Many thanks for agreeing to be interviewed as a fruitarian.
I am quite excited about doing it, exploring myself through your questions.
Could you please start off by introducing yourself.. tell us who you are, a little about yourself, how old you are, what part of the world you grew up in? anything particular else you consider might be relevant to get an insight into who Jamshed is...
Jamshed is the name my father chose for me two weeks short of forty years ago. I am a male who grew up in the city of Leicester with my English side (I'm of Anglo-Indian decent-father Hindu Indian origin , mother English origin). I went to school/university and then leaped out out of the normal way of living in many respects.
Do you have a website or blog?
I have a page on giveittomeraw.com and some stuff on tribe.net.
Could you perhaps give us the direct links to those pages?
Yes, http://www.giveittomeraw.com/profile/jamshed and
OK.. How long have you known about the fruit diet?
I heard about a fruitarian diet in 1990 when a friend told me about someone doing it and kind of wasting away.
And when do you think it was that you first viewed fruitarianism in a more positive light?
Well later that year on Saturday 1st December 1990, a very memorable day, I met a man called Dave Shelley who seemed very well and enthusiastic for life and the fruitarian diet. I was so excited by all the ideas it brought to me, I slept little that weekend as my head was so full of thoughts relating to the wider contexts of this diet. That day I decided fruit was going to be my food and I would let go of the many complications that seem to come with a cooked diet.
Backtrack to your earlier years, what kind of diet did you grow up with?
I grew up having a bottle with cows milk and then started eating the cows as well. When I was six years old I saw on a Sunday farming television program some sheep being killed, I was totally shocked realising that one of my favourite 'foods' - lamb (which I was about to eat) was from the body of a real lamb which was killed for me and others to eat. I told my mother I was not eating them any more. Seeing this I realised that the other meat was animals too and that fish on the plate was once the fish swimming in the water, I also thought that the eggs I ate would hatch out into little chicks if I did not eat them. I stopped eating them all and told my mother I would eat them if they died of old age. No one else in the family I grew up with had a vegetarian diet, and this is one of two things in my life up to now that I feel enormous gratitude to my mother for, letting me do this. I had wondered about what happened to the milked cows when they got old and finally when I was seventeen I read a leaflet saying what happened to cows after being milked and what happed to the calves-so I finally weened myself that day : )
Could you give us a rough idea of what you used to eat on an average day?
I used to eat a lot of heavy vegan food, pasta, cereals, soyamilk, bread, sweets, biscuits oh and some of that beautiful stuff called fruit occasionally which I quite liked.
Compare that to now, what does a typical days food intake look like for you now, and how long have you been eating this way?
Well my eating does vary in quantity and type although it has been raw since the date mentioned. My staple is always fruit, I love to eat out in trees, how much I do this depends very much on my location which has varied since adopting a fruit based diet. For the first eight years I ate a total fruit diet that included non sweet fruit like avocadoes and tomatoes, then I started eating green leafy things that grow above ground like lettuce, arrugala (rocket), then came celery, and the last three years I have been eating nuts too. I often have water in the morning and then fruits in the afternoon and a salady type meal in the evening with avocados or nuts, some times I go back to soley fruits for a few days,weeks or months.
Interesting, why was it you stopped eating solely fruit after 8 years of doing so? And I would have thought that nuts being a pretty heavy processed food, that you maybe find them more difficult to process, any comments?
I stopped a solely fruit diet after living in Spain. There I had started to feel more and more unwell progressively, it was only when I returned to England and read up that I realised I had all the symptoms of what is called B12 defficiency. I investigated quite a bit. I had let the condition progress quite far, and once actually getting back to England I started to eat mushrooms straight the way, I felt an urge to eat other things. After reading Victoras Kulvinskas's book I decided to do the sprouting seeds thing, I did greens for the Folic acid-intrinsic factor (wow what a lot of complicated stuff I read), in a technical study I read that if the condition continues it can lead to permenent nerve damage, well I love to feel and I looked into supplements as well. No way did I want one that was derived from animal ingridients also I did not want some high tech chemicalled produced one. I realised that what people often take is a compound with cyanide, (I was told that was a poison as a little boy, also I was told poison is not type of substance but amount,ha ha) and in massive times the daily amonuts. I bumped into an aquantence who was a doctor and he saw the state i was in and recommened something like a million times the daily amount injected to my gluteus maximus. I found a supplement that was based on yeast, 100 % vegan ingredients, and each tablet 50 times daily amonut, and started to take it. Oh yes, I had also started eating nutritional yeast, Yum-yum-very gunky though, and aslo I grew wheatgrass for a short time and juiced it . What a varied diet. The suppliment tablets I broke in half, half am and half pm. With all the changes within two weeks I started to feel better, and after two months I started making a yurt, collecting all the wood and doing all the work by hand. I do not believe that I got ill/deficient because I was on a fruit diet and in no way has it put me off. I see that it was due to three things : I was drinking the local water which was known to have high levels of phosphates which interfere with asimilation in the intestines aparently, I was eating poor quality denatured food in Spain, and three not having optimal intestinal health. Also as a good freind MR Wodzak pointed out 'not enough hugs and love' - it was a few years until I really understood this. I really have a strong faith/inclination/trust/inner knowing that fruit from the tree, sunshine, air, joy, kisses dances, rain and wind and stars are a recipe for divine health and awareness.
