Joe Cross, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead


Joe Cross is an Australian entrepreneur and investor who invests in early stage high potential growth companies. Most recently, Joe founded Reboot Your Life, a lifestyle brand that provides information, tools, media and entertainment, consumer products and community support that encourage people to consume more fruits and vegetables in order to improve their health and vitality. Joe began his business career as a trader on the Sydney Futures Exchange where he worked from the early 1980s until 1998. During this time, Joe founded several companies in the derivatives trading and technology space. From the late 1990s until 2003, Joe managed a diverse portfolio of assets in telecommunications, media, technology and financial services for Queensland Press Ltd, a wholly owned company of News Corp. During 2003, Joe began investing his own capital through his investment vehicle Jaymsea Investments Pty Ltd. A number of these businesses have gone from a start up to a thriving and successful business in a few short years. Today, Jaymsea has a diverse portfolio of active investments with financial and managerial stakes in high potential growth companies. The portfolio includes: Thakoon, a leading US based high end fashion label; Willow, a high end Australian based fashion label; and Citibabes, a club and education centre for families with small children. Joe lives in New York and Sydney.


Caryn Hartglass: Hello, I’m Caryn Hartglass, and this is It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me today, and this is the hour where I get to talk about all of my favorite things. And this show, in particular, I am going to get to some of my real super, duper favorites. So, we talk about food and food choices and how food affects health, environment, and the treatment of animals. And we look at food from all different kinds of angles. And today we’ve got a really great guest, and we’re going to be talking about saving your life, making your life better, getting the jumpstart, starting all over, and getting a fresh start. We are going to be talking with Joe Cross—a director and executive producer. He’s an Australian entrepreneur and investor who invests in early stage high potential growth companies. Most recently Joe founded Reboot Your Life—a lifestyle brand that provides information, tools, media, and entertainment consumer products and community support that encourages people to consume more fruits and vegetables in order to improve their health and vitality. And he lives in New York and in Sydney. And he has a new documentary film that came out. It was in New York all of last week—Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Welcome, Joe.

Joe Cross: Thanks so much for having me on.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, I’m so excited to talk to you. I’ve seen the film several times, and it’s great.

Joe Cross: Thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: And all I do while watching the film is I crave my favorite green drink.

Joe Cross: It has that effect on people.

Caryn Hartglass: Well—and why don’t we see more of that? Why don’t we see more things in the media that make us want to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing?

Joe Cross: Yeah—that’s a good question. I think that—well, I mean, I am doing my bit. I guess I—you know I was 40 years of age, and I lived a life where I really had sort of focused on wealth rather than health. And I sort of realized when I got to ripe old age of 40 that I was fat, sick, and nearly dead. And, for me, it was like—well—I am going to try and do my bit. I mean, I’ll get out there and tell my story. And that’s how I am going to put that out to the media.

Caryn Hartglass: Well—people definitely respond to individual stories. I talk a lot about statistics and all the crazy things that are going on in the world—how many people die of heart disease and cancer and all the animals in factory farms? And the numbers are just overwhelming, and they kind of get—we kind of get numb to the volume of the numbers. But when we hear individual stories—and in this particular film that you’ve created—you really do expose yourself. I mean, we see—we just see—we see all that flesh from beginning to the end.

Joe Cross: You do. All 310 pounds of me at the beginning of the film. You know—and I think that part of the idea about the film was to—you’re right—we do get numb to those numbers. And we do know about—a lot about this stuff, but it’s a difference between knowing it and doing it. And I don’t know about you, but I kind of feel that if you tell people to do something that really doesn’t work. We all know that telling people—well—in fact—I think we’re all sick and tired of being told what to do. You know—whether it is our husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, kids, our boss, or the government—we’re just tired of being told what to do. So—my dad, when I was a little boy, told me something that I’ll always remember. He said, “Joe, if you want to get something done you do it yourself, and if you want to get people to follow you got to show them. You’ve got to lead by example.”

Caryn Hartglass: Be the change you want to be.

Joe Cross: That’s right. So—I feel that the impact of this film, I mean, I made the film initially in a very selfish perspective because I’ve been procrastinating. I’ve been putting off making this change in my life. And on the back of that it was like—well—if I really put the camera on myself and tell the world I’m going to do this—I am going to do it. I am not going fail. I’m going to get out there and do it. So, that was going to be the selfishness part. But then the second part was is that—you know—there are a lot of other people. And in fact, unfortunately, more than half the population of America could probably classify themselves as fat, sick, and nearly dead. And the nearly dead part—you know—it’s an interesting thing—the nearly dead part. When you talk about those numbers—the 27% of Americans are going to die of heart disease and 25% from cancer—you know—there are a lot of people to go to work today and are not going to come home because they have a heart attack at work. And they didn’t know that they were nearly dead this morning—they didn’t know it. And I’ve got to this point in my life where I was 40 years of age. I had been taking prescription medication—pills night and day—for eight years for a debilitating autoimmune disease. And I was 310 pounds, and I was all of the sudden, fast-forward, from that little 10-year-old boy that heard about men dying of heart attacks in their 40s. I was there. I was front row—I was the pin up boy for that guy who was going to go to work and not come home one day.

Caryn Hartglass: You’re talking about what motivated you to continue on this path. And so many people just don’t have the motivation. And I talk about this all the time and not just on this show, but this is like one of my life’s missions is to just share the joy of being healthy and eating healthy foods. And I throw parties, and I make healthy food just to get people to taste it. You know—whatever works; we all have our own different angles. But so many people say, and they even said it in your film, that I like what I eat, and I want to live this way, and I’ll just live until 50 or whenever. What I don’t think they realize is that they are, number one, nearly dead, and they don’t even know how good they can feel.

