A vegan diet is “the single biggest way” to reduce your environmental impact and save the planet. But how about my FRUiT based raw vegan health lifestyle here in Northern Germany, where I have to import a lot of my fruits from other countries? How does eating non-local whole foods align with my ideals of sustainability? While I think we absolutely must find solutions on how to reduce transport emissions and yet still have high quality fruit – the most vital food for humans – available everywhere, we must also consider other factors in addition to locality when looking at a food’s impact on our planet…
Fruit trees are SUPERIOR in their benefits to the ecosystem, to farmers and to our personal health:
- FRUiT TREES allow to utilize vertical space and thus yield most calories / carbohydrates per square acre.1 Carbohydrates are the main source of energy fuel for our cells – we cannot survive without sugars. In my eyes, we must invest into the growth of fruit trees if we want to feed the growing world population sustainably and healthily.
- FRUiT TREES capture CO2 and breath oxygen into the air. Destroying (tropical) forests for animal agriculture or for growing plants like soy – mostly for feeding industrial animals – sets off huge amounts of greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere.2
- FRUiT TREES are permanent (unlike crops) and bear fruit for decades while requesting fewer (harmful) agricultural inputs.3 Fruit trees don’t depend upon harmful monoculuture agricultural practices, such as harsh artificial fertilizers, crop rotations or soil tilling – these monocroppingg agricultural practices destroy our soil and thus threaten our future food security.4
- FRUiT TREES are essential in permaculture design (permaculture mimics how natural forests and jungles are built – the opposite to harmful monoculture farming) and therefore maximize our ecosystem’s biodiversity.5 Fruit trees are protection, food and homes to various animals + pollinators and they provide the ideal environment for all kinds of other plants to grow beneath, such as shade for shade loving plants. These natural relationships reduce the need for extra watering, which further lowers the footprint of fruit farming.6
- FRUiT TREES help to conserve the water cycle and reduce storm water management problems – e.g. minimizing erosion by absorbing the water runoffs.7
- FRUiT TREES serve as windbreaks and living fences protecting other plants8 and have a high tolerance to drought due to their deep root system and perennial (=year round) growth.9
- Thus FRUiT TREES provide a safety net during periods of crop failure for farmers.10 We will face more severe storms and droughts more frequently during climate change11 and in my eyes fruit could thus serve as an emergency food source for the human population.
- FRUiT TREES can be a valuable source of other materials than just fruit for food: wood for all sorts of purposes; tree sap for environmentally friendly rubber, glue, wax;12 fruit, leaves, bark and roots for medicinal uses. Also, fruit forests can be a place for people to learn and live.
- FRUiT can provide us with a diversity and balance in nutrients, vitamins & minerals making it an excellent source of nutrition and can help our bodies heal from various physical issues such as diabetes13, cardiovascular diseases14 and autoimmune conditions15. In fact, fruit is human food16 – we are not a herbivore but a frugivore species17 that derived from the bonobo ape18 in the tropics. We share a symbiotic relationship with fruit trees by ingesting their fruit and dispersing the seeds back into the ground fertilized with our poop (If we would poop right back into the earth or via a compost toilet.) Can we come any closer to living in harmony with nature?
- FRUiTS use up less resources like energy and water in terms of A)…NO cooking, no processing required to make fruit edible….and NO additional ingredients (salt, oils, spices) needed to make fruit tasty (compared to animal products, grains, beans and even many vegetables that do not satisfy most people on their own) B)…NO or little packaging and comparatively lower cooling necessary to make fruit last (like all whole foods compared to animal products and processed foods) C)…preventing the development of diseases followed up by resource intense medical procedures and use of pharmaceuticals (compared to animals products and processed foods).
★ SEVEN TiPS for a sustainable fruit based raw vegan diet away from the tropics:
- Eat the fruit in season in your country or in a country close to you. In summer I have much more local fruit available and during winter my staples are stored local apples from fall and citrus from Italy.
- Purchase as much organic fruit as you can (most organic labels in Europe can be trusted and are no humbug). You will feel how much better high quality organic fruits taste and satiate.
- Buy as much fruit as you can from industry independent organizations that support tropical small indigenous farmers. Once in a while I order at Orkos (non-paid advertisement), a small company supplying high quality organic and fair fruit to European countries – the fruit is incomparably tasty!
- Try to minimize water intense plant foods like nuts, coffee, cacao/chocolate (they are pricy anyways). I personally do avoid these, because I would get an itchy + inflamed mouth and feel fatigued. And it is even backed by science – unsprouted nuts have an acidic effect on the body and coffee and cacao are also highly stimulative to our adrenal glands, which are responsible for our metabolism and feeling fatigued.
- Prefer fresh whole fruits and vegetables over packaged and processed raw vegan products such as oils, ”raw vegan“ cheeses / sauces / dips etc. – they not only increase our footprint, but also cannot compete with the health benefits of fresh living plant foods. Our body likes it pure and simple for optimal digestion and wellbeing.
- Pick your own fruit from public gardens or meadow orchards. During the summer I love to pick berries from bushes or cherries from the tree whenever I come across them.
- Grow your own fruit and greens if you can. We do lots of sprouting at our home and we have some tomatoes in our garden. Like many others, I dream of us all working together towards having our own permaculture land aka fruit forest independent of the industry.
If you want to FEEL GOOD when eating a fruit based raw vegan diet, make sure to…
♥ Never restrict yourself, but make sure you are getting enough calories (2000+ per day depending upon your own needs and level of activity).
♥ Balance with fruit vegetables (cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, chilli etc.) and leafy greens in the form of green juices and salads. If more grounding is needed, don’t be afraid of having some steamed vegatables or sweet potatoe – this lifestyle is fun as long as you do not make a dogma out of it! Which leads me to:
♥ Just do the best you can! If you do not have fruit available where you live – eating high carb whole plants such as grains and potatoes is very good, too! If you do not have package free fruit, but only wrapped in plastics, in your stores – purchasing that is ok, too! If you do not have access ro organic fruit – you can look at the “dirty dozen clean 15” list and come off very well, too! I am very lucky with the lifestyle available to me and making this high standard (in combination with lowering our footprint) available to more people is my number one goal in life.