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Real Questions I got asked and my Answers to them
(released in June 2010, last update in December 2010)

Q: What kind of doctor are you?

A: Curious type. I hold PhD in Applied Probability, MSc in Maths and Education and BEd in Mathematics and Computing. My research interests are in the area of stochastic modeling, particularly in creating models for the analysis of real-life systems with an element of uncertainty. Such systems include all systems of engineering and environmental significance. For example, I work on models suitable for such diverse situation as hydro power generation systems, human metabolism or the life of corals. I publish my work in international scientific journals. I also lecture in Probability Models and Operations Research. My other proud achievements include winning a school maths competition at the age of 14 (as one of the youngest participants), reading scientific articles at the age of 9 and analyzing the life of ants at the age of 3.

Q: Do you take sides in forum discussions?

A: If I like something someone says, that does not mean that I agree with everything they say all the time and will take their side in any debate. If something does not make sense to me, I am not going to defend it by all means. Taking sides is a hinderence to progress in my view, and progress is what I am interested in. I like to challenge stereotypes. I like to ask questions and will continue to do so. By questioning we learn. I will question hard especially those who bring new, challenging or interesting ideas, because by questioning hard, we can study things in real depth.
I sometimes see people get annoyed and defensive about being questioned. I see this as a defensive mechanism driven by the fear of change. The more investment in the beliefs, the greater the fear and the defense. However, if one is interested in evolving, then they need to get comfortable with asking and answering difficult questions first. All wisdom is the result of the evolution of thought, and so being prepared to evolve is essential.

Q: When will you start to eat more fruit and join the party?

A: My diet is based on fruit since 2004, see my November 2004 journal entry as an example. I went raw in 2003 and spontaneously progressed to fruit-based diet. According to my calculation based on my analysis in June 2010, fruit are more than 99% of my caloric intake. For example, on June 16, apart from fruit (1973kcal), I ate 3 lettuce leaves (14kcal), making it
1973/(1973+14)*100% = 99.3% of calories coming from fruit. See my June 2010 journal entry for the details. In 5 out of 13 days of me recording my intake since 6 June I had some greens, the remaining 8 days were fruit only. So, I am happy for it not to be any more, even if this means not being invited to some party. Have a look at my own fruit party in my office:

Q: What is your caloric intake?

A: According to my June 2010 calculations, assuming that it is indicative of the overall pattern, it is around 2000kcal on the average. This number is an estimate and could be a subject to fluctuations. This is where I feel comfortable. Closer to 1000kcal and I feel starving, closer to 3000kcal and I am over-eating.
I performed some experiments to confirm this, of course. Note that my data in June 2010 is: age - 46 years, weight - 48kg, height - 162cm (this one probably won't change). I am quite small build, my wrist's perimeter is approximately 14.5 cm, and my shoe size is 36.5 (Aussie style). I could be classified as pettite. Finally, note that in my first year of raw, I ate high fat and more than now. This is partly due to me being used to eating condensed cooked foods before and partly due to my body rebuilding itself. As my diet changed to mostly mono eating on fruit, so did my other patterns of eating.

Q: What is your level of activity?

A: I classify this as moderately active due to my sedentary job. Neverthless, according to my November 2010 patterns, I swim 1km 1-2 times a week, go the gym around 3-4 times a week, and do belly dancing, besides other day to day activities. This is despite me having a painful disc injury in 2007, which took 2 years to recover from
(to a tolerable level). According to my December 2010 measurements, my resting heart rate is no more than 60, which is that of an athlete, with analogous readings for my blood pressure. I continue challenging myself, increasing my targets and re-defining my goals. 

Q: What is the percentage of raw in your diet?

A: The % of raw in my diet according to my estimate as from around year 2008 till 2010 is close to 100%.
Around 2007, the year of my disc injury, the % of raw in my diet could have dropped to 90% for some time due to my inability to cope with the long-term pain (I was unable to walk or stand for more than a few minutes without pain, for many months), feeling depressed and numbing this pain with the junk. It was close to 100% before that. In 2010, I performed a number of deliberate experiments with cooked, and I write a little bit about these in my April 2010 journal entry. These reinforced my different conclusions about cooked and also my commitment to raw. Every working day, in the morning I pack a bag of fruit and this is what I eat it all day. In the evening I opt for fruit or occasional greens in some form. I classify my dietary desires under "fruit lover". I salivate at the sight of fruit. My take on the claims of 100% raw veganism, by the way, is in my raw food journal here.

