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

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

After our Oklahoma stop, we had back-to-back visits with family. During our 40-day tour, we had a great time at every place we stayed. There's something extra special about being with family, however. KDcat especially loved this part of the trip, where she could stay up late and sleep in every morning.

Our first stop was St. Louis, Missouri, to see Grandma and Grandpa Dee, and Aunt Jeanne. We did some shopping at Whole Foods, bought lots of organic produce, and prepared some raw dishes to share with everyone. We purchased a young coconut and KDcat used Grandpa's hatchet to show everyone how to open a young coconut. Jim's mother learned to make raw hummus, without chickpeas, and even agreed to be a guest chef for a Makin' It Monday raw food recipe video! So, we'll be sharing that with all of you in the near future! Aunt Jeanne loved the hummus, as well as the raw tacos we created. She seems to have a liking for raw foods, so who knows...you may be seeing another Dee online sharing info about raw foods in the future ! Grandpa is always a fan of apple pies, so he thoroughly enjoyed the pie we created during our visit. Grandpa and KDcat also spent some time talking about music, a passion for both of them.

Our second stop was Geneseo, Illinois, to visit with Aunt Cindy, Uncle Ray (who had to work during our visit), and cousin Destiny. KDcat and Destiny don't see each other very often, so this was a real treat. Destiny's a sweet girl who became a vegetarian over a year ago (she's the only vegetarian in her home)! That's a huge thing to do when you're just a young teenager and we're proud of her for taking her health into her own hands (and for saving the animals!). We took a lot of pictures while visiting. In the photoset, you'll see that somehow a monkey crawled onto KDcat's back and hung around with her most of one day (in which she was dressed up in quite the outfit!). That monkey found its way into all kinds of interesting places (in a park, playing on the slide, swing, etc., and even in the house playing the piano -- and I caught him trying to steal some of my bananas!). The weather was beautiful during our visit, so we spent a lot of time outside, walking and enjoying the beautiful time together. At this stop we created a raw apple crumble, which Aunt Cindy later modified with blueberries. We're gently nudging her to make a video of the recipe she created, so we can all see how it's made! It sounded delicious.

Some of you who are new to raw foods may be happy to learn that there are festivals for individuals interested in the raw foods lifestyle! They are a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded friends. For those of you who attended the Raw Spirit Festival in 2008, seeing images from that event may stir the magical memories you collected while there.

Below is part one of a two-part guest piece by Rawbin Anderson, in which she recounts her 2008 Raw Spirit Festival J.O.B. experiences of working in the kitchen. Rawbin is now the Raw Spirit Festival East Coast Manager and can be reached at Rawbin [at] rawspirit.com.

?

April 15, 2008

Every year my dear friend, Mamta, lets me know when Navratri is going to begin. ?It s the nine-day fast, but you don t have to change anything since you are already eating so healthy. Traditionally, Hindus used to abstain from eating during Navratri. In modern times, with everyone working and life being less relaxed, fasting isn t always something that can easily be accomplished. So, over the years Navratri has been modified by many to represent a time of eating more simply and abstaining from meat if you eat it.

This year, I had an email question from one of our readers who was asking about ways to eat simpler during the nine-days of fasting. After responding to him, it sparked in me a desire to do something this year for Navratri. I had read about eating mono meals and always thought it sounded like such a gentle way of cleansing the body, so I figured I d try it for the nine days of Navratri. To make it even easier on me, I decided to consume a different food every 24 yours, rather than eating the same thing for the full nine days. Maybe in the future I ll try that, but this time I wanted this to be as easily doable as possible.

It's been an interesting week for us here. We've looked at a handful of ways that people may either become obese, or sustain an obese body -- all largely for reasons outside of dietary intake. The three situations we looked at included maintaining weight as a defense mechanism (Tuesday), becoming obese through worrying about becoming obese (Wednesday), and obesity as basically a physical manifestation of a non-physical longing (Thursday).

