Wendi tells a funny story sometimes about a woman she'd met who was considering undergoing gastric bypass surgery to help her lose weight. When Wendi asked the woman whether she'd consider changing her diet to a raw foods regimen, she responded with something like, "Oh, no, that's too radical."

This is really what it's come to in society; having part of your digestive system surgically altered (in a profound, irreversible, dangerous, and invasive way) is no more than some nonchalant, consequence-free elective decision ... while eating more salads is viewed as "radical."

Jim thought it was important for me to update everyone about my health, especially since so many of you have been sending emails, etc., and I haven't responded.

I do appreciate all the love and concern (thank you all so VERY much!), but it's painful for me to type for very long. This update is going to most likely bring about some more pain, but I don't want you to keep worrying about me and my health. So, I'll share what's been going on.

There's an antibiotic that will decrease the pain temporarily if you have Lyme disease (it won't help the pain if it's caused by anything else), and I was able to obtain some of it. So far, today is day five on it. And here's some great news: The pain started lessening on day three -- the aches completely gone, leaving only sharp pains when I move my joints in certain ways. I'll be on this antibiotic (and possibly some others for "co-infections" that sometimes come with Lyme, but I won't know until more blood tests are done and the Lyme specialist reviews the results).

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.

Above is a quick camera-phone pic I posted to our Facebook group lately. I did talk about making raw parfaits on that page, but want to talk a little more about them today, as it's just the perfect time to be talking about delicious raw parfaits (at least here in America, in any case, where many of the fresh berries you'll probably want are cheap and in season). I'll share a brief story about them, and then share my own basic recipe, and then we'll make some plans for MORE parfait talk really soon, okay?

I'm almost hesitant to talk about raw food parfaits here because, well, if the government found out how unbelievably healthy and ENJOYABLE parfaits are, I'm sure they'd make them illegal. But, I'll take a chance...

For today's Makin' It Monday feature, we'd like to present "Salsa Campechano." We'll have to admit, though, that we do not speak Spanish. So, we have to give some credit to Google's online language translator. When we went to name this recipe, Wendi suggested that this is a "manly" dish (since I created it). However, we didn't find the perfect Spanish word to fit the recipe.Then, considering the walnuts in the recipe, Wendi suggested that perhaps "hearty" was a better adjective. Google returned the Spanish word campechano for this, and we immediately thought: Yes!, that sounds just perfect!? So, here's an amazing recipe for you. It's a hearty salsa recipe, but I actually like to eat it as a soup.

What fun it is to share a fun day with like-minded people at a special location, sharing good times, laughter, and delicious, nutritious raw food wonderment. Here are some pics from our outing -- hopefully the first of many such unique outings blending the Pittsburgh raw group with the D.C. one.

We hope this also provides some inspiration for other meetup groups to consider holding joint meetups in some geographically central location.

If you're new to raw foods, you're probably aware that eating this way isn't exactly mainstream. And, while we've talked here before about the importance of connecting with others for inspiration and support, it's true that a lot of that lends itself to participation in virtual worlds such as Twitter, Facebook, Give It to Me Raw, and other communities, blogs, and sites where raw foodies hang out.

I'm excited about something that one of my friends has been working on. Melissa is gifted in so many areas, one of which is wild edible identification. She recently told me she was working on something that would help a lot of people and I was excited about her new project. Well, now it's ready to be shared with everyone!

Take the time to meet...

In one daily newsletter that Wendi and I subscribe to, there was a discourse recently about being right -- but being right for the wrong reason. I've long been interested in that concept; it's fascinating, when you really think about it -- like getting credit on a test for an answer you guessed at, or knowing how to say something in another language but not knowing what it means. Along those lines, I'd like to share some personal opinion with you.

One of the common pro-raw arguments is that it's a calorie-restrictive diet and thus healthy because it limits our caloric intake (a regimen widely associated with extended lifespans in scientific literature).If you consider that a pound of greens or veggies has about 100 calories (generally speaking) and a pound of fruit has 300-400, imagine the incredible amounts of food you could ingest daily and still be considered calorie-restricted (as compared with the recommended number of calories for your build and lifestyle)!

I was sitting here today thinking about all of you, our lovely online friends who visit this blog. You follow what's going on with us, learn from us, find inspiration in the things we share, and even offer support to us in many ways.

Some of you reach out by leaving comments, many of you send emails, and a larger majority of you are quiet friends who haven't made contact with us, yet. Each and every one of you means so very much to me (and to Jim, too).

We don't keep this blog for ourselves; we keep it for all of you. It is our desire to share all that we've been through, and what we've learned, in order to help you with your own journey. Most of all, however, my personal desire is to inspire you to live the life you truly want to be living (in more ways than just through what you eat).

Wow, I just took a gander at the "Best of Raw" web site and saw that Pure Jeevan is nominated for all sorts of great things -- singling out Wendi, me, Pure Jeevan, this blog, and the All Raw Directory over at least eight different categories!

We really appreciate the nominations, so thanks so much to those who took the time to do that. We'd love it if you would vote for us for "Favorite Raw Blog." (You can do that now by going here.) Of all the things we were nominated for, that's probably the one we've really put the most effort into.