I went on a banana island trip for 2.5 days this week. Basically, what that means is that I ate nothing but bananas and a few greens for this whole time. Yes, you heard that right. Bananas. only. for. two. and. a. half. days.
Why on earth would I do that for?
There are many reasons really, but my two personal reasons was that (1) I felt sluggish and needed a little detox/reset, and (2) I have seen this “banana island thing” everywhere recently and it has been hailed as the holy grail by many, and I was curious, (and a bonus 3) I LOVE bananas. I also love experimenting a little with my diet, and trying some different things to see how it makes me feel. After doing proper research of course.
The idea is that by eating nothing but beautifully, nourishing, superfood bananas, you give your body a chance to detoxify, heal, and really thrive. Benefits reported while being on banana island include; clearer thinking, clearer skin, weight loss, better digestion and elimination, more energy and a new, improved relationship to food, to name a few.
Ideally, you should do at least one week of banana island at a time, but I did not really want to commit to that long and I did not have that many bananas (it was a spur of the moment kind of thing). Thinking that if I liked it, I can always plan it better next time.
Here is my little diary and reflection of my experiment:
I would like to start off with a disclaimer; I am not following an 801010 diet and I am not eating fully raw, nor do I aspire to do either of those (quite the contrary actually, as I used to be fully raw and decided against it, but that is a whole other blog post). I eat a 99% vegan diet (happy eggs and cheese sometimes happens) , and about 70-80% raw depending on the week. I do eat completely gluten free and sugar free as well as generally keeping my carb-intake high and fat-intake low. In addition, I did only 2.5 days so I understand I did not do it “right”.
Quite excited about this experiment and the opportunity to eat my most favorite fruit as much as I possibly can, and after a good 100 minutes of sweaty ashtanga yoga I make myself a smoothie on 7 bananas, some fresh coconut water (I might be cheating, not sure), about a cup of kale and an ice-cube. It tastes heavenly, and I feel great.
After my daily morning walk and playtime with dog and toddler, I feel a little hungry so I have 2 bananas to quell the worst of it, but I must say, it did not quite do the trick. I was wanting something else.
Lunch time comes around and I am seriously already wanting something else than bananas, and I find myself longingly looking at my daughter’s juicy watermelon but I decide against it, and decide to have a nice large salad with spinach, arugula and about 6 bananas with a little sprinkle of fresh lemon juice on top. Pretty good actually, but the sweetness of the bananas is lingering in my mouth and I have to brush my teeth.
It is only 2 hours later and I am hungry, and I don’t want bananas, but I have 3 anyways. I have serious cravings now, and no, not for bad foods (I never do) but for things like my homemade garlic pickles, the young coconut in my fridge, or the raspberries….! Pretty much anything but bananas. They leave a weird taste in my mouth.
For dinner, I decide to make it fancy so I make a smoothie with 6 bananas + 3 frozen ones and two teaspoons of cacao and handful of spinach. Yes, it was yummy, but my husband’s curry quinoa vegetables smells SO good. But I am strong, I eat bananas.
2 hours after dinner and I am hungry- again, i know! I have never eaten this much in my life! I have already had 27 bananas today, but I need at least 2 more. I am full, but I feel like I am going to be sick almost, and I still have cravings. So, I give in. I make a juice with celery, cucumber, pineapple and parsley. Yes I am weak, but MAN that did the trick. Time to sleep.
Total Bananas: 29
Detox symptoms/effects: cravings, a slight headache and a jittery mind.
Benefits experienced: none
At yoga, I feel heavy and sluggish this morning, and I really could think of a million other things I would rather eat but bananas, but I talk myself out of giving up this early (seriously gurl, you have done 30 days juice cleanses!) and head home and make a huge smoothie with about 8 bananas, half frozen with TONS of dandelion greens to energize and to balance out the super sweetness of the super ripe bananas. It works, it is actually good, I know I can do this now. I tell myself I just ate too FEW bananas yesterday, that is why it did not feel good yesterday. Today I will have many more. But seriously, I am fantasizing about grapes, watermelon, and about a fully raw spinach salad with sun dried tomatoes and portabello mushrooms that I will make as soon as I leave this island (do not ask me why, but that was my craving!)
