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Anne Osborne is photographed while sitting and holding blood oranges

Marvelous Mono Diets!

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During my time on the raw fruit diet, I have very much enjoyed and benefited from spending extended periods of time on mono diets. The most recent of these mono diets was an 81-day orange juice diet, which finished in January.

Some benefits I experienced during this recent period on the “golden nectar” included greater flexibility, enhanced colour vision, an increased sense of smell, a beautiful flow of energy through my physical body, very peaceful and deep sleep, the need for less sleep and feelings of great joy.

In general, I find each mono diet can bring similar benefits, but some fruits seem to bring particular blessings; for example, I have found wounds to heal very quickly when on orange juice and my heart rate to go lower than usual when on grapes.

Anne Osborne on Day 63 of an orange juice mono diet
Anne Osborne is photographed on Day 63 of an orange juice mono diet. Most story photos contributed by Anne.

Some people ask me why I feel the need to go on mono diets after being on a fruit diet for so many years. There are several reasons why I enjoy and benefit from consuming one fruit alone, several times within each year. Firstly, I find the mono diet to be an effective way to cleanse and rebalance the body. There are lot of environmental pollutants that I am exposed to, including sprays from local farms, vehicle emissions, and “dirty” electricity, and I often have limited control over my contact with these toxins.

In addition, I am not always able to source organic produce, and so I am ingesting a certain amount of chemicals from my food each year. I feel that if I were living in an unpolluted Edenic environment with access to fruit that had never been treated with poisons, then I would probably have no need to go on mono diets, in terms of cleansing benefits.

Therefore, one reason for adopting a mono diet could be compared with taking one’s car to a garage very few months for general service. I do find that my bodily systems all run very smoothly and effectively after my regular “tune-ups.”

There are other reasons, apart from the cleansing aspect, however, as to why I choose to go on extended mono diets. One reason being that I find that eating one fruit alone frees up a lot of mental energy. I am not thinking about what I am going to eat, and so this gives more energy for other matters. I have found that if I am going through a time of emotional or mental challenges, then a mono diet simplifies other areas of my life by freeing up energy to deal with these issues.

A mound of blood oranges
A large mound of appetizing, boldly colored blood oranges.

Also, I find that being on a mono diet not only gives me a huge appreciation and love for the fruit that I am mono-ing on but gives me a huge appreciation for all the other wonderful fruits. So that when the mono diet is finished, there is a real sense of the abundance and plenitude of the bounty of worldly fruits. Therefore, if a person is having difficulties with cravings for foods that they rather would not be eating; going on a mono diet, even just for a few days, can help that person to re-appreciate and value the amazing cornucopia of fruit varieties.

There are also spiritual reasons for mono dieting; although I do not practise any organised religion, I often go on a mono diet for Lent. And being on one fruit alone, I find, can help me to have appreciation and love and connection to our beautiful planet.

Since I have lived in Queensland, my fruit of preference for mono diets has been orange juice. This is because organic oranges of good quality are readily available and reasonably priced for most of the year. When living in Europe, my preference has been for melons or grapes. I believe that the “best” fruit to “mono” on is a fruit that really appeals to you, is in season and you can access that fruit in sufficient quantities and in sufficient quality.

Some examples of fruits I have enjoyed mono-ing on during the past 23 years include orange juice, melons, pears, apples, blood oranges and grapes. I generally eat all my fruit whole and unprocessed and believe that this is generally the optimal way to eat. But I do make an exception for orange juice; I really do love orange juice mono diets in preference to eating the whole orange. When I juice oranges, I usually use a hand juicer and leave in as much of the fibre as possible.

Blood oranges juiced in a glass
A glass contains the pretty purple contents of blood oranges.

My past extended mono diets include:

  • Six months on melons in 2001
  • 84 days on orange juice in 2010
  • 81 days on orange juice in 2015
  • 21 days on blood oranges in 2011
  • 20 days on grapes in 1995
  • 14 days on apples in 1993

Cover of The Fast Way to Health by Frank McCoyThere have been several health pioneers who have gone before and have used mono diets to help their clients heal from a wide range of illnesses and imbalances. In the early part of the 20th century, Dr. Frank McCoy, author of The Fast Way to Health, aided many adults and children to heal and rebalance using fruit mono diets, with a particular preference for orange juice.

Cover of The Grape Cure by Johanna BrandtDr. Leon A. Wilcox, a contemporary of McCoy, also helped many clients to heal using orange juice mono diets. Johanna Brandt healed her body, which was suffering from severe stomach cancer, using a grape mono diet. Brandt documents her story in The Grape Cure. Brandt was so amazed at the results she got that she traveled from her native South Africa to the United States in 1927 to help share the Grape Cure with as many people as possible.

I concur with those past health advocates in believing that the mono diet can be a viable alternative to water fasting if one needs to heal from a serious health issue. Whilst I believe that water fasting can be very helpful for many people by allowing their bodies to heal and rebalance, water fasting may not always be appropriate for everyone. If you have work or home commitments or cannot financially afford to pay for a supervised water fast, then mono diets, I believe, can be a great alternative to water fasting. Also, if you are in a position where you do not wish to lose weight or you need a good amount of energy, then mono diets may be a more suitable choice than water fasting.

The fact that mono diets can be carried out in the comfort of your own home is also an added bonus. Like water fasting, mono diets give the body a chance to cleanse and heal—maybe at a different rate—but the opportunity is still there.

Many of the advocates of mono diets such as Brandt and McCoy recommended relatively small amounts of fruit. Brandt advised 1 to 4 pounds of grapes daily, and for McCoy, three glasses of orange juice per day, or the juice of one orange every two hours was prescribed.

Smaller amounts of fruit make a mono diet more like a camouflaged fast; however, if you do not have severe health challenges and if you are very active, you may find that eating larger amounts of fruit during a mono diet will work better for you.

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I feel that each person needs to look at their needs and reasons for going on an extended mono diet and find the amount of fruit that works best for them as an individual. And it may be that this amount will change from day to day as your needs can differ daily.

How to break a mono diet will depend on how long you have been on the mono diet for. If you have been on a mono diet for a week or more, then I feel it is useful to start by having one or two types of juicy fruits in small amounts on the day you break your diet. You may also want to eat mainly the fruit you have been mono-ing on the first few days after you break the diet. I would recommend introducing denser fruits only after a few days; you may find your body takes a while to adjust to eating fattier fruits such as avocados and durian after an extended period with no overt fats.

To conclude, I believe mono diets on sweet juicy fruit can be a wonderful way for the body to heal and rebalance, especially if one has responsibilities that make water fasting inappropriate or if one is not in a position to attend a supervised water fast. Mono diets, can help the body to cleanse whilst, at the same time, provide the body with valuable nutrients to help the body rebuild its cells.

To me, a mono diet is not about denial or a lack of abundance. Rather, it is a celebration and joyful appreciation of one particular fruit and the health and joy it can bring into our lives.

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