August 12

The Mono Fruit Myth

Filed under Picking & Preparing Fruit by Frederic Patenaude

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There’s a myth spread in some raw food circles, that says it’s better to consume fruit one at a time, rather than mixing them together. Proponents of this idea think that each fruit is better digested when it’s consumed “mono style,” one at a time, and ideally one type of fruit per meal.

They will make giant meals containing only watermelon, or papayas, or mangoes, or bananas.

I’ve got nothing against this practice, but it’s false to say that it’s healthier to do it.

Ripe fruits of all kinds are easy to digest, and have an almost identical chemical nutritional composition, consisting of mostly carbohydrates, some fiber, and low levels of protein and fat (around 5% each by calories). Your body will have absolutely no problems digesting them together, when mixed in a fruit salad, for example.

Other people are afraid of consuming certain fruits, like melons, along with other fruits, like oranges, fearing that this combination will lead to fermentation and gas.

Many of these ideas come from Dr. Herbert Shelton, in his book “Food Combining Made Easy.” Shelton gave a lot of rules with no reasoning at all behind them.

Also, a lot of people have misinterpreted that book. Because Shelton said “eat melons on their own”, some people think they should never eat melons with other fruits (such as peaches), when in fact Shelton clearly stated you could do so.

Essentially, his rule was meant to avoid the common combination/abomination in those days of a big slice of watermelon after of rich meal of meat and pasta.

There is absolutely no problems combining ALL kinds of fruit together, including bananas with melons, oranges with figs, or any combination you fancy. If you find that a certain combination gives you problems, avoid it in the future.

Also, by combining certain fruits together, you can avoid the problems of consuming a great quantity of any one fruit.

For example, pineapple and oranges are very acidic, and can hurt the enamel if you eat too much of it. But combining them with other, less acidic fruits buffers this extra acidity.

Eating great quantities of grapes or melons can give people a stomachache. Again, by eating a combination of different fruits, you avoid the problems.

If you’re used to eating your fruit “mono style,” you may not understand the appeal of having a big fruit salad ready, but once you try it, you’ll be converted!

It tastes amazing. When you use high quality fruit, the flavors not only blend and become more intense after just a few hours of marinating. A great homemade fruit salad doesn’t taste anything like the low quality stuff that’s sold in restaurants and in convenience store.

In addition to making a giant fruit salad, you might also want to prepare some other fruit and store it in containers, having it pre-cut and ready to eat.

Ingredients for the Fruit Salad

Any fruit you fancy can be thrown in a fruit salad, but I don’t personally add bananas. That’s my personal preference, because I don’t like the texture of bananas after it marinates in a fruit salad. But if you enjoy this combination, there’s no reason to avoid it.

My favorite fruits to add to a fruit salad are:

Pineapple, especially when ripe and extra-sweet
Melons, including watermelon. I’ll generally use only one type of melon
Berries, I always try to include some type of berries in the salad, often strawberries and raspberries
Mangoes, they add extra sweetness and creaminess
Citrus, a few oranges or tangerines are excellent.
Apples, I’ll throw in an apple or two for crunch
Grapes: As long as good grapes are in season, I use them in fruit salad, generally slicing them in half.
Papayas — in cubes, they’re my favorite in fruit salads!

ALSO:

Apricots — Deseed and slice in quarters.
Bananas – Slice them, if you enjoy the taste in fruit salads.
Cantaloupe and other Melons — Deseed, peel, and cut in cubes.
Cherry — Remove seed, ideally using a cherry pitter. I love the Cherry-It cherry pitter by Progressive. Cut in half.
Figs — Add fresh figs to salads, sliced.
Grapes — Use seedless grapes and slice them in half, or more if they are really big.
Kiwi — Gold kiwis are best. Peel and slice.
Watermelon — Use seedless and cut them in cubes.
Nectarines and peaches— Use good quality ones. Slice the flesh.
Berries — Throw them whole. Slice strawberries.
Oranges and citrus fruits — Slice the orange quarters in half.
Papayas — You may use them slightly (but not too) hard. Peel and cube.
Pears — Use the bosc varieties. Other varities are too soft.
Pineapple — Use fruits that smell the fruitiest. Do not use the inner core.
Pomegranates — Add seeds to the salad.
Star Fruit — It may add a visual element to the salad, when sliced in “stars.”
Fresh Herbs — Fresh herbs like mint, cilantro, parsley,  etc. — all go great in a fruit salad!

December 20
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About a week ago I wrote an article called “Why I Don’t Eat Organic Food,” which turned out to be one of the most upsetting articles I ever put out on my website.

