I can hardly believe my luck when earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be asked by the fab people at Sage Appliances if I would like to meet and interview the lovely Joe Cross from the movie Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. Joe is an Aussie guy who juiced himself from unhealthy to super healthy and now he is a globally renowned juicing pioneer sharing his story and helping the world heal through juicing. He runs retreats, writes books, has just released his new movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2 and is working on a whole heap of exciting new projects. The guy is a powerhouse!
I had just returned from one of our Raw Juice Camps in Portugal where we do lots of training, lots of juicing and lots of yummy raw foods and was feeling pretty energized but also zonked out (I usually have a sleep-off after one of our events!) but was blown away by the opportunity to meet one of my juicing heroes! We watch the move Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead with guests in Portugal as part of our suite of hip, happnin, raw and juicy movies and Joe’s story in particular really hits home with people.
Joe was Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
I, of course, jumped at the chance to meet Joe! Who wouldn’t? Lucky me!
I then panicked a little about what the heck I was going to ask him – I hadn’t really interviewed a juicy superstar before and within minutes I was surfing for cool questions to ask famous people, and trying to get myself together. I realized that I had no idea (other than my own questions!) what people would want to know about Joe and his juicy journey so I put the feelers out on social media and messaged my clients and asked – what would you like to ask Joe Cross?
Replies streamed in and I just couldn’t have possibly asked them all (unless I strapped Joe to a chair until my chores were done!) as we had such an amazing response! It gave me the sense that everybody loves Joe Cross! Lots of people looking for help, advice, tips and support from a man who has been through some significant physical and lifestyle changes.
Everybody loves Joe Cross!
I met Joe at a swanky hotel in London. Last time I was there (some years before) I had a pretty yummy afternoon tea with the most awesome cakes and biscuits. So, like one of Pavlov’s dogs I was salivating while chatting to the concierge! (Naughty Stephanie! Well I couldn’t help it – those cakes were a seriously good treat!) and waited for my moment. I imagined I was some sort of Hugh Grant character from the movie Notting Hill – goofing my way through an interview for Horse & Hound. Yeah, I was a bit nervous, and probably still a bit distracted by the cakes if I am truly honest.
Joe was sitting in the tea-rooms, finishing off his last meeting as I arrived. Dressed in an open shirt and casual trousers he looked the picture of calm and friendliness. With a beaming smile he welcomed me to the table and held out his hand for a civil greeting. I felt like I already knew Joe (well, I have seen the movie quite a few times already!) and immediately grabbed him full bodied for a welcome hug. I guess I am just a huggy kind of girl! And without it being awkward it immediately calmed my nerves – even if Joe was a bit taken aback at first!
We sat, and ordered a green juice (dammit! No cakes!)
Joe chatted about his journey, his current projects and his time in London. He was in town for the opening of London’s swishy new juice bar – The Juice Well. I had an invite to that too with a journalist friend of mine but couldn’t make it and I was seriously bummed that I wouldn’t have the chance to meet Joe in person. Can you imagine my response to then being invited to have Joe all to myself? I was super stoked that I got to chat with Joe in a hotel tea-room for a whole hour. Fab.
We sat, and ordered a green juice.
Joe mentioned that he had read my story (honoured!) and had read up on what I do at Explore Raw, Raw Juice Camps and our Summer Retreats and I was chatting to him about my Cookery School that opened this September. Although not raw himself he asked lots of questions about my approach, what I eat and how I found ‘being high-raw’ (Joe is a healthy eater and regular juicer and not raw, vegetarian or vegan).
I drew out my paper stash of questions that I had neatly typed up with names allocated next to the question that each person had sent in – where would I be without my spreadsheets eh..? I realised that perhaps I had overdone it with the prep as Joe raised an eyebrow at my ‘yellow pages’ of back-up questions. Generously he said – ‘Ok, let’s go through them and do as many as we can. It’s important to give Explore Raw fans what they want’. Ah. My hero.
We went at it like goji berries in a blender.
