Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fruitarian Interview - 38 - Rejean Durette

Hi Rejean,

I've just gotten through reading the book "The Fruit Hunters", by Adam Leith Gollner, in it he writes a chapter on Fruitarians, and makes mention of yourself, describing you as Americas "foremost authority on fruitarianism", is that a title you feel worthy of?

His book title sounds slightly Neanderthal. I'd rather be considered a lover than a hunter. How about "the fruit lovers". Haha.. I'll have to track that book down somewhere. It sounds very good from what you've said.

I believe that I have a lot of experience with the fruit diet, and that I have done a lot of research as well to back up my convictions. As such, I believe that many people do consider me to be the authority on fruitarian diet. I think that I also provided a no-nonsense approach on how to make it work. It's not just a spiritual philosophy, where you do lots of meditation or some other spiritual practice that enables you to live on fruit. There is very factual science behind the nutrition of a fruitarian diet. Once people realize this, and basically get a calorie sufficient diet of varied fruits, including fats, the diet is usually fairly easy to do. Of course, that's a very short oversimplification, but that's the basic idea.

Well, I wouldn't sing the praises of his book too much, there were some interesting parts, but his description of what he defines as a fruit was pretty confusing, and there's a fair bit of repetition in the book too, - did you ever get to meet the guy?

Can't say that I did.

I know he contacted you because he read your book "Fruit: The Ultimate Diet", to be honest, I've still not come across a copy of it yet, how many copies of it do you think you've sold so far, and is it still popular?

Fruit: The Ultimate Diet - by Rejean Durette
The book sold a few thousand copies, which I believe is a fair bit considering I did absolutely no promotion for it. A large portion of those were printed on my computer when I started, something I would never do again. It sold over a hundred copies at a local health food store down in Phoenix within a short time, perhaps because people could relate to all the local produce I spoke about, and obviously some of those people who read the book may have known about me.

Rejean is an interesting name, it sounds vaguely french, care to enlighten us as to how you pronounce it?

My heritage is 100% french canadian. The name is very difficult to pronounce if you are without french blood. I'm not even sure that my family pronounces it correctly.

I noticed that in your emails, your name appears as "David Owens", is that an alias of yours?

I worked as a radio dj/announcer for a decade or so, and David Owens is my radio name, because my real name was too difficult for people to deal with. Many people know me by that name, for sake of ease, or because they get to know my radio personality that way.

For the record, can I ask what year you were born in?

I was born in 65, in Canada

DJ David Owens
Rejean Durette AKA DJ David Owens

But you're living in Arizona right? Is that where you grew up too?

Been in Arizona since 88.

Do you have a blog or website where people can read more about you and your thoughts??

I don't have a blog right now, but there is a website at I haven't updated it much, but there is some great info there.

When and how did you come to the realisation that fruit was, as you put it, "the ultimate diet"?

Probably as far back as 1989. I "flirted" with the idea a little in those days, and was just getting used to being vegan. I was doing mostly raw in August 1992, when I got involved in a relationship with a girl who was vegan, and then I ended up going back to more of a regular vegan diet for a while, but by early 1993, I apparently made an impact on her, and we both went full steam ahead with the idea of being fruitarian together. I believe it was May of 1993.

prior to that were you on a more conventional diet?

Conventional until September of 1989, but went vegan within a month in October of 1989. but was doing a lot of raw food off and on through the next 3 years or so until becoming 100% raw.

What brought on those changes? was it a book you read, influence from someone, anyone, anything in particular?

Prior to 1989, I lived in Canada, and ate a more conventional diet. I had NEVER heard about vegetarianism, but I was never heavy on meat. I can honestly say that I have never purchased a steak in my life and was never big on junk food, such as sodas and candy bars.

When I first came to the southwestern United States desert, I was on somewhat of a spiritual retreat, where I did a lot of meditation and yoga. I spent a lot of time in nature, hiking, biking and swimming. I think that because I have left my family, my career, and basically my entire life behind, it was easy for me to change my life in so many ways.

