30 Days, 900 Very Ripe Bananas

You might remember a guest post about fruitarianism on No Meat Athlete last year that drew a lot of negative comments, mostly dismissing the diet as a fad. But Ben Benulis wanted to see if there was something more to it. Here he is with a post about his experiment.

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If you’ve never heard of “dinosaur weiners,” it’s your lucky day.

As vegetarians and vegans, most of us are comfortable going against the grain. We buck the trend of the standard diet in favor of something we feel is better.

But even the most open-minded of vegetarian and vegan individuals will eventually draw the line somewhere.

Case in point: Fruitarianism.

Controversial things like this pique my curiosity. When I read last year’s No Meat Athlete post on the fruitarian diet, I began to ask questions:

  • How could anyone survive, even thrive, on just fruits and vegetables?
  • Why were people so quick to jump to conclusions that this diet was unhealthy/nutrient-deficient/unsustainable/expensive/ridiculous?
  • Why was there such a negative backlash on something that, to me, sounded kinda cool?
  • If fruits and vegetables are the healthiest foods, is it really so crazy to eat them to the exclusion of everything else?

If you look at the comments of the NMA post on fruitarianism, a lot of people seemed to magically become experts on why this was bad, without ever having read anything else on the topic or, better yet, trying it themselves.

I had the opposite reaction — someone going so ridiculously against the grain intrigued me. With such negative backlash, I wondered what the big deal was. I had to investigate for myself.

A rose by any other name

It turns out what many of us call “fruitarianism” is actually the 80/10/10 diet, designed by Dr. Douglas Graham. Dr. Graham is a lifelong athlete, a raw vegan since the 1980s and hasn’t had a sick day since before I was born. (I’m almost 30.) For me, that’s enough for me to wonder if he might have stumbled on to a secret or two in his lifetime.

His book, The 80/10/10 Diet, is an excellent, interesting read. It’s the culmination of years of experience and research that produced a few other books as well, including Grain Damage and Nutrition and Athletic Performance.

Before anyone undergoes such an endeavor (or dismisses it outright), I’d suggest picking up this text. If you’re looking for the Cliff’s Notes version, here are some of the highlights of the 80/10/10 diet:

  • Eat plant-based whole foods in their natural state. Nature provides food to us, as is, with everything we need. If we cook something, we alter it and it is no longer a whole food.  No other animal in nature cooks their food. (You don’t see monkeys in the rainforest sautéing their greens, right?)
  • When calories from protein exceed 10% it leads to poor health. Protein from raw plants is best. Cooked protein from any source is denatured. Animal protein is especially toxic.
  • When calories from fat exceed 10% it is excessive. Cooked fats in particular are carcinogenic. Oil is not a whole food and should be avoided.
  • Carbohydrates are then left to be at least 80% from calories as a lower limit.  For carbohydrates, fruit is king. It tastes great, comes in its own packaging, and doesn’t need to be cooked or altered in any way.
  • Grains are indigestible in their raw state. Since one has to cook them, they are not a whole food. Grains have a poor micronutrient content (relative to fruits and vegetables) and various “anti-nutrients,” such as gluten.

Putting theory into practice

I’d advise a gradual transition to the diet. I experimented with his recipes and slowly started incorporating more and more fresh fruits and vegetables in my diet until they were about 80% of daily intake. Once I felt comfortable with this, I decided to try a 30-day trial of this diet, full blast, 100%.

Fundamentally, the 80/10/10 Diet involves getting your primary calorie source (94-98%) from fruit. Your main source of macronutrients (calories, carbs, protein & fat) is fruit and your main source of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is vegetables.

However, since fruits are far more calorically dense than vegetables, you end up eating equal volumes of fruits and vegetables. Here is what a typical day looked like for me:

  • Breakfast: 1-2L of water.  3 large mangoes (600 calories)
  • Lunch/snacks: 4L of strawberry-banana smoothie.  About 27 bananas and 1/2 lb of strawberries with simply water as a base. (2,900 calories)
  • Dinner: Large spinach salad with tomato and 1/2 an avocado and homemade blueberry/date dressing (250 calories)

That brought my total calorie count for the day to 3,750.  For an active person like me, at 6’1″ and 170 lbs, this was about right. On very active days, I ramped up my calorie count.

In all, I was able to cover all my macro and micronutrient needs, aside from Vitamin D and Vitamin B12, which aren’t usually in plant foods, anyway. I feel pretty darn good about that.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Who has 27 ripe bananas in their house for one day of eating? It can be a bit challenging. To make it work, I discovered a few key strategies:

Inventory management:

I’d like to think my work background in supply chain management helped here. Not only did I need to have enough fruit, I needed to have enough RIPE fruit. When you buy fruit from the grocery store, it usually isn’t ripe yet — there is a window of ripeness between underripe and overripe that must be carefully managed.

There’s a highly technical way to determine ripeness, and I’ll let you in on the complicated secret: A banana must be brown and speckled, like a “dinosaur weiner.”  (If anyone asks you where you got such privileged information, don’t tell them I let you in on the secret!)

I needed lots of speckled dinosaur wieners. So I bought in bulk. I found out that if you buy an entire 40lb box of bananas from the grocery store, they give you a 10% discount. $17 for 40lbs of bananas is 3 days worth of food. Turns out this diet is pretty cheap after all!!

Of course there were the awkward questions at the checkout line. I got tired of people not believing me when I said I was going to eat them all so I started telling people I had a pet monkey.

Whenever a certain type of fruit was on sale, I bought as much as I could carry. On one weekend drive out to the country my wife and I passed a farm fruit stand got a 40lb box of peaches for $18. For 3 days, I ate pretty much only farm-fresh organic peaches and spinach. Despite what you may think, it was fantastic.

A blender is essential:

30 bananas a day is best accomplished by drinking most of them. There end up being endless permutations of possible smoothies. For the sake of easy digestion, smoothies of more than 3 ingredients are discouraged. If you’re on the 80/10/10 diet, your new motto is “simplicity at meal time, variety throughout the year.”

Social situations:

The diet makes it challenging (not impossible) to meet friends for dinner. If people asked, I just told them I had eaten before I got there (which was often true). Your main option at any restaurant is a salad with no dressing.

Taste buds:

The longer you do this diet, the more your taste buds “wake up,” and you no longer need dressing on a salad because the vegetables taste so good on their own.

My taste buds became “re-sensitized”. Fruits and vegetables just tasted better and had more flavor. Lettuce and spinach, just on their own, tasted delicious. Conversely, veggies like jalapenos, olives and banana peppers (which I always loved) had almost too much flavor and became hard to eat.

Cravings for things outside the diet:

This was tricky. There were times when cravings for a burrito or tofu stir-fry crept in. To manage this, I ate enough fruit during the day so that I would always be satisfied. I counted my calories to make sure I was getting enough to sustain me through the day. Once I mastered that, the cravings never really hit me anymore.

The results

While undertaking this experiement, I noted a few changes in my body. I lost 5 pounds of body fat, going from 11% body fat to 8%, though I was eating as much as I wanted (anywhere from 3,600 to 4,400 calories a day).

I also noticed insane athletic recovery. I’m no Ironman triathlete, but I do like to get out there and hit it hard when I can. I had one day where I did 22 miles commuting on my bike, a superslow strength training workout at lunch, and 2 hours of footbag at night. The next morning I woke up fresh as a daisy not an ounce of soreness.

I slept better. I felt clear-headed. I was more productive at work.

I just felt better.

Lasting impact?

I was a “fruitarian” for 31 days — 1 day longer than planned. On the 32nd day, I broke down and had some Chinese stir-fry.  After I ate it, I felt like someone had force-fed me 10 sleeping pills and then punched me in the stomach.

I took a week off and truthfully went on what turned out to be quite the vegan junk food bender. I had an obligatory monster burrito and even an entire Whole Foods vegan pizza in one sitting.

At the end of the week, I went out for a run and woke up the next day, sore for the first time in over a month. That was the signal to re-embrace the diet.

This time, I’m going for 60 days.

Ben Benulis is a vegan footbagger and runner who also enjoys cycling and strength training.  He lives in Austin, TX with his wife and 2 dogs. He blogs at Vegan Gym Rat and is sometimes hangs out on Twitter as @ironcladben.