Joe Cross: Yeah—and the real big thing they don’t understand is they don’t realize how quickly their quality of life is going to deteriorate. Their last few years of life are just tubes and hospitals, and, I mean, you know the numbers. We spend 50% of what we spend in our whole life on medicine we spend in the last six months of our life. And these sort of attitudes are like—I mean—look—I’ll be honest with you. If someone said to me, “Joe, you are going to—you know—you can live to 85 and be like you are right now and eat rubbish the rest of your life, you’d probably take that—right?

Caryn Hartglass: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Joe Cross: But that’s not what’s going to happen. That’s not what’s going to happen. I mean—I’ll be 65—I’ll need hip replacements and my knees from the weight I’m carrying. And then all of the sudden I have the heart attack, and I’ve got to have the tubes. And then I’m in the hospital, and I’ve got my—I don’t have any kids yet, but when I have them they’ve got to look to after me. And think of the burden I’m putting on family and friends. And it’s a very, very sad way to leave that most people—you know—to leave this life in that sort of state. That’s—you know—that wasn’t in the brochure of life that I looked at.

Caryn Hartglass: You know—people—you said people don’t like to be told what to do and I agree, but there are a number of shows—especially on American television—Dr. Oz is one of them—where they talk about all these things that people can be doing. And yet I keep looking at the people in the audience—the few times that I have watched the show—where many of them are overweight. And they talk about how they love the show, and they’re watching, but they’re not doing anything.

Joe Cross: Yeah. So—I’m a big believer in—the content that I’ve created for this film—when I arrived in America—I have never made a film before in my life. And I was a business guy. And I wanted to create something, which was going to be inspirational. And the best way of doing that, I think, is showing people rather than telling. So, it was almost like this is my story, and I’m going to do a bit of a Forrest Gump exercise. You know in the movie Forrest Gump when he runs across the country and people start following?

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Joe Cross: They don’t even know what they’re running, but they’re just following you. I thought, what would happen if I bought an SUV, bought a juicer, got a generator, loaded it up with fruits and vegetables and drove from the east coast to the west coast and drank nothing but fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days—what would happen? Would people start to follow? Would people be intrigued enough to come over the side of my truck, have my juice up a concoction of kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, apple, ginger, lemon—whatever I had available—put it through the machine, and say, “Yeah, mate, have a drink of this. See what you think.” What would happen? And that was kind of the idea that if I was able to show photos because, as you know, you’ve seen the film, I mean, I lost 82 pounds in 60 days.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Joe Cross: Yeah. Now—what is incredible about this journey for me is that I didn’t do this to lose weight. It is really important for you all—listeners—to realize that. I mean, I’m your 6’2”, big frame, average, sort of, Australian male, which is pretty similar to the average American male where I had the belly. I looked like I had swallowed a sheep. I said that in the movie, and people were asking me, “When are the twins due, Joe?” And most of the male listeners will sort of feel this.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Joe Cross: That—you know—blokes—we are not too worried about how we look—you know? It’s not too bad. You’ve got a bit of a belly. You can hide it with your shirt not being tucked in or put another jacket on. It is kind of like we’re not as worried as much about how we look. And so, for me, the weight thing wasn’t really the issue. It was the constant reminder night and day that I had to take these pills—three in the morning, three at night, had to have them with me, could not have them, scripts running out, get a new script, go to the drugstore, pick them up, wait in line. It’s all of that. And that’s the constant reminder that I was not well. And no matter how good my day was, I still had to come home and swallow the pills. And I knew the long-term effects of those pills, which was prednisone—it was a very powerful steroid.

Caryn Hartglass: That can kill you. It has killed a number of people I know.

Joe Cross: It shortens your life span dramatically. It turns in to osteoporosis for your bones, hunchback, moon face, weight gain—all sorts of very unfortunate side effects. Now, I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting anyone out there who is taking these drugs that you just go and get off it. In fact, quite the opposite. This is a medication that you cannot just stop taking. You’ve got to really go slowly off of this medication which is why when I sort of had this idea of how do I cure myself and I would sort of turn my back on mother nature, what would happen if I ran towards her at full force? What would happen? Would she open her arms and let me in? And cure me or heal me or be the medicine for my treatment instead of the drugs? It took me five months of only consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, pulses to be off the medication. I mean—it took five months. But the first two months—that 60 days while I was in the U.S. shooting the movie—I sort of what I call free-based mother nature. And I just drank fruits and vegetables only.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, you have a number of doctors in the film. You have my favorite doctor, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, wonderful, wonderful man who walks the walk.

Joe Cross: Very good guy.

Caryn Hartglass: He’s—well—he’s a personal hero of mine and has helped me in my journey. And he’s a great friend and just—I want him to be the Surgeon General of this country, and he’s the best.

Joe Cross: He’d make a fabulous Surgeon General.

Caryn Hartglass: He would, but—well—anyway—the country—I don’t know; it’s not ready for someone that good. How did you choose him and the other doctors for this film? How did you find him?

Joe Cross: So, the idea of drinking only fruits and vegetables is kind of—for two months—that’s not something that a lot of the medical world is going to sort of say that’s a good idea..

Caryn Hartglass: Well, that’s what I am leading to because if people want to do this and they go to their doctor—their doctor is going to say, “No. That’s nutty.”

