Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Fruitarian Interview - 21 - Manuel J Lugo

21st in a series of interviews with fruitarians around the globe..

Hi Manuel!

Thanks for volunteering to be interviewed and for taking the time to answer some questions!

So, I gather you are a 22 year old student living in Texas right? What is it you are studying there

A Few months into itWell I was studying Finance, but I may change after I move. The university where I want to move to (Dominican Republic) doesn't offer Finance, so I'll more than likely study Mechanical Engineering.

Is that where you're from originally?

Not exactly. I'm from the Dominican Republic, but have spent most of my life here in Houston.

Is there anything you'd like to share that you consider relevant for us to get more of an insight into who you are?

Who I am is still an ongoing discovery. As of today, I am a being "digressing" to more of a simple, natural way of life. I understand the implications of living in society, so I abide by sociological standards, even though I don't agree with them, or find them necessary. I.E. school/work.

I am genuinely interested in just about everything. I find nature and the human body absolutely fascinating. I hope to one day achieve my mental and physical optimum.

Do you have a blog or web page we can read more about you?

No, but thanks to yours it's something that I am considering doing.

Well, if and when you do start one, please leave a comment here so we can check it out!!

What kind of diet did you grow up with? Maybe give us a rough idea of what you used to eat on an average day?

I grew up on the Standard American Diet. I ate just about anything that I could get my hands on, and anything that was free. As a college student I capitalized any time I could…haha. I didn't eat very often, but when I did I ate a lot. I would usually go about 6 hours between every meal, and fill myself to the absolute brim. Pizza, meat, pasta, beans were some of my favorites. I never ate fruit.

And fast forward to today, what does a typical day's meal plan look like for you now?

Fruit! Lol. I don't make much in terms of income right now, so I usually go for the cheap in season fruits. I'm big on Mangos, but include Watermelon, Peaches, Nectarines, Grapes, Cantaloupe, Papaya and sometimes Pineapple. A typical eating day would look like this:

2 Papayas
10 Peaches
10 Mangos
1 bag of grapes

I personally find this to be a lot of food, but I guess it's just what my body needs at this point in time. Maybe as I get cleaner, I'll require less. We'll see.

So, obviously you've made some big changes. Was it a slow progress from Vegetarianism, Veganism, raw food and Fruitarianism for you, or more of a sudden "Aha!" realization followed by overnight changes??..

It was a mixture of them all. The entire process took me about 7 months. My progression was based on what I was learning at the time. So the process began almost a year ago from now, beginning at letting go of meat, to going fruitarian. I was vegan for 6 months, Fruitarian the rest.

What sparked those changes/realizations?

One day the light bulb just went on. I had always struggled with certain bodily impurities, like acne, and have always had problems with my digestive system, pretty serious problems. So after dealing with that for so many years, I sought to find an explanation of why this was all happening. Low and behold, I found the answer to be my diet. Since I cleaned that up, I've experienced nothing but positive changes.

I know that you've been inspired by Richard Blackmans efforts, have you met the guy?

No I have never met him. But I am very inspired by everything he has accomplished physically, since I too would like to develop my body in a similar way. I'm also impressed at what he has been able to do with other people, considering the fruitarian concept is not generally accepted.

Manuel's most recent picture

Has anyone else in your family made such changes??

My mom dabbled in it a little bit. She basically thinks what I'm doing is some kind of weight loss diet, since I'm so thin. So she tried it a while ago, and soon after stopped.

What do your parents and the rest of your family make of your choice of diet?

They don't think it's healthy, and would rather see me eating a "more balanced" diet. I don't blame them really, I would have said the same thing a year ago.

Do you find it easy sticking to just fruit, or have there been times you've craved and binged on other, more dense, foods?

I initially found it very hard to overcome the social aspect of the diet. Whenever I would go out with friends or family, I would sometimes succumb to the peer pressure. As time went by, I became more and more comfortable with myself and my dietary choice. I think I am in a place now where it won't ever be an issue again. Other than that, I thankfully haven't suffered any cravings or other withdrawal symptoms.

Can you tell us a little about your health before and after the changes you've made? What about your weight, any major changes?

I've always been a generally healthy person, with the exception of a few quirks like acne and poor digestion. Since I changed my diet, I hardly ever get new onsets of acne, and my old scars are slowly but surely fading away. My skin and hair are now a lot smoother, and a lot more radiant. My body is much more efficient in the things that it needs to do, like regeneration and reparation. My workouts are more intense and my recovery time is shorter. My digestion is nearly perfect. The mental clarity is great!