PS — For any NMA readers in the Madison, WI area this morning (Friday, Sept. 9), for Ironman Wisconsin or anything else, NMA writer Susan Lacke is hosting a little meetup at 10 AM at the coffee shop on Main and Martin Luther King in Madison, by the Ironman Registration. Come hang out!

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Comments

  1. Nicole English says:

    Hi Ben. Glad to hear that you had such a positive experience. I’ve been playing around with 80/10/10 for a couple of years now and love it. I don’t always stick to it 100% but always find my way back after a day or 2. In fact, I have tried to quit it but it seems my body is just naturally drawn to it now.
    All the best for the next 60 days :)

  2. Woah, wow. Thirty bananas a day?! I’m impressed, intrigued, and maybe just a little bit … I don’t know, amazed, I guess? Glad it sounds like it was a successful experiment, because eating thirty bananas a day for nothing would be a major bummer.

    Poor Ben must have been crazy mosquito bait this summer!

  3. I always feel better when I eat raw. But it is so hard to sustain with a family. However, it sounds like you had a great and extremely successful experiment!

  4. not for me, but totally interesting to read! I’ll be curious to hear updates and see how long you stick with it. Was this post by Matt or someone else?

  5. Awesome post, Ben. I find this stuff fascinating. Wasn’t it you who told me that Michael Arnstein (the Fruitarian) won the Vermont 100-miler? Is he 80/10/10 or more pure fruitarian?

    • arnstein did indeed win it . . . but i don’t think he was eating raw or even vegan during the race (someone correct me if i’m wrong on this). it can be really tough to eat 811 during events like that though, especially if you’re unsupported. he’s an amazing athlete though and has put a lot of his own time and money into spreading the word about 811.

      • Nicole English says:

        He was only eating fruit. :)

        • hmm. i’m pretty sure he mentioned in his race report on 30bad that he ate caffeinated gels, pb&j sammies, etc.

          just to be clear, i’m not judging him! i’m very much the same way- i deviate from 811 during some endurance events because fruit just isn’t palatable after a certain point and you need to get those calories in somehow.

          • Nicole English says:

            Oh sorry. You may well be correct then. I must of missed that post. I could always just ask him I guess. Cheers :)

    • michael arnsein is 80/10/10….because he incorporates leafy greens in his diet.
      alot of fruitarians like anne osbourne, do not eat greens

  6. Wow, really interesting. I’m a long-time vegetarian, turned vegan early this year. Admittedly, I have been one of those who scoffed at a “fruitarian” diet, though in general I respect the idea of a raw vegan diet. I live with an omnivore, so there is only so much “craziness” he will tolerate – though he went vegan with me for about 6 months and lost more weight and admitted he felt better. Anyway, thanks for the eye-opening post, I think I will take a look at Graham’s book. I’m training for my first marathon, and I could use all the help I can get! I don’t think I could do it if raw cacao is discouraged though…that would be too depressing. ;)

    • Hi Joy, hope you enjoy the book. Raw Cacao is discouraged mainly because it’s an addictive stimulant. Anyways, the whole point of the post is that it’s a 30 day experiment. You can go back to your cacao after your trial run is over :)

  7. Had I read this 6 months ago I would have thought it was crazy, but I’m learning that what we are taught is correct for nutrition is not necessarily true. I completely agree with the idea of trying it and seeing how your body feels/reacts. The 80/10/10 split seems to be more in-line with what I’ve been learning eating a plant-focused diet – you don’t need as much protein as you think. I’d love to hear another update after the 60 day experiment – I’ll be curious to see how you feel and if you are longing for different tastes or still enjoying it.

  8. Bananas are my favorite food, and I’ve often had 3 in one day. But your diet may seem a bit excessive – bananas are loaded with potassium, as you know, and too much potassium can stop your heart! You are lucky you had a good outcome but please do not recommend this diet to everyone! It’s not safe for those with kidney or heart problems (though I doubt anyone with heart problems will be doing any marathons).

    • Hi Lisa, it’s a misconception that you can get potassium poisoning from too many bananas. Potassium is a water soluble mineral and your body can easily excrete excess from your food. The only way to get potassium poisoning would be by ingesting actual chemical potassium isolate on its own in large quantities. The guy who runs 30 bananas a day has eaten 72 in a day before and thousands in his life, never had an issue with it!

      • Well, Ben, I would sure like to know why my husband was admitted to the hospital for a ‘false heart attack’ when he consumed 5 bananas in one day then. He loves them! LOL No, I mean…. LOVES THEM! He eats bananas like other people eat candy or chew gum. One day we were out running around and ‘playing’ on the beach and he started having pains. Major pains in his chest and down his arm. Cold sweats and feeling dizzy. We decided to go to the hospital just to check him out and make sure everything was ok. When they checked him, they asked what he had been eating because at the time, he was on no meds and didn’t even take a vitamin or any other supplement. He’d had bananas… at breakfast, lunch, snack, AND dinner! His potassium levels were through the roof! As a result, he has been on banana restriction since then. And luckily, we’ve never had the issue again. So while for the vast majority of people it probably is a non-issue, there ARE people who can have problems with it. But you know, that’s how it is with any diet/lifestyle — you just gotta find what works best for you and your body. :)

    • LISA,
      this potassium overdose is a HUGE misconception – If you did some proper research you would find that in order to have a potassium overdose from too much fruit or bananas, you would have to eat 300 bananas in about 1 minute…..this is obviously impossible…….the 80/10/10 is a perfectly safe diet for those with kidney and heart problems……especially good for the kidneys because of the lack of stimulants, caffeine, etc and NO EXCESS SALT…….

  9. Cyberjay71 says:

    Very interesting article Ben, thanks for “testing out” the 80/10/10 theory. Heck , people think I’m crazy for eating 5-6 bananas a day!! One question; are there no side effects of too much potassium? Actually two questions (sry); did you or do you recommend taking any supplements to compensate for the essential vitamins this diet is lacking?

    • Hi Jay, I just left a comment above about the potassium thing. Essentially the only way to get “too much” potassium is to ingest a chemical isolate.

      The diet is by no means nutrient-deficient. Fruits and vegetables meet our nutrition needs moreso than any other foods. Go ahead and plug in the foods above into cronometer.com and you’ll see it’s nutrient-rich.

      Just like a standard vegan diet, the only nutrients not derived from food are Vitamins B12 and D. B12 can be supplemented (or some argue, created by bacteria in your gut) and D can be gotten the natural way, through 15 minutes of sunshine each day.

  10. great read! i have found that i recover much faster after running just since starting my vegan diet. i’d love to give this a try just to see the results!

  11. This is a great post. I am like Ben in that I can’t believe how many experts there are. I get the questions about protein as a vegetarian all the time and when they say meat I tell them about the protein in all the vegetables and their comment: I had no clue.

    Just like this diet I had no clue you get that many calories but I would never just dismiss it as if it were impossible to live on.

    I think it all depends on your own body and what you can handle. Of course if we ate all organic then we wouldn’t have the food allergies that we see b/c I believe they are brought on my pesticides.

  12. I also read Dr. Graham’s books and gave the diet a good 60 days. But keeping ripe fruit around was so much of a challenge, that some times I was puking from all the green bananas I was eating. I run a lot of miles 50-70 per week and I my body finally went into an anemic state of no return as of yet. Although I did enjoy the short euphoric high level of recovery and clarity for a brief time. I suggest reading In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan to get a a fair shake on food and nutrition.

  13. MaD R-E-S-P-E-C-T MaN!!!! I would LoVe to think that I could master this endeavor for 30 days, but I’m still struggling with complete veganism…so this will have to be put on the “to do” list ;) What about your wife though? Did she do it too? And how supportive/helpful was she in the process???

