We're heading out of town again! This time we'll be visiting Leela Mata at her Peaceful Valley Ashram, the location of the first raw food spiritual retreat I held last year.

Here's a video I took of Leela Mata last year:

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Happy Summer Solstice!

Well, it's officially summer here! This time of the year is extra special to us now that we're healthier. Not only is there an abundance of fresh, local organics to eat, but the sun also shows itself to us a lot more (Pittsbugh is ranked as one of the places experiencing the least amount of sunshine per year). The sun actually used to make me feel physically ill (I wrote a bit about that in an earlier post), but ever since I've switched to a raw vegan diet I find myself drawn to the healing sunshine.

Before switching to a raw lifestyle, we used to go on a lot of outings (picnics) and we'd also go camping. I remember a friend voicing concern when my diet was beginning to change to raw foods. She felt I wouldn't be able to go camping anymore and that things like picnics wouldn't be fun for someone eating a raw food diet. She thought I'd need access to a refrigerator in order to keep all my raw foods fresh and a kitchen where I could prepare the delicious foods she had been seeing me eat.

Jim here... Wow, it's Monday, April 27! Let's do something different today: Let's celebrate Monday instead of bemoaning this day that represents the taditional start of the dreaded work week. Why? Because it's our sincere hope that whatever you do in your work week is a labor of love. And, if you're not quite there yet, then celebrate the fact that you WILL be there sometime soon. For us, it means another week of working to inspire you to achieve optimal health -- and that's not "work" at all; it's actually FUN!

So, without further adieu, let's jump into this week's fun. Our good friends Melissa and Dave Sokulski have launched a site recently called FoodUnderFoot ("unleash the energy of wild edibles"). Even in it's young seedling state, I think it's already a fascinating site, and promises to become an encyclopedic web destination for anyone interested in foraging wild edibles. So, check them out for some informative info and valuable freebies, too!

Before officially starting the new year, I'd like to acknowledge the changes and growth that took place over the past year. It was a whirlwind of changes, sometimes so dizzying that I wondered what I was doing and occasionally questioned whether, or not, I was making mistakes with my life. I followed my intuition, however, and it served me well. I'm here today, remembering the past year and ready to announce plans for this new year that has just begun. It's a beautiful life, isn't it Even when things seem dark and like there is a lot of pain, there is a tremendous amount of potential for new growth and a brighter life than ever imagined.

I ended 2008, perched on a summit and ready to take flight. Before I fly, however, I'm standing still for a bit and enjoying the view. I feel like the entire past year consisted of climbing to higher and higher plateaus of an enormous mountain. While climbing to each new plateau I stumbled, held on for dear life, saw amazing things, and became stronger.When reaching each new plateau, I'd spread my wings and leap, circling the mountain's circumference. But, I wasn't strong enough to fly straight to the peak. It was a year of gradual growth and change -- and I found myself becoming stronger and stronger as I reached the summit.I'm certainly not the same person who started this climb. I have transformed into a more genuine version of myself, a younger and stronger woman emerging from a lifetime of guilt and fear. As I stand on this summit, I feel youthful and invigorated. What lies ahead may be unknown to me, but I know it's within my ability to fly to the highest heights of ANY mountain, to see and do and experience ALL that I desire. It's going to be an incredible future and I look forward to sharing it with all of you!

In recognizing all of the accomplishments of 2008, I think it's important to admit that it wasn't one steady climb to the point I'm at today.The few years prior to 2008 were almost like my training in mountain climbing. Last year there were a lot of tears shed, along with a releasing of physical and emotional baggage that was still clinging to me. I openly shared what I was going through, however, after learning that keeping things inside was slowly killing my spirit. I think if I had to sum up 2008 in just one sentence it would be: In finally releasing everything, I woke up as my true self.

In a recent post we announced that we were interviewed by Rhio for her Hooked on Raw with Rhio radio show that airs on NY Talk Radio (formerly known as Tribeca Radio). Rhio is an amazingly talented woman; we encourage you to check out her Rhio's Raw Energy site that has a lot of helpful information about the raw and living foods lifestyle.

Rhio talked with us about all of the projects we've been working on. She was particularly fond of the All Raw Directory, but she was also thrilled about our cross-country raw food tour and the raw food publishing company that we'll be starting in the near future. She asked us about our successes with the raw food diet, about our daughter, and so much more. If you have the time, we'd love for you to listen to the interview and let us know what you think! It was our first professional interview and we enjoyed it!

Here's a link to check out interviews that Rhio has conducted: Hooked on Raw with Rhio/NY Talk Radio.

Pizza Delivery at Pure Jeevan s home ! Yep, and it s not raw pizza, either. Maybe sometime in the not-so-distant future we ll be able to order delicious, life-giving raw pizzas for delivery to our home, but that time hasn t come. Even if it was possible today, I have a feeling we d still be ordering the greasy pizza that s going to be arriving here later today.

You see, today is KDcat s 14th birthday. As much as she knows about health, nutrition, and the harms of consuming dairy, she has made a decision that she wants to order a pizza for her birthday and have it delivered. When she told me of her birthday wish, a very big part of me wanted to review how unhealthy such food is, but the other part didn t want to bring guilt to her decision of eating pizza on her birthday. I know she completely understands about foods and health, especially about how harmful dairy can be for her body. She was determined to have pizza, so I d rather she enjoy it than to eat while feeling guilty about it the entire time.

I'm excited about something that one of my friends has been working on. Melissa is gifted in so many areas, one of which is wild edible identification. She recently told me she was working on something that would help a lot of people and I was excited about her new project. Well, now it's ready to be shared with everyone!

Take the time to meet...

Wow, today is Day 7 of the Big 2010 Tour! So far, Wendi and KDcat have spent three days on a train and three more in Portland, Salem, and Corvallis. We still have plenty of content to post from those, including a good deal of video (once I'm able to edit that). For now, let's look at some pics and talk about their second stop, Salem!

Prior to leaving, Wendi & KDcat (let's just say "W&K" from here on out, okay ) stopped at People's Co-Op in Portland for supplies. As much as they loved Portland, they weren't very impressed with the co-op there, as compared to the one we have in Pittsburgh. However, in fairness, they were told that it's still a "young" co-op. Still, it's surprising to me that Portland wouldn't have an enormous one. However, it could very well be that there is not as much of a need there, in an area in which organics are much more accepted. Here in Pittsburgh, one could argue that our co-op thrives because organics are largely scoffed at by other retailers. Interesting, eh?

(By the way, are people on the west coast really as laid back as everyone says Wendi got into a bit of hot water for filming inside another co-op! Here in Pittsburgh, I doubt anyone would care if you set up a movie set in our co-op. No charges were filed, thankfully.)

The other day, before grocery shopping, I didn't have a lot of food in the house. When that happens, I usually take a look at what I have and then try to come up with something tasty. It's kind of an art form, to create something out of next to nothing. I think I learned the art from my mother, who had to make things stretch on a very minimal budget.

Here's what I created, and it turned out great!

Today is my birthday!!! I have always loved birthdays---my own, as well as those of my friends and family members. Some people don't make a big deal out of birthdays, but I think they are super special! For me, celebrating a birthday isn't about the cake and presents; it's about the focused attention that is given from one person to another.