There is a food faster than “fast food!” It’s fruit! How easy is it to run into a grocery store for instant gratification with a bag of grapes, a bunch of bananas or a pint (or two) of blueberries?
This is a very simple solution to eating healthy that we forget to take advantage of. We’ve been misled to think that you have to leave fruit for a treat or dessert, that it can’t be a meal. Well it’s true that one piece of watermelon or a handful of grapes is not a meal. But a half watermelon is quite satisfying. A pound of grapes are also satisfying. A four pound container of fruit from Costco is quite enough for two to share.
I’m often asked if fruit causes diarrhea or stomach upset when too much is eaten. When this happens, it is not the fruit that is the problem, but what is already in the stomach and intestines. Eat fruit on a completely empty stomach. Wait at least three hours after your last meal before you eat fruit. If you’ve eaten meat, I’d wait even longer.
Fruit digests very quickly. Melons digest the fastest, about 10 minutes, so eat them alone. Most other fruits take about 10 minutes except for the heartier fruits like bananas and durian, which can take an hour to digest. Always eat fruit before you eat other food.
It may seem like you have diarrhea when actually, your stools will be looser than what you are used to eating fruits and vegetables. Don’t be alarmed. You will have to visit the bathroom more frequently than eating cooked food. Cooked foods can stay in your intestines from 3 hours to 3 days. Impacted food in the intestines is one cause for constipation and colon cancer, among other problems—keeping your intestines clear is good for your long term health.
Mixing fruit with other foods can really upset your stomach, although you have to be in touch with how your stomach feels to know this. Have you paid attention to your stomach after a meal? What is your body saying to you? Your body is trying to communicate with you all the time! Listen.
Road Trips and Camping
- Here is a quick list to bring along to make it easy for eating all kinds of fruits and veggies on a trip:
- 1 large knife
- Flexible cutting board
- Regular cutting board (for the lap of the passenger)
- salad bowl
- Small jar with lid for mixing salad dressing
- Eating utensils
- Plates or bowls
- Cooler and ice
- Dish towels
Bonus item if you have access to electricity:
Foods to bring or pick up along the way at grocery stores or fruit stands along the way:
- Bananas—Keep them in a box or container so they do not get smashed! Buy them green because they will ripen very fast in the car!
- Romaine lettuce for Green Smoothies
- Celery—Cut it up into bite size pieces
- Watermelon—Eat it all up! It doesn’t last long unless you keep it in the cooler but it takes up valuable space
These are suggestions for the Pacific Northwest in the summertime. Of course you’ll have to see what is available where you are travelling and whatever seasonal fruits are available.
What is great about this is you can completely avoid all the fast food available on the road!
Eating with Family and Friends
When eating dinner with family I tend to keep it very simple by bringing a huge salad that I enjoy. I eat it all myself! They look at it with curiosity and envy. Sometimes I’ll let them taste it. If they’re nice!
Since I eat a lot of fruit all day a salad full of tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers is filling. I use low-fat or no-fat dressing without any oil. Since I can finish off a big bowl of salad on my own quite easily I will make another one for everyone to share.
If I’m visiting for lunch and they insist on having food for me I tell them I love all fruit. I recently visited my friend Leslie in Bend, Oregon and she surprised me with a huge watermelon shell bowl filled with delicious berries! I hope she didn’t mind that I ate it all! She also made use of the watermelon in another fruit salad. I have to say it was the most fruit offered to me in a cooked household besides my mother’s house!
You might ask about the combination—that it goes against what I said about fruit combinations earlier in the article—it’s ok to make exceptions in times like this.
I was so grateful at the loving offering and I didn’t have any problems with the combinations. I tend to eat fruit as mono-meals (one fruit at a time) but this was quite a treat for me to be served with so much fruit as a meal. Thanks Les!
Sometimes I opt to forgo the meal altogether and eat before I arrive. Try this sometime! See how much of a meal eaten with friends is spent on actually eating the meal. The real joy of sharing a meal is the company, isn’t it?
Eating in Restaurants
I generally don’t enjoy eating in restaurants. Fruits and vegetables are extremely overpriced. I can make much more delicious and satisfying meals myself for far less. Try this: Take the money you have spent at a restaurant, and see how much fruit and vegetables you can buy! You’ll be amazed.
If I really want to join in, bringing my own salad dressing and special ordering a salad (very carefully!) seems to work the best. Talk directly to the chef for best results.
I have also told the restaurant staff that I am on a special diet given to me by my doctor and ask them to prepare my fruit. Most restaurants do not mind if I bring in a container of fruit or simply decline a menu completely.
Make Your Mind Your Friend
Once again, your mind is what will make a situation difficult. What you imagine could happen out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings is far worse than what happens in most cases. If you let your friends and families know immediately upon invitation that you are on a special diet, they will be very happy to accommodate.
I have not had one problem from others doing this—and you can always bring your own food. Think of it as another opportunity to show that there is a way to eat healthy in all situations.
You don’t have to speak one word of why you are doing it. As mentioned in my last article, you can always mention that you would rather speak about the reasons why at a later time.
Find a way to make it work for you instead of thinking about how it will go wrong. Anything is possible!
Check out my next workshop:
Parenting Ourselves: The Foundations of Process Coaching with Cathy Breshears
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 6:30 PM – Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 9:30 PM (PT)
For more info and registration: