Joe Cross was packing around an extra 100 pounds and living with a rare autoimmune disease. He came to America from Australia and set out on a 60-day cross-continent trip consuming fresh fruit and vegetable juice along the way.
He filmed the trip and called the final product Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.
Earthsave Whistler will screen the film on Tuesday, June 12 at the Whistler Public Library starting at 7 p.m.
"I'm certainly no picture of health," says Cross at the start of the trailer for the documentary film. "I look like I've swallowed a sheep."
He says he came to America to save himself by going on a juice fast.
"The first few days are the toughest," says Cross in the film. "Not eating, it's like cutting yourself off from society.
"As I travelled across the country, what I gained was far more than what I lost," Cross says.
Along the way, Cross met Phil Staples, a man suffering from the same rare disease as Cross. After Cross dropped his weight he chronicled what Staples did to regain his health and shed unneeded pounds.
"It is a really heart-warming and fun movie," says Hayley Ingman of Earthsave Whistler.
The documentary has a four-star rating out of a possible five stars on the Internet Movie Data Base website (IMDB.com).
"It is probably one of my favourite food movies I've seen so far," Ingman says of the documentary Cross put together.
Adam Hart of Power of Food will be at the screening as a gust speaker, and he will answer questions after the film.
His story has some similarities to the one told by Cross in the film.
"By the time I was 26 years old I was pre-diabetic, 40 pounds overweight and on medication to treat my condition," Hart writes on his website.
The final straw for Hart was learning from his doctor that he had high cholesterol and would have to be on medication for the rest of his life.
"That was when everything changed and I decided to take control over my own health," writes Hart.
He moved to B.C. and became a mountain guide while researching food and nutrition.
He found that whole foods and plant- based foods were key to his own health improvements. He dropped 30 lbs and reversed his diabetic status.
Hart is the author of a book called e3 for LIFE.
One of Hart's main messages is the promotion of eating unprocessed foods.
"What we choose to consume today directly relates to how much energy you will have tomorrow," the author says.
Ingman says Earthsave Whistler tried previously to bring Hart to Whistler to speak at a movie screening but it didn't work out. Things have a way of sorting themselves out, though, and Ingman says Hart is the perfect speaker for Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead since his story is so similar to the one Cross tells in the movie.
The room at the library in Whistler holds 50 people and Ingman is confident the room will fill, She's encouraging viewers to arrive early to avoid being turned away due to a lack of seats.
"Eighty people came to see Forks Over Knives," Ingman says. "We had to turn 30 people away."
Another screening was arranged for Forks Over Knives and in the end everyone who wanted to see it got a chance.
With this movie there is a second opportunity to see the film and hear from Hart, as it is scheduled to screen in Squamish again on Sunday, June 17 at the Squamish Adventure Centre. Earthsave Whistler has the screening rights to show the video three times and she says the group is working to schedule a third screening, possibly in Vancouver. The Whistler Library will receive a copy of the movie after it screens in Whistler, it will be available to be borrowed from the library after June 12.
Ingman is a forward thinker and points out that what is learned from the film screening of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead can be put into action at the Earthsave Whistler event next week.
A raw Thai food feast is set for next Tuesday at Burnt Stew Café in Function Junction.
Cross comes across as a very personable character in his film, a guy who seems to ooze wisdom. The last word is reserved for him.
"I learned that the best way to change the world is to change yourself," says Cross. "No one is going to come along and waive a magic wand and your gonna lose 10 inches off your gut. One thing I've learned it is up to us, each and every one of us."
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