We just returned from the East End Food Co-op, where we answered raw food questions for two hours. We were still answering questions on our way out the door, and would have stayed longer but the place was closing. ;-) So, if anyone from this evening stops by our site and you still have questions, just comment here (or send me an email) and I'll be happy to answer them.

I'm more of a one-on-one kind of person, so I was a bit nervous about sitting in front of everyone to answer questions. Jim and KDcat were there to help me, of course, otherwise I probably wouldn't have been there at all. Once people started arriving, I was comfortable. The first people who entered the room were super sweet and I could tell they were genuinely nice people. Then little by little the room filled up, and I was surprisingly comfortable.Maybe in addition to all of the other positive changes in my life, my self confidence is getting better, too!

Wow, Pure Jeevan is officially coast-to-coast now! That picture, above, is our name written in the Pacific sand. Surely, there's an apt metaphor here, if only I felt moved to make one. Instead, why don't we take a look at what Wendi wrote about this, and see if a life-lesson doesn't spring to life! Her remarks, written for Pure Jeevan readers:

So, the ideal place on paper (Corvallis) wasn t seeming quite like the perfect place for us that we thought it would be. It s an amazing little town, with a lot going for it. If someone is looking for a totally hip, laid-back, creative, educated group of people living in a small town with no unsavory extremes as far as cold and heat, then this is the place for you. For us, however, we now realize that we ve grown to love all that comes with living in a larger city. Corvallis is fantastic, but now we realize we need a larger city.

On special Mondays, you sometimes see a regular feature here on Pure Jeevan's blog called Makin' It Monday. We always have so much fun doing this series, and it's been a huge hit both here on our blog and on YouTube.

We thought of a way to make the special Mondays even more special! Guess how? By seeing YOU in our Makin' It Monday raw food recipe videos! So, here's an open casting call for anyone in the Pure Jeevan family (that's you!) adventurous enough to prepare a raw food recipe on video to be featured in our Makin' It Monday series!

"Only somebody who really takes the time to understand [Pure Jeevan's Salsa's*] potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and ... ancient on the planet." ~ Miles Raymond in "Sideways" (2004) (*slightly modified).

Jim here... Over the weekend, I'd made a string of videos for Pure Jeevan using my handy-dandy new phone. To my great surprise, when I went to post them to YouTube, they all came out sideways! So, I'm sorry, friends... you'll have to endure (if you so choose) a somewhat disorienting video, below. But, hey, at least it reminded me of that wondrous quote from the movie Sideways! I imagine Paul Giamatti describing one of my own recent creations this way -- a sort-of half-raw, yet still very healthy delight that I like to make sometimes.

My reason for featuring a less than 100% raw recipe is two-fold. First, I'd been discussing transitioning to raw (see yesterday's post). And, adding more raw into your non-raw diet is a great way to transition. I believe that raw sauces are an excellent way to achieve this, as I'll explain in the video. Second, if you do prefer a 100% raw dish, then you can simply replace the beans with something else -- perhaps sprouted beans, or maybe your own invention from the dehydrator.

Today we welcome Shea Lynn Baird from Monday Night Live. As you may recall from a few weeks ago, Wendi and KDcat visited with Shea and her husband Stephen during their 2010 Trip. While there, they all attended a raw food meetup, and Shea brought a wonderful Thai salad. She shared this delicious creation with all of you in this special guest raw chef edition of Makin' It Monday, below:

Today, for Thankful Thursday, I want to focus on a raw food related subject: Raw Recipe Books! Without the many mouthwatering, visually appetizing recipes that have been created and published, I don't know if I'd still be living a raw food lifestyle at this time.

About two years ago, when I made the decision to transition into a raw food diet, there were some fantastic raw food recipe books available. A few years before that, when I tried raw for the first time with a dear friend of mine, there were books available but none of them were truly gourmet meals. It's amazing how much things change in just a few years! The newer books are filled with colorful pictures of the most visually stimulating foods, which never looked like simple chopped up veggies arranged nicely on a plate. We have a page with many raw recipe books listed, if you'd like to see some of the ones that are available.

The superlatively captivating, one-and-only Bif Naked has been a superstar rock and roll icon, performer, diva, composer, acclaimed actress, sought-after voice-over artist, gifted poet / writer, and even cartoonist(!) for years. But, did you know she's also a raw vegan !

Early in 2009, I remember reading about her breast cancer diagnosis. The story both intrigued and haunted the raw world: ?How could a raw foodie get cancer ! We're supposed to be impervious to such things, right !

Well, I hope we're finally approaching the true end-game of our whole move. We now have our home listed with a new realtor (no longer going it alone as a "for sale by owner" scenario), so we're hoping that a renewed effort (and a lower price) will attract a buyer. The market seems to be perking back up a little as well, which certainly can't hurt anything.

Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions for places we should consider moving to. I assure you that we researched each and every one to an almost ridiculous degree. There are more amazing places to live than we ever knew, and we were delighted to learn about some areas with which we weren't very familiar -- funky little enclaves in Texas, Tennessee, New Mexico, etc. I think we've hinted as to our inclinations before, but I can tell you that, after so many months of intense deliberation, we believe the best domestic home for Pure Jeevan is probably in Oregon.

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

Yesterday, we covered the concept of "unsubscribing" from unhealthy practices. This was of course based on the common Internet practice of subscribing and unsubscribing to various things like newsletters and email lists. I receive quite a few of these each day, many raw foods ones and many non-raw ones. Among the non-raw, one that has been interesting to me lately is called the Art of Non-Conformity, penned by Chris Guillebeau. Basically, Chris' site chronicles his adventures in reaching his personal goal -- to travel to every country in the world! Along the way, he writes about all sorts of out-of-the-box things, as the blog name implies.

