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Some fruitarians maintain that fruitarian diet should include only fruit flesh, which usually surrounds seeds of the common fruits. They insist on nver including seeds, because eating them would mean the same as destroying plants (or their "babies").

I must disagree

  1. First, seeds are not developed organisms. The main premise of fruitarianism is that complex organisms as plants deserve our ethical consideration, and most seeds are just dormant plant matter: it would be highly impractical and even immoral to treat them as individuals. 
  2. Second, they are produced by plants in excess, not all require to go through our digestive system, and only few can develop into organisms due to shortage of resources on this planet.
  3. Third, fruitarianism is about fruits is botanical sense, not culinary or common.

1. Seeds Are Not Individuals

A seed of a plant should be viewed differently from a developed plant organism, the same way our ethical approach toward male sperm cells and female egg cells, even after they connect together, varies from that towards human beings or advancely developed fetuses. 

By definition, a seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. It is a potential of a life, not a developed organism. Seeds we use for food are usually dormant. Right after fertilization, the zygote is mostly inactive, the endosperm tissue becomes the food the young plant will have a chance to consume until the roots have developed after germination, which in most cases will never start. Dormancy is a mechanism to prevent sprouting during unsuitable ecological conditions, when the probability of seedling survival is low. 

The main points here are:

  • consuming the seeds does not harm the producing them plant,
  • and this simple inactive form of life should be differentiated from a life of a sprouted and then fully developed plant.

We need to take into consideration the complexity of organisms in our ethical decision making. Otherwise, we will face an impossible task of treating individual microorganisms the same as apes, and will be morally incapacitated and unable to act, to exist, and even the unavoidable death would become a moral crime, because humans are 90% microbial organisms, and over 100 trillion microbes would die with each of us. 

And we also need to consider the stages of life of an organism. If we treat each attempt on existence as if it were an already succeeded individual being, our attention - a limited valuable resource - will be spread too thin to mean anything. 

2. Seeds Are Produced in Excess

Plants produce seeds usually in great abundance, only a few of them would usually land in a nourishing environment and develop into a functional living organism. There not enough resources on this planet to support all potential life, not even close: not enough place on Earth and in soil, not enough nutrients in it, and not enough surface under the Sun for the vital for plants sunlight. 

A fertile male human ejaculates on average about a teaspoon of semen with over 200 million sperm. There is no way all of them will connect with ovum, the female reproductive cell, and develop into a toddler. And females cannot conceive a child every month, just because an egg cell was produced and possibly fused with a male cell. Potentially finding another purpose for these unused cells should not introduce any moral issues. The fact that it did so historically for some religious groups (who strived to ejaculate only during intercorse and felt guilty for any other loss of male sperm) alone should not serve as a valid argument for modern fruitarians, who are much better informed and more capable of critical thinking. 

The same with the plant seeds. A tree can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds in one season, and less than 1% of them have any chance to sprout. It does not mean that the rest should rot (be consumed by bacteria and fungi) without any use by animals. 

Some seeds can survive (tomato) or require (raspberries) the process of been transported through a digestive track of a mammal or a bird, but it does not mean that all of them do, and that that's the only intended use for the seeds: many plants rely on animals who eat, and therefore store and hide the seeds, so some of them could possibly grow.

Many seeds have an outer layer that protects the seed and allows the embryo to survive the trip through a digestive system of an animal, which a an evolutionary mechanism that helps the plant to spread its seeds away from the parent and increase the chances for them to grow and survive. Seeds like that do not germinate in the dark, and thus inside of an animal. 

Some seeds will not germinate at all unless they pass through an animal. They need to be "abraded in a bird’s gizzard or eroded by digestive acids before water and air can enter the seed and germination can begin.” 

3. Botanical Definition of Fruit

In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants.

Edible fruits have propagated with the movements of humans and animals in a symbiotic relationship as a means for seed dispersal and nutrition.

In common language usage, "fruit" normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of a plant that are sweet or sour, and edible in the raw state. In botanical usage, used in definition of fruitarianism, "fruit" includes many structures that are not commonly called "fruits", such as bean pods, corn kernels, tomatoes, and wheat grains. The section of a fungus that produces spores is also called a fruiting body.


Human being live in a variety of climates and must survive in a variety of situations, their food choices should not be unnecessary limiting. Excluding most of the animal products by fruitarians is already a restrictive practice, where common means of human survival are avoided. Due to limited access to fruit for most human being and the depletion of agricultural soils, including seeds in their diet might be required for an adequate intake of nutrients and energy. 

