Welcome to Day 3 of Raw Salad Dressing Week here on Pure Jeevan. As you'll see, I "got a little creative" once again -- and again got lucky! I'll let you watch the video for the backstory on this one, but I'm happy to report that a nice, hearty, sweet, holiday-appropriate salad dressing was created. So, check out the video, and then I'll make a few closing comments.

Sorry for the strange behavior of this site over the past few weeks, friends. As a former professional web programmer, and always a?bit of a mad hacker, I'm usually really great at keeping the web end of Pure Jeevan running very smoothly.

But, this is a Wordpress blog -- and so you have things like plugins and widgets and themes and updates, all interacting (and sometimes conflicting) with one another. I've noticed lately that this blog home page has developed all sorts of peculiar issues, not the least of which is a very slow-loading tendency.

Today, we're going to show you haw to make some tasty brownies. Best of all, this recipe takes only a few minutes. Let's get to it!

First, throw a couple of big handfulls of raisins into your food processor.

Correction: I said "Lenuria" a number of times in this video, but it's actually Lunaria! In any case, we wanted to share some additional description for this plant. Here's a quick paragraph from Wikipedia:

Lunaria is a genus of flowering plants in the family Brassicaceae, native to central and southern Europe. It includes two species, Perennial honesty and Annual honesty. They are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens, and have become naturalised in many temperate areas away from their native habitat. In the language of flowers, it means Sincerity and Forgetfulness. ...The common name "Honesty" arose in the 16th century, and it may be due to the translucent seed-pods which are like flattened pea-pods and borne on the plant through winter. In South-East Asia, it is called the "Money Plant," and in the United States as "Silver dollars," because its seed pods have the appearance of silver coins.

I have a need for hot food in winter to feel warm.

We hear this comment a lot from those trying to lose weight. Some joke that they thought their excess body fat would be keeping them warm, but they're still feeling cold and needing hot food in the winter months.

In the past, we've talked about reasons what's going on in the body when hot foods are consumed. Understanding this will help you realize that hot foods are actually not very good for our bodies. When we consume very hot foods, that heat is then inside our bodies, next to vital organs, while the body needs to maintain a temperature around 98.6 degrees. When we have temperatures higher than that right next to our vital organs, it must quickly work to remove that excess heat. It's the removal of this excess heat that causes us to feel warm. It's our bodies trying to stay in a healthy state. We are actually putting our bodies under stress when we do this (the same holds true for eating overly cold foods, like frozen desserts and icy drinks).

Happy Summer Solstice!

Well, it's officially summer here! This time of the year is extra special to us now that we're healthier. Not only is there an abundance of fresh, local organics to eat, but the sun also shows itself to us a lot more (Pittsbugh is ranked as one of the places experiencing the least amount of sunshine per year). The sun actually used to make me feel physically ill (I wrote a bit about that in an earlier post), but ever since I've switched to a raw vegan diet I find myself drawn to the healing sunshine.

Before switching to a raw lifestyle, we used to go on a lot of outings (picnics) and we'd also go camping. I remember a friend voicing concern when my diet was beginning to change to raw foods. She felt I wouldn't be able to go camping anymore and that things like picnics wouldn't be fun for someone eating a raw food diet. She thought I'd need access to a refrigerator in order to keep all my raw foods fresh and a kitchen where I could prepare the delicious foods she had been seeing me eat.

This pie is amazing and exactly like a traditionally cooked pumpkin pie! I took a few different pie recipes and altered them until I came up with this recipe.

Pumpkin Pie

Filling:

A Bit of India in Pittsburgh s Back Yard?

During an intense personal journey in recent years, I ve discovered that the more I m able to know my true self, the more my perception of the world changes. As a result, my surroundings have changed as well ?people, places, directions. At one point, internal and external changes happened so rapidly, it was difficult to fully process anything; I felt overwhelmed.

Amid urges to explore so many new directions, all at the same time, it became impossible to focus. My initial instinct was to flee to India, where I could peacefully stay at an ashram and process all that was transpiring in my mind. Although circumstances kept me from traveling abroad, I knew I needed to simplify. That s when I remembered an old issue of Point of Light I d kept. I dug it out and quickly flipped through the pages? There it was: Peaceful Valley Ashram & Retreat, located just north of Pittsburgh!

Jim here... As I may have mentioned a while ago, I joined a gym recently. I figured, with Wendi and Bailey living on the other side of the country, I might as well find something healthy to do with my alone time until I'm able to join them soon (aside from my seemingly never-ending quest to rid our household of 13 years of rampant accumulation). I joined on a whim, actually. There's a gym near my home called Planet Fitness. Honestly, I have no idea how they make money. A membership costs just $10/month -- and it's a Wal-Mart-sized place, too, absolutely packed with state of the art machines. (Actually, it's a franchise, so there could very well be one near you.)

In any case, it had been a while since I'd been inside an actual gym. I've certainly remained relatively active, of course. But being in a gym is a little different -- and certainly has its plusses and minuses. On the minus side, I've always kind of felt that, if you add up all of the time it generally takes to get (1) get ready to go to a gym, (2) drive there, and (3) drive home -- say, a half-hour, total, for those things -- then you could probably better invest that time in just going for a run for a half-hour, leaving straight from your home. From a time management standpoint, I'm not crazy about gym memberships (meaning not that physical exercise isn't worth the investment of time, but rather that there are ways to accomplish the same results in much less time).

Tomorrow I'll finally be posting about the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat that I organized. I took a few days to myself after the event, and then I needed to catch up on a lot of things (which included formatting an almost 150-page publication). It's hard to believe that two weeks have passed, already, since the retreat ended.

I have a lot of photos from the event! Some of the guests prefer to remain anonymous, however, so I can't share all of them with you. However, there are a lot that I can still post on a public page for you to view! I'm waiting to receive some more images from the ashram's camera. Once I have them, I'll be able to complete the photos pages and share images from that wonderful weekend.

BIG THANKS to one of the guests, Angel, who happily took my camera and captured images that weekend. I am extremely grateful that she did, and I'm also impressed with her creative gift with photography! The image she captured of another guest, Faye, is absolutely beautiful! I'm looking forward to sharing the pics with all of you!

Jim here... Yesterday, we talked about exceptions -- those non-raw food items that raw foodists sometimes allow themselves to eat. I listed mine, and a number of people here and on Facebook noted some of their own. (Seems a lot of us enjoy olives, by the way!) It struck me today that a natural follow-up to a list of exceptions would be a list of non-exceptions -- basically a list of things I personally never ever ever ever consume.

This makes sense, right? I suppose all people generally have three basic lists: (1) those things we eat regularly, (2) those things we eat sometimes, and (3) those things we never eat. Hopefully, none of us keep these lists etched in stone, as diets are dynamic things that tend to evolve over time. A few of the items I'll list below may only apply to my current practices, while others (like refined sugar) I hope to permanently exclude. So, let's see: