Main My story Recipes Tips Articles Interviews Photos Journal Links
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.
(Swedish proverb)
Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.
 (Sicilian proverb)
Your friend is that man who knows all about you, and still likes you.
(Elbert Hubbard)
You can always tell a real friend; when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job.
(Laurence J. Peter)
Friends are family you choose for yourself.

How important are greens in our diet?
Can having greens on daily basis make a significant change in
whether we thrive in our raw food diet?
Have we, as a fruit loving community,
forgot about the greens, and underestimated their value?
Is there any compelling evidence suggesting that
those who include a considerable amount of greens every day,
remarkable visible results?
This experiment is about asking questions, challenging stereotypes,
observing, recording the evidence and evolving.

Let's start.

27 August 2011 - Day 2

I like eating raw. I like eating fruit. I like to study and follow my body instincts. I like to evolve. This blog is about me studying my body preferences for greens in my diet. Greens have been a part of it on and off. Sometimes I would go with fruit only for days. At other times I would eat lots of salads and veggies, including greens. Sometimes I observed that my body really appreciated having some greens and non-sweet fruit, and I thought that perhaps I neglected to follow its needs at times. This time, I would like to study greens and do it consistently. In some way this may be a comeback to my roots, as when I started off raw, I ate salads consistently on daily basis. This is how I looked then, after some months on raw:

I have watched some youtube videos from Woodstock Fruit Festival recently and noticed how radiant are those fruit-loving raw foodists who also love greens and veggies. Also, I read somewhere a suggestion that there may be some connection between B12 and insufficient greens. The recent outburst of various B12 deficiencies or deficiency concerns amongst people who consume fruit-based diet, on top of various other issues, such as losing teeth, or excess weight, are signals of enough significance to me that perhaps some of the ideas around our favorite diet need to be revisited and studied carefully. So, I would like to think a little about those various issues and I would like to experiment with my diet and observe my body too. I am going to include the greens in my diet on daily basis for a while and record my observations. I would like to emphasize nevertheless that I am not going to pre-empt the outcomes of this experiment and will focus mainly on this observing and recording.

Yesterday, apart from sweet fruit (apples, grapes, dates) I had a head of butter lettuce, zucchini and tomatoes. Specifically, I made myself zucchini spirals with tomato-dates dressing, and also, later, lettuce dressed in the same dressing. Sweet fruit is still essential part of my diet, without it I feel hungry, and I am not usually keen on nuts or avocados.

Observations? I felt good. I felt I was eating foods my body was happy to eat.

28 August 2011 - Day 3

Popping in here to record a few things.

I have settled at having a couple of green-inclusive meals a day. Today, two large salads, each with mixed greens (a large bowlful), a whole cucumber, 3 tomatoes and several dates, some sprouts on one of them.

I am not forcing the greens. My body seems very happy munching on them, in fact my senses are very keen. I have observed that the sweet fruit is pretty important too. Without enough of them I feel I begin losing my energy. Today I had some apples, dates and bananas. The day has not finished yet, and so I might have some more fruit yet.

Yesterday I had a handful of hazelnuts in the evening. I do not have nuts very often. The last time I ahad some could have been months. I felt like I wanted some, so I went for it. I am not keen on any today.

29 August 2011 - Day 4

I have been drinking more water than usually. Why? Greens are really salty!

Sweet fruit? I just have to have it! I was thinking today whether I could possibly eat green-plentiful diet but fat-based (nuts, avocados etc) instead of fruit-based, and the mere thought of it caused my heart to beat faster with a worry. No, it does not sound appealing at all! I just have to have my fruit. I am not sure how I could have energy for anything physical without it. Besides, I love it too much. My instincts are drawn to it and I can't resist it.

Greens? They do seem to have somewhat grounding effect. I can't claim anything more at this early stage, it's been only a few days after all. Anyway, I am enjoying this thus far.

31 August 2011 - Day 6

Yesterday I did not feel like having my evening meal. The black grapes I bought were not so nice. I did not eat them, and so I did not have too much of my usual favorite juicy fruit. This morning I felt slightly dehydrated. Greens are not appealing right now. Rather, I am stuffing myself with very yummy red grapes I bought this morning, feeling better and more hydrated with each mouthful. Yes, I did have water this morning, but I find juicy fruit really doing the trick.

