Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Raw Mum
There's something I've been wanting to share with everyone for a while, but I couldn't... but now I can! For just over two months now, my Mum has been walking the wonderful path of a raw vegan! Here is her story, as I recently posted it on the Raw Pleasure forums:

Well, my Mum is officially a raw fooder ... in fact, she has been for 3 weeks now! As you might know, I was in Adelaide from the 10th to the 23rd of December; when I was in the car on the way home from the airport with my parents, Mum started to try and tell me something. She was kind of beating around the bush so eventually Dad said "she's gone raw!" I couldn't believe my ears! I'm going to share Mum's story with you now (and yes, I've checked with her and she doesn't mind!)

Mum has had digestive problems for over 20 years. She has had in excess of 7 abdominal surgeries, the main ones being: appendix removed, one ovary removed (due to cysts), gall bladder removed, 4 feet of excess bowel removed. When the bowel was removed, the remaining bowel was stitched together and stapled to the wall of her abdomen. That staple is still there.

For many years she (and the Drs) thought Mum had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Over the years she gradually ate less and less variety, searching for things she could digest without pain and discomfort. She never tested positive for lactose intolerance but started giving up dairy anyway when I was about 9 or so (10 years ago now). She removed overt dairy (eg glass of milk, slice of cheese) from her diet but still ate bread, biscuits etc with dairy in them. Plus she loves chocolate and would occassionally indulge.

Many foods gave her terrible wind, some of the worst ones being brassica vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. She also couldn't have any high water content foods (eg lettuce) because they made her feel bloated. She couldn't pass the wind and had to lay down and massage her stomach to get it out; she described this like a ball of lead in her abdomen.

Mum has always drunk lots of water and the only hot drinks she enjoyed were herbal teas and the occasional hot chocolate, so no caffeine addictions there.

I clearly remember that by the time I was in about year 8 at school (2001) almost every night of the week Mum would say "what I am going to have for dinner?" Dad and I would chant "chicken, rice and peas," and we'd all laugh, but clearly Mum longed for some variety and flavour. The plate of plain grilled chicken, boiled rice and peas never looked very appealing!

I"m not sure whether it was before or after this that Mum discovered 'adhesions' - only through the glory of the internet did she find out about this condition, where the scar tissue that results from any major surgery does weird things in your body. Apparently certain people have 'adhesion skin,' making them much more susceptible to this condition. In Mum's case, the scar tissue has effectively formed little bands around her intestines so things can't move through them normally.

All the internet literature on adhesions says that the best way to deal with them is to eat a really low fibre diet, as the bulky fibre jams up the intestines where the adhesions exist. So from then on it was white bread, white pasta, white rice... you get the picture. Mum was concerned about the fact that she probably wasn't getting many nutrients from her diet but at least she could digest it.

Mum decided to become vegetarian after reading a lot of my animal rights literature (I was already vegan by this point)... it was September 2006 I think, or maybe it was 2005. Anyway, this didn't have any noticeable effects on her health (when you're only eating plain grilled free range chicken, I can see why) but it did serve to limit her food intake options even more.

Since I went raw last July, I've believed it could 'cure' Mum. I am a passionate believer in raw food... I would put 100% of my trust in it, always. I have read stories of people who have dissolved cysts, tumours and warts... why, then, could Mum not dissolve her adhesions? The hardest thing for me has been that Mum agreed that the raw diet was the best way for humans to live. She sees the truth behind it all. But she always said "my body has been unnaturally altered by doctors so I don't believe this natural diet can help me now."

As this year has progressed, I have seen Mum's condition deteriorate... this was because she had an office job and sitting down all day was affecting her stomach muscles. She quit that job and got another one that involved home assistance to people with disabilities/illnesses ... she was using an upright vaccuum cleaner and a floor washing thing that both hurt her stomach muscles.

A few times I outright suggested raw foods, juice fasts etc... I also dropped subtle hints. Eventually I realised I was going to make Mum angry, push a wedge between us. If Mum wanted to raw, it had to be because she wanted to.

Then I went away for two weeks and whaddya know, I get home and she's raw! Lol.

There was a reason for this though. A couple of months ago she decided to try going gluten free (she has done this before) and so for a few days she ate heaps of gluten free crackers, bread pasta etc... most of which are corn based. She was an absolute mess after that, in agony. So she decided she was allergic to corn and tried to eliminate corn from her diet... you have NO idea how hard that is! It's in EVERYTHING! So she settled to just minimise the amount of corn she was eating.

On the first day I was away, Mum was preparing dinner for Cherimoya (one of my gorgeous ratties) which included scraping fresh corn off the cob. Some corn juice squirted into Mum's eye and she had a terrible allergic reaction to it - the eye swelled up, itched, watered etc etc for over half an hour. From then on she decided that all the corn had to go. And the only way she could find to do this, was to go raw!! (And the rest of the time I was away, Dad was chopping corn for Cherimoya, lol!)

It is still a HUGE learning curve. We have also figured out that Mum has a salicylate allergy and dehydrated foods do NOT agree with her at all. But she is generally enjoying her food and said that she hasn't felt so good in 20 years. I can definitely see that 'raw glow' all around her.

Viva la RAW!!! yahh ohyeah yahh

So anyway, what I'm saying here is - give people time and space. Let them make their own decisions. Be gentle. Just offer what they ask for and maybe a bit more. Don't push too hard. I KNOW it's hard to see people you love suffering.

Here's me and Mum a few weeks ago. Don't we look great? Glowing rawbies!!

Have a fabulous day!

P.S I have been meaning for a while to give a big shout-out to my lovely Nanna, who has been reading my blog for quite some time now. I love you Nanna!!


At 7:04 pm, Anonymous MollyMuppet said...

That is great! I hope so much your mum begins to recover and feel better. What a horrible time she has had. You have also just inspired me to go raw. :) Love your blog, Freedom. It is the first one I look for!

At 9:46 pm, Blogger jenniem said...

Hey beautiful. You and your mum look fab!


At 1:14 am, Anonymous suvine.com said...


At 8:10 am, Blogger Kiwi said...

I LOVE your energy. You seem like such a wonderful person. THIS was the life you were meant to have and all the stumbles of the past brought you here. you purpose in life was to bring new light. to show a spectrum of being far greater than many achieve. You prove there can be light from darkness and you show 19 year old girls like me, how bright my future can be. Im close to my mama too, so i love to see that. Please post more pics! I love pics!

May your light fill all darkeness. YAY im proud of you (even though we dont know eachother) our spirits do.


At 10:38 am, Blogger erica said...

Freedom, you look great! So does your mom!

I understand how it feels to have a parent in so much pain and agony and know how to help them, but they're not ready for it. I feel like i will be waiting forever and a day for my mother to come around. She's letting me teach her yoga, and says maybe she could be vegetarian someday, but NEVER vegan and don't even mention raw.


At 1:57 pm, Blogger aTxVegn said...

Hey, Freedom! I haven't been by in a while, but I'm so glad your mom is feeling better on a raw diet. You both look terrific!

At 7:05 pm, Blogger Freedom said...

Thankyou so much MM, nothing makes me happier than hearing that I've inspired someone! And my Mum would love your username, she's a huge muppet fan!!

Thanks lovely Jen!!

Hey Suvine, I bet you'd love it even more if you could see it all - underneath the little piggy is saying "No, I don't have any spare ribs'!!

Thankyou so much for your bright and beautiful words Kiwi. Mums are the best aren't they?

Erica, I truly feel for you. Just take it slowly and never think too much about the future. My mum told me PLENTY of times that she would never go raw but look at her now! All the very best with helping your mum.

atxvegan, I know your Dad has been unwell - I hope he's doing much better! Thanks for stopping in!

At 3:39 am, Blogger Urban Vegan said...

That's great!

Cute piggy shirt.

At 7:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I am but a mere murker. An ex-vegetarian who likes to eat vegetarian in addition to meat (sorry to offend). I'm not sure why exactly it didnt work out for me. One thing is that (while away from home)hubby and I were starving and decided in moment of weakness for a cheeseburger (we were hooked by that charbroiled greasy goodness). I think main thing was that instead of support I got a whole lot of weird looks. A few people even pleaded with me not to turn into one of those angry vegans that would condem and try to convert everyone else.
Anyways, My reason for replying was in concern to your mum. I too have had intestinal surguries and suffer from adhesions. They are permanent overgrowth of scar tissue. They slow down passage of food which causes it to ferment and rot. This in turns causes horrific gas and diarreah (the body is attempting to cleanse itself). Different things work for different people. My mother and a friend of mine has it as well and cannot eat raw veggies. Their food must be cooked to a mush.(passes through them better) At first I was taken back that raw was working for your mom. I guess maybe the high fiber is keeping her moving well. That and no doubt the vitamin content thats not being cooked out must help. I'm glad she's doing well and glad I heard about her. This isnt a fun thing that either of us are going through. When the gas is bad I feeling like Pumba from the Lion king.

At 1:41 pm, Blogger I_ma_believer said...

I absolutely love your blogs.
I also completely agree with Kiwi. You seem like such a beautiful and uplifting person, and I haven't even met you in person! haha.
Thanks for all your awesome posts. I just recently decided to go raw and have been SO excited trying out all the recipes and such. :)
I'm glad for your mom and you, and I hope it keeps going great!
I pray my mom and I will be that close someday. :)

At 5:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's Happening im new to this. I came accross this forum I have found It very accessible & it's helped me out a great deal. I hope to give something back and aid other users like its helped me.

Thank You, See You Later

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