By Honey Morris, Assistant Online Editor
Mango Wodzak is an ethical fruitarian who has been barefoot and vegan since the early 1990s. Mango is the author of “Destination Eden – Fruitarianism Explained” and “The Eden Fruitarian Guidebook”. Mango is also busy working on a third book that will explain his transition and life struggles in more detail. Mango resides in Far North Queensland and we recently had an opportunity to talk to Mango about fruitarianism and how he’s fortunate enough to live in a fruit bowl.
Your book “Destination Eden – Fruitarianism Explained” focuses on the concept of fruitarianism and, in particular, the term Eden Fruitarianism. How would you define Eden Fruitarianism?
Eden Fruitarianism is an extension of the philosophy of veganism. It basically takes veganism to its logical conclusion, and embraces the ethics of respect, kindness and compassion for all life on earth, leading us back toward our true spiritual natures and physiological needs as a manifested frugivorous species. It recognises an inherent ‘will to exist’ present within all life forms, including plants, and values the concept of the golden rule; to treat all other lives as if it were we ourselves living them. In addition to the avoidance of wilful harm toward all species, Eden Fruitarianism recognises the uniqueness of fruit as a truly paradisiacal food, gifted karmically freely by the plant, thus given the right conditions, obtainable without cause for deliberate injury or damage to any other life-form. It’s about bringing our attitudes and behaviours back into sync with a potential life spent in the Garden of Eden. After all, how can anyone ever truly expect to live in Eden if they cannot behave appropriately?
If I may, to give an example, a general plant based vegan diet, is often quite reliant on monocrop agriculture, especially cereals and grains, which are frequently considered staples and make up a good deal of one’s animal free food choices. However the Eden Fruitarian recognises the inherent harm and unnaturalness of such choices, which clearly oppose the natural tendency of biodiversity, as well as necessitate loss of both wildlife habitat and animal lives, and the slow depletion of the earth’s minerals and topsoil, which may even eventually, or inevitably, lead to land desertification. Eden Fruitarianism proposes instead, that we shift our focus to tree based agriculture, which does not require the earth to be violently ploughed annually and biannually.
Please, tell us a little bit about your own journey, when did you become a fruitarian and, what drew you to the fruitarian lifestyle?
I guess my journey started back in the early 1990s, I had already been an ethical vegan for some years, and happened to attend an International Vegan Festival, the sixth one I believe, in Bedfordshire, England. There, I was fortunate enough to attend a small lecture given by a Spanish fellow named Francisco Martin, who talked about the benefits of eating raw food. I think I must have been extremely receptive to the message at that time, because everything he said seemed to make such perfect sense to me. I immediately went to the event organiser, and requested that the kitchen staff, responsible for feeding the gathering, cater for one more raw fooder!
It did not take me long after this, to understand the uniqueness of fruit as a food. Of all foods, in their raw, natural state, fruit is clearly the most vibrantly colourful, the most naturally fragrant, and the most appealing to all senses. It also soon became apparent, that unlike other plant foods, picking fruit from the tree, when they are ripe and ready, is a peaceful, fun and healthy affair requiring no harm to the plant, who clearly stands to benefit from this symbiotic interaction (through carrying and dispersing her fruit flesh encapsulated seed away from beneath the mother plant). Compare for example the harvesting of a carrot, which basically terminates the life of the carrot, whereas picking a ripe apple from a tree, need cause no harm whatsoever to the tree.
Unlike turning vegan however, a decision I took seriously as a lifetime commitment, where there was never any thought of going back, transitioning to an all fruit diet did not turn out to be an overnight matter. Battling the cravings for the cooked foods one has become detrimentally addicted to, is generally no easy affair! In fact, in all honesty, although I went through long phases eating only fruit, and always kept in mind the fruitarian lifestyle as a goal I desperately strived toward, it was not until I joined up with my fellow fruitarian partner, Kveta, in 2006, that I was fully able to let go of eating the occasional lettuce or carrot. I intend to reveal all in my third book, which will be autobiographical in essence, and explain my transition and life struggles much more thoroughly.
What fruits form the mainstay of your diet and what would you say are the main benefits of fruitarianism?
