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

When alternatives to the Standard American Diet are discussed, protein is on everyone's mind. There are many reasons why someone might want to eat a plant based diet, whether for allergy concerns, health reasons, or more variety. But nagging doubts often come up;? Are plant proteins adequate for athletes and body builders ? Are they really the preferred protein source of the human body ? Are they better than animal based protein or are they just consumed for environmental reasons ? To answer these questions, why not ask the experts:? triathletes, professional dancers, bodybuilders and extreme sport racers ? Here are the answers from some of the most competitive athletes in their respective fields.

Hey Everyone- Just a quick note, in case you're reading our blog and thinking, "Wow, Wendi and Jim usually update daily! What's up ?!!" We'll get back to it pronto, I promse -- maybe even later today! Turns out it's just a TON of work orchestrating a tour like this, especially across a three-hour time zone. But, now that we're getting used to it, I think we can look for some more timely updates. The latest is from Corvallis, Oregon. But, we're also going to talk about Portland a lot more soon! So, stay tuned! -Jim

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On March 4, 2010, TerriDactyl wrote:

I hear ya. I do keep checking in though, and I'm looking forward to when you get your groove.

I really feel for you, Jim. Your girls gone, having to keep track of their movement, run a household on your own and still work that stupid job. Poor baby. Just know that I am thinking of you, and sending you love from New Mexico.

And Wendi, AAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I can hardly wait 'til you get here!

Terri

On March 5, 2010, debbiedoesraw wrote:

We are getting all ready here for W and K! so far we have the following guests for Cru:
Bueller of Bueller's Kitchen, Lori of Inspire2Act, Ingrid of Raw Epicurean, Dianna Harrelson, LA Raw meetup organizer and raw teacher, Puki (friend of Courtney Pool), and a few other folks .. and ME!
xoxoxo deb

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!).

Any botanists or kale experts in our readership ? Take a look:

This "kale" is locally grown by an organic farmer. I tasted some in the store and bought a whole bunch because it was so delicious. Jim added 5 or 6 leaves to a smoothie for us a few days ago. But, today we were going to use it for kale salad. As I was washing the leaves, I saw these tiny tendril-like things sticking up. At first, I thought it was some strange kind of bug or egg, but then I noticed they were on many of the leaves and, out of some of these tendril-like things were growing MORE LEAVES! This is all happening on the flat surface of the kale leaf. I've never seen any leaf in nature that sprouted more leaves from the flat surface of a leaf. Take a closer look:

Here it is, the final stop along our 40-day cross-country tour, Chicago, IL, before returning home to Jim! It's been an incredible time, meeting so many wonderful people, seeing so much natural beauty across the country, deciding where we'll relocate once our home sells, tasting incredible raw foods along the way, and spreading the word about the raw food lifestyle whenever an opportunity presented itself!

Below you'll find the final notes I wrote about our tour, along with some videos and pictures of our final stop in Chicago, Illinois.

We definitely arrived in Chicago refreshed and ready for some adventures. So, we headed directly downtown to search out a new raw food restaurant that our friends Kathy and Danny Living had mentioned to us.

RAW, the newly opened restaurant by Polly Gaza and Carole Jones, is situated inside the Ogilvie Train Station in a recently constructed French Market food court. When we figured out how to get into the market, we were impressed. It's a nice concept and has a fun feeling to it, just strolling along a market place (all while inside a large building housing a train station) that seemed as though it was almost outdoors. When we found the new RAW restaurant, we were thrilled. The colors, decorations, and displays were all very well done. We had to wait a while to talk with the owners, since the restaurant was doing some great business when we arrived. You can see a video we took of the owners, below, and find out more about the restaurant on their web site: Chicago Raw Food. The video was edited down because the sound quality wasn't very good, but you'll hear some inspiring thoughts from Carole about manifesting your dreams and how she and Polly simply manifested the restaurant by beginning with their thoughts. Carole advises: Live Your Passions!

