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.

Jim here... I'd like to mainly talk about organics today, but thought I'd wrap that subject into a longer, rather quirky piece on ranking produce on some sort of a scale that would indicate how awesome (or awful) it is. See what you think...

Have you ever thought of arranging produce into a sort of "heirarchy of quality"? Well, I'm not going to attempt to do that here, but I would like to discuss the concept for a moment in order to at least explain what I'm getting at. While I've not yet attempted to do this exercise, I nonetheless occasionally envision a large chart or something that conveys my feelings about how I personally rank the quality of fruits and vegetables I put into my body. This all probably sounds vague, so let me share some examples.

Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.

Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.

At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.

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.

You know about raw foods, I know about raw foods, and we both know people who know about raw foods. It seems like more and more people know about this lifestyle than ever before -- and that's absolutely true! But, it's still true that, on the whole, the average person on the street knows almost nothing about it. As such, if you're a raw foodist, you often find yourself in situations in which you're explaining it to people. (Obviously, as raw foods bloggers, we're more than happy to do so, of course!)

Amid all of these explanations to new friends and new readers, it's not too uncommon to hear people scoff at the idea in one way or another. Common objections include things like:

As we promised yesterday, we're featuring a wonderful (and LONG!) video interview today with the incredible John Kohler of Santa Rosa, CA. You may be familiar with John from some of his popular web sites, most notably his "Living and Raw Foods" community site at www.RawFoods.com. Below are parts one, two, and three of Wendi's interview. They're roughly 10 minutes each. (That's a lot of time, I realize, but at least check out Part 1 if you're short on time, as it offers an amazing look at John's front yard.)

Wendi said she was at a loss for words when interviewing John at his home (and you'll soon see why!), because what he has done on his 1/10th of an acre lot is *phenomenal*. He told Wendi off the video that it's all a matter of trial and error--finding what grows easily and well, and working with those plants the most. If something takes a lot of effort, or is difficult to easily grown, he skips it and focuses on what can give the most yield for the least work. Almost everything grown on John's land is edible!

PART TWO:

PART THREE:

The video of John's garden and the pictures (see yesterday's post) are enough to inspire ANYONE to plant even a small garden for themselves! WOW!

John has a lot going on, including a monthly potluck. Wendi and KDcat happened to be in town on the night of the March potluck, so Wendi was invited to speak at the event. It was a nice, laid-back group of people, Wendi said, and they sat at a long table talking about the raw lifestyle, health issues / concerns, what children are fed in school, and so much more -- a really nice group of people, Wendi said, noting she'd love to visit them all again. To connect with John Kohler is pretty easy. He's on the internet at:

Once again, we d love to thank our generous trip snack sponsor, Natural Zing, for helping us to make this possible on our budget!

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On March 19, 2010, anasha wrote:

fantastic, thank you so much Wendi, very informative, what a guy and energy bomb he is, hope you are well again, you seem so
love to you

There is a lovely blanket of quietness covering Pittsburgh.Everything has been cancelled for the evening and people are staying home.Do you ever wonder what others do with their lives, how they spend their time when they are away from the rest of society and closed up in their own homes? I'm always curious---I think people are fascinating!

Jim here... We had a whirlwind weekend last weekend when the uber-talented couple Rhio and Leigh came to Pittsburgh for a three-day visit. As many of you probably know, Rhio is a well-known pioneer of the raw food movement, having written one of the definitive books on raw foods, Hooked on Raw. She's also the host of a popular Internet radio show of the same name, for which Leigh serves as primary engineer and co-host. Both have extensive backgrounds in music, as well, which is fitting for such a colorful, vibrant couple.

Saturday, Rhio gave a two-part presentation to a capacity crowd at a local coffee shop / art gallery.Part One was a demonstration on making raw dairy-free yogurt using almonds (a technique demonstrated, I believe, on her new DVD, "What's NOT Cookin' in Rhio's Kitchen " -- available soon on her web site at www.rawfoodinfo.com). According to the yogurt eaters in the crowd (of which I'm not one -- never went in for much dairy), the recipe mimics yogurt perfectly! So, if you're a raw foodie who misses dairy yogurt, you're definitely going to want to connect wth Rhio to learn the technique.

A Pure Jeevan family members asks:

How do I eat dandelions? I heard they are good for me, but I tasted one and they are so bitter. I don't know how I could ever eat them, even if they are supposed to be so good for me. Can you help

First, congratulations on being so open-minded when it comes to trying new things! Too many people never move far away from their comfort zones, especially when it comes to diet, and they miss out on a lot. So, good for you to at least consider and then try dandelion greens!

 

I ordered a case of organic, fresh-picked, perfectly ripe oranges!! Yay! They were shipped in less than 24 hours of my order and they should arrive soon! I asked for some grapefruits in there, too, even though I haven't really liked the taste of them in the past. I'm thinking that fresh ones will taste a lot better--not to mention that I never tried an organic one before. If I still don't like them, Jim and KDcat will eat them. ;-)

If you want to check out the grove from where I ordered them, here's a link: http://www.flnaturalcitrus.com/. I emailed with Dave, who was very nice. It's fun to get to know the people you are getting your food from, isn't it? This past spring, summer, and fall we were members of a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. The produce was amazing and it was so fun to actually see pictures of the farm workers and hear about the daily ins and outs of life on the farm. If you've never heard about a CSA, maybe you'll want to see if you have one in your local area this coming spring.

An email has been sent to those offering help on the project I've been working on! If you offered to help and haven't received an email from me, please let me know. If you didn't offer help, but would now like to help out, it's not too late! Just let me know!

Thanks, again, for your generosity of helping with something you didn't even know anything about! It fills me with such happiness to know that you would help me!

Lots of love to all of you,