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. Zane

    Beer is essentially liquid bread.

    April 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  2. ArtInChicago

    After Lent, he will spend all the time to Ascension getting his internal yeast level down.

    April 8, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  3. YouMomIsOnMyLap

    I bet his sh1ts are just NASTY!

    April 8, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  4. Tryclyde

    This article is seriously lacking in information. If CNN is going to report on it, then at least tell us what kind of beer he's drinking and how he chose it.

    April 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  5. Clint, Wa.

    Good story, Cheers.

    April 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  6. K Daniels

    Our Pastor just finished a 40 day water only fast. He lost about 55 lbs. He does it each year for the last 4 years. It's an awesome miracle. Find us on the web at http://www.bethtefilla.com

    April 8, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • Clay

      How exactly is that a miracle? He didn't eat and lost a lot of weight.. No magic necessary.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Shuddup

      It's a miracle? It really has to do with what you consider a miracle. Walking on water, yes, sure. Parting the Red Sea, sure sure. Losing weight from not eating? I'm still laughing at that one!!!

      April 8, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • not quite miracle

      Yeah, that is setting the bar pretty low for a miracle. You can survive at least 8 weeks on water alone, longer if you had excess body fat. Depending on your metabolism, a pound of fat is about a day and a half of calories that a person would need. Not trying to knock your religion, I just don't see how this is miracle worthy.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Stephen

      Amen! On day 41 the pastor gained 60 lbs. by eating two large pizzas and a bucket of Kentucky fried chicken!

      April 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  7. Doctor

    It would be responsible to also report that this is a dangerous idea that could lead to hyponatremia.

    April 8, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • Shuddup

      Doubt you'd have low sodium from high gravity beers and lagers. But, I see where you got your info. Cliffnotes for Gray's Anatomy. The book, not the tv program. Niiiiiccceeee!!!

      April 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  8. Shawn

    He's not doing something bad for his health, at least not any more unhealthy than any other 30+ day fast. This article is just woefully lacking. Thanks again, CNN. If you read any of the lengthier articles online, he is taking proper nutrients, doing this with the encouragement of his boss, drinking responsibly, and consuming a nutrient rich double bock.

    April 8, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  9. Homer Simpson

    Awesome! What kind of beer is he drinking? That's a religious devotion I could follow.

    April 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  10. blahh

    666 people like this. funny.

    April 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  11. shizrok

    this thread is pangful to read

    April 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Yap


      May 4, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  12. MyJudgement

    why is she cheering him on? this guy is doing something bad to his health and that is extremely stupid and is itself a mockery at and of life

    April 8, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Tryclyde

      The crap most people eat on a daily basis is far more unhealthy than beer.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • Shuddup

      There are countless religious affiliations that have no qualms about imbibing in beer and wine. What is ironic is to read of hypocritical religious nuts that believe their God is better than mine or someone else's. Anything beyond moderation is considered a sin. Most religions note this. Try doing something decent and keep your sad opinion to your self. Oh, beer is nutritional if you select the better types. A higher quality beer seldom is sold in a Walmart or Target. Find a better religion, will ya? Yours sucks, as does your opinion. =P

      April 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  13. blahh


    April 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  14. Corey

    ^^^ grammar police ftl

    April 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  15. Martin

    Either pain or pang is correct. A pang is a pain, it's just a word user much less often than pain.

    April 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Timberway33

      hahaha, that is true!

      April 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  16. Brent

    The copy editor got it wrong – in the video above. He does not use the word "pain" or "pangs," he just says he thought it would be more painful.

    April 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  17. Mary Little

    Please use a copy editor, CNN! It's "hunger pangs," not "hunger pains."

    April 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Bruce

      Why don't you take a closer look at the article. It says "He told CNN Friday that the first day he felt a lot of hunger pains." Whether it's right or not, that's something he said not what the author of the article was writing.

      April 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Steve Austin

      why do people like you feel the need to spell check the world. get over yourself will you. Pathetic!

      April 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • surfr4evr

      ummm theres different meanings little marry. Hunger pain is a pain in your stomach that won't go away until you are fed. A hunger pang is a brief, sharp, intense pain that lasts seconds or less because you are really hungry. It really could go either way, but the key factor is the time span. It is a hunger pang when it lasts seconds or less, and it is a hunger pain if it is lasting for a while, usually longer than a few seconds.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • trixen

      While I agree that CNN could use better editors copy editors and proofreaders, bear in mind that even the best editor isn't infallible. Still, this isn't an editing oversight.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:46 pm |

      either is acceptable - go to college

      April 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  18. Mark

    I love how the two previous posters came to completely different conclusions based on their own personal feelings.

    By the way, religion is stupid, I wish my parents never sent me to a catholic grade school and high school.

    April 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  19. A

    This guy probably isn't religious. He's most likely just an atheist who is reveling in his mockery of a holy tradition.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Brad

      oh yes, oh so holy......................... kinda more like a joke.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • trixen

      Either that or he's just into beer. Nothing wrong with that. I was brought up Catholic but lost the faith as I got older. If I decided to do what this guy's doing (which sounds pretty cool), it would just be because I like beer, not to mock anyone's religion. To each his own. That being said.... Prost! 🙂

      April 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  20. Jim P.

    Showing once more just how cuckoo religious people can be.

    April 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • trixen

      The best beer I've ever had is brewed by Belgian Trappist monks who fast during Lent and consume only beer. If I got to drink that stuff every day, I think I'd be in heaven. Look up Westvleteren 12 and get back to me. 😉

      April 8, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Mondongo

      Why are you people that "Don't believe" "Hate religion", etc.
      reding the Belief Blog.
      Go read the comics.....

      April 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Mondongo

      Sorry" reading"

      April 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Donahue H.

      How so? He's doing it for historical research. It's not like he's blowing up buildings or anything. I'm not religious but I respect other peoples views.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Jo

      He's a BEER BLOGGER. He's doing this because he's RESEARCHING EXTENDED FASTS. What's the matter with people who cannot grasp the context of what they read before they spout off?It's interesting enough for you to read. You know you read articles on that McDonalds diet and such. People do it, so you'll read it. They just figure you'll understand it. Their bad.

      April 8, 2011 at 8:02 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.