Before Brian Robertson from North Carolina, US started juicing he weighed 25 stone (350 pounds). Brian was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2002, having experienced its effects for most of his adult life. Since juicing he has lost 185 pounds AND has not had a single MS relapse! Oh, and he is a runner now too…
Neil Martin: When did you first start juicing and how did you first learn about the idea?
Brian Robertson: I started juicing April 27th 2012. I saw the film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. That was the first I had heard of juicing.
“I had been trying and failing for years to loose weight”
Neil Martin: What made you decide to start juicing?
Brian Robertson: I knew I needed to make a change. I had been trying and failing for years to loose weight. The funny thing about it for me is that I just looked at it as loosing weight. Before watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead I never thought about my health and how my food choices affected my health. I have Multiple Sclerosis.
Many years ago I decided that I needed to loose weight. I went to an amusement park with my daughters. My oldest daughter and I had to get off of a ride because I was to large for the safety bar to come down and latch in place. I was embarrassed for us both as we did the walk of shame away from the ride. I never wanted to embarrass her or my other children again so I started on a path of trying and failing until I found Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. By that time I was in a relationship headed toward marriage and talk of a new baby. I knew I needed to make this change. I saw the film and knew that was my best shot. At first I was afraid that it wouldn’t work mostly because of past failure. After the first week I was down 15lbs.
Neil Martin: Did you follow a specific program, if so which one?
Brian Robertson: I didn’t follow a plan. Joe Cross’ site was pretty new then the way I remember. I followed Joe’s example from the movie. I drank green juice. I did only juice for I think 32 or 37 days. I got married at the end of June 2012 and I lost 50+ pounds in the first month. I lost weight so fast that I had to have my suit taken up twice and if I continued at that pace I wouldn’t have been able to wear it for the wedding. I also followed advice from my step-father, a former chef, when he said that I might want to give the juice a rest a week before the wedding so that food at the rehearsal dinner and wedding wouldn’t cause me problems. I ate the same things I had been juicing the week before the wedding. I ate healthy the week after the wedding on my honeymoon and picked up juicing after I got back home. I did another 30+ days I don’t remember the number for sure. My wife lived close to 2 hours away and we only saw each other on the weekends. My body changed so much from Sunday to Friday that she became alarmed and asked me to add a meal a day to my juice. I added the meal like she asked. I again ate the same things I juiced or a salad.
Weight Loss is a side-effect
Neil Martin: What have you found to be the biggest changes / benefits you’ve experienced since you started juicing?
Brian Robertson: The weight loss is the thing most visible to people, but I have come to think of that as a side effect. Really my entire life has changed. Physically I have gone from a person that has needed a wheel chair at times and other times walked with a cane to running races. Before my juice fast I had days I struggled so badly with fatigue from my MS that I had a hard time walking to the mailbox in front of my house to running my first half marathon…in a time of 1:47:46. I type with a little smile. There are other changes. I have so much energy. My skin color changed almost right away. Before the juice fast I looked like a walking corpse right out of a zombie movie. Now my skin has a pink tone and I have been told I almost have a glow. My confidence has improved. I feel a lot better about myself.
Neil Martin: Since you started juicing what have you found most challenging and how did you deal with this challenge?
Brian Robertson: My biggest challenge during my juice fast was supper time for my children. I had to cook their meals. When I first started I cooked them the same foods that I had eaten to get myself into the bad shape I was in so that was a struggle for me to cook, and smell those foods. I kept a juice ready. I tell people to keep a juice ready at your weakest part of the day whatever that is for the individual, and to make that juice your favorite juice so that you feel like you are treating yourself in a moment of weakness.
As I transformed myself through juicing I read more about nutrition and food labels. As a result I changed what my family ate slowly. I added more fruit and veggies and cut out processed foods. I am not saying no more, not at all. I don’t think a person should force those changes on their children. I think by being a good example and showing the benefits of healthy living and teaching moderation you teach your children food boundaries and how to eat healthy. My children are healthier eaters. My daughter that I had to get off the rife with has slimmed down. My other daughter and I plan to run a 5k together this year. My new born son will never know the old unhealthy overweight version of me.
After reaching my goal weight I would say my biggest challenge was maintaining that. If I solve that challenge I will let you know.
Neil Martin: What was you weight before you started juicing and what do you weight now?
Brian Robertson: My weight before I started my juice fast was 350 pounds. I lost down to 165 pounds. As of this morning I am 172.
Neil Martin: What do you believe was the biggest contributor to your weight gain? Was there a specific trigger?
Brian Robertson: I think for me it was a poor diet and exercise choices. My MS played a role in that too but not as big as I choose to believe. I took a lot of steroids for treatment of my MS. I blamed my weight gain on that because it was easier than taking the blame myself for my choices. Part of it I can see now was depression. There is a level of isolation with a diagnosis of a disease like MS and that was hard on me.
Neil Martin: If you could go back in time and give just one piece of advice to your formal self, what would it be?
