August 28, 2014

The fruitarian community in Israel, says a vegan friend over lunch recently, has not been given fair representation in the media. But with a prime spot on the latest Big Brother reality television show last month, Israel could be showing new signs of acceptance.

The fruitarian diet – also known as 80/10/10 – includes fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Followers try to consume 80 percent carbohydrates, 10% protein and 10% non-animal fats.

Mahatma Gandhi, Idi Amin and Steve Jobs are among the most notable fruitarians. Some say there is evidence that Leonardo Da Vinci was a fruitarian as well. And now Israel’s reality TV stars are boasting about their eating habits.

As a vegetarian for over 30 years, I have vast experience with raised eyebrows and mocking remarks when it comes to my personal menu. Of course, being a vegetarian today is almost passé. Vegan is the trendier way to eat now.

And Israel’s vegan community has stolen the international spotlight because of its rapid growth and its strength in swaying restaurants and major food chains – including Domino’s Pizza — to include special meals on its menus.

It was only a natural progression that the local fruitarian community should grab headlines next. There are no official figures of how many Israeli fruitarians there are. Some put the numbers between 200 and 300. Others say because there are so many different varieties of raw-food followers, the numbers are much higher.

Earlier this year, the local press featured fruitarians in an uncomplimentary light. And then, the cast of Big Brother 6 was introduced – among them three vegans, and one filmed reading the raw-food guru Dr. Douglas Graham’s book, 80/10/10, in Hebrew. (

Without a doubt, the fruitarian community in Israel is healthy (if still small).

There’s a Hebrew version of the popular 30 Bananas A Day forum  called 30 Banonot Leyom.

You’ll find recipes, meetups and articles about fruitarianism here.

There’s also a Facebook group – which counts over 6,000 members!

Like abroad, the fruitarian diet is a buzzword among healthy-sporty types and those trying to beat cancer – or other diseases — naturally. Mitzpe Alummot — a “living food” health retreat in the lower Galilee – has been offering raw-food dishes and natural healing therapies since 2006.

And above all, there is Israeli produce.

Israelis boast the highest per-capita consumption rates of fresh produce in the world – regardless if they’re following a carnivorous or herbivorous diet.

There is a reason Israelis and visitors all hail the dates, bananas, pomegranate, citrus and avocado being grown here. Thanks to Israel’s prowess in the fields, orchards and hothouses, fruitarianism in Israel is paradise.

A visitor to Israel wrote on the 30 Bananas international forum: “It’s really the Garden Of Eden.”

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director