The fruit cure The story of extreme wellness turned sour

Jacqueline Alnes, 1991-

Book - 2023

"Jacqueline Alnes was a Division One runner during her freshman year of college, but her season was cut short by a series of inexplicable neurological symptoms. What started with a cough, escalated to Alnes collapsing on the track and experiencing months of unremembered episodes that stole her ability to walk and speak. Two years after quitting the team to heal, Alnes's symptoms returned with a severity that left her using a wheelchair for a period of months. She was admitted to an epilepsy center but doctors could not figure out the root cause of her symptoms. Desperate for answers, she turned to an online community centered around a strict, all-fruit diet which its adherents claimed could cure conditions like depression, eating ...disorders, addiction, anxiety, and vision problems. Alnes wasn't alone. From all over the world, people in pain, doubted or dismissed by medical authorities, or seeking a miracle diet that would relieve them of white, Western expectations placed on their figures, turned to fruit in hopes of releasing themselves from the perceived failings of their bodies"--

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2nd Floor New Shelf 616.8526/Alnes (NEW SHELF) Due Jun 6, 2024
autobiographies (literary works)
Brooklyn : Melville House Publishing 2023.
Main Author
Jacqueline Alnes, 1991- (author)
Physical Description
307 pages ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages [281]-307).
  • Prologue
  • 1. The First Fall
  • 2. Edenburg
  • 3. "Well developed female in no acute distress"
  • 4. Fleshless, Bloodless, and Poison-Free
  • 5. I Shall Be Healed
  • 6. Guinea Pigs, Gurus, and People in Pain
  • 7. Sick
  • 8. Testify
  • 9. Finding the Fruit
  • 10. Banana Island
  • 11. The Fruititionist
  • 12. Salvation, Starvation
  • 13. Rebuke the Unclean Spirit
  • 14. Pints of Milk and Boiled Potatoes (Fruit Yourself! Root Yourself!)
  • 15. The Serpent Tricked Me
  • 16. A Different Kind of Garden
  • 17. How to Heal
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Essayist Alnes highlights in her sharp debut memoir how failures in America's healthcare system open doors for predatory wellness movements. As a freshman on her college's Divsion I track team, Alnes was stricken one day after practice with a sudden dizziness that soon became chronic. Despite worsening symptoms, including regular blackouts, Alnes's peers, coach, and medical doctors dismissed her condition. Within a year, she had difficulty speaking and needed the assistance of a wheelchair. Spiraling through fear, self-loathing, and bouts of self-harm, Alnes discovered YouTube influencers Leanne "Freelee" Ratcliffe and Harley "Durianrider" Johnstone, who championed an all-fruit raw diet as a cure-all. Despite the diet's austerity, Alnes bought in: "Their tales of triumph looked close enough to my own desire that I felt a sense of release. Someone out there knew how I was feeling." Her relief soon gave way to disillusionment, however, as she saw the influencer couple pushing unhealthy weight standards, ignoring fact-based research, and promoting a view of the people around her as either "broken" or "perfect." (Leanne and Harley broke up in 2016, lobbing accusations of physical abuse at one another.) Eventually, Alnes learned to accept her disabilities, and here she makes the case for "often-disruptive healing" over "quick fixes." Her journey from desperation to self-acceptance is moving and well rendered. In the crowded medical memoir field, this stands out. Agent: Kate Johnson, Wolf Literary. (Jan.)

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BEFORE THE DEFAMATION LAWSUIT, THE CUPS OF COCONUT sugar poured into banana smoothies, the sexual assault allegations, and the dissolution of what was once a dream, there was a man and a woman. Acne covered the woman's face and shoulders and chest. Her gut was inflamed, a symptom of systemic candida. The man, whose father had passed from cancer, was sick of the lies. Sick of the fries. Sick of rubbing thighs or listening to MLM gurus with dollar$ in their eyes. And so the man and the woman separated good food from bad. They called the good food Raw, and the bad food they called Murder, Torture, Junk, and Harm. The man and the woman worshipped what the earth yielded, an abundance of fruits and greens plucked ripe from their vines and stalks and trees. They ate dozens of bananas per day, and mangoes, dragon fruit, persimmons, oranges, peaches, watermelon, papaya, and more. Piles of durian crowned the man's bed. And the woman lay on the ground in a bikini, hair spilling across her face, boxes and boxes of dates surrounding her toned body as the man looked on. The man pressed the fruit between his fingers, saying squishy, date sugar, nutrition, nutrient-dense, and neither were ashamed. The man and the woman held the knowledge of good and evil; they could discern between the sweet flesh of a sun-ripened pineapple and plastic bags filled to the brim with animal blood. They knew that water and carbohydrates in the blood equaled beauty; fat in the blood, ugly. Pure thoughts came from drinking water. With this knowledge, the man and the woman created a website. The man and the woman painted the header with a faded image of browning bananas in the sun. They added green trim to a white background. They added an image of spotty bananas. They renamed themselves Durianrider and Freelee The Banana Girl. With that, the 30 Bananas a Day movement began. Freelee and Durianrider invited their followers to a fruit farm in Cairns, Australia, where there was a garden and the garden was good. From the garden came tatsoi, a green with leaves like flattened lily pads; Black Russian tomatoes; a bowl of pea-sized cherry tomatoes; tall sprigs of dill; cos lettuce; and sweet leaf skimmed from the stalk. People multiplied, journeying from all around the world. They gathered around a picnic table where the garden's bounty was arranged. Sun overhead, they ate until they were satiated. Tanned and wiry, the people bore gifts: They whacked a cleaver against a rod of sugarcane before twisting it and twisting it, milking the juice into a bowl. They broke open the scaly green skin of a jackfruit with their fingers. They sifted, smashed, and sieved coconut until it turned to oil, and they slathered it behind their ears, on their shoulders, and into the palms of their hands. They jackhammered avocado, mango, pineapple, and banana in a large pot, poured the golden mixture into a pitcher, drank from it, and said wow. Durianrider, standing before the small crowd of disciples, said, "People just want to feel good." And it was so. There, on the farm, the people slept in tents; the people woke up and ate coconuts; the people went down to the creek for a swim; the people did yoga beneath the limbs of an ancient tree; the people walked the walk and talked the talk and ate raw food and only raw food. No one snuck down the road for a hamburger. Freelee and Durianrider posted footage of toned bodies, testimonies about healing from chronic illness, and images of an abundance of fruit to their site. Through raw food and raw food alone, their followers turned from flab to fab. From tragic to magic. From around the world, people watched and saw that the movement was good. Like fruit flies lured by the sweet stench of something overripe, people desperate to heal from eating disorders, to cure illnesses, to save the animals, to find community, and to feel young again were drawn to 30 Bananas a Day. I was one of them. Excerpted from The Fruit Cure: The Story of Extreme Wellness Turned Sour by Jacqueline Alnes All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.