I’ve mentioned on social media that my staples since arriving in Palma have been watermelon, cherries, and gluten-free pasta. Some days these are the only things I eat, but most days I eat these in addition to other foods, like grapes, orange juice, vegan ice cream, corn cakes, and hummus. And, of course, broccoli and a spicy tomato sauce always accompany my pasta dinner.
Why am I so obsessed with watermelon? Well, watermelon in Palma is out of this world delicious! It’s perfectly ripe, sweet, crisp, and refreshing! It’s also super cheap, with prices ranging from 0.45-0.55 euro per kilo. Just make sure you hit up the local fruit shops instead of the chain grocery stores. (Though the chain stores also offer discounts from time to time.) Fruit shops are located throughout the city, so no matter where I am during the day, I’m a short walk away from another giant wedge of watermelon. Watermelon meals mean easy clean-up, as I eat it off the rind with a spoon.
Cherries are also relatively cheap here. I typically buy my cherries from chain stores like Eroski at €4 per kilo. Cherries are easily transported too, and a lot lighter than watermelon in my bag, so they’re my go-to snack or meal if I’m on the go.
Is it healthy to only eat watermelon and cherries?
Is it possible for me to eat sufficient calories and get all the nutrients I need? What about protein?
I ask these questions because a follower on Tumblr inquired about it. They wanted to know if it’s possible to get sufficient nutrients if I only eat a few foods per day. While my diet is more diverse, I wanted to show what it would be like if I simplified my diet to include only watermelon and cherries.
I haven’t done this yet because I always eat much more than that, but I have eaten watermelon for two of my three meals in a day before. I felt amazingly hydrated that day, as you can imagine, full of energy, and never hungry for anything else.
Curious about how nutritionally complete a daily diet of watermelon and cherries could be, I added them into Cronometer.
Based on what I usually pay for a giant wedge of watermelon (around €2.20) and the price of 0.55 per kilo in the shop, I estimate the weight of edible watermelon to be 3 kilos (not including the rind). I might eat slightly more or less because each wedge is different.
This the calorie and nutrient breakdown for a day consisting of 3-kilos of watermelon for breakfast and 3-kilos for lunch, followed by a kilo of cherries for dinner:
Notice that I easily consume plenty of calories and get 99% of my daily protein, 47.2 grams, all from watermelon and cherries! Granted, I’m eating a large volume of watermelon, much more than the average non-fruit-vegan person could eat, but still! (Newbie fruit vegans will eventually be able to eat this much as well; you just need to build up your tolerance for all that fiber!) I’d also argue that I need to eat MORE calories due to my activity level, but more on that later.
I’m also getting an immense amount of vitamin A, 1491% thanks to the watermelon. While overdosing on vitamin A is a real problem, you don’t need to worry because you can’t overdose on the Vitamin A found in fruits and veggies. According to my research, you can only overdose on Vitamin A found in fish or liver, supplements, or medication.
Watermelon is also high in B vitamins, vitamin C, copper, magnesium, potassium…it’s full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water. AND it tastes great. Watermelon is a perfect food!
Cherries are highest in vitamin C but also provide a substantial amount of B vitamins, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium…all the good stuff!
These fruits are completely healthy to eat in large quantities. You never have to worry about too much sugar from fruit. Eat as much as you crave!
Now I wouldn’t be able to eat only watermelon and cherries every day for weeks because sadly, their season will end. If I wanted to eat watermelon and cherries every day while here in Palma, I’d be perfectly healthy and happy to do so. And you can too if you’re a watermelon fan like me.
What I actually eat in a day in Palma.
It’s good to know that two of my favourite staples provide me with so much nutrition. However, my diet is never this simple. For instance, a typical day for me includes two wedges of watermelon (6 kilos total), a kilo of cherries, plus 500 grams of gluten-free pasta served with tomato sauce (pre-made) and broccoli.
This is the calorie and nutrient breakdown for what I actually eat day-to-day:
This is a more accurate representation of what I eat in a day while in Palma. I eat around 3500 calories a day, if not more because some days I’ll eat 500 grams of grapes before or after dinner, or indulge in a vegan ice cream cone with two scoops like I did yesterday! With those added into my daily intake, I’m eating closer to 4000 calories a day.
My calorie intake in Palma is similar to my calorie intake while I lived in Scotland, so that’s good to know that I’m still eating sufficient calories even though my staples have changed. (Not that I was worried, since I feel great every day, but it’s nice to have hard evidence!)
