Today, for Thankful Thursday, I want to focus on a raw food related subject: Raw Recipe Books! Without the many mouthwatering, visually appetizing recipes that have been created and published, I don't know if I'd still be living a raw food lifestyle at this time.

About two years ago, when I made the decision to transition into a raw food diet, there were some fantastic raw food recipe books available. A few years before that, when I tried raw for the first time with a dear friend of mine, there were books available but none of them were truly gourmet meals. It's amazing how much things change in just a few years! The newer books are filled with colorful pictures of the most visually stimulating foods, which never looked like simple chopped up veggies arranged nicely on a plate. We have a page with many raw recipe books listed, if you'd like to see some of the ones that are available.

Here it is, the final stop along our 40-day cross-country tour, Chicago, IL, before returning home to Jim! It's been an incredible time, meeting so many wonderful people, seeing so much natural beauty across the country, deciding where we'll relocate once our home sells, tasting incredible raw foods along the way, and spreading the word about the raw food lifestyle whenever an opportunity presented itself!

Below you'll find the final notes I wrote about our tour, along with some videos and pictures of our final stop in Chicago, Illinois.

We definitely arrived in Chicago refreshed and ready for some adventures. So, we headed directly downtown to search out a new raw food restaurant that our friends Kathy and Danny Living had mentioned to us.

RAW, the newly opened restaurant by Polly Gaza and Carole Jones, is situated inside the Ogilvie Train Station in a recently constructed French Market food court. When we figured out how to get into the market, we were impressed. It's a nice concept and has a fun feeling to it, just strolling along a market place (all while inside a large building housing a train station) that seemed as though it was almost outdoors. When we found the new RAW restaurant, we were thrilled. The colors, decorations, and displays were all very well done. We had to wait a while to talk with the owners, since the restaurant was doing some great business when we arrived. You can see a video we took of the owners, below, and find out more about the restaurant on their web site: Chicago Raw Food. The video was edited down because the sound quality wasn't very good, but you'll hear some inspiring thoughts from Carole about manifesting your dreams and how she and Polly simply manifested the restaurant by beginning with their thoughts. Carole advises: Live Your Passions!

After leaving the restaurant, we headed straight to Borrowed Earth Cafe to visit with our friends Kathy and Danny Living. For those of you who don't already know them, Kathy and Danny are incredibly loving people who are down to earth and doing some incredible things with their lives (manifesting along the same lines that Carole touches on in the video, above, and also inspiring others along the way to live their dreams and treat the planet with kindness). We first met Danny and Kathy last year during a visit to Chicago, and we immediately loved them. If we hadn't met them last year, our route back home during this tour wouldn't have included a stop in Chicago. However, we did meet them and I wanted to spend more time with them so a stop in Chicago was added to our trip itinerary. I love their energy, their soft and gentle loving nature, and to top it off the raw foods they serve in their Borrwed Earth Cafe are delicious. So, KDcat and I were looking forward to spending time with them again (and Jim was sad to miss out on seeing them this time).

When I told Danny and Kathy that we were coming in for a visit during our tour, they asked if we'd be interested in talking to their raw food meetup group. We agreed, of course, and they introduced us to David Hanley, a member of their large group. David hosted us for our stay in Chicago and we had a nice time getting to know him. He's into stairclimb racing, yoga, software development, loves fixing homes (like Jim does), raw foods, and so much more. In his home, David has a massage chair that KDcat really enjoyed a lot. David drove us to our talk at the meetup, where we met with even more incredible people. It was a large group, so we met at a Whole Foods meeting room not very far from the cafe. There were a lot of questions from those attending the talk, which I always enjoy. It's nice to meet so many people who are interested in learning a about ways they can improve their health.

