Here it is, the new year. I've never been excited about the end of one year and the beginning of the next, but this time it's different.So many things have changed in our lives here at Pure Jeevan, bringing us to this point in time--a time that we are ready for and fully embrace. This year is going to be RAWmazing!

Many plans and projects have been started over the past few years, and this is the year that will see many of them fully blossom. The beauty of these projects is that they are about so much more than just us, or just you, our lovely readers. Our mission is to help as many people as possible to wake up from a life that's only partially being lived.We believe there are many tools that can be used to fully wake up and embrace life; one of them is eating a raw food diet. We raw foodists know that there is a lot more to life than what we've been taught to believe and expect, and many of us are helping others learn this beautiful fact. We are shaking up many of the core beliefs on which most of us have based our lives. I strongly believe that many of us in the raw food movement can say: We Are The Ones! We are the ones who are here to make positive changes, to help others fully embrace life, and to have fun, fun, fun! Why waste even one more day of your precious life doing something you don't enjoy doing? It's time to have fun, to feel the love that exists within and all around us, and to help others experience the same! So, are you in ?Do you want to join us on this grand adventure of creating a blissful life for not only ourselves, but for the rest of the world, as well?

Recently, we were asked how to balance meals when one individual is an under-weight-open-to-raw-semi-carnivore and the other is overweight and feels the need to be on a raw food diet to lose weight and regain health.

Many of you reading this will agree: It's wonderful that the partner is open to the raw food diet! That's going to make life so much easier. Many on the raw food path lack a supportive partner, and that's an issue we've discussed in the past here on the blog and will continue to address in the future.

Aren't these videos wonderful ? Today we have yet another special Raw Spirit interview for you -- the mega-talented Markus Rothkranz. What can I say about Markus? He's a true inspiration, a man who truly lives by his heart and inspires thousands of others on a daily basis. He's actually very tough to interview because he's so interesting and self-actualized, you really just want to hang and chat with him (but then you remember that you're on film and you should probably get back to asking questions that people will appreciate).

Markus gave a great talk just prior to our interview, and made several points that resonated with me personally -- topics such as the way fear pervades our world and why it's best to live more intuitively, following your heart as much as possible. I've always held some strong personal views about the way that people tend to limit themselves in this life (perhaps from having spent way too long in the corporate world). Markus is not one of those people. I get the sense that he gets up each morning and truly basks in his limitlessness. And we're all similarly capable, in my view. You just have to shed that fear that is sold to you at a young age, and then take action on your passions. Yes, YOU can do anything you put your mind to! And if you're doing that AND living a life in true accordance with your conscience... well, WOW!

In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part one, focusing on Tim VanOrden's take on this issue.

When alternatives to the Standard American Diet are discussed, protein is on everyone's mind. There are many reasons why someone might want to eat a plant based diet, whether for allergy concerns, health reasons, or more variety. But nagging doubts often come up;? Are plant proteins adequate for athletes and body builders ? Are they really the preferred protein source of the human body ? Are they better than animal based protein or are they just consumed for environmental reasons ? To answer these questions, why not ask the experts:? triathletes, professional dancers, bodybuilders and extreme sport racers ? Here are the answers from some of the most competitive athletes in their respective fields.

For today's Makin' It Monday feature, we'd like to present "Salsa Campechano." We'll have to admit, though, that we do not speak Spanish. So, we have to give some credit to Google's online language translator. When we went to name this recipe, Wendi suggested that this is a "manly" dish (since I created it). However, we didn't find the perfect Spanish word to fit the recipe.Then, considering the walnuts in the recipe, Wendi suggested that perhaps "hearty" was a better adjective. Google returned the Spanish word campechano for this, and we immediately thought: Yes!, that sounds just perfect!? So, here's an amazing recipe for you. It's a hearty salsa recipe, but I actually like to eat it as a soup.

Here's a basic recipe that can be used to create any nut milk!

Nut Milk

1 cup of nuts or seeds?

I've received countless emails over the past few days, thanks to Kevin Gianni's video (above) about the potato pancakes I made for he and Annmarie when they were visiting. In many of the emails you were thanking me for the free eBooks, but some of you had questions (and even some concerns) about sweet potatoes. I've answered you all individually, but I thought it might be a good idea to spend some time discussing the sweet potato a little more. Here were some of the questions I was asked:

  • Aren't orange sweet potatoes really yams
  • Are sweet potatoes bad for me if I have diabetes
  • Can I use yams in the potato pancake recipe instead of sweet potatoes
  • Aren't sweet potatoes high in carbs? Won't they make me gain weight
  • Can I use regular white potatoes instead of sweet potatoes in the recipe
  • Aren't raw potatoes bad for people

In all of my replies, I told you the truth. I don't know what makes a sweet potato different from a yam. They look similar to me. I know I'm buying and eating sweet potatoes, however, because they are labeled that way in the food co-op, where they sell both yams and sweet potatoes. They produce guys (brilliant guys) know there's a difference between the two, but I never stopped to ask them what it is. After all of your questions, however, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to educate myself.

Jim here... Anyone else like a good funky beat ? Who's familiar with Kool & the Gang's 1973 classic, "Jungle Boogie"? Surely a lot of people know that awesome tune. If you do, recall some of the main lyrics: "Get Down Get Down, Get Down Get Down!" That's the tune I want you to keep in mind as you read this post. Hear the drums, the bassline, the electric guitar, the horn section, the voices, the phrasing, the overall dynamics of that distinctive groove. Consider how magically it all comes together.

So, Wendi called me this morning and said, "Why don't you put a blog post up about your new challenge "

Next weekend I'll be at the Green Festival in Washington, DC. helping Natural Zing at their vendor booth (I'm completely in love with Natural Zing because of their honest business ethics and commitment to having the highest quality products available---and the president is a truly beautiful individual). My dear friend RawBin will be picking me up next Thursday for a RAWsome weekend and I'll fly back on Monday!

Here's a list of some Green Festival facts from their Web site:

Here's some coconutty video footage from our Florida Keys excursion. First up is some footage of Randesh, from www.TheGuana.com, who obtains fresh coconuts for Charlie Wilson's Key West restaurant, Help Yourself (see yesterday's blog post).Notice that Randesh uses a proper piece of equipment -- a large machete (or cutlass) -- which makes short, easy work of opening these precious gifts of nature! In the video footage following that, you'll see how comically difficult it is to open a young coconut when you lack the proper equipment. We actually went out looking for a machete, but could only find a large chef's knife at a local K-Mart. Yep, they were sold out of machetes! (Ironically, the chef's knife -- the heaviest one the store had -- cost about $17, while plain old machetes run just $10 or so at most hardware stores. Next time we'll keep looking...)

Jim here... As you may have noticed, Pure Jeevan was offline for the past week. I wish this absence had been for some pleasant reason that I could now write about. But, in truth, it was because my mother passed away last Thursday afternoon. It's not easy to write about so soon afterward; we're all painfully unprepared to describe my mother using the past tense. Her passing still just doesn't seem real to me or to anyone who knew her.She was without a doubt a remarkably beautiful, happy, and loving person who, for 65+ years, really made a difference in a lot of people's lives.

Beyond her ties to Wendi, KDcat, and me, she was also known to some Pure Jeevan family members as well as others in the raw food community. She appeared here just a few months ago to share a raw hummus recipe. And, I know she had visited and/or joined a few other raw foods sites during the past two years. She really did have an interest in it, and always loved her veggies and a good salad. In fact, she was one of those people who actually ate fairly healthfully, relatively speaking, yet still faced serious health challenges.