April 8th, 2011
01:19 PM ET

Man hits 31st day of beer-only Lenten fast

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

The story of Iowa newspaper editor and beer blogger J. Wilson,  who is drinking only beer and water for Lent, has gained a lot of attention this week.

On Friday morning he checked in with CNN Newsroom and explained his fast to Carol Costello.

Read Wilson's story here: For Lent, can man live on brew alone?

Wilson is 31 days into his fast, with 16 more to go.  He drinks four beers a day during the week and five beers a day on the weekend.  He told Costello he was enjoying his breakfast brew during the interview, which was conducted by phone.

The tradition of a beer fast dates back hundreds of years to German monks.  That's where Wilson got the idea for his fast.

In researching extended fasts, he learned the first three days are typically the most brutal.

He told CNN Friday that the first day he felt a lot of hunger pains.  But by day two the pains had largely disappeared.  He said he thought the fast would be much harder than it has been so far.

To date, Wilson has dropped about 18 pounds. He plans on breaking his beer only fast on Easter Sunday, in keeping with Christian tradition about Lent.

Watch an Explain it to Me video on Lent.

Watch CNN Newsroom weekdays 9am to 3pm ET and weekends. For the latest from the CNN Newsroom click here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Content Partner • Lent • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. notborncynical

    OMG, all the religious nutbags came out on this one. You know what folks, have a beer and relax.

    April 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • db cooper

      study history and philosophy first, and then make your idiotic comment.... idiot.

      April 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  2. notborncynical

    This is a cool idea. He's not going to get drunk having just a few beers a day and is probably getting some nutrients from it. This isn't something you'd want to do for an extended period of time, but 31 days – what the hell.

    April 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  3. FTC LTL

    First Time Caller, Long Time Listener.
    (Voice of Will Ferrell after shooting himself with a tranquilizer dart on some movie), You guys are funny.

    April 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  4. Anne

    Dear CNN,

    I would like to point out that there are other Christian denominations that observe lent other than Catholics. Episcopalians, Lutherans and Methodists also traditionally observe Lent.

    April 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • db cooper

      yes but Jesus founded the Catholic Church 2000 years ago, not the lutheran church... that one was founded by luther about 500 years ago. they and the protestant denoms (over 30,000 today and counting) spawned by his heresy (ad he was quite the nutbag, which you would know if you ever studied history) copied lent from the Catholic Church. There's nothing like the real, original thing. "To be steeped in history is to cease being protestant": I suggest you read "Crossing the Tiber" or "Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic". Also, "Where We Got the Bible" by Henry Graham is a good place to start for anyone interested in the Truth about what really happened, and how and why.

      April 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • db cooper

      The Catholic Church is not a denomination... it is the real thing (in spite of the great errors of much of its membership - the Church is not a hotel for saints, but a hospital for sinners, which we all are - satan knows, which is the real Church... which is why he attacks it more than any other - if you ever meet a true satanist, ask him/her where they go to do their sacrilege... they don't bother with the protestants... they go straight to the Catholic liturgy, where the Eucharist resides... they know that it's the one Jesus founded.... if you don't believe me, look it up in the history books... you can trace the popes all the way back to St. Peter, who in every listing of the apostles in the bible is always listed first, and who was given the Keys to Church by Jesus himself... all you bible-thumpers should know those verses by heart.

      April 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Welcome, db cooper!

      We're so glad you decided to join us. We really needed a rabid-crazy bitter-angry Catholic zealot curmudgeon to come share that good old fashioned Catholic spit-poison hatred and intolerance. You do need to expand your vocabulary of abuse, as yuo will find "idiot" too confining for the range of Catholic love that you will surely bash us with.

      A devout Catholic who takes the name of a thief. Weel, it fits. Those Vatican museums are filled with some of the finest things ever plundered.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  5. Kenneth Frasse

    Hey CNN! Can we have another subject please? This one really doesn't give us much to abuse each other with.

    April 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  6. Adeline

    Beer is a great evil spawned by the devil to delude people into betraying the everlasting love of Jesus. I am afraid that there are just so many of you who will not be joining me in heaven. Most of you actually. In fact, I may be the only one there, because you all are so unChristian.

    April 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Artist

      Would rather burn than worship the pathetic god created by man lol.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • derp

      Fine with me, the only thing worse than warm beer, is no beer.

      My and lucifer, knocking down a few lagers.

      April 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      You have to be a devout Catholic like me to get into heaven. Everyone else is going to burn in hell, and that makes me very happy.

      April 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Lucifer

      I have been into stouts more than lagers lately, derp, but I'm not averse to a delightful lager on occasion.

      April 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Bob

      Zoraraster demands that I sacrifice at least two IPA's to Mithra every day. Conveniently, Mithra lives in my stomach and is fond of IPA's.

      April 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Bob

      Adeline, you strike me as being such a pill that I'm willing to let you have heaven to yourself. Coming, Mithra!

