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.