Freelee the Banana Girl, a popular vegan YouTuber and blogger, made headlines earlier this year when she moved to a cabin in a jungle in South America to embrace an “off-grid” lifestyle.
Originally from Queensland, Australia, Freelee (whose real name is Leanne Ratcliffe) shared an insight into her day-to-day life with her followers, saying she spends most of her days naked, no longer shaves her body hair and doesn’t wear makeup.
But some people have questioned the legitimacy of her off-grid lifestyle, prompting the YouTuber to address her critics.
“There are people in this world who want to inspire positive change and then there are others who want to bring those people down,” she wrote on Instagram.
“One commenter said I was lying and living in a mansion out here and have a photographer who follows me around taking all my pics. Not quite hunny. In reality I’ve been living in a tent under a shed for many months, through monsoonal rains and gale force winds.”
“It’s been REALLY tough at times. No photographer but I do have Mr Tripod enabling me to video myself and then take screenshots for Instagram.”
“Another commenter said I’m a fraud for having a smartphone, internet, and electricity,” she continued.
“Yes, I do have a smart phone (but no reception), laptop and internet made possible through a satellite connection. Necessary tools of communication and income. This means I can share with you what I see as an empowering urgent message. At this stage I can’t send you that message telepathically.”
“The electricity I use is 100 percent free and generated by six solar panels harnessing the sun’s rays. I don’t have any lights so go to bed on sundown and get up on sunrise, as nature intended. I drink from (and bathe in) pristine stream water free of cost and city pollutants. I eat a frugivorous diet which is mostly grown here organically with a goal of 100 percent free food in the coming years.”
“Living off the grid doesn’t mean you have to exist like a hermit who doesn’t communicate with the outside world. We are creating a beautiful natural life here and I want to inspire you to do the same.”
Ratcliffe made headlines in 2014 when she revealed her extreme diet on social media.
She stated that her day on a plate usually consists of “mono meals, made up of a single fruit, such as two entire pineapples in a sitting or five mangoes, two quarts of orange juice or as many as 20 bananas at a time” (hence the “banana girl” nickname).
She also said she remains “raw until four,” eating no cooked or heated food until the afternoon. Then, she usually still sticks to her mono meals, sometimes baking several pounds of potatoes in the oven.
She made the decision to move to the jungle and live off-grid with her partner and wrote in February: “I used to work in a concrete jungle, now I just work in the jungle.”
“I spend most of my day nude; free of restrictive clothing. I feast mostly on organic fruits and vegetables picked from the land. I shower in monsoonal rains and drink from pristine creeks. I quit an unhealthy relationship and found peace. I haven’t shaved my body hair, dyed my hair, or worn makeup in over 6 months … I’m feeling freer than ever in life.”
The decision was initially made to move off-grid when she woke one morning dreading the workday ahead.
“I was exhausted with the 9-5 grind. Waking to an alarm, commuting over an hour a day dressed in a restrictive suit, painting my face to ‘look the part’, binding my feet in high heels and faking a smile to the public.”
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