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Brenda de Groot
Health & Food Vegan

Fruitarian: What to eat, food lists & info

The upcoming week I will submerge myself in the wonderful world of fruitarianism. Oh goodies how I anticipate on eating nothing but the godsends of nature that spontaneously fall from a tree. As usual, I wanted to prepare myself the best I can possibly do so, and therefore I read everything I could find written about it on the first two pages of Google. With this article as a result: a comprehensive informative piece on fruitarianism, what fruitarians eat, why they eat like that, and at the end of the article a fruitarian meal plan. Enjoy.

What is a Fruitarian?

A fruitarian is someone who only eats fruit and the edible products coming from a plant, that can be harvested without harming or killing the plant [1]. Fruitarianism is a subtype of a vegan diet. Fruitarians thus don’t eat animal products like meat, fish, dairy or eggs, but also not the vital parts of plants, like their stems, roots, and leaves.

Reading on, you’ll learn the basic principles of fruitarianism and find the answer to the questions:

  • Why does one become a fruitarian?
  • What does a fruitarian eat?
  • What do fruitarians not eat?
  • Is fruitarism healthy?

At the end of this article you’ll read more about what I plan to do in the next week, eating like a fruitarian. For now, let’s start at the beginning: why going fruitarian?

Why Fruitarianism?

The motivation to become a fruitarian varies from environmental reasons to health-related ones, and from religion to ethics [2,3]. The most popular argument for fruitarianism is not wanting to harm or kill any life form at all. Animals nor plants. Which leads us to the biggest misconception about fruitarianism, namely the idea that:

Plants have feelings too.

Well no. Most likely they do not. Of course, there will be fruitarians that do believe that, and make it their reason behind their diet. Live and let live (the fruitarians, and yes, the plants too if you insist). But the assumption that plants have feelings is not every fruitarians motivation to eat like so [2]. I found a brilliant video that explains quite spot-on why it is very unlikely that plants feel pain like animals (incl. humans) do:

Extremely peaceful

During my search for information about fruitarianism I repeatedly stumbled upon the following statement: that fruitarianism is “an extreme form of veganism”. I get it, because the idea of eating solely fruit is kind of a far cry from most people’s plates. But the word ‘extreme’ just doesn’t fit fruitarians.

I personally find fruitarianism the most peaceful and compassionate way of eating I know of. There are even fruitarians existing on this planet that literally only eat food that spontaneously fall from a tree, because the way people harvest fruits often damages the plant (super cute, but unless you live on a Hawaiian orchard, not too practical).

And you know? Actually fruitarianism isn’t as extreme as you might think at first. It doesn’t differ that much from a standard whole foods, plant-based diet (a.k.a. a healthy vegan diet). I was quite surprised that if you follow the broad meaning of fruitarianism (eating stuff that you don’t need to kill a plant for), how many products you can still eat as a fruitarian! I’ll show you now.

What does a Fruitarian Eat?

A fruitarian only eats the fruits of a plant, but that doesn’t mean that a fruitarian only eats fruit. Like, fruity-fruit. The sweet stuff. You don’t need to go bananas all the way. Seeds are also part of a fruit. And nuts, pits and grains are seeds too, and therefore foodstuffs that fruitarians can eat.

Since a fruitarian can eat quite a lot still, I’ll start with a list of what a fruitarian doesn’t eat:

What a Fruitarian doesn’t Eat:

  • Animal products like meat, fish, dairy and eggs.
  • Leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, bok choy and kale. Also stems (leek, rhubarb), cabbage (cauliflower, broccoli, brussel’s sprouts) and seaweeds are off the menu.
  • Root vegetables like potatoes, red beets, turnips, radish, onions, garlic, carrot and ginger. Also, asparagus and salsify are out of option.
  • Herbs like basil, thime, oregano, parsley, coriander, etc.
  • Sprouts like bean sprouts or luzerne. Also, bread made from sprouted grains is a no-go.
  • Mushrooms and truffels also a no. Although mushrooms are fungi, they resemble plants so closely, that most fruitarians do not eat them either.
  • Yeast. To grow yeast, you need a form of sugar – mostly this is glucose. Glucose from beets or cane comes from beets or cane. So say bye-bye to most breads and beer..!
  • Peanuts. These grow underground, and by harvesting them, the plant gets killed.
  • Products that contain animal products or parts of plants. 

What a Fruitarian Eats

Although the list you’ve just read may look daunting, there is still ample foodstuffs you can eat while maintaining a fruitarian diet. I myself was quite surprised to see how many products are actually (parts of) fruits from plants. I put the products in a handy list here (I ♥ lists) – which will also come in handy for myself for the next week!

Fresh fruit Apples, pears, bananas, mango’s, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, sharon fruit, papaya, pineapple, melon, kiwi’s, lychees, grapes, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, oranges, tangerines, lemon, lime, grapefruit, coconut (etc.).
Dried fruit Dates, mulberries, goji berries, dried plums, apricots and apple parts, grated coconut.
Fruit vegetables Avocado, tomato, courgette (zuccini), cucumber, paprika, peppers, aubergine (eggplant), pumpkin, pickles, olives.
Legumes White beans, brown beans, black beans, red beans, kidney beans, fava beans, soy beans, lupine, lentils, chickpeas, marrowfat peas, green beens, sugar peas. Not peanuts.
Grains Wheat, rice, oat, rye, maize, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, millet, amaranth.
Nuts and seeds Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamias, brazil nuts, chestnuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chiaseeds, flax seed, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, poppy seeds.
Meat substitute Seitan, tofu, tempeh, vegan meat replacer without plant parts
Drinks and fluids Coffee, fruit juice, tomato juice, coconut water, coconut mil, soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, almond milk (all without plant ingredients), wine, gin.
Sugars Coconut sugar, date syrup, malt syrup, rice syrup, corn syrup, dextrose.
Flavourings Salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, chili sauce, cacao, cumin, paprika powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg.

Example of foods you can eat as a fruitarian:

  • Oatmeal
  • Bread without yeast
  • Rice cakes
  • Soy yogurt
  • Tomato sauce
  • Apple sauce
  • Nut paste
  • Dried fruit bars
  • Dark chocolate (without plant sugar)
  • Soy lattes
  • Hummus (without garlic)
  • Guacamole (without garlic)

Raw Fruitarian

Raw fruitarianism is a form of fruitarianism that quickly gains popularity. Like the name says, it means that you only eat your food the way nature gives it to you. In other words: not baked, fried or cooked, but raw. And guess what.. I’ll eat like a raw fruitarian 3 days during my fruitarian challenge..! Oh boy.

Many raw fruitarian enthusiasts eat by certain rules. Mostly, a diet consisting for 70 to 80% of fruit, out of all that you eat, and/or that your total calorie intake is made up from at least 80% of carbohydrates, 10% of fats. and 10% of protein (also called 80/10/10). If you live by these rules, it means that you shouldn’t binge on fatty products like nuts, seeds and avocados. I wouldn’t recommend raw fruitarianism, as you will likely fall short on some essential nutrients. Especially women need a good amount of fats for their endocrine system (hormone production and function) to work properly.

Ingrediënten voor een gezonde smoothie bowl

Is Fruitarianism Healthy?

According to me, a fruitarian diet is fine to maintain for a few days or weeks, if you make sure you get enough nutrients from it. This can be tricky, especially as a raw fruitarian. That is why in my humble opinion, a fruitarian diet does not make a good long term food plan. Below you will read four frequently asked questions about the health aspects of fruitarianism and my respons.

1. “Doesn’t fruit contain too much sugar?”

