In a previous Take the Time Tuesday entry, we introduced you to three fantastic raw food snack companies who have offered to donate samples of their products for our upcoming retreat. If you haven't heard about the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Retreat, yet, there is still some space for you to join us from May 23-25, 2008! We ve set this retreat up so that it s as affordable as possible. There s a significant savings if you sign up early, too, so be sure to check it out!

Each individual attending the retreat will receive a gift basket filled with delicious raw food treats from some truly fantastic companies. Keep an eye on the retreat page to see other companies that will be sharing delicious raw food snacks with those attending the retreat! Today, we'd like you to...

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").

Welcome to Episode FIVE! Today we're focusing on our old friend the WALNUT. Since it's officially fall, walnuts are in season right now. What better time to enjoy one of nature's tasty, heart-healthy treats?

Some health/nutrition summary info: Walnuts provide a great source of protein, fiber, B vitamins, Vitamin E, anti-oxidants to help prevent cancer, and Omega 3s to help your heart and vascular system. They also help lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure, and contain numerous beneficial amino acids and polyphenols (compounds linked with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer).

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.

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

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

It's been a while since we've made any major design changes around here. So, we thought a redesign was in order -- and we're happy to announce that we're about 95% finished implementing the new look. It's live and working right now, so we invite you to take a peek.

So many things have changed and/or been updated, not the least of which is the general look and feel of Pure Jeevan. (We did base the new design on much of the look and feel we established many years ago. But, the site has now been modernized -- adding a third column, leveraging more complex style sheets, and integrating more with social media sites like Facebook, and quite a few behind-the-scenes programming updates.)

Jim here... Yesterday, we talked about exceptions -- those non-raw food items that raw foodists sometimes allow themselves to eat. I listed mine, and a number of people here and on Facebook noted some of their own. (Seems a lot of us enjoy olives, by the way!) It struck me today that a natural follow-up to a list of exceptions would be a list of non-exceptions -- basically a list of things I personally never ever ever ever consume.

This makes sense, right? I suppose all people generally have three basic lists: (1) those things we eat regularly, (2) those things we eat sometimes, and (3) those things we never eat. Hopefully, none of us keep these lists etched in stone, as diets are dynamic things that tend to evolve over time. A few of the items I'll list below may only apply to my current practices, while others (like refined sugar) I hope to permanently exclude. So, let's see:

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In this video, Wendi talks with Leela Mata about the different branches of yoga and how diet and raw foods affect the practice of yoga. Of all the branches of yoga, Hatha Yoga is the most popular in the United States.Mata Ji explains that it is through the practice of Hatha Yoga, strengthening the body through the asanas (poses), that you awaken on a deeper level. You will become more open to connecting with your spiritual nature, to realizing more about yourself.

The superlatively captivating, one-and-only Bif Naked has been a superstar rock and roll icon, performer, diva, composer, acclaimed actress, sought-after voice-over artist, gifted poet / writer, and even cartoonist(!) for years. But, did you know she's also a raw vegan !

Early in 2009, I remember reading about her breast cancer diagnosis. The story both intrigued and haunted the raw world: ?How could a raw foodie get cancer ! We're supposed to be impervious to such things, right !

Today, for Thankful Thursday, I want to focus on a raw food related subject: Raw Recipe Books! Without the many mouthwatering, visually appetizing recipes that have been created and published, I don't know if I'd still be living a raw food lifestyle at this time.

About two years ago, when I made the decision to transition into a raw food diet, there were some fantastic raw food recipe books available. A few years before that, when I tried raw for the first time with a dear friend of mine, there were books available but none of them were truly gourmet meals. It's amazing how much things change in just a few years! The newer books are filled with colorful pictures of the most visually stimulating foods, which never looked like simple chopped up veggies arranged nicely on a plate. We have a page with many raw recipe books listed, if you'd like to see some of the ones that are available.

Today's post isn't specifically about raw foods. But, we wanted to post a few videos highlighting some interesting research by an Italian doctor named Tullio Simoncini, who just might be onto something HUGE! Dr. Simoncini treats certain cancer patients with ordinary sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), based on his premise that cancer is a fungal problem and that a solution of baking soda is anti-fungal. Naturally, he's been vilified by the medical establishment for making such a seemingly simplistic claim. But, what if he's right?

Here at Pure Jeevan, we're very much into health research -- not so much with an aim to cure any specific disease or ailment, but rather to understand ways in which our bodies can become what we like to call unbalanced, as well as the ways in which we might return our bodies to proper balance, when necessary. In this way, I suppose that we, like many in the natural health world, feel that the body is amazingly capable of healing itself (in many circumstances) as long as the body is able to find a favorable state from which it can properly do what it naturally wants to -- which is to return the body to an optimal state of health.

Medical doctors don't buy into this theory very much. ?However, it's certainly ironic how, where certain areas of standard medical practice are concerned, what I described above is exactly what doctors do. Take something like a broken bone, for example. A doctor does not normally attempt to surgically repair the bone itself. Rather, the standard and time-honored practice is to set the bone (say, with a cast), and then to let your body heal the break naturally, on its own, making those skeletal connections as only the imponderably complex, ever-evolving wisdom of the human body can facilitate. (True, doctors do often intervene these days with surgery for broken bones. But, their aim there is mainly to position the bones for proper healing, and/or to do things like insert pins in an attempt to improve functionality after healing. Either way, the procedure here still relies on the body's ability to eventually heal the problem.) Standard medical knowledge in this area is without question outstanding -- and this is why most people in the natural health world have little problem with going to see a medical doctor for emergency treatment.