I began my “fruitarian” adventure when I dusted off an old copy of Doug Graham’s 80/10/10 book in 2013. Having been refused any further medical coverage by my insurance company for a laundry list of health issues, I knew I would have to do something radical to save my home, my ability to earn money, my relationship and my life.
Most people think of being partially disabled with severe depression as a relaxing affair, filled with government handouts, Netflix and Chinese food, but the reality bites. The days are spent trying to hide the extent of your issues because you are too proud to ask for help, keep up with social commitments while feeling exhausted yet jittery to the point where you aren’t sure if you should go to the ER from the 5 coffees you drank to leave the house. On the bad days, you are simply frustrated that you can’t kill yourself because you don’t want to abandon your pets or hurt your friends. At night, the panic of how you are going to generate income is haunting.
After many years of research on healing chronic illness through fasting and raw foods, in December 2013 I dived into 6 months of fruit all day, with a cooked vegetable dinner at night. I had read all the health risks and didn’t care, because autoimmune disease kills too. By June 2014, having experienced enough progress to go to grad school and resume moderate hiking, I jumped full on into all raw 80/10/10 because I needed more. 75% of my caloric intake came from fruits. The rest came from seeds, blended green leaves vegetables and avocado with appropriate vegan supplementation of B12, Iodene and D3. If I had known then, what I know now, I could have avoided some serious risks to my health.
Here is my advice to anyone considering a Fruitarian diet:
1. Fruitarianism often lacks MODERATION.
By moderation, I don’t mean adding toxins into your diet to “balance” the detoxifying fruits and vegetables that will be your staples.
I mean, really studying this lifestyle and looking at the healthy people like Michael Arnstein and many others (I don’t want to list in case I forget someone <3) who have succeeded in this diet long term, without making dramatic attention seeking YouTube videos or taking “keeping things natural” to an extreme.
The people who do well on this, just take it day by day and do the best they can. They don’t panic if they miss a raw meal, they simply eat raw when they can.
Buy organic when you can afford it, with local being the best. But don’t panic when you can’t find it.
Eat all fruit one week if you want to clean out, but balance out with green juices and smoothies the next week, especially if you were sick when you started this. I got VERY SICK taking online advice to fast on just orange juice. In fact, it set back my gut healing a few years. Stick to 80/10/10’s guidelines. That diet worked great for me and no further experimentation was needed.
Get most of your vitamins and minerals from fruit and greens, but balance out with B12 and D3 from well sourced vegan companies to stay healthy. Garden of Life even offers RAW versions. So many people could avoid getting sick, bitter and returning to animal products or cooked foods if they were not so stubborn about supplementation. “Purists” such as Fred Pautenade often become angry at raw foods because they felt lethargic and developed dental issues, when they should have just run annual blood tests, ingested sufficient greens, avoided excess citrus and supplemented where needed. Moringa powder is awesome for teeth in oil pulling and smoothies, just an FYI.
It should be noted that vitamins are ADDED to milk, cereals, juices, meats, nutritional yeasts and other common “people” foods, so it’s less that our diet is deficient and more that ours is not fortified.
Eat raw as often as possible, but deviating to dried fruit, nuts and even steamed starchless vegetables if you are trapped at an event or working on a boat like Forty Below Fruity is much better for your health than letting yourself get hungry and binge on junk.
Fasting comes up a lot in our group. Whilst it can be beneficial, it can become an addiction. Joe Cross demonstrates this by alternating juice fasting and a typical “moderation diet”. This is very dangerous for your body, much like binge drinking is worse than 2 glasses a day. The body adapts to being clean, and then gets an onslaught of gross. Work on a consistent raw diet first, and once that is in place, THEN go on your fast. It’s much easier that way! I didn’t see real healing until I committed to staying raw 100% for months at a time.
Finally, most raw vegans develop an intense fear of all things medical or doctor. It usually starts with researching vaccines, (which I’ll admit are questionable and toxic) then ends in believing that all doctors and nurses are the devil and want to keep people sick so they can line their pockets.
“Dan the Man” was crucified by the community as a failure for taking antibiotics for an infection which lead to speculation that he must be cheating, as it’s not possible to get sick on a raw diet.
Having admined my own “Vegan Fruitarians” group for two years along with being active in others, I now realize that raw foods are not a panacea. They won’t heal everyone 100% nor will they prevent you from getting sick or dying. If they did, no wild animal eating a biologically appropriate diet would ever die or get sick.
