Wow, what a stressful weekend! We spent pretty much the entire past two days going through the dozens and dozens of suggestions we received in response to our July 30 post concerning our move (in which we asked for help in finding the perfect new place to live). We listed every city suggested to us, as well as a number of cities we specifically wanted to consider. Then we attempted to gather data from the Internet to rank these cities. Here's a HUGE snapshot to show our progress. (I'll explain a few things below.)

As you can see, we ranked each city according to many criteria. These included the number of sunny days per year, average high and low temperatures, air quality (higher #s better), water quality (higher #s better), Superfund statistics (an indication of the general toxicity of an area -- higher #s better), land prices, crime rate (the numbers "x / x" indicating scores from 1 to 10, lower #s being better, for "personal" crimes and "property" crimes), and finally a "liberal / conservative" ratio based on voting records for that town.

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.

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:

My nine days of mono meal eating are over! I'll write about the final day tomorrow.

April 14, 2008

Today I have even more energy. My tongue is coated more, however. It s not horrible, but it s definitely less red and more of a light pink. My eyes have continued to feel dry and my eyelids are heavy. What causes that, I wonder? My nails are whiter and harder, but they still break and rip when I m working around the house.

Here's another brief video from our travels. Since time for editing is limited, I think I'll just run some more of the shorter vids this week and then get into the longer, more in-depth interviews next week. So, this is a short, fun conversation I had with Steve, who tends the raw juice and smoothie bar at Cousin's Incredible Vitality raw restaurant in Chicago. Here's the vid:

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 ...

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!).

(Note: This is a closely-related piece to an earlier post ?entitled "Practice Is Your Key to Going Raw." I'll include a link to that article, below.* This one focuses more on recognizing your current level of progress.)

These days, I spend most of my free time cleaning up our fixer-upper home in Portland, so I haven't been going to the gym or regularly running as I had in the past. ?Hopefully, the house work is sufficient physical activity for me -- it sure does generate an appetite most days!

April 15, 2008

Every year my dear friend, Mamta, lets me know when Navratri is going to begin. ?It s the nine-day fast, but you don t have to change anything since you are already eating so healthy. Traditionally, Hindus used to abstain from eating during Navratri. In modern times, with everyone working and life being less relaxed, fasting isn t always something that can easily be accomplished. So, over the years Navratri has been modified by many to represent a time of eating more simply and abstaining from meat if you eat it.

This year, I had an email question from one of our readers who was asking about ways to eat simpler during the nine-days of fasting. After responding to him, it sparked in me a desire to do something this year for Navratri. I had read about eating mono meals and always thought it sounded like such a gentle way of cleansing the body, so I figured I d try it for the nine days of Navratri. To make it even easier on me, I decided to consume a different food every 24 yours, rather than eating the same thing for the full nine days. Maybe in the future I ll try that, but this time I wanted this to be as easily doable as possible.

Ketchup

1 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked for one hour

3 small fresh tomatoes

As many of you know, Kevin and Annmarie Gianni (of Renegade Health) have now started their RV tour, for which they selected Pittsburgh as their official kick-off location. While here, we at Pure Jeevan took a special ride in "The Kale Whale," their veggie-oil-powered RV. Inside, we enjoyed a comfortable ride (which included hanging out with Johnny 5 -- their cat -- and drinking some hot tea prepared right there in the Kale Whale). Outside, we endured the freezing cold temperatures of Pittsburgh while pumping filtered used veggie oil into special holding tanks in the RV. Here is some video footage from our Kale Whale encounter!