Friendly Debate about the Fruitarian Diet (Is it healthy, dangerous, sustainable, ideal?)

The following writing contains a friendly conversation I had over email with a good friend of mine. My friend has been a personal trainer for more than 20 years and a high level athlete since he was 12. He has also studied nutrition extensively taking many courses and consuming tons of information through books and online. Since I started my fruitarian diet, he has been approaching me on a daily basis to share his opinions and concerned with regards to the fruitarian diet. As you will see from his writing bellow (which is colored with red), he is very much against the fruitarian diet and has many reasons to believe that neither I nor anyone else should ever practice this approach to nutrition. I have chosen to share this conversation with you to show that for every point against the fruitarian diet there is one, or more points for it, and that there is literally no argument against the fruitarian diet that is absolute and irrefutable. I have purposely left aside all data and research in favor of the fruitarian diet given that I recognize that for every piece of research in favor of frutarianism, there is one against it. My goal here is not to prove that the fruitarian diet is better, although I believe I have made very strong points in favor of it, instead, my objective is to show that the fruitarian diet has as many points in favor of it (if not more) than any other diet humans may incorporate. This being said, I believe that it is equally logical (and perhaps more) to explore a fruitarian diet, as it is to try any other diet. Again, my friends comments are in red and everything else is my own writing. Enjoy and feel free to comment bellow.

Wishing you well,

– Bruno Treves

 

A FRIENDLY DEBATE ABOUT THE FRUITARIAN DIET. IS IT HEALTHY, DANGEROUS, SUSTAINABLE, IDEAL?

Dear Friend,

Thanks for sending this, I appreciate you being concerned for my health and well-being. 🙂

I do not want to continue having discussions or arguments regarding my fruitarian diet because I believe there are happier, more productive things we can do. At this point I am certain that I want to continue this exploration and nothing but my own experience seems to be able to change my mind. Perhaps I am already crazy from the diet, or perhaps I was crazy before 🙂 … Either way I am happy with my decision and I am willing to face the consequences of following my intuition regardless of how sever they may be.

I wrote some comments bellow your paragraphs to show you that I read them fully (twice) and to give you my perspective on those points. I am not doing this in order to argue with you or try to change your mind since I fully understand that you are set on your perspective and I am set on mine. I am aware that nothing I say you could make you see this differently just like it is very likely that nothing you say could change my views either.

Fruit has no Vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 deficiency which if severe can cause permanent damage to the nervous system, poor red blood cell production, DNA damage, brain damage, depression, mania, face tremors, reflex problems, difficulty walking and even psychosis. The body needs 500-1000mcg daily and fruit will not even approach this level.

Yes, I am fully aware that fruit has no vitamin B-12 at all. I also know that no vegan food has any vitamin B-12 either, unless it is re-enforced with it such as in the case of almond milk and the like. I have read many medical papers and research papers talking about all the risks of vitamin B-12 deficiencies, I have heard your arguments about it and I have also heard my cousin’s arguments for it, who is an internal medicine doctor who has treated people with vitamin B-12 deficiencies.

That being said, all of these arguments and supposed to be facts have not been enough to convince me. Some of the reasons why I do not believe that I need much or any vitamin B-12 include the fact that vitamin B-12 is THE ONLY nutrient that I have not been able to get on my fruitarian diet (and I know this because I have been adding my fruit intake on chronometer and it shows that I get everything from fruits except B-12). I find it logically absurd that God, the universe (or whatever name we want to give to the organizing force of this life) would have set up an organism like the human being to be able to get everything it needs from fruits, except for one single nutrient, which comes from animals. Since I believe that humans are peaceful by nature, and non-meat eaters at all (since we have no hunting instincts whatsoever, no claws, sharp teeth, short digestive systems, and other things meat eaters do) I believe that consuming animals or animal products is completely out of the question.

To add on that topic, Dr. Mercola himself has published an article based on research from Turft University that shows 40% of the U.S. population has a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Since more than 95% of people in the U.S. consumes vasts amounts of animal flesh and animal products, I can obviously see that there is no correlation between animal consumption and healthy vitamin B-12 levels. I also did very extensive research on the subject of daily requirements of B-12 supposedly needed to sustain normal levels and the results show that IF WE ACTUALLY NEED vitamin B-12, we could get enough from a single daily bite of raw fish, but once again, since 95%+ of people in the U.S. eat more than 10 times this amount I can easily see that is not a logical solution. Adding more to that, according to your statement, if vitamin B-12 deficiency causes permanent damage to the nervous system, poor red blood cell production, dna damage, brain damage, depression, mania, face tremors, reflex problems, difficulty walking and even psychosis, then we would see those in pretty much on out of two people we cross paths with which I thankfully believe is not the case. Last but not least, I have read accounts of people who got their vitamin B-12 levels checked to found that they were at record low levels and they went on to eat a happy fruitarian diet for 40+ years without any signs of side effects like the ones you have mentioned above.