I’m fairly active and walk around 6 miles per day. Some days I walk more, others less. Still, I’m eating a significant amount of calories daily, and the interesting thing is that I’m still losing weight! I’m leaner than I’ve ever been yet I’m eating more calories than ever, especially compared to my diet before I jumped on the HCLF bandwagon. I’m never hungry and fueling my body with completely nutritious foods gives me all the energy needed to walk this much; I just can’t stay inactive for too long. This is why the HCLF lifestyle is perfect for those looking to lose weight effortlessly.
As you can see, I get more than enough of all the nutrients I need. Protein isn’t an issue at all. I’m actually eating too much! This is due to the gluten-free pasta. The gluten-free pasta listed in Cronometer contains only corn, but the pasta I used yesterday contained corn, rice, buckwheat, and quinoa, so it was even higher in protein. Newsflash: vegans never need to worry about protein!
Do I need to eat 100% of all vitamin and minerals every single day?
Notice that minerals like calcium and selenium, vitamin E, and omega fatty acids haven’t been satisfied 100%, but this isn’t a cause for concern. While it’s important to aim to eat a variety of foods to ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients, it’s not necessary that your daily diet meets all nutritional requirements 100% of the time. Instead, aim to eat a varied diet throughout the seasons. Eat the fruits and veggies you crave.
I prefer an abundance of seasonal fruits as my staples because they’re cheap and delicious. Once watermelon and cherries are out of season, or after I travel to a place where they aren’t readily available, I’ll adjust my diet to include other fruits. Maybe I’ll start eating potatoes again. If I can find decent grapes for a reasonable price, grapes will once again become one of my staples.
If you haven’t read 80/10/10 by Dr. Graham, I highly recommend it. 80/10/10 is a complete guidebook on high carb low fat raw veganism, specifically a diet high in fruit. Dr. Graham is a leading authority on raw veganism and sports nutrition and a lifetime athlete himself. 80/10/10 will answer any and all questions about this lifestyle, especially nutritional concerns, as well as provide you with suggested daily eating plans.
Dr. Graham provides an answer to this question regarding the importance of satisfying 100% of all nutrients every day on his 80/10/10 forum:
The recommended numbers are simply guidelines, and not set in stone. Various nutrient interactions with each other, and with cooked foods, create need variance. Calorie intake, digestive and absorptive efficiency, and many other factors also affect the numbers. The anti-nutrients created in the cooking process also raise the need for certain nutrients when on a cooked diet. The research for determining RDA for raw fooders has never been done. Logic dictates that a raw food diet that follows 811 (80/10/10) principles will give you everything you need, in proper proportion to everything else. The results of almost 30 years of experimentation on the part of thousands of people following 811 brings the same conclusion.
And the following excerpts regarding nutrients and supplements are from his FoodnSport website:
Will I get enough of the nutrients my body needs from fruits and vegetables?
The very best quality vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, enzymes, co-enzymes, fiber, water, protein, carbohydrates, and fats come from fruits and vegetables. They are complete nutritional packages and provide the body with everything it needs to function properly. Of all foods, fruits are richest in vitamins and water, and second richest in minerals and fiber, while vegetables and leafy greens are richest in minerals and fiber, and second richest in vitamins and water. The other two nutrient groups, proteins and fats, are needed in smaller quantities; so, while fruits and vegetables are not high in protein and fat content, they still remain their ideal source. All nutrients come in the proper proportions and ratios that the body can utilize optimally. No man-made vitamin tablet or other supplement can compare with nature’s handiwork. Essentially, fruits supply nutrients in quantities that most closely approximate human nutritional needs and vegetables come in second place.
Do I need to take supplements?
There is no need for supplements if you are eating an adequate raw diet and engaging in frequent vigorous activity. All the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients the body needs are supplied by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. Indeed, most supplements are concentrated from plant foods, and the body does not appreciate these concentrated levels, having to work to expel them similarly to the toxic residue from cooked foods. It is always better to correct the diet than to supplement it. Many people hold the belief that more is better, but actually, supplements do little besides foster nutritional imbalances. That said, in individual cases it may be necessary to supplement the diet nutritionally during the initial phases of lifestyle change rather than risk potential health damage. The health of each individual always takes priority over any philosophical position.
In summary, it is perfectly healthy to live off of fresh delicious watermelon and cherries (or other fruit) all day. Eat the fruit you crave and eat a variety through the seasons. If you are worried about satisfying nutritional requirements, I recommend tracking everything you eat in Cronometer to give you some perspective on where your diet is lacking.
Additional useful posts for further reading:
- High carb low fat basics. Basically a FAQ about the HCLF lifestyle.
- Do vegans need to take supplements? Useful information regarding protein, calcium, omega fatty acids, and B12.
- What I eat in a day. More Cronometer screenshots and dietary analysis of what I eat.