Joe Cross: That’s right. And so—and I am not suggesting that people should run out and do this by the way, because I found Dr. Joel Fuhrman who had writing books on fasting, and that is how I found him. I basically—on the Internet, through Google—realized that he was a doctor that had written books on fasting and, therefore, was someone who understood the benefits of going without for a period of time. And I think what is really important to be quite clear here is that what I did when I did my 60 days is not a diet. What I did was I did what I call a reboot. I created this word and this name because it is not a fast. A fast technically is when you drink water only. So, you could create things like a Big Mac fast where all you ate was Big Macs. You could create a bread fast or—you know—and some people call it a juice fast. And that’s good. And that’s okay. And I call it that in the movie because that’s what I felt was appropriate. But, what I actually call it now is a reboot. In other words, what I decided to do is I looked back at time, and I said—because when you’re sick for eight years, and you’re trying to work ahead or kill yourself, you still have a lot of time to contemplate logic. And I sort of looked at the human body just from a very business sort of practical point of view. And I said—you know—we all know why we gain weight. We take too much food on or energy on and don’t use it up. It stores up on us—right? We know that. It’s pretty basic. Everyone understand that—calories in, energy burned off. What I was questioning is why do we have this capacity to do this. Why do we have this ability to store up this energy? And if you look at a crocodile or snake or anything that is sort of cold-blooded—they don’t have fat—they don’t have fat on them. It’s only the warm-blooded species that have this ability. And it is effectively to regulate body temperature and to store up food for lean times because we, as a species, we are—depending on your beliefs of religion—we are either 7,000 years old or were five-million years old. And, you know what, either one of those—whichever one you choose to pick—there have been times of feast and famine.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Joe Cross: And so today’s world—I mean if you walk out from where you are and I walk out from where I am right now and anyone who is listening driving on the road, have a look around. There’s a feast on every corner.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s feast time.

Joe Cross: There’s no famine. There is a nutritional famine, but there’s no famine. So, I thought I need to impose my own famine. I also looked at religion—not from a point of view of a religious person—I looked at it from a point of view of these are stories and ideals and principles that are passed on that we hold close to us—some of us hold close to us—that are thousands of years old. And they all—the big ones—all have some kind of idea of fasting or going with out. It’s a part of their culture—their history.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right.

Joe Cross: But for the idea to go to somebody now, in the modern world, and say, “I’m going to just drink fruits and vegetables,” you’re actually consuming a tremendous amount of micronutrient-rich foods like phytochemicals, soluble fiber, even protein. Even the 20 ounces of juice that I was drinking has something like eight to twelve grams of protein in it. So, I wasn’t not having anything. I was drinking, or consuming if you like, 1200 calories a day. Now, that’s lower than what I eat now when I’m not doing a reboot—I mean—I eat beyond that. But you know what’s interesting about that? And this is the big thing that was the eye opener for me is that after three days I was not hungry at all once the whole time.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. That’s amazing.

Joe Cross: I was quite content, quite happy, and I encountered incredible changes to my attitude to life. I felt like this depression or this fog lift. I was able to see things in a completely different light—smell, hear, sleep better. I mean, I can talk for hours about all the changes just to me that happened in my 60 days of doing this. And so I say this, with all do respect to Australia and America, since I made this movie I haven’t seen any fat people. I haven’t seen fat people since I made the movie. I haven’t seen him anywhere. You know what I see now? I see all these people carrying around lots of excess energy, and I just wonder when they’re going to use it up.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, that’s good.

Joe Cross: You know—I think the word fat gets a pretty bad rap. You know—I don’t like this—I say this a fair bit—if you and I were the CEO of Fat Corporation we’d fire the marketing department because they haven’t done a pretty good job with the way that we look at fat. That’s actually a really good thing. We need fat. If you break down the human body we’ve got a skeleton—right? We’ve got blood. We’ve got our organs. And then we’ve got these two other wonderful things called muscle and fat. And that’s basically what we’re made of. And those two last things—the muscle and the fat—that’s where we store up our energy. And the other two things that we can have some kind of control over—we can go to the gym, we can go for a walk, we can do our exercises, and we can build that muscle. Or in our fat we can load up our fat by taking on too much energy or we can get rid of it by using it up either exercising or not taking as much in. And so, for me, my mindset was not so much losing the weight. It was more about if I can supercharge my body with these micronutrient rich—thousands and thousands of these chemical compounds that are found in all of these wonderful plant foods like kale and spinach. I never heard of kale before I made this movie. Spinach and celery and cucumber and apples and oranges and strawberries and peaches and mangos—I mean—yeah—the list is endless.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes.

Joe Cross: I mean, it is beautiful colors—right?

Caryn Hartglass: And delicious.

Joe Cross: Beautiful colors. Well—let’s get to that delicious point because I heard you talk about that earlier. And I heard you say that you have parties, and you invite people over and you want to people to do this. So, here’s what I say to that—I think it is wonderful, but if someone had a big pizza, a takeaway pizza before they got to your house, that beautiful food is not going to taste very good because they’ve been pounded with high salt, high sugar, all of this sort of—it’s effectively—I don’t call it food—I call it—I don’t know what you call it, but it’s not food. It is just a whole bunch of chemicals.

Caryn Hartglass: With a lot of salt, sugar, and fat.

Joe Cross: Correct.

Caryn Hartglass: That numb the taste buds.

Joe Cross: And so therefore—exactly it—your taste buds are numb. So, what I find when people do a reboot, and they don’t need to do 60 days. You can do five days. You can do 10 days. You can do something way more manageable. When you come out of this, this food that you are offering your friends and that’s available around the country in supermarkets that is in that fresh section—it’s called produce. It tastes unbelievable—you know?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I do know. It really does—the way nature intended.

