Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead

Who: VN Publisher Joseph Connelly
What: Dr. Fuhrman Health Getaway 2010
Where: Rancho Bernado Inn, San Diego, Calif.
When: Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Why: Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead: Morgan Spurlock meets Borat

The Scoop: Day three starts with a sweet surprise. One of my favorite people anywhere, Dr. Michael Klaper—the original vegan doctor and VN's medical advisor since 2000—makes an unannounced (at least to me) visit. Michael (as he's known to all... no one calls him "Klaper") works with Dr. Joel Fuhrman, assisting and advising his patients. He's also employed at the TrueNorth Health Center not too terribly far from VegNews' San Francisco home base. Still, we only seem to see each other at conferences such as this.

Dr. Michael Klaper with VN's Joseph Connelly

A joyous beginning to what turned into a glorious day, the middle of which was filled with the usual exercise, educating, and eating. Much like the North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest, meals here come far too often. Thankfully the all-one-can-eat buffets are overflowing with good grub. Still, it's a lot of food, and learning to pace oneself is both art and science.

I could have predicted that today would be special as it marks the 26th birthday of my beloved first cat, Dog, without whom there would be no VegNews. Dog was the final piece in my vegan puzzle, turning me veg 20 years ago. She is no longer with us, but I still think of her on her birthday each year. And every other day of the year, too.

The wise and wonderful Dog, on her 20th birthday in 2004

Tuesday ended with two final highlights. I ate dinner with a family I first met on the Taste of Health Cruise last March, sisters Dvora Adams and Dalia Sager, and Dalia's hubby Jon, a sergeant with the Las Vegas PD. Both sisters have gone vegan since I saw them last. Jon, meanwhile, has given up both meat and dairy and dropped 40 pounds in just a few short months by adhering to Dr. Fuhrman's nutritarian diet.

After dinner the 200+ (all of whom received a copy of the 10th anniversary edition of VN) were treated to an advanced screening of Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, a documentary slated for February 2011 release. Think Morgan Spurlock meets Borat. The producer and subject of the film, Joe Cross, is a successful 41-year-old Australian businessman weighing in at 309 pounds and suffering from urticaria, a debilitating autoimmune disease. He comes to America, juice fasts for 60 days while traveling around the States talking to other people and filming the extraordinary adventure. Along the way he influences others, most notably Phil Staples, a 430-pound Iowa truck driver "one cheeseburger away from a heart attack" draped in a 6XL-sized t-shirt. Staples can hardly move; the steering wheel of his big rig literally touches his gargantuan gut. "It hurts to walk very far," he confesses. Fat... is entertaining, funny, and heartwarming. Even the very predictable last scene will move you. Everyone should see this film.

Thin, healthy, and very much alive: Jon Horschmann, Dalia Sager, Joe Cross, Dvora Adams

Producer Joe Cross led the screening. Gregarious, knowledgeable, and an excellent speaker, he's a man on a mission. "Healthy, healthy, healthy" is his main goal. If you live in Northern California, you will have a chance to meet Cross and see Fat... on Tuesday, July 20 at a special screening at the Kabuki Theatre. VegNews will be there.

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