Veganism comes to fruition: Jackson Foster talks about his lifestyle, his beet tattoo, and his plans for the future

What is a fruitarian?

A fruitarian is a raw vegan eater who eats a majority of their daily caloric intake from raw fruits. Fruitarians also eat as many raw vegetables as you want—obviously uncooked—and a minimal amount of nuts and seeds, like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds.

When did you become a fruitarian? What was the hardest part about that transition?

I have been vegan now for two and a half years and vegetarian five years before that. I have been a raw fruitarian now for five months. The hardest part is timing how to get ripe fruit. When I go to the grocery store, I buy 40 pounds of bananas a week. I only eat bananas when they are ripe—so fully black-spotted. You have to be really diligent about buying food a week in advance and letting it ripen at my house and making sure I have food ready for next week and food ready for now.

Does being a fruitarian affect your social life?

Yes, for sure. I have gotten really good about eating socially. I blend a lot of my meals and I bring huge two-liter smoothies around school. But it’s hard for me to casually go to a bar or restaurant with friends. What I usually do in that situation is go and order a raw salad of greens. It’s not too bad.

I hear you are a vegan body builder. Can you talk a little about that?

The reason that I’m trying to build muscle is to simply show that you can build any physique you want on a cruelty-free diet. I’m just trying to debunk these protein myths that we need to be drinking milk and contributing to animal suffering in order to build muscle. I have gained about 45 pounds in the last 11 months on a 100 percent vegan diet, most of that being muscle.

What was your inspiration for this lifestyle?

I became vegetarian because I didn’t like the idea of having flesh on my plate. It made me uncomfortable, and finally I got old enough to realize that you do not need to apply and get a membership card to become a vegetarian. You can just wake and say, “I’m a vegetarian.”  I did that for a while and then learned about how eating eggs and dairy are actually much more cruel of practices than eating flesh. That just turned my world upside down, and I realized that as an ethical, compassionate person I needed to make the vegan switch. Health is now a huge part of it as well. We have so much control over chronic diseases if we actually eat the right foods that as herbivores, as humans we are meant to eat. All of these things together just made me so passionate about this that I decided to literally base my career and life around spreading the message.

People have told me you have a lot of tattoos. What do they mean, and more specifically, why do you have a tattoo of a beat?

I have a huge beet tattoo. I want to spread my message to everyone because of how much it has helped me and how much I think it can help the world. I will probably be covered in fruits and vegetables over the years. Frequently, people stop me and ask, “Why do you have tattoo of a beet on your leg?” I say, “I educate people and I practice a plant-based diet. Do you want to talk about it?” And that works a lot of the time. My tattoos are tools as a vegan activist.

There is a rumor that you only date vegans. Is this true?

No it’s not true. I am attracted to compassionate people. Before I was a vegan or vegetarian, I, too, was a compassionate person. I just didn’t have the resources to make that step. I think everyone is inherently compassionate, and when it comes to dating, it’s a vegan-interested person that I am attracted to even if they haven’t made the switch already.

You have a big presence on social media. Why do you publicize your diet and lifestyle so much?

I am working on an online business called Plantriotic. Right now I have a website, as well as a YouTube channel where I post my own videos on fitness, diet, and vegan issues.

I also have a vegan podcast called the Plantriotic Podcast. I am trying to build an online business so I can have a career and income off of spreading the message that I am so passionate about. I am building a social media platform so by the time that I drop an eBook, or I am making a fitness food tutorial video this summer, I will already have a fan base that will want to learn and buy my products.

What food do you miss the most? Is there a food that you wish you could eat?

People ask me, “Do you ever eat hot meals?” And the answer is no.

All my food is either cold or room temperature. I love this because it is the most energetic diet. I love doing it.  Once in a while on a cold day I totally miss making my lentil rice sweet potato curry stews.

What are you plans after graduation?

I have a few options. I am thinking about working for Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine in Austin, Tex. Austin has a really cool vegan scene right now, and I also think Texas is an interesting place to be a vegan.

My heart is really in the tropics, though. I visited some friends who live on fruit farms who have online businesses on the big island of Hawai’i, and that’s definitely an option for after I graduate.

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