A fruitarian diet could make you go bananas

by David Allegretti

Contributing Writer

I’ve been living in Japan for a few months now, and since coming here my diet has consisted of four major food groups: carbohydrates, other fried stuff, cigarettes and canned ice coffee. It was somewhere between the fifth and sixth floor stairwell of my building that I decided my diet needed to change, and I needed to sit down.

Perhaps now was the perfect time for trying something that has piqued my interest for years — fruitarianism. It’s not new, YouTube is full of advocates of the diet and the late Steve Jobs practiced it on and off. He even came up with the name Apple during a spell of fruitarianism. Would eating nothing but fruit for a week improve my energy levels and spur a similar eureka moment of inspiration? Or would it leave me nothing more than tired and irritable? There was only one way to find out.

Day 1, Sunday: 63.2 kg

I awoke on the morning of day one full of confidence. I bit into my crispy breakfast apple and smiled at the prospect which lay before me. This would be easy. And it was, until late that afternoon when my girlfriend came home to find me on the roof of our building writing, she asked me if I wanted to join her for some ice cream. My discipline has always left a lot to be desired, and day one ended in delicious failure. Ice cream was followed by one of the biggest bowls of pasta I’d eaten in my life.

With the last supper complete I rubbed my near exploding belly in satisfaction. I’ll start tomorrow.

Day 1 … again, Monday: 63.4 kg

I’ve consumed, at the very least, one cup of coffee every day since I was 15. I am now 24. I anticipated physical caffeine withdrawal symptoms to raise their ugly heads after a few days without the black stuff, but I did not expect the symptoms to hit me within 24 hours of abstinence. I certainly could never have foreseen the acute throbbing in my temple that would plague the morning of day two. Though, besides the headache (which had subsided by the afternoon) things were looking good. Apples, pears, pineapples, peaches — there are worse things.

Day 2, Tuesday: 62.7 kg

I awoke on Tuesday morning full of energy, practically jumping out of bed before my alarm. A stark contrast to my usual routine of staring at the ceiling in existential angst for half an hour before slowly forcing myself out of the sheets. Tuesday was also a day of discovery, did you know eggplants, pumpkins, and even olives are fruits? I didn’t.

These new additions to my diet kept things interesting, and I felt little temptation to stray. My energy, however, did drop off dramatically throughout the day though.

Day 3, Wednesday: 62.3 kg

The crash. On Wednesday, my head ached for caffeine, and I spent the morning battling a mild yet annoying stomach ache.

My mind was foggy, my body lethargic, and I was really starting to miss pizza. I decided to seek some inspiration by reaching out to Norwegian Fruitarian bloggers Mads and Mikkel, who together make up the YouTube channel Sweet Natural Living.

“You’re probably tired because you’re not eating enough calories. It’s very common,” says Mikkel. “Fruit has less calories per bite, so you’ll have to eat a larger volume of food to meet your needs,” he adds, before offering an interesting solution to my increasingly growing number of day time naps.

“Bananas are very beneficial in your situation. One banana has about 100 calories, so if you’re an active person and need 3,000 calories per day, that’s 30 bananas,” he suggests. “That sounds pretty crazy, but calorie-wise it’s not. The key is to eat them fully ripe with spots and freckles all over. That way they digest better and taste sweet and edible.”

That night I couldn’t sleep from all the daytime napping. I lay awake for most of the night, thinking about bananas.

Day 4, Thursday: 62.1 kg

Despite feeling tired, my mood was great, in fact it had been all week. Though no amount of happiness, however, could spur me to eating 30 bananas a day, so instead I just upped my intake of all the fruit I could get my hands on and began to count the days until the week was over.

I walked past a bakery that afternoon selling fresh bread and it almost sent me into a frenzy. My eyes blackened like a great white shark as I urged my body to keep walking.

Day 5, Friday: 61.8 kg

By day five, my usual food prep had gone out the window, I was eating like a chimp — kiwi fruit whole with the skin, tomatoes like apples and avocados sans salt. Wild. That evening I had to refuse dinner with friends. Social dinners are rarely fruitarian friendly.

Day 6, Saturday: 61.2 kg

Day six was littered with “first-world problems.” The alarm didn’t go off, I missed my train, internet went down, slow walkers everywhere. All I wanted was a burger and a cold Heineken, but I had to push through. Just one more day.

Day 7, Sunday: 60.8kg

Sunday couldn’t come fast enough. I willed the day away hoping to never see another apple again.

Perhaps this is exaggerating. I like fruit, but I can’t live solely on it. I don’t see this diet being sustainable for my body type unless I accept the fact that I’ll always be a little bit hungry and my days will be filled with involuntary naps. I waved goodbye to my final hour as a fruitarian and celebrated with a piece of fresh bread from the bakery down the road and an unwisely thick layer of Nutella.

A week is not enough time to reap the full benefits of any diet plan, but it is enough time to dip your toes in the waters and see if it works for you.

For me, short-lived waves of unexpected mental euphoria were quickly replaced by prolonged periods of spaced-out lethargy. This volatility, combined with the rapid weight loss and the expensive prices of fruits in Japan, ultimately sealed the coffin on any hopes I had in pursuing the diet long term.

Having said that, I did feel refreshed and lighter in the days following the diet, and had gained a newfound sense of clarity. It was as if I had pressed the factory reset button on my body.