Insight from Natural Health Leaders | The Fruitful Path by Anne Osborne | Raising Happy and Healthy Children on a Fruit Diet
Cappi Osborne holds a large piece of fruit
Fruit-Powered Digest Issues Insight from Natural Health Leaders Issue 21 The Fruitful Path by Anne Osborne

Raising Happy and Healthy Children on a Fruit Diet

The Fruitful Path by Anne Osborne - Fruit-Powered Digest

I believe that the commonality between every parent on this planet is that they wish for their children to live happy and healthy lives; however, each parent or carer will then have their own take on what is needed to reach these goals.

For myself, after discovering the fruitarian diet and lifestyle, it made sense on so many levels, one of which was that I felt it to be the most natural and rational way to raise a child.

One aspect of raising children on a fruit diet is the biological and anatomical factor. When we look at the animals with whom we share the most similar physiology, that is, the anthropoid apes, these animals have an extended period of breastfeeding for their infants by followed by their raw, mostly fruit-based diet, if fruit is readily available.

Cappit Osborne is photographed at the inaugural Woodstock Fruit Festival
Anne Osborne’s son Cappi is photographed at the first Woodstock Fruit Festival in 2011.

Another important aspect for me of child rearing is the ethical side. As an ethical vegan, the diet that I gave my children, needed to be in accord with these principles. And thirdly, the diet I fed my children needed to be a diet that would give them all the nutrients they required.

After studying nutrition at college and furthering these studies with my own personal studies, I very much believed that a diet based on fruit and supplemented with raw nuts and greens, if desired, could meet the needs of my growing children.

And finally, on the environmental level, I believe that the fruit diet, especially if local and organic fruit is eaten, is the diet that has the least negative impact on our planet whilst giving the most benefits.

Tree crops are one of the most efficient ways to maximize food production. For example an acre of avocado trees can produce up to 10,000 pounds of fruit per year while beef production on the same area will produce only 150 pounds of food per year. Also, tree roots hold together the structure of the soil and prevent topsoil loss. Furthermore, trees act like the air conditioners of the planet, taking in carbon dioxide and nitrogenous pollutants whilst giving out oxygen.

Cappi Osborne sits on a large jackfruit
Jackfruit grows on a tree, whose crops maximize food production compared with raising farm animals.

While I very much believe diet is a vitally important component of child raising, I appreciate that it is only a part of the complex jigsaw puzzle of what is needed for a happy and healthy child. Also very important are a loving and secure environment, appropriate physical closeness to a parent or carer, clean air, sunshine, exercise and a supportive community.

But I do feel that diet is the backbone that holds together all the other aspects, and without a natural and appropriate diet, the structure becomes somewhat wobbly and inefficient.

Something that I personally feel is vital for a happy and healthy young child is breast milk. All newborn babies are “milkarians”; they are not fruitarians, vegetarians, carnivores, or omnivores. All they need for the first part of their lives is a good milk supply from their mothers.

From looking at other cultures, human physiology and other animals who we are close to anatomically, I very much believe that humans need milk in their diet for the first three to four years of their lives. In cultures where animals are not domesticated for their milk, children are commonly breastfed for the first four years of their life. And I believe that human milk for the first three or four years is very important to all children.

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This then brings up the question of long-term breastfeeding. Because in most Western societies long-term breastfeeding is uncommon, it is often looked upon with suspicion; I feel this is mainly because people are just not used to seeing it. In societies where long-term breastfeeding is common, it is accepted and not viewed as strange or abnormal.

If we want our children to be on a raw vegan diet, I think we need to be aware that giving our children milk from another animal is not ethically acceptable and that giving them soy or rice milk is not optimal from a health point of view. The only real option left is to long-term breastfeed.

If there were no domesticated animals in our society nor any processed plant milks, then all women would need to long-term breast feed and then it would become the normality rather than the exception.

One thing I think we need to accept as parents raising children on a natural diet and lifestyle is that we are challenged by the irrationality of modern-day society. While it is seen as perfectly OK to feed a 4-year-old child the milk of another species—milk that is not freely or willingly given—it is seem as abnormal or weird for a woman to be seen feeding her own milk, freely and lovingly given, to a 4-year-old child.

Cappi Osborne photographed as a baby
“I very much believe that humans need milk in their diet for the first three to four years of their lives,” Anne writes.

I feel that another area where parents may be challenged in raising children on this diet is socially. I believe that in order for this diet to succeed, we need to have faith in the diet. By this I do not mean “blind faith”; I think we need to be continually aware of how this diet is working for our children and what daily changes or additions we may need to make to the diet optimal for our child at the current time.

But I mean the faith that comes from knowledge and experience, from reading and researching, and from connecting with others on a similar path, as well as from our own personal experiences.

