“People are sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
In 2010 the movie “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” was released. It was directed by Joe Cross and chronicled his journey from a 310 lb man suffering from a rare autoimmune disease and taking a handful of medications everyday to a 210 lb picture of health. He did this by drinking only vegetable juice, what he calls a Reboot, while spending 60 days driving across the United States. The movie was a great hit and is still very popular. Joe, 47 years old and a native of Sydney, Australia is back on the road, this time with a book, “The Reboot With Joe Juice Diet”. I recently caught up with him by phone while he was traveling to Albany, NY for an appearance.
Speaking with Joe, you immediately feel his optimism and positive attitude. His Australian accent is infectious, and his story of how he took control of his health is truly inspiring. He plans traveling the world in an effort to lead by example in showing people how they too can change their lives. He is quick to point out he is not a doctor or scientist, but a man who just wants people to see how he was able to improve his health by making some important lifestyle changes. He is spreading the word about how we all have the power to do the same thing.
I began our conversation by telling Joe how most of the books and movies I have read and watched about changing to a healthy lifestyle when it comes to food tend to be preachy and not at all flexible. Many interject a strong political bias as well. His approach is different. He tells me “I think, predominately, that people are pretty smart and crowds are dumb. We tend to do things as a group, but I think trying to reach people as a crowd and then work that down to the individual doesn’t work very well. You already know fruits and vegetables are good for you, but when someone gets up and says you should do this and you should do that, the message gets lost. The preachy side is not the way we educate, not the way we inspire, and certainly not the way we entertain. Make it fun, make it interesting, and make it something that resonates within. Find the answers we all know and then present the questions in interesting, fun, and inspiring ways. Healthier is happier. I have a view that happiness is by default about being useful, but unless you have your health you can’t be fully useful.” He asks rhetorically, “ Who’s unhealthy and happy? Very few people.”
In the movie Joe drank only fresh vegetable juices for sixty days and then the viewers assume he was able to stop taking all of his medications. “ No, after the sixty days I continued with a very strict vegan diet for an additional ninety days. At that point I was pill free. I had done some research and found that for 70% of us our health problems are caused by lifestyle choices, the other 30% is from genetics. I wanted to give myself the chance to find out if I was causing my own disease or if I was one of the 30% for whom it is genetic. Was I in the bad luck crowd or the stupid crowd? I got my answer.” Should those who are unfortunate to be in the 30% crowd just give up? “No, they should still make the changes, and they will most likely find they will need less medication and will feel a lot better.”
Is Joe a vegetarian? “No, I can tell you what I don’t eat. I don’t drink soda or alcohol. No caffeine. I don’t eat fast food. I will eat a hamburger but only in if it is good and from a reliable source. I do not push a plant only diet. I talk about plant based. There are three things available for us to eat: plants, processed food, and animal food. If you can make the plants the base, 40 to 50%, and then split the others up at 20 to 30% you will be doing well. I know when I do eat plant-only I feel better, but I am not ready for that now.”
Joe talked about how are bodies are programmed to go into famine mode, a survival mechanism from a time when we would live through feasts and famines. After all, fat is stored energy. “A lot of people wake up in the morning and are not happy with what they see in the mirror, not a good way to start the day. Don’t look at it as a negative, just think about how your body is protecting you and storing up a lot of energy in case a famine is coming. I would advise before doing a Reboot checking the Internet to make sure there is not a food shortage happening in Boston anytime soon. As long as the coast is clear, maybe it’s time to bring on your own nutritional famine.”
There are many who believe government should step in and play a role in what we should be allowed to eat. Joe leads by example and believes “healthy is happy”. “I don’t want to become a nanny state. I am all about market forces, and my role is writing books, making movies, and doing TV shows. I want to educate people, entertain people, and inspire people to make healthier choices that can affect their happiness and existence. People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. The more we demand it the more the tsunami of change will happen.” I mentioned how I am seeing more and more healthier alternatives on menus. “People are voting with their dollars, and when you vote with your dollars in America s..t happens. Those businesses that don’t keep up with the changes will be left by the wayside.”
What’s next for Joe? “The book is number one in Canada and in the top 100 on Amazon. The tour is going global. The movie is now available in 15 languages. I have a new movie coming out in September and am working on a possible program to be aired on PBS. With a base of ten million viewers of my movie, the scientific community is now talking to me. I take their advice and regurgitate it in simpler ways so we can all understand it.’
Joe Cross is leading a revolution that is gaining tremendous momentum. He has boundless energy and the power to motivate and inspire. Watch his movie, read his book, listen to him talk, and you will be inspired to make the changes that will keep you from being Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Check him out at Rebootwithjoe.com
Bobby Franklin can be reached at bob [at] boxingoverbroadway [dot] com