Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead: A juicing documentary

I recently got to attend a screening of the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. For anyone who’s a fan


I recently got to attend a screening of the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. For anyone who’s a fan of juicing, this is a must-see.

The film stars Joe Cross, an overweight Australian business man with an autoimmune condition that appears as a rash or hives. In order to control his condition, Joe had been on the steroid prednisone for a number of years. After deciding to clean up his eating habits to see if it might have some benefit on his health problems, Cross begins a 60-day juice cleanse. He travels to the U.S. where he spends the first month in New York City, and then, armed with his Breville juicer, he begins a cross-country road trip for the second month to spread the word about what he’s doing. Along the way, he happens to meet a 429-pound long-haul trucker, named Phil, who suffers from the same autoimmune condition. Joe helps Phil start his own juicing cleanse and Phil successfully sticks to it for 60 days (much longer than the 10 days Phil had originally committed to) which launches his weight loss.

And, how did Joe make out? Pretty well it seems. After five months (two months of juicing, following by three months of a microbiotic diet) Joe was down 100 pounds from his starting weight of 310. He was also able to go off the steroids he had been taking.

A Q & A was held at the end of the screening where Joe took the time to answer questions. He also gave an update on Phil, who since the film has been struggling with his weight but remains committed to getting healthier.

I asked whether or not Joe keeps up his usual workout routine while juicing.

"Cardio is fine but I wouldn’t do weight training because you’re not going to be getting the protein you need to help your muscles repair themselves," he said. He also noted that the weight men typically lose is 70 percent fat and 30 percent muscle. For women it’s about 60 percent fat and 40 percent muscle. (Important to note if you’re considering a juice cleanse purely for the weight loss effect.)

It’s also important to note that juicing isn’t necessarily recommended for prolonged periods of time. While Joe admits that he launched himself 100 percent into it, he says he now eats healthy most of the time, exercises and does the occasional juice cleanse to "Reboot." And, of course, it’s important to consult with your doctor first to find out if a juice cleanse is right for you, he said.

As for myself, I’m considering trying a juice cleanse. I’m not sure how long I’ll last, but two days seems like a good start. I also received the Reboot with Joe recipe book and I’m excited to try all of the juice recipes.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead airs tonight (Friday, April 5) at 7 p.m. and tomorrow (Saturday, April 6) at 12 p.m. EST on Canada’s Food Network.

Have you tried a juice cleanse? What was your experience?

The health benefits of juice
What’s it really like to do a juice "cleanse"?
My juice feast: The aftermath