What Good Fruit Should Be Like
By Mikkel Gisle Johnsen
I remember when I was growing up in Norway, we would always have a bowl of fruit on the table somewhere in the kitchen. There would be a couple of bananas, a few apples and maybe a peach. Pretty typical. The funny thing however, was that the fruit always seemed to go bad, and eventually we would throw it away. In other words – we ate very little fruit! Why is that? If fruit is supposed to be our natural food as humans, being frugivores and all, why weren’t we more attracted to the fruit in our kitchen back in the day? Let’s get into why that is and talk a little bit about how awesome fruit can be!
Humans are tropical animals First of all we have to remember that humans evolved in the tropical regions of the world, where fruit grows abundantly and tends to be much sweeter than their temperate counterparts. This is due to the abundance of sunshine. The sweetness in a fruit comes from its carbohydrate content, more specifically its sugar content. As a frugivore by anatomy and biology, we are natural sweet seekers – evident in the ever present «sweet tooth» that humans seem to struggle with when they restrict their intake of fruit.
The carbohydrate in the fruit is literally condensed sunlight. The energy we get from food, from the fruit in this case, comes from the sun. The stronger and more abundant the sunshine is, the easier it is for the plant to produce a sweet fruit – full of sugar. This sugar gives us fuel to move our body and keep our organism alive. We measure this energy in calories (Kcal to be specific).
Fruits grown in regions far from the equator tends to be less sweet than tropical fruits, partly because of the lack of sunshine available there. Temperate fruits like apples, pears, berries etc. also tend to be less ideal for covering our (theoretical) nutritional needs than the fruits of the tropics are. Even if we are to leave the idea of nutritional science completely behind, it still makes perfect sense experientially. Mangoes, papayas and bananas just naturally satisfy us better than apples, pears and berries. They are sweeter, denser in calories, creamier, less acidic and much more appealing to our sense of sight and smell. Of course, this doesn’t mean that an apple can’t be delicious, but the difference is still obvious. Humans are tropical animals and we thrive on tropical fruits.
Bad fruit is like… Remember that fruit bowl in my house when I was growing up? The reason most of that fruit always ended up in the bin was simply because it was poor quality fruit. It was likely grown in poor conditions, picked too early or stored for too long – perhaps even all of the above. Bad fruit isn’t appealing. It lacks the vibrant colors that are supposed to make us want it. It doesn’t smell like anything at all. It tastes bland and boring at best – disgusting at worst.
Eating bad fruit requires effort. Willpower. You need motivation in order to eat a piece of poor quality fruit. The motivation most people use is this idea: «fruit is healthy, so I should at least eat some». Trying to make a fruit based diet work with poor quality fruit is basically like squatting in front of the couch instead of actually sitting down. It looks pretty similar, but it’s not the same! One requires a lot of effort, while the other is easy.
Eating bad quality fruit means you have to endure your meals, rather than enjoy them.
Good fruit is like… Whenever I eat a piece of excellent quality fruit, I always tend to have the same thought: «If people only knew how good this is!». Eating good fruit is exactly opposite from eating bad fruit, it takes effort not to eat it! No one can resist a perfect Mango! I guarantee you that even the most junk-food-loving person in the world would still love a sugar ripe Cherimoya. When the fruit is so good, you have no desire to eat anything else. The fruit satisfies your every desire.
There are many things in this world that taste good in the mouth, but most of them don’t work very well in terms of digestion, elimination and peak physiological performance. Good fruit on the other hand, not only works wonders for your health – but it also tastes amazing. I’ve eaten many different foods in my life, and I can honestly say that whenever I have access to top quality, tropical or subtropical fruits, I have no wants for anything else. It requires no willpower whatsoever for me to eat fruit only. As I said, it’s quite the contrary, I cannot help myself – I simply must have that fruit!
What should I do? The people that say a fruit based diet is difficult are the ones that are eating poor quality fruit. Another way to put it would be to say that they are not eating enough good quality fruit. Even if they do eat some good fruit, unless they are eating sufficient calories of it, they will still find it hard to do.
Therefore the ideal is simply to eat as much as you want – whenever you’re hungry – of fresh, ripe, raw, sweet, quality fruits. Unless the fruit is attractive and delicious by itself, I wouldn’t call it food.
That’s the ideal. Now what about the real world? The unfortunate reality of being a fruit lover in today’s world is that quality fruit is elusive. It’s not just because of poor farming practices and ignorance, but has more to do with logistics actually. Ripe fruit travels poorly, and in order to ship fruit around the world, it has to be picked before peak maturity. Fret not however, all is not lost!
It’s still quite possible to find high quality fruit, almost anywhere in the world – at least for part of the year – but you will have to go looking for it! Use your senses as a natural born fruit hunter. If it looks, smells and tastes good – go for it! Remember that ripe fruit is of the essence here guys!
Should you want to try some really good fruit however, you should travel to the tropics where you can get fresh fruit. When the fruit is picked with the intention of selling it at the local market, it can be picked when fully mature. This means a sweeter and more nutritious fruit for you! The closer you are to the source of your food, the higher the chances of a good batch of fruit. Soil quality and farming practices also matter of course, and if you can grow your own, or get in contact with some farms that emphasize quality over quantity, even better!
No matter where you are however, bananas are always available and they are usually quite consistent in their quality. Learn more about bananas and how to buy, store, ripen and eat them in The Little Banana Book. In this book I also talk about why you should make bananas your year round staple if you want to be successful with the fruit based, raw vegan diet.
In the end, I recommend that you do your best to find quality fruit that you enjoy eating, but if that’s nowhere to be found – going to the second best option of conservatively cooked roots, tubers, squashes and pumpkins of good quality will probably fare much better than trying to insist on having unsweet, unripe and unawesome fruit just because you’re «doing the raw vegan diet». That, in conjunction with plenty of bananas, should yield good, sustainable results. When quality fruit is around, you shouldn’t have to think twice about it. You know the mangoes are good when you’re like: «I just want mangoes, mangoes, mangoes, mangoes, mangoes, MANGOES!!!».
The information in this article reflects the views and opinions of the author and is intended for educational and informational purposes only. This is not medical advice. We are not responsible for any action you may take based on the information given in this article. For medical advice please see your medical professional.