Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.

Happy Friday, everyone! We want to cap off this week with a question: Do you keep a blog We realize that many blogs include blogrolls, but this has been a sticky issue for us here at Pure Jeevan for a few reasons: First and foremost, we LOVE and appreciate each and every one of you so much, and wouldn't want to accidentally exclude anyone!?

Also, we visit/follow/read/scan SO many great raw food blogs (as well as many not specifically focused on raw), that the list would be impractically extensive and tough to keep current. In fact, there are so many quality raw food blogs out there that we specifically created a category on the All Raw Directory for raw foodie blogs. (To date, there are 250 raw blogs in there!)

Today, we came up with a fun/novel idea:? We woud love for our beloved Pure Jeevan family (and, if you're reading this, we consider you part of the family!) to tell us your blog addresses in the comments section of this post. Then, on the sidebar of our blog, we're going to include the following graphic, which will always link back to this post:

The superlatively captivating, one-and-only Bif Naked has been a superstar rock and roll icon, performer, diva, composer, acclaimed actress, sought-after voice-over artist, gifted poet / writer, and even cartoonist(!) for years. But, did you know she's also a raw vegan !

Early in 2009, I remember reading about her breast cancer diagnosis. The story both intrigued and haunted the raw world: ?How could a raw foodie get cancer ! We're supposed to be impervious to such things, right !

We're still busy researching cities in order to find our future home town!? Our original list of potentials is now more of less narrowed down to a few select areas. That's not to say that we're not still open to further suggestions. (See here for our desires in a new home town.)? At the moment, of the cities/regions remaining on our "active" list, the Ashland, Oregon area is looking fairly attractive. So, we thought we'd take a moment to ask a few questions about Ashland. But first, here's why...

Originally, we felt highly drawn to Corvallis, Oregon. It seemed like the absolute perfect place for us -- a phenomenal homeschooling / unschooling community (which is what first caught our attention), a progressive / artsy atmosphere, affordable land, and super-clean air. Great, right ! ?But then we looked at the amount of sunshine the city received ... hmmm, no improvement whatsoever over Pittsburgh (in fact, Corvallis is, unfortunately, equally as gloomy -- at 44% of the days having sun).

I hear the question all the time: "Don't you miss eating out at restaurants " My answer is always, "No. I prefer the fresher organic foods I can create for myself in my own home. I can pay the same amount for better food if I stay at home to eat." It's true, too. I don't miss eating out at restaurants. Sometimes I miss the convenience of someone else doing my food prep and cleaning up afterward, but as far as the actual food that I consume, I prefer the foods we eat at home. Besides, when you eat out as a raw foodist, your choices are limited to only a salad if you live in an area with no raw food restaurants.

Sometime last year, as a treat for Jim, we went to a restaurant. I got a huge salad that I used to love when I ate cooked foods at that particular restaurant. I remembered the greens were always dark, the onions were nice and flavorful, and the dressing was a simple oil and vinegar with salt. Well, after consuming only fresh foods in our home for quite some time, the salad that I used to think tasted so great now seemed to be lifeless and limp. It wasn't enjoyable to eat, and I sure didn't like paying so much for a nonorganic salad that didn't even taste good to me. So, we didn't eat out again after that.

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!

Last night, Jim ate the first warm food he's had in over a year! I created a dinner that was placed in the dehydrator for about an hour before it was served. This dish is delicious at room temperature, also, but I thought it might be more special if I served it a bit warm. Jim thought it was a nice change to the colder temperatures of the smoothies he's been practically living on!

Here's the recipe, if you think you'd like to try it.

We've been busier than usual here at Pure Jeevan. For all those who sent emails, please know that we will respond in the next week, or so. If you need immediate help for some reason, please send another email with the subject "HELP" and we'll do our best to reply as quickly as possible.

What have we been doing lately? Well, one of the highlights would be getting the first and second stages of the All Raw Directory up and running. We have many different stages planned for the future, enhancing the directory as time permits. It's a pretty exciting project, so be sure to become a member of the directory and continually contribute to its growth. It's a fantastic resource for all of us!



Blaq Berry, Rawbin, Annmarie and Kevin Gianni, Wendi

To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

Welcome to Day One of "Dressings Week" here on Pure Jeevan. After finding out that KDcat took it upon herself to film a segment of "Makin' It Monday, Guest Raw Chef Edition," I decided that we should probably spend an entire *week* focusing on salad dressings.