This is one of those great myths I need to bust. Thanks to the low carb diet hype going on for decades now, there is the assumption that fruit contains sugar and is therefore bad for your health and/or waistline. Utter nonsense. Eating fruit has a totally different effect on your body than eating processed sugar or drinking soda. Fruit serves you not only sugar, but also a lot of fiber, water, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes – nutrients that help you to process the sugar slowly. In that way, the sugar in fruit doesn’t cause the adverse health effects that refined sugar does [4,5,6].

2. “Do I get enough protein with a fruitarian diet?”

Vegans already get sick of this question – can imagine how it would be for fruitarians! But as the answer goes for vegans (here you can read the facts on vegan protein): yes, as a fruitarian you can get more than enough protein from your diet. Good protein sources are legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. Especially tempeh, tofu, seitan, bean sprouts, hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds are high in protein. As a raw fruitarian you do need to watch your protein intake though. Since most legumes and grains are out of option, you want to make sure you stack up on the oats and seeds. This extensive list with plant-based protein will help you calculate the amount of protein you get from a vegan / fruitarian food item.

3. “Does a fruitarian diet contain enough healthy fats?”

In general you do not have to worry about a lack of fats when eating a fruitarian diet. Nuts, seeds and avocados contain enough healthy fats to keep your body going and glowing. What is important though, is that you eat enough flax seeds. Flax seeds are the greatest source of ALA omega-3, which is an essential fatty acid your body needs. Since fruitarians don’t eat seaweed, they cannot take an omega-3 supplement from algae oil. The lack of DHA en EPA-omega-3 fatty acids may be a point of criticism on fruitarianism, although DHA and EPA are not essential, and ALA (in flax seeds) is. But this is a whole different discussion. What you just need to do is having 13 grams (1 big tablespoon) of flax seeds every day. This contains 100% of your daily required amount of ALA omega-3.

4. “How about deficiencies in vitamins and minerals?”

A legit point of criticism on (especially raw) fruitarianism is that you are in serious risk of getting deficient in several essential vitamins and minerals, of which:

  • Vitamin B-complex – especially B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Calcium

If you want to give fruitarianism a go, then educate yourself. Make sure that you have a meal plan that contains enough macro- and micronutrients for your body to function properly. Consult a doctor, dietician, or other health expert if you feel uncertain about this.

Wat eet een fruitariër als lunch of avondeten

Fruitarian for One Week

Yep. Together with two other vegans I will experience how it is to live of fruits for one week. We start our fruit adventure on Monday and end on Friday.

In this week I will try out different types of fruitarianism. I’ll start with two days eating as an ‘ethical fruitarian’, where I am allowed everything on the list you came across earlier in this article, and that I can prepare in any way – cooking, baking etc. Then the next two days I’ll follow a raw fruitarian diet. The last day I will go ‘all the way’ and eat nothing but just fruit. Fruity fruit. The sweet stuff. Yes.

Monday: ethical fruitarian
Tuesday: ethical fruitarian
Wednesday: raw fruitarian
Thursday: raw fruitarian
Friday: fruit only

Fruitariër boodschappen - Hier vind je een fruitarier eetlijst en mijn ervaring

Let’s do it!

I am super enthusiastic about the upcoming week! I love these kind of try-outs (like my week following Raw Till 4). But I am also a little worried, as I saw some of my daily essentials on the cannot-have-as-a-fruitarian-list. Being green tea, peanut butter, cinnamon and carrots. I also know I’ll suffer that Friday, around 4 pm, when I will be sick of bananas and cannot stand the sight of strawberries anymore. But it will be an experience! Bring it on. 🙂 You can follow my adventure on Facebook (which is written in Dutch, so you can practice your Dutch language skills ;)) and Instagram (which is just pictures so no need for a translator). Stay tuned!