  14. Unless you live in a tropical region, eating bananas is very detrimental to the environment because they are so heavy and bulky, it takes a lot of energy for transportation costs. Also, they are not so benign when it comes to pesticides (see http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/08/pesticide_lawsuit.php). We always buy organic bananas because it’s better for the farmers and the wildlife that are sometimes collateral damage from the pesticides used on bananas. So, my family has cut back on the amount of bananas we consume. I personally used to have 2 or 3 day. Now its about 1 or 2 a week. I just use them sparingly as an egg substitute. After watching the documentary “Fat, Sick and Amost Dead”, I did try a diet similar to what the subject of the movie tried. It was mostly a juice diet but I also added legumes, quinoa and nuts and berries. I do have to say, I have never felt better both physically and mentally. After about 3 days on it, I had a nagging knee pain that had been bothering me for months, it completely dissappeared. It was incredible. The hardest part was giving up my usual vegan pancake breakfast for a vegetable juice I had every morning. But after a few days, I got used to it. I was on it for about 4 weeks. So, now I try my best to restrict grains especially gluten grains. I do eat quite a bit of quinoa which is technically a seed not a grain and is a good source of protein.

    • Hi AK, I’m going to have to disagree with you. Eating bananas and other fruit actually promotes forestation, while most other food promotes de-forestation. Trees are the lungs of the planet. Yes there is an energy cost to transport food, but almost anything you eat has that unless you grow it in your garden.

      • ah, crops don’t really count as ‘forestation’. Forestation has to have a level of biodiversity for it to be useful. That’s basically also suggesting that palm plantations are fantastic too… if you are ripping up the native vegetation to put in crops (of any kind) it is generally a bad thing.

        also, yes all food has transportation and energy costs but my box of organic veg travels less than 100km to get to me, if I want to eat 30 bananas a day they have to travel over 2000km to get to me.

        • When eating 80/10/10, it’s best to always keep a high-calorie fruit on hand, like bananas, as your staple. If you don’t want to eat bananas because of the environmental reasons, you can rely on mangoes or dates, for example, which you would likely be able to find grown even more locally than your vegetables. Many people on 80/10/10 only eat local and organic.
          By the way, I’d like to add that I avoid grains like quinoa because humans can get all the protein they need from fruits and veggies. Quinoa has no other nutriets, and grains in general will overwork and enlarge your pancreas if eaten to much. They are highly acidic and will lead to constipation (which I’ve read is one of the biggest factors in causing cancer since your digestive tract is always making new cells. Personally, wouldn’t want to take that chance).

          • Dates are a tropical fruit as are mangoes… just like bananas. I don’t live in the tropics, they aint available ‘more locally than my veg’.

            Can anyone link me a peer reviewed article that supports this sort of diet? I don’t want to sound aggressive but I would really like to know what the nutrition and dietetics academic community think.

            Honestly eat what you like but I really get sick of people saying things about food without a shred of evidence to back it up. If all the food that apparently give you cancer, actually gave you cancer, 95% of the population would have cancer.

          • better to peel a banana then shove a steak down your throat

        • Steph, sorry, no peer-reviewed journals on this. The medical industry doesn’t pay much attention to any health advice if there’s no money to be made from selling you drugs, cutting you or burning you. If peer-reviewed medical journals are the only source of information you will listen to, then this is probably not for you. There is only self-reported and self-evident results of people who have tried the diet, which are overwhelmingly positive.

  15. very interesting read-thanks for sharing your experience Ben :)

  16. Pet monkey, heh.

    And I thought I get funny looks when I frequently buy 3-5 bags of bruised bananas at the grocery store…

    This sounds like a crazy idea, but a good one. Might have to give it a whirl sometime.

  17. I’ve read that some fruitarians experience demineralization of their teeth as well as other dental problems caused by the high sugar content of the fruit. Other than that, it seems like an interesting diet, but I’m not sure I could stick to it through a cold Canadian winter.

    • Hi Nicky, any demineralization may have been caused by not eating enough vegetables. “Strict” fruitarians who neglect vegetables have this problem. Vegetables are a key part of 80/10/10.

      Regular fruit is high in fiber and won’t stick to your teeth. But if you are eating a lot of dried fruit, especially raisins and dates, that can cause dental issues.

      • Nicole English says:

        It also has to be noted that no everyone practices good dental hygiene, regardless of their diet. Rinsing your mouth, lightly brushing with toothpaste and flossing.

        • Nicole English says:

          I should probably mention that for the past 10 months dates have made up the bulk of my daily calorie intake and I have no dental or weight issues.

          • I’ve been on a fruitarian diet for the past five months, and I’ve eaten dates on a regular basis.I don’t have any dental problems.I feel like my teeth have actually gotten stronger. Flossing and a little brushing with xylitol toothpaste with no fluoride probably helps.

  18. Very interesting indeed.
    I love bananas and eat about 3 a day as it is. I do a lot of raw and don’t add oils at home. I DO love nuts/seeds though and don’t think I’d be happy without my bit of raw, homemade almond butter.

    Just want to mention, bananas are one of those terribly unethical, bad for the environment crops unless you’re buying fairly traded ones. Even organic, if it’s Dole or Chiquita or something like that, aren’t really great. Human rights infringements run rampant.

    The only bananas I’ll buy are the Earth University ones at Whole Foods, since Earth is ethical and environmentally sustainable. I’m all for doing a healthy diet but buying so many slave labor or environmentally destructive bananas rubs me wrong.

    If you’re buying Earth ones, kudos! If not, take a look into the issues and see if you can find Earth bananas or something similar, if what is going on bugs you, too. As vegans, there are always so many things we need to look at with our food to make sure we’re not hurting animals – human or non-human. :)

  19. This is really interesting. Thanks for the post. I can relate to enjoying salads without dressing. Raw spinach and lettuces are so flavorful, I can’t believe I spent years drowning out their taste with salad dressings. I’m intrigued to learn more about the 80/10/10 diet, but not sure about giving up my beloved oatmeal. :)

  20. Awesome post Ben! What timing too! I’ve been curiously reading blogs and watching Youtube vids (including yours) the last week or so regarding the 80/10/10 diet and even started the first 2 chapters of the book the other day. Very interesting so far. I’m intrigued to say the least. I’ve been vegetarian for 2.5 years and vegan for almost 2 and I’m ready to start dialing in my diet for fitness with a focus on raw foods–I started running last year and will be starting a boot camp in the next month or two.

    My one concern so far (and maybe this will be addressed in the upcoming chapters of the 811 book) is sourcing all of the bulk ingredients and at a cost that is sustainable. I only buy organic fruits/vegetables so I anticipate this could be a very costly diet, especially when I see so many people importing all kinds of exotic fruits. Was the 40lb box of bananas organic?

    Good luck with your next 60 days!

    Also, thanks to Matt for letting you share your story on here!

    • Hi Josh. Glad to hear you are excited.

      Organic bananas are usually around $32/box ($.89/lb) . So a little bit more expensive. I got them when they were available, but I would say half the time I had to get conventional because that’s all the store had.

  21. I’m an a-tarian: I only eat foods whose name contains the letter “A”. Apples, strawberries, soja, squash, cool with me. Peppers, olives, broccoli, lettuce, never touch that stuff.

    Hey, don’t look at me like that. It’s not any sillier than refusing to eat half of the veggie foods for no good reason. I’ll become a fruitarian when someone gives me a good reason why I shouldn’t eat as many or more non-fruit veggies than I eat fruits.

    • Refusing is different than choosing, and sharing results of an experience is different than telling you what to eat or not eat :)

      I think the reasons for choosing this kind of diet were made pretty clear. Not that you must agree, just throwing it out there.

  22. @ Meister – yeah you would think that mosquitos would be bothersome. I usually go up to my home state – Montana, every summer and every year I’m always attracting mosquitos. Not this summer, why? Because I’ve been on the Fruitarian lifestyle and it was surprising that I wasn’t bothered by mosquitos. Which was REALLY nice and it was nice to not have to bring out the mosquito spray as that really stinks and chemicals being on me – DISLIKE! ;-) So it was an awesome change this summer to enjoy the outdoors, not being bothered, and not wearing chemicals!

    And yes, I notice MAJOR changes when I eat other foods that are not 811 (shortened version of 80/10/10)- I feel crappy, my asthma comes roaring back, and I feel “plugged / stopped up” overall. My energy tanks. So 811 is a great lifestyle and yes, there’s lots of trial and errors to figure out what works for you. For me, it’s more of an issue to eat that much of fruits because I’ve never eaten fruits before (I was a junk-food & meat / potatoes addict) and I’m in my mid-30′s and I know it’s also a mental thing too (at least it’s for me) so this is all still in progress / transition for me but I’m happy to say that I’m FINALLY meat-less. ;-)

  23. I am very stoked for you and your 30 day experiment with being a fruitarian. I would actually like to try it myself. Where I am confused, though, is how did you incorporate all of your essential proteins into the diet? Do not get me wrong, I will choose a giant colorful salad over a steak anyday, but my fear of going completely vegetarian is not getting enough protein. I like to stick to keeping everything in moderation with the right balance of carbs, protein, and fat. I am what books call a Flexotarian.. I do not eat red meat and I am flexible with my overall meat intake. When I do eat meat it is poultry, fish, and eggs.