The one thing I noticed about Joes approach was that he had a really personable style about our meeting. I wasn’t made to feel like ‘just another blogger’ interviewing him through the sea of press interactions that he must get – I felt that he was genuinely interested and connecting to what Explore Raw does, to our collective juicy mission to shout about alternative approaches to healing the body.
My iphone was recording, spreadsheet of questions at the ready, we went at it like goji berries in a blender. Seriously fast!
Ok, so here are the questions and Joes responses.
Do you go through periods of weakness, where you fall off the wagon so to speak? If so, how do you sort yourself out and get back on track? Question from DAN CULVERHOUSE.
‘I take each day as it comes. I think about health not about my weight. I use my community to support me as it’s difficult to do this stuff alone. I also have a strong internal voice that’s on my side. If I stray too much I feel tired. Too much refined sugar is a problem for me. It’s my weakness. I love ice-cream, chocolate, bread. I don’t think of these things as bad for me but I know when I have had too much. These are the foods that I can eat too much of quite easily! And I ask myself – I don’t feel great – how did that happen? I reboot to get myself back on track. I don’t beat myself up about it.
‘I don’t know anyone who is perfect.’
How many times during your journey did you feel like quitting and going back to your old ways? Do the demons still try and get you? Question from WENDY LAND
‘In the beginning around 5 or 6 days in I would want to quit every 10 seconds! I had lots of debating going on in my head. Once I was past the first 10/12 days I was ok. I was 20% down and really felt like this was a big achievement! I was starting to feel really good. My body was responding well and I felt the best I had in years, That was motivating enough. This was my last shot at getting off the medication.’
‘In the beginning you see I didn’t know where this was going to take me. I was approaching 40 and looked in the mirror and I had an awakening. I didn’t recognise the man in the mirror. I remember 20 years ago as if it were yesterday. I had to ask myself how did this happen?’
‘Holding that image was motivation enough for me to keep going.’
‘When you were 23 stone. How did you feel? When you looked down at the scales how did you feel about being that weight?’ This question was from me. From previously being a heavy-weight I knew how I felt when I saw those kind of numbers (and I ended up throwing the scales out!) and I wanted to know how Joe felt about it.
‘For me it wasn’t about the weight. For me it was about approaching 40. I’d been at that weight for a while so that wasn’t the issue. All of a sudden I was 40 and it had crept up on me. I don’t know what it was about turning 40 – it’s not as if I had ever looked in the mirror before and thought – ‘You are an Adonis!” I knew that I wasn’t in the best shape but I just kept putting it off. I was the procrastinating for around 5 years and it was the fact that I hit 40 and it’s like ‘Oh boy! I’ve been putting this off and I have done nothing. If I keep this up where am I going to be at 60? I might not even be here’
I was using a visual time machine at this point to go backwards but also to go forwards and think about my future health. I had figured out what life was going to be like when I was 60. What it could be like if nothing changed. I had to stop procrastinating. What I saw wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t good.’
You were taking Prednisone medication for health issues. I am taking Prednisone for a kidney transplant. So my question is when you first started on your juice fast does your body go through any withdrawal from the Prednisone medication? And if yes how did you handle it? I know you can’t give medical advice but I would like to know from your personal experience how you felt. Question from TARIS.
‘Well I had to keep the medications going. I couldn’t bring them down. Reducing Prednisone needs total medical supervision. It is very dangerous to just suddenly stop taking it. You can die from that. It took me 5 months to get off the medication. 60 days of juice and 90 days of just eating plants. So if the question is did I have withrawls – not from the medication, no. Because I kept taking it. I had doctors monitoring it and slowly began to reduce it, but only under their medical supervision. It’s really important to emphasise that.’
