A Bit of India in Pittsburgh s Back Yard?

During an intense personal journey in recent years, I ve discovered that the more I m able to know my true self, the more my perception of the world changes. As a result, my surroundings have changed as well ?people, places, directions. At one point, internal and external changes happened so rapidly, it was difficult to fully process anything; I felt overwhelmed.

Amid urges to explore so many new directions, all at the same time, it became impossible to focus. My initial instinct was to flee to India, where I could peacefully stay at an ashram and process all that was transpiring in my mind. Although circumstances kept me from traveling abroad, I knew I needed to simplify. That s when I remembered an old issue of Point of Light I d kept. I dug it out and quickly flipped through the pages? There it was: Peaceful Valley Ashram & Retreat, located just north of Pittsburgh!

I met Dr. Doug Graham in person at the Raw Spirit Festival. He has a soft, gentle voice but his message is anything but soft. He's straight-forward about diet and health being intimately related. Dr. D. invited me to be his guest this past Saturday at a doctors' convention where he boldly stated to his audience of doctors: "I'm probably not going to make you all that happy with the things I'm going to tell you."

There he was, standing in front of a room of doctors who have taken an oath to harm none. These doctors were there to learn about health and nutrition, but I don't think they had any idea about what they were going to learn from Dr. D. "What I say may fly in the face of what you've been taught," Dr. D. admitted. Many of the doctors leaned forward a bit, eyes and ears a bit more open at the thought of hearing something radical.

Short post today... We're currently dealing w with a pesky kitchen drain issue that's wreaking havoc in our household. Fortunately, a very talented and power-tool-weilding local plumber just fixed the problem. In the process, he seems to have applied those power tools to our bank account -- $175 for less than one hour's work!? (Ouch!) And the kicker is that the current state of our kitchen is "absolutely atrocious."? I'm serious... we're at like DefCon 5 in terms of the disastrous nature of that room -- and as you well know, for a raw household, that's probably 10 times more frustrating than it is for others. (I smell a whole post coming soon on this topic ...)

Today, we mainly just wanted to say that, at the end of our post yesterday, we briefly asked what you would like to see more of here at Pure Jeevan. We have received some great comments and emails in return, and have decided to devote tomorrow's post to responding to / addressing some of the suggestions we received. So, if you have any further thoughts to share about raw foods content you'd like to see more or less of, please let us know either by commenting below, or by email. Wendi is at WendiDee [at] Pure Jeevan.com. Jim is at Rawdiant [at] gmail.com.

I had to write an update after my grocery shopping today! Remember I said just yesterday that sometimes people comment about the amount of produce we are buying? Well, a sweet older woman saw all of the bananas going into our cart and she asked, "What are you going to do with all of those bananas " You already know the response I gave: "Eat them!"

One of the really nice workers at the food co op commented that he can eat about eleven bananas sometimes. I told him, and another friend we saw shopping at the same time, that I can do that now, too. I explained how I used to get full on just one banana when I ate cooked foods. But, now that my system is so much cleaner and healthier, I can consume 10-11 bananas in a day (bananas should be covered with brown specks to truly be ripe and digestable). I don't remember the maximum I ever ate in a day--it's somewhere in my Going Raw journal, I'm sure. It might have even been more than 10 or 11 when I was going through my major banana-eating phase. Now I eat about 4-6 bananas a day, which doesn't seem like a lot to me (but in the past I would have wondered about all of those bananas in someone's cart, too!).

Jim here... Sorry for being away for so long. We've got SO much going on these days, it's mind-boggling! More on that later, as I have something in mind already for today...I should start by clarifying that I've been basically raw for almost 4 years now (high-raw, you might say). During the first nearly-two years, I still ate meat from time to time. Actually, I still ate (and drank) almost everything from time to time -- sugars, processed foods, alcohol, you name it -- only less than I did before, and within the context of a dietary intake consisting of a significantly higher percentage of living foods. In those early years, I'd estimate I was averaging 75-90% raw. Not bad ... I definitely experienced improvements in my health!

The big change in consciousness didn't follow until two years ago. (This is an interesting point because, as you can see, I wasn't "ready" for a bigger change for two years into eating a lot of raw foods!) I suppose the difference was that, during the early years, I was pretty much raw by default rather than by conscious decision. As Jules said in Pulp Fiction, "... my girlfriend's a vegetarian. ?Which more or less makes me a vegetarian..." Yeah, that was my case back then, too, although I certainly grew into it (and am thankful that I did).

