A Bit of India in Pittsburgh s Back Yard?

During an intense personal journey in recent years, I ve discovered that the more I m able to know my true self, the more my perception of the world changes. As a result, my surroundings have changed as well ?people, places, directions. At one point, internal and external changes happened so rapidly, it was difficult to fully process anything; I felt overwhelmed.

Amid urges to explore so many new directions, all at the same time, it became impossible to focus. My initial instinct was to flee to India, where I could peacefully stay at an ashram and process all that was transpiring in my mind. Although circumstances kept me from traveling abroad, I knew I needed to simplify. That s when I remembered an old issue of Point of Light I d kept. I dug it out and quickly flipped through the pages? There it was: Peaceful Valley Ashram & Retreat, located just north of Pittsburgh!

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.

?

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.

There's SO much to celebrate lately! Check it out:

Our dear friend Robin (aka Rawbin) celebrates her birthday today. We created a fun video for Rawbin, who has the ability to make anyone laugh! Rawbin blogs here and you can read her "My Raw Story" installment here.She's also the east coast Raw Spirit Festival representative. (RSF east happens August 29-30, 2009 in Maryland. More info here.)

Jim here... When you're a committed raw foodie, certain activities that most other people consider routine can become somewhat difficult if you don't apply a bit of forethought and planning. Take traveling, for example -- specifically, flying.

What if you're flying out of town -- say, to the Florida Keys (wink, wink) -- and want to make sure you'll have enough to eat during the day-long trip? What if you also want to bring along some staple raw food items as well ? What if some of these are generally refridgerated ? How can you accomplish all of that?

Since our child was exposed to a large variety of vegetables and fruits at a young age, she has always enjoyed consuming them in myriad ways. When children's exposure to fruits and veggies has been limited, however, they don't always like consuming things that are so different from what they've grown accustomed to eating (and this many times carries into adulthood).

It's vital that children be exposed to a variety of foods, as often as possible, while growing up. For the vast majority of children, however, that has not been the case. Packaged, processed, and fast foods are a standard part of our society; we don't think twice about serving such foods to our children. Everyone is doing it, it's affordable and convenient, and they like it!

A month has gone by since my last health update. At this point, I consider myself healed of lyme disease! In the past I asked the lyme specialist doctor if there's a way to test to see for certain the lyme is gone, but he said there isn't. So, I go on my inner wisdom, which tells me that it's gone and now I simply need to continue healing from all that the lyme brought with it.

We're still not comfortable sharing what we've been learning and doing to help move my body into an even healthier state, but it's obviously working. I've been able to go back to daily living, for the most part, without much assistance at all. I've organized the house again (Jim and KDcaT were busy caring for me and the house wasn't the top priority for the past half a year), caught up on all of the laundry, responded to all of my email that had been piling up, and I've been able to be more social again. The biggest improvements are that I can now prepare my own food without experiencing any pain, and I can dress myself with only minimal assistance at times! BIG improvements!

I'm still working on the dishes that will be served at the upcoming 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat (only 2 spots left!). Today, I worked on the Sandwich Fixin's that will be served for lunch on one of the retreat days.

I'm still doing my nine-day mono meals for Navratri. Since it's Makin' It Monday, instead of actually makin' a recipe, I'm dreamin' about it! After talking with my sweet friend Melissa, I thought I wanted to eat spinach pie when I end my mono meals. She was talking about it, shared how she was going to create it, and my mind was filling with the image of spinach pie, the smell and taste of it, and I wanted it right then.But, we don't have any spinach in the house right now. Since I end my mono meals after tomorrow's lunch, and don't have time to buy spinach at the food co-op, I decided to dream some more about what I'll be eating for tomorrow's dinner.

Then it came to me. I want beet pasta! Not just any beet pasta, but beet pasta topped with a creamy alfredo sauce! I picture it in my mind; I can imagine the taste of it, the texture, and it's so delicious. I think I want something green with it, too. Perhaps I'll start with a small salad. Ooh! Yes, that's what I'll do!

After making a 'batch' of green smoothies, what is generally considered an appropriate serving size?

Thanks for the question, Gary!? I don't think I can give an across-the-board answer to fit everyone, since we're all so wonderfully different. The answer would have to take into consideration various factors, such as:

As many of you know, Kevin and Annmarie Gianni (of Renegade Health) have now started their RV tour, for which they selected Pittsburgh as their official kick-off location. While here, we at Pure Jeevan took a special ride in "The Kale Whale," their veggie-oil-powered RV. Inside, we enjoyed a comfortable ride (which included hanging out with Johnny 5 -- their cat -- and drinking some hot tea prepared right there in the Kale Whale). Outside, we endured the freezing cold temperatures of Pittsburgh while pumping filtered used veggie oil into special holding tanks in the RV. Here is some video footage from our Kale Whale encounter!