Carrie’s Raw Vegan Journey: From Pain, Arthritis & Fatigue to Weight Loss & Rock Climbing

Walking with a cane at just 31, Carrie H, from Missouri, USA suffered from debilitating fatigue, joint pain and arthritis before starting a balanced raw vegan diet.
On a fully raw, low fat diet, she has released 40lbs in 9 months, enjoys hiking 4 miles a day with her dog, digging up dinosaur bones in Wyoming and plans to learn how to rock climb!
Here is her amazing story:


“I had fluctuated between vegetarian and vegan since age 13 (27 years ago) but had always eaten highly processed foods. That’s what I was raised on in the 80’s and I didn’t even understand the concept of “whole foods” and I remember saying more than once that I didn’t really like fruit, but would occasionally eat a banana.

Just a few years ago at age 31, I was walking with a cane. My chiro and I were both worried with how fast my condition went from not knowing anything was wrong with my spine and neck-to dangerous. I hurt all over, all the time. I could hardly get out of bed without help. I could go upstairs slowly, but coming down was terrifying. I could barely do laundry and housework was pretty much impossible. I spent most of my time sitting around, becoming more and more depressed, which of course caused me to gain weight–which added to both my physical issues and my depression.

When I started having lots of pain it was discovered that I had a few issues. The first one was that I was born with a birth defect in my spine. It’s called bi-lateral transverse sacralisation. This is where the lowest sections of vertebrae are fused to the pelvis instead of being free to move. This causes stress on the spine and the vertebrae above the fusion will twist and sometimes fracture.

I also have a neck injury from when I was about 9 years old. I was forced to stand on my head in my physical education class, and I fell wrenching my neck. I had no idea how bad I had injured myself and we did not have money to see a doctor. My injured neck vertebrae healed itself by fusing together. Instead of my neck being curved and flowing, the top half of my neck is still like a rod and attached to the base of my skull. This also causes the vertebrae just below the fusion to have added stress, causing arthritis and other problems, one of which is the possibility of ending up in a wheelchair once that section wears out or if I am in an accident that jerks my neck too hard (think of the hinge on a cabinet door, you open and close it over a long period of time the hinge will come loose and the door will come off)

Over the course of two years, with regular chiropractic care I was able to get rid of my cane and get around fairly normal again. However I still had no energy, my joints ached, and when I would try to do anything such as go for a walk, etc. it would literally wear me out for two days. My neck being out of place still rendered me worthless. I was finally able to mow my yard, but even then used to have to break the mowing into four parts doing one part each week and I would be miserable after each mow. Needless to say my grass was always tall because of it, which of course made it very difficult physically and certainly didn’t help my problem. I stayed this way for a few years.


I found natural healing by accident–mostly through facebook. I joined a vegan page and somehow Freelee The Banana Girl got snagged in my crosshairs. I was desperate to lose the weight I had gained (which would help alleviate some of my arthritis pain in my spine). Once I read about Freelee’s lifestyle I started researching others who had lost weight and healed themselves by eating raw foods. I continued to research for several months. Then I started Rawtil4 which was Freelee’s new diet – fruit and greens all day then cooked food at night. I was terrible at food combining and had a lot of trial and error with what I was doing. Fell off the wagon several times. During my times on track with Rawtil4, I felt better but still not fantastic–and didn’t lose a single drop of weight. Still had little energy and still hurt all over.

After two years on Rawtil4 with little results, I started looking more into 80/10/10 and fruitarian life. I slowly cut out my starches and cooked veggies. It was funny because it was actually not even by choice. I got to a point when I was slowly cutting them out that I would get physically ill when I would eat anything cooked–even just steamed veggies. My body was telling me it was time! That was nearly 6 months ago. Once I started cutting out the starches and the cooked I began to finally lose weight.

Then I discovered raw food-high fruit. Today, I walked my normal four miles with my dog. Then, I came home and mowed the yard. The ENTIRE yard. I trim wild 8 ft tall shrubs. I garden. I frequently go hiking. I spend a week at a time in the badlands of Wyoming digging up dinosaurs. I dig for Ice Age bones in a cave where I sometimes have to haul large heavy buckets of clay 500 feet up and down stone stairs and across a 6 inch wide metal bridge to the surface. Occasionally I have to crab crawl in the cave for hundreds of feet at a time. I can work with horses. I can lift my son’s wheelchair in and out of the car. I can clean my house. I can do laundry. I am planning on learning to rock climb this summer.

So in the last 9 months I have lost 40 lbs. I am only just under half way to my goal, and to some it may seem like it has taken forever for me to lose it, but I believe my body had to heal from years of abuse, a broken metabolism, processed junk, and depression.


On a normal day my diet consists of something like a banana/blueberry/spinach smoothie or nice cream (frozen blended bananas) for breakfast. For lunch I typically have a mono fruit–one day I might have mangos, another day might be melon or a carrot/apple juice. For dinner I typically have a large salad. Lots of mixed baby greens, my favorite veggies, and either a squeeze of lemon juice or a homemade raw dressing (depending on what I have on hand that day). Sometimes I will have raw sunflower seeds on my salad as they do not bother my gut the way that nuts sometimes can. I drink iced lemon water throughout the day.

I also exercise every day, Usually I walk four miles, and then lift hand weights (being careful of my neck) and do household chores. Many times I will also mow the lawn or work in the garden. I will always have physical limits, and I work hard to stay within them, as my condition is still dangerous and when I over do it my body lets me know–but my life is nothing like it was at 31 and very little like it was at 35. I give credit to my chiropractic care for helping me get my life back, but it was FRUIT that SAVED my life.


Probably the #1 best tip for me was to BE PATIENT. It was hard, I was getting so very discouraged. It’s hard to not want results fast when you feel you are working so hard, but the payout for having patience is so well worth it I don’t even have words to explain it.

Probably the second best advice was to keep it simple. I was so worried about getting sick of certain foods that I thought I needed to try to make fancy raw meals all the time. I found out pretty fast that not only did my budget not allow it – I was making myself a wreck trying to do too much while I was healing both physically and emotionally. Once I finally accepted that advice and started making very simple but luscious meals–I truly started to see myself blossom into who I was meant to be.”

Written by Carrie H, May 2015

 Carrie doesn’t have a blog yet but you can connect with her on my facebook group called “Vegan Fruitarians”. To get started on your own raw food adventure read my transition guide:

One thought on “Carrie’s Raw Vegan Journey: From Pain, Arthritis & Fatigue to Weight Loss & Rock Climbing

  1. Lori

    thank you for sharing wonderful story congratulations!
    I however have similar problems like arthritis and migraines and many other things when I eat cooked foods.
    I also have chronic insomnia which makes it hard for me to do prepare food buy foods and eat healthily for long periods of time.
    It has been a struggle for 40 years trying to stay on araw food low-fat diet.
    I know I need to stay away from cooked foods I just have been going back to it because of such a strong addiction to it.
    U Have inspired me and I am starting today day one again for the millionth time!! Do you have an email that I could reach out to you for support?
    Thanks xo

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