What was the juice in fat sick and nearly dead?


The 2010 documentary film “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” chronicles the weight loss journeys of two men, Joe Cross and Phil Staples, who both used juice fasts to transform their health. The movie popularized juice fasting and brought juicing into the mainstream as a way to lose weight, detox, and boost nutrition.

But what exactly was in the juice that Joe Cross and Phil Staples drank during their fasts? The movie focuses more on their inspiring journeys rather than the specifics of the juice recipes. However, Joe Cross has shared some of his juice recipes over the years so viewers can get an idea of what fueled his success.

Joe Cross’ Mean Green Juice

The staple juice featured in “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” is Joe Cross’ famous Mean Green Juice. Here is the recipe:

Ingredient Amount
Kale 1-2 leaves
Celery 2-3 stalks
Green apple 1
Lemon 1/2
Ginger Thumb sized piece
Cucumber 1/2

Joe would drink this juice multiple times per day during his 60-day juice fast while traveling across America. The dark green color comes from the kale, which provides vitamins A, C, and K along with minerals like calcium. Celery adds vitamin C, folate, and water content. Apples provide fiber and sweetness to balance the veggie flavors. Lemons add vitamin C and enhance the green flavors. Ginger aids digestion. Cucumbers make the juice refreshing and hydrating.

Overall, the Mean Green Juice offers a nutritious blend of fruits and vegetables that gave Joe Cross the nutrients he needed to get through his fasts successfully. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients while being low in sugar and calories. The veggies provide filling fiber to keep hunger at bay. It’s no wonder this classic green juice became so popular after being featured in “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”

Other Juices Joe Cross Drank

In addition to the Mean Green Juice, Joe Cross would mix up his juice fasts with other concoctions. Here are some other recipes he enjoyed:

Orange Mean Green Juice

Ingredient Amount
Orange 1
Carrots 2
Kale Handful
Ginger Thumb sized piece
Lemon 1/2

This twist on the original adds carrots for beta carotene and oranges for vitamin C. The sweetness of oranges balances the strong veggie flavors.

Mean Red Juice

Ingredient Amount
Apples 2
Beets 1
Carrots 2
Ginger Thumb sized piece
Lemon 1/2

Beets turn this juice red while providing nutrients like folate and manganese. The apples and carrots sweeten up the earthy beets.

Grapefruit Cranberry Juice

Ingredient Amount
Grapefruit 1
Cranberries Small handful
Ginger Thumb sized piece

For a tangy, antioxidant-rich juice, Joe would use grapefruits and cranberries. The ginger cuts any bitterness.

Apple Lemon Ginger Juice

Ingredient Amount
Apples 2
Lemons 1
Ginger Thumb sized piece

This simple combo allows the sweet apple flavor to shine alongside cleansing lemon and spicy ginger.

Green Lemonade

Ingredient Amount
Cucumbers 1
Kale Handful
Lemons 1
Ginger Thumb sized piece
Apples 1

Kale, cucumber, and lemon create a green lemonade full of nutrients. Apples add sweetness.

Beet Orange Carrot Juice

Ingredient Amount
Beets 1
Carrots 2
Orange 1

Here’s another red juice recipe using beets and carrots with orange for a flavor kick.

Phil Staples’ Juice Recipe

The other success story featured in “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” is truck driver Phil Staples, who lost over 150 pounds on a 60-day juice fast. Phil’s juice of choice was simpler than Joe’s complex combos:

Ingredient Amount
Apples 3
Celery 4 stalks
Spinach Handful
Kale 2 leaves
Ginger Thumb sized piece
Lemon 1/2

Phil would drink this basic green juice up to 6 times a day during his first 30-day fast. The spinach and kale provide phytonutrients, while the apples offer sweetness. Overall it’s a simple but nourishing juice to get in servings of fruits and vegetables.

Joe Cross’ General Juicing Tips

While the Mean Green Juice was his staple, Joe Cross recommends switching up produce as much as possible when juicing.