Joe Cross: And that’s the difference. So what we have done is we have rebooted the system to actually enjoy this food that was made by mother nature. I mean, I am saying if you are going to eat food made by people in white coats you are going to end up seeing people in white coats.

Caryn Hartglass: How did you decide what juices to make and how much to have on a regular basis?

Joe Cross: Purely trial and error. And like I said, I didn’t know a lot about this when I started making the movie. Four years later I know a lot more now, but I think that’s part of what makes the movie—I learn organically with the audience.

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Joe Cross: So, I was—when I met Dr. Joel Fuhrman, he said, “Joe—you know—this is great, but,” he said, “you want to make sure that you juice up lots of the cruciferous plant group.” I said, “Run that by me again, Joel.” And he said, “Cruciferous plants, Joe.” He said, “That’s the ones that have got the highest nutrient dense plants.” So, he was talking about kale. He was talking about bok choy. He was talking about the leafy greens.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes.

Joe Cross: So, that wasn’t the greatest news I heard. I’ll tell you, when he told me that, and I said, “Oh I—.” But I said, “No, if we’re going to run towards mother nature, we might as well go to the top end or go to the top shelf. So, I went to the top shelf, and I got those incredibly nutrient-dense plant foods. And I put them through my juicer. And I’ve got to be honest if you put a bit of apple in there just to add a little bit of taste—it is just terrific.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. It does help.

Joe Cross: Terrific. I mean, I can drink it now without the apple, but at the beginning I needed that—you know?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I have a green juice every day, and I don’t add apple. And on a rare occasion I have an apple or something sweet, and I feel like it’s a decadent treat.

Joe Cross: Yeah. I mean, if you can add the cucumber and the celery and the kale and the ginger in there, I mean, and the lemon, it’s fabulous.

Caryn Hartglass: You show in the film, just very briefly, the cost of one week of juicing with conventional foods, one week of juicing with organic—do you remember what that was based on approximately?

Joe Cross: Yeah—you mean the numbers or what were the—?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah—the numbers.

Joe Cross: So, what I would do is I would juice up around six 20-ounce cups a day. And so I really wanted to—one of the philosophies I wanted to do when I made this film was I wanted it to be accessible to everybody. I didn’t want to go down a path where I was like organic only or vegan only. I didn’t want to isolate the people by these terms, phrases, and price points. So, I basically just got my fruits and veggies from wherever I could—what was available to me. If I saw a truck on the side of the road selling fruits and veggies I would pull over and support him. I knocked on farmers’ doors and brought the camera out and had a good yarn to them. And the other times I’d go to Wal-Mart or Hy-Vee or the supermarkets that are across the country. So, I mixed it up. I had conventional, and I had organic. Now, you know, the cost for the organic we calculated out was averaging roughly about $28.00 a day.

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Joe Cross: And when I was going to conventional it was half that at around $14.00 and $15.00.

Caryn Hartglass: For six 20-ounce juices a day?

Joe Cross: Correct.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow.

Joe Cross: Which is achievable for—and I think that’s achievable for a vast amount of the population. Now, you have got to have the machine to do that. This is not a Vitamix we are talking about. Americans have got—everybody knows what a Vitamix is. The infomercial work has done a great job on explaining what a Vitamix is. And that is something that blends up food. What I did was something different. I put my produce through a juice extractor. What that does is that separates the microfiber, which is very good for you, don’t me wrong, it is very good for you, but it takes the pulp out, and you’re only drinking the juice which effectively does two things. It enables you to supercharge more. So you are getting more produce into your system. There’s no way I could have eaten what I had and bought for the day.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s a lot of food.

Joe Cross: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Okay. Well, I wanted to talk about a number of things, but we’re going to take a quick break. So, Joe, can you stay with us a couple minutes, and we’ll get right back?

Joe Cross: Sure can.

Caryn Hartglass: Thank you.

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Caryn Hartglass: Hello, I’m Caryn Hartglass. And you’re listening to It’s All About Food. And I am here with Joe Cross. And we are talking about his new documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Joe?

Joe Cross: I’m here.

Caryn Hartglass: You are no longer fat, sick, and nearly dead—thank goodness. In fact, in the film and in your photos you look quite fabulous.

Joe Cross: Thank you very much. I’m about 100 pounds lighter. I don’t take any medication. I haven’t taken a single medication pill for three and a half years. And I’m far from dead.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right. I like it. Now, one of the things I liked in the film was we saw lots of different environments. We certainly saw some really beautiful scenes—beach scenes in Australia with you running on the beach. But not all of us have access to really luxurious, lovely areas to romp and exercise in. But you also showed another person in the film, Phil, and he really got on the path. And we saw he running in all kinds of weather—snow—and not in the more affluent neighborhoods.

Joe Cross: No.

Caryn Hartglass: And so, I really appreciate that you showed that this is really for anyone. And anyone can do it anywhere and any time.

Joe Cross: Yeah—look—I think that is a great point, Caryn. And so Phil Staples which is the truck driver. You know how we talked about earlier about how men don’t necessarily like talking about their health?

Caryn Hartglass: Uh-hunh (affirmative).

