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).

We've spent some time on this blog talking about how much fun you can have via the meetup.com web site. If you search that site, you can probably find raw food meetups near you!? But, a few readers have asked us some follow-ups, such as What should I bring and What should I do if I'd like to host a raw foods meetup

*Attending* Raw Foods Meetups

Okay, so you signed up for a raw foods meetup group, waited patiently for the next event to come round, and now it's time!? But, wait... this is your first such outing. What should you bring

Below are two variations of the same issue: I'm too tired and don't have enough time to be healthy. The irony, of course, is that the more raw foods you eat, the more energy (and therefore time) you have!

By the end of the day I am so exhausted I'd rather not eat than go in the kitchen & try making something raw.

How do I stay raw with all the food prep and my lack of time and life's pressures

For some odd reason, I've had the privilege of "doing Thanksgiving" with a lot of different friends and families over the years. Because of this, and of course just from talking with others and reading things others have posted, I'm fairly certain that Thanksgiving means different things to different people.For some, it's their favorite annual holiday and fills them with joyous memories of Thanksgivings past and incredible anticipation of Thanksgivings to come. Some historian friends of mine seem fascinated by the historical aspects of the holiday -- the whole story of the pilgrims, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, I've actually encountered a few people who take offense at the very idea of this holiday (and they've got some convincing reasons to protest the wider celebrations)!

While all holidays are certainly "food-centric" by tradition, it's arguable that no other holiday (at least here in America) can match Thanksgiving's reputation in terms of feasting. It's kind of funny when you think about it because many holidays (or, "holy days") are actually traditionally observed by abstaining from food. So, there are fasts, and feasts. I think the majority view, based on my own sampling of various friend and family traditions, seems to be: It's mostly about having a huge meal. Yes, there is certainly an undercurrent of being thankful out there. A few families I've been with have had traditional, almost ceremonial, activities that went along with the meal (e.g., going around the room, taking turns stating what you're grateful for).

Tomorrow I'll finally be posting about the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat that I organized. I took a few days to myself after the event, and then I needed to catch up on a lot of things (which included formatting an almost 150-page publication). It's hard to believe that two weeks have passed, already, since the retreat ended.

I have a lot of photos from the event! Some of the guests prefer to remain anonymous, however, so I can't share all of them with you. However, there are a lot that I can still post on a public page for you to view! I'm waiting to receive some more images from the ashram's camera. Once I have them, I'll be able to complete the photos pages and share images from that wonderful weekend.

BIG THANKS to one of the guests, Angel, who happily took my camera and captured images that weekend. I am extremely grateful that she did, and I'm also impressed with her creative gift with photography! The image she captured of another guest, Faye, is absolutely beautiful! I'm looking forward to sharing the pics with all of you!

Angela Stokes, well known and loved by many in the Raw Food Community, was interviewed on CNN back in September. The story was so popular that it has been mentioned on CNN, again! So, I'm reposting my original blog entry about the interview, below, for anyone who missed the interview or this blog entry.

Below you can see the interview of Angela Stokes that originally ran on CNN:

Organizing the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat has brought with it the bonus of meeting some fantastic people and the opportunity to learn about their amazing raw food snack companies.

Jim here... Until our home sells (SOON!!!) and Wendi and I launch ourselves into the world as full-time raw food teachers / lecturers / inspiration providers, I'm more or less stuck in the corporate world during the day. While much of what happens in this Dilbert-esque environment is, as many of you likely know, absolutely meaningless, there is nonetheless the occasional pearl of wisdom to be pried from the clammy jaws of the 9-to-5 world. I was, for example, just reminded of a story I heard at a seminar once. Not surprisingly, the seminar pertained to the art of money making. However, there's another more fulfilling message to it as well.

A large modern newspaper company still uses these ancient printing presses from the 1950s -- huge old monstrosities with enough belts, pulleys, and greasy gearboxes to make any modern-day steampunk enthusiast squeal with delight. One day, not long after the old press manager finally leaves the company, the main press breaks down. Manuals are consulted, technicians brought in, engineers asked to take a peek. No one can bring the beast back to life. But there's a woman on the Internet who specializes in these babies -- and, guess what, she's local! So, they call her in. She listens to their problem and says she can fix it, but it's going to run them $5,000.

End of day 4:

Yesterday I decided to go ahead and consume what my body was telling me it wanted: cooked, fermented rice and lentil pancakes. Well, the restaurant nearby that makes the Uthappam doesn't serve them until 5pm and it was lunch time. So, I ordered the simpler, steamed, fermented rice and lentil patties called Idli.

It's time for a little Phun Phriday Philosophy. (I hope you don't mind a little levity as we end this glorious week ) It just occurred to me that philosophers and self-development gurus commonly admonish against "attachments." Isn't that true ?We're attached to our egos, our possessions, our relationships. All attachments are bad, it is said. I believe one of the primary tenets (Noble Truths) of Buddhism centers on this very thing -- that our attachments cause suffering.

Well, all of that may be food for thought. But, when it comes to food for your body, I'm here to tell you that attachments are GOOD -- especially, when we're talking about the shredder attachment for your food processor!? Oh, don't lie to me, fellow raw foodie (or raw aspirant, as the case may be): You know you've neglected this wonderful tool, haven't you? -- relegated it to some unimportant place in the back of a kitchen drawer somewhere, right ! Well, it's time to rediscover the shredder blade! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to reconnect with this delightful food processor attachment.

Note: This entry is not meant for our regular readers. Search engines are directing people to our page when they enter "mono and headaches" and I want to take this opportunity to reach out to those who may not know about this amazing lifestyle the rest of you already know about! ;-) Plus, I want to help them with their headaches.

Mono and Headaches: Looking for Help

Mononucleosis (Mono) is a common viral illness. When children develop mono, it is usually not obvious since it seems like a normal cold. When teens and adults develop mono, however, the symptoms are much more severe. Most individuals will feel better within about three weeks, but fatigue can continue on for about three months! Who wants to feel ill that long? Who wants to feel tired for MONTHS ! Who wants to suffer from such severe headaches ! Not me, that's for sure.