Jim here... We've always been fans of the Simply Raw people -- or, as I call them, the "Reversing Diabetes Naturally" people. Or ... are they the "Raw for Thirty" people? Seriously, they should probably settle on one name, don't you think? In any case, they emailed us again lately to let us know about a new video promotion they're doing, in which they'll be sharing some great videos from Morgan "Super Size Me" Spurlock, David "Avocado" Wolfe, Mike "Natural News" Adams, and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. (Sorry, I don't have a nickname for Dr. Fuhrman yet.) I haven't yet seen the videos, but I'll be checking them out ASAP to hear what these gents have to say in order to further awareness about this important topic. Here's the link:

>>> http://tinyurl.com/SimplyRawVids

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


?The greater the percentage of raw food in the diet, the greater the health benefits? is Koya Webb, fitness model, personal trainer, triathlete and body builder's personal motto. Koya's sculpted physique won 1st place in the Ultimate Fitness Events "Fitness Model" and "Bikini Model" competitions and has modeled for Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Muscle and Fitness, Her Sports, Royal Caribbean and Triathlete magazine, to name a few. As a living-foodist (one who eats 60% or more uncooked veggies, nuts, seeds, and super foods) Koya believes eating all natural ?fruits of the earth? can help heal cancer, diabetes, and other diseases plaguing our society today.

Here's part two of Wendi's travelogue from Sedona:

After leaving ChocolaTree Cafe, and interviewing the lovely Kelly, we went to the famous Sedona Airport vortex spot, but there was no parking, so we drove to the top of the rock/mountain and there was a farmer's market going on. We took a quick video of what was happening up there, to share on the blog. There was a cool musician playing: Vighas Kendzia, who plays piano, native flutes, sax, and more. He's from musicfromthegarden.com and I told him he'd be on our site. So, if you made it here to check out the video, welcome, Vighas! :-)

From there, we headed out to find a vortex spot that Kelly described. I'm not sure if we found the exact spot, but we really enjoyed the place we found. We ate our lunch there and it was DELICIOUS! The water, the trees, the large boulders, the fresh air...it was a very special place. We then drove to one of the more well-known hiking/vortex spots: Bell Rock.The hike in is a bit over a mile, then there is the climbing (which isn't really recommended by the park officials, but it's absolutely necessary to fully experience Sedona!). I gave KDcat some space to explore the area a bit on her own, as this was a very special time for me a few years ago. There is a certain energy and cleansing that happens when visiting Sedona. If any of you are going through changes in your lives, or feel like there is a shift that needs to happen, I highly recommend visiting Sedona for a few days. KDcat felt some powerful personal healing, which didn't surprise me at all. It's a place I'd love to visit every few years, or so, as it definitely holds some sort of healing energy. Maybe it's just the views, or the peacefulness of being away from everything. Whatever it is, I highly recommend visiting Sedona and climbing around on the rocks!

Some of you know about my love of Sedona, AZ, especially those who were following the Pure Jeevan blog a few years ago. It was a visit to Sedona in 2008, for a Raw Spirit Festival, that my life dramatically changed once again. This time it wasn't the food that was healing me, but it was related to the raw food lifestyle. I felt healed on many levels while there in Sedona, surrounded by the beautiful red rocks, cool and sandy earth beneath my bare feet in contrast to the warm sun on my skin, and embraced by a vibrant, loving community of like-minded individuals.
There's a certain magic to Sedona, if you believe in such things (well, I suppose it's there even if you don't believe). ;-) ?For me, I believe that we can many times find scientific reasons to explain much of the magic in this beautiful world, but that doesn't have to diminsh the experiences we have. Sedona is known for its powerful vortex energy, which has a way of stirring up our own energy systems and bringing about healing, balance, awakenings, etc. ?Is this energy measurable through science, or is it more metaphysical in nature? I don't know and to be honest, it doesn't matter to me. There were life-altering changes that took place while I was in Sedona in 2008 which rippled out beyond me and touched the lives of those very close to me, as well.

Here's a quick video of a Sedona Farmer's Market and a clip of KDcat and I at an area we claimed to be flowing with vortex energy, even though it wasn't necessarily one of the more touristy vortex destinations.

The superlatively captivating, one-and-only Bif Naked has been a superstar rock and roll icon, performer, diva, composer, acclaimed actress, sought-after voice-over artist, gifted poet / writer, and even cartoonist(!) for years. But, did you know she's also a raw vegan !

Early in 2009, I remember reading about her breast cancer diagnosis. The story both intrigued and haunted the raw world: ?How could a raw foodie get cancer ! We're supposed to be impervious to such things, right !


1 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked for one hour

3 small fresh tomatoes

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.