Nutrition in the Movies: Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

Here is a another review on a nutrition-related movie!

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead reminds me of Supersize Me, but the opposite. Instead of a somewhat healthy guy trashing his body with fast food, this is a story about  man who was unhealthy and didn’t take care of his body but then got back in shape with the help of changing his eating habits and up-ing the fitness.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, 2010

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, 2010

Joe is very open about his past. He was overweight, an avid steroid user, drank too much alcohol and has urticaria, a chronic rash similar to hives. He decided that he needed to make a change, or his life could be over after just one more cheeseburger! With a juicer and generator in tow, he travels over 3,000 miles over 60 days to get off his pills, lose weight and maintain a balanced life.

Fun Fact: The director and star of this movie, Joe Cross, was actually in the last movie I reviewed, Hungry for a Change.

This Australian man comes to America and plans to go on a juice fast for 60 days. Blending up fruits and vegetables in the back of his SUV in order to cleanse his body and get on the right track. The first month he spends in New York, and the rest of the trip is spent drive from East Coast to West Coast on a journey to better health. He is followed by a doctor and is required to get his blood drawn every 10 days.

When on the streets, Joe would often go up to pedestrians and ask them about diet or ask them what they thought fasting was and I had to laugh at some of these diets people went on. One man said for like four or five years, he only ate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Another guy said he just bought a diet plan for a diet where you can loose 12 lbs in 4 days. This is how he described the diet:

  • Day 1: Nine hotdogs and all the liquids and diet soda you wanted.
  • Day 2: Nine apples and other fruit.
  • Day 3: Nine or Ten hardboiled eggs.
  • Day 4: A mixture of the previous 3 days

There was one time when Joe walks into a pizza place and New York. I felt like I was watching a scary movie. I was yelling at my computer screen screaming, “NO! DON’T GO IN THERE!! IT’S A TRAP!!” But, he walks in there and just looks at the pizza and smells the aroma. He says that normally he would eat two whole pizzas. He manages to make it out without buying anything. Whew!

I liked in this movie how the did have a registered dietitian talking about juicing and fasting.  Juicing is great because you are getting a concentrated source of vitamins and minerals. Juice also hits the blood stream faster, so it gets to your body faster.

“61% of the american diet today is from processed foods. “

By Day 31 of his diet, Joe had lost 47 lbs and reduced his prednisone (a steroid for his skin rash, that also has the side effect of weight gain) by 2.5 mg.

One of the funniest things I heard in this documentary was a larger gentleman on the street was talking about his eating habits and he said he was a “meat and potatoes kind of guy” and the he eats fruits and vegetables in moderation. I thought it was interesting how backwards it was. meat is good because it contains iron and protein, but are we really in a world were people forgo the fruits and vegetables and they are seen as the “enemy”?

There was another girl that said she mainly eats “Pepsi, Mexican and Coke”. When Joe asks her if she ate fruits and vegetables, she said no. When he said “What if I told you eating fruits and vegetables would improve your health, would that change your outlook?” She said no and when he asked why, her answer was, “Because I’m 16.” I see a need in educating the youth on how what they eat when they are young can truly have an affect on them when they get older.

By Day 49, Joe’s total cholesterol went from 204 mg/dL to 135 mg/dL and his LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) went from 132 mg/dL to 86 mg/dL. And, at this point he has lost 20 more pounds since Day 31 and his medication is now at 3.5 mg per day as opposed to 10 mg a day when he started his fast.

This movie not only shows Joe’s path to  a healthier life, but it also sheds light on what people really think about the importance of good nutrition and the affects of healthy eating on lifespan. Joe interviewed several people who were overweight and asked them how long they expected to live if they followed their current diet path. Many said they expect to live to be about 55 years old. One man said 45..and he was a nurse! Many of them said they know they should change, but they mostly likely won’t, because its hard and they have no will power. I thought it was very sad that people are happy living to 60 years old, as long as they can eat their fried chicken and french fries.

By Day 61, Joe Cross had lost 82 pounds and reduced his prednisone prescription to 2.5 mg per day. I really enjoyed looking at his before and after photos. A picture is worth a thousand words, and his pictures truly show it. 2 months after he ended his juice fast, Joe went completely off his medication.

The last 45 minutes or so of the movie then focuses on how Joe helps a truck driver  named Phil, whom Joe met while on the road during his juice fast, get healthy with the help of a 10-day juice cleanse. Phil actually has the same disease that Joe does, plus he is extremely obese. Joe works with him to try and get healthier. It’s quite amazing the changes that happen with Phil, but you should watch this movie to find out for yourself!

I give it 3 out of 4 juices!

I give it 3 out of 4 juices!

Complaint: One of the doctors in the film said a blood pressure of 136/70 was a normal blood pressure. SURVEY SAYS NO! Blood pressure should be under 120/80 mmHg.

The movie does a good job at talking about the difference between macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) versus micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants). It also talks about what can happen if our body doesn’t get enough micronutrients and how that affects the development of diseases, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead can be found on Netflix and Hulu.

Watch the official trailer below! (Trailer is from Joe Cross. Credit goes to him)

Now I don’t suggest that anybody drink juice forever, because your body does need more that that, but this movie has gotten me interested in juicing and doing like a 10-day juice fast. I think it is a healthier way to reboot your body and cleanse you. Joe said in the movie that he actually had more energy by drinking juice and it got him excited to eat fruits and vegetables after his 60 days were up. I think this would be an exciting thing to try! Except for I don’t know how I would feel about giving up my coffee. Maybe I can make a documentary…in Australia  (This movie really makes me want to live in Australia. It looks beautiful!)

XOXO, Danae


5 responses

  1. This one is on my queue too. However, I don’t quite understand long periods of juicing because of what the high GI would do to the blood sugar. For me, it would seem counterproductive to send a pancreas into overdrive like that. Thoughts?

    • This is true. Because juice and liquids hit the blood stream faster, causing an drastic increase in bloods sugar, I wonder how it would handle in individuals with diabetes. I probably would not recommend it, just because it could cause high and lows, especially since you aren’t eating food.

      That would be an interesting “test”. Most of the juices are composed mainly of vegetables, which don’t raise your blood sugar nearly as high as fruit, yet it is still a juice.

  2. Sometimes doctors (and other healthcare professionals) will see that his BP is much improved and “close enough” to the goal value, and tell a patient that they are now normal or healthy. And compared to his original value. The amount of improvement is sometimes more important than actually being within the exact ranges. Also, it’s good to keep in mind that these guidelines can change from time to time, and that different health organizations/different countries sometimes have slightly differing guidelines.

    Also, while it’s good he had certain measurable positive results, juicing can be dangerous. I didn’t see the whole story, but I wonder how he/if he received enough fat and protein.

  3. I loved this documentary, and quickly after watching it my family and I decided to start juicing. We all have a couple of pounds to lose, but would also like to be healthier in general! I decided to go straight to an all juice diet but couldn’t handle it. I felt so faint! But I’ve found that juicing in the morning keeps me full for longer than my usual breakfast. I’ve noticed that my skin is much more bright and clear! Unfortunately, GI problems restrict the fruits I can put in my juice, but I’m trying!!

    • Thanks for sharing Hannah!! Drinking all natural juice in the morning can be filling, plus, you aren’t getting any of that added sugar that is often found in juices. Continue to stay healthy and good luck!

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