    • Hi Dara, it is a myth that a vegetarian or vegan diet does not have enough protein. Have you ever met anyone who has a protein deficiency? It’s a myth.

      My suggestion to you would be to read up on it with books like the China Study, Thrive and 80/10/10 and learn about plant based nutrition and find out for yourself.

      • I have never met a person with a protein deficiency but I have studied it.
        Here is a link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002571/

        Now please, do get me wrong by thinking that I am some anti-vegetarian/vegan because I am posting this. I actually went through a period of vegetarianism at one time.
        What I am simply stating is a diet must be balanced in order for your health to be balanced. This does not necessarily mean eating meat… beans and rice are a great substitute for animal. So is peanut butter and jelly.
        While practicing fruitarianism would be exciting, I could not see myself doing it for the rest of my life BECAUSE of the lack of protein.

        • Dara, you posted a link but have you ever heard of anyone having this condition? It only happens in 3rd world countries. Kwashiorkor occurs almost exclusively when there is a lack of calories in the diet, i.e. starvation. It is impossible to not get enough protein from eating fruits and vegetables.

          • Ben,
            I want you to know that I did not post the link to that website to show that kwashiorkor is common in vegetarians, just simply that there is such a condition cuased by a protein deficiency. HOWEVER, I also want you to know that cutting animal based products out of my diet has been an exciting thought yet a fearful one due to the way I have been raised and what I have been taught (especially being a Texan).
            I just watched the documentary Forks over Knives and I have decided that I am going to practice a plant-based diet and see where my body goes. From what I have observed, it is only going to head towards better health.
            You must understand though, that this constant pull between eating animal products and not has been due to documentaries like this leaning toward plants and professors/doctors/books telling me how important it is to eat a well balanced diet that includes animal products.
            That vegetarian period I went through was a total of two weeks. I loved it. But I also loved fish and venison.
            I am going to keep up with this one now. I am excited to see what kind of changes I will go through, good, bad, or both.

            Thank you for posting this article.

          • Btw if the whole article was read, for prevention of this disease they suggest adequate intake of calories consisting carbs, fats (10% of calories), and proteins (atleast 12% of calories) seems pretty close to 80/10/10. So it doesn’t do any good to post fancy afflictions if you don’t even read what you are posting. ;)

  24. “…a pet monkey.” That’s funny. What an enlightening article. I’ve found, as a newbie vegetarian (not quite a year) I naturally eat more fruits than grains and veggies. Gees, I was just getting into the quinoa and couscous realm, ha!

    I don’t know about giving up my oatmeal either.

    Thanks for such a great article!

  25. Sounds interesting, so I went to Amazon to find out more about the 80/10/10 book. Cost–$100 and up. Wow. Wonder if any library systems still have a copy?

  26. Wow! Great job. I’ve been veggie for 15 years and vegan for the last 2. My vitamix is under used. I’m inspired!
    Headed to the store now for bananas.
    P.S. Can we use frozen fruit?

    • Cool, glad to inspire you! Yes, frozen bananas are fine and usually a good tactic to preserve some for later if too many get ripe at once.

  27. great recap of the 811 experiment! this is actually a very typical experience for someone who tries it out- you lose body fat, your recovery increases, your mood improves (no more depressed or b*tchy days) and you just feel better in general.

    as ben mentioned, the only time you’ll likely run into problems is if you’re not eating enough. you need to eat HARD in this lifestyle. undereating on 811 has pretty drastic effects that go beyond just cravings. for me, the biggest one i noticed was that i could not sleep if i hadn’t eaten enough fruit that day. i would just feel wired. your mood will also dip big time. but when you’re getting in sufficient calories (for me, during my ironman training this year, it was ~4000cal on an average day and sometimes as much as 7000cal on heavy training volume day) you feel fan-freaking-tastic!

  28. Great post. I’ve eaten a fruit-based diet for 18 months now and agree with everything you’ve written, especially the joys of minimal recovery time. People still think I’m nuts, but they’re the ones constantly complaining about illness, injury and fatigue.

  29. It does sound interesting and I am sure that it points out some vital information. That we even vegetarians and vegans can eat “junk” too much. I couldn’t agree more that the less we complicate the fruits and veggies the better. Our body is clearly wired a certain way and we’ve tried to rewire it all these years to disastrous results. (I firmly believe even vegans can be overloading on protein) The take away? It can only do a body good to increase fruits and veggies…at least that’s my take away here.

  30. Did your wife participate also? I am the lone vegetarian in my house, which I find challenging enough, let alone I come to my husband and say I want to eat 30 bananas tomorrow. :) I would love to know what your wife thought/how she ate?

    • Amber Snow says:

      I’m his wife :) I am vegan (mostly) too, so I was happy to support his 30 day diet. I think it’s an awesome way of eating, I just can’t bring myself to give up the tacos, tomato sandwiches, and the broccoli stir fry. But I was happy he was able to do it and tried my best to support him, and upped my fruit smoothie intake too. I will say the house stunk like a fruit stand and had fruit flies all in the kitchen, so I was not happy about that. And while I was cool with the 30 day thing, I think I may have been sad a little if he always does it b/c we won’t have date nights out to dinner anymore… food is such a social thing.

    • She did not do 100% raw but she ate a lot of fruit with me. It helps she’s already vegan. She was supportive, I couldn’t have done it if she wasn’t.

  31. There is a book called “Catching Fire” by a Harvard paleo-anthropologist that makes a better case against raw foodism than I ever could. Suffice it to say, the primary argument for a vegetarian/vegan diet is for the health of the environment and animals – not one’s own. And it can – and should – include cooked foods, including grains, legumes, nuts, etc. All the peer reviewed data I’m aware of supports this position.

    • Hi Alex, that book is on my list to read. Fire allowed us to eat many foods we hadn’t before, like meat and grains. It allowed us to store and preserve food. So from a convenience standpoint it made things easier. Especially as we grew in and population and had to leave the tropics and fruit became less available.

      But from a nutrition standpoint our bodies remained relatively the same with very little changes to nutrient requirements.

      For me it was a 30 day experiment. All the benefits were positives to my health and the only negatives were social.

      • I appreciate the response, and to clarify, I’m certainly not insisting that you don’t feel better. People seem to thrive on an amazing variety of diets, from all fruit to all meat. I can’t say that their experiences are somehow less than valid.

        I can say, however, that the human animal has undergone physiological changes since cooking. Our mouths are smaller, and so are our stomachs. Our brains, on the other hand, grew. It’s a popular theory that the pre-digestion of cooked food allowed the surplus energy to feed our mind to the point where it could expand to the levels we now know it.

        And the idea of rampant fruit availability in pre-history is faulty. Proto-humans evolved on grassland, and would not have had much access to fruit at all. The fruit they did find would have been rare, and certainly not as sweet as modern industrial fare. Obtaining sufficient calories from fruit alone would have been impossible.

        Again, this is not to say that a raw diet can’t work, or that people don’t make it work. I simply think some of the premises are based on a misinterpretation of the relevant history and physiology.

  32. So, I’m in Madison and missed this morning’s meet up. Any more planned? (I’ll be all over the course on Sunday – possibly in a carrot suit for part of it.)

    • Hi, Deanna! I’m sorry you missed the meet-up! I’m in Madison until Monday. I’ll be all over the course tomorrow as well, in a black “Ironmanville” shirt (Manville is my boyfriend’s last name). I’ll keep an eye out for you and your carrot suit! ;)

  33. Alex, could you point me to some of these peer-reviewed studies? I’m not really sure how you could conduct a blinded study of this, it would be very complicated, I think, but I would be curious to read the studies you refer to.