Today, he posted something that is remarkably insightful and applicable to our subject matter here, even though his context was completely different. The entry, entitled simply "Before and After," discusses the drinking water problems in much of Africa, focusing for the moment on Liberia. Atop the piece (the "before" picture) is a muddy water hole, the only source of drinking water for one village. The next picture (the "after" shot) shows a different, very happy village obtaining fresh, clean water from a newly installed well. Chris closes his article with the following quote:

Jim here... An unusual occurrence prompted this post, and I'm unsure as to whether it's significant. I've talked about some of my favorite non-raw items before -- things that were tough to leave behind as I embarked upon this raw foods journey. I think I covered pizza in a relatively recent post.

Corn chips were another. In fact, after Wendi went 100% raw and I more or less began to follow her dietary choices, I clung to corn chips for dear life for quite a long time. I began eating a LOT of salsa in those days. Sometimes, that would be all I'd eat for lunch -- just an entire jar of salsa and a bag of corn chips (though, by then, I'd at least usually buy the organic ones and, quite often, a baked variety of chips as well).

When I finally decided I'd be better off transitioning to an all raw lifestyle, I figured my love affair with corn chips had come to an end. Farewell beautiful chips, I thought. I'll never forget our delicious crunchy time together. And that was that. I never looked back.

But then, at a local raw foods pot luck, I met a raw chef who had more or less perfected a raw corn chip recipe. Could it be , I thought. Has this delicacy returned to me after all, as though via some sweet culinary destiny? Ahh, my friends, that was a glorious day. Chips and salsa had returned to me in an enlightened raw form. I could enjoy them once again, guilt free. And enjoy them I did -- usually using a local shop's "Peruvian Purple Corn" (a living, sproutable, dried corn product).

Alas, fate stepped in once again. "Thou may partake of these crisps any time thou wishest," fate boomed. "Yet, in order to do so, thou must prepare them thine self using thine Vitamix and requiring an enormous flax-sticky mess with extended clean-up time, and thou must have parchment paper available at all times, and thou must exercise great care and patience in using your Excalibur, for these chips must dry for many an hour before ready."

Yeah, it was a bit of a chore to produce them. So, as the novelty of chip making and eating wore off, I slowly decreased the frequency of going through the messy, time-consuming hassle of preparing them. Until yesterday, it had been literally months since I made a batch. But... we'd ordered a few pounds of the corn from Natural Zing lately, and I found myself with some extra time the other night. So...

Now, I'm going to pause for a minute for a tangent on digestion. I know a great majority of people, it seems, complain of various digestive disorders. As a result, we have many raw foodie specialists schooled in the nuances of food combining. Oddly, I never paid much attention to these discussions, nor offered input on these matters, because they simply weren't relevant to me.

In fact, I likened my own digestive system to some kind of nuclear powered garbage disposal. It didn't matter what I ate; digestion wasn't a problem for me. So, for example, I'd routinely finish off heavy meals, and then follow them with a huge slice of juicy watermelon (a major no-no according to common wisdom). It just never bothered me.I always joked that, even though I'd been raw for ages, I could still probably go eat a Big Mac (not that I would) and be unaffected by it.

So powerful was my stomach acid that, admittedly, I sometimes privately *worried* whether this might mean something was wrong with me. I mean, shouldn't some of the things I was eating make me sick? Was it "good" to not be made sick by what is generally regarded as poor food combining choices? Do people commonly suffer from problems of efficiency as well as deficiency ? I still do not really know the answer to these questions, and suspect the answer is rather complicated, anyway. Fortunately, it doesn't matter now because...

Something finally made me sick!? I'm laughing now about that, but I spent most of the evening in terrible stomach pain after having over-indulged in some of those (in)famous raw purple corn chips.

So, what happened ? That's an interesting question for me. Here are some possibilities: (1) Perhaps my hyper-active digestive system *was* in fact a problem, and now it's beginning to normalize. Perhaps, had I been healthier all along, I would have been made sick by some of my food choices, but now my health is improving!? (2) Perhaps it's a fluke and I simply shouldn't have eaten mass quantities of corn and flax so late at night. (3) Perhaps my body is improving in its ability to communicate with me, and/or that I'm getting better at listening, and that the message here is that corn is not something my body gains nourishment from -- at least, not in this dried-reprocessed-redried form. After all, some leading raw food authorities, like Gabriel Cousens, aren't fans of corn (even fresh corn!).

Oh sure, there may be other explanations (e.g., "a bad batch of corn"). But, I'm actually most interested in #3, above. Even though this is an extreme example (more intense than it needed to be), I'd like to think that I'm getting better at knowing what I'm being nourished from and what I am not. I'd like to think that this is a latent sense that can be developed, much like our ability to know things by feeling and intuition rather via pure rationality all the time.

But, with food, I think it's a matter of inventorying your physical sensations head to toe, and also as a whole. How is the food you're eating making you feel? Do you feel satisfied or still hungry? Do you feel light or is the food sitting kind of heavily? Do you feel energized or dragged down? How's your mental clarity? Do you feel spacey or more grounded? Do you feel noticeably happier or more sad than before? How are all of these things mapping out over time? Is your weight moving in a positive direction for you? Are your illnesses improving? Food is medicine, after all; it has all of these effects and many more!

For now, I think I can safely check purple corn off of my own personal list of foods that make me feel good. I suspect my old assertion about "being able to eat a Big Mac without any side effects" no longer applies -- and maybe this is a good thing. I think perhaps it signals some progress in my journey toward optimal health.

In any case, I think this kind of purposeful introspection is healthy, and something we should all strive to do more often.How about you? Had any similar experiences? What have you learned from them?

Original Comments

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On April 15, 2009, essie wrote: