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!
Redefine enjoy/broaden scope 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!