    • There is a full review from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, but I can’t link it without subscribing to their service. It’s easy enough to find on pubmed or google scholar, however.

      http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?doi=10.1159/000016498

      http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/165/6/684

      Both of the above studies note problems with people undertaking a raw food diet. Of course, this alone doesn’t prove it’s lack of efficacy.

      And regardless, I’m not trying to argue that a raw diet cannot be healthy – merely that it isn’t exclusively so, and I don’t think optimally so. That cooking opens of a great variety of foods and nutrients to humans in inarguable. To avoid those foods seems unnecessarily restrictive, to me, and probably not sustainable for 99.9% of people.

      My general point is this: Yes, eat raw fruits and veggies. Eat them cooked too. Certain things, like lycopene, are much more bioavailable when cooked. And please, can we stop the grain bashing?

      • Hi Alex, the lycopene thing is actually a myth. During the cooking process you actually destroy lots of lycopene, even though the amount that remains is indeed more bioavailable. The net-net is, if you just ate the tomato raw, you’d get more lycopene than if you cooked it.

      • Hi Alex,

        I just read those studies. The second one was performed with only 18 RF vegetarians, if that’s conclusive. And the studies showed that although there may have been less bone mass in some places of the skeleton, the bones may have been of higher quality and therefore not as susceptible to osteoporosis.

        Second, the study showed that the RF vegetarians had higher concentrations of Vitamin D.

        And third, RF vegetarians had less IGF-1, which although promotes bone growth, also leads to premature aging and death.

      • And additionally, in those studies, the RF vegetarians ate a diet including Olive Oil. If you’re following an 80-10-10 diet, no oils are recommended and are not seen as healthy. They are actually detrimental.

  34. I too am always amazed at the reaction of most people to the fruitarian diet. People start talking about blood sugar etc… I don’t have the statistics, however I’m fairly certain that there have been no cases of diabetes caused from this way of eating. In fact all the evidence I have seen points to the opposite as this being one of the healthiest most energizing ways to live. Great post!

    • Nicole English says:

      Well said :)

    • Hi Marvin, thank you.

      Just FYI, Dr. Graham explains the blood sugar issue fairly thoroughly. The 2 main points are:
      1) Fruit is high in fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. If you juice the fruit, you remove the fiber and that can cause blood sugar spikes.
      2) Fat clogs up the bloodstream and is more of a culprit for blood sugar issues than too much sugar. Since fruits and vegetables are low in fat, the sugar has an easy time exiting the bloodstream into the cells.

      • I was a raw foodist for a few months last year [although not a fruitarian; just vegetarian.

        That was one of my questions—the blood sugar aspect.

        My other is—how in the heck do you drink a 4-liter smoothie? No matter what that is; it’s a lot to dump in your stomach. Do you sip it throughout the day or over a few hours?

        Even drinking a gallon of just water a day can be a challenge.

  35. So they have blenders in nature? I am glad you were honest with the bender you had at the end of your fruitarian diet. It’s often the case where raw vegans or fruitarians will get cravings and then go on benders. But they felt so good on the fruit diet. And thus begins the cycle…

    I somtimes think people who take everything out of their diet get a high from not getting enough nutrients. Kind of like an anorexic gets a high from not eating. It’s that high that they beging to crave.

    Anyway, good luck with your 60 day trial I guess.

    • Deano Marti says:

      That’s a good way of looking at it. This could be true. I just can’t imagine doing that diet. When I don’t get enough protein I feel tired and sluggish.

      • Not getting enough calories makes you tired and sluggish. There’s no way you’re not getting enough protein unless you’re not getting enough calories. In fact, the only kind of protein deficiency is caused by a caloric deficiency.
        Maybe try eating more! :)

        • Actually that is not true. There are two types of starvation: the first is not getting not enough calories and the second is getting enough calories but not enough protein. This is rare in the western world, but it can be hard to fulfill all your protein needs on a (high) raw/fruitarian diet unless you have very high caloric needs (athletes) Jack Norris (RD) has a nice theory about this: http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/protein
          And suboptimal intakes of protein can actually make you feel miserable/tired/sluggish.

          Besides that, I see no reason to follow such a strict diet. First of all I was wondering if that typical day provides enough calcium. Second of all I’m not that atheletic (yes, on this website… but I do work-out regularly but not so much that I can eat almost 4000 kcal a day) which makes is impossible to get all your nutrients. Third there is no scientific evidence this is the healthiest way of eating/living. 4)I see no ethical reasons to eat this way. 5) I feel absolutely wonderful so why would I change that? And last: it is very hard and expensive and difficult in social situations to eat this way. Just negatives and no positives for me..

          • i thought i felt good until i started 80/10/10 and realized i could feel even BETTER.
            when you don’t eat salt & cooked food, your body needs less sodium because you don’t loose NEARLY as much calcium:
            http://arthritis.about.com/od/nutrition/a/osteoporosis.htm
            so you get all the calcium you need.
            i’m 5’3, eat about 2000-3000 calories a day, and get 40-60 grams of protein on 80/10/10. not to ruin your “lack of protein” theory, but that’s the exact amount i need.

            go vegan to save animals, go raw to save yourself :)

    • The blender helps to break down food so that A- you can consume more at once (obtain amount of calories needed) and B- digestion doesn’t have to work as hard as your food is already masticated for you.

      I would first argue that a “high” from restricted eating and a (would be) “high” from not obtaining enough nutrients are different – as the former is emotional and rooted in something far deeper than just food itself, whereas the latter *would be* physical – so the two are not comparable.

      I would also argue that one could not possibly obtain a physical “high” from not eating enough nutrients. Eating too few nutrients results in symptoms ranging from hair loss to depression all the way to brain damage…certainly none of these could be called a “high”. I myself dipped very low in vitamin b12 once, and I was anything but high – quite the opposite, actually; I was low for days.

      I eat a plant based diet (with no animal products, save for honey) and I personally feel the absolute best when I am consuming mostly raw fruits and veggies throughout the day.

    • “I somtimes think people who take everything out of their diet get a high from not getting enough nutrients.”
      Quoted from above

      That honestly sounds like something a meat eater would say to a vegan.
      There’s no nutrient that this diet lacks, it’s that simple.

    • I would have to agree with Aubrey that the “high” (although I don’t know I would call it a high) one gets from not consuming enough calories (anorexia) is COMPLETELY different than the good feeling one gets from eating a plant based diet with zero animal products. I’ve been on both sides of this–anorexia and veganism–and I can say that my personal experience is that veganism has helped to free me from the bondage I felt when I was struggling with disordered eating.

      Anorexia is about deprivation (and its both physical and emotional). Veganism is about nourishment and life. They don’t compare.

      Thinking about checking out the book and giving this 80-10-10 thing a go for a month or so.

  36. Wow. That’s amazing. Maybe after I finish 28 days on the Esselstyn vegan diet I’ll give this a shot. Thanks for sharing!

  37. This is where I have issues…
    “Eat plant-based whole foods in their natural state. Nature provides food to us, as is”

    Nature didn’t give you the banana, it gave you a nearly inedible collection of large seeds that you have to fry or cook to eat. Go google “undomesticated banana” and you’ll see what some of them look like.

    Other than that, I’ve done the fruitarian thing for a week, it’s a good diet, you can have lots of fun with it. My results were not as amazing as those, and I was missing some nutrients, but everybody has different requirements.

    Oh, and, uh, us vegetarians know about gas, but, seriously watch out for banana farts. :P

    • The only way you get gas on 80/10/10 is by combining all the fruit with cooked foods.
      Lots of fruit & veggies and NOTHING but = no gas
      fruits + veggies + cooked food = gas

      • Tell that to the raw fruit and veggies! :) That’s where I got it.

        Gas comes from carbs more than protein and fat. Raw food diet and fruitarian diet == gas. Not sure about the 80/10/10, that’s not what I was going for when I went raw and fruitarian.

        A monoculture diet is not a diet humans were meant for, it’s about as natural as a cooked steak and lots of GMO food.

    • You did it for a week and knew you were missing some nutrients? How did you know that?