I lost the desire for the type of salad I have been having since I started my experiment. I am thinking of something else. So I made myself greens-bananas-dates salad in the middle of the day. Tasted nice and sweet, but a little dry. I know! I will add a cucumber next time!

Gosh, I am so thirsty today. I've been drinking lots of water! My body really needs it.

I can see why people who consume plenty of greens can cope better with staying raw. Eating greens completely kills off the desire for salty foods and cooked foods are usually very salty!

It's night now. I had my last meal for the day, lovely mixed greens with cucumber and dates, very refreshing. I feel really good now. I went to sauna earlier today and drank more water again. I feel well hydrated now.

Today lesson for me is to be more attentive to my hydration needs. There are three vital components of my current diet, greens, sweet fruit and water, and it is important for me to get enough of each of those. I think the ride will be easier from now on, once I got this message!

Greens? I still feel good about having them every day, twice a day. Something seems going on within my body. Although it is still too early so observe significant physical changes, I feel far more grounded, calm, and more satisfied. I think my skin looks a little nicer too.

1 September 2011 - Day 7

Just popping in for a moment to record some observations. Today I had a good day. I ensured that I had enough sweet fruit to go with my greens, and enough water as well. Feeling satisfied and hydrated.

In the first week of my experiment I took it easy with exercise. My focus has been on getting used to my new dietary patterns. So the big test will come next week. How will I feel during my usual swimming sessions. Swimming is a very good test for me, as if I am dehydrated or have not eaten enough, this will sure show!

3 September 2011 - Day 9

When I woke up today I had some water. I kept sipping slowly for a while, while lying in bed, and this felt good. Next, I had a green smoothie. Probably my first ever if I recall well. I have not had a banana smoothie for a very long time either, as I have been into munching mostly. Bananas got cheaper and so we have a stash of them in our banana cupboard on the kitchen wall. I have bought quite a few dates, which were on special, half-price. And I have some greens as well. So I decided to try the combination that suddenly felt very appealing. Dates, Cos lettuce, bananas and water. Yummy, satisfying.

Lovely red grapes later on. Sweet and hydrating. I went shopping and stocked up on greens. I seem to be eating around 0.5 kg greens and 2 cucumbers a day, plus some other veggies that may vary. I have not been too keen on tomatoes in the recent couple of days.

In the evening I had another salad and bananas.

6 September 2011 - Day 12

I still enjoy having greens and am keeping up the volumes. Today my meals included golden kiwi fruit, a salad (greens and strawberries), red grapes, another salad ( greens, cucumber, tomatoes), another salad (greens, cucumber, tomatoes, 1/2 avocado), and red apples. Apart from the avocado today, I had a handful of nuts on two separate ocassions since I started the experiment. I have not eaten an avocado for a long time, but I decided to open up to trying it again. My tastebuds enjoyed the experience very much and I felt my body really wanted it, in some moderate quantity (after which the desire went away).

I absolutely adore golden kiwi fruit by the way. I think of it as golden ambrosia. This experiment isn't about measuring things, but getting in tune with my instincts. Nevertheless, some numbers do not hurt. The golden kiwi fruit I had today, are estimated by cronometer to provide 81% of Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Omega-3, 1450% of RDA for vitamin C, and 169% of RDA for copper, besides being really high in various other nutrients. Together with all the greens and other foods I had, the
estimate is that I met about 190% of my RDA for Omega-3, 2421% of RDA for vitamin A, 348% of RDA for folate, and 2116% for vitamin C, as examples. The amount of nutrients one can get on the raw food diet goes through the roof in relation to RDAs, but remember that RDAs are the averages based on the standard concept of health, which is flawed. I believe that the actual healthy requirements for nutrients are closer to what we observe on raw.

Someone mentioned that eating lots of greens gave them a flat tummy. I can understand this as the diet I am currently eating is considerably higher in fibre. I have been certainly observing feeling more comforatble inside.

I decided to stop eating dates for a little while as I seem to have developed some breakouts on my face after my recent inscreased consumption of them due to my Green Experiment (I enjoyed having them with my greens). Were they sprayed with something?

7 September 2011 - Day 13

Some clarifications. There are high-green raw food diet advocates who recommend eating lots of nuts and few fruits. This experiment is about introducing high-greens to a low-fat raw food diet. But I will allow some fat in my diet, if this feels right, instead of going completely over-fat free, as before. I am not interested in introducing too many variables here. I want to know whether introducing a lot of greens to a fruit-based diet is going to make a difference. I have clearly been eating a fruit-based diet for a while, so this will be an interesting comparison. The intended timeframe is at least a couple of months, because this is how much it takes to see some considerable changes, should they eventuate, although some minor ones can be observed after 2 weeks. I certainly have observed changes 2 weeks after going raw, but 2 months after the results were amazing.

