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Jim here... Of the many lessons 2008 brought to our household, one standout was certainly the importance of having patience. That s because we set some lofty goals, and lofty goals are often vital teachers.

For example, imagine sitting in your living room one day and deciding: "I'm going to scale Mt. Everest."? (For the purposes of this example, imagine also that no political, administrative, or financial restrictions exist to prevent you from doing this immediately if you really wanted to -- things like passports, entry visas, transportation costs, etc.)

Back when we ate cooked foods (especially way back when our menu was not exclusively vegan), parmesan cheese seemed to be a staple of our existence (especially for Jim). We'd sprinkle it liberally on pasta dishes, salads, soups, and more.

As is typical for many raw foodies, you often realize after going raw that it was not always necessarily the food itself that you craved (no matter what it was); often it was simply the texture, the spices, the various flavors and tastes, etc. And that realization leads raw chefs to wonder whether the same experience can be recreated using only raw ingredients.

Isn't it high time we incorporate more Internet phenomena into our daily lives? Okay, maybe not everything (reminding myself that certain others aren't always amused when I say "BRB" instead of "I'll be right back.") But, I really do think there are some conceptual web ideas out there that could benefit us if applied more often.

Thinking of poor dietary practices, for example, can you imagine if junk food, like junk email, came with an "unsubscribe" option If you're transitioning to raw, this could be an interesting way to think about each thing you eat.

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

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

One reason I keep going on and on lately about raw desserts and raw ice creams is best conveyed with an example. ?Here are the ingredients in Cool Whip, a commonly available whipped topping:

  • water
  • hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and palm kernel oils)
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • corn syrup
  • skim milk
  • light cream
  • less than 2% of:
  • sodium caseinate
  • natural and artificial flavors
  • xanthan and guar gums
  • polysorbate 60
  • sorbitan monostearate
  • beta carotene (color)

Wow, I had a chemistry set in 5th grade that had a lot of things that sounded like some of those items. It's actually mind-boggling to envision the industrial processes necessary to produce everything on that list -- not that it's entirely possible to do so. After all, among the list of ingredients are "natural and artificial flavors." Ever wonder what, exactly, those are?

Sharing is lovely, don't you think? When I decided I was going to "go raw" and not consume cooked foods anymore, it was a huge life-changing decision. Even though there was no one standing next to me, telling me what to do and not do as I was changing my eating habits, I was still supported in my efforts. My support system was made up of copious amounts of experience and advice that was openly shared by experienced raw foodists. Even though many times I felt like I was alone, the path I was walking was etched with loving words left by caring people who wanted to encourage others who were yet to come down the same raw food path.

After our Oklahoma stop, we had back-to-back visits with family. During our 40-day tour, we had a great time at every place we stayed. There's something extra special about being with family, however. KDcat especially loved this part of the trip, where she could stay up late and sleep in every morning.

Our first stop was St. Louis, Missouri, to see Grandma and Grandpa Dee, and Aunt Jeanne. We did some shopping at Whole Foods, bought lots of organic produce, and prepared some raw dishes to share with everyone. We purchased a young coconut and KDcat used Grandpa's hatchet to show everyone how to open a young coconut. Jim's mother learned to make raw hummus, without chickpeas, and even agreed to be a guest chef for a Makin' It Monday raw food recipe video! So, we'll be sharing that with all of you in the near future! Aunt Jeanne loved the hummus, as well as the raw tacos we created. She seems to have a liking for raw foods, so who knows...you may be seeing another Dee online sharing info about raw foods in the future ! Grandpa is always a fan of apple pies, so he thoroughly enjoyed the pie we created during our visit. Grandpa and KDcat also spent some time talking about music, a passion for both of them.

Our second stop was Geneseo, Illinois, to visit with Aunt Cindy, Uncle Ray (who had to work during our visit), and cousin Destiny. KDcat and Destiny don't see each other very often, so this was a real treat. Destiny's a sweet girl who became a vegetarian over a year ago (she's the only vegetarian in her home)! That's a huge thing to do when you're just a young teenager and we're proud of her for taking her health into her own hands (and for saving the animals!). We took a lot of pictures while visiting. In the photoset, you'll see that somehow a monkey crawled onto KDcat's back and hung around with her most of one day (in which she was dressed up in quite the outfit!). That monkey found its way into all kinds of interesting places (in a park, playing on the slide, swing, etc., and even in the house playing the piano -- and I caught him trying to steal some of my bananas!). The weather was beautiful during our visit, so we spent a lot of time outside, walking and enjoying the beautiful time together. At this stop we created a raw apple crumble, which Aunt Cindy later modified with blueberries. We're gently nudging her to make a video of the recipe she created, so we can all see how it's made! It sounded delicious.

This is our final call for some behind-the-scenes help (as mentioned in an earlier post) on a pretty amazing project we've been working on. You can give as little or as much time to the project as you desire. Although we aren't stating what it is, until it's well under way, those who are offering help will be learning all about it VERY SOON!

Your help is greatly appreciated and I think all of you will love the project!!!! So, if you haven't already told us you'd like to help (and sent us your email address to contact you), now's your last chance! We don't have a limit on how many people can help with this, so join the others in lending a hand! You'll be happy you did!

I'm super excited about this project and sharing the information about it with all of you who are going to help out! Send your email address to me at WendiDee at PureJeevan.com.

We just returned from the East End Food Co-op, where we answered raw food questions for two hours. We were still answering questions on our way out the door, and would have stayed longer but the place was closing. ;-) So, if anyone from this evening stops by our site and you still have questions, just comment here (or send me an email) and I'll be happy to answer them.

I'm more of a one-on-one kind of person, so I was a bit nervous about sitting in front of everyone to answer questions. Jim and KDcat were there to help me, of course, otherwise I probably wouldn't have been there at all. Once people started arriving, I was comfortable. The first people who entered the room were super sweet and I could tell they were genuinely nice people. Then little by little the room filled up, and I was surprisingly comfortable.Maybe in addition to all of the other positive changes in my life, my self confidence is getting better, too!

We've been extremely busy, but KDcat and I did take some time to make some dehydrated food the other day. We rarely ever use the dehydrator, so we've been eating different foods than we normally do and enjoying it.

We didn't take pictures of everything, but here's a list of what we dehydrated:

* kale chips

Over the weekend, we visited the spectacular Oregon Country Fair in Eugene and, once again, experienced a joyful and overwhelming sense of recognition that we're living in a place where people are much more accustomed to just being themselves.

Personal expression and nonconformity are so valued here that one becomes quickly enamored of the whole ambiance, which could well explain why more people come to Oregon than leave. The region seems to represent, to many, a chance to finally discover and explore an identity perhaps not completely free from outside influence, but at least free from the undesirable influences that society elsewhere seems to insist upon. Or maybe I'm misreading it all and providing just one of many interpretations.