Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead
Australian Joe Cross came to America for sixty days but didn’t eat the food while he was here. Instead he went on a juice fast. Joe weighed over three hundred pounds and suffered from an unpleasant skin condition. He spent about a month in New York and later took a road trip across the country to California.
Before setting off on his road trip, Joe stopped in to see Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Naturally Dr. Fuhrman was very supportive of the juice fast. I couldn’t help noticing Fuhrman’s frightening food pyramid visible in the background of a few shots. Vegetables were at the base and as you ascended the pyramid, the better the food, the less of it you are supposed to eat.
During the first few days of Joe’s juice diet he admitted to feeling lousy, didn’t want to get out of bed, and he looked weak. After an adjustment period and probably some detoxification, he felt better, or was at least able to look like he felt better.
As Joe traveled across the country he talked to a lot of people. Many of them were very funny. He asked an older woman if diet was important and her response was, “If you don’t want to be constipated, you got to eat the right food.”
Many were quite clear that they thought he was crazy. A common response from those who tried his juice was a wrinkled nose and a comment that they would not join him on his fast. He asked a teenage girl if she would change her mind about eating fruits and vegetables if she knew they would keep her healthy. She said no. When he asked her why not, her response was, “Because I’m sixteen.” Yes, she most certainly is.
In Kansas Joe stopped to shoot the breeze with a gun shop owner whose brother was a vegetarian and had cancer. That man obviously was not enticed by the juice fast. Another man had a similar response. He said he would rather die happy than starve and live a long time. Or at least it would seem like a long time.
The DVD includes animated scenes of the mythical hunter-gatherer who runs hard on an empty stomach every day. The hunter-gatherers I’m familiar with did not live that way. Modern hunters like to use guns which are very good for killing one animal and scaring the rest of them away. Looking at an example from the continent Joe Cross comes from, the Australian Aborigines were smarter hunters. For instance, they would use hollow reeds as snorkels and sneak up on a group of ducks or geese from under water. They would quietly pull everything they wanted under while the other birds had no idea what was going on. They got a lot more than one at a time that way and it didn’t require a lot of running around on an empty stomach.
I also have my doubts that traditional healthy cultures like the Aborigines stayed healthy by juicing. It is pretty clear even in the film that you can’t live on juice alone forever, and it is a little murky exactly what the recommended diet is aside from one dominated by plants. One common denominator shared by all those who pursue the several variants of juice fasting is that they quit fast food. That makes me wonder what might happen if they forget the juicing and just give up the fast food.
Joe did find some people desperate enough to try the juice fast, most notably Phil the trucker. Both Joe and Phil lost a lot of weight and resolved other health problems as a result of the fast. They both seem like nice guys and it is heartwarming to see them looking healthier and happier. I have seen similar results with people like Richard Morris, except he didn’t do the dreaded juicing fast. He ate a WAPF diet and wasn’t miserable while doing it. I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide which method you would prefer. I’m not a fan of juicing but the thumb is DOWN mainly because, once again, fat-soluble vitamins are ignored and vegetables are claimed to be more nutrient dense than animal foods.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2011.🖨️ Print post
Jane Marek says
“vegetables are claimed to be more nutrient dense than animal foods.”
The reviewer need to realize the nutrient rich animals got 100% of their nutrients and proteins from the plants they ate!
“fat-soluble vitamins are ignored”
Gorillas are one of the strongest mammals on earth, they are herbivores and do worrying about fat soluble vitamins. They get all they need from the plants
Just because some government agency that has board member and is funded from the manufacture’s that sell these vitamins and have monopolies on the meat production tell you something you do not have to do what they tell you. I don’t believe the studies that are funded by the big corporations either. Believe what really works.
We Love Juicing
Juicing may not be “traditional” but not everything modern should be shunned. I am a nutrition student studying to become am RD, but my husband and I follow WAPF. He has Crohn’s disease and Celiac and juicing is one of the only ways he can get nutrients while in a flare. The fiber in veggies and fruits is too much for him. That’s just the way his body is, just as I have heart burn when I consume cinnamon. Ever BODY is different. We don’t “juice fast” but we eat an array of traditional, WAPF approved food, but he supplements with juicing sometimes. I think you all should look more into it, scientifically speaking. Seriously, write an article. Thanks for all you WAPF do! Your research has made our lives healthier.
Dissapointed in this review! Inspiring documentary!!
Well, let me tell you something- I use my Norwalk Press (juicer) almost daily. I do this because I frickin HATE vegetables and this way I can still get them into my system, and much more of them than I would even be able to eat. I drink about 3- 12 oz glasses of juice per day. I have never, in my 40 years, been able to eat breakfast, now I can have a juice to get my day going, along with my cod liver oil and freeze dried liver. I feel a lot better. There is absolutely nothing wrong with juicing- I truly feel that everyone should do it!
And I agree with Tori above- juicing can be particularily beneficial for people with digestive issues. For years the doctors kept telling me “eat more fiber, drink more water”, and it made me worse and worse. Yet they kept telling me the same thing. I finally found the SCD diet- and if simply saved me. Now I have learnt that fiber is not my friend, and that we don’t even need fiber. I went on a 10 day juice fast when I had my worst flare up and that calmed everything down. Now, per the SCD diet, I don’t eat any starches or grains. But plenty of meat, liver, fish, vegetables, berries & fruit (& veggie juice).
Also- fasting has absolutely been part of traditional cultures. I can’t believe the Weston Price Foundation would have a problem with it?! That is so odd! It is not bad to give your digestive system a break once in a while and let it repair itself. From now on, I will be doing a 7 day all juice fast twice a year. I don’t starve myself on my juice fasts, I drink 9- 12 oz glasses per day while fasting. No water. That works out to one glass every 2 hours for me. I don’t get hungry or tired.
The Gerson Therapy is mostly known for it’s success as a cancer treatment, but it doesn’t just treat cancer. Either way, fresh vegetable juice 13 times a day is the back bone of the treatment. People that have been sent home to die by their regular doctors, stage 4 cancer patiens, are being cured. Oh- on a footnote, they also do include raw freeze dried liver in their treatment.
Here is another thing- I don’t agree with all the diet reccomendations in the video (I agree they were a little vague though), but I agree that we need to cut out junk food and increase our consumption of fresh, organic vegetables. I also agree that we have to take our own health into our hands. The most important thing about this video, is not so much about exactly what one should and shouldn’t eat, it is that it is so INSPIRING! My husband, who has always been slim, and never wanted anything to do with nutrition (he used to make fun of me about it), reluctantly saw this movie and decided to change his life there and then. He also has several people at work getting into juicing and cleaning up their act. Did they stop eating meat- hell no! Fat? Hell no! They just cleaned out the junk and add juice to their diet. One of his friends, who has tried every diet out there and was 350lb as of a couple of months ago, is steadily losing weight and he doesn’t feel it’s a struggle.
Anyway- let people be inspired to take their health into their own hands. Don’t put this DVD down.
I enjoyed this film very much when I first saw it three years ago. However, a strict juice fast may tend to starve your fiber loving, health promoting gut flora. For me personally, the path toward optimal energy and mood has been with a generous tryptophan food, modest protein food eating style that allows excellent serotonin conversion within the brain.
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 is now available. It is interesting to see some of the follow up stories of those who were in the original film.
patricia aguilar says
I don’t agree that juice fasting is a sustainable way to live, but I don’t think the movie/books were suggesting this? (Honestly haven’t read or watched them but have heard much talk about the subject)
I juice daily and couldn’t imagine my life without my daily energy drink. I follow the WAPF diet and feel juicing is a beautiful compliment to this way of living. I would never strictly juice but I will use it as a meal replacement and just as an enjoyable beverage. Its basically liquid vitamins and minerals, I feel amazing knowing I’m putting those things in my body.