Returning to your question about nuts being more difficult to digest, yes I would agree with this. One does not always choose the easiest path :) Presently I am living in a city in the middle of England, this is difficult for me to digest too, however once I get into the flow of the change I get acclimatised and find a rythm, things become more comfortable again then. May not be the ideal, however my wish and movement is towards this and I can accept it sometimes involves two steps forward and occasionally one back :)
So you are saying that you have complete faith in the 100% fruit diet, yes?
That is not a one word answer question for me. I love fruit I think it is beautiful, I feel it is beautiful, it is given by the plants and I welcome it.
Being in a tree eating I feel part of the whole of life, in the same family as the birds, bees, lions and tigers, eating in way which really does make my heart sing. I feel I have a freedom in my life which I really appreciate. I do not say I will never eat animals, although I abhor the idea of a creature being killed for me to eat, and really do not see it as food to me now, as far as I am concerned there is as much sense and desire in me eating animal flesh as human flesh, I do not see this as happening.
Eating cooked vegetables, I could do this, but I much more resonate with the idea of living in a warm climate where the fruits grow easily all year round and making them my food- this has happened at times, I have been yo-yo'ing back to the city of Leicester where my mother lives and have not made a stable home of the tropics like you mango.
Do I have faith in the 100% fruit diet? well generally the most peacefull and joyous times in my life are when I follow 100% fruit diet, I can see myself living continuously on a fruit diet 100% (the quality though is very important and I see this as happening when predominently I pick the fruit I eat, I wish to honour the tree by being present as I except it's gift, I know this sounds fancy words but I mean it, I love picking and taking fruits for friends but I much prefer to take a freind to the tree. Farming both organic and inorganic I have appreaciation for, it supllies most of my food at this time in my life,I have worked many years on Organic farms and consider the way to be quite brutal of treating the trees and the earth. I love gardens cared for with love, and I have a great deal of appreaciation for the guerilla gardening of simply planting trees in different places to encourage them and caring for them. I think I answered more than your question.
Anyway I would say yes I do have faith in this diet for me. For other people, they have there own choices and experiences to make and I wish not to tell them what they should do. I am very enthusiastic about fruit, I think just as much as when I started, perhaps even more.
I kind of understand what you are saying here (and why), but don't you think that really everyone would ultimately benefit from being on a fruit diet? I mean, much as everyone is responsible to make their own choices in life, I don't believe you are saying that some are physiologically designed to eat differently.. ?
Wow, you raise a lot of points there for me Mango. Firstly I prefer not to be in the 'everyone or nobody, always or never, good or bad, right or wrong' state of mind, thinking about so called everyone is beyond my mental capacity - I know that sounds to be taking it too literally, I do think there are a lot of people on the earth and I have only met and got to know a tiny fraction of them. The 'world' view is something I shy away from, it does not feel comfortable to me, I can do it by myself even without looking at televisions and newspapers by loosing touch with myself. If I treat each person as an individual and experience the life choices as new each time I consider them it keeps them alive and real and is what I would call being free.
I do not think in terms of people being physically designed to eat differently or even the same - as I do not see me as being physically 'designed', I came from my mothers womb, and and am fairly sure who she is - that's enough for me.
