As a follow-up to yesterday's McDonald's-bashing post, I thought I'd post another perspective -- namely, that not all chain smoothies are bad. I can't claim to have tried them all, but I can report with confidence that, for raw most foodists, a trip to Jamba Juice can be awesome!

Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.

Jim thought it was important for me to update everyone about my health, especially since so many of you have been sending emails, etc., and I haven't responded.

I do appreciate all the love and concern (thank you all so VERY much!), but it's painful for me to type for very long. This update is going to most likely bring about some more pain, but I don't want you to keep worrying about me and my health. So, I'll share what's been going on.

There's an antibiotic that will decrease the pain temporarily if you have Lyme disease (it won't help the pain if it's caused by anything else), and I was able to obtain some of it. So far, today is day five on it. And here's some great news: The pain started lessening on day three -- the aches completely gone, leaving only sharp pains when I move my joints in certain ways. I'll be on this antibiotic (and possibly some others for "co-infections" that sometimes come with Lyme, but I won't know until more blood tests are done and the Lyme specialist reviews the results).

We all know what "greens" are in general. For example, no one questions whether lettuce, kale, spinach, or chard are greens. But on the other hand, all of those items *are* also clearly green in color. With that in mind, what would you make of the following two questions I (Jim) recently pondered -- tagged as "reader questions" so they're easily found in the future by other equally inquisitive people ;-) -- that seem bizarre, but are really quite interesting?

1. Are non-green greens (e.g., purple kale) still considered greens

2. Are vegetables with green skins (e.g., cukes, zucchini) considered greens? (After all, they're green!)

The diets of raw foodists are as varied as those of individuals consuming the Standard American Diet. The majority of raw foodists are either: 1) gourmet raw foodists, who consume dishes that are usually heavy in fat from nuts (Pure Jeevan started out this way); 2) basics raw foodists, who don't process their fruits and veggies in blenders, food processors, or dehydrators; 3) mono raw foodists, who consume single foods for each meal (i.e., a meal of only apples for breakfast, romaine lettuce for lunch); 4) low fat raw foodists, who consume processed meals at times, but prefer to keep their fat intake below 20% of their calories (Pure Jeevan is working toward this); and

Take the time to meet #5 ...

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.

Jim here... Yesterday I promised to hypnotize you, so here it is (below). This is something I published elsewhere long ago, slightly modified. Interestingly, in the original version, I'd made reference to various cooked food items -- for example, describing the smell of fresh-baked muffins as comforting. Well, as pleasant as that smell may be to everyone, I just thought it would be odd to include it here on a blog devoted to raw foods.

I think, by the way, that next week I may post a piece on aroma and how it dovetails with raw foods. I'm sure there are interesting things to write about that topic. For now, I'll simply point you to the funny hypnotism picture, below. While it characterizes hypnotism as a sort of mystical power wielded over another's true will, that's definitely not the case. As you'll see, the text below is really just a very innocent, very calming, relaxing suggestion. Read it seriously and see if you aren't relaxed and happy afterward. Have a great weekend!

Jim here (again!) A little over a month ago, we couldn t contain our excitement about an online contest to win the best job EVER ? living as caretaker of a tropical island in Queensland, Australia, on the Great Barrier Reef for 6 months (and being paid $100k for the task!).

The deadline has come for this and, as we promised, we BOTH applied. You saw my video, below. Here's Wendi's application. Once again, we hope you'll view the video & rate her a 5!!! You can click the screenshot above, or go there directly via this link. (As I said below, I ve heard that the rating system can get a little screwy on that site ? that you need to wait for it to load and maybe mouse over the rating part first. But, a 5-star rating would really help, as would the traffic, even if you don t watch the entire video.)

We tried it in the past, this most unusual fruit. While in Chicago recently, we decided to give it one more try! You see, the first time we tried it we were ... let's just say "not big fans" of the infamous durian. (Here's an episode of Kevin Gianni's Renegade Health Show, shot in our home, documenting that day.) It's a stinky fruit to most, although some claim to enjoy the bizarre odor (which is sometimes described as dirty sock and propane gas smell). If you can get past the smell to give it a taste, you'll be greeted by a taste as strange as the odor. Wendi describes it as a sweet onion pierogie, but each person seems to have a different opinion about this odd fruit.

In this current video our raw friend Debbie Gedayloo-Bennett, whom we met in Chicago, jumped at the opportunity to hang out for a bit of a durian experience. Debbie is on the pro-durian side of the fence that divides those who love and those who hate the alien-like fruit. Wendi was still sitting on the fence, not making up her mind after the initial taste with Kevin and Annmarie. Jim was adamantly sitting far from the love side of the fence, refusing to even attempt approaching the pro side. Debbie was a pro in opening this spiny fruit, so she agreed to open it while on video so that we could share the experience and knowledge with all of you.

It's a beautiful day here. The sun is actually shining enough through the clouds to soak up some of its lovely rays. It feels so good. What a great way to start the weekend! We have no set plans, other than a trip to the local food co-op and a visit from the bunny. If the weather continues to be this nice, maybe we'll take the puppy over to the park and spend the afternoon enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of Spring.