Welcome to Makin' It Monday, Guest Raw Chef edition. Today, Dave Sokulski of www.BirchCenter.com and www.FoodUnderFoot.com gets a little silly while making some delicious raw cacao treats! Enjoy the video:

We've promised many of you that we'd share some ideas for the whole family (especially the children), so here's one idea that might prove particularly popular. In a household of two former English majors, it's only natural that we've always adored and admired alliteration. So, we may be biased to believe that these "Breathtakingly Bejeweled Blueberry Banana Breakfast Bowls" will be as beloved by your beauteous bellies as they are by ours. See what you think!

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.

For some odd reason, I've had the privilege of "doing Thanksgiving" with a lot of different friends and families over the years. Because of this, and of course just from talking with others and reading things others have posted, I'm fairly certain that Thanksgiving means different things to different people.For some, it's their favorite annual holiday and fills them with joyous memories of Thanksgivings past and incredible anticipation of Thanksgivings to come. Some historian friends of mine seem fascinated by the historical aspects of the holiday -- the whole story of the pilgrims, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, I've actually encountered a few people who take offense at the very idea of this holiday (and they've got some convincing reasons to protest the wider celebrations)!

While all holidays are certainly "food-centric" by tradition, it's arguable that no other holiday (at least here in America) can match Thanksgiving's reputation in terms of feasting. It's kind of funny when you think about it because many holidays (or, "holy days") are actually traditionally observed by abstaining from food. So, there are fasts, and feasts. I think the majority view, based on my own sampling of various friend and family traditions, seems to be: It's mostly about having a huge meal. Yes, there is certainly an undercurrent of being thankful out there. A few families I've been with have had traditional, almost ceremonial, activities that went along with the meal (e.g., going around the room, taking turns stating what you're grateful for).

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

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

Yesterday we talked about stress eating and I suggested coming up with a plan for ways you can deal with stressful situations in the future, before mindlessly turning to food for stress relief. I even said maybe it was okay to eat a gallon of ice cream if that's what makes you feel better. A healthy lifestyle isn't only about the foods we put into our mouths; it's about overall health (body, mind, spirit, emotions) and the decisions we make regarding our overall health on a daily basis.

Many times, individuals who struggle the most when trying to eat a healthy diet are the ones who have other aspects of their lives keeping them from attaining the healthy lifestyle they're desiring so much. For them, working on their diet may not be the best approach to overall health. If eating something we know is healthy for our bodies, something we know looks and tastes great, is difficult to do then there's something bigger going on in our lives than just food. If that's the case, it's important to figure out what's going on.

A Pure Jeevan family member recently asked us how they can tell if they're consuming too much protein. They felt because they have been eating too many nuts and seeds, because of how quick and filling they are, that perhaps their intake of protein is too high in their diet.

We fully understand the convenience of the quick energy that eating nuts and seeds can bring to one's diet. We also have learned, through experience, that the more we rely on this type of nutrition (high in fat), the less energetic we feel long-term. There's nothing wrong with eating nuts and seeds as a pick-me-up between meals, as long as you're eating a small handful of them and your body does well with fats (not everyone can easily digest fats).

Jim here... Since we posted Wendi's two-part series on pasta-making techniques (part 1, part 2) last week, I thought I'd follow up with an additional novel use for the spiralizer -- super-delicious, blazingly fast, ultra-low-fat sweet potato chips! We've done some really great things with sweet potatoes before. (Anyone signed up as a member of the Pure Jeevan family has likely already received our prized sweet potato pancake recipe.) But, these chips are amazing because they satisfy that unmistakable urge for crunchy, healthy snacks -- and in record time. Friends, if you have a dehydrator and sweet potato on hand, you could literally be enjoying these things in under three hours. So let's get going!

As Wendi demonstrated in the videos last week, you can easily make "rounds" using the spiralizer by simply making a vertical slice throughout your vegetable prior to placing it on the spiralizer. So, if we were looking down at the sweet potato, the cut (which goes all the way down the length of the vegetable) would look like this:

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Jim here... A few months ago, I'd posted an article here on the topic of Cognitive Dissonance. This theme seems to crop up from time to time in questions people ask about the raw foods lifestyle. For example, one new raw fooder recently posted a question in a raw foods forum asking whether other raw foodies had reached a place in their lives at which things changed so much that they felt as though they were living a contradiction. Because this struck home for me, I'd like to reiterate my response, somewhat edited, below.

Hi Everyone. It's Friday... Let's have some fun!? For today's blog entry, I thought I'd post my submission to the recent video contest held by the Vita-Mix company. They were looking for a new spokesperson, and offered a $10,000 prize for the best video. I didn't make the final cut, but did have a good deal of fun making this short video. Hope you like it:

There's a peculiar yet recurring kind of argument I get from a number of people from time to time when the subject of diet or health arises. Basically, it goes like this: "Yeah, all of those vegetables and exercise might be good for you, and all of that meat and fried food I eat might be bad for me, but what if you get hit by a truck tomorrow "

This sort of perspective is interesting to me for at least two major reasons.