When we have faith and confidence in the diet, then, I think, this is “mirrored” back to us by others, and they are more likely to be accepting and understanding of the dietary choices we have made for ourselves and our children.

Socially, parties have never been an issue for my children. When they have been to parties, the host has always provided them with fresh fruit. One of our friends even made her whole party raw vegan because Cappi, my younger son, was attending. People will often surprise you with their kindness and understanding.

A tableful of fruits and vegetables at a birthday party put on by Anne Osborne
Colorful fruits and vegetables abound at this party, put on by Anne Osborne.

When we have had our fruitarian parties, the other children have always had a great time—no tantrums or upsets due to the refined sugar and chemicals that abound at most parties. The children go home full of fresh fruits and veggies and not hyperactive, so their parents are happy as well!

I appreciate that all parents try to make the best choices that they know how for their children, and as a raw vegan parent, I, too, make these choices. I feel each parent needs to make the best choice they can given their current knowledge and experience.

I do not profess to know what is “best” for everyone; I can only share my experiences of what has worked well for myself and my children. For myself, raising two children on this diet has been the most rewarding experience of my life. To live with happy and healthy children who are a joy to spend time with and are full of energy without being hyperactive has been such a pleasure.

I do appreciate that diet is just one of many elements needed, but, for me, the fruit diet has enhanced and supported all the other factors needed to make child-raising a wonderful experience.


About the author

Anne Osborne

Anne Osborne went vegan at age 20 and then, a few years later, raw vegan in 1990. Anne has raised two children on raw food diets. She is the author of Fruitarianism: The Path To Paradise. Anne's website is FruitGod.com.

4 Comments

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  • To what extent do we also need greens and nuts/seeds on a high-fruit diet? In this article, it says they can be eaten “as desired”, and you use the terms “fruit diet” and “fruitarian diet” rather than saying “high-fruit diet” or “predominantly fruitarian diet”. Most other advocates of a high-fruit or high-carb, “80-10-10”-type of vegan or raw vegan diet recommend eating plenty of leafy greens (or cooked vegetables, if including cooked food in the diet), and smaller nuts/seeds are typically also recommended to eat but in much smaller amounts. It appears that most people have concluded that these things are needed in order to get the full range and quantity of needed minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids.

    It seems like you are saying that one can actually live on a diet consisting virtually entirely of fruit, as opposed to just 80% fruit or 80-90% fruit. Since that is such an uncommon position even among advocates of high-fruit diets, I was wondering if you could clarify what foods, if any, you eat besides fruit. I am also curious as to what percent of your diet consists of actual sweet and non-fatty fruit, and how much consists of other foods that are technically fruit but aren’t what people normally think of when they think of fruit (ie, avocado, cucumber, squash, eggplant, tomato, durian, etc), and which of these non-sweet or fatty fruits you eat most regularly.

    I am also curious where you live, since I imagine you must have access to a wide range of fresh, ripe, organic fruit in order to eat the way you eat.

    I recognize that this is potentially a big topic and could be the topic of an entirely new article – and I hope that it will be! But in the meantime, it would be fantastic if you could post a brief reply here, especially since your book isn’t available on your http://www.fruitgod.com website until July and is sold out on Amazon (except from re-sellers charging a fortune for it!). Thanks!!!

  • Dear Martin,
    Thank you very much for your comments and thoughts.
    Regarding greens, I feel that greens are an appropriate food, if one is craving and desiring them.
    I believe we are all individuals with our own special needs; and so greens may be needed by some people. It is just that I do not feel they are necessary for everybody, especially if one has access to great quality fruits.
    These are are my own personal thoughts regarding greens, and I believe that each person needs to find what works best for them personally, and what resonates for one person may not strike a cord with another.
    So this is not anything definitive, simply what I personally believe.

    I understand the points people recommending greens as being essential are making; if we become deficient in minerals or certain combinations of elements formed in vitamins, our health will be challenged.
    But, so far, in my experience I have found that there is no mineral or chemical element in greens that does not also exist in fruit.
    For certain, the quantities and percentages may be very different. Greens often have more minerals in them per weight than fruits do.
    But there, for me, are so many more factors to take into account.

    First of all, the mineral and vitamin contents given for fruits and greens are all averages. There can be a huge difference between individual foods. If an Apple is grown with love in great quality soil, grown organically, picked ripe, and not stored — then, I believe that it will have far more nutrients in it than an Apple grown commercially, grown only for money, grown in a poor soil, picked under ripe, and cold-stored.
    Similarly, spinach grown in poor soil, sprayed with chemicals, and stored for several days in a refrigerator will be most likely very nutrient poor compared with spinach, grown in beautiful soil and grown with love.