As far as how much I eat of anything, my intention is to follow my hunger, as usually. No stuffing myself and no starving myself either. I do not believe in restrictions of any sort.

10 September 2011 - Day 16

2 weeks have passed. I notice some subtle differences. I feel somewhat more comfortable overall. This is only the beginning of the experiment, so let's wait and see. I decided to take a photo at this stage (which is not my favorite thing to do!), for some possible comparison later on, so here is your green-fruity serious scientist:

It is fair to point out that I live in Hobart, where the availability and quality of tropical fruit has sometimes been far from desired, per fruit lover standards. Some say that fruit has all the vitamins and minerals that we need, but others say that greens have a much higher content of minerals, and that it may be difficult to satisfy one's needs for those on fruit only. This may be even harder in a situation where the access to fruit is limited. So bare in mind that my particular geographical situation plays role here, and should my experiment show that I do much better on high greens, it may be too quick to generalize this to a person living in an area aboundant with high quality fruit, unless they went on such experiment themselves. Or perhaps some numerical analysis comparing the two alternatives (with/without greens) with respect to estimated RDAs might be a helpful tool (and perhaps I will look at it later on). In any way, I feel that more nutritious food is a better outcome. Again, these are just some thoughts and let's not pre-empt the outcomes as yet.

11 September 2011 - Day 17

I received a very interesting message from a fellow fruit loving soul from iheartfruit, which I would like to share with you, in the view of my most recent comments above. It seems that what I have been observing is not an isolated experience!

Hi Gosia,

I met you on iheartfruit a little while back, and just read your blog about greens today!  I didn't see a comment part, but wanted to share that I'm in a very similar point in my fruit eating, to where you are!  I too was fascinated by all the videos that came out of woodstock, and also struck by the vibrancy of those who included high greens.  I've been a very successful fruitarian (I have abundant fruit, and love love love it!) but I have struggled with some skin problems throughout my experiments.   I'm early in my green experiments, but from a health angle, my skin improves when I have a few green smoothies, some salads, and a little bit of overt fats.  I too feel tired and sluggish if I don't have enough fruit, and filling in with the fat is not a comfortable answer for myself.  But with greens too, I feel that a little more nourished than I expected.  I really have an all fruit mind set, but allowing in some greens has been good.  Just wanted to share.

Best Wishes,

The comment section by the way is at the top of this page, above the green heart.

I like having my greens with sweet fruit. Today I tried my greens with grapes. This was good.

12 September 2011 - Day 18

My meals today were: golden kiwi fruit; mixed green leaves with a (large continental) cucumber; red grapes; mixed green leaves with a cucumber again; golden kiwi fruit; red grapes. 6 meals in total. I find the taste of cucumber divine.

13 September 2011 - Day 19

My meals today were: golden kiwi fruit; mixed green leaves with a cucumber and tomatoes; red grapes; mixed green leaves with a cucumber, tomatoes and half an avocado.

I have read a couple of articles today, How much fruit it too much? by Ron Brown, and then another by the same author, a critique of the 80/10/10 book by Doug Graham, Obessive Fear of Fat!. Well, the world is not black and white, and so I think that perhaps some of the shift of focus that Ron proposes makes sense. But I am not sure whether jumping from one set of rules to another by merely using a simple analysis of a couple of nutrients is sensible. I feel that the real-life situation is a lot more complicated and we cannot possibly grasp the complexity of it with a bunch of rules. Yes, we do need various macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, and the right ratios of those as well, but the list of all the various rules that must be met in order to achieve health could be endless, and there is no guarantee that we have understood these complex mechanisms and captured them accurately. Therefore, I think that it is good to remain open to asking questions and exploring various ideas. Above all, my focus in those explorations is on what really works, as the cleverly-constructed intellectual arguments are not the guarantee of infallibility. So I tend to look for some empirical evidence, the stories of real people that I can observe and study. In this context, I heard of some reports from the Woodstock Fruit Festival, the youtube videos of which by Dan McDonald were probably the first opportunity to see a large number of various raw foodists gathered simultaneously in one space, that suggest that those raw foodists who include a lot of greens in their diet, and perhaps some moderate amount of fat (as opposed to overt-fat free), seem to be really glowing and doing way better than those who don't. One of the people who have inspired many there, is Tim VanOrden, an unassuming person, who I am sure has been critiqued for being less-than perfect low-fat raw vegan, but nevertheless, in the room full of much younger people, he is more radiant than anyone else. So perhaps being less-than perfect is being perfect indeed?
Perhaps having a little more relaxed attitude is a more efficient way of meeting one's nutritional needs?