  38. Couple of things… I am extremely active (work an active job in addition to running 50+ miles a week) and I think the sheer amount of calories required with this type of eating would cause weight gain. I’d be curious to know other people’s experience with this (thinking female people here, actually)

    Next… I don’t think there is one “right” way to eat. Case in point – my dear hubby tried eating vegan with me for about 6 months. While it works GREAT for me, he ended up really fatigued and actually gained a lot of weight. So, I think if 30 BaD works for some, fantastic, but we are all an experiement of one…

    • Hi Sharon, my only advice would be to give it a shot. I think that’s a bit of a paradox that your calorie requirements would be too high for your activity level but you would gain weight. It’s one or the other. Here’s one girl who’s been 80/10/10 for years, eats 3000+ cal/day and well you can see what she looks like from the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85R5Fb_DCzY

    • I don’t believe there’s one right diet for anyone, but I don’t think you should steer clear of 80/10/10 because you’re afraid it will make you “gain weight”.
      I guarantee if you gain weight on this diet, it will be 100% muscle and not fat.
      i’m only 5’3″, and need an estimated 2,000 calories a day. However, I eat at least 3,000 or more on 80/10/10.

      Did I mention I’ve lost weight eating those extra 1,000 calories a day?
      It’s kind of no-fail if you ask me :)

  39. I am an omnivore, but ever since the NMA fruitarian post awhile back I have managed to work fruit into at least 50% of my food intake. It is not only delicious and beautiful food, but it is fun/easy to eat and I swear my recovery after runs has jumped substantially. I say at least try it out for anyone who is on the fence.

  40. Nicole English says:

    Sharon. Most women on 80/10/10 eat at least 3000 calories a day in sweet fruit. I have NEVER seen a heavy long term eater of this diet. All are very lean. Hope this helps :)

  41. I’ve been eating an 80/10/10 diet for almost a year now after previously trying vegetarian and raw diets, and its far and away the best diet I’ve found for mental clarity and athletic recovery.

    Most people steer away from it because they worry about being deficient in some nutrients, but the more you really look into the matter you realize that the scientific viewpoint on nutrient requirements literally changes every year, and most (over half) of nutrients have yet to be identified. So we are basing our nutrient deficiency fears on information that will be outdated (aka wrong) in a few years and is incomplete anyway. The safer route is to eat the diet that we were biologically designed for, which would automatically include all the nutrients we need. Look at what primates eat: fruits and leaves. Our physiology is designed for it.

  42. Thanks for sharing Ben! I stumbled across a fruitarian website about a year ago. . . laughed and went on with my quest for new eating habits. since then I am eating almost all RAW. reading your posts now makes me realize it’s totally do-able. THANK YOU:)

  43. This is very interesting and cool!! Nice to see the results of someone giving it a shot! Makes me want to get back to a more raw diet… Always makes me feel more vibrant

  44. This is too cool!! I am inspired to get back to more raw vegan eating… I am not vegetarian or vegan but have dabbled here and there. I know its better for me. It is the way God intended us to eat, you know up until the flood everyone was a vegetarian?

    29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

    Genesis 1:29

    Also basis of the Hallelujah Diet at hacres.com GREAT stuff!! Can’t wait to hear how the 60 day trial goes for you!

    • Irene, thanks for your comment.

      If you are into the biblical side of things you should check out “The Essene Gospel of Peace” and also the Raw Brahs facebook.com/rawbrahs

  45. Well that diet is out the window.
    I’m in Australia and thanks to several natural disasters in the past twelve months bananas cost about $10 a kilo. (down from up to $15 a couple of months ago!) So there is simply no way in hell I am eating 30 bananas a day.

    it’s also all well and good to say that our ancestors ate raw foods blah blah, but they also would have eaten seasonally and locally. That is if you live in a colder climate there was no way you were going to be able to eat 3 mangoes and 30 bananas a day. You ate what you could get, which included meat. I am always cautious of the ‘our ancestors ate it so we should’ diet.

    Like all things I think you should draw upon the good points of a diet like the 80/10/10. The fact that people can survive on nothing but fruit or nothing but raw meat suggests that the human body is in fact incredibly adaptable. But eating more fruit and veg and less processed food will of course be very good for you.

    Although, kudos on actually being able to eat 30 bananas in a day, blended or not. That is one mean feat.

    • Hi Steph, thanks for your comment. Actually the founders of the website 30bananasaday.com are Australian and have toughed it out through the shortage eating lots of watermelon, rock melons, mangoes and other Australian fruit.

  46. Matt, I think you’ve inspired me to try this. I already get all the comments and flak at work for being the vegan (all thanks to you!). The only thing I find difficult is making tasty meals, I have Thrive and aside from the pancakes, its tough! I think I’m going to try this for a few weeks… 4 weeks till chicago marathon, perfect timing!

  47. I have become very interested in Fruitarianism recently. The only thing really stopping me from taking the plunge is cost. Anyone have any idea what a month of this would cost?

    • Hi Brandon, if you buy in bulk there is significant cost savings. If you go through 9 boxes of bananas in a month that comes out to about $150/month for conventional or $300/month for organic. So total cost is about $200/month to $400/month depending on how much organic you buy. Here is a great video about buying in bulk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fFAYRITky0

  48. Hahaha, I’m glad my original post is getting some more attention and people are actually going out there and trying out this awesome diet!

  49. Paul Shultz says:

    Never been a huge fruit fan. Sure, I like bananas, but fruit just aint my schtick. Every one of my questions was answered. Thank you for such a great post!

  50. Paul Shultz says:

    Never been a huge fruit fan. Sure, I like bananas, but fruit just aint my schtick. Thus being a VEGetarian. Every one of my questions was answered. Thank you for such a great post!

  51. What a great post, I’m not going to try this particular diet anytime soon but I do feel very good when I eat a low fat vegan diet which includes a lot of fruit. :-D

  52. There are alot of interesting videos about the 80/10/10 diet on youtube. I really enjoy listening to them and I am working to make this my diet. My issue is when I travel… still working to solve it…(one video on youtube shows a couple traveling with all their food and a blender… just a tad excessive but fun to watch)

  53. Love this post – you’ve totally inspired me to give this a try once I return from Europe.

  54. Unless you live in a tropical location this diet is not environmentally sound and is very selfish. The tropical fruit market, even organic, is riddled with harm to all sorts of life.
    Also, most northern dwelling people could never afford to eat like this. I spend much time and volunteer hours trying to promote CSAs and healthy local food to low income people. I cringe when they call my diet “elitist” and am spreading the word that it is not. Funny then that I would have to call this 811 diet elitist.
    I’m sure it’s a fine thing for the people who can afford it and who don’t mind where their food comes from or what kind of carbon footprint it leaves in it’s wake. I don’t know any of those people personally.

    • Actually there’s nothing more elitist/resource intensive than meat and dairy conumption. In comparison, 80/10/10 is a drop in the bucket. You could drive a hummer to whole foods and buy your bananas one at a time a not come close to matching the emissions and energy of someone driving a prius to buy their grass fed cow meat. So yes, csa’s are great. But given there’s so few of 80/10/10 types compared to the masses of meat eaters, non local fruit isn’t hasting our planet’s demise in a meaningful way.

  55. I have found this 80/10/10 of carbs/protein/fat does work best for me. This is a good diet for vegetarians who can’t tolerate much soy/diary/beans. I feel like a swollen toad when I eat those things. I don’t do the raw part.

  56. I have found this 80/10/10 of carbs/protein/fat does work best for me. This is a good diet for vegetarians who can’t tolerate much soy/diary/beans. I feel like a swollen toad when I eat those things. I don’t do the raw part.

  57. So many people keep griping about the cost… I spend far more money at the chain supermarkets on processed foods than at my local corner store buying fresh fruits and veggies. It really isn’t that hard. If you eat mostly raw, you save time by not cooking. And isn’t time worth money?

  58. When I read the original article here on NMA all those months ago, I was so intrigued that I bought the book and adopted the 80/10/10 diet for a month. I loved it! I only went off it because of some old emotional issues that always made me sabotage my best efforts at. I’ve kept on working at these issues and am just about ready to go back to 80/10/10. I really felt so good while I was on it.

    As for the cost – I didn’t find it prohibitively expensive at all. You have to bear in mind what you’re not buying – snacks, treats, coffees, supplements (apart from a monthly vit B12 shot), protein powders, oils, green powders, restaurant meals, OTC medication, packaged food and much, much more. I’m not much of a cook, so this way of eating really suits my lifestyle.

