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!

Jim here... Wow, it's May 1st already! May is an exciting month for me because that's usually when my running kicks in more regularly. There's nothing like hitting the pavement and being in motion, MP3 player in hand. Whether it's an intense half hour of intervals powered by the Foo Fighters, or a longer moving-meditative outing accompanied by Michael Hedges, I do enjoy being out there (even if I'm distracted now and again when my canine running companion? -- aka "the Jooge" -- chases after something she shouldn't)!

But, as I was getting at:? Ever since I lost the weight, I simply can't abide cold. I've heard many raw foodies talk about this phenomenon, and have heard numerous explanations for it. My suspicion is that all of the "why raw foodies are always cold" theories are partly correct -- or, better put, that the theories cumulatively contribute to our slightly lowered body temperature.

We're going to be running the above banner for a few days as we bring you highlights of the raw food scene in the beautiful Florida Keys.

You rarely hear us talk about our daughter here on the blog. Some of you have noticed and asked questions about her through email. I'd like to tell you why we don't write about her very much, because there's something to be learned from it.

First, I usually don't like to write about people unless I get their permission. This is especially true when my daughter is concerned. I respect her privacy if she chooses for me to not share things about her life. Years ago when I knew I wanted to create the Pure Jeevan site, I talked with Jim and our daughter about it. I said it was something I felt drawn to do, that I felt it could help a lot of people, but I wanted it to be a family site if it's something they were interested in doing along with me. Jim agreed to help me at the time, but didn't fully embrace Pure Jeevan himself (now, however, he has become a very active part of this site and all of our projects). Our daughter, however, said from the very beginning that she didn't want any part of it.

I thought I'd put another fun week together here at Pure Jeevan while Wendi is away (although, actually, ALL of our weeks are fun-filled here!). This week, I thought I'd discuss herbs, spices, and essential oils. Of course, I can't cover those enormously important (and huge) subjects in-depth over the course of just one week, so I created that little banner (above) so that we can re-use it from time to time.

Herbs are fascinating, aren't they? Sometimes, you don't even consciously know why you use the ones you do but, invariably, there's a reason. Sure, sometimes recipes call for a specific flavor. But, often, there are other reasons as well -- such as to support digestion, or to provide a warming or cooling sensaiton. This type of thing is critical in ayurvedic principles, as we touched on recently on this blog, where the spices could be present for digestive or medicinal purposes, or of course as a preservative.

The new Vitamix container arrived within two days (they knew we were hard core Vitamix users and put the container in the mail the day we ordered it to replace the broken one). So, what was the first thing we made in our shiny new container (after washing it, of course)? A DELICIOUS coconut smoothie!

To continue with our Summertime Raw series, we took a trip to Pittsburgh's Frick Park to enjoy the beautiful day. Before leaving, we packed another meal to show you how easy it can be to eat a raw food diet while away from home.Frick Park was wildly popular among dogs; we saw canines of all shapes and sizes -- all playful, yet calm in comparison to our lovely Julia, a rescued blue Doberman. Joogie enjoyed the outing very much because she was able to snack on cucumbers (a favorite treat), chase after a few joggers (we're teaching her that this isn't proper doggy behavior), knock the cooler out of Jim's hands when we were leaving (which broke a few of our best glass dishes), and lick the faces of a few new furry friends. We've been to many parks, but we have a feeling this is now Julia's favorite. ?

In yesterday's blog and video post, we showed you how easy it is to simply grab fresh fruits and veggies and head out the door for an outing. In that show, no refrigeration or preparation was necessary. However, we also know that many of you are new to raw foods, and perhaps eating simple chopped produce isn't so appealing for you compared to traditional foods you'd normally eat while in a park. So, today's goal is to demonstrate how simple it can be, making it easy for you to stick to a raw food lifestyle and not feel tempted by the cooked foods that may be around while you're out enjoying the summer with friends and family. So, today's video is about stepping it up to the next level.

We had a wonderful weekend that started with a raw food potluck in our home (through the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup group). There were about twenty people and so many lovely raw food dishes! I haven't checked the camera, yet, but I hope someone remembered to capture some pictures of the food and guests. It was all very yummy, including the beet pasta I made with a cream sauce. I also made some carob peppermint sweets that KDcat formed into bite-sized balls and arranged them on a platter. A friend of mine told me that the people who show up for raw food potlucks tend to be genuinely nice people, and she was right. It was a pleasure meeting everyone and I look forward to next month's meetup.

The rest of our weekend was spent with our guest, Devaki, who just left a few minutes ago to return to the ashram. She played some beautiful music on the harmonium and she and some other lovely guests filled our home with the beauty and energy of Kirtan chanting. Some of the chants were in English, too. I thought I wouldn't like them as much, but they were just as beautiful as the Indian ones. One of my close friends who was here for the Kirtan told me that I was glowing after the chanting! I love the blissful feeling that comes from chanting and meditation.

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...


Before officially starting the new year, I'd like to acknowledge the changes and growth that took place over the past year. It was a whirlwind of changes, sometimes so dizzying that I wondered what I was doing and occasionally questioned whether, or not, I was making mistakes with my life. I followed my intuition, however, and it served me well. I'm here today, remembering the past year and ready to announce plans for this new year that has just begun. It's a beautiful life, isn't it Even when things seem dark and like there is a lot of pain, there is a tremendous amount of potential for new growth and a brighter life than ever imagined.

I ended 2008, perched on a summit and ready to take flight. Before I fly, however, I'm standing still for a bit and enjoying the view. I feel like the entire past year consisted of climbing to higher and higher plateaus of an enormous mountain. While climbing to each new plateau I stumbled, held on for dear life, saw amazing things, and became stronger.When reaching each new plateau, I'd spread my wings and leap, circling the mountain's circumference. But, I wasn't strong enough to fly straight to the peak. It was a year of gradual growth and change -- and I found myself becoming stronger and stronger as I reached the summit.I'm certainly not the same person who started this climb. I have transformed into a more genuine version of myself, a younger and stronger woman emerging from a lifetime of guilt and fear. As I stand on this summit, I feel youthful and invigorated. What lies ahead may be unknown to me, but I know it's within my ability to fly to the highest heights of ANY mountain, to see and do and experience ALL that I desire. It's going to be an incredible future and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!

In recognizing all of the accomplishments of 2008, I think it's important to admit that it wasn't one steady climb to the point I'm at today.The few years prior to 2008 were almost like my training in mountain climbing. Last year there were a lot of tears shed, along with a releasing of physical and emotional baggage that was still clinging to me. I openly shared what I was going through, however, after learning that keeping things inside was slowly killing my spirit. I think if I had to sum up 2008 in just one sentence it would be: In finally releasing everything, I woke up as my true self.

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.