Here are some of his general tips for juicing beginners:

– Use a variety of fruits and vegetables. Rotate greens like kale, spinach, chard, and lettuce.

– Mix and match fruits like apples, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, berries, pineapple, and melons.

– Always add lemon – its cleansing properties help flush the liver.

– Ginger aids digestion and reduces bloating.

– Drink juices slowly – don’t gulp them down.

– Drink only when hungry to allow the stomach to rest.

– Chew juices to activate digestive enzymes and increase nutrient absorption.

– Make different combinations to prevent taste fatigue.

– Organic produce is ideal to minimize pesticides, but not required. Do the best you can.

– Drink juice immediately for maximum nutrients.

The Benefits of Juicing

Both Joe Cross and Phil Staples turned to juice fasts because they needed a drastic nutritional overhaul. Juicing allowed them to flood their bodies with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants while eliminating processed foods and giving their digestive systems a rest.

Here are some of the top benefits of juicing:

Increased Vegetable and Fruit Intake

Juicing makes it quick and easy to consume pounds of produce per day. Because the fiber is removed, it’s easier to take in a large serving of micronutrients.

Enhanced Absorption

With the produce pre-broken down into liquid form, absorption of vitamins and minerals is very efficient. Juicing also spares digestion compared to eating whole fruits and veggies.

Weight Loss

Filling up on nutrient-dense juices allows the body to eliminate excess fat. Juice fasts lead to dramatic weight loss, while juicing as meal replacement can also contribute to weight loss.


Flooding the body with phytonutrients promotes detoxification, allowing the liver to more effectively remove toxins and metabolic waste.

Reduced Inflammation

The antioxidants in produce may help reduce inflammation throughout the body, contributing to improved health.

Boosted Energy

With adequate mineral intake and hydration from juices, many people report greater energy levels consistently.

Improved Skin, Hair, and Nails

Vitamins and minerals from produce can translate to improved skin, hair, and nails.

Stabilized Blood Sugar

The fiber and nutrients in juices helps regulate blood sugar spikes compared to sugary drinks or juices.

Alkalizing Effect

Most fruits and vegetables have an alkalizing effect on the body, helping restore pH balance.

Juicing Considerations

While juicing can clearly have dramatic health benefits, there are some important factors to keep in mind:

Not a Long-Term Diet

Juice fasts lasting more than a few weeks may result in nutritional deficiencies since fiber is removed. Juicing is best used for short term cleansing.

Calorie Reduction

Long term juice diets often involve severe calorie restriction, which may cause issues like fatigue, hair loss, and gallstones. Adding protein-rich superfoods like hemp seeds can help.

Spikes Blood Sugar

Fruit-heavy juices without fiber can spike blood sugar levels. Pairing fruits with low glycemic index veggies can help mitigate this effect.

Potential Bacterial Contamination

The FDA warns that drinking unpasteurized juices may increase the risk food-borne illnesses if produce is contaminated.

Not a Meal Replacement

While juices can be nutritious, they lack protein and healthy fats needed for well-rounded nutrition. Juices shouldn’t replace all meals.

Tooth Enamel Erosion

Some fruit and vegetable juices, especially citrus, may erode tooth enamel. Drinking juices through a straw may help minimize this effect.

Oxalate Build-Up

Spinach, beets, carrots and celery contain oxalates that can accumulate in people prone to kidney stones.

High Cost

Premade juices get expensive. Making your own allows you to control produce quality and ingredients.


In the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, simple fruit and vegetable juice fasts led to dramatic weight loss and improved health for Joe Cross and Phil Staples. Joe’s signature Mean Green Juice packed in vitamins and minerals from kale, celery, apple, lemon, ginger and cucumber. He also emphasized mixing up different juice recipes. While juice fasts can kickstart health turnarounds, they may not provide complete nutrition long-term. Overall, juicing remains a powerful way to increase intake of micronutrients if done sensibly alongside a healthy diet.

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