Rid yourself of your rationality and step into the all-natural world of Freelee the Banana Girl, an Australian YouTuber and blogger who’s perpetually embroiled in some grade-A niche drama. In 2014, she gained infamy within the lifestyle blogger scene when she promoted her 51-bananas-a-day diet, and since then, she has pivoted into a nude vegan blogger who lives in a South American jungle — or so she says. In recent weeks, some of her followers have accused her of not being so off-the-grid after all, with one commenter going as far as to make the outlandish claim that she’s living in a mansion with a personal photographer — charges that Freelee, who maintains she has “been living in a tent under a shed for many months, through monsoonal rains and gale force winds,” strongly denies.
Who is Freelee the Banana Girl?
Freelee is a popular raw vegan YouTuber and blogger who has amassed more than 425,000 followers between her two Instagram accounts, @freelee_official and @freeleethebananagirl, and nearly 785,000 followers on her YouTube channel. Originally from Queensland, Australia, the 37-year-old influencer (whose real name is Leanne Ratcliffe) is now currently living an “off-grid” lifestyle in the South American jungle with her partner.
Wait, first, why does she call herself that?
She follows a frugivorous diet, meaning that she typically only eats fruits. Most of her daily food intake comes in the form of “mono meals” that consist of a single type of fruit, such as two whole pineapples or five mangoes. After 4 p.m., she ditches her raw diet and will sometimes indulge in a cooked mono meal; for example, she once ate nearly 8 pounds of cooked potatoes for dinner. However, she sometimes will choose to have a third meal of fruit to bring up her daily calorie intake to anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000.
Also, she freaking loves bananas — so much that sometimes, she apparently eats up to 20 at a time, and once ate 51 in a day.
So what’s the big controversy surrounding her?
It all started in February 2018, when Freelee decided to leave the “concrete jungle” for “the jungle,” and moved to a cabin in a South American jungle with her partner. There, she feels “freer than ever.”
“I spend most of my day nude; free of restrictive clothing,” she wrote on Facebook in February. “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.”
But in the past few weeks, her followers have become suspicious of her so-called “grid-free” lifestyle, accusing her of everything from secretly living in a mansion to being a fraud for using a smartphone and laptop. In late June, she addressed the allegations 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,” she wrote. “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.”
In the same post, she addressed the person who questioned her use of electronics in the jungle, writing: “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.”
She’ll have you know, per her Instagram, that her life has been “REALLY tough at times.”
Has there been drama around her before?
Ohhhhhhhh yes. In 2016, Elizabeth Ribar wrote an essay on XOJane accusing Freelee of bullying one of her “favorite” YouTubers, Pilates teacher Cassey Ho of Blogilates and POP Pilates. As an attempt to prove that the Banana Girl is rotten at her core, Ribar brought up the case of famous Australian fitness guru Kayla Itsines, who sued Freelee and her partner back in 2015 for defamation after they made a number of disparaging comments on their channels, insinuating that Itsines’s The Bikini Body Guide starves people and that Itsines’s boyfriend “pimps” her out and uses steroids.
It’s okay, she’s just trying to co-create a “new world” with us. Nowadays free lee spends her time outing vegan posers. She definitely dont play! Alyse of raw alignment knows this all too well.
The story behind Alyse’s saga
In her latest YouTube video, Alyse officially confirmed that she quit veganism months ago, claiming that the diet intensified her health issues caused by mold exposure.
Her fans have been speculating about her real vegan status since she shared her health struggles last year as well as being discovered pinning egg recipes on Pinterest this year.
“There have been comments and messages floating around the Interweb that I am a liar, that I’m lying to myself, that I’m lying to you and I just wan to clear that up because I literally have not said ever that I am vegan at a point that I wasn’t vegan,” said Alyse in her latest video.
“I also want to clear up the perception that I am about to ruin or have been ruining my business or this community because veganism is the foundation … of Raw Alignment — and that’s not true.”
“Raw Alignment has always been about spreading love to as many people as you possibly can and about growing and expanding as a human being and trying new things.”
She then shared her health struggles when she had mold exposure, including having symptoms such as minor headache, loss of appetite, memory loss, and inability to articulate herself.
She added that she realized her vegan diet affected the intensity of her symptoms, which led her to change her external environment by moving out of her home as well as her “internal environment” by leaving veganism.
Vegan fans were not convinced with Alyse’s reason for quitting veganism, adding that it took a long time for her to finally announce that she quit veganism so she can still make money off the vegan label.
“You monetized this video? That just shows this is all for the money,” said a vegan fan.
“First video ever posted to raw alignment: 0:22–0:31 ‘I created this channel to motivate and inspire all of you to eat a whole foods fully raw VEGAN diet…’ – Alyse FACT,” confirmed another.
“Of course she waited until AFTER the success of her ridiculously expensive vegan retreat… Girl, dancing around the truth spreading misconceptions is a form of dishonesty,” another vegan commented.
A vegan added: “Yep. 3 months she has been eating animal products. But only vegan food was provided at the retreat in Australia. So of course she waited until she got back from Australia before announcing she is no longer vegan.”
“Dude, you ate crackers with guacamole and lettuce for the WHOLE day. You don’t need to eat meat to remedy that diet,” commented another.
“I hear a lot of excuses that seem to hide the real problem – you are still struggling with eating disorder tendencies and that’s why Veganism didn’t work for you…? Just my opinion. Girl if you know you are not healthy physically and mentally, you should not be guiding so many vulnerable people with a business – people who are struggling like yourself are taking advice from someone who is not healed. Might want to back out if this career choice,” said another.
“Water fasts, juice cleanses, raw diets, mold, colonics, suppositories, candida diet, now fish is the answer. Just another phase in a long line of confusion and unsubjectivity,” added another vegan.
Other vegans pointed out that Alyse has never been vegan, only on a plant-based diet, as she bought a puppy from a breeder even though vegans are not supposed to support businesses that exploit and hurt animals aside from not eating and using animal-derived food and products.
She was also slammed by fans for promoting “grass-fed” beef and “free-range” eggs despite knowing the truth that “free range,” “humane,” and “grass-feed” mean nothing as many undercover investigations have already proven that animals in “humane” farms are still treated inhumanely.