Without a doubt, these are just three out of hundreds of possible non-physical contributors to poor health. The idea was merely to start a thread on these things, opening people's minds to possibilities that perhaps they'd never seriously considered.

Jim here with a weird little story for today... I was at a business seminar early this morning and someone I know came up behind me at the buffet and said, "I'm getting in line behind you to see what you eat. You've lost weight and I want to lose weight, too."

"Well, it's no secret," I replied. "Just chow down on all of this great fruit they have." (I'd already piled my plate high with honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple, and strawberries.)

Jim here... Today is April 25, 2009 -- Wendi Dee's Birthday!!? She's asleep now. It's 1:30 in the morning & I've been up for hours assembling something stunningly amazing to share with you. You see, this year, I asked some friends, family, and foodies to take a page of a sketchbook and offer Wendi some Happy Birthday wishes -- and then send it back to me so I could bind it all into a large book!? WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! Check out the response from 40+ people from around the globe. It's a little overwhelming to see this much positive energy in one place. What a momentous day she's in for in another 5 hours or so when she gets up and is greeted by such a surprise! If you'd like to say Happy Birthday, just leave a comment here! Thanks to everyone!

Clarifications: (1) Yes, as some of you may have guessed, Wendi's body has circled the sun more than 25 times. If you visit the site, I explain what the "25th" birthday means a little more. It's basically about the amazing power of raw foods. (2) No, I didn't send messages to David Wolfe, Gabriel Cousens, Woody Harrelson, or other raw food celebrities Wendi isn't friends with. However, if they are huge fans of Wendi's, they are more than welcome to contribute via email or comments! LOL ;-)

Original Comments

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

On April 25, 2009, Ulol wrote:

Happy 25th Birthday Gypsy!!!

I so wish to be there with you celebrating this amazing day, but as I can't, I send you lotsof e-love.

*hugs tightly*

I LOVE YOU!!!

On April 25, 2009, maryinoregon wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday Wendi.............wishing you al the happiness your heart can hold, on this special day of birth and always...........you inspire so many!!!!!

On April 25, 2009, sheryl miller wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi!

I had posed this question in another post on this site, can't remember where now!
But I will post it here too
On my birthday I like to look back to last year's birthday to see what about me has changed!
What about you Wendi? What has changed about you


Hope there are lots of ovely surprises in store for your big day!
Sheryl Miller
Austrlaia

On April 25, 2009, randomguru wrote:

wishing much peace, love and joy to you on this special day... Happy Birthday, Wendi!

On April 25, 2009, Wendilou wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday, Miss Wendi Dee! I hope your day is a joyous as ever. ;)

On April 25, 2009, blaqberry wrote:

Very, very Happiest of Birthdays, Dearest Wendi. You give so much of your essence and touch many souls. I wish you a day that is beyond beautiful and filled with joy and blessings as you embark on another wonderful adventure around the sun. And love LOVE love abound...always. xo

Blaq Berry

On April 25, 2009, RawBin wrote:

Happy Birthday lovely lady!!! I'm sure you'll be glowing all day! :)

On April 25, 2009, RawBin wrote:

Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

On April 25, 2009, debbiedoesraw wrote:

That is the best present ever!
And Wendi, if you did not know it before, I think you now are sure....
You Are Loved!!!!!!!!!
Happy 25, can't wait for your 24th next year!!!
love love love deb

On April 25, 2009, Elizabeth wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi. Thank you for being such a light in the world.

On April 25, 2009, Melissa wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi!
What a beautiful book!!! I am so happy to be part of it, and thanks Jim for posting the whole thing! It is just beautiful.
We love you!
~ Melissa

On April 25, 2009, Revvell wrote:

Hey Girl! Happy, happy day to you and thank you Jim for inviting Bo and I to be a part of this special day!

Revvell

On April 25, 2009, Revvell wrote:

Hey Girl! Happy, happy day to you and thank you Jim for inviting Bo and I to be a part of this special day!

