Not knowing fully what they had in mind, both Kveta and I agreed to being interviewed, and over the following week or 2, after initial contact, we were both interviewed online, via email..
They finally got around to publishing their article, in the online oprah magazine, (I believe you need to be a paid member to get access to it) a couple of weeks ago. It turned out to be more of a brief introduction to "extreme eaters", and despite giving our time freely to them, they ended up only publishing one brief sentence taken from Kvetas interview..
So, just for the record, I've decided to publish the interviews in full here.. I'll start with mine, and publish Kvetas in a few days..
Oprah Magazine Fruitarian Interview
1. Why did you decide to eat only fruit? Health? Ethical? Political?
It was certainly by no means an overnight decision for me.. In fact, I would say that my choice to eat solely fruit is an ongoing result of many years of debating with myself and others about the whole right and wrongs of food issues on many levels.
Predominantly I'd say it all started for me back when I was 25 (I'll be 49 this year). I'd been living on a pretty much standard diet up until then, and had never really given change to that fair any real thought, but after watching one particular movie, that really had little to nothing to do with food, I suddenly found myself questioning the whole ethics and ecological issues of eating animals. It's difficult to say why that movie had such a profound effect on me, I suppose that despite my unawareness of such, I must have been ready for a change..
I've always been a bit of a philosopher, and once I started paying attention to, and questioning diet more, I soon realised how important the changes I was making were to me.
The thought of taking the life of another being, or paying someone else to do so (which we all unwittingly do whilst still consuming flesh) repulsed me, and I genuinely wondered why it had taken me so long to feel that repulsion.. It dawned on me that by consuming all that flesh, I was effectively turning my body into a grave yard!!
So faced with the series of revelations I was having, it did not take me long to completely forsake (to the best of my ability) all animal products and become vegan too..
Although the catalyzer had predominantly been ethics, and a sense of moral repugnance toward the devouring of flesh of other beings, my awareness of other issues embracing economics, health and environmental concerns had also grown, and reinforced the sense of direction I had taken.
Some few years later, after my thoughts had become more settled and a new dietary pattern had established itself, I think it was 1990ish, I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture on the advantages of not cooking ones food, and although once more, I had not particularly been thinking any change was needed or forthcoming, this lecture had a profound effect on my life, and once more sparked my philosophical thoughts into action..
I became a keen disciple of the whole vegan "raw food" philosophy thing, understanding that just like with every other animal species out there, nature provides us with our food in an already perfect state, and that any thought that we may, somehow, be able to "improve" on nature by subjecting our food to extreme temperatures, was yet another "folly" I had unwittingly been brainwashed into accepting as truth.
In fact, the whole addictiveness of cooked food became sparklingly clear to me, as well as the detrimental side effects that a long term addiction to such foods has on our physiological bodies, resulting in all manner of degenerative diseases starting from the relatively innocent common cold, through to rheumatism, parkinsons and cancer..
It is my belief that pretty much all that ails modern man has it's roots in addiction to detrimental substances, - predominantly food. A fact that society in general tends to chose to stay blissfully unaware of.
Well, several years into eating purely raw vegan food, and it became clear to me that the most appealing of all foods, when eaten in it's raw natural ripe and ready state, was fruit. And consequently my consumption of fruit increased together with this realisation.
I had also been asked on numerous occasions, "well, you may not eat animals, but what about all the screaming carrots?", and although I was well aware that the questioner was more likely trying to provoke than start any truly deep and meaningful conversation, I still thought that there was some validity to the question.. How far should one extend one's moral duties toward others? Is it possible to truly live, without taking the life of another, whether the other be animal or vegetable??
These were all questions I felt I needed to ponder over.. Being perhaps a bit of a hopeless romantic at some levels, I felt somewhat attached to the immortalised beatle words of "all you need is love".. There appears to be a profound truth in those 5 small words, but how to make sense of them in a world that appears so glaringly contradictory to the idea..?
It was at this point that I realised that as far as food goes.. fruit is the exception.. fruit is the one and only food, that one can clearly see is actually given up by the plant that at some level, if you'll forgive the anthropomorphising, actually desires for us to eat it's fruit.. think about it.. anything else comes with some kind of karmic debt, and the fact that plants have no central nervous systems does not disprove that at some level they are in some way sentient (something probably ultimately unprovable and thus I tend toward giving the benefit of the doubt..).. It is to the plants benefit that the fruit appeals to us.. the more attractive and tasty it is, the more chance we will nurture and care for its seed, and disperse the species..
So fruit seemed to fit the bill well for me, with it's compatibility with the philosophy of "do no harm", and it's appealling look and tantalizing variety of tastes.. Also environmentally, the growing of fruit trees involves far less destruction and desertification of soil, producing far more yield per acre than any other crop..
2. What does your daily diet look like? What do you eat lots of? How much of certain fruits? Do you ever juice the fruits?
that would depend entirely on what's in season. Most of the food we eat is locally grown, within a few hundred kilometers of where we're at.. Somethings are year round staples though, like oranges, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, pawpaws, bananas and pineapples we tend to always have at home, but then there are other fruits that come and go throughout the year.. nectarines, peaches, lychees, chocolate pudding fruit, rambutan, durian and heaps more..
