Wow, so much happened in Chicago that it's taking literally weeks to show it all to you!? But, hey, it's also a lot of fun to share this stuff. Wasn't that a great talk yesterday with Kathy and Danny Living !? If you haven't seen it, definitely scroll down and watch!

Here's another one for you. Meet Hatice Yavuz, co-owner along with Chef Mehmet Ak of Cousin's Incredible Vitality, another great raw destination in the Windy City. "Hatice" is a Turkish name, in case you're wondering. The "c" is pronounced like a "j" -- so, her name sounds like "huh-TEE-jay." Our interview with her ran a little long, so I'm going to have to break it into two parts. Here's part one:

I thought I'd share some recent pictures with all of you. Let me know what you think!?

Carob Peppermint Hearts

This is a recipe I created to take the place of a packaged raw cacao dessert that Jim loves. I don't like to eat cacao, because it disturbs my heart, so I use carob. A new raw friend asked for a recipe for this dessert, because she loved it so much, but I don't have one. I dump walnuts, coconut, agave, and peppermint oil into the food processor and mix until it's a consistency that can stick together. For Valentine's Day I shaped the mixture into hearts. Sweet!?

Jim here... Sorry for being away for so long. We've got SO much going on these days, it's mind-boggling! More on that later, as I have something in mind already for today...I should start by clarifying that I've been basically raw for almost 4 years now (high-raw, you might say). During the first nearly-two years, I still ate meat from time to time. Actually, I still ate (and drank) almost everything from time to time -- sugars, processed foods, alcohol, you name it -- only less than I did before, and within the context of a dietary intake consisting of a significantly higher percentage of living foods. In those early years, I'd estimate I was averaging 75-90% raw. Not bad ... I definitely experienced improvements in my health!

The big change in consciousness didn't follow until two years ago. (This is an interesting point because, as you can see, I wasn't "ready" for a bigger change for two years into eating a lot of raw foods!) I suppose the difference was that, during the early years, I was pretty much raw by default rather than by conscious decision. As Jules said in Pulp Fiction, "... my girlfriend's a vegetarian. ?Which more or less makes me a vegetarian..." Yeah, that was my case back then, too, although I certainly grew into it (and am thankful that I did).

We're taking a very short break from our Nadi Balance series to announce that once again it's a special time of the year for diabetes awareness. As you may recall, we spent Wendi's 25th birthday last year doing public outreach on this very topic, as it's an issue close to our hearts. Pure Jeevan even maintains a special page, here, for diabetes information. So, if you know of anyone suffering from diabetes, and feel that they may be receptive to some really eye-opening information on the topic, please direct them to:

Driving to work today, we noticed that McDonald's has launched its latest product aimed at the health-conscious demographic. In case you haven't heard, you can now purchase fruit smoothies at Mickey D's! Sounds like real progress, right? Well, let's take a closer look and see if they're really as healthy as they sound.

McDonald's is not exactly known as a healthfood destination. After all, a typical lunch at the Golden Arches these days might well include something like an Angus Bacon & Cheese, Large Fries, and a Large Coke. ?Together, that's 1,600 calories, 64 grams of fat, and 2,400 mg of sodium, 99% of which is from highly cooked, highly processed, non-organic, factory-farmed, nutrition-barren source materials . (Add on another 75 calories and 550 more mg of sodium if you plan to go through, say, five packets of ketchup along with those fries.) (Source) And, some people eat that daily!

As promised, here is the picture again of the Mexican meal I created the other day. It will be served at the upcoming 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat (only a few spaces left!). Since many of our readers can't make it to the retreat, I said I'd post some of the recipes here in the blog. I hope some of you will try to create the recipes and let me know what you think!

After leaving the windy area of Prescott Valley, AZ, Wendi and KDcat headed up to Sedona. Today is part one of their Sedona visit, focusing on their visit with raw chocolatier, Kelly Johnson. We'll pick up with Wendi's travelogue, where we last left off:

It was great driving to Sedona, since I have a fond place in my heart for this magical spot. I'll talk more about that later, though. When we arrived, went directly to a raw restaurant I remembered visiting a few years ago. The name had changed, and there was a lot more going on there.

KDcat and I placed an order for some food to go (we wanted to have a picnic, rather than be inside when there was so much beauty around), and then met the lovely Kelly Johnson. Kelly is one of the owners of the raw restaurant and he agreed to do a quick interview to tell us about the restaurant and what had changed since the last time I was in Sedona.

"... a warrior's life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is a warrior's sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death."
~ Dan Millman, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

During some "highway philosophization" (my term for pondering everything and anything while driving) this afternoon, I eventually began to think rather deeply about human aggression, and specifically about how people hurt other people. Mainly, I was thinking about individual aggreession, although, as a group, humans are unfortunately rather prone to it.Wikipedia maintains a list of ongoing conflicts (i.e., wars), in fact. According to that page, there are seven major wars happenning right now and 15 additional significant ones. Of course, there are scores of unlisted ones ongoing as well, most of which the average person has never heard about.

All this month, Jim has been experimenting with a low-fat, raw vegan diet. He discusses his reasons for trying a low fat diet, and how he s been feeling with the changes, in his first and second posts so far this month.

Many of you have heard us mention the famous low-fat, raw vegan 80/10/10 diet here on our blog. Well, today I d like to highlight the individual behind that diet. So?

Before we moved to Portland, Oregon, land of all things fresh and organic within walking distance, we had to drive quite a distance to reach the food co-op (the only place that had a good selection of organic produce and other raw food necessities). So, we only went shopping about once a week. It took a lot of trial and error to find ways to keep our weekly produce fresh for about a week.

We learned which fruits and vegetables stay fresh the longest, and which go bad the fastest. Based on this, we stocked the refrigerator accordingly (and used up the produce accordingly, as well). The fruits and veggies that stayed fresh the longest were stored in the backs of the shelves (things like carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, etc.). Next we stored the greens that lasted a pretty good amount of time (like kale and collards). And in the front of the shelves and in the door, we stored the more delicate greens (like lettuces and herbs).

So, what did you think about there being snow in New Mexico? Were many of you thinking it was more of a consistant hot climate like I used to think?

We left New Mexico, renewed, and headed to Oklahoma. Here's where we left off yesterday: