A self-confessed "foodie" has given up all of her favourite foods to eat like an ape for a month, in order to raise awareness for endangered primates.

Grace Watson gave up her usual favourites of pasta, cheese and chocolate to take on a full gibbon diet of fruit, leaves, eggs, seeds and insects.

The 26-year old Aucklander, who is 23 days into her challenge, says it's the leaves she literally can't stomach.

"I'm unable to do that as part of my diet because humans can't break down nutrients like gibbons do from leaves. So I've replaced them with vegetables," she told the Daily Mail Australia.


"I have allowed myself to cook the vegetables in a little bit of oil and to season with salt and pepper, but that's it."

Cutting out all treats, coffee and removing carbs such as bread, pasta and rice is something Grace describes as "an immense challenge".

"If you know me, you'll know that I appreciate a doughnut or two, am a self-diagnosed sugar and coffee addict, and celebrate everything involving butter, cheese or cream," she said.

"I consider food one of my hobbies. I have spent the last month weaning myself slowly off coffee in preparation - the last time I tried to give up, I got serious withdrawals and spent a whole day vomiting.

"But I'll be giving it all up for a month for gibbons."

Grace Watson has set herself a challenge to eat like a gibbon for 30 days. Photo / Givealittle
Grace Watson has set herself a challenge to eat like a gibbon for 30 days. Photo / Givealittle

Grace found her passion for the "special" primates when she was working as a carer for gibbons in North Sumatra in Indonesia

"They form monogamous pairs, they can be incredibly acrobatic and playful and some species sing a daily 'duet' where both the male and female will sing together to advertise their territory and their pair bond."

Grace noted poaching has become a big issue in the wild, with gibbons being sold as pets - considered a symbol of wealth - or being held as a tourist attraction.


"For each baby gibbon sold on the lucrative black market, probably most of its family members were killed whilst trying to defend that baby," Grace said.

Grace is determined to raise money to help rescued gibbons recover and eventually be released back into the wild.

"Money raised will be put towards their rehabilitation centre, which is currently home to eight rescued gibbons," she said.

To make a donation visit Grace Watson's Give a Little page.