In Part 5 of this 5-Part series, Wendi talks with Leela Mata about meditation and diet. After discussing what meditation is and why people practice it, Mata Ji talks about diet and its effects on the mind. She then gives a brief explanation of how to meditate for those who are new to the practice, and demonstrates how to use a simple mantra (word or phrase) to aid in entering a meditative state.

When we found out that there was a raw foods restaurant in Key West, we knew we'd visit for sure. So, after a wonderful lunch of some of their raw staples (raw tacos and peanut noodles), it was no surprise to us that we found ourselves drifting back toward Help Yourself after the sunset celebration at Mallory Square (the main nightly Key West sunset viewing celebration). When we arrived, we asked to interview the owner, Charlie Wilson. She'd just left after working a very long day at the restaurant. But, an emplyee called her anyway and she graciously agreed to come talk with us! So, here's a bit of that conversation:

Here's a video demonstrating a technique for making super-fast, vibrantly beautiful, tasty salads! If you frequently find yourself in a rush, but also want a healthy meal, definitely check out this mandoline technique. (Further commentary below, after the video...)

Over the weekend, we visited the spectacular Oregon Country Fair in Eugene and, once again, experienced a joyful and overwhelming sense of recognition that we're living in a place where people are much more accustomed to just being themselves.

Personal expression and nonconformity are so valued here that one becomes quickly enamored of the whole ambiance, which could well explain why more people come to Oregon than leave. The region seems to represent, to many, a chance to finally discover and explore an identity perhaps not completely free from outside influence, but at least free from the undesirable influences that society elsewhere seems to insist upon. Or maybe I'm misreading it all and providing just one of many interpretations.

Eating only mono meals is going pretty well. I'm on my third food, so far, and have ended day two. This evening I've started my third fruit: Pineapples!

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:


Persimmons are a tad unusual, aren't they? Perhaps they're simply uncommon. After all, few major grocers carry them regularly (at least, not in our area). But, occasionally, they crop up as a specialty, limited-quantity offering. That's more or less how we obtained some recently. Wendi *loves* them, so we quickly snatched up a few at our local co-op last week. Here's the vid (below). Note the strange lack of a video still image. I'm not sure if it's a YouTube glitch, or if I made some sort of error in rendering. But, the video works just fine, so you'll just have to take a small leap of faith here and click that play btton! [UPDATE: Nevermind, YouTube fixed it.]

Thanks again to Bethany Hagensen and Janet McKee for being our special guests for this episode. Once again, the link to their documentary, "Bethany's Story," is

After leaving the windy area of Prescott Valley, AZ, Wendi and KDcat headed up to Sedona. Today is part one of their Sedona visit, focusing on their visit with raw chocolatier, Kelly Johnson. We'll pick up with Wendi's travelogue, where we last left off:

It was great driving to Sedona, since I have a fond place in my heart for this magical spot. I'll talk more about that later, though. When we arrived, went directly to a raw restaurant I remembered visiting a few years ago. The name had changed, and there was a lot more going on there.

KDcat and I placed an order for some food to go (we wanted to have a picnic, rather than be inside when there was so much beauty around), and then met the lovely Kelly Johnson. Kelly is one of the owners of the raw restaurant and he agreed to do a quick interview to tell us about the restaurant and what had changed since the last time I was in Sedona.

Jim here... Wow, we haven't posted in a few days. That calls for some action! Hmmm... how about taking a look at some delicious mini pizzas Wendi whipped up the other day:

We went absolutely nuts for these little "pizzas." They were both tasty and fun. If memory serves, I believe she made them by taking slices of firm roma tomatoes, spooning on some improvised pesto sauce that she whipped up, sprinkling on some chopped basil leaves, sprinkling on some "cheese" that she made with ground Brazil nuts, garlic, and salt, and then topping each "pizza slice" off with a half cherry tomato. No recipes necessary here; just take a look at the picture & go try it!

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.

Back when we ate cooked foods (especially way back when our menu was not exclusively vegan), parmesan cheese seemed to be a staple of our existence (especially for Jim). We'd sprinkle it liberally on pasta dishes, salads, soups, and more.

As is typical for many raw foodies, you often realize after going raw that it was not always necessarily the food itself that you craved (no matter what it was); often it was simply the texture, the spices, the various flavors and tastes, etc. And that realization leads raw chefs to wonder whether the same experience can be recreated using only raw ingredients.