10.30 comes around and I cannot.eat.bananas. So I make a smoothie, I love smoothies (I just wish I could do it with mangoes, my inner voice whispers). 5 bananas this time, I will fight hunger today and win!
Lunchtime comes around, but I am still full, and that weird sweet taste in my mouth is making me almost a little naseous, so I end up only feeding my daughter. I am really tired so I take a nap together with her and wake up starving. Need bananas, and yes, they actually tasted good, just as they were. I think I ate about 6 of them (I wanted to stop at 4, but I do not want to get hungry again).
However, about 4.30 I am hungry again, I am so tired of eating bananas, but I need to not give up, so I have 3, plain, and they were ok. Not very exciting, but ok.
For dinner, I make a green “dessert smoothie” with 7 frozen bananas, kale, a little vanilla bean, and water. I like it, but I still really wanted to eat something else and I feel unsatisfied. Since I have not really experienced any kind of benefits from this banana island yet, I decide to continue until I’m completely out of bananas, so that will give me about half a day more.
Total Bananas: 29 (I know, I ended up with the exact amount from yesterday without even counting. that is interesting. )
Detox symptoms/effects: sluggish, tired, little naseous.
Benefits experienced: none, but my headache is gone.
I wish I would have gone to yoga this morning so I could have really felt my body out, but I was too tited when the alarm went off, so I stayed in bed.
Started my day with a 7 banana smoothie, a little coconut water and spinach. Felt naseous after finishing it. I really do not want to eat more bananas, but I do have a few left.
Have a snack around 10 am of 2 bananas.
Lunch, and my last banana meal, is a huge green salad topped with a little fresh squeezed lemon and cracked pepper, with 5 bananas on the side. I eat them and feel victorious for sticking with it, and I am so excited to eat other things soon!
Amount of bananas: 14
Detox symptoms/effects: tired and sick of bananas
Benefits experienced: seriously, not one single one. But I think I might have gained a little weight…
In conclusion, initially, I was excited and pumped to try this little mini-challenge, and I did have high hopes, however, for me, it ended up very disappointing. I am sure that this detox may work a little better for a longer duration of time, however, personally, I would rather do a detox that makes me feel good, light, energetic, and alive, which juice cleanses does for me. This banana island made me feel sluggish, over sugared, a little jittery, and not looking forward to my “meals”.
When doing juice cleanses before, I always find myself looking forward to juice-time and I enjoy the abundance of different nutrients that floods my body from different sources. And no, i have never done a juice “fast”, where I would deprive my body from calories, but have enjoyed juices in abundance and plenty of calories to fuel me long term. They have also made me feel good very fast even though I have had to suffer from the detox symptoms first (which had been way more severe for me on juices).
I do not want to discredit the banana island diet because I know so many people that is absolutely raving about it, and it is obviously a very gentle and kind way to cleanse your body and reset your system. It is especially great for people that do like to chew and eat a lot and may find juice cleanses daunting in that there are no solids. I also think it would be a great way to introduce someone to a new diet and reset their systems to follow a more raw and vegan way of life.
For me, however, I do not see myself doing this again. I am in great tune with my body, and I swear it tells me what it wants to eat and drink, and I tend to listen to it. The hunger I felt during these 2.5 days was not pleasant and it was not normal for my body to yearn for foods in that kind of way. In addition, I almost always feel great. I have consistent ridiculous amounts of energy with very few (if ever) highs and lows, I sleep great, I have a great relationship to food (I love it), and I love and nourish my body as much as i possible can.
On this diet, I went from stuffed to starving within two hours, I felt sluggish, I dreaded the meal times and felt like I had to force myself to eat. Even if I would have committed to one full week on banana island, I frankly do not think I would have made it.
Even though it is completely normal that there is no one exact diet that everyone can follow and thrive on, it made me disappointed. I had such high hopes, and the idea sounded great. Bio-individuality is a real thing, and I quite happily left banana island behind and swam to shore, not really ever anticipating my return.