I got a wave of anger and negative comments like never before. I even received emails that read more like death threats.

I’m used to speaking my truth and expecting opinions to differ.

But in this particular case, I feel like I need to clarify something.

So here you go:

My Stance on Organic Food – Clarified

If you think that I’m against organic food, or that all I care about is my peaches not becoming moldy and for that reason I prefer conventional produce, you misunderstood my article.

If you think that I haven’t done my research on pesticides, GMOs, and the dangers of consuming certain foods that are conventionally grown and raised, you were also wrong.

Before I tell you what I believe in, let me talk about where I live.

I live in Montreal, Canada.

I live in a very central area of the city, close to one of the best produce markets I’ve ever seen in the world. I’ve been to many great markets, including the awesome markets of California. But when it comes to the variety of exotic, tropical fruits that is available year round, nothing beats the Jean-Talon market in Montreal (except, of course, living in those tropical locations!).

So, every week I go to the market and stop at this Italian shop.

It’s an amazing experience. The owners know me by name. I know everyone on the staff.

I can walk in and go directly to their warehouse. They let me walk around everywhere as if I’m part of the staff. I’ve been going to this store for over 10 years, so they really know me. I’m the guy who buys a ton of fruit!

So, I go there and I ask them the same question: “So, what’s good this week, Tony?”

And then Tony tells me about all the great produce that they’ve received.

“Oh, we’ve got mangoes from Israel that are absolutely amazing. We’ve got these unbelievable grapes from California. Try these fresh black mission figs.”

And then Tony just goes around and slices the produce and lets me try all of it.

And then I tell him, “Okay, I’ll take a case of this, a case of that.”

Now the quality of the fruit is absolutely amazing. It’s fresh. It’s tasty. It’s the best in town. But it’s not organic.

But I buy it because I love it. Because it makes me feel great when I eat it. And because it’s the best that’s available.

Most of the fruits I buy have peels. And when it’s something that can’t be peeled, like a peach, I wash it with a special soap to make sure to remove the pesticide residues, if there are any.

I also don’t buy certain fruits that I know to be heavily sprayed, like strawberries, apples, celery, and a few other items. Peaches are heavily sprayed, but I just can’t get good organic peaches in Montreal. So I buy them from the Italian shop.

My Organic Food

Let’s now visit my local health food store.

When I lived in Vancouver, I was close to a Whole Foods Market where I would buy a lot of great, fresh, organic produce.

But in Montreal, the organic market is not as developed.

I go to my health food store and I’ll buy some lettuce, bags of organic apples (I think organic apples taste better), bananas, and many other items.

But some organic fruits are just not worth talking about.

  • Pineapples are super acidic.
  • Mangoes just don’t ripen properly.
  • And peaches. Let’s just not talk about them. It’ll make me sad.

So if you look at all the calories I eat coming from fruits and vegetables, probably 75% of them come from the Italian market. But if you look at all the products in my house (beans, etc.), then my percentage of organic is higher.

However, here’s my point:

Organic food is great, but it’s not one of the most important factors in health.

I’ve been saying this for years.

People should first focus on:

1) Eating a plant-based diet
2) Eliminating added oils and excess fats
3) Eating most of their calories from fresh produce
4) Exercising on a regular basis
5) Getting enough quality sleep

Many people START with organic food.

They eat organic, but their diet is loaded with oil (organic olive oil!).

They eat organic, but they don’t exercise vigorously very much.

They eat organic, but they don’t get enough sleep.

What good is organic food in this context?

I say focus on the most important aspects of your health that account for 80% of your health results, and then you can think about the smaller aspects.

But, of course, if you live somewhere like California, where there’s plenty of awesome, organic produce, then by all means get it.

What will this Conventional Fruit do to my Health?

Here’s another interesting fact: Recent studies have shown that organic produce does not contain more nutrients, on average, than commercial produce.

But what about all the pesticides?

Organic produce is not free of pesticide, but it does contain fewer residues. Organic farmers often use natural pesticides.

Right now, no studies that I know of have ever shown that people consuming organic produce end up living longer and avoiding disease more than people consuming commercial produce.

We know that pesticides are bad, but the real question is: are the quantities ingested through food enough to make a difference in your health in the long term? The reality is that we don’t know for sure.

But one thing we know is that if you eat at the bottom of the food chain (i.e., plant foods) and not at the top of the food chain (i.e., animal foods), then your exposure to pesticides is very low.

Animals accumulate environmental toxins in their tissues. And that’s why animal products are the biggest source of pesticides in most people’s diets.