You would need to workout like “distance guy” to process all the sugar. With average workouts it will back up in the system. Even if you don’t overwork your pancreas, you’re probably not eating enough calories on an all-fruit diet. That puts the body into starvation mode, which can result in serious medical conditions like osteoporosis, severe dehydration and even heart failure.

Distance guy, a.k.a. “The Fruitarian”, Michael Arnstein, runs 100 mile races on a weekly basis and so he needs to eat 6,000 calories to maintain his impressive physique and performance. At most, I exercises 3 to 4 hours a day with lifting weights, rock climbing, running, playing basketball and the like, so I obviously do not burn as many calories and do not need as many calories. I have found that the amounts of fruit I eat on a daily basis is sufficient to power me for 2+ hours of rock climbing, 90+ minutes of powerful weight training, and 2+ hours of advanced level yoga classes. Some days I eat more, others I eat less, the amounts of calories I am getting may not be enough to build muscle but they are certainly enough to allow me to do everything I want to do. I do not see how any of this sugars could be backing up in my system since I am burning all those calories throughout the day. I certainly do not think my body is in starvation mode since I am never hungry (and if I am, I eat and then I feel fine). I believe my body is smart enough to tell me if it needs more calories or a different type of nutrition just like I believe it has been smart enough to get me out of eating animal products, cooked foods and vegetables. I certainly do not think or feel that I am getting into risk of any osteoporosis or heart failure eating a fruitarian diet and even though these may be conditions that show up over time, I am certain that they can also show up to anyone else regardless of what they eat, and since it has been proven time and time again that acidic foods, such as animal products, require the body to release calcium from its bones to balance the bodies PH levels, then I see that the odds are in my favor by consuming a balanced basic diet like I do with my fruitarian diet. The dehydration argument seems quite ridiculous (no offense intended) since I consume more water from juicy fruits than most people take in from animals, vegetables or even drinking their 8 glasses of water a day. As a matter of fact, I have spent full days without drinking any water because I simply did not have a need for it. I know that if I was dehydrated my body would show signs of it and ask me to drink water.

Fruitarians often display food-obsessive behavior. Take two pieces of bread, give one to an anorexic, and another to a fruitarian. The anorexic thinks, “I can’t eat this bread, it will create fat”; the fruitarian may think in a similar matter: “I can’t eat this bread” – with the reason(s) cited being one or more of the following delusions: a) the bread is cooked, hence toxic, b) the bread will produce mucus, which is the root of all disease, and will make me “impure”, c) the bread contains protein (and/or starch), and all protein/starch is toxic and a horror. Here the point is the obsessive attitude toward food common to the anorexic and the fruitarian.

I may agree with some points on this paragraphs but I also know them to be extremely relative and highly subjective. I think the term food-obsessive behavior could be use against any diet, weather it is the fruitarian diet, raw vegan diet, vegan diet, vegetarian diet or omnivorous diet. Just like you may think I am obsessed with food because I only want to eat fruits, I could say you are obsessed with food because you want to eat animals or animal products.

Please tell me what sounds to you like more extreme or obsessive behavior:

Case 1: A person that walks to an apple tree, leans over and grabs a piece of fruit that is peacefully laying on the floor.

or

Case 1: To raise a cow chained to a wall over an ocean of shit throughout her whole life, feed her tons of GMO grain (that could be used to feed the starving populations of this entire planet) rape it through artificial insemination, steal its crying, hearth broken baby from her and inject her with all sorts of hormones and antibiotics, so that she can produce unnatural amounts of milk, which contain all sorts of puss and bacteria, to later take that milk, pasteurize it to remove any amount of nutrition that it has left, and then let it ferment and rotten to end up with a piece of cheese that will sit on a shelf for months or even years before someone buys it and puts it in their mouth.