    90% of people reading about 80/10/10 will never try it and some will even try to shoot it down, but the 10% who do give it a whirl will find themselves surprised at how good they feel.

  59. I’d be interested to see what someone like Brendan Brazier has to say about this. An endurance athlete that follows the belief that you should only put the highest quality foods in your body. What would be his arguments to this way of eating? And I was wondering too if you took any supplements while on this. I know like you said you can get vitamin D from the sun and supplement B12. What did you do personally for your experiment?

    • Funny story, I actually went to one of BB’s talks a few months ago and someone else actually asked him “What do you think of 80/10/10 and raw vegan diets”. His response as I remember it was
      1)He himself ate about 85% raw.
      2)He thought 80/10/10 was an OK macronutrient ratio, but he said Thrive was in the neighborhood of 70/15/15
      3) He said that he thought there were no inherent nutritional benefits of a raw vegan diet over the Thrive diet and people really only did it “so they could say they are 100% raw”

      Interesting take. I don’t doubt the guy knows his stuff.

  60. Why did my tooth enamel disappear when I tried a mainly raw fruit diet?

  61. Hm..interesting take by BB. Smart guy. Thank you for answering my question. I did have one more, eating this high quanity of fruit are you at all concerned with pesticide content from the fruit? It seems like with such a high quantity consumed this would play a big reason to want to buy organic. Did you consider how the chemicals and pesticides consumed in such large quantity from eating so much non-organic fruit could become dangerous at some point?

    • Well with the bananas and several other fruits like mangoes, their peels help keep a lot of the pesticides out. I was probably eating less pesticides than on the diet I was eating before with lots of processed grains, meat-analogs etc. It would be awesome to eat a 100% organic diet but that is definitely not feasible for a large portion of the population based on availability and financial constraints.

  62. Ever sine I read this and shared it with my husband, we’ve been calling all over town trying to see if we can get discounts on bulk bananas! No luck yet, but we’re going to keep looking!

    • It takes some legwork to find a distributor in your area since they usually don’t sell direct to consumers, but once you do, the savings is tremendous.

  63. Great article! Very inspiring and informative for one interested in the 80/10/10 like myself. I’ve been 80% raw for about 4 months and primarily vegan for a few years and have been considering trying the 80/10/10 way of eating ever since hearing about it. Thanks for the link to Dr. Graham’s website because I was really discouraged with the price of the book on Amazon and elsewhere. The popularity has obviously brought out the sharks looking to make a quick buck. Unfortunately there is a month waiting list on his site but I ordered one.

    Glad to see the diet worked so well for you man!

    On the issue of cost that has come up so much I run an organic produce buying club here in Florida and am able to eat 100% organic produce at an affordable cost. I get a 40 lb. case of organic bananas for $27. Just got a 19 lb. case of grapes for $33. They always have specials too.

    Its funny how people balk so much about the cost of organic produce but will go out to the bar and drop $80 on a night of drinking or go out to eat and spend just as much for 1 meal. The average U.S. household spends less on food than any industrialized nation. Most Americans put so many things above their food costs its ridiculous.

    To me the most important expense in my life is what I put into my body! Let your food be your medicine!

    • Anyone living in the Southeast interested in starting their own organic produce buying club?

      Its really easy you just have to get some friends/family committed to it. I started mine with my immediate family and 3 other families. Though we most all vegetarian and vegans eating a lot of produce already. Generally you need at least 10 people to make it feasible to start.The minimum order is $250 and it gets delivered right to your door!You just have to order by the case. Plus they even will split almost all vegetable cases for you and some fruit cases.You can get weekly,bi-weekly or even twice a week delivery in some areas.

      I can’t tell you how amazing I feel eating primarily raw and all organic! I cut out all gluten and am trying to transition to 95% raw. 80/10/10 is calling for sure.

      Anyway if anyone is seriously interested get in touch with me I’ll help you out!

      trey@ameliaislandorganics.com

  64. Bridie @ I Heart Veggies says:
  65. This was incredible read. I am a fruit lover, I eat way too much fruit. My problem is that I tried giving up meat before and I always lost a lot of muscle. I am also a simple flavor type of person so my taste buds are in place, I don’t care much about dressings or spices of any kind. I am totally intrigued now, because fruit is the only food I could never live without, and if I could eat 30 bananas a day, hell yes sign me up!

    • Eating too much fruit? No such thing!! 2 questions for yourself on the weight you lost when you gave up meat: 1) Are you sure it was muscle you lost? 2) Did you eat enough other food to replace your calories? How many calories per day were you eating while you ate meat and while you weren’t?

      If you can’t objectively answer those questions, it’s hard to say that you lost muscle because you didn’t eat meat. In fact I doubt that was the reason. Try it again, keep track of the basics like weight, %BF and caloric intake… to make sure you eat enough fruit! Definitely can’t get too much!

      • I wasn’t really counting the calories, but I ate quite a bit, I am a big fruit lover. I definitely wasn’t eating 30 bananas. I noticed the muscle loss because the way my body started to look, I’ve always had a lot of muscle but after cutting out meat I started to look flat all over.

        • A big mistake people make when going vegetarian/vegan/raw is that they never really replace the calories of the foods they didn’t eat before. You lost muscle probably because you weren’t eating enough. Vegan bodybuilders eat 5,000-6,000 calories a day during their mass building phase, that’s a lot of food!

        • if you count your calories and get at least 2500 you won’t lose any muscle mass, i promise. you’ll loose muscle if you have too few calories.

  66. I simply love fruit as well–grapefruits, oranges, berries, mango, papaya. The protein intake is a real problem for me. My husband is a vegetarian but eats cheese, milk, granola, quinoa, beans, pasta and rice–I don’t like any of these things. I’ve tried protein shakes but don’t really like these and am soy-intolerant.I eat some dairy (skim milk latte in am and nonfat frozen yogurt as treat at night, and a few eggs (but don’t like). I’ve been trying to go without fish to eat more like him but simply don’t really enjoy AND my running is stagnant! I know I’m in big trouble and my running/health will suffer–
    ANY SUGGESTIONS/HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!

    • You need a lot less protein than we’ve all been told by the meat, dairy and supplement industries. In fact, too much protein creates a toxic load that the kidneys must work overtime to expunge.

      I am also soy intolerant (as well as intolerant to lactose and gluten). I am now thriving on a fruits and vegetables diet. I’m eating LESS protein and I’m getting stronger (just legpressed 500lbs last week), running faster and running longer. Fruit is your friend, eat up!

  67. I just wanted to say that I love eating fruits, not only for the taste but as you mentioned “insane athletic recovery”. Fruits are super food.
    There several problems with fruit:
    - they cost and if you don’t find places where you make up your stocks it will cost you a lot
    - you spend lot of time and energy to buy and keep them
    - in winter you can’t eat only fruit (tried that and it ended up tragically) because you need LOTS more calories and fruit is harder to find
    Fruitarian diet is perfect in summer and I wish it could be summer and fruit all my life but it’s not always like that.

  68. Hi Ben,

    I was just curious- on a Vegan diet, it is recommended that people consume B12 and D in vitamin form if they are not exposed to Sunlight. I know Dr. Colin Campbell talks about this in his book, The China Study. What is your opinion of this?

    Thanks,
    Liz

    • I think it’s important to get your blood work done to check if your levels are within range or not. If not, I think supplementation is a good idea. Keep in mind that vitamin D is fat-soluble so too much can be harmful which is why you should get your levels checked before you supplement. Personally, D3 and B12 are the only supplements I take.

  69. Sounds interesting. But I doubt this diet would be sustainable for the majority. Kill It And Grill It!

  70. Great post, thanks.

    Love the 80/10/10. If this is how we are “supposed” to nourish our bodies, why do we need B12 supplements – how was this managed before supplements were available?

    • The chemistry behind vitamin B12 is not straightforward. It’s a compound produced by bacterium that is found in soil and also in our gut-linings. However, with the tendency in the modern world to want to sterilize everything and kill bacteria, we’ve destroyed a lot our natural B12 sources. Now for cattle that eat grass and occasionally get clumps of dirt, they will have B12 in their diet that we will get if we eat them. But if we’re eating produce that has been thoroughly washed and cleaned we’re washing away a potential B12 source. This is a lengthy controversial topic and to try to do it justice in one blog comment is difficult. Check out the book “Could it be B12?” which was actually written by a meat eater but a very good resource.

