Living Frugally: Pills vs. Juicing

One of my favorite documentaries is Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. One reason I love this documentary – although this wasn’t its primary goal – is that it compares traditional medical Living Frugallymethods, pills and shots, to the more natural methods of juicing and exercise to treat diseases.

The main character, Joe Cross, visits the USA from Australia. And in this land of the hamburger, fries, milk shakes, and hot dogs, his goal was to eat nothing but fruits and veggies for thirty days straight. The kicker is that every meal will be in the form of juice! Sound crazy?

A few of the individuals our Aussie friend met during this journey include:

• A truck driver named Phil who weighed 429 lbs and suffered the same disease as Joe, Urticaria, a chronic rash which can flare up in reaction to the friction of a simple handshake
• Phil’s older brother “Bear” who also carried a little over three hundred pounds and consequently suffered a heart attack, and was living with Type II Diabetes
• A lady named Siong who suffered from migraines

Both Joe and Phil visited their doctors before taking on this juice fast challenge. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a leading expert in nutrition, told our Aussie two important things. First, he has Juicingseen folks cure similar conditions 100% in the past. Second, processed foods probably do not have one-tenth the original nutrients that were in the food in its native state. It should be noted that this is not just my opinion, it is coming from a traditionally trained M.D.

Fast forward eight weeks after Joe’s sixty-day fast and he is 100% medication free! From a financial standpoint this is massive. Medication is not cheap, as we all know. Joe had been taking Prednisone for over ten years. At $.62/pill, a 120 count bottle is $74.40. If Joe only takes one pill a day he’ll spend $297.60 yearly which is $29,706 over a ten-year period.

Phil contacted Joe, eventually asking for help. He accepted the juice challenge and went from 429 lbs to 227 lbs. Additionally, he also was able to get off all medication and has inspired an entire town to join him in achieving optimal health.

Bear was taking eight medications which totaled $571/month, $6,852 each year. After seeing how his brother’s health improved, he also started juicing. There was no report on his results but it’s reasonable to assume he is off his medication if he followed his brother’s example.

Siong, as a result of juicing, no longer suffers from migraines. These four individuals are proof that we can make health choices which result in more financial stability. Imagine if Bear took the $6,852 and invested in stocks, savings or maybe put it aside for his children’s future. This money could also be put towards the principal of a car note or mortgage. In ten years his debt would be $68,520 less.

Siong’s loss of migraines may not seem like a financial benefit until you consider that migraine sufferers are not always able to go into their workplace as they’d like to. This results in a loss of pay. Depending on their boss and the nature of their career, they could end up employed.

We need to remember this. We DO have the power to make health choices that not only help us lose weight, improve our health, and allow us to live longer, but also support our financial goals. The evidence and rock-solid proof is all around us in documentaries like Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, Food Inc. and Forks Over Knives. If those aren’t enough proof, search “natural cures” on YouTube and conduct some additional research. It’s time to take the reins back from the medical community. Doctors do have their place. We should let them ADVISE but we need to be the ones who make the final decision for our physical and fiscal well-being.

What about you SavvyReader. Have you tried juicing and increased exercise as a way to improve your physical and fiscal well-being? If not, is it something you would consider?

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead is available for streaming on Netflix.
Food Inc. is available for streaming on Netflix.
Forks Over Knives is available for streaming on Netflix.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. Totally agreed on the main points of your article James!

    It annoys me when people externalise their problems, then also look elsewhere for solutions (pills). Why not take the reins yourself and hit the issue at it’s source… i.e. what you are eating.

    Juicing is clearly a great idea for the people on the show who are obese and want to see quick results but really for anyone of a normal-ish size there is nothing wrong with just eating a “normal” diet of lots of natural unprocessed food such as greens, veggies, fruit, a bit of meat and eggs for protein, a bit of unrefined carbs for energy. Cut out the sugary and deep fried snacks and have some plain or slightly salted nuts instead. That should do it for 95% of the population I would have thought.

    Unfortunately this does not seem to be considered a normal diet nowadays!


    • Thanks for the great feedback. SavvyTaz has hit on a key point in the ongoing discussion we have been having on this blog regarding the synergy between fiscal and physical fitness. Thanks for stopping by and adding your voice to the conversation. I hope you’ll pop in on a regular basis.

      • There are many similarities at the heart of the two topics I agree! If you can’t conceptualise and execute a long-ish term plan for getting fit and healthy (which should take what, a year for most people?) Then you haven’t much chance of doing the same for a ten or more year horizon in the pursuit of financial freedom or retirement.

        Cheers guys, I’ll definitely stop by again.

    • Thanks for the positive comments FireStarter. I hope you visit more often.

  2. I have tried juicing, but I cannot stick with the regimen in the documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I need something to chew on every once in a while. I am not obese, although I do need to lose some weight, nor do I have medical issues with the exception of a pituitary tumor that cannot be fixed by anything other than medication. However, my husband and I normally have what we call a smoothie (ice, low-fat or Greek yogurt, soy milk, a banana and any other fruit/vegetables in the house at the time) in the mornings which is more juice than anything else. We do that most mornings and we exercise. Now, over the holidays we haven’t exercised as much as we should, but we are now changing that. I think my mindset would change on the juicing for 30 days if I did have the health problems these gentlemen had though. If there is a way to make yourself healthier without relying on pills that would be wonderful.

    My mother takes about 30 pills a day to make herself “feel better”. She has high blood pressure, is overweight, has diabetes, and had a partial mastectomy due to cancer. I have tried to tell her to get up and move because all she does is sit all day. When I see her, I try to get her to walk and she complains that her legs hurt. Well of course they do because they aren’t used to the weight nor the exercise! I bought her one of the walkers that has a seat and a basket on it to help her and she refuses to use it. She is 75 years old this year. I have done all I can, but she is set in her ways and will not change. And because I am not there to support her she will not change. She has inspired me though, inspired me NOT to be like her in that aspect because I see what she is going through and the pharmacy that she takes EVERYDAY!

    Although she is older and on medicare, she still has to come out of pocket with some money for meds. It does affect her and at one point she quit taking a lot of them because she didn’t have the money to buy them. Needless to say it had a bad effect on her.

    • Your smoothies sound good, Karen. It sounds as if your mother serves as a good example as someone that could benefit from a better diet, which would likely reduce her dependence on medications, which would save her money….As we have expressed numerous times, in different ways on this blog, the relationship between physical and fiscal health cannot be overstated.

    • As always, I appreciate your comments Karen. As James said, your smoothies sound very good & I’m sure they’ve helped keep you healthy both physically and fiscally.
      I know how you feel about the elderly who are “set in their ways”. My grandmother just moved to my neighborhood from St. Croix, where I’m from. She’s not well, lost a LOT of weight and is no longer the highly energetic woman I’m used to. I’m convinced she will not be around much longer 🙁
      What’s also annoys/hurts is that I’m convinced she could beat the illness if she’d just eat healthier. I’d force feed her if I could 🙂
      While not all illnesses can be cured naturally, I do wholeheartedly believe that a healthy diet gives your body the BEST possible chance of beating any illness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *