To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

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

Here's a picture I took at Portland's Saturday Market last week. We've been pleasantly surprised to find that artichokes grow rather well here in the Pacific Northwest. We don't recall seeing them much back East, but many of our neighbors grow them (both for the artichokes and, I suspect, as ornamental plants).

I suspect that some raw foodists tend to overlook artichokes because they're so traditionally linked with the image of something steamed, stuffed with breadcrumbs, and drizzled in butter -- so, "cooked," "breaded," and "dairy" all together in one recipe! Being half Italian, I grew up eating them this way. My mother almost never said "artichoke"; she always called them an Italian word that sounded like "ga-GO-che-lee." ?She made them just a few times per year, and they were always a huge treat (and we'd often fight over the hearts -- by far the best part!).

In this special five-part series, Joanna Steven uncovers where some top vegetarian athletes get their protein. Here's part two, focusing on Koya Webb's take on this issue.

ALMONDS

?The greater the percentage of raw food in the diet, the greater the health benefits? is Koya Webb, fitness model, personal trainer, triathlete and body builder's personal motto. Koya's sculpted physique won 1st place in the Ultimate Fitness Events "Fitness Model" and "Bikini Model" competitions and has modeled for Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Muscle and Fitness, Her Sports, Royal Caribbean and Triathlete magazine, to name a few. As a living-foodist (one who eats 60% or more uncooked veggies, nuts, seeds, and super foods) Koya believes eating all natural ?fruits of the earth? can help heal cancer, diabetes, and other diseases plaguing our society today.

We'd like to welcome the RawFoodRightNow blog readers to our Pure Jeevan blog! We are a new blog (started earlier this month), so we are thrilled that you have already found us and have taken the time to come and meet us!

Our blog is focused on a holistic look at living life as a raw food vegan (we have a holisitc raw-focused newsletter, too). We write posts that cover the body, mind, spirit, and emotions--as well as just random talk straight from our hearts to the blog page.

We update at least five times per week because we have daily blog features (Makin' It Monday, where we share raw recipes we are making; Take the Time Tuesday, where we introduce people or businesses we think may interest you; Weird Wednesay, where Jim shares observations about strange things; Thankful Thursday, where we share what we are thankful for and ask you to share, as well; and Fun-Filled Friday, where we tell you what fun things we have planned for our weekend).

Over the next few months and the coming year, you'll be witnessing the continued growth of Wendi Dee and Pure Jeevan in ways you might not ever have imagined! So, stay connected and let us know your thoughts about the changes that are (and will be!) taking place. We're not here for ourselves, we're here for all of you and for those who don't know about us (yet!). We have a mission: to share our stories and inspire others to fully embrace their lives and be all that they could ever desire (including healthy, happy, and vibrant)!

This is a long post, even though I tried to keep it brief. It's mostly a personal entry, but I wanted to share things so that you know a bit about what's going on with me and Pure Jeevan, now and in the near future. I'll break it up a bit with some more photos from Raw Spirit, the most therapeutic and life-changing event of my life.

======Wendi Dee's Growth======

Just a quick announcement today:? I just pressed "send" on our gorgeously produced November 2009 e-newsletter. While we've done periodic newsletters in the past, we've now revisited our commitment to doing them regularly. So, each month going forward, we plan to send out a new e-newsletter.

And they're always crazy fun!? They're kind of like bouncing on a trampoline -- like flying, you know ? Nothing but care-free, transcendent happiness, soaring amid the tree branches, smiling ear-to-ear, gravity-defying hair flying every which way. (Okay, maybe they're not that much fun. But, they are at least generally enjoyable -- and informative!)

Thanks to Bitt, yesterday, for pointing out that one possible misinterpretation of yesterday's post (on celebrity weight loss) could be that "thin = healthy." I'm sure that, while there are countless wonderful benefits to being a famous actor, one of the less wonderful aspects of that life must be the pressure to remain young, thin, attractive, etc. It would seem realistic to me to assert that, additionally, women are held to even more objectified standards than are the men out there (although, in fairness, note that 6 of the 11 stars profiled in the Yahoo feature linked to yesterday were in fact men).

In any case, the post's intention was never to imply that one's weight is necessarily the best indication of one's overall health. After all, we all know thin people afflicted with serious health challenges.

Six months ago, we devoted a week's worth of coverage here on Pure Jeevan to diabetes. You'll find diabetes statistics, raw food resources for diabetes, stories of people who have beaten diabetes using a raw foods diet, an audio interview Wendi and I did about diabetes, and more.

We also linked several times to the Movement to Reverse Diabetes Naturally, where people could pick up copies of two amazing DVD documentaries, "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days" and "Raw for Life." Through an enormous effort during those weeks back then, the RDN Movement spread the word about raw foods to literally thousands of people!

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Jim here... It's not often that we're able to recommend a movie that's perfectly relevant to the raw food lifestyle. But, if you're a raw vegan and haven't seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we highly recommend this film. Not only is it wonderful, but it's also, for much of the film, a nice metaphor for living the raw foods lifestyle.

Jim's mother, JoAnn, LOVES pasta. I'm sure many of you can relate to that---pasta is a big part of the cooked diet and just about everyone loves it. When going raw, many individuals say they just can't do it because they miss pasta too much. Well, that's no longer a problem. There is a raw way to make pasta and you are going to love it if you haven't experienced it, yet!

As a gift for Mother's Day, we sent a pasta-making tool to JoAnn along with a pasta sauce recipe we created for her (see the Paradisio Pasta Pomodoro entry). To make it easier for her to learn how to create pasta, and to answer some of the emails we've been receiving about the device we used to make the pasta, we have put together a two-part video showing how to make delicious, beautiful raw pastas! You'll learn how to use two different pasta-making devices, as well as how to use a simple vegetable peeler to create delicious noodles!

Pardon the video quality there. A.J. and I shot that video at night and, although it looked decent on the camera's preview screen, the actual video came out almost totally black!? However, with a bit of video processing, we were able to salvage it. It's not optimal video, but it's at least watchable (and, hey, also conveys a little of that nighttime festival feeling).

A quick note about veganism before I share some additional info... As we've stated here many times, Pure Jeevan advocates a raw vegan lifestyle. What do we intend that to mean, exactly? Well, strictly speaking, veganism excludes all animal products, both in terms of diet and lifestyle.