Joe Cross: I found it so difficult to get men to talk that I had to go where men are. I had to go and hang out in truck stops across the United States to actually ambush these guys that were coming out of the truck stop going back to their rig. And one of them that I got was a guy called Phil Staples who was the same age as me. He was around 430 pounds. And Phil is a lovely man. He was doing it tough—doing it real tough. Incredibly he had the same condition that I had, which was just extraordinary to meet another person with the same thing. And I haven’t met very many people in the eight years—I’ve met maybe three or four people in my whole life that had the same thing as me. And here I am making the movie, and I am doing this, and I run into a 430 pound trucker. So, that was quite extraordinary. And so I took Phil over to my truck, and said, “Mate, you have a go of this. Put some of this kale and cucumber and celery. Put that through the machine.” He had never done it before in his life. And went, “Oh, this isn’t bad.” You know—something spiritual about putting that produce through the chute, and out comes the liquid. And I said, “Mate, you know, wrap your life and get around this and have a taste. See what you think.” And he loved it. He thought it was great. And I said, “Well—look—if you want any help, here is my number. You know—you give me a yelp, and we’ll see what we can do.” And that was—I shot the film in the end of 2007, and it wasn’t for six months—six months later I got a phone call back in Australia, and it was Phil the truck driver saying, “Joe, you promised to help me. I feel like I’m at the end of my road. Can you come back and help me?” And we had already shot the film. We, sort of basically, really finished the first cut, and we had the film down. And I thought, “Wow—this is pretty amazing.” This leads back to that Forrest Gump statement I had earlier about going across the country and who is going to follow. And here we had a very, very middle America guy driving a truck—you know—living in the back of his rig that had been married twice. He was doing the child support, driving the ten hour full session on the ten day runs across the country—basically trucking a lot of our product around for us to eat.

Caryn Hartglass: I didn’t realize that. That’s crazy.

Joe Cross: There is a lot of stuff in the back of his truck—he couldn’t get to it. And he was living on hamburgers and pizzas and stuff. And I said, “Mate, I’m coming over.” And so I think, as you’ll agree, the film takes and incredibly dramatic turn at this point. And I had to throw the first film out. I mean, we had to start again essentially because having someone like Phil who I really believe walked through the door for middle America to this world of taking—not only taking responsibility but just showing how it can be done. And if—you know—people can look at Joe and say, “He’s a successful business guy. He’s got money. He can make a film about himself. And,” as you said, “he’s down on Bondi Beach running in the sand—hasn’t got a worry in the world,” which is not true, but you can be looked upon as though.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, you had everything except you were on drugs and overweight?

Joe Cross: Yeah. You know—you can look at it that way. The reality was he was Phil who had none of that.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Joe Cross: You know—Joe is the winner, but Phil—if Phil can do it, I can do it. And that, I think, is the magic of what our film triggers—these new behaviors in people. And when people see the film they get motivated to realign their health and their relationship with food. And that’s a very powerful thing to have in the modern day. And so I am really excited about this because the people that are seeing the film now it is really having a huge impact on them. And we’ve got a community that is set up called where people are going there, they’re signing up, and they are taking on the reboot, and they’re doing it. And the results—I mean—there are thousands of people that have done this over the period that I have been working on it. And some people don’t kind of get there, but you what I say? “Well—good on your for trying. Fabulous for giving it a go.”

Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely. And maybe you’ll come back and try again.

Joe Cross: And the main reason they don’t actually—the main reason they don’t get to the end is because they weren’t organized at the beginning because—you know—you just don’t rush into something like this. And if you are going to just eat fruits and vegetables or drink them, and—you know—we provide both plans. You don’t just have to juice them. You can Vitamix them. You can eat them because it’s the same thing at the end of the day, is that you—if you don’t get there in the end it is okay. At least you gave it a go, and you made a step. And that’s really important. And having this community and support and encouragement, and a chance to go and tell your friends that you are doing something. And then feeling good about yourself, starting your day off where you are positive about yourself that’s a big plus.

Caryn Hartglass: Well—and I think that is really the kernel—feeling good about yourself. There have been so many books written—self-help books—about how to turn things around, and we know that diet or treating our body’s well is related to how we feel about ourselves. And so when you came across Phil he represented so many things. And this film is not just about green juice.

Joe Cross: No, it’s not.

Caryn Hartglass: It is much bigger than that. And you could see that he had many difficult things occur in his life, and then the way that he was handling it was feeding his hole—his emptiness with food. And then he was protected by all of this energy as you may call it around him. And it took someone else—you—to reach out to him and see beyond all of that and give him love and support and encouragement and enable him to reboot. And I like to believe we can get it from within, and it certainly has to come from within, but sometimes we need that exterior help.

Joe Cross: Without question we need community. We live in a world—I think it is Michael Pollan—who I heard say that—I think I read it in his book—that 25% of American lunches are eaten in the car.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Joe Cross: We have this—we are more connected that ever before in the history of the human race, yet so many of us are still very much alone.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Joe Cross: And we feel alone. We do things alone. Gone are the days of, I mean, some families are good at doing it, but gone are the days where most of us sit down at a meal with family and take our time and talk about the day and really enjoy our food.

Caryn Hartglass: Eat it slowly.

Joe Cross: Eat it slowly. All these things—they are thing of the past—you know? That is what you see on an episode of Mad Men—right?

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Joe Cross: We don’t see that a lot today. I mean, we do see it somewhere, and there are some families and communities that are great at doing this. But the idea of support—the idea of people that are there to help you—no man is an island. You cannot do it on your own. Now, you know, what I had essentially—some people say, “Well, Joe you did it on your own.” I really didn’t do it on my own. I had a camera which was actually knowing that all these people were watching me, and they were helping me in a way without even—they hadn’t even seen the film yet, but because I knew the camera was on me and here they were, so it was kind of like I had this support group out there already—you know—esoterically support group. And so, I think that it is a very interesting point that you make in that what you put into your body in food—if people don’t believe it can affect you, then just think about it this way. If you go out and drink a bottle of Vodka tonight, you are going to feel different—aren’t you?

