Last summer we were inspired by the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. The film tells the story of Joe Cross and his now-famous trek across the U.S. in a quest to loose weight and get healthy by drinking only fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Along his journey, Joe met a few people who joined him on his fasting crusade, and as the story goes, changed their lives for the better.
While the film, in the beginning, seemed destined to be more like an infomercial for Breville Juicers than a documentary, the message of change was more powerful, emotional, and humane than watching any episode of The Biggest Loser.
If you want true inspiration to change your eating habits and lose excess weight, or just want to be healthier, then you should watch Joe’s film. Then you should go out and get yourself a juicer. You’ll be glad you did it.
Our first fast only lasted three days. We did it a week before we were to run the first half of the SF Marathon, and even though we could have continued on a diet of juice and fresh fruits and vegetables after three days, we thought it best to break the fast and go back to our regular food choices – albeit with the addition of juicing. We needed calories from grains to keep us going as we trained and that meant eating solid foods.
Those three days really changed our lives. The first day was the hardest, as Joe describes in the film. Jason suffered from a horrible migraine headache that included vomiting (we know, not a pleasant topic for a food blog). He spent the first evening in bed. The next morning, however, after a refreshing fruit juice and some green tea, everything changed. Energy levels increased for both of us and by the end of the second day we saw noticeable changes in our skin tone. The puffiness around our eyes was gone, wrinkles seemed to be fading away, and a glow came into our complexions. This was only after day two. By the afternoon of our third day we felt incredible, and each of us had dropped three pounds. A pound of weight per day! We know. This sounds like an infomercial. But this was our experience and we’re serious about it.
We were also preparing for our trip to Spain and our interest in traveling Spain’s countryside eating and drinking just fruit and vegetable juices started to wear on our food traveling souls. After our trip, the holidays came at us with a vengeance. We held many of our temptations at bay this year and for the first holiday season in the history of our lives together, we finally came to understand what moderation really means.
Now, after all the candy and treats, booze and cocktails, processed food and many, many bags of potato chips, were tackling the New Year. We’ve hit the reset button on our diets—even though it is with a gentle hand and a few weeks late. We are eliminating alcohol from our lives for the next few months. We’re also taking a clue from former President Bill Clinton and fellow foodie Mark Bittman by working on becoming vegans – even if it’s just part time. And of course, there will be more juicing. We’re not setting goals or keeping a dietary journal of everything we consume. Our plan is to just be more conscience of what we put into our bodies and to pay attention to the effects it has on our lives. In a few months you’ll probably read about an incredible elk roast that we prepared from a long lost recipe, but that is all part of the balance of our lives. If you’re life is off balance watch Joe’s documentary. We hope it will inspire you just as it did us. The goal is to find your balance in life.
Pineapple Citrus Juice
Yield 5+ cups
½ pineapple – peeled
2 grapefruits –peeled
2 oranges – peeled
1 lemon – peeled
2 limes – unpeeled and organic
Put the items in your juicer as suggested by the manufacturer. The juice will keep in your fridge for up to 24 hours without loosing many nutrients. However, with all fresh juice, it is suggested that you consume right away to maintain maximum flavor and nutrition.
Note about organic: Whenever possible use local, organic fruits and vegetables for juicing, especially if the skin or the peel is part of the juice. If organic produce is not available in your area, remove the skin before juicing.
Another note about organic: We know that many people are skeptical about the merits of organic produce. In our opinion, even if there isn’t a significant difference between commercial produce and organic for our own consumption, there are problems with pesticide run-off affecting water quality. Even more, farm workers are exposed to extremely unsafe levels of chemicals known to be carcinogenic and we eat cheap food at their expense. In other words, if you’re not going to think about your own quality of life, at least think about the choices you may have on the quality of the lives of others.
Ironically, I just watched this last week. I had just started a veggie fast and was having difficulty eating raw vegatables. I have been mostly juicing for the last 3 days and I’m down 7 lbs in 5 days. It busted me through the plateau I was stuck at and I feel great.
I would definitely supplement a regular diet with juicing in the years to come. I will be trying your recipe this weekend.
I need to watch that movie. I had not heard about it. Thanks for the tip.
Question – I would imagine the juices would spike your blood sugar, which would then crash, with resulting lethargy. Not your experience?
Paul C, great question!
Yes, the pure fruit juices are going to pack a sugar punch. Even high-sugar veggies like beets and sweet potatoes are going to require “tempering” with green vegetables. We’ve had very good luck with our energy levels. It may be that because we don’t filter the pulp out of our juices, we get more fiber and cellulose, thus slowing sugar absorption. We’ve not experienced the kind of “crash” you ask about, but we can imagine for some, this might be an important consideration.
Hi– We loved the film and got a juicer, too. But we just do green drinks because the fruit ones are just too much sugar for us.
I gotta tell you, I am not sold on the Mark Bittman vegan ideal. I did that diet for years with very poor results. People need healthy fats. People need less sugar and carbohydrate. I found that a vegan diet was very heavy on carbohydrate and vegetable oils–not the things that are going to lead to good health.
Try watching the movie Fat Head. The beginning is a bit tough to take and you will not agree with everything he says, but the second half of the movie is very informative and well worth watching for anyone interested in health. Also the Westin A Price Foundation has terrific information. 🙂
Happy juicing (who knew Brussels Sprouts juiced so well)?
I’ve been trying to get through your film recommendation, Fat Head, before replying but I couldn’t even watch 30 minutes of it before throwing in the towel. He’s really obnoxious. However, I’ll do my best to watch it all the way through before I pass final judgement.
We couldn’t agree more with you about people needing healthy fats, and less sugar and carbs. As a baker, I do find it hard to rid my life of sugar and carbs, so I’m experimenting with unique flours and less processed sugars. Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain has been a great resource in my cookbook library.
Our veganish lifestyle is more of a way for us to just take it easy on dairy and eggs than a strict firm commitment. Steve loves cheese.