Why I Indulge and Treat Myself To The Best Every Day

By Mikkel Gisle Johnsen

When people hear that I eat a strictly plant based diet consisting of mostly fruit, the first thing on their mind is deprivation. They think I’m depriving myself of food pleasure and that I’m pursuing an ascetic ideal. They tell me I should «treat myself» to something good every once in a while, otherwise I’m missing out! Nothing could be further from the truth! In today’s article, I’ll let you know what my answer is to those people and why they are the ones actually missing out!

You don’t know what you’re talking about!

The most common reason why people think a fruit based vegan diet is tasteless and boring, is simply because they don’t know what it’s all about! Most people think vegans just eat carrot sticks, lettuce and some weird stuff called tofu. No wonder they feel bad for us! When I sense that this is someones view of a vegan diet, I like to give them some examples of common vegan foods like bean burritos, pizza marinara and eggplant lasagna – something they can relate to. Taking out meat and dairy from your diet does not mean you’ll be eating much differently from what you’re used to.

Now, I’m obviously a bit further out on the spectrum of diets since I consume mostly fruit and eat very simply, and this confuses people even more. The reason is simple though, they have no idea what real, quality fruit taste like! Until you have tried tropical fruits like mangoes, papayas, bananas, jackfruit, durian and mangosteen – in the tropics – you simply have no idea.

Sure, the apples and pears of the temperate climates can be pretty tasty when eaten ripe and in season, but it doesn’t even come close to a fully ripe mango bursting with sugary juice and a flavor profile that will blow your mind! We’re tropical animals. We like sweet things. Tropical fruit is sweet! Even the imported bananas pale in comparison to their fully mature counterpart eaten at the source.

So we can’t blame the people around us for not understanding. Their idea of a fruit based diet is eating apples all day, which would not only be uncomfortable to digest, but also far from calorically dense enough to satisfy our hunger. I also have to admit it would be quite boring taste wise!

In other words, the diet they imagine would be a diet of deprivation! The diet I’m promoting though, is far from bland. In fact, the diet of most vegans tend to be more diverse and exciting than what the average meat eater eats anyway.

It’s the other way around!

Most people eat foods that do not satisfy our natural desires very well. First of all, most of the foods people eat are bland, tasteless or even plain disgusting by themselves. That’s why they use sauces, condiments, salt, pepper, spices, vinegar, sugar and garlic to make it stimulating. No other animal has to do anything to their food in order to make it delicious.

We’re frugivores by nature, and raw tropical fruits should be our main food source. They are appealing, attractive and delicious to us in their natural state without any processing whatsoever. Think about it, why do people eat dessert? Because they ate a bunch of «food» that didn’t meet their needs 100%, and still crave that sweetness afterward.

Most people live their lives in a constant struggle between their natural cravings for fruit – also known as the infamous sweet tooth – and what they consider to be acceptable foods in their sugar phobic view of nutrition. Portion control and calorie restriction is the norm, simply because the high fat diet typically eaten in the modern world packs too many calories per bite to fill you up nicely without also being too high in total calories. It also fails to satisfy our desire for carbohydrates – ideally consumed in the form of simple sugars from fruit.

The result is that your average person is in fact an ascetic. They strictly regulate their food intake for most of the time, and then allow themselves a so called «treat» on a regular basis. They indulge every once in a while. This is what I would define as deprivation. No other animal restricts calories or food intake. This is because they eat their natural diet. The body regulates food intake effortlessly. The problem arises when we take substances that are not attractive or even edible to us in their natural state, process them to make them edible and «smuggles» them through our mouth by the use of stimulants that taste exciting. The end result is that A – we end up eating foods to which we are not biologically adapted, and this leads to less than optimal nutrition and B – we typically find ourselves less satiated than the calories in our meal would indicate, and thus keep craving sugar. Those of us that give in to that craving on a regular basis gains weight as a result of eating too many total calories, while those of us that avoid giving in maintain our weight. Most people choose the latter and are thus per definition ascetics. Why not just eat the sweet fruit to begin with and experience true satiation, gustatory ecstasy and optimal nutrition without having to portion control?

I’ve personally never been more satisfied with my food than on a fruit based diet. My day to day diet is one of abundance, not deprivation. Even from a strictly taste perspective, sweet, tropical fruits are utterly superior to all other «foods». I used to eat like normal people do, and now it has become a preference not to. Not because of an ideology or dogma, but because fruit tastes better. It has a broader taste profile than anything else. It satisfies me better. It nourishes me better – and I can eat as much as I want of it too!

Broaden your definition of enjoyment!

Lastly, I think it’s importance to realize that what makes me prefer one food over another is based on more than just taste. Thankfully, our natural fruit diet is also the diet that tastes the best to us, so there’s no need to compromise – but there’s a lot of other factors to consider too.

Take digestion for example. I love having good digestion, and it’s never been better than it is now that I’m eating a high fiber, high carbohydrate, low fat diet based on fruit. Nothing digests better than fruit! I would never want to go back to that constipating, gas causing, stomach ache inducing diet I ate as a teenager. I don’t want to deprive myself of good digestion.

