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

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

I thought I'd put another fun week together here at Pure Jeevan while Wendi is away (although, actually, ALL of our weeks are fun-filled here!). This week, I thought I'd discuss herbs, spices, and essential oils. Of course, I can't cover those enormously important (and huge) subjects in-depth over the course of just one week, so I created that little banner (above) so that we can re-use it from time to time.

Herbs are fascinating, aren't they? Sometimes, you don't even consciously know why you use the ones you do but, invariably, there's a reason. Sure, sometimes recipes call for a specific flavor. But, often, there are other reasons as well -- such as to support digestion, or to provide a warming or cooling sensaiton. This type of thing is critical in ayurvedic principles, as we touched on recently on this blog, where the spices could be present for digestive or medicinal purposes, or of course as a preservative.

We ve covered this in the past here on the Pure Jeevan blog, but it s something that s being discussed again online in major news feeds. Since many people read and learn from such sources, especially Yahoo! News, there is potential for a lot of damage and misinformation to be ?learned? by many individuals. In a recent article on Yahoo!, we re informed in the ?Health Experts Main/HealthLine? category that consuming only healthy foods is an eating disorder. Those who desire a healthy body by consuming healthy (as opposed to unhealthy) foods are labeled as having ?orthorexia,? a supposed eating disorder that can be cured with cognitive behavioral therapy.

What does that mean, really? If we desire a healthy body, and all the vibrant energy that comes with it, then we are psychologically unbalanced? [Sarcasm to follow ] However, if we eat those same healthy foods, but also consume things like Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald s burgers, Wendy s French fries, or Skittles candies then we are balanced individuals and deemed psychologically healthy? What if we consume no healthy foods, preferring instead the Standard American Diet of fast foods, heavy meats and gravies, that includes few fruits or vegetables? Well, that s considered normal and of no concern in the least bit ? there is no eating disorder when consuming a diet like that. You can require caffeinated beverages to have enough energy to get through the day and that s normal, too. Die of a heart attack from such a diet and that s normal, too.

Within the raw food community, a controversy seems to have been brewing for the better part of a year! The topic: Agave nectar (also called agave syrup). Surely by now most people know what agave nectar is. For anyone who doesn't, it's a thick liquid sweetener made from, you guessed it, the agave plant.

In general, the production of tasty agave nectar involves heating the plant to a certain temperature (which varies widely according to which manufacturer is making it and which species of agave is used). The extent of this heating constitutes a significant part of the controversy (as most raw foodists believe that heating any food over a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 105 and 118 degrees fahrenheit, renders it "dead").

I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I'm thankful for so many things that it could take me a very long time to list them all. Today, however, I'm focusing on how thankful I am to have loving, supportive friends in my life.

When I was a child we moved a lot (every two years, on average). I continued to move a lot even after college, when it was no longer my mother making the decisions about moving.Why am I telling you this on a Thankful Thursday ?Because all of that moving around when I was a young child partly shaped the way I made friends.

There is a certain irony that takes place when you launch a raw foods web site because, no matter how much you love and believe in what you do, no matter how solid the proof may be that the information you're providing is true and accurate, no matter how clearly it can be demonstrated by analyses of blood tests or tons of "before and after" photos that this lifestyle heals the human body, you're still pretty much bound by legal best practices to include a full disclaimer on your site. And, as much as you just write it once and kind of forget about it, it's always there. For practical reasons, of course we understand all of that. But beyond all of that, there's an implied message that "only a medical doctor" really knows what's best for you.

Well, in fact, we DO recommend working with a competent health professional. But what we do not endorse here is simply accepting whatever that professional has to say without question. So, the operative word would be "competent" in that recommendation.

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.

Today, we'd like to take the time to introduce some raw athletes who continually inspire others. There is a huge misunderstanding about the need for protein in our bodies, especially within the world of competetive sports. Many believe that without large amounts of protein we can't be strong, we can't build muscle. Raw athletes are proving that a vegan diet not only supplies enough energy to sustain the human body during competition, it also allows them to many times outperform competitors who are half their age.

Who Would Win

***** DISCLAIMER: As with all of our posts here at Pure Jeevan, and particularly those tagged with a new term, "Nadi Balance," please refer to the disclaimer that runs at the bottom of all Pure Jeevan pages. Wendi and Jim are health researchers, educators, and extreme self-experimenters; not doctors. ******

If you've been following this Nadi Balance series, you're probably as fascinated as we are with the body and the myriad ways in which we can peer into our physical health through observation and experimentation. Yesterday, we learned about a blanace being necessary in the human body between fatty acids and sterol fats. (This is but one of the many balances we'll eventually talk about under the larger umbrella of Nadi Balance.) We shared how Wendi's body was in an an extremely unbalanced state, with her fatty acids far outweighing the amount of sterol fats.

I am very fair-skinned, with light eyes and medium-colored hair. For as long as I can remember, the sun made me feel ill. The older I got, the sicker I'd feel. I felt uncomfortable in the heat, my skin would feel all prickly, I got horrible headaches, and sometimes I even got sick to my stomach. I've always loved being out in nature, but on really sunny days, it bothered me and I'd try to stay in/near the woods and the shade.

Yesterday's post was a little "heavy," don't you think In it, we shared a bit of the stress we were experiencing related to our pending move. There was just so much data to pore through (and yes, we're still feeling that stress)!?

At times like these, it's often good to step back, breathe, and make sure you're not ...well, freaking out -- which makes today's "Take the Time Tuesday" installment absolutely fitting, for we would like you to meet a raw foodie who goes to great lengths to ensure that your "Vitamin L12" levels stay well into the superhero range. Without further adieu, then...