My understanding is that anorexic people have an eating disorder, and most of the times, these people do it because they want to be skinny. I do not have any wish to be skinny, I have a wish to be healthy, joyful, loving, peaceful, ethical and eat what my specie is design to eat, which I believe to be fruit. I do not think it is a delusion to think that an extremely processed food such as bread is toxic, processing grain causes it to oxidize and cooking it causes further oxidation and removal of enzymes which are needed to properly digest the food. Bread will product mucus, but mucus is not, in my opinion the root of all disease, instead, I believe mucus is caused by the disease of consuming toxic food, and it serves as a protective mechanism that guards our cells, tissues and organs again the corrosive nature of acidic food. I also think that protein and starch are toxic but I do not think they are a horror and I also do not think that animal products or cooked foods with make me “impure”, but I do believe they will make me less healthy than fruits and raw vegetables.

I will conclude this point by admitting that I do have somewhat of a psychological fear to eating animal products and cooked foods. Yesterday I went to an Indian restaurant hoping to enjoy a nice meal with my father and we ended up walking out because I struggled to find something on the menu that wasn’t fried, over-cooked or containing animal flesh or animal products. You may think this is obsessive behavior or a psychological issue, but I think that subtle fear I felt is simply a protective mechanism that guards my body against poisoning foods. You would probably have the same reaction if you went to a restaurant and they served you poop, or if you went to a party and someone offered you a shot of heroin, or if someone took you to the top of a mountain and told you to jump off without any parachute, in any of these cases you would not take on those actions, because of fear and because of sanity, I do not consider that to be obsessive but a sign of a healthy brain. The difference here is that I see cooked food as unhealthy and you don’t and so I have a different attitude towards it. Who is right and who is wrong? We may never know.

Very socially isolating. This is very difficult for most people to handle; extroverts should not try to be fruitarians! The social isolation can promote a sense of psychological deprivation, which further encourages backsliding and binge eating. The social isolation and psychological deprivation can also warp your perception of eating; instead of a nourishing, nurturing experience, it becomes an exercise in egoism (similar to the phony compassion/ego trap that so many ethical vegans fall into.) One may identify with the diet; it becomes a “badge” or “symbol” of your individuality – in other words, a projection of the ego, rather than a peaceful, nourishing experience.

Yes, the fruitarian diet is extremely socially isolating and that will continue to suck until I find a community or group of people that share the same beliefs and values that I do. It may be very difficult for most people to handle but I think I handle it very well. I do not mind being alone and as the saying goes, “better alone than in bad company” (do not take this personally, I love hanging out with you, except for when you talk so much about how bad the fruitarian diet is for me)… I think I can still be an extrovert as a fruitarian, the only difference is that I do not eat anything other than fruit, this does not mean that I can’t go climbing, hiking, dancing, singing, parting, playing or to the movies. Social isolation and psychological deprivation can be very harmful, or healing, depending on the person and situation. I found it very healing to separate myself from my fraternity brothers and college friends who would spend most of their time drinking, doing drugs, having unprotected sex and harassing people. At the time they thought I was weird for not drinking any more alcohol but I found this absolutely absurd. I think that the people who go out drinking because others do, or eat the food that others do, just to fit in, are the ones that have a social issue, not the people like me who follow their heart, stick to their values and wait to hang out with people with similar views.

Regarding binge eating, I have not experienced any of that. I used to when I was in other diets like the omnivorous diet, the vegetarian diet and the vegan diet but with the fruitarian diet I only eat when I am hungry and I never overeat. To me eating on the fruitarian diet is a very nourishing and nurturing experience and it certainly feels more nurturing to eat a freely given apple than the flesh of a mercilessly killed cow, lamb, fish, chicken, etc.

I do not see how following a fruitarian diet would be an exercises in egoism and I think that the only phony compassion/ego trap from ethical vegans is found on those who use animal products on their skin or clothes, those who have pets (a.k.a. companionship slaves) and those who ride horses, go to zoos, etc. I do not have any identifications with the diet other than the fact that I am experiencing it. Given that food and eating are things that I am involved with throughout my day, every day, it is impossible for the fruitarian diet to be a detached idea from my day to day thinking. That being said, I do not see myself as a fruitarian, I just call myself that because it is a funny term and because it helps explain to people a characteristic of one of the things I do. I do not think it is an ego trap more than it is to think of myself as a trainer, a massage therapist, a man or a human. On top of that, it is very easy for me to dissociate myself with all those ego based identifications and see myself as the pure consciousness, awareness, observer that I truly am. The fact that I am able to do that does not mean that I can then get on my car and drive to McDonald’s and get a Big Mac. Again, I am not following a fruitarian diet to add a term like fruitarian to my egoistic self, I am doing it because I understand it is the healthiest, most natural, most ethical, most sustainable and most environmental diet I ever heard of. Aside from all the discussions and arguments I find myself in with regards to the fruitarian diet, consuming mostly fruits for the last month has been a very peaceful and nourishing experience.

