Film Review: “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”

February 18, 2012

Gravestones in the Snow

My husband and I viewed the documentary Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead last night. As the title implies, it is the story of a man who has not taken good care of himself. As a result of sustaining years of abuse, his body did what so many of our bodies are doing and screamed, “Enough!” Joe developed an auto-immune disorder called chronic urticaria, which led to him constantly breaking out in itchy hives. This condition, of course, led to him having to take medication, including steroids. Weight gain is a known side effect of steroids, so surely this only added to Joe’s weight problem and subsequently, to his poor health. Furthermore, weight gain is only one of many undesirable side-effects of long-term steroid use. Eventually, Joe does some research and realizes that his auto-immune disorder and the way he has treated his body are connected. Joe decides to change his life. He desires weight loss, remission of his auto-immune disorder, and to get off his medications. What is unique about Joe’s situation is that he decides to go on a 60-day fresh fruit and vegetable juice fast (!!!!), under the supervision of a physician, and make a documentary while traveling around and telling all who will listen about what he is doing. His transformation is amazing, and his conversations with folks along the way, including lay people and experts, is a sad commentary on the state of American health. Joe also touches many lives along the way. He helps one man in particular, who, in turn, helps many others. While I have not done any research on the health implications of a 60-day juice fast, I can say with complete confidence that the homemade juice, from fresh produce, Joe was consuming was far more nutrient-dense than the diet he was eating before he went on the fast. Whether you agree with his precise methodology or not, this is a film worth watching. The research I have done over the past few years is highly suggestive that the connection Joe made between his diet and his suffering from a chronic disease was a sound one. I am tempted to substantiate that last sentence, but it will spoil the movie if I do. Watch Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead free on hulu, using the link below, and see for yourself. It may not inspire you to do a juice fast, but it will at least inspire you to eat your vegetables–I think we all need that kind of inspiration from time-to-time.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa F. "The Valley Vegan" March 17, 2012 at 17:01

We both LOVED this movie – it is inspirational. We actually bought a Breville juicer after watching this. I have a difficult time with mixing “too many flavors” in general, so some of the juice recipes we’ve tried were a bit much for me. I did really love an apple/beet/grape juice, though. It was a nice gentle start, while Louis was jumping head first into carrot/pepper/kale/apple/celery!!

I won’t be doing any 60-day fasts, but as a yogini I have often been interested in doing a 3-day weekend fast just to detox. The only thing I think people may not take away from the movie is that you should ABSOLUTELY be under the supervision of a doctor if you’re going to consume only juice for an extended period of time. The risk of missing important nutrients is too high – I am experienced in watching nutrients thanks to being vegan – especially for someone not used to doing it.

You should check out “Food Matters” and “Forks Over Knives” as well. Food Matters really explores how food effects our health, and what we can do to make positive changes in our bodies just by choosing better foods!!


Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse March 17, 2012 at 17:36

My mom recently loaned me her Champion juicer. I thought I would mind mixing flavors too, but I have been drinking carrot/beet/celery/leaf lettuce/cilantro/granny smith apple and loving it . . . so I guess I am over the mixing flavors fear;-) I drink it first thing in the morning and no longer need caffeine! I never would have guessed that, but it makes sense that a body that gets a first-thing nutrient bolus would not feel sluggish.

I am definitely not game for a 60-day juice fast either. “Food Matters” and “Forks Over Knives” are on my “to see” list for sure–a list that gets larger each day. I agree that medical supervision is essential for someone who wishes to do a juice fast for an extended period.


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