March 7, 2012
Today I watched Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead, a documentary about Australian Joe Cross’s journey through a 60-day juice fast. During the 60 days he travels across the US, talking to folks about their diets and sharing his story. He loses over 80 pounds, and his story, along with others’ in the film, is inspirational.
Over the years folks have asked me numerous times about fasting and juicing. The dietitian in me wants to be able to guide people to better food choices, and away from extreme measures. I don’t feel good about promoting a diet versus a lifestyle. But truthfully, I have mixed feelings about juicing and fasting, and I think that there are some people who can really benefit from a (physician-supervised) fast.
So often in life change is only prompted by extreme circumstances. People don’t like change, especially when it comes to what we put into our bodies. I, personally, do not want to live a life without Bolognese sauce or tiramisu. However, indulging in any type of food excessively, along with a sedentary lifestyle, is what leads to excessive body weight and the slew of health problems that accompany it. Sometimes it takes a big event to force people to look at their lives and realize that now is the time to take action. In many cases it is making these dramatic changes that allows people to realize that they can implement smaller changes into their daily lives as they transition back to a new “normal.” The film refers to juicing as “rebooting.” I think of it as a kind of “jump-start” to a new way of eating, or even as an occasional reminder or a cleansing that can get a person back on track. Sometimes drastic change is needed, and juicing shouldn’t be discounted just because some see it as an extreme measure.
So is there really any benefit to juicing over eating whole fruits and vegetables? Probably not- you are leaving some vitamins, minerals, and fiber behind in the skin and pulp. But as the film points out, most people cannot or are unwilling to eat the mountain of vegetables that they could very easily drink in juice form. So in some cases, freshly squeezed juice does beat the alternative of no fruits and vegetables at all.
What was my big take-away from this film? I was amazed, yet again, at the power we have over our own health. We as a society do not want to be held accountable for our health, but this films reminds us that what we put into our bodies every day is the most important decision we can make when it comes to our health. We have the power of choice, and should remember that in the daily decisions we make.
So, how do you feel about juicing?