Brian Robertson: The easy answer, drink juice. Really I would tell myself that things will workout. You will get there. Keep the hard work going, keep pounding!
“A month into my juice fast I was taken off my BP and cholesterol meds”
Neil Martin: Did you have any specific health issues before juicing and how have these changed since you started juicing?
Brian Robertson: I have Multiple Sclerosis and I was frequently treated with IV and oral steroids for relapses, disease activity. Since I have started juicing I haven’t had a single relapse. I was on medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. A month into my juice fast I was taken off my BP and cholesterol meds.
Neil Martin: How has juicing changed your life?
Brian Robertson: I am a happier person.
Neil Martin: What has been your biggest juicing mistake and why?
Brian Robertson: I haven’t talked about this but I feel it is a big deal. At some point during my juice fast my juicing became more about numbers than health. I became so focused on a number. After loosing half my body weight I wanted to get to 150lbs. Now I don’t know why that is. I became a little obsessed. I didn’t have a juicer for the most part of my juicing. I had a few cheap juicers that didn’t last long so I used a blender [and strained the pulp]. At some point I began to drink less juice during a day. Some days I consumed around 300 calories. I became very small. I felt strong and I still ran everyday some weeks +120 miles. However after runs I would feel cold for hours despite how many layers of clothing or blankets I used. My wife eventually put an end to that. It can be hard finding a balance after a juice fast. I had remember it was about health.
Neil Martin: Which do you think is more essential to health and wellbeing, exercise or diet and nutrition?
Brian Robertson: I think they are all equal.
Neil Martin: How much and what kinds of exercise do you regularly do?
Brian Robertson: I run 5-6 days a week. I have subtracted mileage from my 120 mile weeks. I run 3-4 miles a day with one long day a week of about 7-8 miles just whatever I run in a set amount of time. I also use a recumbent bike for an hour everyday. I plan to run 8-12 5k runs this year, 2-4 10k runs, do a Spartan event, and 2 half marathons.
Neil Martin: What do you eat / drink on a typical day?
Brian Robertson: In a normal day I will start the day with a juice made up of mostly fruit and ginger. I like a juice made from pineapple, oranges, and apple and ginger for breakfast. If I plan on running more than 10 miles that morning I will also add a Belvita breakfast cracker.
I usually drink a smoothie post run made from banana, berries, chia seeds, soy milk or apple juice, and some protein powder.
For lunch I will either eat a salad or a juice.
In the mid afternoon I will eat some fruit or trail mix or Greek yogurt. I am also a frozen yogurt nut, it replaced ice cream for me.
About 5pm I will either have juice or a salad depending on what I had for lunch. I eat a lot of quinoa shrimp. Stuffed peppers and stir fry are used often in my house. I also like to make a salad out of quinoa. I sautéed thin sliced onions and mushrooms with some sliced belle peppers of different colors in a little olive oil. Add the quinoa. When the quinoa starts to jump around I add an egg. I scramble the egg in this mix. When the egg is done I top a bed of spinach with the mix. I am a pepper head so if I am making this for myself I will add a fresh jalapeño or habanero pepper. This is one of my fav meals. You can season win whatever seasoning you like I usually stick with a little salt and pepper.
Usually between 9 and 10pm I will have another juice.
I vary the colors of my juice through the day. I like to drink an orange and a red colored juice and two green juices a day. Some days I drink a yellow juice in place of a green juice. I am not real strict on this. All these juices are 16oz (approx 500 ml). Some days I swap out a green juice for a green smoothie.
I also drink close to 100oz of water a day. I also drink 32oz of Gatorade or coconut water to replenish electrolytes.
I will eat other things as the chance comes up. If my wife makes chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies, one of my favs, I will eat my share unless a race is coming up. I don’t limit myself. You can’t be perfect but you have to police yourself.
Neil Martin: Is your diet completely vegetarian / vegan?
Brian Robertson: No not really. I will have shrimp, turkey, and chicken. The last time I had beef was May 2012 and I felt miserable after. Bloated and stomach cramps so I just avoid red meat.
Neil Martin: What are your thoughts on caffeine and alcohol?
Brian Robertson: I was never much for alcohol. I think I my entire life I have consumed 4 beers. Now caffeine was a different thing. Before my juice fast I probably drank 8-10 cans of some type of soda a day. Now I just don’t have a taste for it. I don’t know when the last time I had a soda was.
Neil Martin: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about adding juicing to their life?
Brian Robertson: Do it! You don’t have to go all in like I did, you might not even need to go all in. You will feel the benefits of it. If you want to feel better…juice.
Neil Martin: If you were stuck on a desert island with a working juicer and blender and an unlimited supply of just 6 ingredients, what would those ingredients be?
Brian Robertson: Wow that is a hard question.
Banana and blue berries for the blender and smoothies.
Beets, red bell pepper, sweet potato, and pineapple to go with the juicer for a beautiful red juice. I love juicing beets, they are my favorite.
Want to hook up with Brian?
For more information or to contact Brian please visit:
- Facebook: Juicing For Better Health
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