What began as the story of one man, is now a story about millions.
After the film “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” documented his 60 day juice fast, Joe Cross vowed never to go on camera again. Since then, more than 20 million people have seen the film and Joe realized there’s still a lot for him to learn about becoming healthy and staying that way. "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2" taps into the tsunami of positive change that’s sweeping the world when it comes to what we eat.
As Joe sets out to learn how to be healthy in an unhealthy world, he talks to a wide range of experts, follows up with folks from the first film, and connects with new people along the way. Each one helps Joe learn that healthy eating is only one aspect of living a healthy life. From stay-at-home moms to world-class surgeons to office workers in Kenya, it seems like everyone is trying to be healthier, yet struggling to do so.
While on the road, Joe experiences some ups and downs when it comes to managing his own weight. Joe’s food battles resemble those of the everyday people he meets on his journey. Mirroring Joe’s story is a series of testimonial videos submitted by people who saw the first film; their personal, intimate and often funny stories show that wanting to change is often easier than actually doing so.
Top cardiologist Dean Ornish catches Joe by surprise when he explains that community is one of the most powerful forces in shaping a person’s health. Joe finds out how true this really is when he catches up with Phil Staples, the truck-driver from the first film. Five years on, Phil is on his own journey with varying levels of support and is dealing with his own set of ups and downs. It’s Phil’s experience that shows Joe just how big of an impact community can have.
Through Joe’s journey and the lives of the people he meets, Joe shows us in Fat Sick & Nearly Dead 2 that most people really do have control over of their health, even if they never knew it was possible. And that the final decision about what to put in your mouth, is what Joe calls, “The last two feet of freedom.”
People who know me know that I'm not one to normally go back on my word. You see, in the credits of a documentary I made a few years ago, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, I wrote that I wouldn't ever make another film starring myself. And here I am, making another film. Starring myself. But there's a really good reason why this has happened; it wasn't my fault. Well, not all of it, anyway. First, let me backtrack a bit...
In 2007 I was a hundred pounds overweight and taking medication everyday for an auto-immune disease. I knew I needed to do something drastic to make a lasting change in my life. That something was a 60 day fresh fruit and vegetable juice fast that I did while being filmed with a professional camera crew. While traveling across the United States. Along the way, I met some amazing people, one of whom, Phil Staples, a truck driver from Iowa, ended up being featured in the film. Together we took control of our lives by taking control of our diets. And this film, amazingly enough, has in turn, inspired millions of other people to change their own lives!
But then a funny thing happened, even with all the knowledge I'd learned, the techniques and tips I've gotten from experts, the fact that I was still off all of my medication, I found it was a ongoing struggle to keep the weight off! I was like, hey, this isn't supposed to be happening! I'd done all the hard work, I even got off my meds! But that's not how it works. I learned that losing the weight was easy, that the hard work really starts when you're trying to maintain the weight loss. Now, I wasn't the first to discover this, but I quickly realized that I wasn't alone. Seems like everyone has trouble keeping the weight off.
That's where the idea for Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead #2 came from. I figured that all this stuff I was learning? I might as well share it. So while I traveled to ten countries, learning about health and nutrition along the way, I brought along the camera crew and what I found out is what you’ll see in the film. I visited doctors like Dean Ornish who gave me insight into the keys to health besides food, and Sheila Kar who gave me a view of my own arteries. A real eye-opener, I’ll tell you!
I also wanted to know the power of marketing and see if I could eat only what I wanted to, not what I was being told to eat. That was what led me to Professor Brian Wansink who took me on a very enlightening tour of his hometown and showed me how food is sold to us and what we can do about it.
Along the way, I ran into some old friends and a bunch of new ones. I learned about the power of community and how the internet, for all it’s faults, has really helped a lot of people, myself included!
So come along with me as I attempt to avoid the pitfalls of trying to be healthy in an unhealthy world in Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead #2!
Joe Cross is a filmmaker, entrepreneur, author and wellness advocate. He directed, produced and was the subject of the award-winning documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead; authored “The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet” book, on track to become a best-seller in the US, Canada and the UK; and is credited with having accelerated the plant-based eating movement by media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Dr. Oz Show. His website, www.rebootwithjoe.com, has become an integral meeting place for a community of almost one million Rebooters worldwide.
Joe began his business career as a trader on the Sydney Futures Exchange where he worked from the early 1980s until 1998. He subsequently managed a diverse portfolio of assets in telecommunications, media, technology and financial services for Queensland Press Ltd., and in 2003 began investing his own capital through his investment vehicle Jaymsea Investments Pty Ltd. Despite his commercial success, Joe found himself at age 40 overweight and in ill health, and elected to take matters into his own hands. After consultation with noted US doctor Joel Fuhrman, Joe embarked on a 60 day journey of transformation across the US, consuming nothing but the juice of fresh vegetables and fruits. That journey – filled with personal milestones for Joe, and eye-opening experiences with average Americans-- was captured on film, and has become the award-winning documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. Seen by more than 10 million people around the world, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead has inspired millions of people to follow Joe’s example and reclaim their own health and vitality by adopting plant-based eating habits. The response to the film was so overwhelming Joe founded Reboot with Joe (www.rebootwithjoe.com), a health and wellness company that offers support, encouragement, community, media and tools to everyday people.
