Back in 2007 Joe Cross was fat, sick, and nearly dead. One extreme 60-day juice reboot and a whirlwind trip around America later, and Joe had transformed himself to a lean, green, juicing machine. We speak to the juice expert while he is in town to promote his second film, Fat, Sick And Nearly Dead 2.
It’s been seven years since you first embarked on your juicing adventure around America. Can you tell us a little about why you decided to get juicing?
I’d always been a fit and healthy person in my 20s, and never thought that I’d get sick, until I got the autoimmune disease called Chronic Urticaria (a fancy word for chronic hives) and had to take medication. When you’re that sick and you’ve got to take pills all the time, and the doctors are telling you ‘this is going to be your life’ it’s not the happiest news you can ever get. So I started to look for alternative ways, and what I realised is 70 per cent of all diseases are caused by lifestyle choices. I thought, ‘Wait a minute, maybe I’m the problem, maybe I’ve got something to do with this, maybe a lifestyle choice that I am making is affecting this.’ I didn’t know for sure, but I decided to switch up what I ate, and I went to a plant-based diet, supercharging in the beginning with juice only.
In your first movie you went on a juice reboot for 60 days. However, normal reboots are between three and 15 days in length. What happens during a reboot?
If you’re on a reboot where you’re juicing only, then essentially you’re going to have around six to seven, 350ml glasses of fresh fruit and vegetable juice a day. Generally about 80 per cent of the fluid is going to come from vegies, and 20 per cent from fruit. We also have to ensure that we are getting the five colours of the fruit and vegetable rainbow – the reds, the purples, the greens, the yellows and the oranges. These reboots are designed to be short periods of time between 3-15 days, and to be done perhaps twice a year in total.
What’s the reboot supposed to do exactly?
The way I look at it is there are only three things you can eat: processed food, animal product and plant food (plant food is defined as fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds and wholegrain). The idea behind the reboot is once you’ve done, you have reset your tastebuds and you actually start to crave more plant food.
Why should people try it?
The big issue for most of us living in Australia is that we’re not getting enough plant food, so juicing is a great way to supercharge that.
What did you used to eat and what do you eat now?
My diet through all of this in 2007 was probably 99 per cent processed food and animal product, and just one per cent came from plants. Now, I aim to get about 40-50 per cent of my calories from plants, and the other half between animal products and processed.
You’re not always good, are you?
No one is perfect, and I’m the first person to admit that I’m not perfect. But I believe in the 80/20 rule, which is 80 per cent of the time, try to do the right thing by yourself, and 20 per cent of the time, you go off the rails and you don’t beat yourself if you do. It’s a good rule to have.
Why did you make a second film?
Because 20 million people saw the first film, I just had a huge demand of people wanting to know more and more information. So we realised that there was more of this story to tell.
In the second film you focus on how important having a support group is to keeping healthy.
Well I think for the majority of people it’s critical. There’s a reason why support groups exist. An example of one that works for a lot of people but not all people is AA – people go to meetings, they physically are being connected to others that are struggling and suffering the same as them. I think that at the end of the day there’s no magic bullet to the epidemic of obesity and eating disorders and the relationship we have with food, sugar, salt, fat, etc, but I think to be part of a connected support group is a very good start.
Why do you think you’ve reached so many people?
You know, this isn’t an Australian problem, a US problem, or a Canadian problem, this is a global problem. We never had the concentration of sugar, fats and salt that we have in today’s world, so for many of us, me included, we have problems with that, so this is not just an isolated problem.
What’s your three top tips for someone wanting to try the juice reboot?
Do your homework and really research the philosophy. I’ve got books, there’s my website, and there are other people that talk about this if you don’t want to listen to me. There are plenty of resources out there on the web.
Understand why you are doing this. If you are doing this just for weight lose, I would suggest go to the gym and eat a balanced diet. This is not about weight loss, this is about getting healthy. This is about doing something that will reenergise your love for fruit and vegetables.
The third thing is just get some support. Talk to friends, family and loved ones, and ask them to support you and help you through.
What’s your favourite juice?
It’s a mean green – that’s kale (you can switch the kale out with spinach if you haven’t got any), cucumber, celery, ginger, lemon and apple. That’s called the mean green, and that’s on rebootwithjoe.com if you want the exact recipe.