      • Thank you very much for your response Ben. Don’t think I’ll be munching on dirt anytime soon, so will get onto the supplements. Thanks again.

      • What’s the name of the grocery store that gave you 10% off? I also live in Texas.

        • HEB and Whole Foods both offer this. Other ones may too. It’s amazing what you can get on bulk deals with produce if you just have the courage to ask!

  71. There are some real retards here talking about eating bananas as unethical. Get a life.

  72. Off and running says:

    Thanks for this post! I learned some good tips that will help me with my transition. I just went out and purchased abox of bananas. Wish me luck!

  73. Great article! Very interesting!!

  74. Hi Ben I’ve been on the fruitarian diet for the past 5weeks and I have been enjoying it but I think I may be lacking salt have you any advice??

    • Hi Kev, when you say you think you may be lacking salt, on what basis do you think this is the case? Because you crave salt? Or because noticed tracking your sodium intake that it is low? There really is no minimum for this nutrient. Most nutrition information you will read encourages people to keep their salt intake low, usually sets a recommended cap, but no minimum. If you are craving salt you can add a small amount to your foods to transition, initially. Otherwise, make sure you are eating plenty of leafy greens, particularly celery.

      • Hi Ben,

        Thanks forgetting back to me.

        As my diet consist of no salt I found my arm muscle at night with like a cramp, hard to explain but assume that it may be a lack of salt.

        Reading articles they say that we should have a minimum amount of salt is this not true??

        But other than that the fruitarian life been working well for me:))

        I eat around 80%fruit the rest veg and still learning about the diet and trying to make sure I do it right I been doing it for around 5 weeks

        Thanks kev

  75. I have normally eaten a “mostly” plant based diet, I have gone totally fruitarian at different times in the past and I cannot believe how much more energy I have when I’ve done this. I work 10 hours a day, I bike and go to the gym daily, and I come home looking for other stuff to do, then I go off of it for one stupid reason or another (family gatherings, work gatherings, other social stuff) and I find myself getting sluggish, slow, sleepy at work, napping on the weekends. I have now gone back to being fruity and in less than a week I already feel that energy again, I love how I feel, it’s amazing. I don’t tell anyone because I live & work around a lot of misinformed people that start lecturing me on the dangers of fruit and vegetables (hilarious) while they shove “5 Guys Burgers” down their throats (home of the 900 calorie burger) , so I just bring large salads to work and no one really notices because I have always brought salads for lunch (in the past with chicken, feta, and olives of course) but now all veggies and fruits. I think its finally sunk in that this is the way I should eat.

  76. Bella S. says:

    Wow, 4 liters of smoothie for lunch! 4 liters is a bit mind-boggling to me. I can’t quite imagine consuming that much (heck, even 2 liters seems an awful lot. I think I could manage about 1 1/2 liters before I’d be smoothied out. But hey, you found what works. Also, I’m 5’10″ and weigh only 135 lbs so you are taller and weigh more than I do so that must also factor in.
    One question, did you always do bananas or switch off fruits that were the base. Was it the binding quality of banana that made you choose banana?

    • Hi Bella. So I am still doing this diet, but have tweaked it a lot over the past 2 years since this post. When I’m very active I’m eating 4 meals a day and usually 2 of them are 2L of banana smoothie. As you do this diet more and more you can build capacity slowly. At the most I can drink 3L in a sitting if I’m very hungry.

      The two other tweaks are that I’m eating a wider variety of fruits (especially in the summer time) and much more vegetables. The bananas are nice because they’re cheap, but it’s definitely possible to get sick of them (although not as soon as people think).

      • Hi Ben,
        I’ve been vegan for a year and 80/10/10 for 2 months now. Putting in high mileage training for a marathon (75-80 mpw) and the biggest difference I notice is recovery after hard days as you noted. My only concern is I have not had my bloodwork done yet and I was curious to know how your blood marks have changed over the past 2 years? There’s a lot of fear mongering about how this diet could lead to pre-diabetes or maybe that it caused Steve Jobs’ cancer, etc. I feel great with it and just wanted to know if you had any significant changes in blood marks?

        • Hey dude thanks for reaching out. I only had blood work done once, and it was about 9 months after this article came out, i.e. about mid-2012. Everything was fine, I was on the low end of the range for vitamins B12 and D but no deficiencies. Blood sugar, protein, potassium, all the things that people might be suspect of were in the normal range. I recently just hit my 3 year mark of being vegan and while I haven’t had blood work in over a year I definitely feel fantastic and at 32 I’m fitter than I ever was in my 20′s. I’ve also been fully raw for the past 6 months and plan to remain that way indefinitely.

          Without getting into tremendous detail about Steve Jobs’ death, many doctors suspect he had been battling cancer in one form or another since he was a young man. Article here: http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2011nl/nov/jobs.htm

          Regarding the blood sugar and pre-diabetes issues, most of the science shows that it is eating FAT, not sugar that causes blood sugar issues. The fat in the blood is very thick and sludgy and can get in the way of insulin bringing sugar back into the cells. This is explained in the 80/10/10 diet book, which you should definitely read if you are serious about adopting this lifestyle and getting a toolkit of factual rebuttals under your belt. There is also the work of Dr. Neal Barnard who has a program to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes which is based on a high-carb, low-fat plant-based diet; albeit not necessarily raw.

          There are also some well-known 80/10/10 advocates who get yearly bloodwork and post the results online. Check out Chris Kendall, his website and youtube channel is “the Raw Advantage” google that and you’ll find it, if you want some more hard data. Any other questions I believe my email address is in the footer of the article, feel free to hit me up there. Be well.

  77. Scott Barnard says:

    Today is day one of 80/10/10. Stomach feels rough. I’ve eaten 2 plumbs, 2 pears, 1 cantaloupe, & 4 bananas. I’m not full but don’t think I can handle anymore today. Also drank about half a gallon of water. I’ll keep adding more fruit each day.

  78. Mahmoud Sabawi says:

    Hi Ben,

    I’m slowly transitioning to a vegan diet that includes mostly fruits and vegetables. Your story is so refreshing. I don’t know a lot of vegan athletes or vegans who lift weights and I love lifting weights so it appears that I will still be able to do that. Although, I don’t think I can commit to an 80/10/10 diet strictly, I’m going to try. I was on a diet that had a lot of lean meat, egg whites and high fiber carbs. I wasn’t losing any weight or body fat! Also, I felt like I was stuffing myself with food that didn’t taste good.

    • Well you can certainly ease in, doing 100% is difficult at first. But just start adding more fresh fruits and vegetables in, and try to keep the rest of the food you eat as close to whole plant foods as possible, minimizing SOS (added salt/oil/sugar)

  79. Hey I have never been so interested in trying this life style change, where do I start? Do you have a meal plan? Or example? I am a mother of 3 small childern and need to those the weight so I can be healthy and keep up with them! I have been vegan for years just can’t seem to get the weight off and my Energey levels up.
    Thanks

    • Do you have an iPhone? I would check out Chris Kendall’s free recipe app on there I believe it’s called “101 Frickin’ Rawesome Recipes” that is a great start. But basically I would advise high water fruit for breakfast, banana smoothie for lunch, and big salad at night. Supplement with cooked whole-food vegan foods at night like potatoes, rice, etc. at night if you feel like having those and ease into the transition. Also, I really recommend buying the 80/10/10 book if you’re serious about diving into this. It really explains all the science behind everything AND it has thorough meal plans in the appendix.

  80. Jeanene says:

    Hi I just have a question, I have been following the 80/10/10 lifestyle for about 3 weeks now and I heard that you don’t want to eat too many dates because of the amount of high oxalate on them, is this something you have heard about if yes, is it true? I eat a lot of dates and banana’s at least 15 dates and 12 banana’s a day.

  81. John Foval says:

    Just re-reading this post. I love it. I just wanted to spell check odenwaldaffen. I believe it’s “zitieren” and not “zititieren”

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  4. [...] Abschluss will ich nochmal aus dem Artikel, der uns ursprünglich inspiriert hat zititieren: I’d advise a gradual transition to the diet. I experimented with his recipes and [...]

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