Raw foods function to keep the body running at it’s most optimal levels. This does mean you will drastically limit your chances of getting sick. It does mean if your condition is reversible your body will heal over time. If you start young enough, you should be able to avoid cancer and autoimmune diseases which are usually stem from preventable malfunctions of the immune system – either it’s getting overloaded with toxins, confused by a leaky gut or isn’t receiving enough nutrients to function properly. You will slow aging, which is caused by dehydration and toxins. I already look better than my mom did at this age, sorry my love! People routinely ask if I am 18 when I am 33.
You are LESS LIKELY to develop serious infections and illness, but for acute conditions GO TO A DOCTOR! A serious conflict in our community occurred recently when a raw foodist had to send his young baby to hospital for lifesaving treatment when natural treatments failed. No one should EVER be attacked for that. I recommend using a functional medicine doctor for blood work each year, and if all goes well you won’t be seeing much of each other.
I let a kidney infection from excessive fasting get out of control because I was so afraid of antibiotics. Letting health conditions persist is way more harmful to the body. Most medicines are simply over prescribed and most doctors uneducated on preventative medicine. But there are raw doctors…. and recently I reluctantly added Low Dose Natrexone to my day after reading about it on Mercola’s blog and it has greatly reduced the detox symptoms I experienced on days my body is healing. The LDN has helped my raw diet by limiting my food sensitivities from a damaged gut, so I can now eat a greater range of foods without a negative reaction. Great timing, as I just got a free box of nectarines! Whilst most medicine should transition to prevention, the progressive doctor folks like Greger and Fuhrman have something to offer.
My biggest regrets are not sticking with what works best, a BALANCED raw diet, that includes ample blended or juiced greens (for bioavailability), a range of fruits and vegetables and getting consistent blood work to prove this diet’s efficiency and plan minor supplementation.
2. Gaining acceptance from friends and coworkers.
I’ll admit it, I was mortified when circumstances forced me onto a raw fruitarian diet. I was already embarrassed about my health issues, and then adopting a strange diet made me feel like I was even more of a freak. I would apologize and make excuses to people who voiced concerns, or assure them that I was doing this on a temporary basis.
No one who truly loves and cares about you will challenge you when they see how much raw foods are transforming your health, especially if you follow up with articles and literature. The friends I have right now don’t care and love bringing me fruit. But at the same time, I respect their diets and don’t make comments as it’s unfair to expect the same respect from them.
The truth is, your diet isn’t the problem, it’s the fact that these people feel threatened that THEIR diet isn’t good enough any more. You are leaving the status quo, and by changing your diet you are insinuating that theirs is causing disease. And they are addicted to it.
The bottom line is no one approached me with concern when I was living off pizza and beer. And as I have Celiac disease, that diet truly was killing me!
As a rule of thumb, I don’t discuss my diet unless I am asked. But I have no shame eating mounds of watermelon in front of anyone any more. Hell, people even find it so eccentric and funny they bring me free fruit. EPIC!!!!!!
My biggest regret is being initially embarrassed for following a Fruitarian lifestyle, which often lead to eating junk in social settings. I am now incredibly proud of myself for finding and researching something that transformed my health while maintaining perfect bloodwork. Let your fruity flag fly!
3. Food is an enjoyable part of life, which Fruitarianism and restrictive diets steal from us.
Yes it does!!!! I can’t STAND the idea of a plate of bland, heavy pasta with cheap, sugary tomato sauce. Lord… NO! Or dry bread and the horrible way it would bloat me as I shoved the addictive stuff into my sore intestines…. or the CFS, autoimmune disease and arthritis I lived with because I was so attached to said awful foods. The same symptoms that return every time I try them…
When I started this journey, I’ll admit I had to release a lifetime of rewarding myself with alcohol and food. It’s important to take things one day at a time, because the idea of never eating vegan cookies again can be daunting. But much like rewarding a child with shots of whiskey, true self love was taking the steps to heal and balance my body with proper nutrition. Over time, my body returned the favor. I now no longer enjoy or crave junk foods. It really happens, give it time. I crave fruits and veggies all the time and get lost in a ripe mango or perfect local watermelon.
A massive slip this winter when emotional issues made me try some cooked food and alcohol again this winter turned out to be a very positive experience, even though I felt terrible. I have now switched my goal from eventually incorporating cooked foods back into my diet to realizing that I’m perfectly happy staying raw for the rest of my days, and that the occasional cooked food will forever taste dry, dead and heavy.
In conclusion I have no regrets following a Fruitarian diet… because now I crave and enjoy foods that help me thrive and keep a massive number of illnesses in remission. I have never enjoyed any diet more. 🙂
The best advice I can give newbies is to do your research, be proud of what you are doing and above all love yourself. There are no mistakes on this diet, only an ongoing journey towards healing.
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