With produce, you can wash it away. You still might be exposed to some, but even with organic, you’re not necessarily 100% pure.

So in the end, I believe it’s best to make the right choice for you.

I haven’t changed my mind that eating organic food is not the most important thing you can do for your health. There are plenty of other factors that matter way more.

Depending on where you live, do the best you can.

Eat organic grains. They’re easy to find.

Organic apples, bananas and vegetables are generally great and easy to find.

When it comes to fruit, do the best you can.

I will keep going to my Italian market because it simply rocks. I love the shopping experience and I love the variety and quality that I get.

What choice will you make?

It’s entirely up to you, and your choice will be affected by a number of factors: your budget, your location, etc.

By the way, I’m writing this article from Berkeley, California, where I’ve been eating nothing but organic food since I arrived. Here, it’s everywhere. It’s a totally different scene than my hometown.

But what about you?

Did what I write make sense to you, or do you think I should be ostracized from the natural food world for never saying: “You should only consume organic produce and nothing else.”

Because, you see, this approach doesn’t work. If the cucumbers you can find are not organic, buy them, peel them, and enjoy them. Your health is not going to go down because of that.

December 18
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Here’s a typical week of food shopping for me.

Because I live in a city apartment, I must walk several flights of stairs to get home, so I try to shop every few days rather than buying everything at once.

– On Monday I go to my favorite fruit market, which is run by Italian people.

They get the best fruit from all over the world. It’s not organic, but the quality is outstanding. I always ask them a simple question: “What do you have that’s good this week?” They give me samples of the good fruit and then

I usually buy things by the case. Last week I bought two cases of mangoes, one case of grapes, and several melons. I still have a case of oranges not finished from the week prior. I buy other fruits by the pound if I don’t want a whole case.

– On Tuesday I sometimes stop by a raw food restaurant nearby to pick up a few pre-made salads and raw “wraps” for the week. This is a little luxury that allows me to have a few easy meals ready to go.

– Once every two weeks I stop by a health food store to pick up items I need from there: organic greens, nuts and seeds, some condiments, etc.

Once every 10-14 days I stop at Costco. I buy different fruits there, although I tend to get most of my fruits from my Italian markets. I buy the bulk quantities of greens, like the giant pack of romaine lettuce hearts. Lately, I’ve been eating two heads a day! I buy other vegetables there.

– During the week, as I need other items, I stop by the small markets that are near my house. I pick up black beans, random vegetables, condiments, etc.

I don’t eat everything raw, but I eat a huge amount of fruit and salads. I eat cooked vegetables, beans, and some fish or animal proteins occasionally. I eat some rice or other cooked complex carbs, but I get most of my carb calories from fruit instead.

One thing that I don’t buy a lot of is organic food.

I may be an oddity in the raw food movement, but I just haven’t been convinced of the necessity to buy organic. But the main reason I don’t buy much organic is that the best produce I can find in my city is usually not organic. The best fruits I can find are almost never organic.

A high-raw diet can work if you have a little bit of planning.

This usually means going somewhere once a week where you can buy things in bulk. Sometimes you’ll buy too much, and over time you’ll realize the optimal quantity to buy! But it’s better to have a bit too much of the good stuff than not enough!

Article clarification for people confused on my non-vegan stance: I eat like 95% vegan. The only times I eat fish and such is when I’m invited for dinner by non-vegan friends and don’t want to make a fuss about it. This is something I explained in my book Raw Freedom. It’s simply my way of fitting in my social life, and it may NOT work for everybody. For example, people who must stick to their diet more closely for health reasons, or people who can’t control themselves and end up eating too much of everything if they allow some leeway.

December 5
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Last week, I went inside a supermarket to buy some fruit. I normally don’t buy fruit at supermarkets, and I was reminded of the reason why on that occasion.
There was barely anything that looked edible, except for the vegetables. The apples were boring. The melons looked unripe. The grapes looked a bit shriveled and dirty. The other fruits were nothing exciting.

For most people, that’s the sight of the fruit selection at this time of the year. That’s if you don’t have access to a good fruit market.

I was told by a fruit importer in Montreal that there’s only 5 to 10% of produce that enters the country that’s worth anything. Everything else is low quality and is what you find everywhere.

Compare that to the market where I buy my fruits. At the same time of the year, I bought some of the best mangoes I’ve ever had in my life. The grapes were incredible. The melons were bursting with flavor. Everything I bought was extraordinary.

Why is there such a big difference between specialized fruit markets and regular supermarkets for fruit quality? The specialized markets order the best quality fruits through their own channels, while the supermarkets only want to compete on price. They don’t care about quality.

