April 6, 2011
CHICAGO—After consuming only beer and water for 23 days, J. Wilson says there are two things he’s sick of: morning radio shows and the Illuminator Doppelbock he’s vowed to subsist on through Lent.
The Iowa newspaper editor and beer blogger is halfway through his quest to live on the “liquid bread” diet, a 300-year-old idea brewed up by German monks who did not eat during Lent. So far, Wilson says his fast has proven easier than he expected.
“I was hungry the first couple of days, but after that, the hunger is gone,” said Wilson, editor of the weekly Adams County Free Press . “I’m not hungry.”
Wilson said he was down to 145 pounds Thursday, 15 pounds lighter than his starting weight of 160 pounds on Ash Wednesday, March 9. His kidney function drew some attention during a visit to the doctor last week, but that’s easily controlled by more water consumption, Wilson says.
“At this point I’ve chewed up all the old hamburgers and doughnuts, and I’ve used up all my body fat,” the married father of two said. “Now my body has turned on itself and is eating its own protein, and that’s clogging the kidneys.”
Wilson, who describes himself as a nondenominational Christian, says he’s drinking four 355 mL, 288-calorie Doppelbocks a day on weekdays, and five a day on the weekends. So far, that comes to about 11 gallons of beer.
“I just killed my first two kegs,” said Wilson, 38. “I have one keg set up at home and one set up at work and they both ran out at the same time.”
Wilson had said he aimed to not be drunk at any point during the fast, a pledge he amended slightly on Thursday.
“If you walk in the rain, you’re going to get wet,” Wilson said. “It’s not a 46-day hammerfest. That’s what I meant when I said that originally.
“From time to time, if I have an appointment, I have to move my beers around. If I have to have two beers in quicker succession than I would like, sure you might get a little tipsy. But I haven’t been sloshed the last three weeks.
“It’s taken some effort to pay attention to the clock and to what my obligations are, and I just have to sort that all out. But it’s worked out well.”
It’s brought him some notoriety, too.
“It’s been all over the world,” Wilson said. “I’ve seen blog posts from Russia and South America and Europe. I heard Jimmy Fallon was making fun of me the other day, so that’s pretty cool.”
Not to mention the endless parade of morning radio requests, which Wilson says he’s stopped doing for now. But he blogs about the fast daily, at diaryofaparttimemonk.wordpress.com .
With Easter Sunday and the end of his fast about three weeks away on April 24, Wilson already has a few foods in mind for his return to normal eating.
“I’ve got three days planned out,” he said. “Easter Sunday will be mostly smoothies. If I feel like I can hack it probably some guacamole and chips or something like that. I’m really missing Mexican food. Maybe a bacon sandwich on Monday and some more smoothies, and firing up a serious Mexican spread on Tuesday.”
And he’s ready to be done with the Doppelbock.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m completely sick of it. I was sick of it probably four or five days in.”