Jim here... As I may have mentioned a while ago, I joined a gym recently. I figured, with Wendi and Bailey living on the other side of the country, I might as well find something healthy to do with my alone time until I'm able to join them soon (aside from my seemingly never-ending quest to rid our household of 13 years of rampant accumulation). I joined on a whim, actually. There's a gym near my home called Planet Fitness. Honestly, I have no idea how they make money. A membership costs just $10/month -- and it's a Wal-Mart-sized place, too, absolutely packed with state of the art machines. (Actually, it's a franchise, so there could very well be one near you.)

In any case, it had been a while since I'd been inside an actual gym. I've certainly remained relatively active, of course. But being in a gym is a little different -- and certainly has its plusses and minuses. On the minus side, I've always kind of felt that, if you add up all of the time it generally takes to get (1) get ready to go to a gym, (2) drive there, and (3) drive home -- say, a half-hour, total, for those things -- then you could probably better invest that time in just going for a run for a half-hour, leaving straight from your home. From a time management standpoint, I'm not crazy about gym memberships (meaning not that physical exercise isn't worth the investment of time, but rather that there are ways to accomplish the same results in much less time).

Jim here... Whether you've had the pleasure of knowing Wendi for decades as I have, or have only recently met her, I think you'll be absolutely stunned by this inspirational video. It demonstrates, in undeniable pictures, the power of raw and living foods -- and not only the physical healing that takes place when you adopt this lifestyle, but also the height to which this lifestyle helps lift your spirit.

While I was growing up in the Midwest, I had a rich uncle who lived out East in Philadelphia. I didn't know him very well at the time, but would often glean stories via the family grape vines of his business successes. After high school, I attended college in Northeastern Pennsylvania -- Wilkes University -- where, incidentally, I first met Wendi! :-)

Being out there, I got to visit my uncle from time to time, and dine with him and his family. ?Among other things, he was quite the gourmand. I'm not so sure what he'd have thought of raw foods, although I suspect he'd have appreciated the many gourmet efforts.

If you're like me, you get inspired and motivated when you hear stories of success. It's thrilling to hear what others have done, how they've overcome obstacles in their way and achieved something great. When it comes to the raw food diet, the stories of success seem endless.Here on the Pure Jeevan blog, we've been highlighting these raw success stories under our "My Raw Story" series. It's a popular part of this blog and we'll continue to collect and share the inspiring stories with all of you.

Another place to find some wonderful raw food success stories is over at the All Raw Directory. We have a category there for raw success stories. You'll find some of the stories we've run here through our My Raw Story series, but you might also find some others that you've never heard about before!

Rita Romano, author of the widely available book Dining in the Raw and executive chef for many years at the Hippocrates Health Institute, is a true pioneer of the raw movement. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to visit with her and her two lovely Boston Terriers, Angel and Oreo. Here's PART TWO of our talk with her:

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.

For the past twelve years I've been doing some monthly freelance work for a nonprofit company. I've done other work in addition to the work for this company, but for the past few years I've solely been working with them. The work is sweet---straight-forward desktop publishing for a legal advertising publication. I don't have to read, write, edit, research, or anything else---simply format the pages. The pay is great, too!

Well, I just received a call a few minutes ago notifying me that the publication will no longer be printed. I'm overjoyed for the trees---I wish all publications would go digital. However, since it's going digital, they won't be needing my services much longer.

The raw food movement isn't creeping along anymore! Just recently I wrote that Angela Stokes was interviewed by CNN about her miraculous weight loss on the raw food diet. Well, today the shining star for the raw food community is none other than Philip McCluskey! He was a guest on CBS's nationally syndicated show called "The Doctors." Philip, if you don't already know, is down 200 pounds and his entire life has changed on raw foods. Like so many others, he is actively spreading the word about raw foods and health.

I don't watch TV, but we do have a television set for watching occasional DVDs. So, I planned on turning the set on and actually watching TV for the first time in I don't remember how long! However, I turned it on and realized I don't even know on what channel CBS is located. I tried to flip through the channels, but our TV doesn't automatically let you scan through channels for some reason. So, I was manually pressing and entering numbers into the remote control, but never found the correct channel. I'm sure I didn't miss it, however. In this community, we're all about supporting each other and spreading the word about raw foods and health. I am certain that within a few hours there will be a video up on YouTube of Philip's shining moment on CBS. Once it's available, I'll edit this post and include the video!


I was grocery shopping in Giant Eagle with a friend the other day; I was just there to keep her company. When we left the Nature's Basket area (where they sell organics and more natural items), I felt a strange feeling. I hadn't realized it, but over the past two years I stopped shopping in the other areas of the store! I told her that by the time we hit the packaged shelves of the Nature's Basket area, I'd already be done shopping and my cart would be filled. We had a good giggle and went on shopping.

Anyway, that has since brought my attention to the shopping carts of those around me. We do about 5% of our shopping in Giant Eagle (last minute things that we've run out of, that don't merit a trip to our Food Co Op), so lately I've found myself in Giant Eagle looking into the carts of those around me. I'm not judging anyone, I'm just curious. On average, just about everyone has a small bunch of bananas in their cart. There are the occasional carts with something like a cantaloupe, a bag of apples, and once I saw a single tomato and a bag of lettuce. The rest of the carts have been filled with packaged foods. There is next to no living food in the carts.

Today I answer the second part of a letter Jim received from a Pure Jeevan member who was seeking advice about her daughter who has decided to become a vegetarian. Rather than quote parts of her letter, I'll summarize the questions (because they are general questions that we hear a lot and our answers are given for everyone, not just the individual who sent the most recent letter).

1) I don't have a lot of money for all the produce and kitchen appliances, so how can I eat a healthy diet

2) I live with others who don't eat the same diet, so how can I possibly make this work

Jim here... About an hour ago, I purchased $68 worth of ice cream from a local supermarket. Bet you thought you'd never read something like that here, eh ? Well, don't worry -- Wendi and I haven't suddenly decided to binge on dairy products. You see, in my corporate job, I'm often the event organizer; today that meant ice cream gopher.

For some raw foodies, that scenario might seem rather cruel. You may be thinking: Isn't it tough to have to go purchase nine tubs of ice cream, two jars of maraschino cherries, two bags of marshmallows, four containers of flavored syrups, two cans of whipped cream, and numerous boxes of waffle cones ? No, it's not cruel at all. To me, it's now the same as running out for, say, office supplies.