Revvell

(Did this twice since I had to figure out the system)

On April 25, 2009, Pixywinks wrote:

Happy Birthday Wendi GIRL!!!
Have lots of fun in this, your 25th year. Blessing and love all around. Kisses riding on the wind for you.
Much love!
P. Lis

On April 25, 2009, jill wrote:

Have a wonderful amazing Day of Incarnation, the sweetness of your eternal spirit always shows!

XOXO!!!

Jill

p.s. thank you to Jim for being such an awesome partner :)

On April 25, 2009, RawAllison wrote:

I'm glad to know Wendi's birthday was as special as she and her family are. And I love the phrase "Wendi s body has circled the sun more than 25 times." I'm gonna try to remember that one for birthdays!!

On April 25, 2009, Jenny wrote:

Not even having met you, Wendi, I can always feel your love for others online. Thank you so much for all you do for others. You are a true jewel in this world!!

Much love and birthday hugs,

Jenny

On April 25, 2009, fatima wrote:

May this be the beginning of the happiest birthdays of your life.
love joy and peace
fatima

On April 25, 2009, R_Eli wrote:

Happy Birthday, Wendi!!
Best wishes!!!
Keep shining!!!

On April 26, 2009, Jacki Harmon wrote:

Happy Birthday, Wendi! Thanks for all the gifts you've given us!! XOXOXOX

On April 26, 2009, DebB wrote:

Hi Wendi ~ I'm sending HUGE birthday wishes all the way from Washington State! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Debbie *�*

On April 26, 2009, Diane wrote:

Wendi have a blessed day as you have so blessed others.Because you have sown so
much enjoy the returns! Have many more circles around the sun, Love Diane

On April 26, 2009, anasha wrote:

let your light shine and radiate in every nook and corner of our beloved planet and beyond, and let me whisper happy birthday in your ears,thank you for being here

On April 26, 2009, Veganmimi wrote:

Happy Happy Birthday Wendi!!!!

On April 26, 2009, MindXdreamz wrote:

Happy, happy, happy birthday Wendi Dee!
hugs from Florida where the coconut grows :)
love
sheila

On April 26, 2009, Joanna_Steven wrote:

One happy birthday is never enough, here is another one :) <3

I will add to the notebook! I was afraid to sign the real thing, in case it got lost in transit after sending it back :(( I would have felt so awful. I hope you're having an amazing week!

On April 26, 2009, DiannerawGirl wrote:

Wendi,
So Happy Birthday.I had no idea it was your birthday.I was gone for a few days off computer.BUSY! And still wanted to wish you a Happy belated Birthday! Bye Dianne (DianneRawGirl)

On April 27, 2009, tinaintheraw wrote:

Happy Birthday beautiful Wendi!!

You are such a light in this world....I hope your day was filled with light and joy and wonder!

Hugs, Tina

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Ulol, my love!!! *blows kisses*

This birthday was THE BEST EVER! Even though you weren't physically here with me, it was extra special because I had your special contribution to my birthday book! It made me cry so much to see your page in the book. It was VERY special to me!

I miss you so very much! Thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment, but most of all for always sharing your love and friendship with me.

I love you, too!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thank you so very much, Mary!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!!

I'm so happy that I can inspire others--all of you have given me so much love in return and that has meant the world to me!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Sheryl!

I responded to your original question a few minutes ago on the other blog post. :-)

Thanks, again!!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Carlos!! Thanks for being a special part of my birthday gift, and for saying Happy Birthday to me on your blog, too!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, WendiLou!!! It was The BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Blaq Berry!!! You are always so loving to me. *hugs* Thanks for your sweet comment. :-) Thanks for being such a special part of my birthday gift!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

I've been glowing all weekend, Rawbin!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!! It lasted all weekend and continues through today as I read and respond to all of the love-filled comments that have been shared with me. :-)

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

My first video reply on the blog!!! I LOVE IT! I LOVE YOU!!

*blows kisses*

XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

It really IS the BEST PRESENT EVER!!! Jim says he's screwed for next year--no way to top this one! ;-)

I think you know me so very well. Yes, I didn't truly realize how much everyone does love and care for me. After this, how can I ever doubt? I am blissfully blessed.

