A mom whose Christmas dinner consists of eight dates and half a melon has extolled the virtues of the fruit-only diet she has followed for 27 years. She says she never gets hungry, and even gives the same raw food to her children.
Thinking nothing of taking her own food to restaurants, Anne Osborne, 52, of Glass House Mountains, Queensland, Australia – who raised her sons, Camlo, 27, and Cappi, 14, on just fruit – matches her friends’ three course meals, when dining out, by having a portion of melon as her appetizer, entree, and dessert.
Insisting her diet is not boring, Anne, who is a fruit festival director, and who munches a mango or half a melon for breakfast (150-200 cals appx), before snacking on four bananas mid-morning (400 cals appx), lunching on an avocado (400 cals appx) and eating two mangos for dinner (300 cals appx) said:
“What could be better than gorgeous fruit?”
“I feel healthy and energetic on this diet. I love being a fruitarian.
“People ask, ‘Don’t you get sick of all that fruit?’ but there’s just so much fruit on offer, I never could. If I have some gorgeous fruit, I can’t think of anything I’d like better.”
A vegan until 1991, Anne, whose railway worker partner James Louk, 52, enjoys fruit, but eats other food, too, said she tried an all-fruit diet for her “health and well-being,” after having her eldest son, and has never looked back.
“I believe we are all frugivores – animals that thrive mostly on raw fruit, succulent fruit-like vegetables, roots, shoots, nuts and seeds – and it makes total sense to me to only eat fruit,” Anne, who is originally from Leicester, said.
“It’s what my body craves.
“When you first transfer over to a fruit diet you don’t feel full in the same way as you do when eating regular food, but it has to be sustainable and now I don’t feel the hunger. ”
Anne, who works remotely for The Woodstock Fruit Festival, based in New York, USA, spends $200 a week on her fruit supply.
While she admits that some some people would feel strong hunger pangs by mid-morning following a diet like hers, Anne claims eating good quality fruit means this does not happen in her case.
“You have to get your macro-nutrients – carbohydrates, proteins and fats – and micro-nutrients – vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants – and you get these through good quality fruit. If you want to follow a fruit only diet, it has to be good stuff, be that organic, or foraged and grown in good quality soil.”
To wash down the fruit, Anne, who does not consume alcohol, only drinks juiced oranges or still water, saving sparkling water for special occasions, like a birthday or Christmas toast.
And, even when those around her are tucking into slap-up meat and veg meals, she claims never to feel self-conscious nibbling on fruit.
“I have never found social situations to be an issue. If I’m going to a restaurant, I will either order ahead and make sure I have a fruit platter, or I’ll take my own fruit and ask them to bring it out on a plate when everyone else is eating.”
She does not even relent when those around her are tucking into a festive roast at Christmas.
“I have eight dates and half a melon on Christmas Day.
“It’s not a traditional festive dinner, but at least it means I don’t feel like sleeping for two hours afterwards. While most people love a roast dinner, I am just not attracted to it and never feel envious of their meals. Eating fruit, I feel good afterwards, energetic and healthy.”
After she finished breastfeeding her sons, who are both from previous relationships, Anne also brought them up as fruitarians.
“They would have nuts for the nutrients they needed, but apart from that, it was all fruit,” she said.
“All kids like fruit, especially if it’s good quality fruit and nice and ripe. We’ve had fruitarian birthday parties, which parents love as the kids aren’t hyper from all the usual sweets they get at these occasions, when they get home.”
For her children’s parties, Anne would make watermelon ‘cakes’ – piling up scooped out pieces of the fruit into a stack – as well as offering kiwi fruits and oranges instead of sweets.
Adamant that her boys’ diet was balanced, she continued:
“I took Camlo to a nutritionist who said his iron levels were perfectly normal, and there was no iron deficiency anaemia (IDA).
“The boys never had any interest in sweets growing up but, at the age of 14, they both decided to move on and eat more than fruit. Camlo, who serves in the Australian Army, now eats meat, while Cappi is a vegan, which is fine by me, as that’s their choice.”
A slim size eight, Anne insists she does not follow her fruitarian diet as a way to lose weight.
“Getting the NHS-recommended 2,000 calories a day on a fruit diet isn’t that hard,” she said.
“An avocado is 400 calories, so eating two of those means you are already on 800 calories and bananas have 100 calories each. I’ve never followed this diet to lose weight. It makes me feel good, and that’s the most important thing.”
Dietitian Sarah Elder said:
“Fruit can contain high levels of water and for fruitarians to meet their energy needs it is likely they will have to eat a large volume of fruit to ensure their weight is within a healthy Body Mass Index.
“Even with weight in this range it is likely that people who eat only fruit will be deficient in protein, fats, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B’s and iodine.
“The high levels of sugar and fibre can also cause digestion difficulties including wind bloating and loose stools.
“Children have higher energy needs due to growth and it is essential they meet their nutritional needs to reduce any complications during the growth phase. Adding nuts into the diet is sensible to ensure that the diet is more nutrient dense. In diets with fruit or fruit and nuts it is unlikely that nutritional needs for iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B and iodine are met. This can present as lack of energy due to low iron levels and lack of vitamin B’s which are involved in energy metabolism and osteoporosis due to lower vitamin D and calcium intake.”
A version of this article originally appeared on Press Association.