Driving to work today, we noticed that McDonald's has launched its latest product aimed at the health-conscious demographic. In case you haven't heard, you can now purchase fruit smoothies at Mickey D's! Sounds like real progress, right? Well, let's take a closer look and see if they're really as healthy as they sound.

McDonald's is not exactly known as a healthfood destination. After all, a typical lunch at the Golden Arches these days might well include something like an Angus Bacon & Cheese, Large Fries, and a Large Coke. ?Together, that's 1,600 calories, 64 grams of fat, and 2,400 mg of sodium, 99% of which is from highly cooked, highly processed, non-organic, factory-farmed, nutrition-barren source materials . (Add on another 75 calories and 550 more mg of sodium if you plan to go through, say, five packets of ketchup along with those fries.) (Source) And, some people eat that daily!

Today, for Makin' It Monday, Jim has taken you through the steps of making a vegetable wrap. He came home for lunch, pulled the veggies out of the fridge, and the filming began. He quickly shows how just about anyone can prepare fresh, raw, delicious food in less than fifteen minutes. His goal was to get it done in under ten minutes, but it actually took about fourteen. Still, fourteen minutes to prepare amazingly tasty, delicious, and nutritious food is AWESOME!

Sharing is lovely, don't you think? When I decided I was going to "go raw" and not consume cooked foods anymore, it was a huge life-changing decision. Even though there was no one standing next to me, telling me what to do and not do as I was changing my eating habits, I was still supported in my efforts. My support system was made up of copious amounts of experience and advice that was openly shared by experienced raw foodists. Even though many times I felt like I was alone, the path I was walking was etched with loving words left by caring people who wanted to encourage others who were yet to come down the same raw food path.

There's an old saying that "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas." But we're not ones for keeping secrets. So, here's the low-down on Wendi and KDcat's time in Sin City -- straight from Wendi's travelogue, once again!

We drove to Las Vegas from California, and loved seeing the change as our surroundings became a desert. The snow-capped mountains are such a beautiful contrast in CA, but especially here in Nevada where it's so dry and hot!

This stop was longer than expected, since we decided to change our schedule a bit in order to get some more relaxing time in--and also to allow KDcat to have some fun that didn't involve raw foods or Pure Jeevan activity. ?We decided to hold off on visiting a date farm and the grand canyon (two activities we'd had planned for this leg of the trip) until Jim could do those things with us as a family. We especially missed him during this part of the trip, because he's always wanted to see what Vegas is like in person.

This is my version of a beanless hummus. One of my close friends adores the taste of Israeli Hummus and she thinks this tastes just like it. So, try it for yourself and let me know! Jim will eat this if he doesn't see me using the zucchini (he doesn't like the idea of eating zucchini for some reason). :-P

Hummus

3 cups of zucchini (peeled and chopped)

In the comedy film, L.A. Story, there's a scene in which weatherman Harris K. Telemacher (Steve Martin) visits a friend and is asked to taste a *very* green-looking juice. He does, and then proclaims it's "exactly like licking a shag carpet." ?Funny how some people adore intense greens while others experience the polar-opposite reaction. (There are numerous funny food- and health-related jokes in that movie, by the way!)

Yesterday, we discussed some unusual considerations with respect to greens, ultimately leading to a brief discussion of chlorophyll (the green pigment within almost all plants that plays a key role in photosynthesis).

***** DISCLAIMER: As with all of our posts here at Pure Jeevan, and particularly those coming up over the next week and a half (which will all be 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. ******

Nadi Balance: Part IV...

Just a quick notice that we've posted our December 2009 newsletter. Each month, we email a link to our newsletter to all Pure Jeevan family members. (If you're not receiving that, you're mising out on a ton of awesome raw inspiration and information. You can click here to sign up -- it's free!)

We'll be back tomorrow to continue our coverage of the Chicago raw food scene. As I've been saying for a few days now, you won't want to miss these great interviews!?

Today I answer the second part of a letter Jim received from a Pure Jeevan member who was seeking advice about her daughter who has decided to become a vegetarian. Rather than quote parts of her letter, I'll summarize the questions (because they are general questions that we hear a lot and our answers are given for everyone, not just the individual who sent the most recent letter).

1) I don't have a lot of money for all the produce and kitchen appliances, so how can I eat a healthy diet

2) I live with others who don't eat the same diet, so how can I possibly make this work

Here they are!! Images from the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat! There were more taken by the ashram staff; once they are sent to me, I'll include those, as well.

Page One: Guests

Page Two: Raw Food

Here's an impromptu interview with Matt Miller, the gourmet raw foods chef from Maggie's Mercantile, a vegan/raw restaurant in Pittsburgh, PA. We met Matt @ a recent Raw Foods Meetup here in Pittsburgh. In the video, we discuss Matt's famously addictive raw blue corn chips -- deemed by yours truly as the "holy grail" of raw foods. Below, I'll go over the ingredients, etc.