If you’ve been reading Peaceful Dumpling for a while and have begun your vegan journey, recently or since a long time ago, you already know that a 100% plant-based diet makes you feel healthier, more energized, and even fitter than ever. But what about those who eat only 100% raw, unprocessed vegetables and fruits?
There is a growing number of raw vegans and fruitarians who thrive on a high-carb, low-fat diet, so much so that it’s becoming a veritable movement on its own. Prominent raw vegans like Michael Arnstein, Freelee, Durianrider, and Annette Larkins are proof of how eating this way can result in tremendous health benefits. While each of their diets and approaches vary slightly, they would all agree that a raw vegan diet is the most natural for the human body. It’s a seemingly controversial claim: but while it is far more difficult to state what works for everyone as a permanent lifestyle change, it is evident that this lifestyle works for these raw vegans–to incredible results.
Michael Arnstein (a.k.a The Fruitarian) is a super-marathoner, and can run over 100 miles in one race on oranges and orange juice alone. He runs 15 miles to and from work each day, and his best time in a marathon is 2 hours, 28 minutes. He follows the 801010 philosophy created by Doug Graham, which is basically a calorie-nutrient ratio of 80 % carbs, 10% fat, and 10% protein, where most of the calories are derived from fresh fruits. Michael Arnstein is the founder of the Woodstock Fruit Festival, a yearly event where you can learn about the fruit-filled lifestyle through lectures and unlimited amounts of fresh produce. Michael Arnstein advises the following to beat cravings and live healthier: getting rid of everything in your kitchen that isn’t a fresh fruit or vegetable; using cron-o-meter to ensure you are getting enough calories; no calorie restriction; eating 1 avocado a day around 5:00 pm to satiate you like cooked food and help you stay on track; avoiding nuts and seeds; eliminating processed (and cooked) foods.
Freelee had a difficult past as an unhealthy individual swinging from one extreme to the other–from anorexia, bulimia, and unhealthy weight gain, to drug abuse. That changed when she became a fruitarian-vegan 7 years ago. She advocates a high-carb, low-fat lifestyle with no animal products, and as much fruit as humanly possible. She also follows the 801010 diet, but has created her own “banana girl diet” (which has a minimum of 2,500 calories per day), and is the co-founder of 30 bananas a day, the largest online fruitarian social site. She eats mono-meals of fruit (large portions of one type of fruit) for breakfast and lunch, and will eat leafy greens and fruit for dinner, or a high-carb cooked meal such as rice, potatoes, corn pasta, and quinoa if she doesn’t have sufficient fruit on hand. The only supplement she takes is a monthly B12 injection, and this is the only supplement she recommends. She is stringently opposed to fasting, and is very vocal about how important carbs are for the human body. She is a very passionate vegan and is not afraid to speak her mind…which many people may find offensive, but it can also be quite humorous and entertaining.
Durianrider is Freelee’s boyfriend, and the co-founder of the 30 Bananas A Day. Durianrider has been a leader in the fruitarian movement, and Michael Arnstein has written about coming to him for advice when he first began his fruitarianism, and they remain close friends. Most of his videos are about fruit, and in them he will go to extreme measures to prove that sugar does not create fat in the body. He claims–controversially and sometimes vitriolically–that it is the fat in the diet that leads to diabetes and health concerns. Like Freelee, he will sometimes consume cooked carbs, but maintains that fruit is the number one food on the planet. Both Freelee and Durianrider had promient roles in the Woodstock Fruit Festival until a recent announcement rescinding their positions as “pioneers” at the festival, since they promote and eat cooked carbohydrates as a backup plan for people who cannot afford or find enough fruit. He and Freelee will be holding their own Thai Fruit Festival sometime next year, with no entry cost. Sometimes this couple’s message does seem very extreme, and they go to great lengths to promote their views. Still, they both have a very strong message of why veganism is the right choice for the planet and the human body, and have never wavered on what they believe in.
Annette Larkins, just so happens to be 71 years of age but you would never guess it! She became a vegetarian one day in 1963 and eventually turned to raw veganism. She claims the first things she began to eliminate after becoming a vegetarian were all white foods–white sugar, rice, flour, etc. After noticing significant changes in her health, she continued to strive for a better way of eating and stumbled upon raw veganism. She has been all raw for 28 years and loves dark leafy greens, juices, fruits, nuts, and seeds. She grows all her own food, and drinks rain water she collects. She is a huge fan of sprouts, because they contain more life force than other forms of food, and drinks noni juice daily. Annette also does about 8 miles of activity on a daily basis and wakes up no later than 5:30 every morning.
Looking at the photos of these very fit and very outspoken figures, the pros of going raw vegan/fruitarian would seem to be clear: vitality, anti-aging, weight loss, and athletic performance. But it is noteworthy that a diet based mostly on fresh, raw fruits is not viable for many people, financially or otherwise. (Not everyone could collect their own rainwater and have their own garden, for instance). There is also the fact that there is no ethical or philosophical reason you must give up plant-based, cooked foods: what you’re choosing here is for your personal health, and giving up roasted veggies and baked potato isn’t necessarily to make the world a better place. In fact, a raw diet that is so heavily reliant on imported fruits like bananas could potentially leave more carbon footprint than a normal vegan diet that uses more local ingredients. But if you are looking for a way to fine tune your vegan diet, and feel that this could be the next step, try transitioning over a trial period. Notice how your body feels as you increase your raw food intake, and decide whether this can work for you as a short-term diet, or a long-term lifestyle change.