Today we welcome Shea Lynn Baird from Monday Night Live. As you may recall from a few weeks ago, Wendi and KDcat visited with Shea and her husband Stephen during their 2010 Trip. While there, they all attended a raw food meetup, and Shea brought a wonderful Thai salad. She shared this delicious creation with all of you in this special guest raw chef edition of Makin' It Monday, below:

Jim here... I'd like to mainly talk about organics today, but thought I'd wrap that subject into a longer, rather quirky piece on ranking produce on some sort of a scale that would indicate how awesome (or awful) it is. See what you think...

Have you ever thought of arranging produce into a sort of "heirarchy of quality"? Well, I'm not going to attempt to do that here, but I would like to discuss the concept for a moment in order to at least explain what I'm getting at. While I've not yet attempted to do this exercise, I nonetheless occasionally envision a large chart or something that conveys my feelings about how I personally rank the quality of fruits and vegetables I put into my body. This all probably sounds vague, so let me share some examples.

Jim here... This post is for anyone who has turned to raw foods in an attempt to become healthy -- to lose weight, lower cholesterol, to lower blood pressure, to beat diabetes, or perhaps to overcome something even more serious. Let me ask you something (rhetorically): Have you ever, in your journey toward optimal health, looked at someone else -- someone else who eats "worse" than you do, yet who appears outwardly more healthy -- and thought, "Why is it so hard for ME and yet so effortless for that person "

Have questions run through your mind such as: ?How can that other person eat all of the wrong things, and yet look healthy? ?Why is it that I eat better than most people, and yet I'm the one facing a health problem Why is it that some people go raw and their issues clear up so quickly, and yet here I am still not feeling and looking 100% healthy? Why is it that physical health is not always bestowed on those who really deserve it?

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Wow, it's been four months since we've run an article in our "Produce Buying Tips" series! Well, in today's installment, we want to remind you that our tips don't stop at the grocery store; you want to make sure you store your produce properly once it is at home to keep it fresh for as long as possible. After all, what good is your amazing organic produce going to do you if it goes bad? (That would be some super-expensive compost!)

Since Wendi has a difficult time right now with many motions involving her shoulders and wrists, I've taken over the responsibility of putting our groceries into the refrigerator. (I'm usually the "carry it all into the house" person, and then she likes to put away the refrigerated stuff.) But, wow, who knew so much went into storing vegetables and fruits I had no idea some things required air circulation, while others needed to be kept in sealed bags. Over the years, Wendi has fine tuned a system for keeping our fridge produce as fresh as possible and for maximizing storage time.

I've been holding on to some things to share here on the blog, and today feels like a good day to share this particular inspirational gem, below. I hope it speaks to some of you in a way that brings about a deeper love for yourself. Many times I have a feeling, based on emails I receive, that I love some of you more than you love yourselves (and I deeply love all of you). That's okay, though. Your time will come to blossom into the self-loving individual that you know you are at your core. Perhaps today what I share will trigger a deeper sense of self-love for you, as it did for another friend.

Back in October, a friend in an online raw community sent me a message about how she was having a tough time with cravings. I responded to her, as follows:

... You CAN do it, too! For me, it took finally loving myself to make the change. I had to KNOW that NOTHING was going to stop me from loving myself. And loving myself meant never putting harmful things into my body EVER AGAIN! So, once I made that decision, I moved forward. I'm not saying I didn't have cravings, but I loved myself through them! ...

Many times in the online communities, the messages you share with others will also be read by individuals stopping by the pages of your friends. That was the case with what I wrote, above. I received a lovely message from another friend in that community, who had read the message I left for someone else. Here's what she wrote to me:

This is YOUR All Raw Directory!

Help it grow!?

? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??

Link to the All Raw Directory!

We encourage you to link to the All Raw Directory. The more users the directory has, the more raw resources we'll all have available at our fingertips. Here are some graphic buttons you can copy for blogs, web sites, etc. Just copy and link to www.AllRawdirectory.com.

Let's have a bit of fun today here on the blog. All week long we've been focusing on brain health and minimizing our chances of developing memory loss as we age. So, how sharp is *your* brain right now? What can you remember as the key highlights of ways to increase memory, ways to eliminate memory loss? What else can you remember reading over the past week here on Pure Jeevan's blog about having a sharp mind?

Share your resp0nses in the comments (and don't read those left by others until you've left your own!).

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.

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:

Day 7: Happy Navratri! It's the final three days, and today begins the special day of focusing on the attributes of Goddess Saraswati, recognizing those same feminine qualities within ourselves, and drawing inspiration to continue growing and changing in the most wonderful ways.

Saraswati has always held a place of honor in our home. When we traveled to India a very long time ago(*), we purchased a batik wall hanging of Goddess Saraswati and framed it. It's quite large and we've always hung it in places where we wanted to focus on the energy that she represents to Hindus: creativity (particularly in the areas of music and art) and knowledge/intelligence (usually linked with education and literature).

?To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!