Thinking about the suitability of a persons body to maintain and be in health on a certain diet seems to be negating whole parts of their being. I chose a lacto-vegetarian diet when I was six years old, and a vegan when seventeen and a fruit diet at twenty-two, these were easy choices for me to make and I have continued them (apart from not being 100 % fruit). I feel fortunate in this, some people seem to have such a hard time in life taking care of life. I do not count any one out from being on a raw fruit diet, I just don't like to say everyone could be and would be much healthier. I suppose the ultimate test of me following this pattern of thought/consiousness right through would be with my mother. Since being back in Leicester with her for over a year now I have pushed for her to change her diet and her health, I consider her to have a much lower state of health/wellbeing than is possible. A few years ago I took care of her meals for about six months and she was what I, other family and herself consider to be in the best health for some years. It was a struggle for me and once I let go of pushing she returned to her 'normal' ways. Trying to change others is a distraction I feel this and the idea of 'all' others being able to change all as we did is also I beleive. I love to invite people to share in things I am doing. Last summer a women rode on a bicycle at my invitation for the first time in over 50 years, I invite people to take their shoes off when they see me walking with my soles on the earth ' and ask how does it feel'. Stepping out of the ordinary responses is exciting and so I see is being open to step out, so when I am invited to share in a cooked meal with friends I like to make a choice and encourage my friends to continue to keep this openess to change alive within me.
So what do you think it was that sparked your changes??
Enthusiasm for change in my life and compassion for others.
You're currently in the UK, but planning to head over to the US pretty soon, anywhere in particular you think you'll be hanging out there?
Well I am in England now, was liking the idea of getting to the west coast of the USA, have lots are dear friends in Ashland and Portland, Oregon and also in Santa Cruz , California. I would love to be again in these places. Santa Barbara, climate and fruits I enjoy very much too, would be nice for this winter. It looks like I may not go until April now as I have not yet connected with someone to share a cabin on a ship with, plus I do not have residency and like the idea of having the whole of the summer there.
I know you'll probably be travelling by sea, care to enlighten us all why you will unlikely be considering a flight journey instead?
I really do not feel drawn to being hurtled through the air, even going on fast trains is a turn off. I did get on a aeroplane last year to return to England to my sick mother, enjoyed it a lot and found it thrilling. However I really do not wish to repeat it. I like to be intimate in my life and live in a way such that I can be part of others doing that too. I could write an essay on how I feel about aeroplane travel, I am not anti it, I just feel drawn to going at a pace that is more like my own.
I guess there's always the issue of the enormous amount of fossil fuels needed for flights too right?
Yes and ships take huge amounts too, ships though as far as I know in their simplest from are the most efficient way to transport goods or people. I would rather put my money into going on a fancy cruise ship with masses of extras laid on basically by so called third world workers than into a form of travel whuich is far removed from the ones I am most a kin to ie walking and swimming.
I know you know Anne, and myself, but how many other fruitarians have you come across on your travels??
Probably five people who saw fruit as basically their food, we are rather a select bunch, I would like to ad though that I am a breatharian between meals and when I see people enjoying fruit I see the fruitarian in them.
Any of those 5 that haven't been interviewed yet?
I am unsure exactly who those five are mango! I attempted to come up with a figure that sumised a figure of fruity beings I've met, people go off the fruit wagon now and then it seems and even fruitarian queen Anne is not a 100%'er so I did not really know how to judge it, fair play on me though ha ha for trying to fit people in the fruitarian fruit box.
Can you tell us a little about your health before and after the dietary changes you've made? What about your weight? Any significant losses or gains?
I used to 'have hay fever' first summer after starting a fruit diet I was Sun bathing on a hay stack which would have been torture before. Also used to be crippled with poor breathing at least once a year, now it's only very occasionally if I get very stressed and sad and eat a lot, it's happened about four times in the last eighteen years. My weight did go very low once, down to 99 pounds! I was eating 100 % organic fruit and a lot of it, ended up going to the Canary Islands and ate less and only a few types of fruit, all very local. Was enjoying life a lot, lots of excercise and fresh air, two swims a day, work I enjoyed ended up putting on over 40 lbs in just a few months. My weight has never gone any where near that low again.
What do your mother and father make of your being fruitarian? What about the rest of your family?
At first my mother said to me 'jamshed I think you are going a bit too far now' she offered to bargain with me by going vegan to get me to start eating normally again. Since then has seen me live an energetic life and have much less ill health, and stopped a long time ago trying to get me to eat cooked food, I'm the one that pushes for her to eat more fresh food and less cooked/processed. My father thought I would be weak, as I was and am slim, however we worked together for three and a half months every day in a large construction project and he could see my strength and endurance, he has concern over me eating too much of one thing and not enough protein - he's from a medical background. Others in my family? well I have always been a bit different.
Do you have a partner?
Mango, thank-you for thinking to put in that question. I have many dear friendships and loved ones, they are my valuables, I am not in a relationship with a women of the baby making type (care not for the other labels for this 'type' of relationship) at the moment, and love the idea of this.
What's your view on supplements? - Stuff like vitamin pills, spirulina or similar? Are you at all concerned about not getting enough calcium/protein/B12/whatevers??
I am concerned about the quality of the fruit and water that I drink, and not about consuming these supplement products or the levels of various things. One of the biggest attractions to this diet was that of joining the rest of life on earth and eating in a simple way without being told what to eat and when.
Do you, or have you ever, suffered at all from cravings, or have you ever binge eaten? how do/did you deal with such times?
After switching to a raw diet I do not remember craving cooked food, once I had decided to change that was it, full stop, as was the case each time I refined my diet. Yes I reckon I do binge eat if that means eating a lot all at once, not all the time, usually when I am feeling a bit empty in my life-trying to fill up a space. Moderation is such a key especailly with such a powerful food as fruit,when I do this with fruit my life becomes so beautifull and rich with experience and peace.
I know there's a great market in Leicester where you are now, do you get most of your food from there? How does the choice you have there, compare to places you stay in the US?
The outdoor fruit and veg market does have a reputation and I have had some wonderful fruits from there, especially mangoes. It is virtually all non-organic and is usually at a very low monetary cost because it is ripe and ready to eat. How ever in the last few years I think it would be common opinion to say it has much declined in quality and qauntity. I buy most of my food from a wholefood shop in Leicester, all organic, today I bought the golden fruits from there: Egremont Russett apples and Conference Pears (when ever people talk to me of conferences I seem to imediately loose the plot and think of the pears!) I will endeavor to take a picture of them, they are so beautiful to me.
The choice of good quality organic fruit in leicester is no where near as good as I have experienced in Ashland, Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and in Santa Cruz, Mount Shasta, Santa Barbara, California. This is a big reason why I wish to return to the west coast of north America.
Do you ever talk with others about fruitarianism? If so, what do you think is the most common question people might ask you about it?
I do not call myself a fruitarian or vegan, I say what I usually eat, ie fruit, not into labels either on the fruit or me.
Aha!? But you'ld still call a mango a mango right?
Mango I will call you whatever you wish me to, and and I will call it with affection and appreaciation, thank-you for helping to connect us all.
How do you respond when people question your lifestyle and diet?
With enthusiasm usually, I am still very excited about fruit 18 years after realising it's wonder, and can talk for quite a time about it if someone is interested.
Do you have a favourite fruit?
Yes, I suppose I do. Figs, i feel really drawn to the trees, seem to have a sixth sense for spotting them, they call out to me I reckon because they know how much I appreciate what they offer. I have a wonder for all beautifully ripe fruits, and don't like to exclude any of them really because I remember how good they are when I'm hungry and they are ready.
Can you recall the first time you tried one?
Yes , the first time a ate a fig was in southern Portugal, and I really remember having so much energy after eating them. When I was a boy I loved fig rolls (fig newton).
I guess you must enjoy travelling? Have any favourite places as far as fruit goes that you could recommend to us all?
I do get very excited once I am getting ready to dpart on an adventure, however i would love to be settled in one place and so content as to not wish to leave. I have eaten some wonderful fruits in Santa Barbara,California - great climate outside the tropics for a variety of fruits through the year.
Where and how do you see yourself living and eating in 10 years from now?
Mango I really do not know where I will be next spring let alone in ten years time. I do like the idea that where ever I may be in ten years time (presuming my life continues to that point) that I am at peace with it, who knows where it will be or what I'll be eating - I like to be open to change, being on one of the Hawaiian islands and eating mangoes and the occasional durian does sound rather good though.
How do you feel if people tell you that you must be crazy, and that you can't possibly survive eating the way you do??
I would probably smile and say " Yes I guess it seems that way when your used to eating 'normally', and yes it's not a diet to survive on it's one to florish on!"
Finally, is there anything you'ld like to add as words of encouragement to those that are aspiring toward fruitarianism?
Enjoy what you eat, not sure about trying to be anything, achieving goals and all that kind of thing, I like to let go and embrace in life, there seems plenty enough stress.
I love the simplicity of the diet, if it calls to you-hooray!