When you first started on this journey to help the world and no one would believe you, how did you find the courage to keep going. And did you have someone apart from you believing in you? Question from Julie Cowan
‘My journey was more about helping me when I started. I felt that this was a personal journey. When I started I didn’t put a camera on myself. That was a later idea. I was doing this regardless. Then a friend of mine suggested that we film it. And I realized there’s a benefit to doing that because it’s like my community is the lens . That it will help me through it – but also I thought that IF this works there’s a lot of people who could benefit. In all honesty I thought that maybe 10,000 people tops would watch this movie worldwide and nothing like the 12 million plus who have watched it up til now. I had no idea that my idea would turn out like this. I didn’t think we would end up where we are now. So it wasn’t like I did this to help the world – my initial situation was very much out of fear and out of self-preservation for my own life.
Most of us spend too much time in the detail and we don’t bring perspective into our lives enough. What I did was instead of being down in the jungle trying to carve out my little path with my machete and carving down there in the weeds I decided to throw my machete down, climb a tall tree and make sure that I was in the right jungle. And so I brought perspective to my life. In having a much, much bigger-picture view. I think that it’s easier to gain strength and courage when you have perspective because you have a longer term goal and a mid term goal which is to lead a more productive, happier, healthier life. I just didn’t like what I was seeing – and so I was going to change it. The best way to change something in the future is to change something today.
When you saw yourself on film looking heavier how did you feel? I remember when I first put my ‘fat photos’ online it really impacted me. For years those pictures never saw the light. How did you feel about sharing the ‘fat you’ with everyone? Everyone seeing you out of shape? Question from me.
It wasn’t too bad. I am not that sort of person. I didn’t have an issue with that.
How often do you juice these days and why? Question from Di Cunningham.
Oh I juice every day. I will have fresh juice, fresh vegetables and fruit juice absolutely every day. I mean, it’s a very rare day that I go without one. It would mean that I was somewhere in the world where it just wasn’t possible. You know, what I like to do now is get as much plants into my body as I can. I don’t go crazy about it. I’m not raw and I am definitely not vegan or anything like that – not that there’s anything wrong with that it’s just not the way that I live. It doesn’t work for me. Maybe one day I will be that person. Maybe one day I will explore more raw. I have a lot of respect for people who live that way because I feel it’s more difficult and there’s less choice. Just now, it’s not me.
I bring out a gift for Joe and tell Joe that I have something for him. ‘I made this earlier. It’s something you just might like.’ It’s a raw vegan chocolate truffle.‘ I can’t believe at this point that I am watching the lovely Joe Cross nibble on my truffles. I enjoy talking him through the natural ingredients and how I made them. You can find the recipe here and by downloading my FREE ebook Raw24 – One Day Raw Detox.
‘Mmm that’s GREAT, really good!’ says Joe.
So I almost pass out with relief that he likes it. Not satisfied with just a GREAT though I push for a score. What would you give it out of 10?
Joe gives my chocolate truffles ‘9 out of 10. I never give anything a 10!’
Do you think we should have a global juicy health conference? With juicy royalty like yourself, Jason Vale, Jay Kordich – working in collaboration – people would flock to it I am sure. If you held one in the UK it would be massive! What do you think? Question from ANDY MORRIS FROM SUPERJUICE ME THE MOVIE.
The answer is that this sounds like a good idea. But logistically that’s a massive challenge. Also if it’s just fans who would attend I think there are more efficient ways to engage with fans than this. We all have the same message so to hear that all day could be a bit boring for people! Having all these speakers talking about the same thing. People like Anthony Robbins who make a career out of it have a different message.
I have huge respect for Jason Vale, Jay Kordich and all the people who are doing things to make this a healthier world and although this is an interesting idea and I could say why not? And if someone asked me to attend I would go but I wouldn’t be the one organising it – that’s because I think there are more interesting and effective ways of engaging people. With Jason’s movie Super Juice Me and my movies Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 – that’s how we spread the word.
People who go to conferences like this are usually people who are already drinking juice. And that’s not who we need to reach.
Joe and I now have a little chat and I mention that by the way Steve Barney from BEATROOT says you are welcome back anytime. I am delighted that Joe is going to be screening FSND2 in Liverpool next week!