Then there’s the ethical side of things. Killing and exploiting other animals just for the sake of taste, is something I don’t support. It causes deprivation of the animals themselves and the earth as a whole.

Health in general is a gift. I would honestly choose health over food pleasure any day. No food on the planet is worth sacrificing my long term health for. Health just feels too good! Thankfully, as I’ve already mentioned, a fruit based diet is optimal from a nutritional standpoint and in terms of food enjoyment. It’s a win-win, or as Doug Graham, author of The 80/10/10 diet says: «Winfinity», because it’s a win on so many levels.

Even in terms of time, fruit is quick and easy. No food prep or dishes. Check out this article to hear five reasons why fruit is fast food!

I don’t have to sacrifice anything. Eating less than ideal foods is not «a treat», it’s a sacrifice. Now that I’m used to good digestion, high energy levels, mental clarity and peak performance, anything that takes away from that feels like deprivation – not indulgence.

I urge you therefore to consider, unless you already have, a fruit based vegan diet. It’s our natural diet as a tropical frugivore species. It’s a diet where you can indulge in the best tasting, best digesting and most health promoting foods on the planet – all day, every day with a clear conscience. No more deprivation. No more restriction. Just abundance, health and utterly delicious food!

The Little Banana Book
The Little Banana Book
by Mikkel Gisle Johnsen – 58 pages

All you need to know about bananas in order to successfully eat a fruit based diet anywhere in the world!

This book will cover topics like:

  • Why bananas are so great for you
  • How to tell a good banana from a bad one
  • How to buy bananas in bulk at your local store
  • The best ways to eat your bananas – smoothie recipes included
  • Proper banana management – ensuring a consistent supply of ripe fruit
  • How to control the ripening process at home
  • Banana nutrition 101
  • learn more button
  • Sweet Natural Living

    What is your favorite way to indulge in a fruit meal?

  • Zander Hathaway

    Awesome article!! I love how you completely turned the table on that deprivation perspective — very insightful and true! My favorite way to “indulge” in a fruit meal is to eat mangos with my bare hands, naked in a fruit forest… and then rub the skins all over my face and body, ahaha 😉 ok, I just did that one time, with you guys. Right now, I’m relishing a mono meal of super sweet n flavorful papaya while watching your last livestream “the role of work in a healthy life”. Love it!

    • Sweet Natural Living

      Haha…yeah that was one hell of a fruit party 🙂 Glad to hear you liked the article! I miss mangoes and papayas!


  • Alex Grabos

    Mikkel, a great article. Every time I read or watch something from you guys, I get inspired to try the fruit diet.

    And then comes the disappointment: the fruit I buy comes nowhere near the quality that would make me want to stick to the diet even short-term. In essence, each time I fail, I get more and more convinced that due to the low quality of imported fruits, this diet is un-doable unless you live in the tropics.

    You as well point out that imported fruits are nowhere near as tasty as their equivalent in the tropics. So my question is: how on earth do I do this diet in a place like Central Europe, where I live? And by the way, hats off to you guys for sticking to it, I just don’t understand how you manage outside the tropics.

    • Sweet Natural Living

      Hey Alex! Thanks for the support!

      I know how you feel! You’re absolutely right, the fruit outside the tropics is far from as enjoyable as the real deal. For me though, I find that the fruit I eat here in Norway – bananas for the most part – is still the best option as I notice negative effects from just about everything except fruit. Those negative effects motivate me to stick to the diet regardless. I also must admit that I love the bananas here as long as I buy the right ones and eat them fully ripe. In addition to the bananas, and occasional other fruits, I also eat a lot of cooked sweet potatoes. That’s a compromise for sure, but it makes it possible and enjoyable for me to eat this way in Norway. In other words, I don’t eat a 100% raw fruit diet here in Norway.

      My best advice: Eat lots of bananas. Experiment with other fruits when they are in season, look, smell and taste good – and then use less than ideal – cooked – options to substitute fruit when necessary. Things like roots and tubers are great choices. Grains and legumes are less ideal but still better than nothing.

      I hope that helps!

      Feel free to book a coaching session if you’re interested in discussing this in more detail!

      Mikkel 😀

  • disqus_3iMrpX7f8O

    My favorite fruit are melons by far and especially honeydew. You once said melons are sub-optimal but I like them much better than bananas and mangoes.

    Why is that if melons are sub-optimal? Am I not supposed to like mangoes and bananas better? Or does everyone have their own favorite fruit?

    I also wonder sometimes how people would eat melons naturally. They are pretty hard to eat without a knife and spoon.

    • Sweet Natural Living

      Melons are super tasty when the quality is good, I agree. Personally, I have three issues with melons. 1. They are almost never picked ripe. A ripe melon is so soft you could open it without a knife. I just never seem to be able to find tasty melons. Of course, the situation might be different other places in the world if the melons are local etc. 2. I seem to have a slight allergy to them making my throat sore and body feel strange for about six hours after eating them. Maybe it’s just because I’ve never found a ripe one though. 3. Looking at their nutritional profile, it just seems that they are theoretically slightly less optimal than something like mangoes. We are probably better adapted to tree fruits than anything else, but it’s difficult to say for sure.

      Bottom line: If you like melons, go ahead and eat them 🙂