Q: Do you think that the calorie model can help?

A: The calorie model is not necessary at all but can help newbies and beginners in a short term (weeks), IF it is used in a wise and informed manner. In cron-o-meter for example, all minimum target levels are approximations and can be very inaccurate, this includes protein and other nutrients (see vitC as a stark example)
, of course calories too (the magniture of error is completely unacceptable, as has been reported in the scientific literature). Following the calculators blindly is not something I would recommend. So assuming the informed usage, I think that calculators can be a good tool for beginners, primarily though for recording the intake, and not for comparing with the inappropriate markers which are based on cooked foodists anyway. Beyond the beginners stage though, I do not think so. Note that we, humans, are not born with calculators attached to our bodies. This tells me something about their necessity. Usefulness? Maybe. Necessity? No. My hard-core mathematical mind says so. For further details on this topic see my article Calorie counting or Hunger?

Q: Gosia, you're a "natural" 811 right?
Why do you think people fail on the diet?

A: I avoid classifying myself as 811, fruit lover is perhaps the only name I feel comfortable with at the moment. 811 can mean different things and I am not sure whether I would agree with some of them. I do love fruit, true. I keep myself open to evolution. I like to question and experiment and discover for myself. Natural hygiene concepts click with my own discoveries.

To answer your second question, I think it would be very easy to give a one-dimensional answer and blame the person. I observed that a lot of it has got to do with prescriptive approach to the diet whilst ignoring the body signals. I think that a gradual transition at a pace that the body is comfortable is a better approach. Note that many so called 811ers had a few raw gourmet years before going fruit.

My experience has been high-fat raw at first, then I went fruit, and then the amount of fat in my diet decreased gradually and spontaneously. I am pretty sure I could not have gone low-fat in my first year, I needed this gradual and spontaneous transition. I would have struggled forcing myself to do something that did not feel comfortable. For example, I recall reading someone mentioning having salads with only orange juice as a dressing, at the time where I still used a more fatty dressing. At that time I could not possibly do it any other way, I just had to have some fat in my salad or I would feel hungry. And then, one day I noticed a change, I preferred salads with just orange juice. Later, I was quite happy to have them with no dressing at all. Or, I would simply grab a leaf and mono eat it.

So when I notice a prescriptive approach to the diet failing people, this makes me think that perhaps a little more flexibility combined with listening to the body signals would be a more successful approach.

Q: Are you vegan or fruitarian?

A: I have been pondering on this question for some time now. I have been wondering in a larger context too, are humans meant to be fruitarians, is this our optimal diet?

It is easy to give a simple yes or no answer, or suffer from delusions of grandeaur, but I like to give it some thought. For example, it is hard for me to declare myself a vegan, when no matter what I eat, I always rely in some way on the society that is built on the exploitation of animals. Also, I like to give myself some space for empirical experimentation and for example, I have performed some deliberate experiments with animal products in the recent year (see my April 2010 journal entry). Still, I have thus far not arrived at any compelling evidence against a vegan diet and my personal dietary preference is vegan too.

In the recent months I decided to explore this issue in some more depth for the first time, and I am currently working on an article on this topic. It will be some time yet, before I release it though, as I would like to research in depth and analyse in depth, before publishing my thoughts.

As far as fruitarianism, I find myself drawn to fruit, but I have been eating some greens or veggies sometimes too. Note that I am evolving and I have not made up my mind on this as yet. Further, I find me not living in a jungle full of fruit trees an obstacle, as the availability of great quality fruit is important to me. I feel I could easily life off fruit only, if I had access to best quality organic fruit all year round. Nevertheless, I eat fruit daily and fruit is my staple. My daily packing-up to work routine involves packing a large and heavy bag of fruit, which I take with me. My office is full of fruit. My kitchen is full of fruit. I love fruit and I can't imagine my life without it. I feel hungry without fruit. Fruit stole my heart. Still, I do not feel ready to declare myself a fruitarian as yet, though this might come one day.

Q: Is your family raw vegan or fruitarian?

A: My choices no doubt have had a large impact on my family, but I like to give them freedom to make their own choices and am not prepared to make any declarations for them. This website is primarily devoted to my personal explorations and studies.

Copyright © Dr Gosia O'Reilly. All Rights Reserved.
Acknowledgements: Maura (logo).
Quotes on raw foods by fellow raw foodists.
Other quotes from The Quote Garden.
Photos: Free Stock Photos