Today, for Thankful Thursday, I want to focus on a raw food related subject: Raw Recipe Books! Without the many mouthwatering, visually appetizing recipes that have been created and published, I don't know if I'd still be living a raw food lifestyle at this time.

About two years ago, when I made the decision to transition into a raw food diet, there were some fantastic raw food recipe books available. A few years before that, when I tried raw for the first time with a dear friend of mine, there were books available but none of them were truly gourmet meals. It's amazing how much things change in just a few years! The newer books are filled with colorful pictures of the most visually stimulating foods, which never looked like simple chopped up veggies arranged nicely on a plate. We have a page with many raw recipe books listed, if you'd like to see some of the ones that are available.

We've been extremely busy, but KDcat and I did take some time to make some dehydrated food the other day. We rarely ever use the dehydrator, so we've been eating different foods than we normally do and enjoying it.

We didn't take pictures of everything, but here's a list of what we dehydrated:

* kale chips

Who's been making small changes and feeling a bit brighter lately, since we've been talking about brain health? Today, let's continue focusing on some things we can actively do to minimize our chances of developing memory problems like Dementia or Alzheimer's in the future.

Yesterday we focused on heart-healthy tips to increase brain function (since heart disease seems to be linked with Alzheimer's) and I shared a heart-healthy recipe with you. Today, we'll focus on inflammation.

A few of my friends have recently reached some special personal milestones in the raw food world. Congratulations go out to...


Today is Wendi's Birthday, so please join me in wishing her all the best for the coming year! Since this was our first year in Portland, just an hour-and-a-half's drive to the Pacific, I'd known for ages what we were going to do to celebrate Wendi's birthday -- a picnic at the beach, of course!

A few days ago, the weather reports for the central Oregon coast cities unanimously agreed: Rain! ?But, after living here for a few months, one learns that a forecast of rain *never* means that it's going to rain all day long. Rather, it just means that it'll likely rain at some point, or at many points, in a given day. The rest of the time, it could very well be perfectly sunny outside!

Jim here... Many people write to us asking whether we own pets and, if so, whether they are raw, too. Well, I wish I had a straight answer for you, but I think the answer is better told via a dedicated blog post.

As I'm writing this, part of me is tempted to include this post in our "My Raw Story" series. You see, Julia (pictured above) had some serious health issues just after we adopted her from a local rescue shelter, and we're still relatively early-on in our attempt to understand and reverse these issues.

This morning as I was driving from the beautiful Carnegie Mellon University campus to a business meeting outside the city, I had to take a detour at one of Pittsburgh's many bridges. It was a little frustrating because I had hoped to arrive at my destination early enough to grab a green tea at a coffee shop. But, these little delays happen. I'm glad this one did, though, because I soon passed a small yoga studio (called Pratique) where an interesting window decal hangs. It reads: "Yoga is my health insurance."

Many kudos to the clever people at Pratique who apparently crafted this catchy and spot-on message. While this is a raw foods site, not a yoga site, the message is equally apropos here. It essentially means, in my view, that we all have the opportunity to profoundly affect our own health and well being.

In our family, we're currently facing the realistic prospect of taking a literal approach to this concept, dropping formal health coverage! Quite literally, we feel that maintaining a health plan is (almost) a complete waste of money. I'm not posting this to start a debate as to whether those who follow a healthy diet should or should not buy into a plan. (I know all of the related arguments already: Yeah, but what if you cut your arm and need stitches Save that for Facebook or, at least, some other time.) I'm more concerned with reiterating one of our key messages here at Pure Jeevan -- our unwavering ?conviction that physical health and diet are tightly connected. Wendi knows this, I know this, our child knows this, YOU know this... But why doesn't everyone acknowledge it?

One of our readers, Julie, asked me to update her on what kind of diet I'm doing and why I'm doing it. The last time I publicly made changes with my diet, I received many similar questions. So, I figured maybe it would be a good idea to respond to her question here on the blog for anyone else wondering the same thing.

I did explain, in a long post, about experimenting with my diet being important to me.If you didn't read that entry, it will answer a lot of your questions. For many of you, I think I know what you are thinking: "Wendi was pretty much morbidly obese, her health was horrible, but she's now healthy. Why would she change anything with her diet when she has already found what works "?

Well, it's true. I am extremely healthy compared to how I was before I started consuming raw foods. Here are some pictures to show the changes, to motivate some of you currently struggling with eating more raw foods...

Here's some coconutty video footage from our Florida Keys excursion. First up is some footage of Randesh, from, who obtains fresh coconuts for Charlie Wilson's Key West restaurant, Help Yourself (see yesterday's blog post).Notice that Randesh uses a proper piece of equipment -- a large machete (or cutlass) -- which makes short, easy work of opening these precious gifts of nature! In the video footage following that, you'll see how comically difficult it is to open a young coconut when you lack the proper equipment. We actually went out looking for a machete, but could only find a large chef's knife at a local K-Mart. Yep, they were sold out of machetes! (Ironically, the chef's knife -- the heaviest one the store had -- cost about $17, while plain old machetes run just $10 or so at most hardware stores. Next time we'll keep looking...)

Okay, my Raw Fu 100 Day Challenge is set!

I'm going to transition to the 80/10/10 version of raw. I'm doing it gradually, however. For the first 10 days, I'm eating no fats before dinner. Then with dinner, I'll eat as much fat as I desire, but I will be conscious of how much of it I'm consuming. For the second 10 days, I'm going to continue the same as the first week, but I'm going to reduce my fat in the evening to half of what I normally would eat. I haven't made set plans for the final sets of ten days, but I want to be following 80/10/10 by the beginning of the final week.

Why 80/10/10? Because when I read about it, and I talk with others who follow it, it seems to make sense and work for others. After almost two years of raw foods, I am doing great with 90 pounds left behind, but I've been stuck at a weight that isn't really my ideal (I'm currently 137 pounds and I'm only 5'4"). I'm happy with myself, but my goal is to be as healthy and vibrant as I can be, to live a very long, fulfilling, energetic life.

Jim here... Here's a compilation of vids from my little Flip camera, all taken over our weekend roadtrip to Washington, D.C. It's not all strictly raw-food related, but does include some raw tips. First up, you'll see our rawsomely packed food coolers. Between using ice and frozen fruits, everything kept cool just fine.

Early in the video, Wendi shares a handy tip for keeping your smoothies cool on the road. If you're going to drink your smoothies right away, you might have little concern for keeping a drink cold. However, we had eaten breakfast already and knew we wouldn't want to get into our smoothies for another hour or so after leaving. Frozen berries to the rescue! (Just make sure to hunt down a large glass bottle with an opening large enough to pour frozen berries into.)