Also, a first-hand report about Tim by one attendee of WFF:
So I went to two of Tim's talks at the Woodstock Fruit Festival. I had a good impression of him. Very fit, friendly guy, very good speaker. In one of his talks he explained that he tried the 801010 way, but didn't feel optimal. He said he couldn't afford it as well. Currently he's eating a green smoothie in the morning (kale, bananas, berries, dates), fruits during the day and a huge salad in the evening (plus an avocado and some olive oil) (he even apologized for the olive oil, but he said he just likes the taste). No fruits in the evening, because it made him to jittery.

He guesses his carb/fat/protein ratios are approximately 70/20/10 on average, his caloric intake between 2000 and 2500. He also made the interesting observation that people just don't need all the sugar from the fruits- it will just be excreted from the body (I believe he said through urination, might be mistaken).

He's running quite a bit daily, up to 2 hours a day, and winning a lot of competitions. So he seems to be doing quite well on his approach.

22 September 2011 - Day 28

Just a quick update before I go to bed (it's late!). I keep eating about 2 salads (or loads of greens) per day, plus cucumber and perhaps other veggies. Today apart from greens and (a large continental) cucumber, I had lots of golden kiwi fruit (I love them!).

Do you find some greens unpalatable? I do. I do not like bitter greens such as rocket and so I do not eat them. I like soft, tender ones which taste sweet and juicy.

Here is an article by Nora Lenz in relation to eating less-than yummy greens, in case you might find it useful:

I like to think of myself as a fruitarian... I love love love fruit!

25 September 2011 - Day 31

I am contemplating moving this experiment to the next phase by increasing the amount of greens in my diet to a really high level, in order to make this is a worthwhile experiment. Greens are said to contain the highest amount of nutrients amongst all foods and so should there be some crucial benefits to consuming them, having them in high amounts should show. I would classify my current consumption of greens as closer to moderate rather than high. You see, it seemed high to me at first, because of my close-to-nil consumption o them before my experiment. I am interested in an experiment that can show what happens when the increase of greens in one's raw diet is substantial, not just moderate. Hence my decision.

I just watched some lectures by Joel Fuhrman MD. Some interesting comments about the supriority of greens in terms of the discovered and undiscovered nutrients in them. I am emphasizing the undiscovered nutrients here, because it is important to remember how little we know about human nutrition. Lab-based science is a poor manner of trying to see the complete picture, which is far more complex than what it is currently understood. I do not share Fuhrman's sentiments about cooked foods as I believe in nature that would have provided us wth the means to digest all raw foods that our body truly needs without having resorting to cooking. This may be a naive belief, and perhaps some people do genuinely have problems wth digesting even soft, tender, ripe and juicy foods. I have not understood the reason why this should be the case however.

For some reason, Fuhrman claims also that 10%-fat in diet is not optimal. I can only guess that this somehow has got to do with not being able to reach the high amount of nutrients in one's diet according to Fuhrman. I am not aware of the details of the argument as the video is cut short and the viewer is redirected to an advertisement. Perhaps I can find that information somewhere when I have some time to do so.

28 September 2011 - Day 34

I am amazed at my never-ending desire for greens. I thought that by now I would have saciate my appetite for greens, but the opposite is the case. I continue to find them more and more appetizing! Some months ago I found celery stalks too salty and was not keen on them at all. Today, I chopped up some to go with my green salad and I absolutely adored it.

Another peculiar desire I observed recently is a taste for shallots. When I was in a supermarket shopping for fruit and veggies, I suddenly felt an appetite for them and so I got some. Yes, I did try eating them mono and they tasted sweet and lovely to me! I included them in my salad along with the greens, celery, tomato and some avo.

Today's fruit was golden kiwi fruit!