Thank you so very much for being a part of my special gift, Debbie!

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Elizabeth!

Thanks so much! I had THE BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Melissa! Thanks for making my birthday celebration continue through Sunday, also! You are such a dear friend to me.

I love you!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thank you, Revvell and Bo!! I LOVE that you were both a part of my gift! It has been THE BEST birthday EVER! It's one I'll NEVER forget!

I love you both!

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, P. Lis!! Thanks for being a part of my gift, also. Jim said he was impressed with your artwork--he hasn't seen your paintings, yet, I told him! You are truly gifted!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Jill! Thanks for such a sweet comment. It was THE BEST birthday EVER! I can't even imagine a better one in another incarnation! :-)

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Oh, it WAS!! It was so very special Allison!! Thanks for being a part of my gift!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Jenny! You are very welcome--I love helping others.

I hope to one day meet you in person--maybe while we are on our cross-country tour!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Fatima! This was definitely the happiest and BEST birthday, ever!! Thanks so much!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, R_Eli! I had a fabulous birthday!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Jacki!

You are very welcome for all of the gifts! I love giving to others!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

More birthday wishes from Debbie! Thanks so much!!

*blows kisses*

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Diane! It was surely a blessed day for me!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Anasha! Thanks so much for your beautiful birthday wish!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Vebanmimi! I had a wonderful day!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Sheila! Thanks so much! I had the BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes, Joanna!

Yes, please add to the special notebook. I welcome a page from anyone who wants to contribute. It is such a special gift to me; it's one that I will always cherish!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks, Dianne! It was a fantastic birthday!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, WendiDee wrote:

Thanks so much, Tina, for your sweet comment!

Yes, my day was absolutely filled with light and joy and wonder!! It was THE BEST birthday EVER!!

Lots of love to you,

Wendi
XOXOXO

On April 27, 2009, debbiedoesraw wrote:

The pleasure was all mine, I hope you pass that Birthday love down to all the future generations.. are you listening Kat ??
love you too!
Deb xoxoxo
PS Sam had fun with her drawing too, lest you think I drew that!!!!!hee hee

On April 29, 2009, Revvell wrote:

You're very welcome. It was our pleasure and what a GREAT idea Jim had!

Just a quick announcement today:? I just pressed "send" on our gorgeously produced November 2009 e-newsletter. While we've done periodic newsletters in the past, we've now revisited our commitment to doing them regularly. So, each month going forward, we plan to send out a new e-newsletter.

And they're always crazy fun!? They're kind of like bouncing on a trampoline -- like flying, you know ? Nothing but care-free, transcendent happiness, soaring amid the tree branches, smiling ear-to-ear, gravity-defying hair flying every which way. (Okay, maybe they're not that much fun. But, they are at least generally enjoyable -- and informative!)

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.

Sorry for the strange behavior of this site over the past few weeks, friends. As a former professional web programmer, and always a?bit of a mad hacker, I'm usually really great at keeping the web end of Pure Jeevan running very smoothly.

But, this is a Wordpress blog -- and so you have things like plugins and widgets and themes and updates, all interacting (and sometimes conflicting) with one another. I've noticed lately that this blog home page has developed all sorts of peculiar issues, not the least of which is a very slow-loading tendency.

Many times we are asked about our grocery bill---how much do we spend each month on eating a raw, vegan diet? It's not something that's easy to answer, though. If we just blurted the amount out, people would be shocked (at a minimum) and insist that there's no way possible they could ever eat a raw diet because they can't afford it.

Our monthly expense at the grocery store has continued to climb since I first began eating raw foods. At this point, now that Jim is eating 100% raw, as well, our monthly expense has more than doubled from the time when it was only me eating 100%. That's a huge increase in money being spent each month. But, you know what? It's okay! Yes, I said it's okay that our expense has more than doubled and I'll tell you why after you take a look at what we purchased last week for our home.