Caryn Hartglass: Oh—yeah.

Joe Cross: It’s going to affect you. Well—why could you say that drinking a bottle of vodka is going to affect you, but not think that the food you are eating isn’t going to affect you? How do you justify that? We know that the food—everyone with logic can tell somebody that if you’re eating crap food you are going to feel crap. If you are eating live food—real food—then you are going to feel alive. It is pretty basic. Now, here’s Joe—smart guy—this is me I am talking about—smart guy. I’m in my 30s; I’m a really bright guy. I’m making lots of money. I am the master of the universe—all that rubbish. But I didn’t know this—I knew it, but I didn’t do it. So, I go back to this point that I got to a point in my life where I procrastinated so much that it became really clear to me that I really had to do something about it. And sometimes I speak to a lot of people who love their dad, and their dad is 200 pounds overweight, and they are trying to help him, but they can’t. And my heart goes out to them. But at the end of the day, it has to come—he’s—that dad needs to be the guy that says, “I’m going to do something about this.” And having his daughters or his wife trying to make him do it—while it sometimes works; it very rarely does. But what will work is if he decides to do it because he sees someone else doing it, and he asks his family for support, and they’re there—that is what I believe is the recipe for success.

Caryn Hartglass: There are so many people in this country that need help, and not just in this country, but all over the world. And so many of us go to the doctor and have tests done. And I am cool with that. Diagnostics are great. Find out where you are. But most people stop there or they get prescriptions for whatever, and yet if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, if you’re diagnosed with diabetes, if you’re diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, if you are diagnosed with a whole host of ailments, to me, that’s a red flag, and you are lucky to get that and then do something about it. But the doing something isn’t filling a prescription. It’s your red flag to know things are off, and this is time to reboot.

Joe Cross: Yeah. Yes, let’s go back to that evolution thing we talked about earlier. You know—if a tiger jumps out in front of you while you’re walking down Fifth Avenue, we are programmed, instincts kick in, boy oh boy there’s a tiger on Fifth Avenue; it can kill me. You get this fight or flight sensation, you know, the heart goes up, the adrenaline pumps in. It gets you into an area of being safe—okay?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Joe Cross: So, our bodies, you while you’re sitting here talking to me and while I am sitting here talking to you, it’s doing everything to keep us alive. The brain is functioning. It’s getting the heart—making sure the heart pumps the blood. It’s making sure I breathe—the lungs are working. The liver or the kidneys—everything is going around. The blood is depositing the oxygen to all the cells. It’s all happening, and you and I don’t even need to think about it. It’s just happening. So our bodies are trying to stay alive every second of every day. And what’s happened, I believe, my philosophy is that in the last 100 years we got really smart about creating certain types of energy that we can put them—we can put enough energy now in a bar—like a chocolate bar—that used to require three or four plates full of food. So that advancement, technologically, to create this—what we call food—is energy that can go into our system. We haven’t had the catch-up time evolutionary-wise to create these fight or flight responses to this sort of behavior. So when you go to the doctor and you hear all those red flags, we haven’t built up this ability for it to be a reactive instinctual thing, “Oh my God, I’ve got to go have my fruits and vegetables.” We don’t have that. You see what I mean? And so, it’s almost like we are killing ourselves. I mean, we are doing a phenomenal job of killing ourselves.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right.

Joe Cross: In my movie I have a leading doctor in Australia—one of the leading immunologists—Professor Ronald Penny—who is a renowned doctor. And to get him to come on my film—a film about a guy drinking juice—that was a big, big thing. And it took a lot of me of showing what I had done and all my numbers and my blood tests to get him to talk. And what he said was—he said, “70% of all disease is caused by lifestyle choices.”

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Joe Cross: That, to me, when I heard that—that was like boy, oh boy. And I believe that the biggest single problem in your country and mine is the health of the people. You know—we can talk about the deficit, we can talk about homeland security, we can talk about immigration and border security—they are all big issues, and they’re important. But at the end of the day if the people, that all these things are designed to protect and help and look after, if they’re dropping like flies because we’re so sick and we’re so unhealthy, surely isn’t that the bigger issue?

Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely.

Joe Cross: Isn’t that the number one problem?

Caryn Hartglass: It’s all about food.

Joe Cross: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s what I have to say.

Joe Cross: I ask people—I say to people, “What’s the single most important—what is the most important thing in your life?” And you know what most people tell me who have kids? They say, “My kids.” And I respect that, but you know what I say back to them? And it doesn’t mean I am right or wrong, but I say, “That’s great. I love the fact that you love your kids, but don’t you think that your health is probably more important than your kids? Because if you’re not healthy you are not going to be there for them.”

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Joe Cross: “And do you really want them to look after you? Do you want to put that—,” I mean, most parents I speak to they want their kids to be happy.

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Joe Cross: Well, you know what? A definition of happiness is not looking after your parents.

Caryn Hartglass: No, that’s a lot of stress.