This post is also available in NL

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Carla
    29 September 2018 at 10:32

    Except the part of the fungi that’s actually eaten is like the fruit of a plant. The difference is that all of the sexes contribute to the development of the fruit, unlike in a plant where only the female part contributes. Essentially it’s MORE ethical to eat the fruit of a fungi than that of a plant.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      29 September 2018 at 15:05

      Interesting viewpoint, Carla! Mmm, would eating fungi then be the ultimate feminist fruitarian action you could act upon? 😉

  • Reply
    Carla Clark
    13 March 2019 at 08:15

    Lol!

    I wish I’d seen this response earlier. Usually I don’t get people responding to my comments so I didn’t come back to this particular site to see if you had. So that’s why it took me so long to see your reply! My apologies!

    But yeah, I guess you could say that’s exactly what it could be if you wanted to carry it that far…. 😉

    • Reply
      Brenda
      13 March 2019 at 22:48

      Haha actually I thought people would receive a notification if I responded – now I get it why I always feel like I’m talking to thin air with my replies! Great to know you revisited. 😉

  • Reply
    Pamela
    3 April 2019 at 19:52

    I am new and still researching this fruitarian diet. I am looking for ways to lose weight and be healthy (have too much health issues- PCOS, Gout among others), so maybe I can try this for a week and then go from there. Unsure if I can make this a “lifestyle” but baby steps- 1 week at a time. Great read for anyone who wants to understand fruitarian. 🙂

    • Reply
      Brenda
      7 April 2019 at 17:20

      Thank you for your kind words, Pamela! I personally would not recommend this diet as a weight-loss regime. A whole foods, plant-based diet including also the vital parts of plants is less restricted and therefore provides more easily the nutrients to keep your body healthy. If you aim to reduce your calorie-intake (which is the case if you want to lose weight), it is very important you get the nutrients you need so your health doesn’t suffer. This is quite a big challenge with a fruitarian diet. I don’t want to scare you off, and you also still have to do what feels best for you – but just wanted to let you know I personally am not a proponent of a fruitarian diet for weight-loss. 😉 Good luck with your health journey!

  • Reply
    thewavvyone
    27 April 2019 at 20:35

    Legumes and grains are not fruits therefore they shouldn’t be a part of a FRUITarian diet. Also if health is really a concern neither should soy or nuts be a part of anyone’s diet. Humans are frugivores not omnivores like bears or dogs, and we are not herbivores like horses or cows. The only food we should eat are the ones that do not need to be processed in order for it to be edible and digestable. We should stay away from foods that cause inflammation, and foods that produce anti-nutrients. Fruit is the only true way of being, raw vegan is second best, everything else relies on cooking food which kills enzymes and nutrients and the natural light/magnetic energy of foods. This health thing is simple, we have been raised in a world full of misinformation fueled by the greed of demonic forces who enjoy the suffering of others as long as it makes them some money. I know you are not one of these lost souls and that fact that you are an advocate of fruitarianism speaks volumes of the light within you and I wish you the best on your journey. Love and knowledge will save us all.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      27 April 2019 at 21:12

