Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead"

You might think I am describing most of the United States with the title of this post, (I could), but I am not. Instead I am going to give you a quick review of a health documentary called, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead." While it is similar to all the other food documentaries out there, it is not quite as convincing, though it could be worth your time to watch.

An Australian named, Joe Cross, was tired of living the fast food, overweight lifestyle. He has an autoimmune disease that he takes medication for, which is contributing to his overall unhealthy feeling. He decided to move to the United States to complete a 60-day cross country trip and juice fast. You heard me right - JUICE fast. I wasn't pleased when I heard this because I do not believe that fasting like this is necessary, or good for your body -- but, that's for another post!

I ended up enjoying this documentary. I really liked the approach Joe took while walking around America. He brought a juicer with him everywhere he went, talked to anyone on the street willing to converse with him, and offered them samples. Some hated it, but most thought it wasn't bad. He asked insightful questions to his subjects and didn't judge them for seeing their health differently than he. It was purely to gather information. There were a few interviews that stood out to me. In one restaurant, Joe talked to a family of a dad and son as they were chowin' down on some good BBQ. The dad said he would never change his ways (he was overweight) and he said if he only lived 5 more years, so be it. Really? Are you that unconcerned about your health that you would say something like that with your son sitting right next to you? I realize he may have been defensive because he was on camera, but I hope he doesn't regret saying that later.

The other interview that stood out, was one with Phil, an obese and completely unhealthy truck driver. As fate would have it, he has the same autoimmune disease that Joe does (and it is not very common). Very uncanny if you ask me. He gives Phil a taste of the juice, asks him about his lifestyle and how he feels, and gives Phil his number in case he ever decides to try the Juice fast.
A month or so later, Phil calls Joe and almost sounds suicidal, so Joe is able to help him start getting his health on track. He hit bottom and was ready to change.

The documentary goes on to show the progress of both Joe and Phil, which is pretty amazing. Phil ends up doing it for 60 days also, and influences many people around him.

After watching I still had a few concerns. I still cannot get on board with the juice fast. Adding it in with a healthy, clean diet, is one thing, but doing it for any stretch of time by itself is dangerous. I know they lost plenty of weight and felt great, but did they (especially Phil) get any nutrition education on how to eat afterwards? They both changed their eating, but without proper nutrition knowledge, would they eventually turn back to what they knew for so long?

Knowing that eating clean, pure foods, can have the same effect on your body as a "cleanse," is something that doesn't make sense to a lot of people. Your body will naturally do this when you stop eating processed foods. It takes more time to plan meals, cook and keep the motivation to eat right. I think it hits most people when they have a serious health event in their life. But, why not before?

So, in the end, I liked the message of this documentary. It wasn't a mind-blowing film, but more thought provoking. If you have a chance, check it out on Netflix and let me know what you think!

~Leslie

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