Julie Suiter is originally from Charleston, WV, and was a champion gymnast and circus performer before graduating from Duke University with a degree in psychology. She spent 21 years in the corporate world, holding positions in teaching, counseling, and human resources, including serving as the Director of the Wellness Program for a Fortune 500 company. Julie has been teaching yoga for healing and rejuvenation for 14 years, and is a fruitarian who loves acrobatics, dance, and Nature. She appreciates every opportunity to speak up for the animals, and lives with her husband, Tom, and cat, Chloe, in the southeastern US.
And now, here is the behind-the-scenes story:
I was brought up in the 50's and 60's by intelligent, well-educated, loving parents. I am grateful to my parents for my life and to my brother for many years of love and friendship. I was breast-fed only briefly, and then put on "formula" and Gerber baby foods, sanctioned, I am sure, by Dr. Spock.
By the time I was in school I was drinking Tang (the breakfast of astronauts) and eating Velveeta cheese sandwiches, Campbell's tomato soup, Fritos, and Jello. I was also expected to drink milk at every meal. I was actually quite lean and light and didn't care about food or need much of it to thrive. Dinnertime became a torture for me as I was thoroughly disgusted by all meat (liver?!!!) and refused to eat it. I was made to sit at the table for hours while a battle of wills went on between my mother and me. She took me to the doctor to see what was wrong with me because I wouldn't eat the so-called nutritious food which included canned asparagus, spaghetti sauce, and meat loaf (the gristle! and what is this - a bronchial tube?!!)
To be fair, there were also oranges (my favorites), apples, and bananas, usually sliced into a monkey salad with peanut butter and mayonnaise. There were also occasionally cantaloupes, watermelons, and grapefruit halves with brown sugar. My favorite meal was when I was allowed to make a "plate" of things I liked, such as orange wedges, tomato slices, pickles, and celery sticks. I would only eat one thing at a time. My mother thought it odd that I liked everything so plain.
In 4th grade, I discovered Sweet Tarts and other candies like Pixie Stix and Nikl Nips (all sugary and fruit-flavored. I knew.) I started secretly stashing candy in my room which helped me get by since I could hardly tolerate the standard cooked fare. It gave me a feeling of freedom and power and also unfortunately started a lifelong habit of secretive eating.
I had the usual childhood illnesses including chicken pox and bouts of tonsillitis which led to a tonsillectomy when I was too young to know I had a choice in the matter. (I am hoping to grow some new tonsils soon!)
In high school I started getting really hooked on junk food like crackers and cheese, chips and dip, red licorice, bubble gum, and cake frosting. I remember one particular day feasting at a friend's house when I realized it was all getting out of control and that I was spending way too much time thinking about food and overeating. Around this time I came down with mono and was out of school for a few weeks, sick and tired at home. During all this time I was an athlete, competing in swimming, diving, and gymnastics and performing in an amateur circus. (Yes, I flew on the trapeze!)
In college I was able to more freely indulge in unhealthy eating and became a rather chubby varsity gymnast. There were plenty of late-night study breaks with friends spent snacking on pizza and candy. I still didn't care anything about meat and after seeing a disturbing film about slaughterhouses, I officially became a vegetarian. I also began drinking alcohol regularly, especially wine. I remember starting to feel weird, often tired and reclusive, and even had a few episodes of what I now know were panic attacks which terrified me.
In my 20's I continued my pattern of appearing to be fit and healthy while secretly eating junk and feeling sick. My mother died of colon cancer and I developed real problems with anxiety and depression. I became more interested in pursuing natural health and wellness and discovered macrobiotics, reading lots of books on the subject and becoming part of the local macrobiotic scene. When I was able to stay away from the junk I definitely felt better, but not great. I knew that food was causing me problems, but I wasn't clear on what I should be eating.
In my 30's the mental/emotional issues improved somewhat but I began having lots of bladder infections and also colds and viruses. There were plenty of visits to doctors, even naturopathic ones, where I received prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications. But I was happily in love and got married and my new husband and I nursed each other through lots of these little illnesses. It seemed normal since everyone at work was sick, too, but I was growing weary of trying to maintain my "healthy" persona while feeling so run down and tired. Still, I kept a crazy, busy schedule and worked out at the gym every night. I even became the Director of the Wellness Program for a large company which I knew was a sham since I was still secretly eating junk like an addict and feeling anything but well.