After leaving the restaurant, we headed straight to Borrowed Earth Cafe to visit with our friends Kathy and Danny Living. For those of you who don't already know them, Kathy and Danny are incredibly loving people who are down to earth and doing some incredible things with their lives (manifesting along the same lines that Carole touches on in the video, above, and also inspiring others along the way to live their dreams and treat the planet with kindness). We first met Danny and Kathy last year during a visit to Chicago, and we immediately loved them. If we hadn't met them last year, our route back home during this tour wouldn't have included a stop in Chicago. However, we did meet them and I wanted to spend more time with them so a stop in Chicago was added to our trip itinerary. I love their energy, their soft and gentle loving nature, and to top it off the raw foods they serve in their Borrwed Earth Cafe are delicious. So, KDcat and I were looking forward to spending time with them again (and Jim was sad to miss out on seeing them this time).

When I told Danny and Kathy that we were coming in for a visit during our tour, they asked if we'd be interested in talking to their raw food meetup group. We agreed, of course, and they introduced us to David Hanley, a member of their large group. David hosted us for our stay in Chicago and we had a nice time getting to know him. He's into stairclimb racing, yoga, software development, loves fixing homes (like Jim does), raw foods, and so much more. In his home, David has a massage chair that KDcat really enjoyed a lot. David drove us to our talk at the meetup, where we met with even more incredible people. It was a large group, so we met at a Whole Foods meeting room not very far from the cafe. There were a lot of questions from those attending the talk, which I always enjoy. It's nice to meet so many people who are interested in learning a about ways they can improve their health.

That evening, we shared with David the generous amounts of raw foods that Kathy and Danny had sent home with us for the evening. We enjoyed things like Borrowed Earth's World Famous Salad, Burrito Loco, Sweet Potato Quesadilla, a green smoothie, some cheese cake, and the most incredible raw apple pie I've ever tasted. I'm not kidding about that statement, either. I used to consider myself queen of the apple pie back when I baked my foods, and this raw apple pie that Kathy and Danny have created was even more delicious than my best baked apple pie. If you don't believe me, it's worth a trip to Chicago just to check it out! Absolutely DELICIOUS! Maybe if enough people ask, Kathy and Danny will share the recipe with all of you through one of our special guest chef editions of Makin' It Monday!

Before leaving Chicago and heading toward home, we stopped by Borrowed Earth Cafe once more to spend a little extra time with Kathy and Danny. We had great fun together and as much as KDcat and I were looking forward to being with Jim again, we wished we had more time to spend with Kathy and Danny. While there, we talked a lot about the power of intention and creating our futures. Danny also brought out some tuning forks and balanced my energy using them. Let me tell you, that was some powerful healing he was doing. After he was done, I felt euphoric and grounded all at the same time. I was filled with even more love than I normally feel flowing within and without my body. Wow! When I told Jim about it, we agreed that we'd like to learn more about tuning forks, too.

Danny and Kathy are always a wealth of knowledge and inspiration and I was sad to leave their company. Before going, they sent us out the door with even more delicious raw foods to feed us until we returned home. There was even some leftover to share with Jim when we arrived home the following evening!

Below, you'll see a video we took while visiting Borrowed Earth Cafe last year during our visit to Chicago. You can see in this video how incredibly sweet Kathy and Danny are, but you can tell even better by meeting them in person, yourself. If you're in the Chicago, IL, area, be sure to stop by and introduce yourself to them!

So, that ends our tour! After Chicago we headed back to Pittsburgh to be reunited with Jim. The next time we cross the country, we'll be doing it together as a family. Being apart like we did it this time (which was necessary for budgetary reasons) took away from some of the fun we could have all experienced together.

Again, it was such a joy meeting so many of you as we visited different cities and states. Thanks, again, to everyone who hosted us and showed us a great time in your little part of the country! It's a trip we'll never forget, and one that will always bring fond memories to mind.

Lots of love to all of you,

Wendi

XOXOXO

p.s. Don't forget to show support of our Trip Snack Sponsor, Natural Zing, who made the snack portion of this trip possible! Thanks, again, Helen and Jeff! We love you both!

