It is with heartfelt gratitude that I reach out to say thank you for all of the lovely birthday wishes from all over the world.

As many of you know, I've been working on all aspects of myself---continuing to grow healthier in all ways (body, mind, spirit, and emotions). After a lifetime of feeling that I wasn't worthy of my own attention and affection, I learned to love myself. That was a huge thing for me and I am still overjoyed to acknowledge who I am and proudly proclaim that I love myself.

I'm not perfect, but I'm perfectly me---allowing myself to blossom more fully into who I am as the days go by. I've been openly sharing my journey because I know that I'm not the only person who has lived a life without self love.I receive emails from so many of you saying that you can relate to what I've been through, the pain I've suffered on all levels. You've shed tears and thanked me for my story because it has helped you see more clearly your own self. With open arms, and an open heart, I love all of you. It brings me great joy to know that through sharing I am able to help you grow and blossom more into your own beautiful selves. Imagine a world where we all know and love ourselves for the lovely individuals that we all are! What a beautiful and fragrant garden there would be!

Do you know the saying about freely giving out love because you never run out of it? Well, that's definitely true! There's something else that happens, however, the more you share love: it comes back multiplied more than you ever could have imagined! That's what happened to me on my birthday--I was overwhelmed with a flooding of love coming in from all over the world!

I was just thinking about a particular phenomenon, but don't know what to call it. This is something I used to notice mostly after watching movies, although it's something that happens all the time in life -- and I think it does in fact relate to diet, so I'll share. Here it is:

Ever leave a theater after viewing a particularly uplifting film Recall what it's like for a moment. You walk outside, maybe with friends or family, still filled with that magical feeling of having visited another world, or having been moved beyond words, or being filled with inspiration. There's a glow about you, and the air seems sweeter as you stroll out to your car, absolutely care-free. You spin around as you walk, laughing with your friends, joking and hugging each other, engaging in imaginative conversation all the way home -- and the spell lasts for a good long time thereafter. Oh, I love, love, love great movies!!!

For today's installment of Makin' It Monday, we wanted to share something that we've been making a lot of lately. It's so simple, yet so delicious and refreshing. Here's the recipe:

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 3 large stalks of celery
  • 1 handful of cilantro

That's all!? You might finish with a pinch of your favorite salt (optional).? Also, since the cucumber is an extremely water-heavy veggie, I would advise you to run it through the juicer several times. Here's what I do:

As some of you already know, along with regaining my physical health I've also been working on every other aspect of my overall health and being. I don't just want a healthy body---I want the whole package (vibrancy and bliss inside and out, in every way possible).

One area of my mental health that has been slow to heal is my self confidence. I continue to work on it in many ways and have made some tremendous progress over the past year, or so. I feel worthy of so much more than I ever did before.Many people never doubt their self worth---they have a good sense of who they are and assume that others see them as they are, as well.

Brutal Honesty. 100% Transparency. Unedited Feedback. Absolute Truth. ... How often are we treated to these things by those we know? How likely are we do conduct ourselves with these ideals in mind?

Propriety. Politeness. Decorum. Political Correctness. ... How often do these conventions in others prevent us from knowing what others think of us? How often do these conventions in ourselves restrict our own words when directed at others?

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

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

Jim here... Today Wendi is busy preparing for a multi-day activity that I'm sure she'll be writing about later this week. So, I thought I'd field a question we received recently (one directed specifically to me). We do receive a good deal of questions at our Raw Food Diet Question In-box (at Questions [at] PureJeevan.com), so feel free to send any in that you may have, and we'll definitely get to them all here in time. In any case, one reader writes:

As drawn as I am to a raw diet, being mostly cooked vegan right now, I can't help but come up against this each time: Since produce is, after all, mostly water, what did you eat while transitioning that didn't lead to shoving in lots of bread, potatoes, etc. Do you just eat lots and lots of, say, oranges, at one go? This has always been my raw downfall. I'm sure the answer is very simple.

Wow, this is a great question, and one with many possible answers! To begin, let's recognize that this isn't a question from a "SAD diet" eater. ?Being a vegan, alone, takes significant learning and (often) self-discipline to accomplish successfully. It's also, in my view, an excellent dietary and lifestyle choice for many people, regardless of whether they ever decide to try a raw foods diet. So, this question is rather advanced.

Happy Summer Solstice!

Well, it's officially summer here! This time of the year is extra special to us now that we're healthier. Not only is there an abundance of fresh, local organics to eat, but the sun also shows itself to us a lot more (Pittsbugh is ranked as one of the places experiencing the least amount of sunshine per year). The sun actually used to make me feel physically ill (I wrote a bit about that in an earlier post), but ever since I've switched to a raw vegan diet I find myself drawn to the healing sunshine.

Before switching to a raw lifestyle, we used to go on a lot of outings (picnics) and we'd also go camping. I remember a friend voicing concern when my diet was beginning to change to raw foods. She felt I wouldn't be able to go camping anymore and that things like picnics wouldn't be fun for someone eating a raw food diet. She thought I'd need access to a refrigerator in order to keep all my raw foods fresh and a kitchen where I could prepare the delicious foods she had been seeing me eat.

As I write this, Wendi and KDcat have been en route to Portland for 39+ hours so far (including a long layover in Chicago)! Looks like they still have another 22 or so hours to go. What a monumental trip, eh ! Cross-country travel by rail really gives you a better appreciation for the distance, as compared with air travel or even highway travel. Imagine what it must have been like in the covered-wagon days!

So far, reports from the train have been not so wonderful. KDcat seems to be having a good time roaming around socializing. But, Wendi's experiencing some major motion sickness. Oddly, we never anticipated this problem -- which is incredible, as we spent more than a month planning this trip! But, it just goes to show you that you cannot anticipate everything in life!

Jim here again... What do you think of that montage of vintage cigarette advertisements ! Knowing what we now know about cigarettes, it's tough to believe that such ads could have existed only 50 years ago, but the campaigns were real. Did doctors actually see no harm in cigarettes? Were there no pulmonary specialists back then who thought that habitually inhaling smoke might not be such a healthy idea Who knows... ?As I like to believe when it comes to doctors, even though they're quite oblivious to the harmful effects that chemicals have on our bodies, they do seem to mean well (in their own deluded ways). So, I don't hold it against them so much as I now hold it against individuals to think for themselves and challenge healthcare practitioners.

In any case, whether or not there is an advertising campaign attached to a new consumer product, it stands to reason that when a product is introduced into the marketplace, manufacturers should have a responsibility to ensure that the product is safe, and consumers should likewise have a reasonable expectation that the product is safe. Only, it doesn't always work that way, does it?

I was reminded about a video I saw some time ago, after seeing a similar video on my dear friend Bunny's blog. What you are about to see is AMAZING!!

Take the time to meet...