That evening, we shared with David the generous amounts of raw foods that Kathy and Danny had sent home with us for the evening. We enjoyed things like Borrowed Earth's World Famous Salad, Burrito Loco, Sweet Potato Quesadilla, a green smoothie, some cheese cake, and the most incredible raw apple pie I've ever tasted. I'm not kidding about that statement, either. I used to consider myself queen of the apple pie back when I baked my foods, and this raw apple pie that Kathy and Danny have created was even more delicious than my best baked apple pie. If you don't believe me, it's worth a trip to Chicago just to check it out! Absolutely DELICIOUS! Maybe if enough people ask, Kathy and Danny will share the recipe with all of you through one of our special guest chef editions of Makin' It Monday!

Before leaving Chicago and heading toward home, we stopped by Borrowed Earth Cafe once more to spend a little extra time with Kathy and Danny. We had great fun together and as much as KDcat and I were looking forward to being with Jim again, we wished we had more time to spend with Kathy and Danny. While there, we talked a lot about the power of intention and creating our futures. Danny also brought out some tuning forks and balanced my energy using them. Let me tell you, that was some powerful healing he was doing. After he was done, I felt euphoric and grounded all at the same time. I was filled with even more love than I normally feel flowing within and without my body. Wow! When I told Jim about it, we agreed that we'd like to learn more about tuning forks, too.

Danny and Kathy are always a wealth of knowledge and inspiration and I was sad to leave their company. Before going, they sent us out the door with even more delicious raw foods to feed us until we returned home. There was even some leftover to share with Jim when we arrived home the following evening!

Below, you'll see a video we took while visiting Borrowed Earth Cafe last year during our visit to Chicago. You can see in this video how incredibly sweet Kathy and Danny are, but you can tell even better by meeting them in person, yourself. If you're in the Chicago, IL, area, be sure to stop by and introduce yourself to them!

So, that ends our tour! After Chicago we headed back to Pittsburgh to be reunited with Jim. The next time we cross the country, we'll be doing it together as a family. Being apart like we did it this time (which was necessary for budgetary reasons) took away from some of the fun we could have all experienced together.

Again, it was such a joy meeting so many of you as we visited different cities and states. Thanks, again, to everyone who hosted us and showed us a great time in your little part of the country! It's a trip we'll never forget, and one that will always bring fond memories to mind.

Lots of love to all of you,

Wendi

XOXOXO

p.s. Don't forget to show support of our Trip Snack Sponsor, Natural Zing, who made the snack portion of this trip possible! Thanks, again, Helen and Jeff! We love you both!

We hope you ll check out our generous snack sponsor for the trip, Natural Zing, who made our travels extra enjoyable! They have the best selection of raw food snacks, supplies, and appliances for a raw food lifestyle!

Here at Pure Jeevan we are preparing for our cross country tour to educate others about raw foods. This means we are paring down on a lot of things, donating a lot, selling some things, and pretty much not buying anything unless it's absolutely necessary. That's what we've been doing for almost two years now (we're waiting for the house to sell). Recently, however, I decided it was time to spend a little bit of money even if it wasn't absolutely necessary.

Wendi's Dish Set

What did we buy? Dishes! Seems a bit strange to finally spend some money on something unnecessary and have it be dishes, right? Well, I had a few reasons for this purchase. The first is that when we are living in the RV, the space is going to be minimal. There won't be a lot of room for dishes, let alone much of anything else. Since there's not a lot of space to have dishes drying, we'll need to be washing, drying, and putting away immediately after use. That may not sound like a big deal, but when someone in the family decides to eat a few different things and leave the dirty dishes in the tiny RV sink, on the small counter, or somewhere else, it's going to really seem like a bigger mess than it is. So, to remedy this I thought it would be good for each of us to have our own dishes. That way we have a sense of responsibility for our own particular dishes--we know they are ours and we are responsible for taking care of them.

I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day and plopped a package of chicken wings up onto the conveyor belt. The cashier made some sort of smalltalk -- I think she asked whether I liked wings -- which prompted me to say, "Oh, the chicken is for my dog, Julia."

She looked at me, eyebrows raised. "For your dog "

So, what did you think about there being snow in New Mexico? Were many of you thinking it was more of a consistant hot climate like I used to think?

