I’m a huge fan of the fact that there are so many health related documentaries on the market these days. In fact, Food Inc. was what pushed me into the vegetarian camp. And even though I know that these films are very one-sided, I always get sucked in! That’s exactly what happened with Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, a documentary which focuses on juicing as a way to drastically improve health and wellbeing.

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

The story begins by introducing the audience to Joe Cross, an Australian salesman who decides to go on a 60 day cross-country road trip while doing a juice fast. Joe is not only overweight but he’s also suffering from an auto-immune disease that resembles hives. During his trip, Joe meets Phil Staples, a morbidly obese and seemingly depressed truck driver. Joe convinces (inspires) Phil to try juicing as a way to improve his health.

Of course, there’s a little more to it, but the basic premise is that Joe and Phil both go on intense juice fasts to improve their health – lose incredible amounts of weight, get off their medications, and basically save themselves from early deaths.

I’ll start with what I appreciated about the film.

  • I’m not a huge fan of juicing, but I do agree with the central premise of the film. Many health problems can be reversed with dietary changes. And I’m referring to good old fashioned healthy eating.
  • Even though this was a very drastic change in the diets of these two men, the film did hone in on the fact that the key to health is sustainable change.
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead does a good job chronicling both Joe and Phil’s healthy living transformations (both physical and mental). They are pretty incredible.
  • I also liked that both men were carefully supervised by doctors and nutritionists. That sends an important message, especially if someone is considering a radical change.

And now, here are a few things that had me scratching my head.

  • 60 DAYS OF JUST JUICING!?!?! I still can’t wrap my head around this.
  • After years of trying to figure out what healthy looks like for me, I’ve come to the conclusion that the old 80/20 (80% diet/20% exercise) adage is true. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead could’ve done a better job of focusing on the 20% instead of just mentioning it here and there.
  • By focusing on what medications these men are on and how the juice fast is helping them do away with certain pills, the documentary does the audience an injustice by making it seem like changes in diet have WAY MORE of an impact (almost miraculous) than medication when it comes to treating diseases.
  • To the point above, Joe manages to lose 90 pounds, get off most of his medications, and alleviate the effects of his auto-immune disease. In just 60 days. Don’t get me wrong…good for Joe! But is he more the exception than the rule? If so, that point didn’t come across.
  • Everything I said in this non-juicer whole juice post.
  • While the documentary harps on all the positives of juicing, it doesn’t address the general topic of healthy eating, which is the more sensible and sustainable approach. And I have to think that after this “juice reboot” as they call it, both Joe and Phil had to navigate difficult food choices to stay on track. I feel like this wasn’t touched on enough.

Overall, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead accomplished what it set out to do, but like any documentary, it all needs to be put in perspective.

Have you watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead?  Thoughts?  What’s your favorite health related documentary?

By Parita

5 thoughts on “An Honest Review of “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead””
  1. Alex and I started watching this (because we loooove the food and health documentaries on Netflix! haha) but we stopped part way through because it just felt like they were saying the same things as all the other documentaries… and plus, juicing for 60 days seems insane and not super practical haha.

    Still, I appreciate what they were trying to do but I love the other documentaries like Food Inc and Forks Over Knives a bit more 🙂

  2. I haven’t seen this yet but I feel the same way. I feel much more comfortable with the Whole Foods Plant based Diet as a way to gain health and lose weight – with juices added in for boosts not as the sole thing. Still, I do want to see this one and wish I understood better how someone can survive off juice 🙂

    I recently saw Fed Up and LOVED that one. I have been very aware of the sugar in my diet ever since.

    Completely different, but I also really liked Living on One Dollar about how ppl survive living in poverty.
    diana@veggienextdoor recently posted…Changing Pace…My Profile

  3. Oh my goodness…60 days of just juice? No, thanks. I think you’re right that good health comes from a combination of diet and exercise, and in terms of diet, I think if you’re eating ‘real’ food, you’re already ahead of the game. I tell my kids we should try to choose foods that grow because then you know they have life force in them which then you absorb, making you grow. Not always easy when packaged foods are convenient (and tasty, too!). But anyway, documentaries like these steer people in crazy directions.
    Taslim Jaffer recently posted…Help My Son Be A SuperHero For @CanuckPlace Children’s Hospice! #FamiliesGiveBackMy Profile

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