Yes, we regularly juice fruits.. we have both a juicer and a blender and tend to start most days with a juice of some kind.. often freshly squeezed orange juice (juiced by hand).. we mostly drink a half litre of juice at a time..
At the moment, a typical day for us, might be breakfast of half a litre of orange juice each (probably juice from 4 or 5 oranges each).. half an hour later, we might feast on akee (they are a fruit originally from jamaica, and currently one of our favourite fruits!! beautifully creamy cheesy sweet .. sadly the season here has more or less ended, and I think we'll be eating the last of them today).. (maybe 10 akee fruit shared between 2 of us).. later we may eat a bowl of grapes each, and later still a cucumber juice (through the blender), most likely half a litre each.. maybe a pineapple juice later still (also through the juicer), and around 5 or 6, we might eat a bowl of sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado, as our sort of only real main meal of the day.. later still we may eat another 10 akee between us, or some durian..
like i said, though, the juices can vary greatly from day to day, depending on what we have, but the general quantities remain more or less constant.. Neither of us drink water.
3. Some people ask about things like protein—how do you get adequate amounts?
Basically I have a different answer for different people depending on where I think they are at, and what kind of answer would suit them best.. I can get quite technical if needed, (at one point i used to know the name of every essential amino acid, where it could be found, and what it was good for!), but to be honest though, and I always like to add this to whatever answer I give, I really don't "do" the whole protein, mineral, carbohydrate, vitamin thing anymore.. I gave that all up a long time ago, as I believe that the solution is not difficult or intricate..
- many people will try and scare us into believing that we need to "know" all that stuff in order to eat healthily, but I believe the only knowledge we need to have is the ability to recognise what constitutes a real "food" and what doesn't.. If we can recognise that cooked food is denatured and detrimental to our healths, then forget the rest.. People don't get sick because they lack this or that vitamin (unless of course they are extremely malnourished and on a more or less starvation diet!), they get sick because they eat the wrong kind of foods, live in the wrong kind of environments, and breath the wrong kind of air.. predominantly though, it is the food that is the main reason for our woes.. not the lack of invisible elements in it..
4. What do you feel like, after making the switch?
Great. well.. there was no simple "switch".. as i said it was a gradual process following a gradual series of revelations.. But overall, I see my dietary choices as some of the most life changing, life enhancing, longevity compatible changes i've ever made.. not to mention the physiological cleansing, lack of yearly colds bouts, and peace of mind for no longer being a walking tombstone..
5. Do you know/live with other fruitarians? Do you socialize with others? Has it ever been an issue in social situations?
Well, my partner, Kveta, is also a long term fruitarian, so we share our lives on a daily basis, and eat most meals together.. As for other friends, we've only recently moved to the area we are currently living, so still in many ways getting to know the area, but we certainly have some friends here already.. One of my friends is actually a full on raw zombie flesh eater, and has very different ideas to us about what constitutes a healthy diet.. OK.. don't take the zombie thing to literally, that's just me being graphical.. I guess I feel quite accepting that the world is made up of many people with many conflicting ideas concerning what they feel is right, or not, and although I feel it sad that not everyone can see the sense in reducing the harm we do, I also feel resigned to the fact that it is really not up to me to change the world if it doesn't desire to be changed..
Socially I find the more accepting we are of others ideas, then the more accepting they will be of ours, regardless of how seemingly bizarre or different they may appear..
Through the internet I have met several others on a fruitarian path, some of whom I've also met in person, and occasionally I interview fruitarians I encounter, on my blog. (http://mangodurian.blogspot.com/2008/02/list-of-interviews-with-fruitarians.html)
6. Why did you decide to adopt the name Mango?
I think I was just ready for the change.. something more fitting for a new outlook on life, and I'd grown tired of the name I was given at birth.. Mango seemed more fun, and more lively, and my friends soon grew accustomed to my new name too..
Mango's had been my favourite fruit at one point.. but I must admit that durian and akee and other fruits have far exceeded mangos place in my top 5 fruit chart.. (I've no immediate intention of changing my name again though!!)
7. How has being a fruitarian impacted your identity, and how you think of yourself? How has it changed “Who you are?”
Well.. very much so I believe.. Had I not started down this path all those years ago, I am quite sure that my life would have turned out altogether differently. More likely I would still be working 9 to 5 and affluent enough to afford whatever luxury I desired.. I mean, I would have had that life that I sometimes wonder about, but I guess I'll never know..
Not having saved more wisely at the time (many moons ago, I used to be an IBM systems programmer), is something I occasionally have nagging regrets about.. especially now when we we are so focused on manifesting ourselves a piece of paradise in the tropics..
But ultimately, I shake those thoughts aside, and count my blessings, for I have no real doubts that my life is far richer now than any other path could have made me, and I am thankful and privileged to have had the insights I have had in this life, and be the person I have become.. even if there is still plenty of room for improvement!!
Mango the Raw Vegan Fruitarian..