100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe Cross is at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. In the mirror he saw a 310lb ... See full summary »
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100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe Cross is at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. In the mirror he saw a 310lb man whose gut was bigger than a beach ball and a path laid out before him that wouldn't end well- with one foot already in the grave, the other wasn't far behind. FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD is an inspiring film that chronicles Joe's personal mission to regain his health. With doctors and conventional medicines unable to help long-term, Joe turns to the only option left, the body's ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for the next 60 days. Across 3,000 miles Joe has one goal in mind: To get off his pills and achieve a balanced lifestyle. While talking to more than 500 Americans about food, health and longevity, it's at a truck stop in Arizona where Joe meets a truck driver who suffers ... Written by
Not a science lecture, but motivation and inspiration
Movies about food and health are in season, many of them droning on about the Western diet, the benefits of proper food, the evils of the food industry and the modern life style, or any combination thereof. To be sure, all of that is quite right, and learning more about it can be educational and helpful in improving one's own dietary habits and consequently one's health.
This film skips much of the science, which is dealt with only in short sketches and cartoons (and a look at the Web site suggests that it might be better that way, since the author's view of the science is cartoonish with a distinct New-Agey touch). Nutrition science isn't the topic here.
Instead, we are being taken on the personal journeys of the author, Joe, and a couple of other characters who are 'recruited' on the way. And it is the power and realism of those stories that are the source of the impact of this movie. Joe's own story is impressive already --- as he literally slims before our eyes from pudgy to trim by drinking vegetable and fruit juice, it is difficult to imagine anyone struggling with their weight and health seeing this without getting at least interested in his approach. It might have ended there, and be a pretty good piece on the significant impact of your diet on your health, and how a shift of the food habits can have a decisive effect on someone's life in a relatively short period of time.
But then there is the story of Phil, a very fat truck driver from Iowa, one of the folks Joe talks to on the road trip he undertakes during his juice fast. Halfway through the movie, we listen to Phil calling Joe to take him up on the offer to help him with his weight problem. Phil sounds desperate and depressed, he sounds like he is not expecting to make many more calls. Much of the second half of the movie is devoted to Phil's journey, from a very fat, socially isolated, depressed Iowa truck driver who could hardly walk, to a much thinner, much healthier-looking Phil who jogs, gives inspirational talks about nutrition to others, and helps his brother change his diet before the next heart attack becomes his last one, just as Joe helped him turn his fate around. That's just an incredible story, amazing to watch, and truly inspirational.
Even if you don't have a weight problem, it's still a joy to see real people change their lives to the better on screen. However, if you do have a weight problem, and related health issues, and perhaps have come to believe that that's just the way you were built and nothing can change it, then this movie shows you otherwise. If Phil can do it, so can you. Do you have to do it the way Phil and Joe did? Probably not. Should you research the matter further? Definitely. Should you consult a physician? Probably. You may need to take a slightly different route, but this film shows that there is a path.
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