Joe Cross: So, for me, I think that—I mean, I’m hopeful. I’m a very positive person. As I said, I am sort of dealing on the demand side. I believe that if 20-million Americans saw my film tonight you wouldn’t be able to buy kale in the country for a month. They’d all run out there and buy it. But if, and this is where let’s talk about the fast food industry, okay?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Joe Cross: Because I’ve got—I don’t say bad things about them. In fact, I don’t like saying bad things about anybody. You know what I think? I think they’ve done a phenomenal job of getting distribution across this country. They’re everywhere. So if the people can rise up and ask for a kale, celery, cucumber, and Swiss chard juice, and 30-million of us went into McDonalds tomorrow and said we want this juice—how long do you reckon it would be and we did the next day and the next day?

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Joe Cross: They’d be serving it next week.

Caryn Hartglass: It would be great if every McDonalds had a juice bar.

Joe Cross: But this is a country that is built on capitalism—that if the demand is there, the supply will come.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, I agree with that.

Joe Cross: I believe that. So, I think we have—I mean, I am optimistic. I also believe that I am waiting for it to happen, and I am waiting for a president in the State of the Union speech to talk about the health of the people—not the healthcare system which effectively is a sick care system—I’m talking about the biggest problem in this country which is the health of our people because of what we eat, what we drink, what we smoke, what exercise we do or don’t do, the stress in our lives, how we sleep—all of those factors that Professor Ronald Penny talked about—these lifestyle choices. So, I am thinking that—I reckon by 2015 in a State of the Union speech we are going to get something like that from a president. And that’s what I’d like.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I would really like to hear that. And I agree that people need to be hearing about healthy food and healthy diets from everywhere. We need to hear it from our politicians. We need to hear it from our President. We need to hear it in our commercials instead of hearing about drugs. We should be hearing—but it’s profit-based, so we don’t.

Joe Cross: Yeah. I think it’s becoming—see, I’m optimistic. I really am. I think there is a big wave coming, Caryn. I think that the—I think it is becoming cool—.

Caryn Hartglass: A green wave.

Joe Cross: I think it’s becoming cool to eat healthy.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I do too.

Joe Cross: Last night, I was on—they did an episode of me on E! News last night about my film. And straight afterwards Ryan Seacrest—everyone knows who Ryan Seacrest is—he popped out of his bag his green juice. So this is happening. I mean, there are people—January Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alicia Silverstone—these people are all getting out there and juicing. And even though they are celebrities and they have like personal chefs and trainers and that—what we showed in this movie is that if Phil Staples, a truck driver from Sheldon, Iowa, living in the back of his truck can do this, and lose a couple hundred pounds, get off meds, and reignite a relationship with his son and family—anyone can do it.

Caryn Hartglass: I want to reiterate the importance of juicing. And first I want to say that, and you mentioned it before, but I think it is worth repeating because people do get confused. Juicing is not the blending of vegetables although blending vegetables with fruits and liquid is a good thing. It’s a blended salad, but it contains a lot of fiber. But juicing enables you to get those important micronutrients—those phytochemicals and all those immune boosting super foods into your body and quickly. And, sure, it can help you lose weight, but for some people, and I experienced this personally, I have been a vegetarian for a long time and a vegan for a long time, and I thought I was on a really healthy diet, and then I came down with ovarian cancer. And I was not the typical statistic to get that disease, but I got it. And I realized I had to do something else. And I have been juicing every day since. It is at least 16-ounce green juice for me every day. And I know that I am here because of that. I know my immune system needed more.

Joe Cross: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: And only juicing will do that.

Joe Cross: Yeah. So let’s take this— delicious food —because this is—you’re right—it is quite important. So, when you eat fruits and vegetables you are eating the fiber in the fruits and vegetables, and as I said there is nothing wrong with that.

Caryn Hartglass: No, it keeps us regular.

Joe Cross: When you juice them you are taking the juice only, and therefore the fiber is not going into your stomach to be digested. Now, the enzymes required, and by the way I am not a scientist or doctor, this is what I’ve picked up, and this is—you know—.

Caryn Hartglass: And you don’t have to be—it is better to explain it simply.

Joe Cross: I don’t have to be, but I just want to make it clear that maybe the language I am using, but it is the philosophy of what I am talking about is what’s important. Now, when you put that juice into the system, because you are not breaking down heavy fiber, there is not a lot of energy required to digest the food that you just drank. When there is not a lot of energy required to digest the food, the body seems to go into this situation where it goes, “Hold on a second. We might have a famine on our hands here because there is no fiber coming in.” The enzymes required to break down fiber—we don’t need that anymore. So, even though people might say, “Joe, how old are you?” And I say, “Forty years of age,” I’m actually, as I said earlier, I am five million years old. My body knows what to do. You’ve got that built in—in that built in survival mechanism that says, “Oh boy, Joe is on a famine—he’s in a famine.” So, you know what it does? It takes away the hunger button in the brain. And you are no longer hungry. So it enables you to consume this juice without being hungry. That’s why—let’s just talk about these diets for a bit. You know why people go on a diet, and they reduce the calories? Because they reduce calories they are going to lose weight. There is no question about that. They are going to burn off excess energy, but they are going to be hungry.

Caryn Hartglass Yeah. Miserable.

Joe Cross: I mean, how many people on diets are hungry? And all they can’t wait is to achieve their goal, and go back to the way they were eating.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, and gain it all back.

