We don't always announce birthdays of friends and family here. But this particular individual is an integral part of the raw food community and we want you all to meet her!

Today is the birthday of the radiantly beautiful Penni Shelton! For those of you who don't know Penni, she's an incredible woman; she's got a heart of gold and is filled with love and compassion. She has been a loving friend of Wendi and member of the Pure Jeevan family for a very long time.

Last night, we watched a movie called Barney's Version which, among many other things, touched on the issue of Alzheimer's (or dementia). (It also touched on the issue of painfully awful movie titles, in my opinion.) But, I have to admit: Movies like that (or, even being around people affected by this) cause me to seriously look at my own life and reflect upon how I might be doing in terms of preventing not just Alzheimer's, but all major diseases.

My grandmother had severe dementia, and we witnessed the full progression of this awful condition for many years. I felt awful for her and readily admit that it scared the hell out of me to know that a formerly sharp, witty human being could end up this way. If you've never been around it, trust me: You do not want this for yourself or anyone.

As some of you already know, along with regaining my physical health I've also been working on every other aspect of my overall health and being. I don't just want a healthy body---I want the whole package (vibrancy and bliss inside and out, in every way possible).

One area of my mental health that has been slow to heal is my self confidence. I continue to work on it in many ways and have made some tremendous progress over the past year, or so. I feel worthy of so much more than I ever did before.Many people never doubt their self worth---they have a good sense of who they are and assume that others see them as they are, as well.

Okay, we promise that, once the "Know Your Food" series normalizes (hopefully by next week), we'll be posting daily 3- to 4-minute segments, not these gargantuan bandwidth- and free-time-hogs! But, it's a decent 8 minutes of solid entertainment (kind of/sort of). So, hope you enjoy. We call this "Episode 1 (sort of)." You'll see why. Includes a few bonus minutes of discussion on goals & synchronicity.

As you saw, we didn't air the entire APPLE show. So, a few notes are in order:

We tried it in the past, this most unusual fruit. While in Chicago recently, we decided to give it one more try! You see, the first time we tried it we were ... let's just say "not big fans" of the infamous durian. (Here's an episode of Kevin Gianni's Renegade Health Show, shot in our home, documenting that day.) It's a stinky fruit to most, although some claim to enjoy the bizarre odor (which is sometimes described as dirty sock and propane gas smell). If you can get past the smell to give it a taste, you'll be greeted by a taste as strange as the odor. Wendi describes it as a sweet onion pierogie, but each person seems to have a different opinion about this odd fruit.

In this current video our raw friend Debbie Gedayloo-Bennett, whom we met in Chicago, jumped at the opportunity to hang out for a bit of a durian experience. Debbie is on the pro-durian side of the fence that divides those who love and those who hate the alien-like fruit. Wendi was still sitting on the fence, not making up her mind after the initial taste with Kevin and Annmarie. Jim was adamantly sitting far from the love side of the fence, refusing to even attempt approaching the pro side. Debbie was a pro in opening this spiny fruit, so she agreed to open it while on video so that we could share the experience and knowledge with all of you.

Hi Everyone! It's been a while since we've run a "My Raw Story" feature. So, here's one from my good friend Chris Paris, who I met and hung out with at the Raw Spirit Festival this past summer. I think you'll like his take on raw, his before & after pics, and the personal topics he covers such as the role raw foods played in his spirituality. -Jim

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All this week on the Pure Jeevan blog, we'll be focusing on diabetes and the movement to naturally reverse it. We're working up to April 25th (my birthday!), which has been selected as the official Reversing Diabetes Naturally Day.

A warm, intelligent, and loving individual named Dr. Gabriel Cousens has been doing ground-breaking work and research on diabetes and diet. What he has found is so surprising that many people dismiss what he is saying, believing it to be false. But, I (along with many others in the natural health movement) am here to tell you that what Dr. Cousens has discovered is TRUE! You probably already know what he has discovered, of course: a change in diet (particulary including raw foods) can reverse diabetes!

Dr. Cousens did a small study on some diabetic individuals, documenting his work and findings. The resulting documentary is remarkable. We hosted a viewing of the movie at our home and the room was packed. Everyone sat silently, absorbing the truth of what they were seeing: diet CAN make a difference in a disease that is thought to be permanent and debilitating. Many of us had tears silently streaming down our faces, touched by the moving stories that were shared in the documentary. We were filled with a sense of excitement that there IS hope for those with diabetes!

Jim here... Yesterday, Wendi toughed it out and typed up a lengthy health update (a painful process for her -- trust me!). So, for the rest of this week, I'm going to fill in here (letting her get back to her resting and healing) and share a few interesting stories related to this Lyme adventure. But first, I wanted to add that today brought some great improvements in Wendi's condition. She was able to do a physical movement (wrapping a towel around her head) without pain for the first time in months. So, we really think those antibiotics are starting to kick in.

Today's topic is intuitive eating. I'm certain we've covered this many times on the blog here. So, rather than explain what it is again, I'll just share an intresting example. Basically, while dealing with these Lyme symptoms, Wendi experienced a serious craving for olives.

Hi there, lovely Pure Jeevan family members!

It's so sweet that many of you are concerned about us, wondering where we are and what we are doing since the blog has been quiet for quite some time. We feel very loved! *blows kisses to everyone*

Well, our trip to Portland, Oregon, went well. We bought the fixer-upper home that will eventually house Pure Jeevan, and did some preliminary work on it (it's a *true* fixer-upper and is going to require *a lot* of work and investment). A few times during our stay in the new home, Jim and I both looked at each other, wild-eyed, wondering what we had done. Following one's intuition can be a bit scary at times, but we've learned over the years that things always work out for the best and that these sometimes scary, unknown times are what help us grow and learn in ways we had never imagined.

Just a quick post on what may or may not be considered "weird" for our inaugural "Weird Wednesday" post. According to a few web sites I checked, around 3% of the population (and I'm assuming this means U.S. population) is vegetarian. It looks like maybe 1% (possibly a little more) is vegan. Of every 100 vegans, how many do you suppose are raw foodists? (Actually, I'm asking; I didn't find any solid answer to that.) Maybe 1 of every 100 vegans? What do you think?

Here's a painfully unscientific, yet still slightly educated guess:

In this video, Wendi talks with Leela Mata, spiritual leader of the Peaceful Valley Ashram, about her experiences with the raw food diet and a bit about a cob oven structure that was built on the ashram property. This is part 2 of a 5-part series featuring Peaceful Valley Ashram.