Here's Wendi in Portland interviewing Wes Hannah, one of the owners of Blossoming Lotus, a vegan restaurant that also serves a lot of delicious raw foods. Wendi said it's worth a trip to Portland just to eat there!

[Sorry about the video quality there. I was having some trouble editing this on an old machine. Wendi took the good one with her on the trip!]

I want to admit something to all of you: Sometimes I still cry because of how people treated me when I was obese. Because I stuffed all of my "negative" emotions deep inside my entire life, it's going to take some time to fully release them. I'm working on it, however, and making tremendous progress with healing myself on all levels. I'm not telling you these things so you'll feel sorry for me, however. I'm telling you because I am thankful for all the pain I endured. It shaped me (in more ways than just my physical appearance) into the person I am today.

Even though it sounds strange, and somehow wrong to feel this way, I'm thankful that I was obese. I'm thankful for all of the experiences during my life, even the extremely painful, traumatic ones. Maybe if I was a different kind of person I would wish that those things didn't happen to me. However, I am using those experiences in positive ways. They've helped me understand people even better, and to understand myself on a deeper level, as well. When people reach out to me it's not only because I'm an approachable person, it's because they sense that I understand them--and they're right. I DO understand them. I understand you. My experiences, coupled with my gift of empathy, help me relate to you in a way that maybe not everyone else is able to do.

Jim here... Today Wendi is busy preparing for a multi-day activity that I'm sure she'll be writing about later this week. So, I thought I'd field a question we received recently (one directed specifically to me). We do receive a good deal of questions at our Raw Food Diet Question In-box (at Questions [at] PureJeevan.com), so feel free to send any in that you may have, and we'll definitely get to them all here in time. In any case, one reader writes:

As drawn as I am to a raw diet, being mostly cooked vegan right now, I can't help but come up against this each time: Since produce is, after all, mostly water, what did you eat while transitioning that didn't lead to shoving in lots of bread, potatoes, etc. Do you just eat lots and lots of, say, oranges, at one go? This has always been my raw downfall. I'm sure the answer is very simple.

Wow, this is a great question, and one with many possible answers! To begin, let's recognize that this isn't a question from a "SAD diet" eater. ?Being a vegan, alone, takes significant learning and (often) self-discipline to accomplish successfully. It's also, in my view, an excellent dietary and lifestyle choice for many people, regardless of whether they ever decide to try a raw foods diet. So, this question is rather advanced.

Those consuming a raw food diet sometimes use a dehydrator to prepare raw food dishes. They do this at low temperatures, below the point of actually cooking the foods, to intensify flavors, reduce the amount of moisture in the dish, and sometimes to take the chill off something they'd rather serve a bit warmer than straight out of the refrigerator. There is a practice that we've seen, however, that is actually cooking the very foods were taking such great measures to consume raw! Let me share an experience I had when I first started eating raw foods, that will help explain how some of us may be cooking our foods by mistake.

In the beginning of eating raw foods, my entire family loved the Vegetable Stir-Dont-Fry I used to make (you can find that recipe in the free eBook you downloaded when you first visited our site). One day I created a double recipe so we could eat more the next day, without going through the process of preparing it again fresh. The following day I took the bowl of Stir-Dont-Fry out of the refrigerator and put it into the dehydrator to take the chill off. It wasn't warming up fast enough on such a low temperature, so I thought I'd just cover the dish a little bit to trap in some of the heat that seemed to leave each time I checked the dish and stirred it around. So, I took a plate and placed it on top of the bowl with about an inch, or two, opening.

We've got three incredible posts coming your way this week, and we're going to get started right here and NOW with a one-hour interview with the incredible Kevin Gianni. As most of you know, we postponed our RV Tour recently.As part of that, we'd planned to stage a fun event related to the All Raw Directory.We'd planned to air this interview with Kevin (conducted back in December 2008) for that event.

Fast-forward to today and we realize that, like our raw RV Tour, our All Raw Directory promotion will have to wait. It's funny how things trickle down like that. But, all is not lost. This is still an incredible interview -- and guess what ! It's only part one of a two-part interview, as well as a special super-fun surprise we'll be announcing on Friday. We promise: No one in the raw food community will want to miss Friday's post. All we'll say now is that it's a truly unique, limited opportunity unlike anything you've seen here before! Trust us: You couldn't possibly guess what it is!

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Jim here... Of the many lessons 2008 brought to our household, one standout was certainly the importance of having patience. That s because we set some lofty goals, and lofty goals are often vital teachers.

For example, imagine sitting in your living room one day and deciding: "I'm going to scale Mt. Everest."? (For the purposes of this example, imagine also that no political, administrative, or financial restrictions exist to prevent you from doing this immediately if you really wanted to -- things like passports, entry visas, transportation costs, etc.)

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.

What do you do when you spend the night or week-end at someone's house and they're not raw. Do you take your blender and all that

Super question, Joanna!? I'm sure you also have a great answer for this. I think I do, too, but it's probably more complicated than a lot of people would like.For me, the factors that complicate the "travel to non-raw households" issue include, but are not limited to:

When you're young and learning the letters of the alphabet, anything that starts with the same letter as your name becomes really special. Well, ever since I was a child and saw a Winnebago RV with the giant "W" on the side, I've been enchanted with the idea of one day owning one and traveling the world (at that age, I didn't realize I'd have to cross oceans to see everything).

If you've been following us for a while, you'll know that I was bringing that vision to life. It took years of convincing, but Jim was finally ready for such an adventure and together we began making plans. For more than two years we've been preparing to tour the country, while teaching about raw foods along the way. Our lives changed so dramatically when we found a way to heal our bodies (and more), a way that can also help others, and we just couldn't sit still. We feel called to spread the word about the raw food diet so others can at least hear that there's another way, that there's something different to try in their quest for health. I knew that crossing the country in an RV, planting the seeds about a raw food diet along the way, would be an efficient way of spreading the word.

You know about raw foods, I know about raw foods, and we both know people who know about raw foods. It seems like more and more people know about this lifestyle than ever before -- and that's absolutely true! But, it's still true that, on the whole, the average person on the street knows almost nothing about it. As such, if you're a raw foodist, you often find yourself in situations in which you're explaining it to people. (Obviously, as raw foods bloggers, we're more than happy to do so, of course!)

Amid all of these explanations to new friends and new readers, it's not too uncommon to hear people scoff at the idea in one way or another. Common objections include things like:

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.

Most people never spend time getting in touch with this faculty. To apply it to eating is wonderful. To apply it to food preparation, to the level Debbie does, is ... just, wow! ?We were fascinated when she first told us what she does while preparing food -- and just knew you'd be fascinated as well. Take a look: