Raw Food and Traumatic Brain Injury: Interview with Chef Mia Dalene

Today I have the pleasure of featuring Raw Food Chef Mia Dalene! This is part one of a longer interview, and I’m excited to share Mia’s story with you as she combines two strong interests of mine: raw foods and traumatic brain injury. For more on Mia, please see: SmartRawFood.com and http://www.meetup.com/Seasonal-Raw-Vegan-Cuisine

I hope you find her story both interesting and enlightening:

For those readers who don’t know, please share a little background on how you discovered the healing powers of raw and living foods. In July 2001 I was struck by a car while riding my bicycle to work. Although I went to the emergency room to get checked out, no major injuries were detected, although I was plagued with persistent pain and inability to pay attention to tasks. Co-workers began to find me irritating as I asked them the same questions over and over (not remembering I had already done so) and my personality switched from the corporate world survivor the Driven Type A to the more quiet, needing calm and peace Type B.

I was trying to cope with living in physical pain 24/7 and thought my new memory issues were related to being in so much pain, then thinking it was pre-menopausal, then that I was just no good at my job anymore, when before I excelled in the driven corporate world and getting ready for a promotion. Then, reviews began to point away from the shiney reviews and promise of my place in the company to tarnishes of not completing simple tasks and concerns of off the wall comment that began to tumble out of my mouth.

One year and one week after the life changing accident/injury I was properly tested and the diagnosis of mild Traumatic Brain Injury and my rehabilitation process began. Four days before my appointment, the testing and the diagnosis, I was terminated from my beloved job for “unsatisfactory progress”. By this time I had lost my job as I was suddenly no longer able to do the tasks which required troubleshooting, multi-tasking and busy office skills and the company that loved me could suddenly not utilize me anywhere as the skills I needed to perform the job I had held were needed in every position throughout the company. My new inability to initiate, prioritize, follow through and follow up coupled with my short term memory problem was observed by everyone but me. And when I did notice I wasn’t doing so well anymore, I would become easily distracted and simply “forget” it was happening only to meet this reality head on again a short time later in conversation and comments from managers and coworkers.

When I received confirmation of the diagnosis I wasn’t sure what to do… Should I invest in drool buckets? I didn’t know what having a traumatic brain injury meant and even 2 years later found myself asking my vocational counselor if “this [was] a lifetime injury?”

Cut to 2006

I’m 50 pounds heavier, heavily depressed and being told that this is part of TBI. But I thought it was supposed to be “Mild”, as the diagnosed name implied. Come to find out, Mild refers to the amount of time unconscious and since I could not remember being unconscious at the scene (until a year later when realizing I had no memory from time of first head hit on the hood of the car to what I deduced was the second hit on the pavement when I “woke up” hearing the sound of someone getting the wind knocked out of them… then realizing that “someone” was me.

I was 50 pounds heavier and miserable for a myriad of reasons. I was looking for a way to lose weight. A friend told me about something called the Master Cleanse; a combination of water, lemon juice, Cheyenne pepper and maple syrup. I was supposed to bring only this for several days.

I lasted about 6 hours! I was really tied to eating and so went to the Master Cleanse website to see how I was going to succeed, when I came across the book, The Raw Family, by Victoria Boutenko. Upon reading it, a spark ignited, 4 people of the same family each with their own illness, turning to raw food and all of them healing those ailments.

I then read every other personal case study on how raw foods healed a variety of ailments, some of them I was experiencing as symptoms of my brain injury; chronic fatigue, depression, obesity, hypertension, etc. The spark exploded into questions and I wondered, if I could simply change what I ate… could I get my brain back? That started my 3 year experiment to see what, if any, brain function I could get back. I welcomed the pleasant side effect of losing the excess 50 pounds and I believed that at the very least, I would lose the weight.

I watched my body closely for signs of a shift. The whites of my eyes got whiter and healthfully glossy. At about 4 days I was in my kitchen eating an orange bell pepper when I noticed a vibration – like increasing frequency vibrating faster and faster until- Pop! All the sudden I was filled with Joy/bliss and the depression was gone. The clinical depression I was told 99.9 % of people with TBI have (and for their entire lives).*As long as I eat raw vegan cuisine I am 99.9% joy-filled. Within 7 days I had no more headaches. Until that point pain has been a “normal” part of my life with TBI and injuries to my neck, back and left shoulder. Now having a headache or bodily pain became a non-common occurrence again. At 5 months, a tremendous pain occurred in my brain at one of the injury sites. So much so it brought tears to my eyes and I thought “this is it, I am going to die.” I was at a holiday party and found myself whispering to my companions – about my head pain. I laid down on the floor, then sat up with nausea. Then, Ping! The pain released and I had access to more memory, more verbal communication. It was estimated that before the injury my IQ was about 140 and after the accident I was about 101; slightly above normal but at this level I was not able to function! (I have not been retested yet to see what my IQ is now.) Since this first episode, I have had three others – separated by a few months in which after the release I have more and more brain function. At 7 months my body weighed 64 pounds less; normalizing my weight.

