Jim here... We had a whirlwind weekend last weekend when the uber-talented couple Rhio and Leigh came to Pittsburgh for a three-day visit. As many of you probably know, Rhio is a well-known pioneer of the raw food movement, having written one of the definitive books on raw foods, Hooked on Raw. She's also the host of a popular Internet radio show of the same name, for which Leigh serves as primary engineer and co-host. Both have extensive backgrounds in music, as well, which is fitting for such a colorful, vibrant couple.

Saturday, Rhio gave a two-part presentation to a capacity crowd at a local coffee shop / art gallery.Part One was a demonstration on making raw dairy-free yogurt using almonds (a technique demonstrated, I believe, on her new DVD, "What's NOT Cookin' in Rhio's Kitchen " -- available soon on her web site at www.rawfoodinfo.com). According to the yogurt eaters in the crowd (of which I'm not one -- never went in for much dairy), the recipe mimics yogurt perfectly! So, if you're a raw foodie who misses dairy yogurt, you're definitely going to want to connect wth Rhio to learn the technique.

Surrounding yourself with information about the raw food lifestyle is important when you're beginning your raw food journey. That's one of the tips I shared with many of you who are subscribed to our mailings--and it's a very important tip. Even after being raw for over three years, I still surround myself with information about the raw food lifestyle. It not only keeps me inspired, it allows me to feel an even deeper connection with the community of which I am a part.

One of my friends, Beth Berry (better known as Bunny Berry), has become a constant source of inspiration for many individuals learning about the raw food lifestyle. She puts out video blogs through YouTube and has developed a wonderful group of followers in her RawFu community. As most raw foodists can tell you, your mind becomes clearer on the raw food diet and creativity soars as a result. Beth was already quite creative before raw, but on a high raw diet she has become even more so. I want to share something that she has recently created for the raw food community!

Rita Romano, author of the widely available book Dining in the Raw and executive chef for many years at the Hippocrates Health Institute, is a true pioneer of the raw movement. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to visit with her and her two lovely Boston Terriers, Angel and Oreo. Here's PART TWO of our talk with her:

In a recent post, I answered part of a message I received from Violet, one of our blog readers. Below is the continuation of my response to Violet (much briefer than my last one!).

Following my response to Violet is a response to Sarah, who has a fantastic raw food blog that I enjoy reading.

Violet's message continued:

Continuing on, today, with Wendi's San Francisco travelogue:

While on our walk, Pete pointed out that in the building on our right there are some amazing kale chips being produced. Kale chips ! I asked if he was referring to raw food kale chips and he nodded. Of course, I had to investigate and find out who was producing them and possibly meet the person. Well, what a treat we were in for!

One of the workers directed us to an office nearby where we met a lovely woman named Blessing. It turns out, Blessing is the producer of the kale chips we received from our Official Snack Sponsor during our tour, Natural Zing. Not only does Blessing produce some of the most popular kale chips in the raw community, her company is also the manufacturer of the famously delicious "Raweo" cookies (which you can find on Natural Zing's site)!

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

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On April 15, 2009, essie wrote:

Q. I recently read the following on Dr. Micahel Eades' (dr. protein power) blog & would appreciate your opinion:

Have you any comments on the RAW FOOD movement and particularly Dr. Cousens claim of a ?cure ?

Dr. Eades' response:

I don t know anything about Dr. Cousens. I do know that people in the raw food movement seem to believe the raw foods deliver ?natural? enzymes unaltered by cooking to the GI tract to help it do its work. Problem is these ?natural? enzymes are made of protein and are denatured (the same alteration process as cooking does with heat) as soon as they hit the stomach acid. The fact that proteins can t make it through the stomach without being completely altered is why diabetics can t take insulin pills and have to get their insulin via injection. Insulin is a protein, just as enzymes are, and it can t make it through the stomach without being denatured.

Welcome to the very first Take the Time Tuesday entry! What's Take the Time Tuesday, you may ask? Well, it's a time to meet someone special. Each Tuesday we'll introduce you to an individual or business we think might be of interest to you. So, who's in the spotlight for this very first Take the Time Tuesday entry? Pure Jeevan, of course!

Take the Time to Meet...

I've been holding on to some things to share here on the blog, and today feels like a good day to share this particular inspirational gem, below. I hope it speaks to some of you in a way that brings about a deeper love for yourself. Many times I have a feeling, based on emails I receive, that I love some of you more than you love yourselves (and I deeply love all of you). That's okay, though. Your time will come to blossom into the self-loving individual that you know you are at your core. Perhaps today what I share will trigger a deeper sense of self-love for you, as it did for another friend.

Back in October, a friend in an online raw community sent me a message about how she was having a tough time with cravings. I responded to her, as follows:

... You CAN do it, too! For me, it took finally loving myself to make the change. I had to KNOW that NOTHING was going to stop me from loving myself. And loving myself meant never putting harmful things into my body EVER AGAIN! So, once I made that decision, I moved forward. I'm not saying I didn't have cravings, but I loved myself through them! ...

Many times in the online communities, the messages you share with others will also be read by individuals stopping by the pages of your friends. That was the case with what I wrote, above. I received a lovely message from another friend in that community, who had read the message I left for someone else. Here's what she wrote to me:

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

GREEN LEAFIES

Brendan Brazier is one of only a few professional athletes in the world whose diet is 100% plant-based. He s a professional Ironman triathlete, bestselling author on performance nutrition, and the creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called Vega. He is also a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion.

Jim here... When you consider the agricultural and marketplace practices that affect the food we eat (e.g., pesticide use in the fields, widespread irradiation afterward, and the contamination of produce from various sources -- not to mention some of the disturbing potentialities we face in terms of further governmental intervention into the food chain), it leads one to the conclusion that, if we really want to eat the best food ever, growing it yourself is a great solution. It's also cheaper to grow your own and, in my opinion, more fulfilling than purchasing it (if you have the time and space to manage it, that is).

With all of these concerns (and more) in mind, we've launched a new series of interviews called "Know the Growers" in which I'll be interviewing organic farmers around the world on best practices in the field. Initially, we'll be publishing them every few weeks, most likely. Once we sell our home and are "full-time Pure Jeevan karma yogis," we'll be publishing them weekly (along with resuming our daily video series Know Your Food). I'll be publishing these organic farming interview transcripts on NaturalNews.com under their Citizen Journalist program.