What Happens When You Eat Nothing But Fruit for a Week

I always thought the word “fruitarian” was like the word “chocoholic”—a cutesy term used to describe someone's food preferences but not actually a real way of life. That is, until I became a vegan. Five months ago, I was inspired to convert to a plant-based diet by a community of vegan vloggers I discovered on YouTube. The more I became educated about veganism, the more invested and curious I became about the inner culture of the lifestyle. Soon I learned that there isn’t just one way to be a vegan: There are dozens. There is gluten-free vegan; raw vegan; high-carb, low-fat vegan; and more. Two months into my veganism, I was doing some research online, when I discovered a faction of veganism so tiny that it was even difficult to find definitive information about it on Google. The diet? Fruitarianism.




According to certified holistic nutritionist Kelly LeVeque, the fruitarian diet is “a subset of raw veganism where you eat botanical fruits in their natural state.” This includes all sweet fruits and seeded fruits (such as avocado, tomato, cucumber, and olives), as well as nuts and seeds. No grains, no cooked food. Certainly no processed food. The strictest of fruitarians don’t even eat vegetables or starches… literally just fruit.

At first, I was horrified, and then I was fascinated—enough to want to give the diet a try myself. To see how my week-long stab at fruitarianism went, keep reading!

Who Are These Fruitarians?

One of the most prominent fruitarian spokespeople is a YouTuber who goes by Freelee the Banana Girl. To all of her 670K subscribers, Freelee preaches the benefits of a fruit-heavy lifestyle, downing 30 (sometimes 50!) bananas in a single day. (Watching her do this on camera is oddly gripping.) Freelee’s view is that eating low-calorie fruits in large quantities delivers maximum glucose to the brain, fueling our minds and bodies while keeping us slim. From the looks of her flat, washboard abs and fiery demeanor, she seems to be on a constant sugar high.

But even Freelee’s diet isn't 100% fruit. “Depending on who you talk to, you can be a fruitarian if you eat at least 50%–75% of your calories this way,” says LeVeque. In other words, there’s no official definition of the diet. That’s not to say someone who eats fruit salad for breakfast and lunch and then a Taco Bell feast for dinner would be considered a fruitarian, but the term is somewhat up to interpretation.
 
Why Go Fruitarian?

Despite the different interpretations, one thing all fruitarians have in common is this: They eat massive quantities of food and all manage to stay incredibly lean. Do a quick YouTube search, and you’ll find flat-stomached people from all over the world downing papayas and mangos by the dozens.

Personally, I’m not looking to lose weight. But the idea of getting to stuff your face and wake up with a flat tummy enticed me. Plus, even though I was already vegan when I discovered fruitarianism, my diet featured more processed junk and fewer fresh foods than it really should have. If nothing else, I figured a bout of fruitarianism could help me get into the habit of eating more raw fruits and veggies.

So, as an experiment, I resolved to follow a strict fruitarian diet for five days. I decided it would be more of a brief cleanse than a permanent lifestyle. I’ve always loved fruit, so I wasn’t nervous about my menu options. Plus, I hate cooking, so the raw thing seemed like a great fit. I had never been on a diet this specific before, but I was (naïvely) excited for the challenge.
The night before my diet, I did a giant fruit haul at Trader Joe’s (side note: following a fruit-only diet is delightfully cheap), and I ate a last meal of vegan pizza and cupcakes. The next day, I would wake up a fruitarian.

What Does a Fruitarian Diet Look Like?

Here is exactly what I ate on my first day as a fruitarian…  
Breakfast:
A big smoothie with three bananas, blueberries, dates, and about a cup of coconut milk
Morning snack:
A handful of dried peaches
Lunch:
Two massive bowls of fruit salad, filled with bananas, grapes, and berries (followed by a vitamin B12 supplement)
Afternoon snack:
A handful of dried figs
Dinner:
A large bowl of chopped avocado, cucumber, and tomato, dressed with olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper
Dessert:
A bag of raw almonds
Throughout the day, everyone I interacted with asked me the same two questions: “Aren’t you starving?” and “How many times have you gone to the bathroom today?” My answers to both: “Surprisingly, no,” and “Uh, a lot.”
As strange as it sounds, hunger was not the issue. This diet has nothing to do with portion control. You’re encouraged to eat as much fruit, nuts, and seeds as you desire. Polishing off those two bowls of fruit for lunch was shockingly difficult. Calorie-wise, I could have eaten the equivalent in tacos or pizza and still be starving. But the calorie density of these foods is so low that you can fill your stomach to the brim without actually overeating. Of course, downing raw fruit all day isn’t exactly exciting, but at least it doesn’t leave you hungry.
It does, however, encourage frequent bathroom breaks. Fruit is packed with fiber and water, two substances that seem to slip and slide right through the digestive system. All day, I could feel every twist of my intestines churning and bubbling to digest the food. Needless to say, this wasn’t comfortable. But sure enough, I woke up the morning of day two completely cleared out. My belly was astoundingly flat, and this was after a single day. With results like that, I had just one thought: Bring on the fruit!

My second-day fruitarian menu was very similar to my first. This diet doesn’t exactly permit a ton of variety. My digestive system continued to writhe, but happily, my hunger level didn’t increase. However, things did get complicated when I realized I was slated to attend a cocktail party that evening.
Incidentally, the fruitarian literature doesn’t say much about alcohol. But I figured if I couldn’t even have broccoli, booze was probably off the table too. Like many other restrictive diets, fruitarianism isn’t conducive to social gatherings. Just imagine showing up to a restaurant with friends and asking for a crate of bananas.

By the time the cocktail party rolled around, my fruitarian enthusiasm was dwindling. I wanted to enjoy myself at the event (one vodka soda wouldn’t kill me, would it?). Plus, I was starting to get decidedly non-fruitarian cravings. Interestingly, these food hankerings weren’t for a big home-cooked meal or a fatty dessert. All I wanted was some kind of starch. Potatoes, maybe, or rice. Or pasta. Or bread. Just something a little more substantial to break up the sugary fruit.

So, admittedly, I cheated. There were plates of vegan avocado toast at the cocktail party, and at around 7 p.m., I said “screw it,” and I had a couple slices (washed down with a vodka spritzer, might I add).
Even though I strayed from the diet, I didn’t want to throw in the towel. Health experts say this is a classic mistake. Just because you have a minor slip doesn’t mean you should give up altogether. Plus, 75% of my calories that day had been fruit-derived, so I was still technically in the fruitarian range.
I woke up the following day flat-stomached once again. The bread hadn’t ruined me after all. I was actually glad I had cheated. Sticking to a raw diet two meals out of three seemed like a reasonable lifestyle to me—something I could continue doing after my fruitarian “cleanse.”

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