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Poem: "Raw Deal" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Raw Deal"
This poem came out of the August 7, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] redsixwing, [personal profile] ng_moonmoth, [personal profile] helgatwb, and Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "cold" square in my 7-1-18 card for the Winterfest in July Bingo. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the Moon Door series.

"Raw Deal"

Zahara Haider was a member of
the women's chronic pain support group
due to abdominal issues for which she
had received various diagnoses over
the years, but none of the treatments
for any of those things helped much.

In addition to a dull ache most of the time
punctuated by occasional stabbing pains,
she also had to contend with a variety
of dietary requirements that tried --
and mostly failed -- to curb symptoms.

"I want to join the pack," she told Hilla.
"I've watched you all, and I think lycanthropy
would be better than whatever I have now.
I never feel really well. I'd rather have
a few crappy days a month and the rest
of it fine, than this constant crumminess
and random stabbings by thin air."

"Okay," Hill said. "It's your body,
Zahara, so it's your choice."

So they made the arrangements,
and on the following full moon,
Zahara became a werewolf.

Her first transformation was harsh,
but she had been expecting that.

A tall, thin Arabian wolf shook herself
and then trotted around the room.
She had big ears and long, fine legs
with a coat in various shades of sand.

Her body healed, for the most part,
but her diet remained a challenge.

"This was supposed to fix everything,"
Zahara wailed. "Why didn't it fix me?"

"I'm sorry," said Randy. "I don't know why.
We don't know much about lycanthropy
yet. That's why I don't recommend it
as a medical treatment, but people
want to try it out anyway."

"Oh well ... it works better
than any of the other things
I've tried," Zahara said. "At least
now I have some good days."

"And that's why I wanted to offer it
as a medical treatment," Hilla said.
"I'm still sorry you got such a raw deal,
Zahara. I wish it had worked out better."

"Now there's an idea," Soma said.
"Maybe your diet is the problem.
Try cutting out processed foods
and eating more raw stuff."

Minxie groaned. "Oh,
not that hippie shit again!"

"Says the girl who ate all
of the carob brownies,"
Soma shot back.

"I've tried a lot of
different diets,"
Zahara said.

"Vegetarian, vegan?"
Soma asked her.

"Both," Zahara said.

"Hippie, clean eating,
paleo?" Soma continued.

"Clean eating, that wasn't bad,"
Zahara said. "I don't know about
hippie, maybe? Paleo didn't help."

"A raw diet might be worth trying,"
Soma said. "Think what wolves eat."

It took some trial and error, along with
comparing raw diets for humans and
dogs, for Zahara to figure out what
worked pretty well for her body.

She ate cold salads and
fresh fruit, sprouted grains
and vegetables from the crisper.

She liked meat at body temperature.

It was a little odd, getting away from
the idea of "cooking" and hot foods,
but she got used to it over time.

She even learned to make yogurt
and countertop sauerkraut and
other fermented foods.

Over time, Zahara found
that her number of good days
increased dramatically and
her bad days decreased until
they got down to werewolf-normal.

Part of the frustration about
her previous problem was that
it was an invisible disability --
people rarely believed her
when she said that she was
sick or in pain or whatever.

With lycanthropy, it was
truly invisible, not just to
other people but to Zahara
as well, all but the full moon.

Maybe it was a little cold
of her to think that way,
but at least something was
working out in her favor.

She could live with that.

Zahara said as much when
she went to the next meeting
and reported the changes in
her health now that she had
finally found the right diet.

"Maybe part of the problem was
intestinal flora," said Soma.
"They need the right kind
of diet in order to thrive."

"Eww," said Minxie, reaching
past her. "Who cares? Zahara
feels better, and she brought
us homemade raw milk yogurt.
Grab some or get out of the way."

Soma grabbed some and then
moved aside for the other women
who wanted to sample the plain yogurt
or top it with fresh fruit and granola.

It was good, and Zahara was healthy,
and everyone was happy she hadn't
gotten such a raw deal after all.

* * *


Zahara Haider -- She has tinted skin, brown eyes, and hair streaked in lighter and darker shades of blonde. Her heritage is Arabian-American. Over the years she has gone through various diagnoses for abdominal pain, but none of the treatments have helped much. Zahara decides to try lycanthropy, and her wolf form is an Arabian wolf. However, she still struggles with dietary issues, and eventually the chronic pain group figures out that she needs a raw diet.

* * *
A raw food diet may apply to humans or canines.

Hippie foods have changed a lot over the years. They use healthy ingredients and have made their way into the mainstream.

Enjoy some 4 Ingredient Carob Brownies. Carob is a chocolate substitute for people who can't tolerate the real thing. I spent some years that way when I was little. Now I can have chocolate in reasonable amounts, but I still have a fondness for carob.

Wholesome diets include hippie, vegetarian, vegan, clean eating, paleo, and many more. Honestly, if you have chronic digestive issues, one of the first things you should suspect of causing it is your diet. Because the mainstream health industry provides minimal training on dietary health and healing, it can be difficult or impossible to get professional support for many of these needs. But if you can't solve the problem yourself, look for a supportive dietician, nutritionist, and/or naturopath. Individual diet plans are also an excellent source of help because many have their own specialists, if you think you're on the right track and just need to fine-tune application.

Make your own Raw Milk Yogurt.

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