Make-her-eat-less2-9I’m probably one of the last people who have seen the documentary, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, but last night after reading a note from one of my friends on Facebook, I decided to take a look.

If you aren’t familiar, the film follows an overweight Australian man who suffers from an autoimmune disease as he sets out to “reboot” his life and stop relying on medicine.

During the movie, Joe Cross commits to healing himself from the inside out by drinking only freshly prepared fruit and vegetable juices for 60 days. What happens is astounding. During the course of the process he sheds more than 60 pounds and sends his disease into remission. He was also able to get off of the various medications he’d been on for years, and by the end of the film, he looked years younger. I was impressed.

Watching the film got me to thinking. Perhaps America’s (and the UK’s and other Western countries) growing obesity and disease rates have to do with our food. Not how much we eat — although surely many of us overeat — but the things in our food. Over the years we’ve begun to consume far more chemically treated processed foods and we’ve watched as our waistlines and cancer rates have exploded.

If what we eat makes us less able to fend off disease, can changing our diet do the opposite?

Unfortunately, most people rely on medications to heal themselves. After all, popping a pill seems easier than overhauling your entire life. But if we can avoid getting sick all together by simply eating a natural, plant-based diet, then don’t we owe it to ourselves to at least make better choices?

We all know that clean eating — or eating minimally processed foods — is healthier than consuming junk, but can it also keep us disease free?

*If you’re in the U.S., you can watch the entire documentary here for free.

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  • Ab-so-lute-ly! Humans not only survived but THRIVED looonnng before the “enhancements” in today’s food. It’s definitely time for a reset in the American (…Western…) diet.

    • Me

      I see these kinds of comments a lot. Can you define what thriving entailed before the latest developments in food? I tend to see literature that states life expectancy of ancient civilizations was around 30 years. Fast forward to an expectancy of ~75 years as of late, and wouldn’t that suggest we’re thriving much better today than we were long before the enhancements? I’m not saying the effects of the enhancements should be ignored, but we can’t compare how we live today to how people lived in the distant past. At the very least, doing so, would indicate that those enhancements are actually contributing to us living longer (possibly healthier).

    • I think part of the difference in life span has a lot to do with modern medicine rather than having chemically laden foods.

    • Me

      I agree. I’m not saying the food is keeping us alive longer. I’m just saying arguing that people used to eat in a way that was better in ancient times can’t be proven. We would have to wait for the widescale scientific experiment that follows people’s eating habits over several decades to truly prove what’s killing us vs extending our lives.

    • Also, back in the day, life was alot harsher. Along with advanced medicine, we chill for the most part. Having to build and scrape with your hands and do for real hard labor impacted life expectancy greatly.

    • I highly recommend reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. You don’t need to go back to ancient times for proof that our diets used to be healthier. One of his recommendations about eating good food is “don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” He points out that our grandmothers likely wouldn’t recognize “food-like substances” like Gogurt (yogurt in a tube, rendered fat-free, but with added sugar for taste). That stuff isn’t healthy and it hasn’t made us healthier. A lot of “enhancements” to our food are not helping us live longer–quite the contrary.

  • Jenn

    We know that we eat things that kill us. For gods sake there are preservative in some processed meats that are carcinogenic! We eat cheese that isn’t really cheese, our chocolate is mixed with wax, and damn near everything has a corn by-product added to it. Our food culture is horrendous. Our relationship with food in this country is totally abusive. We hate it (and ourselves) or we can’t stop (and hate ourselves). It’s ridiculous.

  • L

    I would suggest watching Food Inc and Forks over knives to learn more about how our relationship with food has evolved to our detriment through time

  • StacyAustralia

    That video was awesome!!! I think I’m going to do a juice fast.

  • Onewhohasseenandbeen

    I agree eating better makes a difference, I do think that how we process our foods has caused a lot of health problems. However having an auto immune disease I will not go so far as to say that food is the cure. I had a friend who also had an auto immune disease (sarcoidosis) and decided to do the all natural route (diet and natural supplements) feeling that the medications we currently have available to use where to lethal. Unfortunate she died a very slow and painful death from her disease 5 years after she began her all natural journey.

    Taking her experience into account I decided to combine the two sides, I revamped my diet yet decided to take Methotraxate injections as well ( I have a rare and serious forum of Psoriatic Arthritis). The combine therapy saved my life (at one point I had heart failure and pulmonary hypertension, of which was the cause of my friends death) My diet helps me to manage my illness, it does not cure it.

    Also you must remember that all immune disease are different, their only common link is the immune system itself, how it function and effects the body is a very deep and complicated process. For example mine is due to a gene I’ve had from birth that was activated due to a simple common illness we all get, once activated it turned my immune system on high and will not shut off. The Methotraxate helps to slow down the high out put of immune cells I make (this cause inflammation in MY case), the diet helps to minimize the damage to my organs the inflammation may causes, both are necessary. I’m glad he found what works for him.