So where do you find a good fruit grocer?

It’s different in every city, and some are better than others. If there’s a big central market in your city, you might want to start there, and examine the shops around it.

In North America, the East Coast cities usually have much better importers than the West Coast cities. But on the West Coast you’ll find more farmers markets and organic food.

In Australia, the best market I found was the Queen Victoria Market. It’s got the flavor of a true year-round market. But in those markets, generally the best part is the little stores surrounding it. That’s where you’ll find some of the best importers in the country.

If you can’t find the markets I’m talking about, start with Chinatown. The produce stores in Chinatown are usually open to selling you fruits by the case and negotiating a bit on price.

Speaking of negotiation, the profit margin on a case of fruit is pretty small. As long as there’s a deal for the case versus buying by the pound, I don’t argue on price.

Once you find a good grocer, keep going there week after week to establish a relationship. Here are the elements of a good market:

– They should ideally ONLY sell fruits and vegetables and almost no other foods.
– They should sell you fruit by the case and be eager to do so.
– They should let you taste all the fruits before you buy them.
– They should give you a discount on the case.
– They should have the best-quality fruit only.

Eating fruit during the day and other foods after 6 p.m. is a great way to follow a high-raw diet. But for that, you need to have a good supply of the best-quality fruit. So start your hunt this week!

November 28

What Fruits I Bought Last Week

Filed under Picking & Preparing Fruit by Frederic Patenaude

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Every week I go to my local fruit market. I may not eat 100% raw, but I eat more fruits than many so-called raw foodists. In fact, these days, I’m eating mostly fruits throughout the day. So I need a good selection of awesome fruits.

People complain that the fruit selection isn’t good enough in the winter, but in my experience, it’s a great time of the year to get fruits. The spring tends to be a bit sparser.

Here are some fruits I’ve been buying lately:

Mangoes

Believe it or not, I’m eating a lot of mangoes these days. They come from Brazil and are absolutely amazing. In the last few years, Brazil has become a major exporter of fruit, which is leading to better variety in the stores. Not so long ago I was eating mangoes from Israel that were also delicious. Both of these mangoes are expensive, so it’s worth it to get them by the case.

Vanilla Persimmons

This is an awesome type of persimmon. You can eat it hard like an apple, but they have the same shape as the regular persimmons (unlike the Fuyu persimmons). They come from Spain at this time of the year.



Grapes

Some excellent California grapes are in season.

Prickly Pears

Every time I get into prickly pears, I forget how amazing and underrated this fruit is. I get the kinds that are red inside, and buy a whole crate.



In the past, at the same time of year, I bought pomegranates, which are excellent and in season until Christmas. I also ate a lot of pomelos. I haven’t had any so far this year.

And to answer the question I always get: isn’t it bad for the environment to consume fruits from all over the world?

No. That’s a misconception. The transportation of fruit is very efficient and contributes only a small percentage to the total “energy footprint” of the food. You’d burn more gas driving to buy the food than what was used in getting the food to you from halfway across the world. Also, local fruits in the winter are kept in giant warehouses that gobble up a lot of energy, much more than an apple from New Zealand would.

I live within walking distance from my fruit market, so I’m confident that my energy “footprint” is actually lower than some of the local-food converts who drive half an hour to buy their locally raised eggs and winter vegetables. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the holier-than-thou attitudes of “locavores” doesn’t hold up to closer scrutiny.

March 21

Where Do Cashews Come From?

Filed under Picking & Preparing Fruit by Frederic Patenaude

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In this new video, I show you the amazing cashew fruit! This is how people eat cashews in the tropics: eat the juicy fruit, and throw away the cashew!

Not everybody loves cashew fruit, but to me it’s one of my favorite treats which I eat fresh, in season (March until summer), about once a week at the farmer’s market in Costa Rica when I’m there for the winter.

Cashew fruit juice is also popular in Brazil everywhere.

In Malaysia, young cashew leaves are sometimes eaten in salads.

Also, in case you missed this video, here’s a 10-minute excerpt from a seminar I gave last September in Calgary, entitled “High Fruit or High Fat?”. The full presentation can be found at: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/mentorclub.html, including the complete slides used in the one-hour presentation.

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Do you know how to cut a pineapple? Do you know how to pick a good one? Most people get it all wrong! (Hint: pulling the leaves on a pineapple has ZERO meaning on its ripeness). Watch out the video below to discover how to pick a good pineapple and cut it the right way.

Special Update!

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Click here to watch a video to find out how you can get my FREE $1200 Raw Food Diet Package.