Joe Cross turned his life around by juicing fresh fruits and vegetables, consuming more nutrients and dropping more than 100 pounds. To learn how he pulled it off, we asked him all about his journey — from deciding to start juicing to what he’s learned and how it can work for other people. Read on for his best tips and recommendations.
Tell us about your personal journey and how juicing changed your life.
At 40, I took a good, hard look at myself in the mirror. Although I had enjoyed quite a bit of professional success, I paid a really high price for it. Years of out-of-control overeating, overindulging in processed foods, drinking tons of soda, no exercise and burning the candle at both ends had taken their toll. My diet was almost entirely processed food – pizza, burgers, junk food, tons of sweets, gallons of cola and virtually no fruits and vegetables. I was almost 100 lbs. overweight and taking powerful prescription drugs every day to manage a chronic autoimmune disease, and I knew that those drugs were weakening my bones and heart, and compromising my long-term health.
I had spent my 30s trying to outsource the solution to different specialists in traditional and non-traditional medicine, always believing the problem (and the answer) lay outside me. Well, I finally had to accept that I was the problem – I had turned my back on mother nature. At 40 – still relatively young! – I was eating and drinking myself into an early grave. So I decided to take control back and turn toward mother nature. I was going to Reboot my life!
I committed to spend 60 days consuming nothing but the fresh juice of fruits and vegetables and see what would happen. I bought a Breville juicer and drove across America, juicing along the way and talking to people about their attitudes toward food – and that odyssey is chronicled in my documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. At the end of those two months, I was literally a different person – almost 100 lbs. lighter, off all of my meds, autoimmune condition under control, vital and filled with energy. So juicing didn’t just change my life – juice saved my life. And at RebootwithJoe.com we’re committed to helping anyone reboot their life through the power of fruits and vegetables.
Why is juicing beneficial for weight loss?
It’s beneficial for health, and weight loss is an aspect of that. First, it supercharges your nutrient intake. You’re consuming the pure micronutrients, vitamins and enzymes – with none of the filler that constitutes processed food. So you’re really putting the highest grade fuel into your system possible, which will kick up your metabolism and give your body a break from all of the strange chemicals we’ve been challenging it to process in the last 50 years. Second, the calories in juice are lower – you can drink a lot of amazingly delicious and nutritious juice in a day for the same caloric “price” you would pay for one meal of processed food. Third, you’re giving your system a chance to clean out and rest by introducing only liquids and no fiber. Now, you don’t want to do that forever but I reckon a week or two of vacation from the hard work of digesting a “modern” diet can do your body good!
Which are the best ingredients to juice in order to lose weight?
At Rebootwithjoe.com we offer a Quickstart guide where you can find a list of fruits and veggies that we think are super for optimal health – for example, kale is great with incredible benefits, lots of plant protein and readily available in the winter. Apples are terrific because the sweetness really helps first-time juicers get accustomed to a fruit/vegetable combination. Ginger has great flavor and is wonderfully detoxifying. Celery is another favorite and high in water content so its juice yield is tremendous.
How can people be sure they are losing the weight safely?
We recommend that anyone embarking on a Reboot speak to their doctor first. As with any big shift in your regime, your doctor’s input is invaluable!
What’s the best way to start juicing for weight loss – cleanse, meal replacements, etc.?
Everyone is different – the best way is the one that works for you! Based on your lifestyle – do you have a family for whom you have to prepare meals, do you have the time and space to juice regularly, does your schedule permit you to take a hiatus from social events where food is the centerpiece – everyone needs to make their own choice. You can do a juice-only program for 5, 10, 15 days or more, or you can just commit to replace one meal daily. At RebootwithJoe.com we have plans for those programs, but we also consider it a Reboot if you commit to eat only plant-food for a period of time.
What mistakes do people frequently make when juicing for weight loss, and how can they be avoided?
The biggest challenge is when people don’t prepare in advance. You need to have the support of your community, you need to scope out your shopping and juicing options, you need to tell friends, family and co-workers. If you do that, you will be amazed at how easy it is!
How can juicing help you with weight maintenance as well as weight loss?
Many ways! First, you get really addicted to juice – my Mean Green juice is like mother’s milk to me – and most people keep juicing after a Reboot because they love it. You can use juice as a periodic meal replacement, or take a few days every could of months as I do and commit to doing a Reboot. It keeps you in track and reminds you of just how good it feels to supercharge your diet with amazing nutrients.