On this lovely Valentine's Day, I am focusing on how thankful I am for LOVE! I'm not into the whole this-is-the-day-you-are-supposed-to-show-love thing, though. I think love is something that should always be around, felt, and shared. Every day is a new day to express the love you have in so many varied ways, why hold it back for one special day a year?

Here's an impromptu interview with Matt Miller, the gourmet raw foods chef from Maggie's Mercantile, a vegan/raw restaurant in Pittsburgh, PA. We met Matt @ a recent Raw Foods Meetup here in Pittsburgh. In the video, we discuss Matt's famously addictive raw blue corn chips -- deemed by yours truly as the "holy grail" of raw foods. Below, I'll go over the ingredients, etc.

When I first decided to try a raw food diet again (I had sampled it for about three months a few years before going completely raw), I wanted to do it in a way to prove that it either does or doesn t work. The best way to do that, I figured, was through consistent blood tests. So, that s what I did. I have continued to document my path to health with regular blood tests. Many of you know that the results have been remarkable. My dramatic shift in weight is the most obvious to others, but there were equally impressive changes going on inside my body, as well.

It has been about a year since my last blood work was done, so I knew I should schedule an appointment to get the testing done soon (since I want to keep the tests somewhat yearly). I tend to always put the testing off, however. As much as I m curious about the results, the truth is that I m terrified of needles. Over the past few months, I was continuing to put this yearly testing off, but something has spurred me to get it done sooner than later.

***** DISCLAIMER: As with all of our posts here at Pure Jeevan, and particularly those tagged with a new term, "Nadi Balance," please refer to the disclaimer that runs at the bottom of all Pure Jeevan pages. Wendi and Jim are health researchers, educators, and extreme self-experimenters, not doctors. ******

Nadi Balance: Part V

For the past twelve years I've been doing some monthly freelance work for a nonprofit company. I've done other work in addition to the work for this company, but for the past few years I've solely been working with them. The work is sweet---straight-forward desktop publishing for a legal advertising publication. I don't have to read, write, edit, research, or anything else---simply format the pages. The pay is great, too!

Well, I just received a call a few minutes ago notifying me that the publication will no longer be printed. I'm overjoyed for the trees---I wish all publications would go digital. However, since it's going digital, they won't be needing my services much longer.

A while ago, I received an email asking whether I had any thoughts on how old or young a person needs to be in order to benefit from a raw food diet. Yes. Yes, I do have thoughts on that! Lots of thoughts! ... Here goes:

The easy answer, of course, is that people of ALL ages can (and should) benefit from raw foods. I can assert with confidence that, for most people, increasing your intake of raw fruits and vegetables will likely bring about positive changes to your health, regardless of your age, dietary habits, or current state of health. (Naturally, reducing or eliminating the "bad" things is also paramount.)

As promised, here's another question I'd like to openly address here instead of via Wendi's email system. This one also comes up from time to time, and I told this person to watch out for my two cents on this issue. So, here it is. The reader asks:

... During your transtioning to a raw food diet & the loss of so much weight, what if any exercising were you doing along the way

Jim here... While browsing a thrift shop for a smaller belt yesterday, I was reminded to make a few quick points here at our blog about the raw food diet and weight loss.

Many people are initially drawn to raw foods for the weight loss aspect of this lifestyle. Where most other diets ultimately fail in this area, raw foods usually brings wild success. So, for anyone considering a raw foods diet specifically for the purpose of weight loss, here are a few quick tips centered around the theme of "letting go of your expectations."? You may be wondering, "Why should I let go of my expectations for weight loss " Well, here are two big reasons:

Some of you who are new to raw foods may be happy to learn that there are festivals for individuals interested in the raw foods lifestyle! They are a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded friends. For those of you who attended the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, seeing images from that event may stir the magical memories you collected while there.

Below is part one of a two-part guest piece by Rawbin Anderson, in which she recounts her 2008 Raw Spirit Festival J.O.B. experiences of working in the kitchen. Rawbin is now the Raw Spirit Festival East Coast Manager and can be reached at Rawbin [at] rawspirit.com.

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In August of 2007, I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. My entire world had changed since I adopted the raw food lifestlyle. My body had released nearly 100 pounds of unhealthy weight, my health had dramatcially improved, I ended unhealthy friendships, I released a lot of stored emotional memories from childhood abuse, I realized that I wasn't living in a location that met my needs anymore, and so much more. I can't think of any aspect of my life that hadn't changed, in one way or another, over the year and a half that led up to my urgent need for a retreat.

Isn't it amazing how many different, stunningly delicious salad dressings there are in the world ! It's mind-boggling! There could easily be an entire blog devoted to nothing but raw salad dressings -- and I bet, in the right hands, such a blog could go on 5 days / week for literally years before truly exhausting the subject.

The world simply abounds with good recipe ideas -- and "abundance" is really the mentality you need to embrace when you're doing anything in the culinary world, raw or otherwise. The other side of the spectrum is the "scarcity" perspective, which is when you think, "Oh, I'd love to write a cookboook or create a recipe, but there are already millions of them out there and all of the great culinary creations have been done already."