There are many reasons why I love and appreciate being on a fruit diet. There are the health advantages, the fact that fruit is just about the best way to eat to help our environment, the way a fruit diet resonates with my ethics, the symbiotic relationship we have with fruit plants and the simplicity of eating monomeals of fruit (and the lack of washing up afterward!).
There is another aspect of fruit, however, that brings me a huge delight, and that is the way it looks. It is said that beauty is only skin deep, but I think that, with fruit, its charms also run deep and lie well below the pretty outer peel.
Fruit is simply meant to appeal to us visually. In the depths of the tropical rainforests, where many different fruit plants and trees vie with one another to attract our attention, looking good could make all the difference between being chosen to be eaten or falling neglected to the ground.
Fruit trees need us to notice their fruits; unlike animals, plants are pretty stationary, and this means they can have a hard time distributing their fertilized seeds. The parent plant does not want her seeds falling into the earth too close to herself, where her babies would then be competing with her for space, light and nutrients. Rather, she would prefer her seeds to be carried far away, where they will have the room to grow and a better chance of survival.
And this is where we—and other fruit-loving creatures—come into the picture. The fruit tree makes her fruits visually and olfactorily appealing so that we are attracted to them and then pick the fruit and subsequently disperse the precious seeds within. A beautiful red rambutan will stand out against the green leaves, and our excellent colour stereoscopic vision ensures we will have no trouble finding that ripe fruit nestling among the verdant greenery.
Therefore, the vibrancy and beauty of fruit has a purpose of allurement. Much as the colours and scents of a flower attract insects to pollinate the blooms, so the hues and visual attractiveness of fruit ensures humans and other fruit-loving creatures can find it easily as soon as it is ripe.
Because it is not in the best interest of a plant to have its fruit eaten in its unripe stage, before it is fully mature, when the seeds may not be viable, the bright colours of fruit develop only as the fruit becomes fully ripe. Most fruit is green before it is ripe, and this helps it remain undiscovered among the leaves until the fruit is ripe and the seeds within are fully developed.
Out of the Blue?
Just as there is a huge diversity in the tastes and textures of fruit, so there is an amazing variety in the shapes and colours of fruits.
There is one colour, however, that is not so popular on the fruit colour chart. There are very few blue-coloured fruits. This is because blue does not show up very well next to green whereas a red-, yellow-, or orange-coloured fruit contrasts well against a green leaf background.
Pear-Shaped or Square-Shaped
The shapes and sizes of fruit vary immensely from the tiny smooth sphere of an elderberry to the grand oval spikiness of a large durian. The wide variety of fruit shapes and sizes adds to their beautiful diversity, helping counteract the question. “But don’t you get bored just eating fruit?”
There is more variation, by far, in fruit than in the homogenous grey-brown pieces of animal flesh on the butcher’s counter. As fruit eaters, we are truly blessed with the gorgeous appearance of our food. Fruit needs no further dressing up or garnishes to make our mouth water.
Another way to view the beauty of fruit is to look at it a different way, to cut or slice it and view the geometry of the cross sections.
A star apple, or caimito, for example, looks so beautiful when you cut it horizontally across, and you can easily see where its name came from.
Art Imitating Fruit
Painters are often drawn to draw fruit, with a desire to capture the dewy blush of a fresh peach or portray the delicate bloom of a dark purple plum or a bunch of black grapes. A still-life painting captures the timeless beauty and attractiveness of fruit, when the original models have long since been eaten.
I cannot think of any other food group that makes such a good model for an artist.
Bloody Good Fruit!
One of the boldest-coloured and most-dramatic fruits has to be the blood orange. Originating in Sicily and with all the pizzazz of the Mediterranean, the blood orange is fiery, bold and never demure.
Some of my favourite photos appear below.
The Fruitiest Ombre
Nature’s Stained Glass
Beautiful fruits need no extra adornment to appeal to us. A perfectly ripe Kent mango displaying the striking traffic light colours of Red, Amber and Green, airbrushed perfectly by Mother Nature, needs no added enticement for us to want to devour it. Yet, the drab flesh on display at the butchers’ shops has plastic fruit and vegetables displayed next to it to brighten up the unappealing sight of raw animal flesh.
They say that we eat with our eyes, and, indeed, along with the fragrant scents of ripe fruit, the visual beauty of fruit stimulates our salivary glands and begins the digestion of our fruitful meal. In contrast, cooked food usually needs spices or salt or colourful embellishments to get our appetite going.
Inside or Out?
Some fruit really grabs us with its colourful skin such as the scarlet rambutan, yet, inside, the flesh is a less gaudy translucent white. Whilst other fruit such as the mamey sapote can look a bit like a brown dusty potato on the outside, but, once opened, the deep orange hues surprise and delight us with their vividness.
The pleasing pomegranate, the fruit that tempted Persephone, gets honours for beauty on the inside and out. Red Christmas bauble on the exterior and filled with ruby gems in its centre. This may help explain why it was the one food that enticed Persephone during her time in Hades.
It is often said that humans are natural omnivores, but I think that our attraction to the physical beauty of fruit is something that shows that we are, in fact, frugivores by design. We are attracted to fruit by how it looks when ripe and ready for us to eat in its pure, whole, unadulterated state.othing needs to be done to a mango or each for us to find it attractive.
In comparison, we find animals appealing in their whole state only as beautiful creatures—not as food. When we look at a rabbit or a kitten or a cow in the field, we do not think “food.” Instead, we appreciate their natural glorious beauty.
So seeing an apricot in full ripeness on a tree, we are attracted to eat it whereas seeing a whole animal in her natural habitat, we want to talk to her or pet her.
Even when animal flesh is on display in the store, few people are visually attracted to it and do not find the grey and brown flesh appealing. It is only when the flesh is cooked that most people have a desire to eat it.
Therefore, it can be seen that our natural attraction to the appearance and beauty of fruit is invariably bound up with it being our natural diet. If we were not drawn to fruit when we lived in the rainforests, humans would have gone very hungry!
The Beauty of Fruit: In Conclusion
A sign of our natural diet, is that it is a food that we are indubitably attracted to in its raw and totally unprocessed state. If “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” then humans view the world with “fruit eyes.” Our wonderful colour stereoscopic vision ensures we have the best chance of spotting ripe and delicious fruits.
We find fruit easy on the eye and also easy on our digestive system! How special to have such a glorious and alluring diet!
I feel very fortunate to have fruit—a food that delights the eye as much as it nourishes the body—as my sustenance.
Wishing you much joy from the visual delights our bountiful and beautiful fruits bring into our lives!