So far, so good, with the mono-meal fasting for Navratri! I mentioned that I'll be sharing an almost diary-like blog entry at the end of each day, to share things with all of you. Well, today's diary entry is quite long. I do share a lot about what was going on with me before the fast, and why I haven't been around much online to connect with all of you.

How's everyone else doing? Are you enjoying your raw food journey? What have you been learning about yourselves, your bodies, and your overall health?

Do you need to be 100% raw to release excess weight and regain your health There's no difinitive answer for that question because we are all unique. Sure, our bodies function pretty much the same way, but there are still enough differences that make it difficult to answer a question like that for it to be true for every single individual.

Most of us have heard of, or know, someone who doesn't eat a healthy diet, who smokes cigarettes and/or drinks alcohol, doesn't get enough rest, and also lives a stressful life---yet that person still has a healthy body and is over 80 years old. People like that seem to have resiliency built into their genes. Sure, who knows how long a person with such resilient genes could live or how vibrant a life that person could enjoy with a healtheir lifestyle. But, the fact remains that it seems no matter what a person's lifestyle is like, if you are born with resilient genes you are pretty much invincible to most illnesses.

A majority of the population isn't born with such impressively hardy genes, however. Most bodies can withstand the stresses of an unhealthy lifestyle until middle age. At that point, however, the body begins to show signs of ill health (excess weight gain, aches and pains, and the start of many diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure). For a majority of those individuals, some healthy lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. Many individuals regain their health simply by changing their diets to include less fat and more vegetables, and by increasing their amount of exercise. Sure, it's a bit of work to make such changes, but if many people are committed to improving their health those simple changes can make a drastic difference in their lives.

Jim here... Whenever I want to learn how to do something new, here's how I go about it:

>>> I practice. <<<

Well, Wendi and our daughter, KDcat, are headed out this evening on a train for their cross-country tour. They didn't seem so sad to leave ... maybe it's because of the bounty they're taking with them! Check it out in the banner above as well as the snapshots below! (I've included a list at the end of many of the products.)

Natural Zing has been Pure Jeevan's favorite online source for all of our raw food supplies. They have been very supportive of Pure Jeevan for over a year, and they continue to amaze us with their love and generosity. You'll be hearing more about Natural Zing during the tour, because they're Wendi and KDcat's official snack sponsors for the trip!

Continuing with our Taco Week, here's a quick and easy (and delicious) salsa recipe. You can really have a lot of fun with salsa, and can get highly experimental if you like. Almost anything tastes great in salsa. This one is fairly basic, so feel free to spruce it up with some of your favorite ingredients. Let us know in the comments section some of your favorite variations so you may inspire others!

As we mentioned in one of our first blog posts, Pure Jeevan met with Leela Mata at her Peaceful Valley Ashram to discuss the details for some 3-day Raw Food Spiritual Retreats for you during 2008! The details are finalized and we are proud to announce our first 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Retreat, that will be held at the ashram from May 23-25, 2008. We've set this retreat up so that it's as affordable as possible. There's a significant savings if you sign up early, so be sure to check it out!

Some very special companies have delicious treats for those attending the retreat.

Q. I am trying to go raw and juicing for only two days now and I am soooo hungry and I really don't quite understand what to eat. I went out and bought a bunch of raw vegetables but I am lost on exactly how to prepare the meals and I'm so tired of being fat. Can you direct me to a simple start of book or can you give me some simple recipes or what you did to get started on your first month? Thank you.

Signed,

Frustrated and Fat in Virginia

A. Dear LOVELY BEING,

We don't always announce birthdays of friends and family here. But this particular individual is an integral part of the raw food community and we want you all to meet her!

Today is the birthday of the radiantly beautiful Penni Shelton! For those of you who don't know Penni, she's an incredible woman; she's got a heart of gold and is filled with love and compassion. She has been a loving friend of Wendi and member of the Pure Jeevan family for a very long time.

Last time on Raw Foods 101 we answered the question, "Why should you soak nuts / seeds before eating them."? Naturally, many readers then asked the next logical question, "How LONG should I soak them before eating " Great question!

Don't forget:? You're soaking the nuts and seeds to "wake them up" as would happen in nature. When seeds are soaked in the springtime rain, they wake up and begin to sprout. When this happens, the nutritional content of the nuts and seeds changes (they become an even greater powerhouse of nutrients).

Jim here... Just wanted to say quickly that I'm heading off to the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF) today! I'll be carpooling (or, vanpooling) with our friends Melissa and Dave Sokulski, their daughter Ella, and our friend Bethany. We're all volunteering at RSF, which should not only be a lot of fun, but should also be a great way to get to know many other fellow raw foodies.

So, we'll be arriving Friday to help set up, enjoying the festival over the weekend, and staying Monday to help them "break it down." Since we need to leave Monday, we'll likely miss a fun-sounding party at Rawbin's place Monday night. But, I'm sure it'll be a blast overall, and it'll also be fun to camp out again, as I haven't done that in a while. I especially hope I'm also able to light something on fire, as I always love the fire aspect of camping most. Maybe I'll run into some of those raw foodies who spin fire-poi and can learn a new skill!

Short post today... We're currently dealing w with a pesky kitchen drain issue that's wreaking havoc in our household. Fortunately, a very talented and power-tool-weilding local plumber just fixed the problem. In the process, he seems to have applied those power tools to our bank account -- $175 for less than one hour's work!? (Ouch!) And the kicker is that the current state of our kitchen is "absolutely atrocious."? I'm serious... we're at like DefCon 5 in terms of the disastrous nature of that room -- and as you well know, for a raw household, that's probably 10 times more frustrating than it is for others. (I smell a whole post coming soon on this topic ...)

Today, we mainly just wanted to say that, at the end of our post yesterday, we briefly asked what you would like to see more of here at Pure Jeevan. We have received some great comments and emails in return, and have decided to devote tomorrow's post to responding to / addressing some of the suggestions we received. So, if you have any further thoughts to share about raw foods content you'd like to see more or less of, please let us know either by commenting below, or by email. Wendi is at WendiDee [at] Pure Jeevan.com. Jim is at Rawdiant [at] gmail.com.