      Hi Wavy One,
      Thanks for your elaborate comment and your kind words.I do feel I need to reply on what you state. First of all, I am not an advocate of a fruitarian diet. I think it’s kind to think about plant’s feelings as well, but there is just no single good reason to think that plants are conscious. There are however reasons to think that a whole foods plant-based diet including plants (not only fruits) is more healthy than a raw fruitarian diet. But true, you still have all the right to decide yourself what you eat and what not (as long as it’s not animal products – animals are conscious beings, not ours to use). Secondly, fruitarians eat stuff that can be harvested from plants without harming the plant. Grains and legumes in theory belong to this category as well. True, it’s hard to harvest without killing or harming the plant, so I see that’s why many fruitarians refrain from eating grains and/or legumes. But I don’t think we should leave them because they are unhealthy. I also do not agree that we should only eat stuff that is not processed. We as a species grew so smart, partly because we taught ourselves to process the food we found and make it better digestable. Of course, back in the ol’ days, this was a necessity to survive rather than a luxury as it is now. But we humans are part of nature and our brains are too, so I find it legit to use those brains to process foods so we can eat them, like cooking broccoli for example. It’s not that cooked broccoli will make us sick or something. It’s just cooked broccoli. Also, if we would want to stay away from foods that contain anti-nutrients, we’ll be having a hard time. Almost all plant foods contain anti-nutrients and our bodies are doing fine with them if we eat a whole foods plant-based diet. Actually, processing (like soaking and cooking) of nuts, grains and legumes drastically reduces or even removes the anti-nutrients in these plant foods. I think it is also worthwhile to say that there is no evidence that raw fruitarian diets are the healthiest for humans. It is found that a whole foods diet rich in a variety of unprocessed and minimally processed (plant) foods is the healthiest diet on the planet. For the scientific article, search Google on the title “Can We Say What Diet Is Best for Health?” and find the article on annualreviews.org. On a more critical note: natural light / magnetic energy woo woo is not convincing me nor helping to find the truth about health and food. Nor are conspiracy theories about evil people who enjoy the suffering of other people or animals. It just came to be that we eat shit and treat animals like shit. We are humans, imperfect and egocentric. It’s wrong to mistreat animals and hence the whole world should go vegan. But to say we are evil is going a bit too far in my humble opinion. As is saying raw fruitarianism is the healthiest diet, without having any scientific backup for this claim. I apologise if I come across too harsh. Blaim it on my Dutch nationality and passionate support of science. I do agree with your last statement a lot. Compassion and knowledge will save us all! Yes. 🙂

      • Reply
        Mike
        19 February 2020 at 12:49

        Hi Brenda,

        I usually don’t answer to blog posts, but I felt the irresistible urge to answer to this one. I suffered from constipation and hemorrhoids for years, and I didn’t know why. I recently stopped eating processed rice, processed pasta, grains, processed bread, processed meat, eggs, etc. and I feel so much better now. With the processed food, I thought I was gonna die as I was in so much pain and terror because of hard stool and hemorrhoids. Processed food is poison, period. Why isn’t that worldwide news unless those at the top of the pyramid have not our best interests at heart? This is not a “conspiracy theory” to logically deduce that, this is fact ! If you wait for them to come out and publicly say “Yes, we poison you, and we secretly worship Satan”, you are fully mistaken. It may sound harsh to you right now, but the truth is often not always what you want to hear. You cannot put all humans in the same bag. Some “people” are just pure evil, and it’s just absolutely wrong to put us normal human beings with feelings in the same bag as them. That’s what triggered me to answer your post. Otherwise, I really enjoyed your very instructive article, and I feel more assured to go mostly on a fruit diet, as you pointed out sugar in fruit is certainly not to be put in the same bag as this poison of processed sugar added in processed food. Keep up the good work, Brenda ! 🙂

    • Reply
      Carla Clark
      31 January 2020 at 08:53

      Legumes and grains are fruit or parts of a fruit. If it’s being a part of a fruit therefore not strictly a fruit that bothers you then you shouldn’t eat the flesh of a Durian, Jackfruit or Breadfruit.

      • Reply
        Mel
        5 October 2020 at 14:02

        Legumes and Grains are the SEEDS of the plant…..the are definitely not the fruit part…..and the seeds are not to be eaten for optimal human health as they contain many antinutrients. On the other hand the FLESH of Durian Jackfruit and Breadfruit is eaten while you spit out the seeds. Also Fruitarians do not abstain from leafy greens for ethical reasons, as in “killing the plant”……but for optimal digestion and human health. And also most fruitarians eat tons of leafy greans every day in their salads.