What do you think your health would be like now if you hadn’t started the juicy journey? Question from NATALIE LOUISE ROSS
Oh!! I would hate to think about this! I might not be here. Seriously I might not be here! For those that think I am being evangelic about the juice – I think on this point I might be right.
Joe can you share your daily juicing regimen and tell us how you keep yourself motivated and not fall prey to cravings, Thanks! Question from DIVYA
Quite simply it’s every day. It’s part of my life.
Tell me about The Juice Well – the new juice bar in London. How exciting is that..?
It is! I got a call from my friend who is an Australian who owns a bunch of very successful restaurants here in London. He was in the US and saw how popular juice bars are over there and popping up everywhere and discussed this with me. We talked about how difficult it is in London to find a healthy drink. He said to me – why don’t we start one? And I thought it was a great idea. But I am in the media business. I own a media company. I am not in the business of having staff and sourcing produce and customer service on a daily basis. That’s his world. So we partnered up with some other investors and we brought The Juice Well to London! The first one opened in Soho and we plan to have another couple open and see what happens!
It’s exciting and it’s not exciting. What’s not exciting is that I don’t live in London! So it wont be around the corner for me. But it’s great for the people of London and those in Soho!
Soho is more famous for hot city nights, antics and lots of late night face-stuffing and not really juicing. Do you think that the Juice Well has the chance to influence London’s party life?
Probably not the party life because parties in London are great! So I hope we don’t influence that! Not in a way that changes it too much. But maybe we can influence the next morning.
Do you think you might open up your own nightclub one day? Something juicy?
I’ve had people come to me with the idea of a nightclub place where there’s great music and it’s no alcohol and all it really is is super healthy drinks and lots of dancing. Now the argument really is that would all the men who are going to go the club be there because all the women going are really into their health. And they are going to be hot! Haha! I thought about it for a second and I thought it’s not really my domain. I think that my focus is to try and create content in movies, television and books and inspire, educate and entertain people. It’s got to be entertaining – and there’s a lot of hard work that goes in to that. And the problem is spreading yourself too thin. Doing too many things. Because then nothing ends up being as good as it can be.
To make a movie of 90 minutes that holds peoples attention that people will really really enjoy and get excited about? That’s very difficult to do. It requires a lot of work.
It’s been a massive challenge. But I like challenges. So we will see how people respond to it. It’s a very different story. The first movie was my story. Now I am obviously in this one but this is the story of others – looking at how far the message has gone and how wide the community is.
We spend a lot of time looking at community and a lot of time talking about kids. We also spend a lot of time talking about the reasons why we come unstuck.
Any behind the scenes anecdotes that you can share? Any funnies or any real clangers?
Ha! In the first movie I did to a directors commentary which is on the DVD. Most people have seen the movie through streaming so not everyone will have heard it. On the DVD I have a special feature which goes for an hour and a half and it’s actually me and the director talking about lots of stuff. There’s an enormous amount of stuff there!
I think probably the most interesting thing about the first movie that not a lot of people would know is that when I started shooting the first five days I didn’t want to go on film. I mean, I knew I was making a movie but I was feeling so bad. You will notice that there’s not a lot of footage of me in the very beginning. I was going through so much pain . I was saying to myself ‘I am not going to do all this camera stuff. Forget it. Get out of my face.’
In hindsight I look back to see what actually happened. The final meal I had (because I was going to be juicing for so long) my last supper – well I had enough food for the whole of China. The fact that I ate so much food I think made those first few days so painful. I didn’t know that I had to put plant based food in to give my bowels the space to get the fibre through. So what I was drinking was just clogging me up and that making me feel worse. So I think my preparation was very poor.
We didn’t really go in to that a lot in the movie because we didn’t have time. You need to remember that the idea of the film coming along wasn’t part of the original plan. We filmed six people juicing in ten days each. So when Phil came along we couldn’t fit it all in. So it was a very complicated process because I had already made the movie with these six people and before releasing it and shooting Phil I realized THIS is the real movie. So, we threw the first one out and started again.
