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.

We had a wonderful weekend that started with a raw food potluck in our home (through the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup group). There were about twenty people and so many lovely raw food dishes! I haven't checked the camera, yet, but I hope someone remembered to capture some pictures of the food and guests. It was all very yummy, including the beet pasta I made with a cream sauce. I also made some carob peppermint sweets that KDcat formed into bite-sized balls and arranged them on a platter. A friend of mine told me that the people who show up for raw food potlucks tend to be genuinely nice people, and she was right. It was a pleasure meeting everyone and I look forward to next month's meetup.

The rest of our weekend was spent with our guest, Devaki, who just left a few minutes ago to return to the ashram. She played some beautiful music on the harmonium and she and some other lovely guests filled our home with the beauty and energy of Kirtan chanting. Some of the chants were in English, too. I thought I wouldn't like them as much, but they were just as beautiful as the Indian ones. One of my close friends who was here for the Kirtan told me that I was glowing after the chanting! I love the blissful feeling that comes from chanting and meditation.

Continuing with our Taco Week, here's a quick and easy (and delicious) salsa recipe. You can really have a lot of fun with salsa, and can get highly experimental if you like. Almost anything tastes great in salsa. This one is fairly basic, so feel free to spruce it up with some of your favorite ingredients. Let us know in the comments section some of your favorite variations so you may inspire others!

Did you know that approximately 70% of your muscle, 80% of your blood is water, and 85% of your brain is made up of water? When we are born, we are nearly 90% water by weight, and as we age we lose more and more water (think of a grape slowly shriveling up into a dried raisin).

If you consume 100% fresh raw foods (with none that have been dried or dehydrated in any way), your body is receiving the cleanest, most pure water possible and you probably don't experience a lot of thirst. The less fresh foods an individual consumes, the more their needs for water increases.

Greetings, everyone! ?We've been away from regular blogging for what seems an *eternity*. When we left the airwaves, the raw food world was at total peace with itself -- bliss, harmony, sister- and brotherhood. Aside from rare, gentle disagreements among raw vegans on issues such as whether raw chocolate was mineral-rich or potentially taxing to your body's store of minerals, things were pretty much business as usual.

And then we moved away and took a little time off to regroup .. ?and NOW look at the state of the raw food zeitgeist: (1) long-term raw foodists just about everyhwere are now "eating a little bit of cooked food," (2) an enormous schism has emerged after the seemingly improbable development of many long-term vegans returning to meat eating, (3) informational summits and online meetings have been replaced by debates, and (4) let's face it, the supplements being discussed and sold are getting, well, much *weirder* than ever!

This is a recipe for the coconut shake that brought my cholesterol levels from very unhealthy down to extremely healthy within the span of one month!

Young Coconut Shake

Flesh and water from one young coconut

Welcome to Day One of "Dressings Week" here on Pure Jeevan. After finding out that KDcat took it upon herself to film a segment of "Makin' It Monday, Guest Raw Chef Edition," I decided that we should probably spend an entire *week* focusing on salad dressings.

Well, I hope we're finally approaching the true end-game of our whole move. We now have our home listed with a new realtor (no longer going it alone as a "for sale by owner" scenario), so we're hoping that a renewed effort (and a lower price) will attract a buyer. The market seems to be perking back up a little as well, which certainly can't hurt anything.

Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions for places we should consider moving to. I assure you that we researched each and every one to an almost ridiculous degree. There are more amazing places to live than we ever knew, and we were delighted to learn about some areas with which we weren't very familiar -- funky little enclaves in Texas, Tennessee, New Mexico, etc. I think we've hinted as to our inclinations before, but I can tell you that, after so many months of intense deliberation, we believe the best domestic home for Pure Jeevan is probably in Oregon.

?

Jim here... A few months ago, I'd posted an article here on the topic of Cognitive Dissonance. This theme seems to crop up from time to time in questions people ask about the raw foods lifestyle. For example, one new raw fooder recently posted a question in a raw foods forum asking whether other raw foodies had reached a place in their lives at which things changed so much that they felt as though they were living a contradiction. Because this struck home for me, I'd like to reiterate my response, somewhat edited, below.

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

The new Vitamix container arrived within two days (they knew we were hard core Vitamix users and put the container in the mail the day we ordered it to replace the broken one). So, what was the first thing we made in our shiny new container (after washing it, of course)? A DELICIOUS coconut smoothie!