Jim here... As I hinted at last week, I decided to try changing things up a bit and seeing what I thought of it. The salad you see above included the first cooked food I've had in more than two years. If you look closely, you can see that I sprinkled on a few spoonfuls of black beans. Also, in the upper left corner, there's a small spoonful of quinoa. I don't want to give the wrong impression here: ?This blog will certainly remain a major go-to source for raw food nutrition information. It's just that, today, I want to talk about experimentation a little bit.

First, I think it's generally healthy to experiment with your diet -- especially when you get the sense that something isn't working in your current diet. The fact is, diet is a dynamic thing, not a static aspect of your life. It has to be this way because so many factors affect our physiology on a day-to-day basis. Off the top of my head, these include the facts that:

THE TOUR IS COMPLETED! For pictures, videos, and commentary about their adventures, check out the Trip Dashboard!!

For those of you who've been following our plans for a few years, you know we've been preparing for a cross-country tour for a long time. The plans have expanded, contracted, changed dramatically, but the core of the idea has always been there: we plan on relocating to a new city and we need to find the right place for Pure Jeevan to settle. In order to do that, a big cross-country tour is in order. So, the exciting news is that we're leaving in a couple of weeks to check out some of the cities/towns we're thinking might be a perfect fit for Pure Jeevan! The sad news is that all of us can't make the trip. Jim will be holding down the fort here in Pittsburgh (i.e. the house still hasn't sold and he still needs to keep his corporate job so we can pay the mortgage).

To continue with our Summertime Raw series, we took a trip to Pittsburgh's Frick Park to enjoy the beautiful day. Before leaving, we packed another meal to show you how easy it can be to eat a raw food diet while away from home.Frick Park was wildly popular among dogs; we saw canines of all shapes and sizes -- all playful, yet calm in comparison to our lovely Julia, a rescued blue Doberman. Joogie enjoyed the outing very much because she was able to snack on cucumbers (a favorite treat), chase after a few joggers (we're teaching her that this isn't proper doggy behavior), knock the cooler out of Jim's hands when we were leaving (which broke a few of our best glass dishes), and lick the faces of a few new furry friends. We've been to many parks, but we have a feeling this is now Julia's favorite. ?

In yesterday's blog and video post, we showed you how easy it is to simply grab fresh fruits and veggies and head out the door for an outing. In that show, no refrigeration or preparation was necessary. However, we also know that many of you are new to raw foods, and perhaps eating simple chopped produce isn't so appealing for you compared to traditional foods you'd normally eat while in a park. So, today's goal is to demonstrate how simple it can be, making it easy for you to stick to a raw food lifestyle and not feel tempted by the cooked foods that may be around while you're out enjoying the summer with friends and family. So, today's video is about stepping it up to the next level.

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As we have mentioned here and there, our home (affectionately called "The Luck House") is currently for sale. Once it sells, we will be hitting the road full-time, educating people all across the country about the benefits of the raw foods lifestyle. Until then, we're spending a good amount of time going through the motions of selling the place. It's a wonderful home!!!?

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Jim here... A few months ago, I'd posted an article here on the topic of Cognitive Dissonance. This theme seems to crop up from time to time in questions people ask about the raw foods lifestyle. For example, one new raw fooder recently posted a question in a raw foods forum asking whether other raw foodies had reached a place in their lives at which things changed so much that they felt as though they were living a contradiction. Because this struck home for me, I'd like to reiterate my response, somewhat edited, below.

Sharing is lovely, don't you think? When I decided I was going to "go raw" and not consume cooked foods anymore, it was a huge life-changing decision. Even though there was no one standing next to me, telling me what to do and not do as I was changing my eating habits, I was still supported in my efforts. My support system was made up of copious amounts of experience and advice that was openly shared by experienced raw foodists. Even though many times I felt like I was alone, the path I was walking was etched with loving words left by caring people who wanted to encourage others who were yet to come down the same raw food path.

Just a few brief thoughts for you this Weird Wednesday...

Of all the species on this Earth, it's weird that no other animals besides people cook their food. Similarly, of all the species on this Earth, it's weird that no other animals besides people drink the milk of other animals.

As promised, here's our interview with Leigh Crizoe, Rhio's partner and co-host of the Hooked on Raw Internet radio program. We think you'll love this interview, as it shows another perspective on raw foods and also gets into an interesting detox program that you may not have heard about. After 9/11, the New York City residents and workers close to ground zero breathed in highly toxic particulate matter for a long span of time. Rhio and Leigh live just blocks from the site, and both experienced respiratory troubles as a result -- especially Leigh, whose sweat began to stain his white t-shirts black! (Yep, you read that right: You'd actually sweat black! This happened to many ground zero workers, in fact.)

Who had the detox answer for them ?... Would you believe L. Ron Hubbard and Tom Cruise ? Apparently, detoxification was an area of high interest to Hubbard, the founder of scientology, who developed an intense regimen of saunas, vitamin supplements, and oils, all specifically for the purpose of ridding the body of toxins. According to Leigh, Tom Cruise personally funded and co-founded the New York program (which has proven highly successful!) after 9/11. (The official site for that detox program is here.)? Super-interesting stuff -- be sure to watch the video.

Many times we are asked about our grocery bill---how much do we spend each month on eating a raw, vegan diet? It's not something that's easy to answer, though. If we just blurted the amount out, people would be shocked (at a minimum) and insist that there's no way possible they could ever eat a raw diet because they can't afford it.

Our monthly expense at the grocery store has continued to climb since I first began eating raw foods. At this point, now that Jim is eating 100% raw, as well, our monthly expense has more than doubled from the time when it was only me eating 100%. That's a huge increase in money being spent each month. But, you know what? It's okay! Yes, I said it's okay that our expense has more than doubled and I'll tell you why after you take a look at what we purchased last week for our home.

For today's Makin' It Monday feature, we'd like to present "Salsa Campechano." We'll have to admit, though, that we do not speak Spanish. So, we have to give some credit to Google's online language translator. When we went to name this recipe, Wendi suggested that this is a "manly" dish (since I created it). However, we didn't find the perfect Spanish word to fit the recipe.Then, considering the walnuts in the recipe, Wendi suggested that perhaps "hearty" was a better adjective. Google returned the Spanish word campechano for this, and we immediately thought: Yes!, that sounds just perfect!? So, here's an amazing recipe for you. It's a hearty salsa recipe, but I actually like to eat it as a soup.

Many people have asked us about the Raw Spirit Festival (RSF): What is it? When is it? Where is it? Will we be going ? So, we wanted to take a moment to answer those questions.