Jim here... Recently, a commenter on this blog, Lannette, mentioned being a cardiac rehab nurse. For some reason, reading this set my wheels spinning in various directions, among them onto the topic of meat consumption in the world. To begin, I'd like to recap something I'd said in response to her:

... it *astounds* me how people joke about heart health where I work. People around here routinely return from medical exams and actually adopt rather mischievous grins when they reveal how high their bad cholesterol levels are. It's like they're saying, "I know meat and dairy are bad for me, but I'm going to keep on eating it anyway. Isn't that funny ??!!!" Ummm, no. It's sad. They laugh it off as though there could be no possible future reckoning for them. It's reminiscent, IMHO, of Dr. Viktor Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning," in which he describes a psychological phenomenon he termed the "delusion of reprieve." For anyone unfamiliar w/ that, the term describes the phenomenon via which those faced with certain death (or near certain death) mentally construct some way out of it. They are deluded into believing that they'll have a reprieve from the inevitable. So, it's exactly the same to me -- these people see the heart attacks coming. They simply refuse to do anything about it, refuse to change their habits, deny what their blood work says to them. Why? Because they think "I'll be okay. Sure, this leads to heart disease in most people, but not in *me* because I'm a strong guy, I'm macho, I'm not as fat as some other person here, etc." Mostly, it's the meat, I think. It's got a powerful hold on our society...

So, today I wanted to write a little bit on the topic of meat consumption. This is an enormous issue, in my opinion. If you're reading this, it likely means you're already at least a vegetarian, so I do not need to quote you any saddening statistics on the horrors of the meat industry. In fact, before writing this, I decided to visit the PETA web site quickly in order to glean a few slaughterhouse facts. But, in no time, I became markedly depressed, so I'll largely avoid focusing on specific negative imagery here.

Yahoo recently ran a photo series on their "omg!" channel entitled "Celebrity Slim-Down Secrets." It actually has a nice set of before and after photos of celebrities who have lost weight. The set is here.Featured are Kelly Osbourne, Seth Rogen, Jennifer Hudson, Jerry Ferrara, Kirstie Alley, John Goodman, Jordin Sparks, Jason Segel, Drew Carey, Sara Rue, amd Kevin James. ?Most reported using personal trainers, changing up their diets, and getting more exercise (or some variation of those three).

We didn't read any reports of raw food diets in the story, but looking at before and after pictures is probably always a good idea, if only for visual inspiration. It's nice to see a broad range of people turning their health around, too. Some are younger celebs; others in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. So, it's nice to know that major changes are possible at any age.

I want to admit something to all of you: Sometimes I still cry because of how people treated me when I was obese. Because I stuffed all of my "negative" emotions deep inside my entire life, it's going to take some time to fully release them. I'm working on it, however, and making tremendous progress with healing myself on all levels. I'm not telling you these things so you'll feel sorry for me, however. I'm telling you because I am thankful for all the pain I endured. It shaped me (in more ways than just my physical appearance) into the person I am today.

Even though it sounds strange, and somehow wrong to feel this way, I'm thankful that I was obese. I'm thankful for all of the experiences during my life, even the extremely painful, traumatic ones. Maybe if I was a different kind of person I would wish that those things didn't happen to me. However, I am using those experiences in positive ways. They've helped me understand people even better, and to understand myself on a deeper level, as well. When people reach out to me it's not only because I'm an approachable person, it's because they sense that I understand them--and they're right. I DO understand them. I understand you. My experiences, coupled with my gift of empathy, help me relate to you in a way that maybe not everyone else is able to do.

Just a few brief thoughts for you this Weird Wednesday...

Of all the species on this Earth, it's weird that no other animals besides people cook their food. Similarly, of all the species on this Earth, it's weird that no other animals besides people drink the milk of other animals.


Kevin Gianni Wants to Meet

Pittsburgh Raw Foodists This Saturday!

UPDATE: Location is set for my home in the South Hills

Kevin and Annmarie Gianni will be in Pittsburgh for the Steeler's game on Sunday. They'd love to meet Pittsburgh raw foodies while they're here! So, if you can make it to meet up with them, let Wendi Dee know as soon as possible. We'll either be meeting at the East End Food Coop (if I can reserve the space at the last minute) or at my home (South Hills/Brentwood). Please respond by Friday at 5:00 p.m. about your availablity.

What better way to start our Fun-Filled Friday than by celebrating Jim's birthday ! He worked for half the day and now he's home for a long weekend. So far we've had a nice lunch (cashew/macadamia cheese with red peppers and celery) and birthday pie (mango and pineapple!) after singing "Happy Birthday" to him! This evening we'll have veggie stir-not-fry, since that's what Jim has requested. I prepared it earlier and it's in the dehydrator to marinade and get a bit warm.

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.

It turns out that planning a 40-day/40-night cross-country trip is a LOT of work! (Who knew ??!) Wendi and I seem to be spending every waking moment planning this thing, which may explain why we've missed a day or two's posts here on Pure Jeevan. But, we're gearing up for something absolutely amazing -- and it all starts next week!? So, if there is a quiet day or two this week, just keep in mind that the rawsome content is going to be absolutely insane here starting late next week and continuing through March into early April!

Today, we wanted to extend a huge thanks to Jeff and Helen Rose, owners of Natural Zing, for offering to sponsor the snack portion of Wendi and KDcat's trip. Jeff and Helen understand that, being a raw foodie, it can be a little tough to be on the road for such a long time. Sure, Wendi and KDcat will probably be snacking on a lot of fresh fruit, but it's also nice to have some packaged raw goodies as well while you're traveling. So, Wendi and KDcat will be loading up on some of their favorites -- botija olives, Love Force breads, Gopal's power wraps, some nut butters, some raw chocolates, and more. So, in thanking Natural Zing, we'll be running banners and so forth along with our content during Pure Jeevan's trip.

It's been a while since we've made any major design changes around here. So, we thought a redesign was in order -- and we're happy to announce that we're about 95% finished implementing the new look. It's live and working right now, so we invite you to take a peek.

So many things have changed and/or been updated, not the least of which is the general look and feel of Pure Jeevan. (We did base the new design on much of the look and feel we established many years ago. But, the site has now been modernized -- adding a third column, leveraging more complex style sheets, and integrating more with social media sites like Facebook, and quite a few behind-the-scenes programming updates.)

Just a quick notice that we've posted our December 2009 newsletter. Each month, we email a link to our newsletter to all Pure Jeevan family members. (If you're not receiving that, you're mising out on a ton of awesome raw inspiration and information. You can click here to sign up -- it's free!)

We'll be back tomorrow to continue our coverage of the Chicago raw food scene. As I've been saying for a few days now, you won't want to miss these great interviews!?

Jim here... Thought we'd share some hidden camera footage from the Pure Jeevan household. Didn't you know ? ... the Pure Jeevan household is under continual video surveillance!? We have an enormous bank of these cameras, all feeding live streams to our costly, off-site high-tek storage facilities, monitoring every room in the house -- all to capture moments of inspiration such as this one. Why carry pen and paper all the time when you can simply install hundreds of "inspiration-cams" and pay techies to maintain a gargantuan bank of petabyte hard drives ? So, in this clip, the actual origin of an idea is captured. (We totally weren't just acting, ok ) So, having scoured said bank of petabyte hard drives, we isolated the following clip --thought you'd enjoy it as a preview of what's ahead tomorrow.