For this week's Makin' It Monday, I'll share a super quick and yummy recipe I created. Since we have all of those delicious oranges, guess what the recipe is going to include? ;-)

ORANGE PUDDING

I received an email from one of our lovely Pure Jeevan family members. Joanne is subscribed to our mailings and she received the ice cream cake recipe I had created for Jim back in January. Well, take a look at what she did with the recipe! It's LOVEly!

Hi Wendi!

I took Jim's birthday cake recipe to the next level.

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.

I have a need for hot food in winter to feel warm.

We hear this comment a lot from those trying to lose weight. Some joke that they thought their excess body fat would be keeping them warm, but they're still feeling cold and needing hot food in the winter months.

In the past, we've talked about reasons what's going on in the body when hot foods are consumed. Understanding this will help you realize that hot foods are actually not very good for our bodies. When we consume very hot foods, that heat is then inside our bodies, next to vital organs, while the body needs to maintain a temperature around 98.6 degrees. When we have temperatures higher than that right next to our vital organs, it must quickly work to remove that excess heat. It's the removal of this excess heat that causes us to feel warm. It's our bodies trying to stay in a healthy state. We are actually putting our bodies under stress when we do this (the same holds true for eating overly cold foods, like frozen desserts and icy drinks).

Continuing on, again, with Wendi s San Francisco travelogue:

After leaving Pete and Blessing, we had a little time before our next meeting. So, KDcat and I explored San Francisco a bit. We saw the largest rainbow flag we've ever seen, experienced the steep hills (much steeper than the ones in Pittsburgh), and checked out an overview spot called Twin Peaks. Our San Francisco host taught us later that evening about how to "curb" your car and always apply the parking brake (which is necessary in a place with such steep hills).

Later we met up with Shivie and Cemaaj, who heard we'd be in town and invited us to visit them for a raw meal? in their home. Wow, what a delicious and beautiful meal we were served! Shivie and Cemaaj are gentle, loving people with a true gift for preparing and serving gourmet raw foods. We were honored to be invited to visit with them and loved them both instantly. They were a lot of fun getting to know, and very generous (sending raw foods with us before we left to eat and share with our San Franciso host). Cemaaj is also a gifted musician and taught KDcat some rhythms on the djembe African drum, which she quickly learned and enjoyed very much! Cemaaj is a gifted teacher and great with kids. It was fun watching him ease her into the instrument, which she now says she'd love to own and practice on!

On this page, we'd like to share some information about vegetable juicers. There are a number of different kinds, and we'll try to offer some background on many of the leading ones. We're affiliates for some, so if you're in the market for one of the ones we discuss, please follow the links we provide (or click the juicer pics) and you'll help support Pure Jeevan. But, either way, we certainly encourage you to consume fresh, delicious, nourishing veggie juices regularly!

The Jay Kordich Juicer -- The PowerGrind

The PowerGrind Pro is a juicer put out by Jay Kordich, commonly known as the "father of juicing" by many in the raw food / living food world. In fact, our very first juicer was a "JuiceMan" model, purchased back in the early 1990s! But this is an entirely new machine, retooled from the ground up recently. At $289, it's a fairly high-end juicer (as compared with, say, department store models). However, it's certainly got the power and features to back up that level of investment. ?Head on over to the Jay Kordich web site for full details on the latest models.

The Hurom Slow Juicer

A year or two ago, when we still lived in Pittsburgh, we hosted the Monarch's (Matt & Angela) during one of their speaking tours. I remember Angela firing up their juicer in the morning and I thought (or possibly even said), "Wow, your juicer is broken!" I swore that something was wrong because it didn't sound like anything I'd heard before. But they then told us about what was then the newest juicer on the market -- the Hurom Slow juicer. It's garnered a lot of positive testimonials over the past few years, from quite a lot of juicing enthusiasts. While many of the features are nice, we imagine the the most important potential benefit would be the slower speed, which theoretically means less oxidation, less processing, and thus healthier juice. If we were in the market today, I've no doubt we'd try one of these, too (even at $359)! These juicers are available through our good friends at Natural Zing!

I suppose that, when you buy more produce than the average consumer, you come to observe a thing or two about that produce. We can't say for sure that our assertion is 100% true, but it sure does seem true to us. You see, we've noticed that produce we purchase at farmers' markets tends to keep longer than store-bought. Give it a try yourself, and see if your produce stays fresher longer!

Of course, there are many other benefits to shopping at farmers' markets. Aside from the produce being able to stay fresh longer, you're getting it in a much fresher state than store-bought. So, the things you eat first will be "extra" fresh tasting.

Q. I am trying to go raw and juicing for only two days now and I am soooo hungry and I really don't quite understand what to eat. I went out and bought a bunch of raw vegetables but I am lost on exactly how to prepare the meals and I'm so tired of being fat. Can you direct me to a simple start of book or can you give me some simple recipes or what you did to get started on your first month? Thank you.

Signed,

Frustrated and Fat in Virginia

A. Dear LOVELY BEING,

In August of 2007, I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. My entire world had changed since I adopted the raw food lifestlyle. My body had released nearly 100 pounds of unhealthy weight, my health had dramatcially improved, I ended unhealthy friendships, I released a lot of stored emotional memories from childhood abuse, I realized that I wasn't living in a location that met my needs anymore, and so much more. I can't think of any aspect of my life that hadn't changed, in one way or another, over the year and a half that led up to my urgent need for a retreat.

I want to admit something to all of you: Sometimes I still cry because of how people treated me when I was obese. Because I stuffed all of my "negative" emotions deep inside my entire life, it's going to take some time to fully release them. I'm working on it, however, and making tremendous progress with healing myself on all levels. I'm not telling you these things so you'll feel sorry for me, however. I'm telling you because I am thankful for all the pain I endured. It shaped me (in more ways than just my physical appearance) into the person I am today.

Even though it sounds strange, and somehow wrong to feel this way, I'm thankful that I was obese. I'm thankful for all of the experiences during my life, even the extremely painful, traumatic ones. Maybe if I was a different kind of person I would wish that those things didn't happen to me. However, I am using those experiences in positive ways. They've helped me understand people even better, and to understand myself on a deeper level, as well. When people reach out to me it's not only because I'm an approachable person, it's because they sense that I understand them--and they're right. I DO understand them. I understand you. My experiences, coupled with my gift of empathy, help me relate to you in a way that maybe not everyone else is able to do.