In my early 40's I became suddenly very ill with something that a whole slew of doctors could not diagnose. I called it the Brain Virus and it took me down for the count. I felt a curtain of darkness move diagonally across my brain and I collapsed, literally. I was in bed for weeks, so weak I was crawling to the bathroom. Not only was I sick but I felt very embarrassed and didn't want anyone to know what was going on with me. I now believe it was a Really Bad Sinus Infection with plenty of full-system toxicity from years of mistreatment. There were a few days that I felt very close to death and it was a frightening feeling. During this time I gave up faith, hope, and reliance on the medical system and accepted full responsibility for causing my own circumstance. And I was knowing, as I had always known, that food was the key. I knew I had poisoned myself, almost to death.
One night after a deeply-felt plea to the Universe for help, I was awakened at 3:00 am and clearly guided to the internet which was new. There I read about "raw food" and people who called themselves fruitarians and ate only fruit that had fallen from the tree. I remember saying out loud, "Now THAT'S NUTTY!"
But I was also immediately fascinated and intrigued by it all.
I wish I had fully seen the light at that point and gone for all fruit, but I went the usual path of trying to become "all raw." I read about Brother George (Hallelujah Acres) and my husband and I tried drinking lots of carrot juice. I remember a phase where we got very attached to peanut butter smoothies. (Peanut butter, maple syrup, and bananas.) I read quite a few books that were helpful and inspiring. My favorite was Raw Family. I still love that book.
Then I discovered Arnold Ehret (The Mucusless Diet Healing System and Rational Fasting) and Morris Krok (Fruit the Food and Medicine for Man.) And soon after, I read Essie Honnibal's I Live On Fruit and even corresponded with her. Her letters to me were loving and generous. These authors spoke to me so beautifully and I knew they wrote the truth. Their books became my friends. I read and reread these books until I began to unlearn all I had been taught by The System of parents, government, school, and business. I came to KNOW that fruit really is the correct food for humans.
In particular, I was deeply inspired by Theresa Mitchell's story, My Road to Health, found in Ehret's Rational Fasting book, where she details her process to become fruitarian. I have read her moving account many times and feel such a kindship with her.
I continued to search the internet for current-day fruitarians and I found Anne Osborne, Kveta Martinec, and Mango Wodzak. They are all intelligent, kind, aware people and they gave me the faith and confidence that it was not only possible to live on fruit, but it was really the paradisical life that all people are searching for, consciously or unconsciously.
I am forever grateful to all these wonderful pioneers who have shown me, and many others, the way. Kveta was especially helpful and loving with me as I began on the path. I was also fortunate to take a trip to Costa Rica with Doug Graham where I lived with other fruit lovers and ate tropical fruits right off the trees. I really wanted to see how it would be to live in agreement with Nature in the tropics and I loved it!
During this time frame of several years, I fell out of the fruit tree more times than I can count. I didn't know how much I was using food for comfort, reward, and entertainment until I tried to stop doing it. In particular, my habit of secret eating at night was so powerful and deeply rooted that I wondered if I would ever be free of it. I would say that my journey was 2 steps forward and 1 step back, then 3 steps forward and 1 step back, then 10 steps, then 100 steps, then 1000 steps. With each step forward came a corresponding improvement in health/energy/mental clarity/peaceful happiness.
Some harmful habits fell away quickly and easily, like chewing gum, drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages, and taking medications. I haven't done any of those things in over 11 years and I don't miss them or even think about them, ever. However, the food thing was more complicated and has required constant vigilance on my part to remain steady on the path, even now. It gets easier every day.
About 3.5 years ago, I decided that I wanted to fully commit to the fruitarian lifestyle and I began an online blog which I kept for the first 1.5 years. It helped me stay focused and motivated and I received a lot of invaluable support, especially from my friend, Kveta. During this time I experimented on myself and took all the time I needed to become absolutely certain in my confidence of the fruit diet and lifestyle. The changes in my health, well-being and appearance have been profound and continue still.
I feel it is time for me now to share my fruitarian life and provide support and encouragement for those who, like me, are seriously seeking the truth and ultimate self-improvement. I look forward to writing LOTS more detail here about my experiences and thoughts.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope it is helpful to you on your own unique journey.