My weight was never an issue when I began. I actually used to be too thin, and have since put on 10 pounds of what seems to be all muscle weight.

Do you know many (or any) other fruitarians?

Many? I wish, lol. I've never met any in person, but have read up on some on the internet. Aside from you and the people who post on your site, I count about one or two.

No other students that are curious? What do they generally make of your dietary choices?

I don't really mention it. I've told one of my friends about it, who thinks of it as some kind of fad diet that will pass along with the times.

Do you feel any needs to supplement your diet at all? (What's your view on supplements?)

I don't find them necessary. I don't think anything artificially created has any business in a natural organism. I don't believe, actually, that supplements even get ingested well in the human body. The body is so specific in the way it wants to receive its nutrition that most supplements just get rejected, or end up leaching other nutrients.

I'm confident that the evolutionary process got it right the first time, and that modern medicine really ISN'T the cure society thinks it is.

Are you happy with the choice and quality of fruit you are getting where you live now?

Not very much, no. A lot of the fruit I can afford here is imported from other, more tropical regions, which is usually picked green and transported in refrigerators. It's not very ideal. The fresh, local fruit is not very abundant, and sometimes expensive.

When I move to the DR, I hope be able to eat fresh, tropical fruit of the country, at very low prices. Should be a feast fit for a king!

What do you think is the most common question people have asked you, once they've heard you just eat fruit?

Of course, "But where do you get your protein???" lol. A question we've all heard one too many times. I also get the occasional Calcium and Iron questions.

How do you answer their questions?

2nd Most recent PictureI initially tried to explain it to them. You know, telling them about Amino Acids and everything else. And most of the time it just led me into an unnecessary argument. So I eventually just stopped responding.

Do you have a favorite fruit?

Well currently it's Mango. I really like Mango, but it's quite likely that it will change to something else as I get more exposed to different fruit. I heard Durian is pretty good, I'll see.

Do you get those easily enough where you are?

Yeah, they come in imported from Mexico. I've never actually tried a tree ripened Mango. So that will be something on my "to do" list when I move to the Caribbean.

Can you recall the first time you tried one?

Um… no I can't. But I've been enjoying them ever since.

Where and how do you see yourself living and eating in 10 years from now?

I see myself still eating fruit, but a lot less of it. I don't know exactly where I will be, but I hope that it's a place that I wasn't in a year prior. If I ever do decide to settle down, I will probably be in a place very close to the equator.

Do you think you could improve on your diet at all??

Do I think there is something beyond Fruitarianism? I don't know. I'm sure there are higher states of being, but I don't exactly know if it would be feasible for me. Fruit seems to be perfect.

Do I think I can improve on my diet within the realms of fruit? Sure. It wouldn't hurt to get a little more variety in. It also wouldn't hurt to eat fresh, chemical free, tree-ripened fruit. But let's not be too picky.

How do you feel if people tell you that you must be crazy, and that you can't possibly survive eating the way you do??

I find it amusing. Most people who react that way are usually people who have never done research into the subject. They seem to consider themselves experts on my diet, but are totally oblivious about theirs. Hopefully my indifference will motivate them to prove me wrong.

Finally, is there anything you'd like to add as words of encouragement to those that are aspiring toward Fruitarianism?

Keep at it. If it is truly something that you believe in, go after it and don't worry about what any one has to tell you. It's a tough journey, but you can find solace and support in us, the people who are right there walking along side you. Good luck!
I wanted to thank you for the interview, but most importantly I wanted to thank you for your help and willingness to share all that you know, and your past experiences with us. It's quite difficult to do this alone, and you have offered a great amount of support to me. I wouldn't have come as far without guys like you. Thanks!
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The Annie Within said...

Terrific interview! Thanks Mango for doing this ongoing project. And thanks Manuel for sharing. One thing that stuck out in your interview (there were many great parts) was this: "They seem to consider themselves experts on my diet, but are totally oblivious about theirs." I had to lol at that, because I have run across so many people just like that!

Anonymous said...

Great to get to know all theese fruitarians. Thank you so much for doing theese interviews, Mango. I really love the inspiration it gives me to improve my diet.

Also thanks you for beeing such a good inspiration, Manuel. I hope you find a nice tropical place where you can settle down with lots of quality fruit :)