The personal blog of Frank Lesko. Award-winning writer. Non-profit entrepreneur. Activist. Religious professional. Foodie. Musician. All around curious soul and Renaissance man.

See also my professional blog: The Traveling Ecumenist.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Fruit Effect

You may remember that I don't like fruit. It actually surprises me how people dive into a bowl of strawberries or knock down a bunch of bananas in a single sitting. Here I am forcing down a single banana intentionally for my health, and they can't seem to stop.

So I made a conscious choice to eat more fruit--it just doesn't seem right to avoid an entire food group, even if my body doesn't seem to want it. And the change has been rather successful. I probably eat 4-6 servings of whole fruit each week. That may not seem like much to you people who can enjoy a whole case of strawberries in a single sitting, but this has been a substantial change for a person who could previously go a year without eating fruit and never notice the absence.

So what has been the net effect?

I must clarify--I used to gorge myself on fruit juices. Even though I ate no solid fruits, I would drink ridiculous amounts of 100% fruit juice. I stocked the larder to capacity with bottles and bottles of it. Orange, apple and cranberry were favorites, but so were others. When I started eating whole fruit, I stopped drinking so much juice. I still make sure to have a tall glass of OJ in the morning and often re-hydrate in the hot summer with juice, but the amount has significantly gone down. You could say I gained some fruit in my diet and lost some. However, it was probably a net gain since I am now eating all the fiber and pulp. So it wasn't entirely accurate to say that I ate no fruit--just no whole fruit.

I also noticed that my vegetable consumption has gone down with my increase in fruit. I absolutely love vegetables, especially cooked. Stir fries, soup, stews, you name it, bring on the veggies and then bring more. But lately I just don't eat as much of it.

I gravitate toward a diet that has pretty equal servings between meats, starches and fruit/vegetables. There is a natural equilibrium that I can't seem to shake, and maybe I shouldn't.

Let's say that for lunch I eat a sandwich. It has meat, bread and a number of vegetable fixin's (lettuce, tomato, etc). My awareness of the ingredients in this sandwich will be largely dependent on what I ate in the previous meal. If I had two eggs for breakfast (as a high protein, "meat" meal), I'll be very much tuned in to the bread and veggies in my lunch sandwich. If I ate a starchy oatmeal breakfast, then I'll be looking forward to the meat in the lunch sandwich more than the bread--I'll think about it before the meal and taste it more while eating it. Over the course of the day, amounts will balance out.

So has there really been a net effect of forcing myself to eat more fruit? I think so. I'm eating just as much fruits and veggies, but I'm getting more of them in whole form and less through juice. I'm eating more raw foods. My veggies have gone, but I end up with a more diverse diet than before. I'd say diversity is better than anything when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

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