We left New Mexico, renewed, and headed to Oklahoma. Here's where we left off yesterday:

in-tu-i-tion n. 1.a. The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes; immediate cognition. b. Knowledge gained by the use of this faculty; a perceptive insight. 2. A sense of something not evident or deducible; an impression.

FASCINATING!? While out to dinner with our friend Debbie, she brought up the topic of intuitive food preparation. This is really amazing, groundbreaking stuff that probably few people have ever seriously attempted. Now, Wendi has discussed intuitive eating many times here on the blog in the past. Intuitive eating is basically when you get in touch with those "perceptive insights" mentioned above -- a kind of communication with your own body in which you just "know" that you should eat a certain food. Ever, say, walk past a large display of apples and simply know that eating one would make you feel good? That's intuition.

Jim here... A week or two ago, there were some videos floating around in raw food circles that seemed to indicate that one's blood health (and, by extension, one's overall health) can be quickly and dramatically improved through a practice known as grounding. I realize that, metaphorically, people commonly use the term "grounded" to indicate a kind of level-headedness -- e.g., a "down to earth" attitude. But, in the literal sense, it's an electrical term used to describe a physical connection to the earth. I'm no engineer, but my understanding is that these connections basically discharge things or people from any static electricity build-up (as in those bracelets that computer repair techs wear), or serve as a conduit through which other electricity may pass (as in lightning rods).

That the idea of "grounding oneself" should take root so strongly in natural health circles is unsurprising. In theory, it seems to make a lot of sense. I'm just as intrigued by it as the next person, I suppose. If we spend most of our lives wearing rubber-souled shoes, walking on shag-carpeting, sitting suspended off the ground on static-filled things like couches and office chairs, often running various electrical equipment, basking in EMFs from radio waves and Dish-network signals and cell phone radiation... sure, it makes sense that we're probably all experiencing some heretofore unprecedented (evolutionarily speaking) human body exposure to significant electrical phenomena. My car reminds me of this daily with a (friggin' annoying!) shock each time I get out and close the door. But, as the "double-rainbow guy" so succinctly put it: ?What does it mean

Jim here with another exciting edition of Weird Wednesday. You know, each time I say "weird," I don't always mean the same thing. Sometimes "weird" means odd or strange. Other times it means funny or ironic. It might also mean unusual or out-of-the-ordinary. Come to think of it, the definition of weird is also weird.

Today, I was thinking about an old friend, Jim Banholzer. He lived next door to Wendi and me when we first moved to the D.C. area in 1991. We all lived in a small "garden apartment" complex in Falls Church, Virginia. Our roommate at the time worked as a leasing agent there, which qualified us for a decent rental discount. I think we paid $800 or so for the place, an upscale 2-bedroom townhome close to the community pool. Jim lived next door with one of the more unstable people I've ever met (and, trust me, that's saying something).

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:

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Jim here... Here's a compilation of vids from my little Flip camera, all taken over our weekend roadtrip to Washington, D.C. It's not all strictly raw-food related, but does include some raw tips. First up, you'll see our rawsomely packed food coolers. Between using ice and frozen fruits, everything kept cool just fine.

Early in the video, Wendi shares a handy tip for keeping your smoothies cool on the road. If you're going to drink your smoothies right away, you might have little concern for keeping a drink cold. However, we had eaten breakfast already and knew we wouldn't want to get into our smoothies for another hour or so after leaving. Frozen berries to the rescue! (Just make sure to hunt down a large glass bottle with an opening large enough to pour frozen berries into.)

Since our child was exposed to a large variety of vegetables and fruits at a young age, she has always enjoyed consuming them in myriad ways. When children's exposure to fruits and veggies has been limited, however, they don't always like consuming things that are so different from what they've grown accustomed to eating (and this many times carries into adulthood).

It's vital that children be exposed to a variety of foods, as often as possible, while growing up. For the vast majority of children, however, that has not been the case. Packaged, processed, and fast foods are a standard part of our society; we don't think twice about serving such foods to our children. Everyone is doing it, it's affordable and convenient, and they like it!