I ended up volunteering at a local vegetarian restaurant, around the same time that I became vegan in 1989, and I met an individual named Fred, who was fairly excited about the concept of fruitarian diet. He also introduced me to colon cleansing. While I didn't make those changes at that time to a total fruitarian diet, I did embrace the general idea at that time, and started to eat more and more fruit.

I remember one particular day, where I had come back from a long and very wonderful hike in Sedona, Arizona (USA), which is so amazingly beautiful. It had made such an impact on me, and I had started the day with a lot of yoga and meditation. I was definitely in an altered state. I came back to my campsite, in a secluded and peaceful area, and I looked into my refrigerator, and I saw some fish and eggs that there, and it seemed so wrong to eat something so unnatural, and so removed from nature, when I was in such a peaceful and natural place. I held the egg in my hand, and I felt the pain and suffering of the chickens and I understood why eggs were unhealthy, because they are not a food that can be raised in a compassionate way. Eggs have a certain purpose in this world, and it's certainly not to provide food for humans. I had a few oranges in my refrigerator, and I looked at it for a long time, the beautiful radiant almost sun-like quality of it's skin, the fragrance that draws us into it, etc.

What I became aware of for the first time in my life is that everything in this world is energy. The most important way to be aware of our own energy and "monitor" out energy is to eat the highest vibrational food available. It became very clear to me that the highest vibrational foods are ALWAYS fruit. Of course, organic, fresh, local fruits are always better.

I also thought a lot about how we automatically take on the eating customs of our society, our family, without questions; how our taste buds get perverted over time, so the point that we believe that the smell of a roasting dead corpse (meat) smells good to us.

None of this happened in a vacuum. It was partially became I had left my entire life behind, and I had begun to question why I was doing ALL the things I had done my whole life. It was almost like a near death experience where people get to review their entire life.

I changed so many things in my life during that time, not just diet, and looking back, I think it was a fairly magical stage of my existence.

what changes have you observed since those realisations? - weightwise/healthwise, spiritually, physically, emotionally etc?

That's the subject of an entire book, which I have started writing, by the way. Weight has pretty much stayed the same my entire life. Health has always been good. I just did a 13 mile mountain bike ride yesterday and I am planning a 50 mile one for Friday. So, I think I'm doing pretty good.

After just a few weeks on a juice fast, I couldn't stand my glasses anymore that I had worn for almost a decade, and was able to pass my driver's test without them. That's a real physical, measurable thing, and I was very excited about that.

Spiritually, I think is where the diet made the most changes for me. Fruit is the highest vibration of all foods, and I feel that whatever we put into our bodies, we became, at least to some degree. I've heard some so called spiritual types that claimed they could "transmute" the energy of what they put in their bodies, but you can't "transmute" animal suffering, or all the chemicals that are put on the food crops that we eat. They're in the environment working their way into the soils, into the water, etc.

Especially when I'm somewhere in nature, a pristine place, it seems almost sacrilegious when I see people with Doritos and beer, for example. I think that the more people live unnatural lives in cities, they more they tend to anesthetize themselves with wrong foods.

I feel that my mind is free to think and work properly and that my spirit is much more open to so many possibilities, and that I am a much happier person because of the dietary changes I've made.

Being vegan for me, was a lifestyle, not just a diet, and I feel the same about being fruitarian. I don't talk about it much these days, because it's just a part of who I am, I don't strive or try to do it, it just happens on a daily basis, without effort.

OK, I know that you believe in a 100% fruit fruitarianism, but you've also mentioned that you're not quite there yet, what kind of foods are you still eating that aren't fruit?

Dried foods, occasionally, but fairly rarely. I have on occasion eaten at the raw cafe we have here locally, or went to raw potlucks for fun, and eaten some non fruit foods, but I don't think that disqualifies me from being fruitarian. It might in some people's minds I suppose. The longest I have ever went being 100% raw fruitarian is 9 months. Then I might have eaten something that contained some greens or onions or something else raw, but I never really thought much about that. It's not like I broke down and had a cheese burger or anything.

Do you see yourself weening off of those items anytime soon?

