What Happened When I Ignored Protein And Ate Only Fresh Fruit And Vegetables For Two Weeks

Note before reading: I recommend no one to follow a restrictive diet plans. My results with this diet are based on my anecdotal evidence and may vary from person to person. Whenever you experiment with something weird, get a clearance from your doctor first. And if you have a history of eating disorders, I definitely don’t recommend a restrictive eating plan.

Most people assume that after 14 days of eating only fresh fruits and vegetables, the question is not whether I lost muscle mass, but how much muscle did I lose?

In the fitness world there’s a relentless bombardment of information on how we need to consume excessive amounts of protein, especially from meat, to build and keep our muscle mass. Well, I did something weird that flies in the face of the conventional wisdom of everything protein. And reading this might save you a few bucks on protein powders...

Why I decided to only eat fresh fruit and vegetables for 14 days

The fitness industry revolves around counting calories and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats). We obsess over macronutrients and calories because they are easy to track: science gives us the numbers on how much fat, protein, carbohydrates and calories each food item has. All you need is a C+ math-brain to follow along 

The trend of the various macro-aficionados promoting “if it fits your macros*” puts a major emphasis on hitting a specific daily macronutrient targets, while often disregarding the quality of the actual food. In extreme cases, these thought leaders riding the macronutrients-only-get-out-of-my-way-high-horse can lead to poor intake of vitamins and minerals, stuff that we call micronutrients. 

This, joint with a high protein diet from meat sources moves us from the alkaline state where the body is at its healthiest, to an acidic state. A state that’s more optimal for diseases. This rings true in the areas of fitness industry where the single-minded goal is only to improve one’s body composition. 

I want to challenge the current beliefs and conventional wisdom of health and fitness

I believe having multiple ways of achieving the same goal, instead of just blindly following what’s been done. Even if it sometimes slaps the current science in the face. I agree that it is important to have a scientific backbone to everything we do in fitness, but just because something hasn’t been proven right or wrong by science doesn’t mean that it won’t work. Sometimes we don’t have enough data to draw ultimate conclusions.

I am data of one and want to experiment with stuff that doesn’t always make sense to others. When keeping the experiment group small (read: one, me) the worst result is that the experiment fails and I am the only one dealing with the consequences.

The purpose of this experiment wasn’t to starve or lose weight. The goal was to eat as much fruit and vegetables and simply keep the hunger away. 

But, still, doesn’t only fresh fruit and vegetables diet mean there wasn’t enough protein to keep, let alone build muscle mass?

Protein exists in fruit and vegetables too. Not as much as in meat, legumes, blocks of tofu, whole grains or fake sausages made of soy and sawdust, but there is still some. Plus, when you decrease the daily consumption of protein your body becomes more efficient at extracting the amounts of protein from the food. 

Also, for any of this to work you need to follow a progressive resistance training plan. Maintaining muscle mass is possible with a non-progressive approach, but adding more requires planning. Your body is super smart and won’t let you get weak as long, as you are healthy and don’t train like a jackass.

How I felt during the two weeks of the experiment

I tracked the following each day:

  • Physical energy levels throughout the day

  • Mental clarity and focus/concentration

  • Sleep quality

  • Taste**

  • What I ate

I also took before and after photos and used Inbody machine for body composition measurements.

Week 1
Monday

Breakfast peach, banana
Lunch 2 plums, carrot
Dinner baby spinach, berries, fresh coconut water
Snacks fresh juice (kale, apple, celery, beetroot)
Training whole body + gymnastics practice
Energy feeling great
Sleep fine, no change to usual

Tuesday

Breakfast banana
Lunch 2 plums, grapes
Dinner roasted cauliflower, avocado
Snacks fresh juice (kale, apple, celery, beetroot)
Training lower body
Energy fine, no change to usual
Sleep fine, woke up well rested before the alarm

Wednesday

Breakfast 2 peaches
Lunch 2 plums, 2 carrots
Dinner steamed broccoli and Brussel sprouts, avocado
Snacks fresh juice (kale, apple, celery, beetroot)
Training am: gymnastics practice, pm: core
Energy fine, no change to usual
Sleep slept 5 hours, woke up well rested

Thursday to Saturday

Eating and training was similar to Monday to Wednesday. But sleep felt light, and I dreamt up a bunch of weird stuff each night.

Sunday

Breakfast massive bowl of fruit at a cafe
Lunch grilled sweet corn, carrots and cauliflower, avocado
Dinner a quarter of watermelon
Snacks baby spinach, berries, fresh coconut water
Training paddle boarding
Energy fine, no change to usual
Sleep fine, no change to usual

Week 2
Monday

Breakfast peach, plum
Lunch 2 carrots, 2 peaches
Dinner a quarter of watermelon
Snacks baby spinach, berries, fresh coconut water
Training lower body and shoulders
Energy fine, no change to usual
Sleep fine, no change to usual

Tuesday to Thursday

Breakfast peach, plum, nectarine or grapes
Lunch 2 carrots, 2 peaches
Dinner cauliflower roasted, Hawaiian potatoes roasted, avocado
Snacks baby spinach, berries, fresh coconut water
Training whole body + gymnastics practice
Energy fine, no change to usual
Sleep fine, no change to usual

Friday

Breakfast 2 apricots
Lunch 2 plums, apricot
Dinner Hawaiian potatoes grilled, avocado
Snacks baby spinach, berries, fresh coconut water
Training am: whole body pm: core + gymnastics practice
Energy Higher than on earlier days
Sleep Less than usual. Woke up feeling well rested before the alarm went off at 4:15am.

Saturday

As Friday, except trained core and shoulders.

Sunday (14 days since starting the experiment)

Breakfast massive fruit bowl at a cafe
Lunch sweet corn grilled, Hawaiian potatoes grilled, cauliflower grilled
Dinner a quarter of watermelon, a bowl of mixed fruit
Snacks baby spinach, berries, fresh coconut water
Training paddle boarding
Energy fine, no change to usual
Sleep fine, no change to usual

Additional notes

- No added oils in cooking.
- A cup of black coffee every second day. Purely for the sake of drinking something warmer than plain old H20.
- No supplements during the experiment.
- Started each morning with a glass of water with a juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of Himalayan salt.

The Results

The Takeaway

I did enjoy the challenge. I wasn’t starving on any day, slept great on most days, and after 14 days my body looked better than when I started. I liked how the restrictions (no oil in cooking) I set for myself forced me to simplify and get creative with my meals. 

Is this diet dangerous to follow?

I don’t believe so. Most of us drink alcohol each week. Most of us nurse through multiple cups of coffee, or other caffeinated beverages each day. Most of us eat way more processed than fresh food. And despite the evidence against smoking, people still keep doing it. 

So please, is eating only fresh fruits and vegetables more dangerous than our current lifestyle habits? 

I’ll leave that for you to answer.


* A plan where you focus on hitting a specific macronutrient targets each day. As always, some folks take it to the extreme and use it as an excuse to eat shit food. “Because it fits my macros, bro”.
** Why taste? Because too often our daily food intake is based on exaggerated flavours. Added sugar and fat in processed junk to make food delicious and irresistible. We’ve lost the connection and appreciation to how real food should taste like. Hint: awesome.

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