1 October 2011 - Day 37

Well, at most 2 green meals a day is what I find comfortable. My tummy seems to have a particular limit and I need some space for my fruit too. I am losing my interest in this experiment. I feel a blogging fatigue. I am not too keen to think about food too much either and have other things on my mind. But I said that I will keep this up for at least 2 months and so I will try. I wish I lived in tropics where I could access all the lovely fruit that I am missing right now...

I read an article by Frederic Patenaude in which he declares that he would not feed his children 100% raw vegan diet. I wonder, if one finds such diet unsafe for children, why would they find it safe for adults? I have more questions than answers. I can't help but feel drawn to this lifestyle, and to love of fruit. Life is short and I need to follow my heart.

7 October 2011 - Day 43

For the past few days my patterns settled at fruit meals during the day and a salad in the evening, with an avocado. I have not mentioned this yet: some day closer to the beginning of this experiment I had half an avocado (in a salad) followed by a handful of nuts, followed by breakouts on my face the next day. I find nuts too heavy. I have enjoyed the avocado in moderation during this experiment, but not every day. Mangoes are now in season, making my life a little sweeter. I find a meal of mangoes a heavenly experience, and so finding space in my tummy for some greens is not easy. Today I have not had any greens and I do not feel tempted to have any. Mangoes, golden kiwi fruit and apples today. Is the experiment over? We'll see tomorrow. I would like to see whether I will be drawn to greens. I am not going to force myself for the sake of experiment. The experiment is about having greens, as long as my body wants them, based on the test of whether such desire exists, which is to be applied daily.

I mentioned somewhere at the start that someone said that eating greens gave them a flatter tummy? Is my tummy flatter? I've no idea! I did not take a 'before' photo of my tummy.  I dislike taking photographs of myself, but anyway, here is my tummy today:

I would say it's round and full of fruit. I like it just the way it is and I always did. So that's settled.

7 October

I stopped counting the days. I am no longer intending to include greens on daily basis, but just let things unfold and observe. My patterns settled at one salad in the evening, at most, usually with an avocado. There is an avocado season now and I've been enjoying them. I've been thinking about the seasonal changes in my diet, and I asked Anne Osborne the fruitarian some questions at her iheartfruit forum. You can read my mini-interview with her here:

It's clear that it is completely natural to observe some seasonal changes in one's diet, which might include periods of wanting of some type of foods, and then losing the desire for them altogether. Body is a self-regulating mechanism with many surprises to the mind that can create a limited number of patterns
at best. This is why listening to your body is a better idea than following someone else's rules.

I watched this video with Tim:

I like to observe Tim. I find it interesting how he thrives on his version of the raw vegan diet, lots of greens, green smoothie in the morning, fruit druing the day, a large salad at the end of the day. He looks fantastically healthy and radiant! What I like about him that he is happy to do his own thing. Well, I have not managed to try his style of green loving as yet, but perhaps I will later this year. At the moment I feel OK to go as I do.

I was deeply moved by the Vision of Eden by Mango Wodzak the fruitarian, you can read it on the Fruit Lovers forum here or on his blog here. I find his vision very inspiring. I feel a fruitarian at heart too, and so I feel connection with his words.

I would love to dedicate some time to study the issue of nutritional requirements and deficiences, and study a fruitarian diet in this context.  I would like to do it with a critical mind, not just by mindlessly quoting references without examining and possibly challening them. I wish. For now, I will just quote one, on the famous topic of B12, no time for more.

The fact that stool vitamin B-12 can be important in human vitamin B-12 economy was delineated by James Halsted working with Iranian vegans who did not get vitamin B-12 deficiency. It was difficult to understand why these people, who were strict vegetarians (vegans) for religious reasons, did not get vitamin B-12 deficiency. Halsted went to Iran and found that they grew their vegetables in night soi/(human manure). The vegetables were eaten without being carefully washed and the amount of retained vitamin B-12 from the manure-rich soil was adequate to prevent vitamin B-12 deficiency. Thus, strict vegetarians who do not practice thorough hand washing or vegetable cleaning may be untroubled by vitamin B-12 deficiency.
(Victor Herbert. Vitamin B-12. Plant Sources Requirements and Assay. Am J Clin Nutr 1988;48;852-8.)

Oh, and I would like to share some other reading, on one of my favorite topics, the origing of the Universe. Not quite diet related, nevertheless, so exciting!:
The Big Bang

13 November 2011

My Green Experiment is well and truly over.
I heart fruit.

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: Geek Philosopher