‘I Definitely Feel More and More Vibrant As the Years Go by—Totally Reborn.’
Of all the female fruitarians in the world, Freelee might just enjoy the greatest exposure. She beams her dozens of videos to her main YouTube channel‘s 44,000-plus subscribers. More than 17,000 have joined 30BananasADay.com, the world’s leading high-carb raw vegan forum, which she operates with her partner, Harley “Durianrider” Johnstone.
Based in Australia, Freelee, 32, makes the world her home, often traveling to Thailand and all the way to New York City. Freelee’s journey to raw fruitopia began when a yoga teacher turned her on to juicing in 2000. Freelee’s purchase of a juicer gave her a glimpse of raw foods, thanks to an included recipe book. She said she flirted with raw foods over the next few years but called such a diet “too extreme.”
Come 2006, Freelee, working as a personal trainer at a gym in Sydney, was overweight, depressed, binging frequently and suffering from poor overall health. She discovered a few raw food books, including Leslie Kenton’s Raw Energy, and explored all she could find online. Freelee sampled the gourmet raw diet, steeped in high-fat nuts, seeds and oils, and felt better than she had eating animal products but instinctively knew she could feel even better.
On a forum, Freelee read about a person’s negative experience following Dr. Doug Graham’s 80/10/10 program. A light switched on in Freelee’s head. “All I could think was, ‘I can eat all the fruit I want?’ “ she recalled thinking. “I always loved fruit!” Freelee began researching Graham’s program, which calls for a low-fat, fruit-based diet.
Soon after, Freelee met a woman leading the 80/10/10 lifestyle. “My first raw picnic, I came across this gorgeous, glowing girl who was eating only mangoes,” she said. “She was raving about how good this 811 (80/10/10 in shorthand) program was that she was following, and I had to admit her health was undeniable, so I listened as I chomped down my high-fat gourmet raw dish.”
Freelee then picked up a copy of Graham’s landmark raw food book The 80/10/10 Diet and consulted with him the following year, in 2007. “I started to feel amazing!” Freelee said. “I started to feel and look so much better than I had eating any other way so it just clicked.”
Transitioning to the 811 lifestyle was mostly a breeze for Freelee. The key, she said, is ensuring one eats enough fruit and has enough ripe produce available.
“Eating enough fruit was totally the biggest challenge for me, and sometimes it can still be a challenge, especialIy being as fit as I am,” she said. “It requires a lot of fruit to sustain yourself! It is absolutely vital to be organized on this lifestyle and surrounded by mountains of top-quality ripe produce.”
Freelee said that without enough calories to sustain her, life isn’t as fruitful as it could be. “Eating enough fruit is vital if I want to look and feel my best,” she said. “If I’m running low on fructose, then my mental state suffers and so does my all-around productivity.”
Even though she’s growing older in terms of years, Freelee said she’s feeling younger and more vital with each passing birthday. “I am now 20 kilograms leaner, acne is cleared up, chronic fatigue syndrome overcome, IBS healed, depression gone,” she said. “I definitely feel more and more vibrant as the years go by—totally reborn.”
The diet, Freelee will tell you, is only one aspect of the 811 lifestyle. Freelee’s vibrant state is bolstered by an intense fitness program, which has evolved as her body grows stronger and faster.
“I started off jogging very slowly and cycling here and there, and these days I’m doing sub-20-minute 5Ks and cycling hard up mountains,” she said. “The increase in my fitness has been incredible. As a SAD [standard American diet] eater back in the day, I thought I was fit, but the reality was that I didn’t understand what being really fit truly felt like.”
By the numbers, Freelee once clocked almost 30 minutes for a 5-kilometer run, but now she logs under 20 minutes. She runs a half-marathon in 1 hour, 36 minutes and a 10K in about 43 minutes. Freelee describes these times as “massive gains.”
Freelee’s favorite fruit is Malaysian durian and favorite greens are sweetleaf, iceberg lettuce and mizuna.
Freelee supplements with Vitamin B12 every other month. She considers B12 the only supplement one should take, regardless of diet, because modern farming practices have left soil deficient in cobalt, vital in the creation of Vitamin B12. On her website TheBananaGirl.com, Freelee features an article on B12. She doesn’t get regular blood tests because she considers herself to be well enough that they’re not warranted.
Freelee recommends those transitioning to a low-fat, fruit-based diet to count their calories using Cronometer.com. She suggests a minimum of 2,500 calories a day for women and 3,000 calories for men based on her experience coaching people to thrive on a high-carbohydrate raw food diet.
Freelee urges folks struggling with a raw diet and cravings for suboptimal fare to, quite simply: “Eat more fruit! Eat big smoothies—monomeals [or meals comprising just one kind of food such as fruit] are the best for satiation at mealtime. Make breakfast and lunch your biggest meals, over 1,000 calories from fruit for each before dinner. This will ensure you are not ravenous by dinnertime and at the hunger stage where you are prepared to eat anything, which usually means something unhealthy.”
For those who want to eat healthfully but still sit down to cooked dinners, Freelee and her mother created the Raw Till 4 Facebook page. This program appeals to those who’d like to consume fruits for breakfast and lunch plus a cooked high-carb, plant-based dinner.
Freelee published Go Fruit Yourself in fall 2011 and is halfway through writing The Banana Girl Diet, inspired by 80/10/10 and her desire to transform the lives of women around the world. She’s also writing a comic book while continuing to produce videos on topics such as raw recipes, exercise, losing weight and bathing minimally.
“If a particular subject is inspiring at that moment, I will make a video about it,” she said. “Making videos is definitely a lot of fun and is a creative outlet for me. I recommend everyone starts a YouTube channel!”
Watch Freelee in Action in a Popular Video
Discover Freelee’s Top 10 Tips for health!
Hungry for more? Check out Freelee’s Creaming Soda recipe!
Check out Harley “Durianrider” Johnstone’s transformation profile!