About a year ago I was home alone, binge watching documentaries on the couch. As I was scrolling through Netflix for my next film I stumbled on Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. The title was anything but uplifting – but for some reason I was drawn to it. Maybe it was the smiling guy in his shorts and the cartoon-like font that made it seem less depressing, and the fact that it said NEARLY dead, not DEAD.
If you haven’t seen the film yet, it starts with Joe buying 2 tomatoes and 2 onions for $4 from a roadside vendor. He then proceeds to juice them in the back of his car, and drink it as his Thanksgiving “meal”. He explains that getting sick was probably for the best, because it was really just his body’s way of telling him he needed to make a change. Then, what is probably my favorite thing about Joe and his approach, the film turns to cartoon illustration for a bit, and tells a quick visual story of how he’s hitting the road with a camera crew to record his personal 60-day juice fast journey.
The simplicity at which the film tells his story, by jumping back and forth from cartoon illustrations to video clips of his journey (which took place in 2007), is phenomenal. I like to consider myself an intelligent person, but sometimes to fully grasp a confusing concept I really need to analyze it a few times. I tend to overcomplicate things, which is why I’m so drawn to people who can explain and share ideas in a clear and concise manner. For instance, one of my favorite lines in the movie, complete with illustration, is when Joe says, “When I scraped my knee as a kid, it got better, as long as I got out of the way. If the body can heal itself on the outside, why can’t it heal itself on the inside?”
Joe’s journey was all about fixing what was broken, which was his health. He knew the fastest way to get the most nutrition, was through juicing. I will keep the movie details to myself and let you watch it on your own, but I can tell you I laughed, I cried and finished the film feeling hopeful, inspired and empowered. When I found out a new film was going to release in 2014, I couldn’t wait to see it in the theater! I was now a Joe Cross supporter and had invested in a cold pressed juicer for our household. Juicing has become a weekly, sometimes daily occurrence for us! His second film, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 did not disappoint; the witty cartoon explanations about health and how our bodies are designed were spectacular as usual.
When I learned Joe was going to be in town for his Fully Charged book tour, I knew I had to attend! The day came fast and before I knew it I was sitting in Barnes and Noble with my friend Kristin (who is a DEVOTED Joe fan) waiting for him to arrive.
I purchased his older book from 2014 since I didn’t have any of his books yet. Yes, I’ll admit I’d rather watch, than read. 🙂
Once Joe arrived, he began to tell his story – but it was more like the backstage pass version, the version you didn’t get to hear or see in the movie. What I liked most about that, was it immediately gave me a sense of connection with him, as a normal guy, not an expert or the famous reboot icon he’s become. He’s still living his healthy life to the best of his ability, and he still faces struggles like the rest of us. As I was sitting there listening to him talk, I found myself taking notes on my phone – because I immediately thought I need to remember this and/or share this! I fully recognize I’m not an every day or every week or even every month blogger, but I share things with all of you that I feel can either help or at the very least interest you. I try to make my posts intentional and not forced.
Here are some of the key points that stood out to me from his talk:
- 70% of illnesses are caused by our choices, so that only leaves 30% of illnesses we can’t control (genetics, for instance).
- If you don’t already eat enough fruits and vegetables (whole foods/plant foods) you need to make friends with them slowly. It’s like any relationship… they aren’t going to forgive you immediately for ignoring them. In other words, their benefits and wonderful taste will evolve over time – be patient.
- Instead of looking at different foods as GOOD or BAD, view them as ESSENTIAL or FUN. What essential foods do you need to eat for best health? Those foods should make up the largest percentage of your daily food intake. Processed foods are the FUN food and should only be consumed periodically, in small portions and therefore without guilt because they are not the everyday norm.
- Water which is filtered through and stored in fruits and vegetables is what we call the JUICE. That juice carries all the micronutrients that are vital to health. Our bodies are crazy adaptable and can feed off next to nothing (think, the fun foods) for a long, long time – years and years – but eventually it starts to break down.
- A simple change of keeping cereal (or any processed food) out of sight, behind pantry doors can mean a difference of 18 lbs. There was a survey done (I didn’t catch by whom, but he cited it) where stay at home moms who kept cereal out on the counter, versus behind pantry doors, weighed an average of 18 lbs more. To me that is a huge lesson in how a simple change, may change your habits. Every little bit DOES make a difference.
- Lastly, Joe spoke a lot about self talk. Every morning when we wake up and look at ourselves in the mirror, we are setting the tone for how our day will go, by the unspoken words we say to ourselves. Most of us, will use negative adjectives that we would NEVER use towards another person – at least not out loud so they could hear! Yet, we say these things to ourselves every day. He suggested a positive way to improve our morning routines… have 4-5 friends write down 1 good thing about you on a post it note and then hang the notes on your bathroom mirror so THOSE are the words you say to yourself each morning. Simple. Brilliant.
After the talk, Joe signed books for those who wanted to meet him. I am not the type of person who gets star struck; we are all just humans living on this earth, taking it day by day – we just have different occupations and talents. But meeting Joe for the brief time I did and hearing him talk live and in person, was really cool. There are many times I get overwhelmed and frustrated by the state of our nation, particularly in regards to health and food. The number one cause of death is heart disease; which in the majority of cases is preventable with a healthier lifestyle and nutrition. I am so grateful for people like Joe who stand up, have the courage to share their story and knowledge and most importantly the DRIVE to do it. It’s not a job everyone can do, so I am very grateful for those who can. And I wish I could say that everyone who does this type of thing gets my support, but that is not true. There is just something about Joe that feels authentic and for THAT he especially gets my support.
If you are struggling with a health issue or your weight, I urge you to watch both Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 or to read any of his books. There is so much information out there regarding health and wellness and what to do and not do, but Joe keeps it simple. Juicing or eating more plants is something that can easily and yes, even inexpensively be added to your daily routine. The benefits of juicing, drinking smoothies and eating more fruits and vegetables have been known forever, we just seem to have become disconnected along the way. It’s easy to do, since there is a fast food restaurant on every corner. Thankfully, there are also people like Joe Cross on the other corner.
(Also, Joe mentioned he has a third documentary releasing at the end of 2015 called Little Humans, focusing on the health and choices of children.)
Have you ever done a reboot? Did it involve juicing?