Organizing the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat has brought with it the bonus of meeting some fantastic people and the opportunity to learn about their amazing raw food snack companies.

Hi there, Pure Jeevan family! ?Jim here... A few weeks ago, I'd been reading about Bibi McGill, the guitarist and musical director for Beyonce. It was a fascinating piece (linked to below, actually) and, to my complete surprise at the time, touched on her fairly serious interest in raw foods -- and, wouldn't you know, she also lives right here in sunny Portlandia!

Soon, I realized that I'd seen her name around town before -- and Wendi did, too! There are these absolutely addictive kale chips, you see... (We like to get them at our local food co-op from time to time because they're truly something special.) ?But, until recently, we didn't piece it all together -- that one person manages to produce this distinctive brand of raw snacks, teach yoga classes here in Stumptown, AND somehow also tour the entire globe as lead guitarist ?for world-class acts like Beyonce and Pink!

There's a peculiar yet recurring kind of argument I get from a number of people from time to time when the subject of diet or health arises. Basically, it goes like this: "Yeah, all of those vegetables and exercise might be good for you, and all of that meat and fried food I eat might be bad for me, but what if you get hit by a truck tomorrow "

This sort of perspective is interesting to me for at least two major reasons.

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.)

This has been floating around the web for a day or two, but for those who haven't seen it, here's former President Bill Clinton talking about his plant-based diet, and what he hopes to gain through it. How amazing to see an *American president* discussing this sort of thing!! Who'd have ever imagined this (considering the strength of the beef and dairy lobbies in this country)?

Stories like this give me hope that the world will become more health conscious -- and will begin to understand that things like irradiation, GMO technology, pesticides, and all of the scary discussion floating around about the "Codex" are all unnatural, unsustainable, and unhealthy for us and for the planet. All you need is love -- and delicious organic foods! Glad to see Bill Clinton advocating this.

When it comes to healthy eating, most of us know what is and isn't healthy for our bodies. Sure, we've been a bit confused by what the media and our government tells us, but overall I think we can all confidently say we know that consuming fresh fruits and vegetables is going to be a healthier choice than eating a McDonald's hamburger and fries. Right

But, what do we do when we're dealing with stress in our lives? What if when we're stressed we instantly head to McDonald's to eat the burger and fries we know aren't healthy for us? Or what if we consume large quantities of cakes, candies, or ice cream when we're overcome with stress

I have enjoyed including information about new people, companies, and sites here in our blog for you to meet each Tuesday. Today, however, I want to do something a little bit different. Instead of someone or something being introduced to you, I'd love for YOU to introduce yourself to ME!

Take the time for ME to meet...

Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.

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.

Welcome to Pure Jeevan's "Juice-a-Day Jamboree"! You're probably wondering, "What IS Pure Jeevan's Juice-a-Day Jamboree, anyway "? Well, it's simple:? It's an ongoing, informal, loosely organized "event" centered around juicing. Think of it as an interim step between (1) any kind of diet or lifestyle, from SAD to full-on raw, that does not include much regular juice, and (2) an all out juice feast where that's ALL you'd consume for a period of time. Basically, we're saying, "Let's just make this simple and accessible for everyone. Let's just make a goal to simply drink more fresh juice!"

Wendi and I have been thinking a lot about incorporating more juicing into our lives lately (which is something we've done off and on over the years but never stuck with long-term). One thing holding us back from doing it more often is the time requirement. When we juice, it usually takes a half hour or so from start to finish. I know it doesn't seem that complicated, but I suppose it's just the whole process of setting up the juicer, washing and peeling the produce, juicing it, setting the juice aside while we clean the juicer, doling out the juice into glasses, cleaning up the mini-mess that makes, and then sitting down to actually enjoy the juice.

So, did you think we'd forget about Makin' It Monday during Wendi & KDcat's big cross-country tour? Absolutely not! ?While in Salem, Wendi filmed Kerry Matson demonstrating one of her favorite raw recipes -- heck, one of our favorites, too! I'd have to say that raw apple pie is one of the classic raw dessert recipes. Everyone interested in raw should know how to make this! (And anyone who tastes it will soon be interested in raw!)