In Part 5 of this 5-Part series, Wendi talks with Leela Mata about meditation and diet. After discussing what meditation is and why people practice it, Mata Ji talks about diet and its effects on the mind. She then gives a brief explanation of how to meditate for those who are new to the practice, and demonstrates how to use a simple mantra (word or phrase) to aid in entering a meditative state.

Today is the beginning of the second three-day focus on the attributes of a different Goddess who is most worshiped during the Hindu celebration of Navratri. She is Goddess Lakshmi, bringer of wealth and good luck. Let's focus on the idea of wealth. When we first hear the word, many of us think about monetary wealth. However, there is a much deeper meaning ... that of abundance. Feminine energy has the ability to bring forth, to birth, abundance that is beyond the imagination, in every aspect of our lives. Female energy is fertile, able to create a beautiful life and future, shine forth and bring wisdom into view, all with grace and beauty. All of these are attributes of Goddess Lakshmi, qualities we all have within us. Qualities I celebrate within myself and within all of you (male and female, alike).

End of Day 3:

This is Part II of a two-parter on raw food restaurants. Yesterday, we listed a half-dozen challenges that one might face when opening a raw restaurant. Today, we're focusing in on the more enjoyable side -- the potential advantages that opening raw restaurants offer over their cooked-food counterparts.

Let's dive into it... Here are six things we believe are advantages!

Yesterday, I posted a question on Facebook and was met with some wonderful responses. The question was essentially, "If you're a trying to run a health-conscious household, and if you truly believe that most sugary candy is actually damaging to people's health, then what should you give away to all of the little trick-or-treaters who visit on Halloween night "

I got some great responses! Raisins, fruit leathers, glow sticks, etc. Thanks to those responses, I went out and bought about 60 glow-stick bracelets (the kind that you snap and then they glow brightly for 6 horus or so). I think the kids will think these are neat, and will all want to wear them. I also picked up a bunch of small juice boxes with 100% juice in them. (They're pasteurized, of course, but at least it's not sugary junk.) So, between all of that, I think I'll make it through the night without getting egged.

Jim here... Wow, it's Monday, April 27! Let's do something different today: Let's celebrate Monday instead of bemoaning this day that represents the taditional start of the dreaded work week. Why? Because it's our sincere hope that whatever you do in your work week is a labor of love. And, if you're not quite there yet, then celebrate the fact that you WILL be there sometime soon. For us, it means another week of working to inspire you to achieve optimal health -- and that's not "work" at all; it's actually FUN!

So, without further adieu, let's jump into this week's fun. Our good friends Melissa and Dave Sokulski have launched a site recently called FoodUnderFoot ("unleash the energy of wild edibles"). Even in it's young seedling state, I think it's already a fascinating site, and promises to become an encyclopedic web destination for anyone interested in foraging wild edibles. So, check them out for some informative info and valuable freebies, too!

Continuing with our week of ways to keep a sharp mind, let's focus on the one widely accepted indicator for dementia or alzheimer's: heart disease. If one wants to dramatically reduce the chances of brain degredation, the first step to take is keeping the heart healthy.

The key advice most health specialists agree on when it comes to a healthy heart is the reduction (ideally eliminatain) of unhealthy fats in the diet. The unhealthy fats are usually seen as solid fats, like butter, margerine, and shortening. However, it's important to not overlook the fats that are also found in meats. By substituting unhealthy fats with something healthier for your heart (like extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil), as well as transitioning to leaner meats if you are a meat eater, you will be taking some important steps in keeping your heart healthy, as well as your mind.

When you get into raw foods, one thing you're probably going to notice from time to time is that others are "concerned" about your health. This is hugely ironic -- not only because it's likely your own concern about your own health that brought you to raw in the first place, but because you most likely hold the conviction that the raw food diet (or some close variant of it) represents the most healthy dietary regimen available for humans.

Nevertheless, you'll receive a lot of concern. You'll receive it even when you have that "raw glow" and are looking and feeling better than you have in years! The main concerns:

Did you know that approximately 70% of your muscle, 80% of your blood is water, and 85% of your brain is made up of water? When we are born, we are nearly 90% water by weight, and as we age we lose more and more water (think of a grape slowly shriveling up into a dried raisin).

If you consume 100% fresh raw foods (with none that have been dried or dehydrated in any way), your body is receiving the cleanest, most pure water possible and you probably don't experience a lot of thirst. The less fresh foods an individual consumes, the more their needs for water increases.

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!

Jim here... As I hinted at last week, I decided to try changing things up a bit and seeing what I thought of it. The salad you see above included the first cooked food I've had in more than two years. If you look closely, you can see that I sprinkled on a few spoonfuls of black beans. Also, in the upper left corner, there's a small spoonful of quinoa. I don't want to give the wrong impression here: ?This blog will certainly remain a major go-to source for raw food nutrition information. It's just that, today, I want to talk about experimentation a little bit.

First, I think it's generally healthy to experiment with your diet -- especially when you get the sense that something isn't working in your current diet. The fact is, diet is a dynamic thing, not a static aspect of your life. It has to be this way because so many factors affect our physiology on a day-to-day basis. Off the top of my head, these include the facts that:

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!