In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part one, focusing on Tim VanOrden's take on this issue.

When alternatives to the Standard American Diet are discussed, protein is on everyone's mind. There are many reasons why someone might want to eat a plant based diet, whether for allergy concerns, health reasons, or more variety. But nagging doubts often come up;? Are plant proteins adequate for athletes and body builders ? Are they really the preferred protein source of the human body ? Are they better than animal based protein or are they just consumed for environmental reasons ? To answer these questions, why not ask the experts:? triathletes, professional dancers, bodybuilders and extreme sport racers ? Here are the answers from some of the most competitive athletes in their respective fields.

Today in Pure Jeevan's home we are celebrating one of the best days of the year---KDcat's birthday!? How she has blossomed over the years...

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A worker at our local Food Co Op was talking about making his own dehydrator. I mentioned that I saw a link to a site that told about how to create one and I'd share it with him. When I found the link, just now, I thought maybe some of you might be interested in checking it out, as well.

?The page isn't vegan-friendly (there is ground meat in the one picture), but if you've been wanting a dehydrator and don't want to spend the money on the more expensive ones...this might be a great option.

Yahoo recently ran a photo series on their "omg!" channel entitled "Celebrity Slim-Down Secrets." It actually has a nice set of before and after photos of celebrities who have lost weight. The set is here.Featured are Kelly Osbourne, Seth Rogen, Jennifer Hudson, Jerry Ferrara, Kirstie Alley, John Goodman, Jordin Sparks, Jason Segel, Drew Carey, Sara Rue, amd Kevin James. ?Most reported using personal trainers, changing up their diets, and getting more exercise (or some variation of those three).

We didn't read any reports of raw food diets in the story, but looking at before and after pictures is probably always a good idea, if only for visual inspiration. It's nice to see a broad range of people turning their health around, too. Some are younger celebs; others in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. So, it's nice to know that major changes are possible at any age.

Above is a quick camera-phone pic I posted to our Facebook group lately. I did talk about making raw parfaits on that page, but want to talk a little more about them today, as it's just the perfect time to be talking about delicious raw parfaits (at least here in America, in any case, where many of the fresh berries you'll probably want are cheap and in season). I'll share a brief story about them, and then share my own basic recipe, and then we'll make some plans for MORE parfait talk really soon, okay?

I'm almost hesitant to talk about raw food parfaits here because, well, if the government found out how unbelievably healthy and ENJOYABLE parfaits are, I'm sure they'd make them illegal. But, I'll take a chance...

Wow, what a strange episode we have for you tonight! As you'll see, it was a really bizarre day here at Pure Jeevan. Wendi's out of town with her friends Rawbin and Jeff (owner of NaturalZing) helping NaturalZing with their booth at the Green Festival in Washington, DC. Too bad she's away; she missed opening the mail today and seeing a highly unusual letter from the Department of Homeland Security! The topic? Well, it turns out Pure Jeevan is under governmental surveillance -- and our chief surveillor, one "Larry Ferguson," actually decided to introduce himself and make some comments about our Bananas episode (which we hadn't even released yet!). Sounds highly unusual, I know. But, he was actually doing us a favor. Take a look (vid shows me reading part of his letter, then the banana episode proper):

As you heard, Larry writes: "I believe your viewers deserve to know, for example, that bananas have roughly 100 calories each, are high in Vitamin C, and fiber. You might also want to mention that they contain considerable levels of B6, which is good for metabolic functions as well as nervous and immune systems. B6 also helps you produce antibodies to fight diseases and plays a strong role in brain function and even maintaining hormonal balance. Your body can't store B6, btw, so you need to get it every day. Of course, most people will know already about the great potassium levels in bananas. Potassium is great for controlling blood pressure and certainly reduces risks of heart problems. Bananas also contain manganese, which your viewers probably already know about after your persimmons video."

Jim here with another Weird Wednesday.

Recently, at the store, I came across a little plastic tool, priced at $1.49. It was an orange peeler. I'd never heard of such a thing. As someone who eats about 20 oranges/week, I was intrigued. Do you mean to tell me, I thought, that my days of laboriously de-skinning oranges would disappear (those trips to the company bathroom to remove the orange pulp from my fingernails!)?

As we mentioned in one of our first blog posts, Pure Jeevan met with Leela Mata at her Peaceful Valley Ashram to discuss the details for some 3-day Raw Food Spiritual Retreats for you during 2008! The details are finalized and we are proud to announce our first 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Retreat, that will be held at the ashram from May 23-25, 2008. We've set this retreat up so that it's as affordable as possible. There's a significant savings if you sign up early, so be sure to check it out!

Some very special companies have delicious treats for those attending the retreat.

Hey there, everyone! Thanks for visiting Pure Jeevan. We want our welcome article, for now, to be this article on Vitamix blenders. There are certainly a few essential elements (e.g. good knives, cutting boards, a good food processor, etc.) to any raw food kitchen, and one of them is an awesome high-speed blender. Yes, there are many great blenders in the world, and yes there are a few decent top-of-the-line models on par with Vita-Mix. But, at the end of the day, our recommendation is the Vita-Mix (and yes, it's better than Blendtec, in our view). Here's a crazy video Jim did a while back for a Vitamix contest:

Note: That "free shipping" code, below, is no longer active. We'll let you know when we get a new free shipping code. For now, we hope you enjoy the video. :-)

We purchased ours 15+ years ago, and have subjected it to at least daily use (if not many times per day most of the time!) -- and it's still going strong. If you don't understand why a Vita-Mix is different from even a high-end blender from a department store, it's basically the sheer power. These things can pulverize pretty much anything -- time after time, without blowing out the motor. For example, you can make ultra-thick, healthy, raw ice creams day after day all summer long, and the machine will keep on working for years (and, in our case, we're almost ready to say "decades").

We used to be an affiliate w/ them, and are reapplying to be one. For now, we hope you like the video, above.

Yesterday we talked about attending raw food meetups / potlucks. Today we'll focus on...

*Hosting* Raw Foods Meetups

There are two main ways to host a raw foods meetup. The first would be through the meetup.com web site. If there is no raw foods meetup in your area, you're going to need to launch one. (See the Meetup web site for details.) If there is a group, you'll need to sign up and get to know the moderator, as you'll need to announce your meetup through that person.

Wow, is it Friday already !? Time flies when you're powered by 100% raw organic goodness! Today, we wanted to share an audio interview with you. Last night, Alex Ortner from the Movement to Reverse Diabetes Naturally interviewed us about our recent work helping them spread their message. We were honored to hear him introduce us as "two people that hold a special place in my heart right now, and I'll tell you why that is: They are probably the two most active people that we've had in the movement to reverse diabetes naturally."

Well, Alex, it was our pleasure! We met scores of new people during our work for RDN, generated major awareness about the movement, and spread the word about the raw food lifestyle as well. To listen to or download the interview, just visit their site, here. Topics covered include: