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[Herald Interview] Juice it up!

Joe ‘The Juicer’ talks about how he rebooted his life with all-natural juice diet

In 2005, 40-year-old Aussie Joseph Mervyn Cross decided to consume nothing but vegetable juice for two months.

At the time, he weighed almost 145 kilograms and suffered from an autoimmune disease that forced him to take the steroid prednisone for years to ease the pain. His doctors told him he would die early.

But after switching to the juice diet, Cross’ weight dropped to 100 kilograms and his health gradually improved. Eventually, he was able to stop taking medicine altogether. That wasn’t all. He said he could think more clearly and generally felt better than he ever had before.

This life-changing experience turned Joseph Cross into Joe “The Juicer,” an avid juice advocate.

The story of the cross-country road trip in the U.S. he later embarked on to promote his self-inflicted juice-fast was turned into a film, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead,” which inspired millions of people around the world to “reboot” their diet and lifestyles. Getting people to live healthier lives also happens to be the business philosophy of Organica, an affiliate of Herald Corp. that produces one of the nation’s healthiest, all-fruit and vegetable juice brands called “Just Juice.”

Cross, who was in South Korea this week for the release of his movie, recently sat down with The Korea Herald to talk about how fresh juice changed his life. 
Joe Cross poses for The Korea Herald at a Seoul hotel on Tuesday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
Joe Cross poses for The Korea Herald at a Seoul hotel on Tuesday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

“I say, reboot your life with veggies,” said Cross, who calls his diet a rebooting process, rather than a weight loss program because juice does so much more than just cutting down the calories.

According to Cross and nutrition experts, freshly extracted juice can cleanse and detoxify the body from macronutrients such as carbohydrates, fat and proteins. At the same time, they provide micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Both macro- and micronutrients are essential components for good health, but meat and processed-food diets often deprive people of micronutrients.

Especially for Koreans, whose daily sodium intake is nearly double the amount recommended by the World Health Organization, the juice-fast would be a great way to detox and start afresh.

“You start to feel normal again, like a complete human. Because the juice has micronutrients from plants, it can have an incredible effect on the human body,” he said.

Cross is not currently on a juice-fast, but he believes it’s a good idea to try it when the body begins to feel the lack of micronutrients.

“It would be fantastic to have 1 liter of juice a day and load all the micronutrients into our body on a regular basis. But some of us need to take a week or two off a year to reset and reboot our bodies to feel alive again, to take control over bad habits and to (go) back to mother nature,” he said.

But Cross also knows how dull life can become when one starts living on juice, which is why he tries to shake things up with funky recipes.

For instance, his “purple juice” consists of a mix of purple carrots, bell peppers, apples and sweet potatoes, while his “yellow juice” is a healthy cocktail of watermelon, pineapple and ginger. The results are tasty and vividly colored beverages.

He also released the recipe for his signature “Mean Green Juice,” made with cucumber, kale, apple, lemon, celery and ginger.

Other juice companies around the world, such as Organica, have also tried to add some fun, such as by labeling products with names like Joey’s Strawberry and Claire’s Blueberry.

“I am not asking you to quit all meat and processed foods. It’s all about finding the balance,” Cross said. “I just feel that my job is to eat plants every day to stay well. Juice is the introduction to plants. The blending, the juicing and the eating is my philosophy.”

During his trip here, Cross showed much interest in South Korea’s burgeoning organic juice market, spearheaded by market leaders such as Organica. Just Juice is delivered through online orders, which Cross found to be a convenient and innovative way for getting in touch with consumers.

He also said the high-pressure pasteurization method that Just Juice uses to maintain freshness holds the key to a healthier future of the food and beverage industry.

By Bae Ji-sook (
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