Many fruitarians eventually give up the diet as it is too difficult to continue – one experiences burnout from the food obsessions, social isolation, psychological deprivation, and frequent hunger. It’s interesting that some untreated anorexics also eventually recover from anorexia for the same reasons. In practice there is little difference in avoiding eating because you fear getting fat, and eating an inadequate diet because you are afraid of cooked food, mucus or protein. One must be very careful to practice fruitarianism with a totally positive attitude, lest it become a diet motivated by an obsessive fear of cooked food, mucus, or protein; for when fruitarianism is characterized and motivated by obsessive fear, it becomes an actual eating disorder!

So far, the only reason why I could see myself giving up the diet is because it may get really cold to continue once it starts snowing and freezing here in Boulder, Colorado. It may also become somewhat boring to eat the same times of fruit as the diversity of fruit here is lacking. The quality of the food here is also fairly poor considering that almost none of it is local and both quality and variety are obviously inferior to that which can be found around the tropics. In terms of hunger I have not had any of this since I been on the fruitarian diet, and the psychological deprivation is not bad at all. My parents are very accepting of my fruitarian experiment and they love me as always. Like I said before, following a fruitarian diet does not dis-empower me from attending any social activity whatsoever, even barbecues, if I choose to attend a food based gathering I just need to bring a dozen bananas and I am more than set to feel satisfied and share some with other people. I have also found a community of fruitarians, raw vegans and vegans online who I am able to relate to and even though online friendships are not the same as in person friendship it still serves as a medium to feel understood, accepted and part of a community. In time I trust I will meet more people who I can meet with in person and share some fruitarian meals with.

I am not afraid of fat, cooked food, mucus or protein. I just ate a dozen lightly cooked asparagus and I enjoyed them very much, no regrets whatsoever. I may eventually reach the point where I may go years without eating anything other than fruit, but as of right now I am happy with my exploration and I do not mind or fear eating some cooked food now and then. I am also not afraid of eating animal flesh or animal products, I am sure my body would be able to handle these with ease and whatever amount of toxins I take from them will surely be easily cleansed by my lymphatic system. That being said, I do not want to consume any animals or animal products because even thought I will be able to recover from them, the animals that suffered and died for that will not be able to recover and I do not want to continue to support a death based industry like the animal industry. I do not believe in any way that having compassion for living, breathing, thinking and feeling animals can be considered an eating disorder. However, I do believe that all the people who consider themselves animal lovers who also eat animal flesh and animal products do suffer from a psychological disorder called cognitive dissonance.

Light, airy mental feeling that some compare to a minor drug high, and others mistake it for some kind of spiritual feeling. Said light feeling does not compare to, and is not the same as, the secure, peaceful, blissful, loving feelings that one gets from meditation or other genuine spiritual practices. (P.S. some anorexics report mental effects similar to those experienced by fruitarians; that is one reason anorexia is so hard to overcome.) Note also that the “light” or “euphoric” mental feeling reported by fruitarians (and those with anorexia) may in fact be a symptom of a zinc deficiency. Zinc supplements are sometimes used in therapy for anorexia. Similarly, the loss of libido reported by some fruitarians, may be another symptom of a zinc deficiency (zinc is scarce in vegan diets, particularly raw vegan diets).

I do not feel high on fruit in any way, I simply notice my digestion being smoother, my energy levels being more leveled and my heart feeling more at peace with my relationship to other living beings. I do not always like to use the word “spiritual” because it contains lots of negative connotations and it is often misused by many people. However, I believe that a spiritual person is one who is able to see, feel, notice or at least acknowledge the spirit within every single thing (or at least themselves). My understanding of spirit is that the spirit/soul is what the Hindus called the “Atman”, or the self within us. This spirit, soul, Atman is the true observer / awareness within all the layers of our being (physical, mental, emotional) and thus it is a CONSCIOUS unit of God / the Universe. As I recognize this, I recognize that all living things have a spirit who wants all the same things that our own individual spirits want which are, among other things, life, freedom, peace, love, etc. I want all those good things for myself and for every being in this universe, those are the values I stand by and because of this, I wish no harm and practice non-violence towards all living beings, humans, animals, plants, etc. I do not want to say it, but the truth is, from my perspective, acknowledging all this does make me a more spiritual person, and by following the fruitarian diet I am following a more spiritual diet that is in deeper alignment with my higher self. Surely enough, I could easily say that we are all one, that life and death are both sides of the same coin, that everything is ephemeral and that God loves us all no matter what, but because none of these truths give me the right to start walking around killing human babies and raping teenage girls, it also does not give me the right to support any industry that enslaves, murders, tortures and rapes innocent beings.