Fruitarian diet is a practical application of the proposition for taking into ethical consideration and therefore causing minimal harm to non-human forms of life, such as plants. Applying this principle to all cells and mechanisms of procreation of living organisms is unnecessary, misleading, and undermining to the whole concept, by making the idea confusingly general and rigid, and its implementation impossible. 


0 # Mango 2016-12-13 11:51
Hi Lena, I respect that we all have a different opinion on the definition of the word fruitarian, there seems to be no ONE consensus on precisely what the word means.. for some it is simply a diet, for others a philosophy. It is precisely for this reason, that I have coined the phrase Eden Fruitarianism, and clearly defined the intent and purpose of this philosophy within my books. I acknowledge that we are likely never to agree fully on this, in fact, I see already that you MUST disagree, therefore I guess, we must also agree to disagree.

I will go through each of your three points from the perspective of Eden fruitarianism..

1. you state as fact that most seeds are just dormant plant matter. This is something neither of us can possibly know with 100% certainty. I am choosing to err on the side of life, and believe that every seed has a very real potential to live a full life. I can agree that looking after the needs of every single seed, is indeed impractical, I cannot agree however, that it is in any way immoral to view them as individual. Of course you are right that consuming the seeds does not harm the producing plant, but it clearly in most cases ends the potential for the seed to ‘awaken’ and fulfil its destiny. I am not saying that we should fight for the rights of seeds, as if they were orangutan, I am simply trying to get people to respect the potential of a life of a seed, and to avoid wilful, intentful damage and destruction to the seed.. This does not mean one has a moral obligation to look after and protect every single seed, doing so would, yes, be highly impractical and not the best use of our time. This is more about not standing as an obstacle in the path of the seed, and not finding excuses to terminate their existence.

2. Your argument appears to be that because there is an abundance of seed, only a few of which will ever make it to adult hood, this somehow gives us the moral right to consume some of them. I acknowledge that your argument reflects very much the status quo of nature, but one might equally argue that it is okay to eat tadpole eggs, on the premise that thousands, indeed tens of thousands may be laid and only one or two will ever make it to adult hood, or that it is morally acceptable to eat turtle eggs, as hundreds are laid, and again only one or two will survive.

I do not believe that your comparison of seed and human sperm truthfully reflects the actuality of things. Human sperm is clearly incomplete without the egg. Fertilisation of the seed however takes place within the flower, and by the time the seed exists, the potential for a full life is already there. The potential for the full life of a sperm exists only after contact with the ovum.. by acknowledging that seeds grow, this can be recognised as truth.

It would seem to me, your second point should only be considered as valid if it can be successfully proved that your first point is.

Eden Fruitarianism agrees and acknowledges that certain seeds benefit from passing through the digestive tract, such as raspberries and kiwi etc.. And in such cases I see no moral issue with consuming them, as it is clearly to their benefit. The same can however never be said for something like a macadamia nut, or even wheat grain. Consuming them halts their potential for a meaningful expansive existence on this earthly plane.

3. Eden Fruitarianism does not revolve around the botanical definition of fruit.. Here is the definition of fruit I have given in my book:

“When I talk of fruit, I am referring to the often edible part of the plant that surrounds the seed of the plant. Durian, mango, nectarine, chocolate pudding fruit, chempadek, apples, oranges, strawberries, bananas, pineapples, cherries and other such obvious fruits are just a few of the countless species of fruit that spring immediately to mind.

Despite not always being classified as fruit, the following also belong to that category: Avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, peppers, pumpkin and even eggplant and belladonna (deadly night shade). Clearly, the flesh surrounding the seed is not always edible by humans, thus there are many types of fruit that are not suitable food for us bipeds.

In some cases, such as the banana and the pineapple, the seed is often no longer present, these are however still types of fruit. Although rare in the western world, varieties of both still do exist however containing seed.
In other cases, such as the tomato, the kiwi, the pomegranate, the passion fruit and the strawberry, to name but a few, the seed and the edible flesh are basically inseparable, thus eating the seed too is unavoidable. However, in such cases, the seed generally stands to profit from the experience as the digestive process will help kick start whatever enzymes are in the seed needed to get it germinating. Thus the deal is symbiotic for both us and the plant. Provided of course we are not just flushing our waste down the WC!”

Eden Fruitarianism does not consider seeds in general to be fruit, even if some like yourself would argue that botanically they are.

I recall a couple of friends of mine, who once visited a self-proclaimed fruitarian living in Ireland, when they arrived at her house, they found her sitting eating peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Her reasoning was somewhat like yours, that botanically everything she was eating was fruit…

Eden Fruitarianism acknowledges that all food should be eaten the way nature offers it, and that the cooking process will grossly harm any real foods..
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