A Bit of India in Pittsburgh s Back Yard?

During an intense personal journey in recent years, I ve discovered that the more I m able to know my true self, the more my perception of the world changes. As a result, my surroundings have changed as well ?people, places, directions. At one point, internal and external changes happened so rapidly, it was difficult to fully process anything; I felt overwhelmed.

Amid urges to explore so many new directions, all at the same time, it became impossible to focus. My initial instinct was to flee to India, where I could peacefully stay at an ashram and process all that was transpiring in my mind. Although circumstances kept me from traveling abroad, I knew I needed to simplify. That s when I remembered an old issue of Point of Light I d kept. I dug it out and quickly flipped through the pages? There it was: Peaceful Valley Ashram & Retreat, located just north of Pittsburgh!

Aside from the community-run nature of the All Raw Directory (meaning, the fact that anyone can add or edit the information there, just like a "wiki"), one of the other key concepts of the site is that it is a directory. In other words, the site is not meant to house much information on its own. Rather, it's meant to point people to other sites where pre-existing information may be found.?

So, for example, if you have a recipe for raw chocolate cupcakes, you wouldn't put the step-by-step instructions for making those cupcakes into the All Raw Directory recipes section. Rather, you would put a link to a web site where your recipe already appears (along with a brief description telling people what to expect). See the difference !

Well, we've finally done it -- made the move westward to our new hometown, Portland, Oregon! It's been nothing but the kind of high adventure befitting such a move, not the least of which was a wheel literally flying off of our car while driving (don't worry, no one was hurt) just days before we were scheduled to leave. And, of course, everything during the past few weeks wound up costing about 10x what we'd planned. ?But, we're here! ?And, we're beginning to get settled.

As always, we've got some great things on deck for this blog in the coming near term, including many interesting articles and some fun video experiments we did involving live blood and electrical grounding. We also have some new exciting web site features to roll out, one completely new raw food site to unleash upon the raw foods community, and a whole new Pure Jeevan web site design to launch. For now, though, we'll probably remain off-line for a bit longer, as we organize and unpack things.

Our Pittsburgh home remains for sale. Naturally, we'd hoped to have sold it before making this move. But, we realized that we didn't necessarily have to wait for it to sell in order to move to Portland. So, we took the great leap of faith and moved here without that step completed. (It'll certainly be a happy day when that lovely home finds its new owners and caretakers!).

Today we revive our occasional "Thankful Thursday" feature to give thanks for a special Internet destination: Twitter.com. We're sure a number of you who may be unfamiliar with Twitter may be asking, "What in the world does this have to do with raw foods "

In fact, there's quite a bit of raw foods "activity" on that site! But first, let's take a look at what Twitter is. Basically, it's a web site where you sign up with a username, and then you answer the question, "What are you doing " in 140 characters or less.

In a recent post, I answered part of a message I received from Violet, one of our blog readers. Below is the continuation of my response to Violet (much briefer than my last one!).

Following my response to Violet is a response to Sarah, who has a fantastic raw food blog that I enjoy reading.

Violet's message continued:

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:

Thanks to Bitt, yesterday, for pointing out that one possible misinterpretation of yesterday's post (on celebrity weight loss) could be that "thin = healthy." I'm sure that, while there are countless wonderful benefits to being a famous actor, one of the less wonderful aspects of that life must be the pressure to remain young, thin, attractive, etc. It would seem realistic to me to assert that, additionally, women are held to even more objectified standards than are the men out there (although, in fairness, note that 6 of the 11 stars profiled in the Yahoo feature linked to yesterday were in fact men).

In any case, the post's intention was never to imply that one's weight is necessarily the best indication of one's overall health. After all, we all know thin people afflicted with serious health challenges.

Finally, some super news to share!? On Monday, after a l-o-n-g wait, Wendi finally had her appointment with a actual LLMD. (That stands for "Lyme Literate Medical Doctor."? If this and the news of Wendi's Lyme Disease is new to you, check out this post.)

I'll cut straight to the good part: Her prognosis is excellent! Yes, she's still in a world of pain and misery at the moment, but he believes (based on her blood work and her symptoms) that we've caught this early enought to fully eradicate the Lyme. (At least, that's how I understand it. I'm actually not clear on whether Lyme is ever 100% eradicated, or if it's just forced into dormancy or irrelevancy. Perhaps Wendi can clear that point up later.)

With this video, Pure Jeevan concludes coverage of the 2009 Raw Spirit East festival. We started off two Fridays ago covering raw food chefs, then moved on to raw lifestyle speakers and philosophers. The final piece of the gourmet raw pie would have to be the festival ambience, which is somewhat tougher to capture in a short video. But, I think this video does a reasonable job of conveying a lot of the scene "beyond the food." (But even if it doesn't, how many times do you get to see Charles Balcer hula-hooping on video )

Enjoy the video (and pics, below, too)!

Jim here with another Weird Wednesday.

Recently, at the store, I came across a little plastic tool, priced at $1.49. It was an orange peeler. I'd never heard of such a thing. As someone who eats about 20 oranges/week, I was intrigued. Do you mean to tell me, I thought, that my days of laboriously de-skinning oranges would disappear (those trips to the company bathroom to remove the orange pulp from my fingernails!)?

Last year when I organized a raw food spiritual retreat at an ashram, I met some very lovely people. Two of those individuals were Patty and Denny (you can visit their blog to say hello to them). They were new to gourmet raw foods, so they were enthusiastic learners at the retreat. When they returned home after the blissful weekend, they began using their new raw food knowledge. Here are some excerpts of emails I have received from them since the retreat last year:

Well, you said you're motive in putting on this retreat was simply to pass on this valuable information and to help others; you were very successful where we're concerned - it is no exaggeration to say that you have changed our lives forever.

We've been almost 100% raw since the retreat. ... We're so excited about this new way of eating that we bought a new Vita-Mix. ...We can actually say that this has been our most notable and enjoyable dining experience - ever, in our entire lives! No one would ever put that much work into something if it were just for money; it is obvious that you did it from your heart. We feel blessed to have received such a gift.