George Graham

Going Bananas



I read somewhere that Jamaican sprinters eat a lot of bananas, and I was not surprised. I, too,  am a banana eater of long standing. When my dad was overseer of Paradise, a plantation near Hope Bay in Portland, Jamaica, he kept a big bin full of ripe bananas by the wall to the kitchen. And whenever we wanted a snack we went to the bin.

Bananas were the main crop produced at Paradise in those days, and they were always available. Not only as fruit (when they’re ripe) but as a vegetable (when they’re green). We peeled and boiled green bananas and served them the way Americans serve potatoes (called Irish potatoes in Jamaica to distinguish them from sweet potatoes).

We even sometimes had green bananas as a porridge for breakfast, but I don’t honestly recommend that to the faint of heart.

Throughout my travels as I pursued a career in journalism, I always sought and often found bananas (avocadoes, too, but that’s another story). And I still eat two or three ripe bananas a day.

Now that I liive in Florida, I snack on oranges and mangoes, too. Year round. In the Jamaica of my childhood, fruit was usually available only in season, but in today’s US, with its global trade, we can have anything we want at any time of year.

As I remember, though, bananas were always in season. And in Jamaica, as one fruit goes out of season, another comes in. I spent much of my childhood in one kind of tree or another, filling up on the fruit du jour – tangerines, mangerines, star apples, sweetsops, custard apples, plums and so on…

One day, my siblings – Harry, Betty and Peter – and I had a contest to see how many oranges we could eat. I won with 22 or 24 (I am not quite sure; after eating that many oranges, I was a bit dizzy).

Of course that’s excessive and I don’t recommend it.

But I am wholeheartedly supportive of a new fad that has some Americans subsisting on a diet based almost entirely on fruit. They call themselves, appropriately, fruitarians. And they theorize that fruit is all we need to keep us alive and healthy.banana

It sounds plausible to me. I understand humans are related to the ape family, and what do apes (and other monkeys) eat? Fruit – especially bananas.

They seem to do quite well on it, too.

I bet the chickens, steers, hogs, lambs and other unfortunate creatures that get slaughtered to feed humans would applaud this type of diet.

Don’t you?

More on the fruitarians

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for