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!

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!

Jim here again... What do you think of that montage of vintage cigarette advertisements ! Knowing what we now know about cigarettes, it's tough to believe that such ads could have existed only 50 years ago, but the campaigns were real. Did doctors actually see no harm in cigarettes? Were there no pulmonary specialists back then who thought that habitually inhaling smoke might not be such a healthy idea Who knows... ?As I like to believe when it comes to doctors, even though they're quite oblivious to the harmful effects that chemicals have on our bodies, they do seem to mean well (in their own deluded ways). So, I don't hold it against them so much as I now hold it against individuals to think for themselves and challenge healthcare practitioners.

In any case, whether or not there is an advertising campaign attached to a new consumer product, it stands to reason that when a product is introduced into the marketplace, manufacturers should have a responsibility to ensure that the product is safe, and consumers should likewise have a reasonable expectation that the product is safe. Only, it doesn't always work that way, does it?

Jim here... I'd like to mainly talk about organics today, but thought I'd wrap that subject into a longer, rather quirky piece on ranking produce on some sort of a scale that would indicate how awesome (or awful) it is. See what you think...

Have you ever thought of arranging produce into a sort of "heirarchy of quality"? Well, I'm not going to attempt to do that here, but I would like to discuss the concept for a moment in order to at least explain what I'm getting at. While I've not yet attempted to do this exercise, I nonetheless occasionally envision a large chart or something that conveys my feelings about how I personally rank the quality of fruits and vegetables I put into my body. This all probably sounds vague, so let me share some examples.

So, did you think we'd forget about Makin' It Monday during Wendi & KDcat's big cross-country tour? Absolutely not! ?While in Salem, Wendi filmed Kerry Matson demonstrating one of her favorite raw recipes -- heck, one of our favorites, too! I'd have to say that raw apple pie is one of the classic raw dessert recipes. Everyone interested in raw should know how to make this! (And anyone who tastes it will soon be interested in raw!)

EVERYONE LOVES RAW TACOS!!! So, this week, we're going to show you FOUR "Makin' It Monday" videos instead of just one. These were filmed in Berkeley, CA, at our dear friend Carolyn's apartment. We hope you love these recipes. We actually eat raw tacos quite regularly -- especially when tomatoes are in season.

In this video, Pure Jeevan heads to Washington, D.C., to visit some close friends. See what these raw foodists pack to eat for the weekend and hear proof that Wendi Dee is getting younger! A friend who has known Wendi for 20 years says she now looks as young as she did when they first met! *giggles* Raw foods are AMAZING at restoring youthfulness! Are you getting younger, too !

You'll see a picture of a raw apple pie that Wendi created (the recipe is included in our free raw food recipe ebook) and hear her friends rave about the raw cheesecake she prepared for them. It's always nice to make some extra special raw treats for your friends, so they can see that you're enjoying the food that's helping you regain your health (and youth!).

Aren't these videos wonderful? Today we have yet another special Raw Spirit interview for you -- the mega-talented Markus Rothkranz. What can I say about Markus? He's a true inspiration, a man who truly lives by his heart and inspires thousands of others on a daily basis. He's actually very tough to interview because he's so interesting and self-actualized, you really just want to hang and chat with him (but then you remember that you're on film and you should probably get back to asking questions that people will appreciate).

Here's an update from Wendi. I think this can be considered, with 99% confidence, the big announcement:

Of course, there's that 1% chance that something unexpected will happen. But, Portland feels right. It always has for us; we nearly moved there in the late 1990s. We had books on Portland back then, and I was buying their newspaper each week to hunt for jobs. It just never panned out, though. I suppose we were meant to live in Pittsburgh for a spell. It would be easy for me to list many reasons why Pittsburgh served a purpose for us. But, yeah, I think we're Portlanders at heart. So much about that city resonates with us. It'll be a homecoming, for sure! I want to reiterate a few things that I'd written in comments recently, slightly clarified in places.

April 12, 2008

Today we are doing some Spring cleaning and getting rid of stuff that has been collecting that we don t really need or use. I just finished the bananas (eight of them) and later I ll start eating the oranges that we have. I have plenty of oranges to get me through the day and into tomorrow until we go shopping. I m hopeful that there will be cantaloupes at the food co-op tomorrow. It would be fun to have a cantaloupe day!

How many days do I have left? I guess three? Overall, it hasn t really been all that difficult.

I am very fair-skinned, with light eyes and medium-colored hair. For as long as I can remember, the sun made me feel ill. The older I got, the sicker I'd feel. I felt uncomfortable in the heat, my skin would feel all prickly, I got horrible headaches, and sometimes I even got sick to my stomach. I've always loved being out in nature, but on really sunny days, it bothered me and I'd try to stay in/near the woods and the shade.