  • Reply
    Cloe
    5 November 2019 at 18:05

    Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Eline
    5 March 2020 at 17:57

    Thank you for this interesting topic Brenda! I’ve came across your article while doing research for an ayurvedic point of view on veganism, and while looking into veganism and the different subcategories of veganism I came across your very nice explained article. As far as I was reading the comments.. I normally never reply too but it grabbed my attention somehow :). From an ayurvedic point of view it is quite challenging to eat a fruitarian diet, depending on your constitution (vata, pitta or kapha) it coule be either a great idea or the worst idea. Mainly a raw fruitarian diet could be a real issue when you have a vata constitution. Fruits can be good for Vata but Vata needs warmth, and foods often need to be cooked, or nuts and seeds better to be grounded into nutbutters and seedbutters to be able to digest them well. I think a fruitarian diet is a very interesting topic to think about, mostly the humbleness that comes forth from the ethical reasons to be fruitarian really appeals to me. But it’s one of those food-hypes that doesn’t have enough research that goes back for hundreds of years. Ayurveda does, as it goes back for about 3000 – 5000 years, and is still accurate nowadays. What it comes down to mostly is the importance of a whole food diet, and preferably mostly or entirely a plant-based whole food diet. Why plant based? As Ayurveda believes in the energy that is in everything that is alive and everything that we eat, so the harm being done to an animal is the harm that you’re eating, and is therefor a tamasic food. However when we drink milk from a wild cow that is living without restrictions, are being domesticated (like could happen in India still), then there is no harm done to the animal and the milk is of excellent quality and could be very useful to make medicinal ghee. Unfortunately that is not the case in our western society nowadays, like in Europe there are hardly any wild animals around of which we can use it’s products (like eggs or milk). Also, all domesticated animals receive so many hormones and bad quality food and living surroundings, that we shouldn’t even want to consider to still eat their food or products derived from their living. Therefor the humbleness of a vegan lifestyle is one that would do best to find a balance between not harming animals and nature as much as possible and still living a balanced lifestyle according to Ayurveda (although it should be noted that some animal products are still quite good for a Vata person). And as I was reading above in one of the other comments, someone who was coping with severe constipation. That is super clearly a Vata imbalance, maybe look up what foods are Vata-pacifying and perhaps see an ayurvedic practitioner to maintain a balanced health. If I could give one advice: don’t try to be your own doctor and try out all the new food-hypes, they may work for a short period of time but could be very harmful to your health on longer periods of time. If you don’t have all the legit science and knowledge yourself, please seek help from someone who does for the sake of your own health! 🙂 Love for all! <3

    • Reply
      vanessa
      13 September 2020 at 14:06

      nice to see your comment coming in from an ayurvedic and sattvic perspective. I came across this article from googling Vata and Fruitarian. I was surprised to read from the author that garlic and onion aren’t a part of the fruit diet—this makes me consider following this lifestyle all the more because of sattvic qualities. I’m already vegan, though, eat mostly raw vegetables and popcorn because I love to chew. As a Vata, who when imbalanced can forget to eat for days (not often but it happens), it dawned on me from this article that fruitarian doesn’t automatically mean RAW and could be worthwhile for balancing my constitution. Bring on the sweet, warm stuff 🙏🏽

  • Reply
    Eline
    5 March 2020 at 18:00

    I meant ‘a wild cow that is NOT being domesticated’.. 🙂

  • Reply
    Quinn D
    11 July 2020 at 10:54

    I’m not a vegan or a fruitarian, but it’s always interesting to learn about and listen to other perspectives. This was kind of cool to learn about, thanks for the article.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      3 August 2020 at 08:55

      Thanks Quinn, great you keep an open mind!

  • Reply
    Corbeau
    6 August 2020 at 08:05

    If it’s about causing the least harm/not killing plants: seeds and nuts should definitely be off limits.

    Not only are they alive (even in dormancy), they are viable on their own.

  • Reply
    Lara
    6 August 2020 at 08:53

    Amazing post! I like to eat fruit very much. I think this article is very helpful. Thanks for sharing this info 🙂

  • Reply
    Dharitri
    29 August 2020 at 16:52

    Hello,
    I was wondering if we get enough iodine on a fruitarian diet or should we add salt to that bean+ lentil salad?
    Fruitarian diet has been on my mind for a few months.

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