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Part-time monk finishes his 46 day beer fast

by Bruce of Brews on Apr 26, 2011 in Culture
Part-time monk finishes his 46 day beer fast

At first glance, the idea of fasting on beer for 46 days sounds more likely to be conceived in the bowels of a frat house than in the mind of a level-headed, humble journalist and beer enthusiast from Iowa. 

While many people may do away with sweets, meat or perhaps even beer itself for lent, Jay Wilson gave up food entirely. From Ash Wednesday on March 9th to Easter Sunday 46 days later, he lived entirely on beer and water.

Wilson concluded his 46 day pilgrimage this past Sunday, but started in early March with an idea that had intrigued him for more than two years. Having always been a beer enthusiast, he took particular notice of the story of the beer style “Doppelbock”. An unfiltered beer nicknamed “liquid bread”, that is packed with calories and vitamins, developed by German monks to be as nourishing as possible.

Inspired by this story, he set out to replicate it. With the support of his family, and most importantly his boss (who Wilson himself remarks without the consent of, his project would have been impossible) he started his fast.

The particular brand of beer he drank is Rockbottom Brewery’s Illuminator Doppelbock, a recipe that he himself had a hand in developing. He would allow himself water for health reasons, consult with a local minister every Friday as well as a doctor, and keep a running blog covering his journey.

Above all, his main concern was caring for his family and being able to work. While his goal was not to spend 46 days drunk he states in a blog entry that he did get a little buzzed at times. As can be expected on a liquid diet of just over six weeks.

At the end, Jay finished with no major complications to his health. Though he does take note of ten things in particular:

  1. He was only hungry the first day.
  2. He got cold easier.
  3. The beer cured the osteoarthritis in his neck
  4. He noted an increased sense of smell
  5. The Doppelbock raised his blood sugar.
  6. Beer after a month and a half left his tongue "feeling less than desirable."
  7. Once his fat stores were burned, he suffered from backache and kidney cloggage.
  8. He had no problem cooking for his family (now THAT'S willpower!).
  9. A liquid diet obviously meant more trips to the restroom.
  10. A beer diet does not cause impotence (TMI, or good news for all?).

In retrospect of his entire experience he says he can’t pin point any specific reason of why he started, or any one thing he learned. In the span of 46 blog entries he talks about his weekly conversations with his minister, his trips to the doctor, and most importantly his spiritual journey through his fast. Leaving him with a profound sense that the human body is capable of incredible feats, and how much our culture wastes.

While 46 blog entries is a little too lengthy to cover here, nor am I properly equipped to do it any justice, his exploits can be read here in his personal Diary of a Part-time Monk blog.

In the end he weighed 135 pounds, 20 less than his starting weight. He's sick of both morning talk shows and Doppelbock, has plans to eventually write a book about his experience, and decided a bacon smoothie is a perfect first meal back.

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