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.

Jim here... As I may have mentioned a while ago, I joined a gym recently. I figured, with Wendi and Bailey living on the other side of the country, I might as well find something healthy to do with my alone time until I'm able to join them soon (aside from my seemingly never-ending quest to rid our household of 13 years of rampant accumulation). I joined on a whim, actually. There's a gym near my home called Planet Fitness. Honestly, I have no idea how they make money. A membership costs just $10/month -- and it's a Wal-Mart-sized place, too, absolutely packed with state of the art machines. (Actually, it's a franchise, so there could very well be one near you.)

In any case, it had been a while since I'd been inside an actual gym. I've certainly remained relatively active, of course. But being in a gym is a little different -- and certainly has its plusses and minuses. On the minus side, I've always kind of felt that, if you add up all of the time it generally takes to get (1) get ready to go to a gym, (2) drive there, and (3) drive home -- say, a half-hour, total, for those things -- then you could probably better invest that time in just going for a run for a half-hour, leaving straight from your home. From a time management standpoint, I'm not crazy about gym memberships (meaning not that physical exercise isn't worth the investment of time, but rather that there are ways to accomplish the same results in much less time).

If you've been following us for some time, you'll know that we are continually working on projects that will either serve our raw food community or educate others about the health benefits of a raw food lifestyle. If you are new here, or just getting to know us, you can read a summary of what we accomplished last year and a summary of the projects we're currently working on. We're serious about our goal to inspire others to learn about and embrace the raw food lifestyle and community. I've always been someone who helps others, who senses in what direction they are headed and then offers inspiration to keep them moving. I love the work we do as Pure Jeevan and it is extremely rewarding to receive so much gratitude from many of you. But, guess what? Sometimes I get tired!

Sure, some of you may be saying, "But, wait! People who eat raw foods are supposed to be power houses of energy -- able to continually keep active and never run out of steam." Well, that is very true. So, I take it back. I'm not really "tired" like I said -- my body is able to wake up in the morning, easily fall asleep in the evening, and go about its daily work without feeling like it's run down.However, I am feeling like I need a rest from all that I've been doing. Maybe I don't need to sleep hours and hours, because my body isn't truly tired. None of my being is truly tired -- my body, mind, spirit, and emotions are feeling great, actually.

However, I still feel like I need a break from my routine. On top of that, I've been feeling uncomfortable in the cold weather even more this year than I did last year. It hurts all the way down, deep inside my bones. I feel like it will take a lifetime to thaw from the cold I've been feeling here in Pittsburgh. The sun rarely shines, and the snow and ice are brutal on someone eating only raw foods. My instincts told me two years ago that it was time to move to a warmer, sunnier climate, but that hasn't happened yet (even though we are patiently working on it, as Jim pointed out in an earlier post).

All this week we're continuing to feature a variety of answers to the question "Are Raw Foodists Crazy " from various friends of Pure Jeevan. If you're just now tuning in, please read the back story and introduction to this, as posted on Monday.But, for now, let's continue with posting the rest of the excellent responses sent in! Enjoy!! :-)

Kevin Gianni

Lives in the "Kale Whale" RV!

I know this is our Fun-Filled Friday post, but I have to admit that most of today isn't going to be all that much fun. But, this weekend should be very enjoyable! We have some very special guests arriving tomorrow for a SUPER SPECIAL evening tomorrow night! Leela Mata, a beautiful spiritual teacher, has offered to visit my home and hold Satsang here. One of her extremely talented students, Devaki, will be joining her (and bringing a harmonium to play at Satsang!).

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

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

My Story of Conquering the Myths of My 50+ Body

I ve been eating 100% live/raw food for a little over eight months now, and I believe it all started? well.... hmmmm? let s see. Last summer I was determined to do something once and for all about the weight that I put on since I turned 50, six years ago (well, almost seven years now ). It seemed that no matter how much I exercised or how much I ate ? or didn t eat ? nothing stopped the onslaught of impending bulk. Each year added a few more pounds until I hardly recognized myself! What happened? Who was I? Where did this strange body come from? I decided I needed to take this foreign body by the horns and wrangle it back into submission. Actually, I was gentler than that, but the determination was there.

I am extremely thankful for sleep. I can't imagine striving to sleep only four hours a night. Jim always says he wishes he didn't have to sleep, that he's wasting his life when he sleeps. For me, I've always loved sleeping. I feel so great after I wake up. Not only that, I thoroughly enjoy dreaming. I wouldn't want to miss out on the amazing dream life I've been able to enjoy while I sleep.

After so looooong, the much-awaited Episode 6 is here of "Know Your Food"! Aren't you thrilled? Well, WE are. We're fantastically excited to announce that we have SIX thrilling new eipsodes "in the can" (as we film buffs like to say). So, here's the first of those six, in which your humble nutrition researchers reveal the hidden secrets of cacao, that delicious tropical ambrosia that opens your heart like nothing else. So, grab a raw chocolate snack of your choice and curl up in front of your favorite flat screen. Here's the vid:

Whoa, what'd you think of the "Monkey Brains" scene ! Have we finally used EVERY SINGLE hoaky feature of the Windows Movie Maker software? (Don't answer... Those were rhetorical questions.) In case you couldn't read some of the nutritional information, here's a summary of the key components of this delicious bounty from the Earth's equatorial regions. Raw chocolate contains:

Jim here... As you're probably aware, Sunday marks the summer solstice here in the northern hemisphere. While the Pure Jeevan family certainly includes many raw foodies living in the southern hemisphere (*nods to our friends in Oz and beyond currently heading into winter*), the majority of our readers will equate Sunday with the official kick-off of much longer, much hotter days. So, we'd like to provide some topical, tropical inspiration for you.

How do you feel about heat Personally, I used to *hate* it. I thought I knew what real heat was, too, having grown up in St. Louis where the summers can be brutal. But, Wendi and I traveled to India once (so far!) and, wow, THAT was real heat. I clearly remember standing on an airport tarmac in a place called Trivandrum, just 8 degrees north of the equator, almost in shock over how hot it was there.

Today, for Makin' It Monday, Jim has taken you through the steps of making a vegetable wrap. He came home for lunch, pulled the veggies out of the fridge, and the filming began. He quickly shows how just about anyone can prepare fresh, raw, delicious food in less than fifteen minutes. His goal was to get it done in under ten minutes, but it actually took about fourteen. Still, fourteen minutes to prepare amazingly tasty, delicious, and nutritious food is AWESOME!

***** DISCLAIMER: As with all of our posts here at Pure Jeevan, and particularly those tagged with a new term, "Nadi Balance," please refer to the disclaimer that runs at the bottom of all Pure Jeevan pages. Wendi and Jim are health researchers, educators, and extreme self-experimenters, not doctors. ******

Nadi Balance: Part VI