Mia Before

Mia After

We’ll be hearing more from Mia in other posts, so please stay tuned. This was a detailed interview. Mia is also in process of releasing some recipe books and ebooks. For more information, please see:

http://SmartRawFood.com and http://www.meetup.com/Seasonal-Raw-Vegan-Cuisine

or email her at miadalene at yahoo.com

Thanks, Mia! If you, or someone you know is suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury, you might also want to read If I Only Had a Brain Injury, a resource guide I created to support people on this often difficult to navigate journey.

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Giacinta on April 25, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Dear Laura and Mia, Thanks so much for sharing your stories. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be so far gone into the symptoms of TBI but from everything that I’ve heard and you’ve shared, it truly is unimaginable and horrific. I do know however, what it feels like to have a few symptoms that resemble those of TBI to a lesser degree and can attest to the benefits of a raw vegan diet. So many of my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual challenges become significantly diminished and improved when I’m able to incorporate an abundance of fresh raw vegan produce – especially dark leafy greens – and wonderful nuts, seeds, berries and many other raw vegan items along with supplementing with B12. Learning about raw vegan foods, how to prepare them and how truly abundant they are from both of you has empowered me in ways I could not have imagined before. It’s incredible knowing how to create great health on all levels through nutrition and the choices I make on a daily basis. Things like brain fog, fatigue, inflammation, pain, irritability, anxiety, depression, bloating, excess weight, poor complexion, digestive issues and more have been significantly improved if not eliminated completely by maintaining a high percentage raw vegan diet. My thanks to both of you for your commitment, hard work and tremendous support and enlightenment along the way! Blessings and much love, Giacinta

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  2. Posted by laurabruno on April 25, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Giacinta! Much Love, Laura

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  3. Posted by Mindy on April 29, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    What an awesome story! I can’t wait to read the next installment!

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  4. Posted by laurabruno on April 30, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Yes, she’s an amazing person … and from what I hear, an amazing chef as well. 🙂

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  5. […] Washington This is Part 2 of an Interview with raw food chef Mia Dalene. For Part 1, please click here. Raw Food Chef Mia […]

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  6. Wonderful and interesting to read!
    Love
    Turena

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  7. […] of you may remember Chef Mia Dalene from my earlier two-part interviews (here and here). She’s a fellow brain injury survivor turned raw food chef and educator. Yesterday I […]

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  8. Laura and Mia Thanks for this story. I learned about raw food diet whilst doing resreach on becoming happier for my website . Today I received a request for prayer for a 7 year old boy, who had seizures and now has brain damage, and looking at his faceboo kpage I see lots of young children with teh same problme. I was wondering if the raw food diet would help them. I do not know them personally, but having small children myslef, broke my heart. I wonder if raw food can help them. Surely it will b easier than having operations and being at hospital with tubes. But I do not know enough and many people are scraed of trying ths things. I have a diabetic friend, I told her about this and fasting on juice but she says she cannot do it and teh doctor said don’t even think of it.
    But I need to get back to it. I have not been very good lately, but I know I also have a lack of energy, and poor concentration, and I know i felt much better when I did the raw diet, or the juice fast.

    Thank you
    Andrea
    A Happier Self

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  9. Posted by laurabruno on August 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, Andrea. I do know some people who’ve improved seizures even by getting off artificial colorings and aspartame, so I would imagine an organic raw food diet would be helpful. I don’t know anyone who has tried it for that, though. It would also depend on the root cause of the seizures. As for the diabetes, you might have your friend check out Gabriel Cousens’ book There is a Cure for Diabetes–but only if she expresses any interest. This isn’t something that can be forced on anyone, no matter how well it works or how noble your intentions. Blessings! Laura

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  10. Posted by Bucky on October 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Laura, I am going through the same thing, had a mild traumatic brain injury last Friday and trying to get through this. I am totally going to delve into raw foods now….

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  11. Posted by laurabruno on October 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Blessings to you in your recovery!

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  12. I’ve been in a big clinical depression, and cannot imagine (and don’t want to) having it for a lifetime. Mia is a very strong person. Much respect.

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  13. Posted by laurabruno on February 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Yes, she is. 🙂 Wishing you well in your own recovery …

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  14. I’m not in it right now. Just in the past.

    When I was clinically depressed I wouldn’t have been able to read the first page of a book. Everything was so deadly boring. I discovered the only thing I could make myself do was walk. One of my medications at the time sometimes makes people feel a strong need to walk around. So I took really slow walks in the park. Without this side-effect I would have had no relax from the boredom. (Teenager’s boredom often takes the form of extreme boredom. I was two years into college.)

    I was ashamed that people might think negatively of me spending too much time in the park. (Depression often gives irrational shames). So I limited myself to one long walk a day. I would count the seconds all day until I decided it was time for my walk.

    Oh my! I have gotten carried away with my trip down memory lane.

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  15. (Teenager’s boredom [I meant depression] often takes the form of extreme [EXTREME] boredom. I was two years into college.)

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  16. […] Injury Healing, Raw Food, Raw Food Chef, Raw Food Diet, Traumatic Brain Injury. 15 Comments Today I have the pleasure of featuring Raw Food Chef Mia Dalene! This is part one of a longer […]

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