alone, takes significant learning and (often) self-discipline to accomplish successfully. It's also, in my view, an excellent dietary and lifestyle choice for many people, regardless of whether they ever decide to try a raw foods diet. So, this question is rather advanced.

Jim here... As I may have mentioned a while ago, I joined a gym recently. I figured, with Wendi and Bailey living on the other side of the country, I might as well find something healthy to do with my alone time until I'm able to join them soon (aside from my seemingly never-ending quest to rid our household of 13 years of rampant accumulation). I joined on a whim, actually. There's a gym near my home called Planet Fitness. Honestly, I have no idea how they make money. A membership costs just $10/month -- and it's a Wal-Mart-sized place, too, absolutely packed with state of the art machines. (Actually, it's a franchise, so there could very well be one near you.)

In any case, it had been a while since I'd been inside an actual gym. I've certainly remained relatively active, of course. But being in a gym is a little different -- and certainly has its plusses and minuses. On the minus side, I've always kind of felt that, if you add up all of the time it generally takes to get (1) get ready to go to a gym, (2) drive there, and (3) drive home -- say, a half-hour, total, for those things -- then you could probably better invest that time in just going for a run for a half-hour, leaving straight from your home. From a time management standpoint, I'm not crazy about gym memberships (meaning not that physical exercise isn't worth the investment of time, but rather that there are ways to accomplish the same results in much less time).