    So then, based on this disparity in growing conditions and freshness and ripeness, how do we then say which is the more mineral and nutrient rich — the Mamey Sapote, grown with love and care in wonderful soil, fully tree-ripened , picked off the tree, eaten there and then sun-warmed — or the lettuce grown hydroponically, just for money, sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals, and then transported many miles in cold storage, and then it sits in a fridge for a couple more days before it is bought and eaten.

    I feel that great quality fruit, picked properly ripe is vital if you are on a fruit diet.
    If great quality fruit is not available, then I would recommend that good quality, fresh greens might well be necessary. Or if a person really desires greens in their plain state, mono and with no dressing — then again I would recommend them.
    I believe that if a person is deficient in certain minerals found in greens that they may become seriously ill. But I also personally believe that it is possible to get your mineral and nutrient needs met from fruit — if the fruit one is eating is of great quality.
    And this really is the bottom line for me, we need great quality fruit to thrive on an all-fruit diet.
    And due to commercial growing practices, we are really challenged to get the micro-nutrients we need from fruit.

    I also believe that nutrient tables for various fruits and vegetables are limiting, because they focus on averages which have the potential to be very mis-leading, and for myself can be only seen as a very rough guide at best.
    I feel this way because of the huge differences in nutrient content that exist between properly grown, fully-ripe produce, grown in great soil, and produce grown with chemicals for money alone in poor quality soil full of chemical fertilisers.

    I think that we may be thinking we are getting such-and-such an amount of a certain nutrient from a certain fruit or veggie because this average amount is given in a nutritional table; when in reality we may be getting a whole load more or a whole load less due to soil and growing conditions.

    Because the soil quality is vital for the amount of minerals in produce, giving averages in tables, is to my mind not only mis-leading but can give a false sense of security.
    If, on the other hand we endeavour to pick the best quality produce, and the most fully plant-ripened produce, then I feel this will be a better guarantee of meeting our mineral and nutrient means than any table of averages in a nutrition book.

    And for me, personally, there is also the aspect that not eating greens also fits in best with my ethical beliefs.
    However, I accept that certain people do much better and feel much better when they include greens in their diet.
    I do not view greens as a ‘bad’ food. And I think that for some people they form an important part of the diet, but I also think that it is possible for some people to thrive without greens.

    If an individual feels a real desire for greens in their raw mono state, then I would think there is a nutrient in the greens that their body needs at this moment in time, and I would listen to your own body if it has a desire for greens.
    But it does seem that many people need to blend, or dress, or mix greens before they find them appealing. In my opinion, a food needs to appeal in its unprocessed mono state to really be a natural food for us. All animals in nature are attracted to their natural food in its totally unprocessed and mono state. A natural herbivore, such as the sheep, does not need any dressing or blending to make her greens. appealing.

    Regarding nuts, again I feel that they can be a useful addition to the diet for some people.
    Personally, I prefer to get my fat needs from Avocados or Durian, which digest better for me than nuts.

    I think that nuts, if raw and fresh can also be useful to children on a raw vegan diet.

    I would say that over the course of a year, my macro-nutrient ratio would be 80/10/10.
    I go for periods without eating any overt fats, then I enjoy local Avocados in Avocado season.

    I do include Cucumbers regularly in my diet and occasionally eat Tomatoes and Sweet Peppers, so I do include the ‘vegetable fruits’ though they are not staples of my diet.

    I currently live on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, where I am able to access great quality local fruit all year round.
    I did spend 11 years on a fruit diet in the U.K. and I still was able to access great fruit because I made it a priority in my life to source and find both local and imported quality fruit.

    Thank you again very much for your comment.

    Wishing you a very Lovely Day ♥
    Love and Peaches,
    from Anne XX♥

  • Thanks Anne. I was also wondering at what age you started feeding Cappi fruit; that is, up until what age was he getting just breast milk, and when did he start eating actual food? Did you use blended fruit, cooked fruit, or plain raw fruit in the beginning? Also, at what age did you stop breast-feeding him?

    I have heard some people express the view that at a young age, children might have a hard time digesting raw fruit.

    • Dear Martin,
      Thank you very much for your reply.
      Cappi was quite eager to share my fruit at about six months old.

      I would often pre-chew fruit for him at this age to break it down a bit both physically and chemically!

      But perfectly ripe fruit is often almost pre-digested.
      I do think that under ripe fruit may cause issues to a young baby, and I avoided the acid pH fruits when Cappi was very young.

      I would give him one fruit at a time, and at this age a teaspoonfull or two was all he wanted.

      I used whole ripe raw fruit.

      I decided to let Cappi self-wean, and he stopped wanting to breastfeeding at just on 4 years old.

      Thank you again.

      Wishing you a very Beautiful Day
      Love and Peaches,
      from Anne XX♥

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