A partial group picture from the retreat.

The 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat was a success! All my time and effort that went into creating the event was well worth the experience. When Leela Mata and I discussed a possible raw food retreat about a year ago, I had no idea how to go about creating such an event. I have never done anything like this, so I approached it by asking myself: "What would I want if I was attending a raw food spiritual retreat " From there, I created a retreat that I would love to attend, myself. In fact, when it was completely organized and guests began signing up, I wished that an identical event existed that I really could take part in, as well!

Hi everyone! Jim here with a really special treat for you today. I'm interviewing our friend Joe Prostko, who we've known for a good year or so through the Pittsburgh raw food meetup group. You may remember Joe from our cacao pod video a while back.

We just had a big raw food potluck costume party here, and Joe showed up as an Oompa-Loompa. At first, I admittedly did not get the deeper part of this joke. I simply thought it was a novel costume because it was a character from the Willie Wonka book / movie. Later, however, it really sunk in, as I decided to flip through the Willie Wonka book to read up on Oompa-Loompas. Here's a quote from Willie Wonka author Roald Dahl:

For the most part, I've been eating intuitively from the very start of my raw food journey (which began over two years ago!). I noticed that I was drawn to different foods for blocks of time, and as my interest would wane I'd find myself drawn to another raw food. Anyone who has followed my story to health knows about my love for young Thai coconuts. My entire body would vibrate with physical excitement every time I picked up another case of those life-enhancing baby coconuts. I felt like a child receiving a much-desired gift---giddy with excitement and unable to stand still. I'm not just saying that, either---it was a very strange sensation, feeling such excitement over a food.

Well, my love for the coconuts faded and I found myself drawn to other foods over the past few years. However, none of them ever compared in intensity to my desire for the coconut. I can't recall all of the foods I cycled through, but there were plenty of food cycles I went through. Currently, I'm intuitively drawn to the pineapple. I want to eat it at least once a day, sometimes more. I haven't tired of it in the least bit.

This pie is amazing and exactly like a traditionally cooked pumpkin pie! I took a few different pie recipes and altered them until I came up with this recipe.

Pumpkin Pie

Filling:

Jim here... Wow, it's Monday, April 27! Let's do something different today: Let's celebrate Monday instead of bemoaning this day that represents the taditional start of the dreaded work week. Why? Because it's our sincere hope that whatever you do in your work week is a labor of love. And, if you're not quite there yet, then celebrate the fact that you WILL be there sometime soon. For us, it means another week of working to inspire you to achieve optimal health -- and that's not "work" at all; it's actually FUN!

So, without further adieu, let's jump into this week's fun. Our good friends Melissa and Dave Sokulski have launched a site recently called FoodUnderFoot ("unleash the energy of wild edibles"). Even in it's young seedling state, I think it's already a fascinating site, and promises to become an encyclopedic web destination for anyone interested in foraging wild edibles. So, check them out for some informative info and valuable freebies, too!

We're extremely busy this week with some home projects, so we figured we'd simply share a few interesting photos each day. Here's today's -- a big plate of freshly picked cherries from our yard! ?These are smaller cherries than you'll find in stores. We believe they're sour cherries, which is a very healthy variety, even though they're not as tasty as Bing's or Ranier's. ?They're reportedly good for pies, though. I've eaten tons of them so far; ?they're at their peak at the moment here.

I tell you... the dangerous thing about cherries is something you'll only discover when you're out there on a ladder, standing on that tip-top rung (which clearly states: "Do NOT stand on this rung!"), and you're reaching higher and higher for that next bunch of nature's goodness. Even in this situation, you find yourself thinking: "If I could just reach a *little bit* higher!" ?Sooner or later, you have to realize that some cherries are there for the birds, squirrels, and raccoons.

Day 6: Today is the final day of placing extra focus on the feminine qualities attributed to Goddess Lakshmi. For me, going within, shining light on the things that aren't so clear, the things that I've been avoiding, or the things that have been completely invisible is something I've revisited off and on my entire life. It's something that I often recommend to friends and family, as well. It's what has allowed me to continually improve my life (both physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually), and something I'll always consider vital.

The more we search within for answers, the more we'll learn about our true selves. The more we understand ourselves, the more authentic we become in our interactions with others. The more authentic we are with others, the more others can feel comfortable around us. The more others become comfortable around us, the more they can experience their own authentic selves. And the more others experience their true selves, the more we all wake up and truly begin living a life of beauty, grace, vibrancy, and love.

You rarely hear us talk about our daughter here on the blog. Some of you have noticed and asked questions about her through email. I'd like to tell you why we don't write about her very much, because there's something to be learned from it.

First, I usually don't like to write about people unless I get their permission. This is especially true when my daughter is concerned. I respect her privacy if she chooses for me to not share things about her life. Years ago when I knew I wanted to create the Pure Jeevan site, I talked with Jim and our daughter about it. I said it was something I felt drawn to do, that I felt it could help a lot of people, but I wanted it to be a family site if it's something they were interested in doing along with me. Jim agreed to help me at the time, but didn't fully embrace Pure Jeevan himself (now, however, he has become a very active part of this site and all of our projects). Our daughter, however, said from the very beginning that she didn't want any part of it.

If you are in the Pittsburgh area this weekend, you are in for a real treat! Rhio will be visiting with us and she'll also be meeting with others during her two-part presentation for the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup on Saturday.You don't have to be a member of the meetup to enjoy this presentation. Below is information about the event you won't want to miss!

Two-Part Presentation by Rhio includes Dinner

in-tu-i-tion n. 1.a. The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes; immediate cognition. b. Knowledge gained by the use of this faculty; a perceptive insight. 2. A sense of something not evident or deducible; an impression.

FASCINATING!? While out to dinner with our friend Debbie, she brought up the topic of intuitive food preparation. This is really amazing, groundbreaking stuff that probably few people have ever seriously attempted. Now, Wendi has discussed intuitive eating many times here on the blog in the past. Intuitive eating is basically when you get in touch with those "perceptive insights" mentioned above -- a kind of communication with your own body in which you just "know" that you should eat a certain food. Ever, say, walk past a large display of apples and simply know that eating one would make you feel good? That's intuition.

Welcome to Episode 4 of Know Your Food. Wow, the PEAR episode is here at last! Aren't you thrilled to know that? Of ALL of the fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs, etc. in the knon world, we finally got to the wonderful pear. Well, it's no surprise, when you think about it. After all, sweet, mild pears are usually among the first fruits fed to babies. So, chances are, you were fed them, too, as a toddler. So, let's dig in, shall we?

Pears contain water-soluable fiber (pectin), Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Copper, Potassium, Posphorous, Folic Acid, Niacin, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, Sulphur, Calcium, and more! They lower your blood pressure, releive inflammation, lower cholesterol via pectin, calm the stomach, cool the body, prevent cancer via anti-oxidants, boost your energy via the fructose/glucose, reduce inflammation, help your bones/calcium levels, aid in pregnancies via the folate, and much more. Pears are GREAT for you, so eat them regularly!