Joe lives in New York and Sydney.
KURT ENGFEHR, DIRECTOR
Kurt Engfehr grew up next to an EPA Superfund waste site in a working class suburb of Detroit. After living and failing all over the country, he settled in New York City where he worked for various tv networks such as MSNBC and HBO before becoming senior editor on Michael Moore's Emmy nominated show, THE AWFUL TRUTH. Kurt then segued from tv to film by working on, BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, for which he won the American Cinema Editors award for best documentary editing. The trophy is proudly displayed on the mantle above the fireplace, right next to the last award he won, a 3rd place Thanksgiving Day bowling tournament trophy from 1987. Kurt then followed that up by co-producing and editing numerous films such as the Cannes Palme d'Or winning and box-office smash, FAHRENHEIT 9/11, BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER*, SEAMLESS, TRUMBO, A PEOPLE UNCOUNTED, JUST DO IT, REJECT, WRENCHED, RED ARMY and NO MANIFESTO.
Kurt also co-directed, THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD, which won the audience award at Berlin and aired on HBO and, FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD, a humorous doc about weight loss and self-realization that was released theatrically in 2011 and has become an online sensation, being seen by over 20 million people.
He is now Creative Director for Reboot Media and has just finished up writing and directing FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD 2.
SEAN FRECHETTE, EDITOR
Sean is a New York-based editor, producer & post supervisor. Previous credits include documentaries for Academy Award nominated directors Barbara Kopple and Morgan Spurlock. He has also worked on shows for TV & web platforms, including Discovery Channel, PBS, Yahoo Screen, and Hulu. Sean was a part of the original Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead team and tries to have a green juice every day. He is a proud native of the Glass Capital of the World: Toledo, Ohio.
JAMIN MENDELSOHN, PRODUCER
Jamin Mendelsohn has worked in documentaries for the past 9 years including the role of production manager of "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" which prepped her well to produce "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2". In between the two films, she served as Editorial Director for RebootWithJoe.com helping to grow the community to more than 300,000 members.
Jamin has worked on several other feature documentaries including BROTHERS HYPNOTIC, (SXSW, HotDocs) WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN? (Sundance) and WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY? (SXSW); she has also produced several web series and dabbled in non-fiction television as well. Prior to her career in production, Jamin worked as an account executive at communications agency MWW Group.
Jamin holds a M.S.J. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a B.A. from the University of Virginia. Jamin loves fruits, veggies and Virginia Basketball!
Dr. Kar is the immediate Past Clinical Chief of Cardiology at Cedars Sinai Heart Institute, Assistant Clinical Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles, and an esteemed Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. At her practice in Beverly Hills, California, Dr. Kar offers cardiac care with a specialization in preventive cardiology. She is also the founder of the Sheila Kar Health Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1997 to educate the public about healthy choices that aid in preventing heart disease.
Dr. Russell Kennedy, PsyD, MA, is a health and wellness psychologist who works with clients on healthy behavioral change with an emphasis in weight management. Together with his wife, Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, they have a private practice, Wellness Guides, www.wellnessguides.org, that sculpts individualized plans for weight management, disease prevention and wellness to promote longevity. Outside their practice, they are both Adjunct Faculty, for the Department of Organizational and Leadership Psychology at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.
Dr. Kennedy completed his BS from Syracuse University in Biology, Masters in Counseling from Boston College and Doctorate in Health Psychology from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. He then completed a Health Psychology Fellowship at Boston Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Kennedy finished an NIH-funded study called CALERIE at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.
Dr. Kennedy works with Reboot with Joe writing articles on stress management training, leading health coaches for Camp Reboot, and creating programs for integrating mindfulness into weight loss programs.
The Kennedys lecture on health psychology, nutrition, weight loss, exercise and wellness behaviors to local schools, medical professionals and graduate universities. Dr. Kennedy has over twenty years of experience in personal training, coaching, teaching and fitness consulting to a vast array of athletes, clients and students. He values and respects human diversity in all of its many expressions.
Russ and Stacy have two young sons, three old dogs and live in Wellesley, MA. Russ is a practitioner of Aikido, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and gymnastics. Stacy enjoys cooking, juicing, hiking and yoga.
Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, where he holds the Safeway Chair. He is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ornish received his medical training in internal medicine from the Baylor College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts General Hospital. For more than 30 years, Dr. Ornish has directed clinical research demonstrating, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease without drugs or surgery. He is the author of six best-selling books, including New York Times’ bestsellers Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease, Eat More, Weigh Less, Love & Survival, and The Spectrum.
Brian Wansink is the John Dyson Professor of Consumer Behavior at Cornell University, where he directs the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. The Lab’s mission is to discover and disseminate transforming solutions to eating problems. Wansink is author of over 150 academic articles and books, including the best-selling Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (2006). His award-winning academic research on eating behavior, behavioral economics, and behavior change has contributed numerous changes allowing consumers to have a clearer and less manipulated understanding of their choices, from the introduction of smaller “100 calorie” packages (to prevent overeating) to removing 500 million calories from restaurants each year (via Unilever's Seductive Nutrition program). From 2007-2009 Wansink was granted a leave-of-absence from Cornell to accept a White House appointment as Executive Director of USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the federal agency in charge of developing 2010 Dietary Guidelines and promoting the Food Guide Pyramid (MyPyramid.gov).