Jim here... Here's an interesting way to finish out the week: Today just happens to be my one-year "rawniversary." That's right, for the past full year, I've existed as a 100% raw food vegan.

Sure, I'd been "high-raw" for a couple of years prior to September 18, 2008 -- and it was during those high-raw years when the bulk of my weight came off and when I kissed prescription meds goodbye (I'd been on powerful beta-blockers for my heart and blood pressure).

In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part one, focusing on Tim VanOrden's take on this issue.

When alternatives to the Standard American Diet are discussed, protein is on everyone's mind. There are many reasons why someone might want to eat a plant based diet, whether for allergy concerns, health reasons, or more variety. But nagging doubts often come up;? Are plant proteins adequate for athletes and body builders ? Are they really the preferred protein source of the human body ? Are they better than animal based protein or are they just consumed for environmental reasons ? To answer these questions, why not ask the experts:? triathletes, professional dancers, bodybuilders and extreme sport racers ? Here are the answers from some of the most competitive athletes in their respective fields.

If you ve been a Pure Jeevan family member for a while, you know we don t always focus on food in regards to health. Health isn t only about the food you put into your body; it s about so much more. We are mental, spiritual, emotional, physical beings who thrive best when we have a balance in all those areas of our lives. Humans are, for the most part, social beings. If we lack something as vital as social interaction, we become out of balance. As young children, our primary social interaction is through direct contact with our parents and close family members. As we mature, almost all of us develop friendships with individuals outside of our family s social circle. Friendship is essential in helping us maintain a healthy balanced life.

How we meet friends, and how we interact with them, has been changing over the years as online social media communities have been created. For those living a raw food lifestyle and using the Internet to connect with like-minded others, you have no doubt realized there is a strong and growing virtual raw food community online. It s a large tribe, of sorts, where we are able to wander from website to website, meeting others and creating friendships together. (Be sure to join Pure Jeevan s Facebook page to connect with other Pure Jeevan family members.)

Jim here with another intriguing installment of Weird Wednesday.Look, I'm a hugefan of gigantic, mondo salads. If you (well, not raw foodists but most SAD-diet Americans) were to visit our house at lunch time, you'd likely think that the individual salads on our table are as big as the salads bowls put out for entire families (for those few families, relatively speaking, that serve any salad at all these days, that is).

Seriously, when I have enough prep time, I like to pile 'em high with organic green leaf (though I'll take red leaf or romaine frequently), tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, apple slices, pepitos, sunflower seeds, raisins -- basically everything but the kitchen sink.

Announcing: Pure Jeevan's Halloween Raw Pot Luck - A Costume Party for All Ages!!

When:? October 31, 2009, 6:00 p.m. - ? ?

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.

Pure Jeevan hosts the Pittsburgh Raw Food Meetup this Sunday, November 2, at 3:00 p.m.! Click here for details and a map link. We hope you can make it. We'd love to spend time with you!

Original Comments

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

Last night, we watched a movie called Barney's Version which, among many other things, touched on the issue of Alzheimer's (or dementia). (It also touched on the issue of painfully awful movie titles, in my opinion.) But, I have to admit: Movies like that (or, even being around people affected by this) cause me to seriously look at my own life and reflect upon how I might be doing in terms of preventing not just Alzheimer's, but all major diseases.

My grandmother had severe dementia, and we witnessed the full progression of this awful condition for many years. I felt awful for her and readily admit that it scared the hell out of me to know that a formerly sharp, witty human being could end up this way. If you've never been around it, trust me: You do not want this for yourself or anyone.

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 more of the excellent responses sent in! Enjoy!! :-)

Jim here... "Do I Need to Eat a Certain Percentage of Raw Foods to Call Myself a Raw Foodist " This seems to be a common question among some people interested in pursuing a raw and living foods lifestyle. I fielded such a question recently online, and thought I'd recap my own answer here, somewhat edited for enhanced clarity:

I know what raw foodism means. And, if you're here, you probably do to, or at least you're interested in it and know the basics. But, to the mainstream population, raw is absolutely unheard of, totally out of the box -- relatively speaking. So, let's begin by taking a look at who in the world has potentially heard of RAW. Let's start more broadly and then hone in.

What fun do you have planned for yourself today, this weekend, or sometime in the near future? If the idea of having fun feels a bit foreign to you, then we sure are glad you found our blog. We'd love to encourage you to have some fun every day, but to especially have extra fun on the weekends (or whenever you have a couple of days off in a row).

What makes the weekends so special? For most people the weekends are a time when your schedule isn't dominated by weekly work commitments. It's a time when you can (no matter how busy your life is) probably arrange your days the way you'd like. So, why not arrange some time for fun? If you can manage it, try to arrange an entire weekend of fun for yourself!