I acknowledge that by following a fruitarian diet I may be setting myself up for some nutritional deficiencies such as Zinc, B-12 or some unknown element science is yet to discover. That being said, from the place I see things right now, I am totally willing to take my chances and even if I was starving in the middle of the desert, I may rather die, than kill another being to sustain myself. I may be crazy, or perhaps very wise and there are many stories, perhaps true, perhaps not, of highly spiritual beings who gave their life for the benefit of others, Mr. Jesus Christ perhaps being the most famous. I do not know if Jesus was real or not, but what he stood for are the same values that I stand for and so it serves as a role model and a good example to show that our own lives are not always what matters most and that sacrificing our bodies for the benefits of others may have immense value and reward in worlds beyond.

Lastly, I will comment that since I started my fruitarian diet I have indeed noticed a reduction on my libido, however, I do not see that as an issue in any way, in fact, I see it as another benefit and proof that this diet is superior to the rest. The reduction on my libido has allowed me to discontinue the practice of masturbating (which I have not done from the day that I started the fruitarian diet), as well as finally overcome my somewhat-of-an-addiction to pornography. Both of these I see as huge benefits for my mental, emotional and physical health. The loss of libido has also allowed me to have more control over my actions, I am not pulled by women’s bodies as much as I used to, which allows me to see them and communicate with them at a deeper level, and I am also not needy of sex or physical touch as I used to be. There are millions of people in this world that suffer from porn addiction, sex addiction and sexual over-stimulation, in many cases their lives are ruled by these and it can be a huge burden on their mental, emotional, physical and financial health. Families are torn apart because of too much libido, relationships end, people cheat on their partners, people go bankrupt and lose their savings because of it and there is much violence and rape because of it. I truly believe that everyone in this world and society as a whole could benefit from a healthy reduction on their libido. As it relates to personal relationships, my lack of libido does not mean I am still not attracted to certain women, or that I do not appreciate the beauty of their bodies, it simply means that I am not as pulled and controlled by them. That being said, I am also very much able to get a strong erection and I would be very happy to have sex if I was to find someone who I find beautiful and willing to explore her sexuality with me. I know that many people use sex as a way of escaping their problems, just like they may use drugs or television. This of course is the main reason why people who “suffer” from low libido may go into panic mode, given that they may not have any other coping mechanism to deal with their problems. Luckily that is not the case for me, I love to work, exercises, play music and be creative, sex is no longer something that I need or look for, if it happens, great but I can happily live without it.

To finalize my view on this particular point, I will remind you that we live in an extremely overpopulated world which continues to grow at scary rates. More libido equals more sex, which equals more babies. More babies means less space and resources for every being in this planet. I will also add that many spiritual practices, such as Yoga, have a strong preference for the practice of sexual abstinence. This can also be found among Christian monks, Buddhist monks and many other religions/spiritual practiced around the world. The fact that a fruitarian diet reduces my libido means that it is easier to practice celibacy and thus benefit from all the good things that come from retention of sexual energies.

… I hope my response will allow you to see that I have very much considered all of the points you have brought up and many more. I am confident that I will be able to dismiss any additional concern that you may have regarding a fruitarian diet. Again, I have not written this reply to prove you that you are wrong but simply to show you that there are many articulate reasons to disregard any concerns people may have against the fruitarian diet. I understand that the chances of you being right are exactly the same as me being right and I also know that there are equal chances of both of us being right as well as wrong.

I will conclude my writing by saying that I very much appreciate you for taking the time to share your points and give me the chance to share mine. Writing this response has served me to continue to solidify my positive perspective on the fruitarian diet and it has also served me as practice to explain this points to other people who may, in the future, have the same concerns that you do. Please know that whatever you choose to do does not change the love I have for your being and I wish that whichever path you take leads you in the way of love.

Best regards,

– Bruno Treves

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