At this point we are both still slupring on our juices, munching on the chocolate truffles and time is ticking by. So I jump straight to my ‘just for fun’ questions! And seriously we both just can’t stop laughing! We are also flying through the questions like a juicer on a detox.
Just for fun!
If you drink juice in Australia, do you have to hold the glass upside down?
Do you know Crocodile Dundee?
I’ve never met him.
Would you be ok with a new juicy drink made mostly from aubergines being called – The Auberginal?
I’d be ok with that!
When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
Last time I laughed until I cried? It would be watching a TV show recently on my iTunes library that was incredibly funny and I was in stitches. It was hilarious but I can’t remember what it was.
What’s the best juice in the world EVER?
The best juice is the one made with love.
(OMG I seriously almost pass out hearing this and I think I coo. Quite loudly! Scrap that. I DO coo. And go awwwwww…regain control Jeffs!)
What’s the worst juice in the world EVER?
One that comes out of a can
(that’s my man!)
How many episodes of Breaking Bad have you watched?
Everything. The whole lot. Loved it. Fabulous.
What colour is your toothbrush?
White and blue
What’s your favourite childhood memory?
Kissing my first girlfriend when I was six
(this man has got all the moves! That answer was seriously cute. And yes. I say that aloud. Again)
What is your favourite movie?
The Shawshank Redemption
Are you a night owl or a morning person?
Are you messy or are you a neat freak?
Where do you buy your clothes?
Ralph Lauren. Nike. Lacoste.
What is your favourite place that you have visited in the UK and why?
That would have to be St Andrews. For the golf. I love golf.
Ah if you love golf our Raw Juice Camps and retreats are just next to the best golf course in Portugal. I met Ant & Dec there. You’d be welcome to come and visit us! (hint hint!) More to the point what do you think of Wales and would you move there? Because I was brought up in Wales – so answer carefully!
I haven’t been to Wales so I need to go! I get a bit of criticism from the fans. People in Birmingham have been very vocal because I haven’t been there yet, so I am definitely going to Birmingham. I am definitely going to do Cardiff (that’s in Wales right?!) So great! I am going. I will see if I get time to do a tour.
To balance it out Joe if you do Cardiff you have to do Swansea too.
Ok I will try to do both.
What Welsh food specialities have you tried? Seaweed? Cawl (Soup)? Breads? Cockles?
I haven’t tried any of them. I’ve obviously had seaweed in raw food – is that the same thing?
And finally, What’s in my juice, Joe?
I have something else for Joe (at this point I pull out another gift. It’s a juice that I made with my lush Sage Pro juicer before I got to the interview and as I slam it on the table ready for the Juice Test. I ask a question that I have been dying to splurt out for ages:
“What’s in my juice, Joe?”
mmm…. um…. celery, cucumber, kale, lemon, apple, ginger. Definitely Kale. What have I got wrong?
He missed out on the broccoli.
Score! I will give you 9/10 Joe, I don’t give 10’s (hee hee)
I am now going to give you my Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead impression and really embarrass myself!
(Imagine me in my best Aussie accent imitating Joe in front of Joe – CRINGE!!)
‘I wors a cheeesebuurga away frim a haaad attick!’
Joe laughs and gives me a 7/10.
The most difficult question to answer, ever
On behalf of Amy Day and all the ladies in the UK – are you currently single..?
There is a long loud laugh.
There is a long pause.
There is an ‘um’ and an even longer pause.
There is a gaze and some eye connection.
There is a sip of juice.
I shuffle my notes.
There is a pause.
Is this going to be on your blog?
No international press here Joe.
He looks at me and delivers a calm:
I am not married.
We both laugh out loud at his very gentlemanly response.
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 is now on release in London and will be previewed tomorrow night in Fulham.
FSND2 is now available to download via iTunes.
See www.fatsickandnearlydead.com for full film release details.
Hope you loved reading my interview with Joe as much as I enjoyed meeting him.
I would love to read your comments below and let us know if you see FSND2 what you thought of it!
Keeping it juicy & raw