Our diet varies naturally depending on what is in season at the time. We are fortunate enough to be living in what might be considered a fruit bowl, with many of our own fruit trees, as well as local fruit growers living in the area. For example, at the moment the mango season is just coming to an end, and we’ve naturally been enjoying them every day! One thing that we do tend to have all year round, is an ample supply of oranges; we love our orange juices, and frequently blend them with whatever else is in season, like at the moment, mangoes! We have a blender, with a big 2 litre jug, which is just about the right size for the two of us. We also have a slow press juicer, so another regular meal we have practically daily, is a juice made from tomatoes, cucumbers and pumpkin. Yes, pumpkin is definitely a fruit too, and we quite enjoy this juice. We probably tend toward drinking most of our meals, but we do occasionally have small salads made from zucchini, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper and avocado. Or we may just eat an avocado by itself.
The benefits of eating only fruit are profound and far-reaching, not only for one’s own personal health, but for the well-being of the environment, the biodiversity of flora and fauna, and for Gaia, the planet, as it encourages a restoration of sanity. Gaia has been unfathomably badly abused by our species, and one of the best things we can do to help heal her once more is to plant more trees, Eden Fruitarianism encourages precisely this. As a food, fruit is incredibly cleansing, and any long-term fruitarian will attest to its ability to ward off all manner of disease. Gone will be those annual colds and flus which are nothing more than the body spring cleaning itself from built-up waste products and toxins; inevitable consequences of eating any cooked foods!
Is fruitarianism suitable for all body types?
Ha! Yes, we are all fundamentally the same species, ultimately with the same physiological needs. It doesn’t matter if we’re big or small, male or female, blue or pink, overweight, underweight or just right. Of course, we’re all in different stages of physical and mental health, which will play a role in individual needs at any particular moment, and it’s quite understandable that we may all be attracted to different fruits at different times. But I feel quite confident in stating, that anybody who is genuinely sincere in their quest to eat solely fruit has the potential to succeed in doing so.
Actually, in retrospect, I think a lot of the differences in body type are precisely due to different diets, and were we all to become Eden Fruitarians, some of us would surely still be 4 foot while others exceed 6 foot, but we would likely all otherwise be slim, sleek and healthy.
What do you feel is the biggest misconception of fruitarianism?
People tend to get much too caught up in the whole nutritional science package and this often leads to failure. They think of fruit as too much sugar, and not enough minerals and protein or whatever, but they’ve probably never even seen a protein before, nor is it likely that they have ever analysed the mineral content of any fruit. There is often this preconceived notion that an all fruit diet is imbalanced, but much as there may be no real studies done to prove the functionality of fruitarianism, there are also no studies done to disprove its functionality either. After practising it for so many years, I am fully confident in fruit to sustain and nourish me with all my needs.
In Destination Eden you also talk about becoming barefoot, what benefits have come from this way of living?
Yes, being barefoot is an important part of Eden Fruitarianism, as is naturism, I’ve been barefoot since about 1993 I think, I currently don’t even own any footwear! There are numerous benefits to not imprisoning one’s feet, the first thing that springs to my mind, is the freedom it gives to one’s toes, allowing them to spread naturally the way nature intended for them to! When confined to footwear, the toes are generally restricted, and over a lifetime of such abuse, become deformed. In fact, the whole of the foot becomes deformed, weakened and pasty from being constantly cooped up! I also love that it gives one permanent foot reflexology; every step is a massage, bringing one closer to mother Earth! Sometimes it’s the case that the ground is hard, or the rocks are sharp, and it may hurt the feet to walk on such ground, one must therefore learn to tread lighter, but one thing is for sure, at the end of a day spent barefoot, my feet always feel great, whereas in the past when I used to wear shoes, walking across any terrain may have felt the same, with the padded comfort and support of footwear, but at the end of the day my feet always felt terrible, and frequently had odour issues which are completely absent now!
Finally, what advice/tips would you give to anyone who’s just starting out as a fruitarian?
Don’t focus on those who have failed, but rather on those who have succeeded. If one is sincere, there is no need to map out lengthy transitions, it can (and for all intents and purposes should) be done overnight, at least it is good to hold that intention, even from a cooked omnivorous diet! My wife’s mother left us a few days ago, she stayed with us for five months, and ate only fruit with us. At 80 years old, she had been eating a standard Western diet, and weighed in at 75 kg on arrival. On the day she flew back home, she weighed in at 53 kg, and felt 20 or 30 years younger. She never had any problems moving from one day to the next. Of course she had it easy, because we have a temptation free environment, with the nearest shop some 15 km away, but it just goes to prove it can be done at any age! We even got her walking around the garden barefoot!
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