Jim here with another exciting edition of Weird Wednesday. You know, each time I say "weird," I don't always mean the same thing. Sometimes "weird" means odd or strange. Other times it means funny or ironic. It might also mean unusual or out-of-the-ordinary. Come to think of it, the definition of weird is also weird.

Today, I was thinking about an old friend, Jim Banholzer. He lived next door to Wendi and me when we first moved to the D.C. area in 1991. We all lived in a small "garden apartment" complex in Falls Church, Virginia. Our roommate at the time worked as a leasing agent there, which qualified us for a decent rental discount. I think we paid $800 or so for the place, an upscale 2-bedroom townhome close to the community pool. Jim lived next door with one of the more unstable people I've ever met (and, trust me, that's saying something).

Wow, could this really mark 800 raw food blog posts ! ?We must be obsessive orthorexic raw foodies to have achieved that level of focused health editorial journalism! Post #800 deserves to be something really useful (not that the others aren't or do not deserve this), so we'd like to pass along a fun idea. I guess all of that talk of Donald Trump yesterday got me thinking about making deals. We make deals with others, of course, but I think we also sometimes can make them with ourselves.

I'm so glad to be out of the corporate business world these days, but I did pay attention while there, and perhaps even learned a thing or two. Today's post is related to that in a way. You see, I was once at a sales training seminar when the speaker advised following a "this job / next job" strategy with clients. What that means in business is that, when you're in the middle of one job working for someone -- say, for example, you're a printer working on a brochure for a company -- you would make a point of saying something like, "Hey, this brochure is going great. I was wondering what else is coming in the near term so that we can make sure to be ready for it."

When I first decided to try a raw food diet again (I had sampled it for about three months a few years before going completely raw), I wanted to do it in a way to prove that it either does or doesn t work. The best way to do that, I figured, was through consistent blood tests. So, that s what I did. I have continued to document my path to health with regular blood tests. Many of you know that the results have been remarkable. My dramatic shift in weight is the most obvious to others, but there were equally impressive changes going on inside my body, as well.

It has been about a year since my last blood work was done, so I knew I should schedule an appointment to get the testing done soon (since I want to keep the tests somewhat yearly). I tend to always put the testing off, however. As much as I m curious about the results, the truth is that I m terrified of needles. Over the past few months, I was continuing to put this yearly testing off, but something has spurred me to get it done sooner than later.

Hi there, everyone!

We've been getting a lot of emails and comments about two subjects since we posted our itinerary, so we thought we should respond in a way to help answer the questions/concerns that maybe more of you may be having as well.

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!).

It's been a while since we've made any major design changes around here. So, we thought a redesign was in order -- and we're happy to announce that we're about 95% finished implementing the new look. It's live and working right now, so we invite you to take a peek.

So many things have changed and/or been updated, not the least of which is the general look and feel of Pure Jeevan. (We did base the new design on much of the look and feel we established many years ago. But, the site has now been modernized -- adding a third column, leveraging more complex style sheets, and integrating more with social media sites like Facebook, and quite a few behind-the-scenes programming updates.)

Jim here... Wow, we haven't posted in a few days. That calls for some action! Hmmm... how about taking a look at some delicious mini pizzas Wendi whipped up the other day:

We went absolutely nuts for these little "pizzas." They were both tasty and fun. If memory serves, I believe she made them by taking slices of firm roma tomatoes, spooning on some improvised pesto sauce that she whipped up, sprinkling on some chopped basil leaves, sprinkling on some "cheese" that she made with ground Brazil nuts, garlic, and salt, and then topping each "pizza slice" off with a half cherry tomato. No recipes necessary here; just take a look at the picture & go try it!

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

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

Let's continue this video cavalcade with a very quickly made video basically peeking inside Karyn's Raw in Chicago. I didn't really have an opportunity to spend a good deal of leisurely time there, as I did with two other Chicago area restaurants, so this video is *very* basic, and not at all thorough in terms of what is offered there. But, if you're not from Chicago and have no other way to see it, perhaps its interesting to take a quick (just 3+ min) look. Here's the video:

A partial group picture from the retreat.

The 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat was a success! All my time and effort that went into creating the event was well worth the experience. When Leela Mata and I discussed a possible raw food retreat about a year ago, I had no idea how to go about creating such an event. I have never done anything like this, so I approached it by asking myself: "What would I want if I was attending a raw food spiritual retreat " From there, I created a retreat that I would love to attend, myself. In fact, when it was completely organized and guests began signing up, I wished that an identical event existed that I really could take part in, as well!

We get asked from time to time about whether we like to use protein powders and, if so, which brands we like. As you'll no doubt notice after getting into raw foods for a while, raw foodies (just like quite a lot of health-conscious people) often get into various powdered food additives. Some purists are against their use, of course. But, we're not so dead set against them. We do, however, believe that, if you're going to put something into your body as part of a health program, you should be conscious about it.

A few months ago, Wendi decided that she wanted to add some protein into her diet in the form of a protein powder. She did quite a bit of research at the time into the various brands available, charting out which ones were raw, which ones had various ingredients, and so forth. It was a fairly in-depth study, done for personal reasons unrelated to Pure Jeevan's blog articles. So, we never mentioned it before.