Food & Fitness

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead film review

Thank you for all of your good wishes for the conference this past weekend! It went beautifully. Nearly 40 people showed up to our session on reading food labels, so that was fantastic. And this afternoon, a television crew is coming to my condo to film Nicole and I for The Food Label Movement! Exciting things are happening with our organization 🙂

Now to this blog post: my review of the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead*.

juice fastThis film follows Joe Cross on his journey from being diseased and 100 pounds overweight to travelling across the United States while he embarks on a 60-day juice fast. It’s an incredibly ambitious nutrition plan, but he succeeds in losing the weight and getting off of the all of the steroids and medication that he had to take daily to deal with his disease.

There were only two things that I wasn’t a huge fan of in this documentary:

1) Joe Cross doesn’t seem to have much difficulty at all transitioning from an unhealthy lifestyle to a strict juice fast. Now, this might be because he really was able to make the transition smoothly and without any obstacles, but I find that highly unlikely. I was really surprised that there were no filmed moments of him talking about emotional eating or feeling tired or weak or being bored with juicing or anything. If he didn’t have any difficulties with the transition, then that’s awesome! But if there was, then I would have liked to have seen them. In a film like this, I think it’s important that people understand the potential obstacles they might face, so it would have been great to have had some suggestions for dealing with potential difficulties.

2) There was a heavy emphasis on juice fasting, and although I don’t recall Joe actually saying that juicing was the only way you could lose weight or get healthy etc., I still felt as though there wasn’t enough acknowledgment that eating whole fruits and vegetables is also really healthy. I might be biased in this, though, because I don’t enjoy juice (even normal juices like apple and orange).

That being said, my overall thought on this documentary is that it is brilliant. I really enjoyed watching Joe’s journey and then seeing as he helped other people along the way, including a morbidly obese truck driver. It’s an inspiring film that proves that everyone can change their lifestyle to improve their health.

There were some wonderful quotes in the film that I absolutely had to share with you – I feel that they really nail it:

  • “Like, it doesn’t seem logical, not to eat food. I mean, where did three meals a day come from? Who decided we need to eat three meals a day? Why isn’t it six or seven or two? I don’t understand that.”
  • “The idea of fasting is not unique. Fasting is a part of who we are, as a human being.”
  • “61% of the American diet today is processed foods.” (Predominantly oils, sugar, and flour; processed foods probably don’t have 10% of the nutrient value of the original food).
  • “The one thing I’m finding remarkable about people is they say, ‘oh, I couldn’t do that.’ Why aren’t they even giving it a try? I just don’t understand that. You know, if you get into a ten-day juice fast and then you quit at day seven, well good on you for trying! Not, ‘oh, you’re a failure’ – good on you for trying.”
  • “As a percentage of calories, roughly 60% of what we eat is mostly processed and refined foods, 30% animal products, 5% whole grains and white potatoes, and just 5% of fruits and vegetables: the foods which provide most of our micro nutrients.”

The documentary includes fun little cartoon images to lighten up the underlying cold hard facts, and it includes interviews with many people that Joe meets during his road trip.

I’m so happy to see that there are people out there changing their lives and sharing their story with other people, the way that Joe has done with this documentary. Joe has also set up a website called Reboot Your Life, which lays out a couple different (free!) programs for beginning your own juice fast and for eating a higher quantity of fruits and vegetables. There are also a variety of recipes to choose from, should you choose to do one of the nutrition plans available.

You should definitely watch this documentary! It has won several awards in various film festivals, and it truly deserves those awards.

*I received a review copy for free and did not receive any other compensation for writing about it. The thoughts expressed here are entirely my own.


  1. Dr. J

    To paraphrase Paul Mc Cartney, “I guess the world can’t get enough silly diet movies!”

    Oprah went on a restrictive diet once and actually reached a normal weight too.

    Perhaps the phrase suspension of disbelief is appropriate?

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Ha! But the really important part is what happens in the long-term… if you can stay healthy long after you’ve gone off the restricted diet, then you know that you’ve made a significant change. Of course, everyone’s different, and it’s unlikely to see two people achieve the same results.

  2. The Bird Cage

    Oh I must track this down and watch it, it looks extremely interesting! I agree that if the dude doesn’t seem to have difficulty in changeing his lifestyle, the argument is less compelling because it seems gimmicky… but that’s also trying to prove the point and, it can be seen, as encouraging! I can’t wait to see it!

    Thanks Sagan!

  3. Jimmy

    I loved the movie and on my second day of fasting. I’m trying a 10 day fast. I believe it is a great break from the fast food mania America is in. I’ve gotten sick of the same greasy foods and become immune to the satisfying aspect of eating. After all, shouldn’t eating be about what you feed your body for nutrition and energy and not about how great it tastes? You’ve had one, you’ve had them all. I know what cheeseburgers, pizza, and junk food tastes like. And I also know how it makes me feel. But how many people know what its like to try a fruit/veggie diet and the difference it makes you feel. You have to try to know don’t you? I’m doing this to go with my workout routine I started two years ago. I didn’t change my diet and have lost only 15 pounds. I already lost 2.5 lbs in one day of fasting, and my workouts are much easier to do. Some say it’s a conspiracy that the medical industry doesn’t want you to know that fruits and veggies fight disease and even cancer. Like Nike says, “Just Do It”!

  4. Chalet

    I think you may have really missed the point – Joe does mention wanting to eat, but the film jumps quickly from the first few days of his fast to weeks later, because the film ultimately follows the travel of over 4 months between 2 men. Joe does talk about his eating plan for -after- his fast, the fruits and vegetables he’ll be eating rather than juicing.

    It’s not a movie about a fad diet, it’s a movie to let you know that however far gone you are, there are ways to change, to get back to health, and in that respect the movie is an amazing success.

  5. John Wardwell

    I am not a faddish guy. In fact I extremely dislike the idea of fad diets, calorie counting, exercising until you fall ever, group sessions, etc. Curmudgeonly is a good adjective for me.

    This ducumentary is all about showing people that juicing can help clense the body and remove years of junk you have put into it. Make no mistake, it is a big commercial for changing your eating habits.

    After all that, I am going to do it. It is gonna cost me $70 for a juicer (that I can use later for mixed drinks if I change my mind), some time and getting acquainted with vegetables and fruits again. …… At least I DON’T HAVE TO JOIN A CLUB.

    Count me in!

  6. Mon

    A little alarmed…. I was excited for a number of reasons to begin a reboot your life program. However, making the grocery list for the first week has all but knocked the wind out of my sails. My small family, 2adults and 1small child, already eat a healthy diet of lean meats, fruits, veggies and grains. Our average grocery cost is around $100/ wk. If there are two adults following the suggested “entry” regimen… Those groceries alone DOUBLE our budget. Not to mention my child will need to eat as well! Why can’t I find any forum or post addressing this? I began the day feeling exuberant about taking on a new challenge with my partner to better our health. Now I feel as though the target demographic of this film…. Or even further…. Of healthy eating…. Is for those more privileged than myself. Why isn’t this issue addressed anywhere?

    1. sharoo

      I watched the movie, and next thing I knew I was buying a juicer! Just made my first juice last night: carrot/celery/apple/ginger. Yummy.

      But good point about the cost. If you were already eating a lot of meat, snack food, fast food, and processed foods, then switching to fresh vegies probably would save money. But if you were eating and shopping sensibly beforehand, the cost is non-trivial! I’m rethinking my shopping habits already. Here’s some ideas to try:

      – Hit your local farmers markets and/or fresh veggie stands, and concentrate on vegetables that are over-producing. In July, my local farmers market was charging about 2 dollars for a fresh tomato. Last week they were selling huge bags of “canning tomatoes” for $5! They’re practically giving away the cucumbers at this point.

      – Costco sells fresh produce in enormous bags, sometimes even organic. I don’t know what you would do with 10 pounds of carrots if you WEREN’T juicing, but now it seems like a good idea.

      – I’m thinking of making a trip to an orchard this weekend and buying a bushel of apples – one of the varieties that lasts a long time.

      – An even better way to get fresh fruit is from your neighbor’s trees. I don’t mean stealing fruit in the middle of the night. A lot of people have apple trees in their yards, but can’t use all the fruit. If you knock on their door and offer to pick up all the windfall apples from their yard they will actually thank you!

      – Same thing with friends who have gardens – this time of year they will practically pay you to take giant zucchini off their hands.

      – You don’t have to throw away the pulp. My husband used the pulp from our first carrot juice in soup last night. It was surprisingly good, and extremely filling.

  7. Rosemary

    Mon, I know what you mean about the cost of doing this. My first visit to the grocery store was $200! My second was $147! How ever, my husband and I are both feeling great. I brought some of the cost down by NOT juicing the entire time. I don’t even use the juicer anymore(except to make juice for the kids). I switched to my blender because I couldn’t stand throwing out all that wasted food from the juicer.

    We put our veggies and fruits in the blender I used this site to get some recipes and they are tasty.

    We juice in the morning for breakfast and the rest of the day is comprised of healthy fresh fruits and veggies. Like spaghetti squash for dinner, avocado and tomatoes, etc. At the very least I am learning how to make healthier dishes. I am still figuring out how to make them kid friendly. It is pretty difficult. I do use the juicer for the kids as they are more likely to drink a apple,carrot drink than eat it.

    My husband and I are both loosing weight. I lost 5.5 lbs in 7 days. My husband is diabetic and his numbers are dropped dramatically!!

    It’s a great boost of a life style change. No we won’t do this forever, but I can see that has changed how we will be eating in the future!!

    However, I have to agree that it is very difficult to eat extremely clean on a budget. Our country will never be healthy because they don’t make it possible for that to happen.

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