Joe Cross: But the difference between when you juice is that the body switches into—there is a word called autolysis which is self-digestion—which effectively means that it says, “Oh, we are in a famine. We need to go to the storage system. We need to go to the built in refrigerators. And that is muscle and fat. So when you lose—and when I lost my 100 pounds, I had it all scientifically done, I lost 70 pounds of fat and 30 pounds of muscle when I did my five months. I then gained back about 20 pounds since that, and most of that is muscle which is the right way to approach it. And so—but let’s go into this a little bit further. When you look at your cells, each one of those cells in our body, they’re a living, breathing organism. They are their own little thing that needs oxygen, and they need food to live. Unless we are talking about stem cells, most of the cells they replicate. They come, and they go. And a little bit of mitochondria inside that has that blueprint of plants saying, “Hey, buddy, you are going to come back like this,” that needs to be clean and clear and a good message for it to replicate back. So, when you think about things replicating, you’ve got to think about getting rid of them because they are going to be living—they are going to be born, living, and then dying. When you do juice only it is also a time where the body can then go to work on cleaning the system out and really giving it a good clean out. Now that is why some people, for the first three or four days depending on what their diet has been like, they can suffer incredible withdrawals because now the body is really getting rid of the rubbish—doing a huge clean out. And other people who live quite a healthy, sort of, existence, they don’t feel that sort of pain. I felt like a semi-trailer had run me over.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, you can have headaches and nausea and fatigue and pains and all kinds of things and smell funny.

Joe Cross: Tremendous. Tremendous. So, the difference here really is that I believe, this is just what Joe believes, is that when you do a reboot of a juice only reboot, you go to a different level where you are enabling the body to clear out all of the crap that it needs to clear out—all the garbage, all the junk, all the excess stuff that has been building up that you really aren’t—if you eat a normal American diet you are not giving it half the chance because it has always been bombarded by the new stuff you are putting in. “Oh here we go—we’ve got to clean out a whole pizza. We’ve got to do three hamburgers. We’ve got to do a milkshake. Geez Joe, when are you going to give us a rest, mate? We’ve got some spring cleaning to do, and you just keep hammering us.”

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Joe Cross: Okay? So, if you think about that going on inside your body that if you can deal with the hunger which the body deals with straight away, then all you have really got to deal with is the cravings. It’s only about cravings. It’s only about that attachment to, boy, I drive and pick the kids up, and I go to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. And I go and have a coffee or a doughnut. Now, I’m not going to do that for this ten days. I am going to see how I feel. And at the end of it, when that fog is lifted, most people they don’t go back to Starbucks or Dunkin Doughnuts straightaway. And if they do—you know—a week, two weeks, three weeks later they don’t go as much because you know what? The last thing I want to do is take away, I mean, Howard Schultz is a great bloke. I’ve met him. He’s a fabulous man. And the last thing I want to do is take away people’s enjoyable coffee they have or that doughnut they have. This idea of looking at food as being good or bad—I’m not big on that. I am sort of of the view that if you eat a lot of plant foods then you can then go and enjoy those other foods, and that’s a great thing. That is part of life. You know—you want to go to the ball game with your son and have a hot dog and a soda and watch your favorite baseball team play—that is fantastic. But you don’t need to have a bagel and cream cheese seven days a week for breakfast.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. So, what kind of diet are you on today?

Joe Cross: So, today I eat—this is what I try to do—you know—the average American and Australian is consuming 5% of their calories are fruits and vegetables. I try to push mine up to sort of 15, 20, even 30%. That’s what I try to do. That is calories. That is not the amount, okay, because we know the amount of calories in a piece of celery is—.

Caryn Hartglass: Is nothing.

Joe Cross: Yeah. So, I try to push it up to, sort of, that number. So, what I do is I start off my day—five, six days out of seven—I will start off by having a fruit plate or a fruit juice—usually watermelon, pineapple, and ginger if I am at home. Or if I am on the road I get fresh grapefruit juice or fresh apple juice. Then I kick into a green juice. So, I try to have two a day. Sometimes I can only get access to one, and sometimes I cannot get access to it. And I don’t berate myself or get upset if I can’t. I just say, “Oh, I will just make it up next time I am near the produce stand or I’ve got the access to it.” But some places I go, it is hard to get.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes.

Joe Cross: And then at lunch time I like to have a salad. I like to have salad with some beans or chickpeas or some kind of nut protein. And if I have animal protein there I have it in quite the small amounts at lunch time. And then I only seafood—I don’t eat meat, chicken, or pork—not that I think it’s bad for you. I just don’t eat it because I—after my reboot I have never felt like eating it. And I would never have thought that—you know—three and half years for big Joe who used to love his steak, I don’t have one. And I don’t miss it. And then at night time I try to eat like anyone else. I go and have sushi, and I enjoy that, and I love that. And I will eat like normal because I don’t want to, sort of, feel like I am going too extreme, and I can’t go and participate in that and that. And then every three months for ten days I do my own reboot. So, I create my own famine for ten days every 90 days, and I love it. And I feel that is a great part of what I’m doing. And—you know—the thing about what is happening in this country now is there are great companies—big corporate companies that are producing lots of fruits and vegetables that are getting behind a little guy like me—you know? You’ve got Whole Foods who are doing their best

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Well, we’ve come to the end of the hour, and there are a lot of—there is a lot more support than we have ever had before to get well and get healthy.

Joe Cross: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: And Joe, I really appreciate what you’ve done. And people should definitely check out along with, and try and see this film in your neighborhood when it comes around. It is really, really inspiring.

Joe Cross: You can buy the DVD now. You can just order it online.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, there you. Buy the DVD. It’s great. Thank you, Joe.

Joe Cross: Thank you very much for having me. I’ve enjoyed it.

Caryn Hartglass: Be well, and have a green juice on me. Okay. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Thanks for listening, and have a delicious week.

Transcribed by Maggie Christiansen 9/11/2013

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