We hope you ll check out our generous snack sponsor for the trip, Natural Zing, who made our travels extra enjoyable! They have the best selection of raw food snacks, supplies, and appliances for a raw food lifestyle!

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.

If you've been following us for some time, you'll know that we are continually working on projects that will either serve our raw food community or educate others about the health benefits of a raw food lifestyle. If you are new here, or just getting to know us, you can read a summary of what we accomplished last year and a summary of the projects we're currently working on. We're serious about our goal to inspire others to learn about and embrace the raw food lifestyle and community. I've always been someone who helps others, who senses in what direction they are headed and then offers inspiration to keep them moving. I love the work we do as Pure Jeevan and it is extremely rewarding to receive so much gratitude from many of you. But, guess what? Sometimes I get tired!

Sure, some of you may be saying, "But, wait! People who eat raw foods are supposed to be power houses of energy -- able to continually keep active and never run out of steam." Well, that is very true. So, I take it back. I'm not really "tired" like I said -- my body is able to wake up in the morning, easily fall asleep in the evening, and go about its daily work without feeling like it's run down.However, I am feeling like I need a rest from all that I've been doing. Maybe I don't need to sleep hours and hours, because my body isn't truly tired. None of my being is truly tired -- my body, mind, spirit, and emotions are feeling great, actually.

However, I still feel like I need a break from my routine. On top of that, I've been feeling uncomfortable in the cold weather even more this year than I did last year. It hurts all the way down, deep inside my bones. I feel like it will take a lifetime to thaw from the cold I've been feeling here in Pittsburgh. The sun rarely shines, and the snow and ice are brutal on someone eating only raw foods. My instincts told me two years ago that it was time to move to a warmer, sunnier climate, but that hasn't happened yet (even though we are patiently working on it, as Jim pointed out in an earlier post).

***** DISCLAIMER: As with all of our posts here at Pure Jeevan, and particularly those tagged with a new term, "Nadi Balance," please refer to the disclaimer that runs at the bottom of all Pure Jeevan pages. Wendi and Jim are health researchers, educators, and extreme self-experimenters ? not doctors. ******

If you've been following this Nadi Balance series, you're probably as fascinated as we are with the body and the myriad ways in which we can peer into our physical health through observation and experimentation. Yesterday, we learned about a blanace being necessary in the human body between fatty acids and sterol fats. (This is but one of the many balances we'll eventually talk about under the larger umbrella of Nadi Balance.) We shared how Wendi's body was in an an extremely unbalanced state, with her fatty acids far outweighing the amount of sterol fats.

Some of you who are new to raw foods may be happy to learn that there are festivals for individuals interested in the raw foods lifestyle! They are a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded friends. For those of you who attended the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, seeing images from that event may stir the magical memories you collected while there.

Below is part two of a two-part guest piece by Rawbin Anderson, in which she recounts her 2008 Raw Spirit Festival J.O.B. experiences of working in the kitchen. Rawbin is now the Raw Spirit Festival East Coast Manager and can be reached at Rawbin [at] rawspirit.com.

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Wendi tells a funny story sometimes about a woman she'd met who was considering undergoing gastric bypass surgery to help her lose weight. When Wendi asked the woman whether she'd consider changing her diet to a raw foods regimen, she responded with something like, "Oh, no, that's too radical."

This is really what it's come to in society; having part of your digestive system surgically altered (in a profound, irreversible, dangerous, and invasive way) is no more than some nonchalant, consequence-free elective decision ... while eating more salads is viewed as "radical."

On this Thankful Thursday I am feeling especially thankful for the Internet. Without the Internet I wouldn't be able to learn as much as I've learned about raw foods in such a short period of time. The Internet has connected me with people from all over the world who are also interested in natural health and raw food living. I am part of a larger community, one that would never exist without the Internet.

So, today I am especially thankful for the Internet. What are you thankful for today?