      April 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Terra

      Get off your high-horse! Your righteousness is as filthy rags! Judgemental hyproctical Christian. You make us look bad. Jesus taught of love and tolerance and unfortunately you are nothing like him.

      April 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • trollfinder

      Obvious troll is obvious. herp derp

      April 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • beer and Christianity

      Actually, I am pretty sure that Jesus was ok with beer. Before and after his time, not much was known about diseases, and water was not very safe to drink especially in cities, since people didn't know about boiling.

      Now, if you are referring to drunkenness, then early Christians would agree with you as well, since drunkenness was the sin, but not consumption.

      Many historians will tell you that during early Christianity, brewing of beer was encouraged, since it was a better alternative to more higher alcohol content drinks. St. Patrick brought his brewmaster with him to Ireland, and won pagan chieftains over with his beer, before winning them over to his God. There are many patron saints of beer as well, such as St. Arnou and St. Bartholomew. St. Brigid was made a saint, based partly on her asking God to turn bathwater into beer, so lepers she cared for could also enjoy the brew. During the time of Charlemagne the church was the primary brewer of beer. Monasteries brewed it as a social service, since was cleaner to drink and healthier than water.

      The first permanent building that was constructed by the pilgrims once they reached America was the brew house, due to the fact their beer supply was running low. The puritans loaded their ships with over 10,000 gallons of beer for the journey to New England, and when they started to build, a brew house was a priority as well.

      Now how can something, so deeply rooted in Christianity be a spawn of the devil that makes people turn away from Jesus?

      April 8, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
  7. Teen Age Mutant Rodent Bung Super/Fighters

    We Love ! beer ..! But if we have to much we might have kick your a$$'s blog heads ..!

    April 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Artist

      You are impressive, please say more.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  8. Reality

    And from the CDC- 2011

    "Alcohol-impaired driving is a serious public health problem that kills about 11,000 people and costs nearly $110 billion a year.

    •Every day, 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes.

    • One in 3 fatal motor-vehicle crashes involves an alcohol-impaired driver."


    In Florida the legal limit for alcohol measurement is .08% BAC (breath alcohol content). At that measurement you are legally drunk and will be arrested and taken to jail if you are caught driving a car.

    If you weigh between 90 – 109 pounds and have 12 ounces of beer, four ounces of wine or one and a quarter ounces of 80 proof liquor (a shot glass is one and a half ounces), your BAC will been between .05 and .08%. At this measurement you are considered definitely impaired and your chance of an accident is increased up to 300 percent or more. If you have another drink your BAC goes up to .08% or over, and if you have any more alcohol, another beer, another shot or more wine, you are considered legally drunk. Your function and judgment are seriously affected.

    Consider the fact that when you have consumed two 12 ounce beers, or two shots, or two small glasses of wine you are considered legally drunk and cannot drive without taking the chance of getting arrested for DUI.

    If you weigh between 110 – 129 pounds and have 12 ounces of beer, four ounces of wine or one and a quarter ounces of 80 proof liquor your BAC will be the same as noted above, and you are legally drunk.

    If you weigh between 130 – 230 pounds and have the same amount of alcohol as mentioned above, your BAC will only be .01% to .05% and you are not considered legally drunk, but some loss of judgment and coordination occurs, and your thinking will be dulled.

    April 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • John Thomas

      Do something in the name of religion and it's news in America. That something can be totally idiotic, but if it is religious, millions will be in awe of the godly wonder of it.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • John Thomas

      Whoops, somehow attached that to the wrong post.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • db cooper

      john thomas is an idiot... and of course, a dick as well.

      April 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  9. phoenix

    heathens and catholics are under the taskmaster ol man religon[belial]you must repent shelve the ego[ eliminating god out.

    April 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • db cooper

      *sigh*... another idiot. why are there so many of you buggers? must be all that television and 'music', and magazines, and all media really. rots the brain.

      April 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  10. dresniko

    I'm starting my beer diet tonight. A six pack tonight and more to follow tomorrow. I don't worry about the effects of the diet at all. I figure if I drink enough, I'll forget about the diet all together (in the name of GOD of course), and, go to White Caste at about 2 in the morning to have a fish sandwich! do you think I'm going to hell??

    April 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Lucifer

      White Castle IS hell.

      April 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Bob

      White Castle will kill you faster than the beer will.

      April 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • db cooper

      no, but you are definitely an idiot.

      April 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  11. ACJ

    I will never understand why people spend Lint doing things that do not further the gospel of Jesus Christ, or contribute to the well being of others/ society as a whole. Is it fascinating this guy is living on beer and is still standing, sure. Does it really matter in the gran scheme of things, no. Heavenly Father is looing for sacrifices that matter to more than ourselves. Hence, we are to be like Christ. We are to sacrifice for others.

    Lint is not of my particular denomination, but I can respect those who do it with love and true intent.

    April 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • ACJ

      Make that "Lent." Caught some of those beer fumes in the room...

      April 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Anne

      Lent is observed by many other Christian demoniations other than Catholics – Lutherans, Episcopalians and some Methodists – and is to symbolize the 40 days and nights Jesus spent in the wilderness without food and water. It is a period of personal reconciliation and reflection. Jesus is the example by which we should live our lives and what better way than to emulate his 40 day and night sacrifice leading up to his ultimate sacrifice, his death on the cross to save us from our sins.

      April 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  12. Artist

    Stephen I see you have had a few lol

    April 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Stephen

      *hic* take me drunk! *hic* I'm home! *hic* lol

      April 9, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  13. Stephen

    sorry.. I'm on my sixth beer...correction..."Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy" – Benjamin Franklin

    April 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • breee

      ha ha!!

      April 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Bottoms up

      Correction: Bier iz prooph thet God luvs us n vants us to bee happeee

      April 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  14. Stephen

    correction..."Beer is prrof God loves us and wants us to be happy" – Benjamin Franklin

    April 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Doh

      Doh....I see what you did there!

      April 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  15. Artist

    Interesting to see how some get defensive on this subject. Perhaps they are in denial? LOL

    April 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • .

      I deny that I hate beer!

      April 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  16. Stephen

    "Beer is proof God love us and wants us to be happy" – Benjamin Franklin

    April 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  17. siisti

    Wow Bill, aren't you a tough guy...

    April 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  18. So F'in what


    April 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  19. Ron

    What exactly make this "News Worthy?"

    April 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • ACJ

      Stupidity roams free on the internet.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  20. Artist

    Interesting, the guy is celebrating being a drunk in the name of a god.

    April 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Srhx1605

      Wow....you are quite intelligent. 4 beers is not a drunk. You must get drunk 1st, in order to be a drunk. 4 beers throughout the whole day....i'm pretty sure there was never even a moment where this guy had a buzz (unless of course he decides to chug a couple down quickly on one of his 5 beer weekend days), let alone spend the whole day in a drunken stupor.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Bill

      For weenies like you 4 beers = drunk. For normal people it's no problem.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • ACJ

      If this guy were smart, he would know that consuming beer (and only beer), without any food, increases the amount of alcohol the body absorbs. In essence, you become "drunk" quicker. I am sure his liver will thank him later too...

      April 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • ELS

      even on an empty stomach you won't be drunk on 4 or 5 beers over a 24 hour period. You may get a little buzz if you drink one quickly but more than anything you will have to relive yourself pretty quick as your body is just going to flush it right through you and start burring the carbs and alcohol for energy.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • not so fat as that

      Bill is obviously fat. Fat people can drink beer after beer and barely get a buzz because they are so fat.
      Way to go, Bill! You are wasting beer because you are fat! What a waste of money and beer you are.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      I agree that 4 beers a day doesn't equate to being drunk. However his brew of choice is 6.7% alcohol, not 5% like standard bottled beer so in fact it's equivalent to 5.36 beers over a 12hr period since he drinks one for breakfast and his supper beer at about 7pm. Still below the "drunk" factor and being a regular consumer he probably doesn't feel a buzz. His BAC(blood alcohol level) would be 0.03 or almost half the legal limit to operate a vehicle.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Kyle

      Liberals must love to make fools of yourselves. 4 beers a day wouldn't get my teenage daughter drunk and she has never tasted a beer, I think, hmmmmmmmm.

      April 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Dennis Henderson

      Well, Kyle, it's great that your teenage daughter has built up a high tolerance for alcohol. Practice makes perfect.

      April 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Jeff S

      I need to clear up several misconceptions.

      "consuming beer (and only beer), without any food, increases the amount of alcohol the body absorbs. In essence, you become "drunk" quicker. I am sure his liver will thank him later too..."

      -This is commonly known as the "teenaged girl's fallacy." Eating food will not lower your BAC in any way. Food slows down the rate at which you absorb alcohol. You still absorb the same amount. If anything, he's spiking at about a 0.015 BAC and tailing off quickly (if he slams the beer in one chug.) Also, your liver can safely process a certain amount of toxins each day, anything beyond that harms the liver. What he is doing is causing his liver about as much trouble as taking 1 Tylenol.

      "Fat people can drink beer after beer and barely get a buzz because they are so fat."

      Another misconeption. Fat absorbs no alcohol. The effect of alcohol by body weight is determined by your body weight sans fat. So a guy who is 100 lbs overweight and another guy who is ideal weight (otherwise they're the same size, without the extra 100 lbs) will absorb the same amount of alcohol.

      "Liberals must love to make fools of yourselves. 4 beers a day wouldn't get my teenage daughter drunk and she has never tasted a beer, I think, hmmmmmmmm."

      Nobody is really sure whether you were replying to the wrong post or what. Nobody saw anything about political fiscal policy. It is well-known of course that the majority of people in this nation who would like for government to ban alcohol are those who would call themselves "Conservatives." Always looking for another way for Big Brother to crush individual freedom. Apparently, education on how alcohol works is as lacking as education in observing the world around you.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.