I don't know if I would make any changes really. Like I said, it's only an occasional thing, and not something that I do often. Sometimes when I have been at potlucks, I have stuck with all fruit, but I feel that being social, and partaking of something that's 100% raw that a friend has made, is fine.

You managed to snag a 62 acre parcel near phoenix right? What kind of trees have you got growing on their now? how old are they? are they fruiting yet? is there water running through the place?

62 acre parcel is located between Phoenix and Yuma. I have done a fair bit of work there, including bringing the power in, a mobile home, a septic, and a large steel building, but so far, no well, and as such, no trees. Everything takes time (and money).

I have planted about 60 trees, at my other property just north of Phoenix. Those were planted in the spring of this year, (2010), and are mostly all doing quite well. The peaches already fruited, as they were large trees. I have stripped all the furit off the citrus trees to divert their energy into new growth.

I should start seeing some good crops by 2012. That might sound like a long ways into the future, but it's pretty exciting. In 1999, I managed to be 50% food sufficient with 100 fruit trees

What kind of fruits is the climate there not suitable for? anything particular you would like to be growing but can't?

I can't grow tropical fruits like bananas and avocados for example, and I've love to grow them. I have tried though.

Really, no avocados? They are more of a warm temperate fruit than tropical, I'm surprised they wouldn't grow there?!

I have tried to grow them. I have a few trees right now, but they rarely do very well. They need an awful lot of attention. The Arizona desert is too cold AND too hot for a lot of fruits. Avocados need more humidity, and don't like it when it gets over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While I love avocados, and would be thrilled if I could successfully grow them, it's best if I focus on the things that works well in the Arizona desert, and the list is so long:

I have all kinds of citrus, figs, dates, peaches, plums, apples, apricots, nectarines, almonds, melons, berries, pomegranates, persimmons, guavas, etc.

I am pretty lucky to be able to grow all that variety.

What line of work were you in to manage to scrape the money together for the land?

Some of the money came from the sale of a previous home, and then some came from my current business, growing sprouts !

Is it easy enough to get hold of good quality fruit choices in your area?

Tropical fruits, mostly.

You have a girl friend right? Is she into the fruit thing too?

Yes, oddly enough she is also a fruitarian. What are the odds of that ?

What do other members of your family make of your views on fruitarianism? I'm guessing you've shared your book with them?

Yes, my family is all aware of my dietary choices at this point. I am not sure what they say when I am not around, but I think they're ok with it.

Any kids at all?

I have a son who's 14

So, absolutely no cravings for any cooked foods? or other foods you definitely know are not good choices?

I was never really into most "junk foods", thankfully. People are amazed when I tell them I've never had a Twinkie or a M & M for example. My son was raised the same way, he's still never had a soda or a cookie, for example.

Could you give us a rough overview of what you might eat on a typical day?

Often I start out with a large smoothie, say 8 ounces coconut water, 3 bananas, 1/2 a pound of strawberries, maybe some mango, blueberries, raspberries, a kiwi, whatever I"m in the mood for....

This time of year, I eat a lot of watermelons, today I ate watermelon and then at around 1 or so, I had 3 avocados with a couple tomatoes, a some red peppers. After that I had a few figs and I will probably eat a few more bananas and maybe a few oranges, and that's about it.

How much of your food do you grow yourself? How much do you think you spend a week on your fruit/food?

Not much right now, except for watermelons, tomatoes and peppers.

I spend probably $150 a week on food, ouch.

Well, $100 to $150, depending rich I feel at the moment.

You say you have another book in the works, care to tell us more of what it'll be about?

Yes, a couple of books in the works, one about the spiritual aspects of the diet, and the other on a completely, ok, on a somewhat different topic, about dreams and out of body experiences!

Have you done much fruit travelling? any particular places on the globe you are particularly fond of?

Fruit travel, yes, my entire life is a fruit travel. I grew up in northern Canada, where it was too cold to even grow apples! Berries do grow abundantly there, and the last few years, I planned a visit there during wild blueberry season. During that time, there is also all the following berries in the wild: Saskatoons, cranberries, high bush cranberries, pincherries, chokecherries, and raspberries. My partner and I ate 5 gallons of blueberries combined in a six day period, and that's not counting all the other berries we ate.

I have also spent time in California, Florida, Mexico, South America and my favorite Hawaii, where I was fortunate enough to spend time on a few farms. How I love those Hawaiian papayas.

Can you name some fruits that you've not tried yet but are looking forward to trying?

Oh, nothing really that I am that excited about trying at this point.

Do you know any (or many!) other 100% fruitarians, or people headed that way?

Can't say that I know any personally, except for my partner, Holly.

Could you hazard a guess of how many 100% fruitarians there might be, in the US? in the world? Do you think the idea is spreading?

There must be at least 7 worldwide, maybe 8 or 9 by now, so I guess it must be spreading. Haha. I have no idea, but there are more than ever.

Do you're friends and neighbours know you're on a pretty much mostly fruit diet, and if so, what do they make of it?

Most of my neighbours have no idea, but most of my friends figure it out over time, and they seem to be alright with it.

My sister in law was worried as to how she was going to feed me once, and my brother said, don't worry about him, he'll take care of himself. That makes it super easy. Sometimes my family will try, but they tend to sometimes forget that I don't like to eat non organic foods.

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

I enjoy where I live now, because I am right by a creek, and I can run down there on my bike and swim, which I would do every day if time permitted, but some days I can't squeeze it in.

I do like Hawaii a lot, but I do detest mosquitoes. I don't live where my house is, at least not yet, but I do foresee a time when half of my food could come from that place. The southern desert part of Arizona is great for year round food production. When I lived there before, I averaged 15 pounds of fruit per day, YEAR ROUND out of my back yard, which was only 1/2 an acre total, and that was after only 3 years. In 7 years time, I probably would have averaged 30 pounds of fruit per day.

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

I get a lot emails and questions from people, and I always tell them that they need to take baby steps. So many people think they can go from a meat and junk food based diet to full fledged fruitarianism, and they always fail miserably.

Go it slow, and do it step by step. Also, you don't have to be 100%. I tell people that if they can just increase their fruit intake by a little, that's a huge help. The average person only eats about 5% of their diet as raw food. Increasing that to say, 20% for most people would be massive. Not only from the great health benefits of the fruit, but also from the items in their diet they have replaced.

Also, I like to point out that there is no one thing in this world that can change you and make you 100% healthy. You can't forget exercise, getting enough sleep, what you do to support yourself, creating great relationships with people, etc. Like most people, I struggle with some of these things, and I am in no way perfect, but I like to think that I see health as a much larger thing than just diet.

The other thing is that people get far too focused on science, vitamins, minerals, etc. I tell people that no matter what fruits they like, they're all good. If you like peaches a lot, eat plenty of those, but don't force yourself to eat oranges if you have trouble getting them down, for instance. Eat fresh, local and organic as much as possible.

Well, that's a few ideas, I suppose, there's always lots to share about this way of life. Oh, by the way, I got involved with the sprout business when I first became vegan, and it has supported me for a long time, but I have also added some fruit offerings to what I deliver to the stores, such as some locally grown dates, and coconuts, and occasionally some other items, but I stick with fruits.

Thanks for the opportunity to share a bit of this info with you

Thanks Rejean!


Cosmic said...

Awesomely-Divine! Thank-you Mango Thank-you Rejean!


Amit said...

Thanks, Mango. Very interesting intreview. He sounds like a very interesting person.


Greenmama said...

Thanks, Mango, as always your work in tracking down fruitarians and interviewing them is really appreciated! Thanks to Rejean, as well.

I loved The Fruithunters book, except for the section brief section on fruitarianism, which I thought was overly simplistic, dismissive, and a bit sensationalistic.

It is worth reading just to hear descriptions of the amazing varieties of fruit world-wide.


Virgo said...

Rejean's book was a great inspiration to me when I first became fruitarian several years ago. I am glad to hear he is doing so well and still keeping on the fruit diet. Thank you Rejean and Mango for this interview.

Fruitarian Mango said...

Finally I have published my own book too: