Obesity rates in the U.S. and other developed countries are at an all-time high. With more than one-third of U.S. adults classifying as obese, and childhood obesity on the rise, there is an increasing demand for anything that claims to help shed some of those unwanted pounds and inches. New workout DVDs, books, magic diet pills, unique gadgets and far-fetched gimmick diets like the “cookie diet” come out everyday. The weight loss industry is growing fast and it’s a BIG business.
One health trend that has gained popularity in the last few years is the act of juicing. Juicing fruits and vegetables first made its splash in the early 90s, but the sales of juicers have increased tenfold in the last few years. Many people believe this is largely thanks to one man and his movie. That man is Aussie Joe Cross, and his movie is the documentary, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead,” which was produced in 2010.
In the documentary, Cross is fed up with being well over 100 pounds. overweight while also taking numerous prescription medications for his chronic autoimmune disease. Cross takes matters into his own hands and makes the decision to commit to a 60-day juice fast, which means he’ll consume nothing but fresh fruit and vegetable juice and water. He documents his journey as he travels all across the U.S., facing his temptations head on, putting his willpower to the ultimate test and drinking his green juice along the way. The visible changes in Cross’ health and lifestyle, are nothing short of a miracle. Halfway through, the film takes a pleasant, unexpected turn, as a morbidly obese truck driver with the same autoimmune condition, which Joe met earlier in the film, turns to Cross for help.
As any good documentary often does, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” leaves many viewers inspired, and, in this instance, thirsty for change. One viewer, Gail Palmer, director of financial aid at Washburn, admits that the film left an impression on her.
“I watched the movie after my son recommended it to me. I had heard of juicing previously, but it was nothing I knew much about or ever considered until I saw the documentary, it even inspired me to purchase a juicer.”
Like any other movie, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” certainly has its critics. Some believe that Cross made the film solely for self-promotional reasons, and they may have a point. Since the release, Cross has become a sponsor for one company that manufactures juicers. He has also launched his own website, rebootwithjoe.com, which is dedicated to helping others through a juice fast and consuming more fruits and vegetables in their daily lives.
The film also has some animated scenes that seem corny and out of place, and other errors that are to be expected from a first time filmmaker. While the film is far from perfect, there’s no denying that “Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead” has left a mark on many of its viewers.
Matt Madison, a Warehouse Worker, wanted to make a positive lifestyle change and he believes that the film gave him just what he was looking for and offers words of advice to those interested.
“Go out and get a juicer. Watch this movie. It will change your life.”